Category

Social Media

Our 5 Social Media Predictions for 2018

By | Articles, Avocado Social, Business Lessons, Home Page, Latest Articles, Social Media, Social Media Platforms, Social Media Strategy | No Comments

One of the biggest challenges businesses are set to face in 2018 is keeping up with ever-evolving updates and changes within social media. The social media platforms are constantly updating their algorithms; the rules behind how your content is spread within the networks. This has a direct effect on your follower growth and engagement rate, and a lack of understanding can effectively silence your business online.

With over 50 million businesses using Facebook and over 25 million on Instagram, it’s a competitive landscape — but I feel that there are still some excellent strategies that can be adopted to enable your business to be found, remembered and trusted online. Here are my 2018 predictions:

1// A rise in niche communities: We’ve already seen a shift in businesses finding more niche communities to engage in, rather than trying to reach mass audiences this year. This has mainly been driven by the algorithms, but also a better understanding of hashtags and a rise in private Facebook Groups. I think we will see more of this behaviour from businesses looking to drive influence within targeted groups, rather than focusing on getting thousands of followers.

Instagram is already driving this behaviour with their new follow a hashtag functionality. This is an important change on the platform, as it allows you to increase your interest in certain communities and topics (#stationeryaddict, #farmhousestyle, #doorsofinstagram, #myeverydaymagic — just some of my favourites as the moment!) and encourages you to spend more time on Instagram. You should be thinking about which community-based hashtags your business can gain notoriety in, or even own.

2// Advanced advertising tactics: Without spending budget on advertising, social media can be hugely difficult to grow. We’ve seen the biggest fall in organic reach in 2017, meaning its harder than ever to ensure your posts are being seen in the newsfeed — particularly on Facebook. So many new features have been launched this year when it comes to advanced advertising, particularly around custom audiences. For example, you can target users with adverts who have recently engaged with your Instagram account. 2018 will see more brands advertising than ever before, and in more creative ways. If you haven’t installed your Facebook Pixel on your website yet, make this #1 on your 2018 To Do List.

3// Micro-influences continue to rise: Consumer trust in brands is set to hit an all-time low in 2018. Hootsuite predicts that “2018 will reward businesses that put their people — employees, advocates, customer communities, and influencers — at the centre of their marketing strategy.”

2017 saw the rise in the micro-influencer — an “everyday” social media user with influence over a credible following. On Instagram, these tend to be users with a following of 3K followers and above. Businesses will become far more strategic about partnerships with these micro-influencers and how they can get the most out of these relationships, rather than just simply paying them to do a promotional post.

                                                           Image courtesy of Hootsuite

If you’re interested to know more about influencer marketing, come to our free Avocado Social and General Assembly talk on 7th February. Tickets are available here.

4// Creative story-telling: This year saw huge developments with Instagram Stories, with many more creative features being added. Facebook Live is set to see some new updates, including split screens and customisation that will make it easier to brand your broadcasts. How will platforms such as Twitter and YouTube respond? 2018 will see brands getting hugely creative with their posts and videos, and countless apps will ensure our posts are “thumb-stopping” in that newsfeed. Take a look at these 13 hacks to help make your Instagram Stories stand out.

     
Facebook’s top recommended creative apps for 2018…         

5. Chatbots for customer service: Facebook’s Instant Reply functionality is a very useful tactic for businesses looking to offer a customer an instant response in Messenger. 2018 will see AI within social media go a lot further. Already this year, ASOS, Lego and M&S have launched Christmas specific chatbots to surprise and delight their Messenger customers, and we’ll see brands get even more creative as they come up with fun and useful ideas for chatbots. Will Facebook launch their own chatbot creator, in the style of popular DIY bot site Chatfuel? Probably. Learn more about chatbots at our talk in February.

Phewph! So we’re set for another great year of social media marketing and I’m sure we’ll see some new features and platforms emerge as the months go on. Personally, I’m looking forward to Instagram analytics getting a whole lot better, which Instagram co-founder Mikey K revealed would be happening at a talk I attended earlier in the year.

