Aimee Hudson
6th December 2017 - 6 mins read
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nd with constant growth – 30 per cent of all time spent online is now allocated to social media interaction – the pace of that change is going to increase.

The good news is that the Thirty Seven crystal ball has been put to good effect and helped us identify the things you can expect to see much more of.

 

Ephemeral Content

This type of content is intriguing and one that can be quite hard to achieve successfully. It is where your followers see a short clip of content or an image for a matter of seconds before it disappears.

It is the format Snapchat was built upon.

However, more brands are exploring ephemeral content to provide a different side of the business for certain occasions.

For example, ephemeral content is great for giving an audience a sneak peek or a behind the scenes look of a product or event. Burberry used it to wide acclaim in 2015 to create an ad in real time.

Alternatively, it can be used for competitions and giveaways, interviews, holidays or a daily/weekly series.

The key to being successful with this form of content is to be human. It should be unpolished and light-hearted or, in other words, ‘flawed’.

 

Stories

Snapchat has, since pretty much the beginning, had a feature called ‘stories’ where users can publish snippets of what they’re doing out to everyone who follows them.

Within the last year or so Instagram and Facebook have copied this idea and interestingly, Instagram seems to have become the more popular platform for this feature with 100 million daily active viewers in 2016.

Many people and brands share snippets of their day and then add text, stickers, filters or emojis and publish it so anyone who follows their account can view it.

Since Facebook now owns Instagram it has also rolled out the feature to its own platform but with little success.

 

Live Video

There’s no doubt that live video is on the rise with more and more brands tapping into it and in 2018 it is expected to take centre stage. 

While there are many video streaming platforms – and LinkedIn is in the process of rolling out one to its users now - Facebook Live and Periscope appear to be the most popular.

Periscope, in 2016, stated that users watched 110 years of live video every day in the app and on New Year’s Eve Facebook Live reached a record-breaking number of users around the world.

Twitter and Instagram have also launched a live video platform within their apps, in Twitter’s case they now have a button to live stream via Periscope.

This feature is particularly useful to those who want to live stream an event, for example a product launch, to everyone who couldn’t be there. Q&A’s and a live video series are also opportunities to pick up on.

With new capabilities like 360-degree videos, there are new ways to engage an audience.

 

Artificial Intelligence

This is a fairly new feature for most social media brands but Snapchat has paved the way since the beginning with their variety of filters.

Powered by artificial intelligence the filters are known to be engaging and interactive. I mean have you seen how many selfies have dog ears over them now?

Due to its growing popularity, other platforms have adopted the feature in order to entice users.

Many companies are investing in artificial intelligence and creating new interesting ways to engage audiences.

It’s believed that artificial intelligence will drive social media in the coming year with some stating that it is essential for social media success. It is certainly something Apple has placed a lot of emphasis on while launching its new iPhone X.  For businesses, it’s a new way of opening doors to interact with customers, publish adverts and network.

 

Messaging Apps 

With more people spending more time online, social media companies are investing in instant messenger functionalities.

Facebook was the first to initiate this with the Facebook Messenger app. This allows people as well as brands to communicate globally for free.

Those aid customer service processes as they provide a faster and easier way for customers to get the assistance they need, compared to email or phone.

The hotel chain Hyatt utilises Facebook Messenger for 24-hour customer service so guests can make reservations or ask questions.

Many companies that don’t use social media messaging apps use similar technology which can be embedded into their websites.

 

Marketplace

E-commerce is becoming more prominent within social media platforms. With Facebook, Instagram and Twitter offering ways for users to buy products directly within their apps.

With one simple click, a user is taken to the company’s desired URL to either browse products or with the intention to buy.

The marketplace is powerful. In a recent survey, 56 per cent of consumers said they follow brands on social media to know when products are on sale and 31 per cent said they use social media to specifically look for new products to purchase.

Many people go on social media to interact with interesting content and are more likely to engage in posts that provide information to them rather than an advert e.g. gift ideas for your sister. Indirect advertising allows companies to reap more benefits.

Remarketing via adverts on social media is also known to increase sales for businesses and can be a very effective strategy when done well.

 

Mobile Advertising

If you haven’t started investing more into mobile advertising it’s about time you did. It’s wise to advertise across all social media platforms if possible and take advantage of the new features that come out.

In 2016, Facebook brought in $7 billion worth of social media ad revenues. Its algorithm ensures that a user’s friends and family’s content comes first so that the 75 per cent of brands that pay to promote adverts on Facebook will have to create appealing and engaging ads in order to capture the user’s attention first.

Twitter, on the other hand, has paid advertising features including videos, sponsored hashtag icons and stickers to provide users with a variety of ad options.

Interestingly, users said, in a recent survey, adverts on Instagram were more memorable compared to ads on Snapchat. However, Snapchat offers more appealing ad features like sponsored filters that are popular during film releases making them more likeable to users.

Overall, each platform runs a pay-to-play operation to make advertisers pay as much money as they can so they can get the results they want. For example, if you’re looking for conversions and have a budget of £50, Facebook will put this in front of only a select few people. But if your budget is £500 your ad will be placed in front of many more people who are likely to complete your desired conversion action.



Perhaps the biggest trend though, which seems set to continue, is that the four main channels continue to copy each other’s most popular features, as the ‘stories’ functionality shows. 