As always things are changing at rapid speed, and my advice is to ensure you are on top of the latest strategies. I run an active Facebook Group here, which is dedicated to sharing the best social media news and tips and is completely free to join.

I also run regular social media training workshops, both publicly and in-house at companies, which you can find more about here on our events page.

Here’s to another great year, and happy holidays!

What is an Instagram Loop and how does it work?

By | Articles, Avocado Social, Great Case Studies, Latest Articles, Social Media, Social Media Platforms, Social Media Strategy | No Comments

Have you heard of an Instagram Loop? Don’t worry, we’re about to explain exactly what this trend is.

An Instagram Loop giveaway is a growth strategy which bloggers and businesses have come up with to beat the Instagram algorithm and gain new followers. Much like the Instagram Pod, which we discussed in this blog, it involves finding a group of similar sized businesses and bloggers to work with as a team.

It works well for those looking to increase brand awareness and gain new followers, as you can team up with others that have a similar target audience to you.

How does it work exactly?

  • A Loop giveaway usually consists of 5-10 businesses or bloggers that pool together to offer one big goody bag or pool of prizes.
  • One engaging image is created by the organiser to advertise the giveaway, which shows all of the prizes. The idea is that each of the participants posts the image, and tags in the next business in the image.
  • This list of who tags who, and in what order is predetermined so that entrants follow the competition around in a loop.

For example: All Businesses involved in the Instagram Loop post the competition photo at 10am GMT on a Saturday. In the photo:

Business 1 tags Business 2
Business 2 tags Business 3
Business 3 tags Business 4
Business 4 tags Business 5
Busines 5 tags Business 1

This information (with Business names and @usernames) is sent around prior to the launch of the giveaway, along with the agreed caption and hashtags.

  • It’s important that everyone posts at the exact same time otherwise you will have a break in the loop. Remember people might be in different time zones, so make sure everyone in clear on the time otherwise it’s frustrating for entrants who can’t follow the loop.
  • The caption area of each photo is used to explain the competition to entrants. The caption should explain what the competition prize is, how long the entrants have to enter, and how they enter.
  • Typically in an Instagram Loop giveaway the entrants are asked in the caption of each photo to enter the competition by following each of the businesses tagged in the images and completing the loop back around to the beginning. Usually, entrants are also asked to ‘like’ each of the images in the loop too to further boost engagement and reach.
  • At the end of the competition length, which is usually a few days to give people a chance to promote

Want to look for examples? Just search for #loopgiveaway on Instagram.

What to consider?

It’s good to think about the other businesses you run the Loop giveaway with. Are their followers the right fit for your business? Is the prize that you have all pooled together appealing for your target audience? The idea with an Instagram Loop giveaway is that you can grow your followers and entice those new followers to become customers.

Is there a theme or holiday you can link your Instagram Loop giveaway with? Mother’s Day, May Bank Holidays or Summer are good ideas, to give the campaign more relevance and make the prizes less random. The prizes should be unique to each business to make them even more exclusive. For example, a best-selling or limited edition product.

The goal is to maintain the new followers you acquire long term, not have them unfollow you right after the giveaway has ended. It is advised to break the loop and to detag the businesses from your images so that it is more difficult for entrants to go through and unfollow if they have not won.

You may also want to consider running a promotion such as free delivery or 20% soon after the giveaway so that you can lure your new followers into becoming customers. If this is not relevant then you must consider how you can maintain their new followers, so make sure you keep posting great content!

>> Are you thinking about hosting an Instagram Loop contest? Are you looking for some advice and tips? Join our active Facebook Group here for free and let us know how it goes!

>> Check out Avocado Social’s latest social media events here to find out where we are teaching next.

New social media classes announced for the Summer in London

By | Business Lessons, Latest Articles, Social Media, Social Media Strategy, Social Media Training, Talks and Events | No Comments

Our founder Alison Battisby has been teaching at General Assembly in London for two years and is expanding her classes this summer to reach all social media abilities. 

The new classes include Social Media for Startups and Picture This! Instagram for Business, as well as bestselling evening courses Social Media Strategy Mapping and Social Media Advertising.

The classes are full of all kinds of strategies and tips for small business owners, marketing executives and freelancers of all abilities.

The classes take place at General Assembly’s gorgeous space in Aldgate, and usually take place in the evening from 6-9pm. You can book your places here.

What are Instagram Pods and how do they work?

By | Articles, Avocado Social, Business Lessons, Latest Articles, Social Media, Social Media Platforms, Social Media Strategy | No Comments

You may have heard of the terms Instagram Pods and Instagram Loops recently, particularly as Instagram picks up pace and gains more active users per month than other networks including Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat and Tumblr.

We’re all looking for new ways to “beat the algorithm” and ensure our posts get seen in the newsfeed. This is done now by either ensuring there is enough engagement (likes and comments).

Instagram Pods

An Instagram Pod is a group of people who have pre-agreed to like and comment each other’s Instagram content. The members of your pod become your Instagram family and the idea is that you all work to support each other in growing your communities.

These groups are either people that know each other personally, have met online through Instagram, or in other communities such as Facebook Groups.

The benefits of being part of an Instagram Pod is that you quickly gain more likes and comments on your post shortly after posting, therefore your posts will perform better in the algorithm. This could be a great way of growing your followers and finding new customers. 

The way Pods work as usually through an Instagram group DM with your other members, where you post a link to every new piece of Instagram content you create. This also means that you need to like and comments on your other Pod members’ content too. As you can imagine, if you are in a Pod of over 20 members this can get pretty overwhelming very quickly – and might put you off Instagram!

The best way of running Pods is to create a small like-minded Pod of other Instagrammers that complement your audience, such as this example below, Creative Biz Pod.

But, there are two potential issues with Instagram Pods.

This kind of activity becomes mechanical, and less natural. This means your insights into your account will be skewed and you won’t be able to understand which content resonates best with your audience. Your impressions, engagement and follower stats will be less accurate to the truth.

This means you will struggle to optimise your account, and to really understand the ROI of your activity.

Finally, Pods could be shut down at any point by Instagram, if they decide to include them as a clause in their Terms of Service. What Instagram could do here is block Pod users, or mark users as potential rule-breakers, and therefore their engagement received could be downranked.

Overall, we think Instagram Pods can become time-consuming and potentially dangerous quickly as they mean you are not getting the most out of Instagram. There’s no harm in liking and commenting on other business content in your network, or when you discover new accounts – in fact we very much endorse this behaviour as a way to grow!

But as soon as it becomes robotic and prescribed, you are heading into dangerous waters as this is exactly what Instagram is trying to crack down on.

Next week we’ll be looking at Instagram Loops to explain what they are, and to determine whether they are worth your time for growing your followers.

Is Twitter still an important marketing tool in 2017?

By | Articles, Avocado Social, Social Media, Social Media Platforms, Social Media Strategy, Social Media Training | No Comments

Twitter has had its fair share of bad press over the last year, and one of the questions we regularly get asked at Avocado Social is whether the tool is still an important player in the online marketing mix.

The micro-blogging social network has shown signs of slowing down in growth, as it fails to attract new brand new users to sign up to the service. During the Trump election in the final quarter of 2016, Twitter only grew by two million users whereas Facebook grew by 72 million by comparison.

The service has been plagued in recent years with harassment, abuse, bullying, intimidation and threats – much more so than any other social media network.  So much so that last year a rumour spread online that Twitter was planning on shutting down in 2017 due to its failings in protecting people from abuse.

This doesn’t sound great so far – but Twitter has made a number of changes recently in a bid to combat these issues.

Recently the platform has added new tools that will identify people who have been suspended from Twitter and stop them from creating fake accounts, remove blocked or muted tweets from search results and identify abusive or “low quality” tweets in conversations.

Just last week Twitter launched its new Live video API, allowing companies to hook up professional broadcasting and video editing equipment to the service with more powerful integrations than the existing Periscope Producer feature. Could this lure in more live video creators from Facebook and Snapchat?