The social media platforms are becoming standardised with the only difference being which one your audience uses most.

At Thirty Seven, we offer content and design services to ensure your campaigns reach the right audiences at the right times. Our journalist led approach ensures your content is interesting, engaging and informative so you gain brand awareness and engagement whether it is social media content or a whitepaper.

Marketing

How to respond to negative comments about your content

Adam Fisher 26th June 2018 — 5 mins read
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ome will be genuine complaints from customers, others may be from rivals and then, of course, there are the dreaded trolls.

I’m no stranger to online criticism, having previously managed social media accounts for public sector organisations.

People have also, on occasion, taken exception to blogs I have written in my current role, including an ITN newsreader who really didn’t take too well to something I wrote for our sister company Media First.

The key is to accept that you will face negativity at some point and focus on how best to respond.

Here’s what I have learned from my own experiences and the different ways some brands deal with negative comments. 


Keep calm

This is advice I constantly have to remind myself about.

Whenever someone criticises something I have put out, and I don’t think it is justified, my first reaction is to quickly put together a stinging instant response.

But then I think back to a training course I went on years ago where we were told not to send work emails when we were angry.

And I think the same applies here, whether you are responding to a blog comment, a Twitter post or any other form of audience interaction.

The reality is that responding emotionally when your blood is still boiling will typically make the situation much worse. And you really don’t want to get involved in some form of ongoing argument in a public domain.

It sounds obvious, but it is important to compose your thoughts, consider the criticism, and let any heat die away from the situation before responding – even on social media where speed is of the essence.


Avoid the copy and paste approach

One of my hates on social media is when a brand receives some criticism and it responds by continually copying and pasting the same couple of generic lines over and over again.

It is something I see regularly. 

When Nectar was widely criticised on social media for announcing a partnership with the Daily Mail, it stuck rigidly to pre-agreed corporate lines, which it copied and pasted relentlessly.

Here it is: “Hi (insert name), we’re sorry to hear you’re not keen on the partnership. The primary factor in any new partnership is our current customer base. From our data and research, we know that there is a large crossover between our customers and Mail readers. Hopefully, you can take part in other offers which you find more appealing. Thank you for the feedback anyway.”

It looks cold and robotic and only really serves to make the customer more frustrated. It also suggests the brand actually isn’t all that bothered about complaints from customers.

While it may feel a little risky, social media teams should be given the freedom to move away from pre-approved corporate lines when an organisation is being criticised and add a human touch to responses.

If you are facing a real social media storm and don’t feel you have the time or resources to personalise responses, it would be better to stick to regular updates rather than trying to reply to everyone with the same corporate line.


Humour

You need to tread carefully here, but humour can be a great way of turning a negative comment into something positive.

Not only can it diffuse potential issues, but it can also show a fun, lighter side to your brand.

But it is not going to be appropriate in all situations and each one needs to be judged independently.

Virgin Trains found itself in the middle of a social media storm earlier this year when it responded to a passenger complaining about being called ‘honey’ by a train manager with a poorly judged joke.  While Thameslink found itself threatened with legal action after comparing its poor service to ‘Poundland cooking chocolate’.  

My advice would be to run any humorous responses past a colleague just to check that they are actually funny, right for the audience and also tasteful before they are published.


Sometimes a private reply can be better

You are not going to keep everyone happy, even if you follow all of the above advice.

Some people will continue to post negatively, but it is important that you don’t get drawn into an ongoing conversation with them.

The best approach is to ask them to send their contact details to you through a direct message or your email address so you can arrange for someone to give them a call and discuss the issues they are experiencing.

This is something which worked well for me in previous roles and at times resulted in a dissenting voice later going on to post something positive about the organisation.

Even if they persist with their criticism, other customers will be able to see the effort you have made to try to help them.


Don’t delete

It can be tempting to delete negative comments and criticism, particularly if you feel they are unfair.

But this needs to be avoided.

Not only does it show a lack of transparency and suggest the organisation may have something to hide, but it is also likely to encourage the critic to post more negative comments.


You don’t always have to say sorry

Another one of my regular frustrations with the way brands respond to negative comments is they always apologise, even when they have nothing to be sorry for.

Take train companies for example. Any commuter will tell you that these guys have a lot to apologise for. But look at their Twitter accounts and it is one apology after another.

The website Sorry for the Inconvenience shows that rail operators have already issued more than 200,000 apologies this year alone. While many of those are completely justified, some are for really minor issues like plug sockets not working.

The huge rate of apologies only adds to the reputational damage. The key for other companies is to be selective about when to say sorry.

Sometimes a better approach is to take control of the narrative and laugh about the issue, like Joe Dough’s Sandwich shop did in this brilliant example.




Finally

The final point is that a negative reaction doesn’t have to be seen as a bad thing.

I want the content I produce to cause a reaction and even a negative reaction can get other people talking.

It’s far better than talking to a completely passive audience.

 

 

At Thirty Seven, we offer content and design services to ensure your campaigns reach the right audiences at the right times. Our journalist led approach ensures your content is interesting, engaging and informative so you gain brand awareness and engagement whether it is social media content or a whitepaper.

 

Graham Jones
19th February 2018 - 5 mins read

Every company wants to be an authority in their sector - those that engage the media usually are

Media First designs and delivers bespoke media and communications courses that use current working journalists, along with PR and communications professionals, to help you get the most from your communications plan.