So is the tool still important for your marketing strategy? 

Twitter is still an important player in the social media world, boasting over 319 million monthly active users. Twitter’s daily active user base is said to be growing, with many using it as a key news resource so checking the platform a number of times a day.

Reports this month suggested that 9-15% of Twitter active accounts are bots, which explains why your followers tend to go up and down regularly. This is something Twitter needs to work harder on.

There are three key ways we believe Twitter still has a very valuable place in the social media landscape for marketing.

  1. Customer Service: Twitter is still cited as one of the top places for customers to complain, so it’s extremely important to keep on top of any mentions of your brand. According to research, 78% of people who complain to a brand via Twitter expect a response within an hour. You don’t want to make a customer even more frustrated by not replying to their message. Positive content also deems a reply as this could spark the beginning of a beautiful relationship with a customer or influencer.
  2. Business Networking: We always suggest that simply tweeting your content out isn’t going to get you followers. We believe more meaningful interactions on the platform are where you can begin to stand out and make Twitter work well for you.  Chatting with other businesses and professionals through Twitter is a great way to meet new contacts, engage in industry trends and events and find potential opportunities. We have met many of our clients and colleagues through Twitter, and have heard countless stories of opportunities arising through recommendations and retweets on the platform.
  3. Research: Utilising Twitter for influencer research is a fantastic way of discovering new bloggers, magazines, and experts to engage with from a business perspective. We are a huge fan of Twitter Lists, the free tool which enables you to keep track of a select group of users around a particular niche. Twitter is also a fab tool to gain research around opinions relating to your products or to find out what your customers really think about a topic or trend.

So we conclude that Twitter still has a valuable place in your marketing mix, particularly in business to business contexts.

We don’t see Twitter will be disappearing anytime soon – and that’s why we’re running a Twitter Success Masterclass on Thursday 6th April 2017. For more information and to book, please visit our Events page.

 

 

 

 

 

Avocado Social Gets #SheMeansBusiness Facebook Accreditation

By | Articles, Business Lessons, Latest Articles, Social Media, Social Media Platforms, Social Media Training, Talks and Events | No Comments

Our Founder Alison Battisby recently visited Facebook’s European Headquarters in Dublin to gain official #SheMeansBusiness Accreditation. What does this mean? What did she learn? Find out in our latest blog…

Facebook and Enterprise Nation recently launched the #SheMeansBusiness initiative in the UK, after identifying the need for more women to upskill in areas such as digital marketing in order to start and grow their own businesses.

That’s where I come in, as one of the eight chosen UK experts to offer support and practical training to a large (but achievable) target of 10,000 women over the next year.

In order to do this, I first had to get my official accreditation from Facebook which involved two days in the Dublin office hearing key learnings and trends from the “horse’s mouth” as it were.  Being at Facebook was absolutely fantastic, not just because of the free food, but the atmosphere within the building is very exciting. The position of power Facebook has across the world is amazing, and there are some very clever brains whirring away on inspiring initiatives and projects constantly. It’s certainly an exciting place to be!

Check out the rest of our pictures from our Facebook trip here.

Here are some of the key things we learnt:

    • The Facebook algorithm is completely unpredictable – and it doesn’t necessarily favour the big brands. There is every chance your small business posts are appearing in the newsfeed for your target audience.
    • This all hangs on how relevant you are being. The more relevant your updates to your target audience, the most engagement they will get. You should be looking to tell engaging stories to gain a personal connection with your audience.
    • Setting up your Page correctly (using Audience Optimisation on your Page, utilising the free tools available such as scheduling posts and instant replies).
    • Video and Carousel posts are extremely popular and using this kind of rich media can grab your desired audience’s attention.
    • It doesn’t have to be high budget content – there are plenty of apps and tools available to help you to create incredible graphics within needing to hire an agency or graphic designer.
    • One of the most popular questions I get asked is “How often should I be posting to Facebook?” and the official answer is that it really depends on your customers. Facebook advised to put yourself in your customers shoes and to ask ‘Are you being useful or annoying?’
    • Facebook’s darling brand Instagram was also a key focus of the training – with key advice being to keep it as simple as possible.  Try to avoid text if possible as the majority of users don’t use this – the focus is on amazing authentic “thumb-stopping”.

There are so many other hints and tips I have to share, and so look out for many events over the rest of the year. To start with, I’m presenting an evening on Facebook for Business with Enterprise Nation in London on Thursday 23rd February. Tickets are available here, but be quick as they’re selling fast! 

 

Our 7 Social Media Trends and Predictions for 2017

By | Avocado Social, Business Lessons, Social Media, Social Media and Workforce, Social Media News, Social Media Platforms, Social Media Strategy | No Comments

We get asked all the time ‘What’s the next big thing in social media?’ so we thought we’d put together our top predictions for 2017 in a blog post.

Social media is one of the fastest growing and ever changing industries around, with new developments, trends and behaviours coming out every day.

From working with some top brands, speaking to Facebook and listening to the industry commentators, here are our top predictions:

  1. Rise in GIFs

We’ve noticed a huge increase in GIFs this year, which are short looping video clips that usually last between 1-3 seconds. Twitter integrated free GIF provider Giphy into its app in February this year, and Instagram’s standalone GIF app Boomerang soared in popularity over the summer. Brands from Chanel to Subway are using these short form videos to grab the attention of mobile users in the newsfeeds. Who is going to watch a 2-minute video in social media anymore!? (apart from the John Lewis Christmas Ad of course!) In 2017 we will see a rise in smaller brands, and small businesses utilising GIFs to show off products, and of course personality.

2. 360 Video

Zuckerberg is really pushing 360 videos, having just used it to capture his daughter’s first steps. We haven’t seen many examples of brands using 360 videos yet as it requires a specialist camera – but perhaps innovative brands such as Burberry and AirBnB will invest next year. Check out this example from National Geographic! The feature is a fantastic way to tell a story in a more interactive way. If you take a panoramic photograph on your iPhone and upload it to Facebook, it will become a 360 photo – try it, it’s very cool!

3. WhatsApp for Business

Many businesses have tried setting up shop on WhatsApp in a basic form, as a way to engage audiences directly in a private setting. The platform receives over 1 billion users every day, and is apparently used by 1 in 7 people on earth! We love following Battenhall’s WhatsApp broadcast for our daily fix of social media news. We know a personal trainer in South London using it to engage VIP clients with daily motivation and recipes. Gregg’s this year launched a VIP WhatsApp channel for hardcore pasty fans! We wonder what next year will bring, especially with the messaging app apparently looking to release a Business version.

4.Workplace Social Media

A huge amount of businesses are using social media in the workplace to collaborate and communicate with their peers. We are huge fans of Slack, for example. Facebook Workplace has soft launched, and we’re particularly excited to see more businesses adopt it for messaging, live video, forum chats and project management. If you’re interested, signup and take the demo webinar. Obviously, there is a whole host of questions that comes along with it, like house rules, codes of conduct and time spent on it – but could this mean the death to email within a few years?

connect_better2x5. AI and Social Media

A big trend set for 2017 is the use of Artificial Intelligence in social media, particularly when it comes to customer service and also data analysis. The rise of digital assistants, such as Siri and Alexa means we are used to speaking to robots to get things done, and chatbots are set to become mainstream in 2017. This will allow brands to answer commons FAQs automatically, and utilise customer service representatives for more in-depth issues.

6. Algorithm Squeezing

As social media builds in noise, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are all set to continue to squeeze their algorithms meaning only a tiny amount of what we post to our business pages will be placed in the newsfeeds. The solution to this is social media advertising, which means you can reach desired audiences which you select by age, interests and location, with paid-for adverts. The winning formula here is to use custom audiences; those that have already engaged with your business in some way before.We are set to see more and more businesses using these tools and only expect more in 2017. If you’re interested in building your knowledge, come to our next workshop.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our predictions and we wish you all a very Merry Christmas! 

OUR ONLINE SOCIAL MEDIA COURSE LAUNCHES!

By | Avocado Social, Home Page, Latest Articles, Social Media, Talks and Events | No Comments

We’re so pleased to present our brand new online social media course, The Busy Entrepreneur’s Guide to Social Media. Our online programme is designed for founders and marketers at startups and small businesses who want to quickly expand their social media knowledge and pickup plenty of tips for growing their online communities.

The course is divided into six video modules, covering strategy, content planning and measurement, as well as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Each video module is around 30 minutes, with a set task to help you put your ideas into practice.

We’ve packed the course with tons of case studies from our favourite small businesses including Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, Pip & Nut, Borrow My Doggy and more. Click on the image below to find out more and sign up!

 

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 13.19.42

Avocado Social Instagram Cheat Sheet

By | Articles, Avocado Social, Business Lessons, Latest Articles, Social Media, Social Media Platforms, Social Media Resources | No Comments

We find ourselves searching for the answers to quite a few of these Instagram related questions often, so we thought it best if we put them all together into one handy cheat sheet.

There are quite a few limitations and tricks to be aware of in the hugely popular social media tool.

It’s important to be aware of them when posting to ensure that you don’t receive any error messages that might hinder your activity.

We’ve also included a few tips into our cheat sheet so that you can make your posts more engaging:

Likes

You can only perform 350 likes per hour (unless you’re very quick not likely you’ll hit this limit!)  This is to prevent spammers and bots, which are software allowing you to buy likes and followers. We don’t advocate these bots as they tend to buy you fake followers, who then get removed by the social media platforms.

Followers

You can’t follow more than 7500 users according to Instagram.

However, some users can follow more than 7,500 users if they did so before I
nstagram imposed the limit. Some Instagram users also claim there’s an hourly limit to the number of users you can follow and unfollow. This is rumoured to be 160 per hour, although Instagram has not confirmed such restrictions.

We like to use the apps Cleaner or Followers + for cleaning out and mass deleting users. They are both free and can help you to work out where to focus your activity.


iOS Profile iPhone 6

Word Count

Whilst the limit on Instagram posts is 2,200 characters, we don’t recommend writing an absolute essay on Instagram! People scroll through quickly, so you want to grab their attention by using succinct sentences that inspire and tell stories in brief.

Your Instagram biography needs to be kept to 150 characters or under. Don’t forget to include a URL link!


Hashtags

Instagram limits you to 30, which we believe to be a good thing. Too many hashtags can be off-putting to your audience and could make you appear a little desperate for engagement! We recommend using somewhere between 5-10 hashtags, whatever feels right. Don’t forget to keep testing different tags, and not to use the same stock group of tags for every photo you upload.

Posts

There’s no limit on how often you post on Instagram, or how many times. If you change your mind after posting, you can delete each post individually but you can’t delete them all. Remember Instagram is your shop window so ensure that everything looks beautiful and relevant.

Filters

Did you know that there are 27 different Instagram filters that you can use to make your photos look beautiful? This infographic from Canva details which are the world’s favourite filters. Can you guess which it is?

It’s a good idea to use the same or similar filters each time for consistency. If you are looking for more, then the app Afterlight has 75 more!

Emojis

If you’re a fan of emojis (which we are massively!) then you’ll be glad to know that you can use them in your Instagram posts. This is a great way to make the posts more engaging and to help you stand out amongst the chatter. Did you know you can also hashtag an emoji!? #💚

That’s it for our Instagram hacks for now, but if you want more then join The Avocado Social Media Hub, our free Group for the latest social media updates, great examples and case studies, and support. 

Untitled design (4)

Nailing Social Media in the Food Space

By | Past Events, Social Media, Talks and Events | No Comments

WORK.LIFE, CAMDEN, LONDON, 15th SEPTEMBER

As part of Social Media Week, join us for a panel discussion on how to use social media effectively in the business of food. We’ll bring together food brands successfully building a following through social media and experts in social and content creation.

The event will be moderated by Avocado Social founder Alison Battisby, and features some exciting food startups.

£11.21 – £16.52

Read More