It ain't all bad: 10 reasons why social media is GREAT

Social media has a somewhat shoddy reputation. This has only been heightened by the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal on Facebook. But you know what? It's not all bad - it's actually pretty great.

Three billion people (about 40% of the world’s population) use social media, and we’re spending an average of two hours every day sharing, liking, tweeting and updating on these platforms. So, with social media playing such a big part in our lives, it’s no doubt that news channels and various professionals are picking up on the negative effects of socialising behind a screen.

We’re here to tell you about the positives, and trust us, there are plenty. We’ve whittled it down to our top 10 reasons why social media is truly great.

 

1. Communication is even easier

It’s undeniable that social media increases the ease of communication in a world where people are more mobile than ever before. Facebook Messenger and Skype are the glue bonding long-distance friendships and families. It also offers a type of freedom to people who found traditional forms of communicating difficult; many marginalised groups, such as the elderly and disabled, have created online communities that connect them to people all over the world, or even just down the road. Suddenly, even if you are physically isolated, you can still feel connected and sociable.

 

2. Creating communities

In a similar vein, social media connects like-minded people into communities where they feel safe to discuss different subjects without being ridiculed. Movements like ‘March for our lives’ and ‘#MeToo’ have gained a large majority of their support and grassroots activists through social media. By using hashtags, social media users can create communities that align with their beliefs and provide support (online and in real life). This is a great example of how social media can be misunderstood as a singular activity when really it excels at bringing people together.

Social media connects like-minded people

3. Generating job opportunities

If social media did not exist, I would not be sitting here writing this article. Not because this article is about social media, but because that is my job – to manage social media accounts. Not only that, but younger generations like millennials have really cottoned on to the value of social media as a legitimate brand platform – Justin Bieber was signed to a successful record label after proving his saleability and talents uploading covers and original songs to YouTube. Likewise, Ed Sheeran’s initial success was related to his presence on the video platform. What’s better is that as fans we feel closer to these celebrities – we have literally watched them go from bedroom singers to sell-out arena artists thanks to social media.

 

4. Engaging with customers

Many tech-savvy businesses benefit from having a social media presence, after all, that’s where their audience is. Not only can businesses use it as a tool to increase customer engagement, but customers use it as a tool to contact companies for enquiries and complaints. Twitter is a great example of this, with many large brands having dedicated customer service accounts where customers can get replies within minutes.

 

5. Free lessons in pretty much anything

Have you ever watched a ‘how to’ video on YouTube or Facebook – be that make up tutorials, solving software issues, playing instruments, cooking dishes, gym workouts, etc? Congratulations, you’ve used social media to learn something new! More than ever, we are reaching for our phones to find the answers to everything and anything.

 

6. Breaking news faster than ever

Nothing spreads faster than news on social media. Whether it’s a football club signing, a terrorist incident, a political upset, or a famous couple ending their relationship; chances are, it’ll be trending on Twitter before you can say “Donald Trump”. Twitter is great at breaking the news but problematic at qualifying the facts. After the initial story breaks, the lines between facts and fiction can get a bit blurry, especially on Twitter where 328 million monthly active users can pile in with opinions. But it’s worth remembering that while mistakes can be made more quickly than traditional media, they can also be fixed just as quickly.

Twitter is great at breaking news

7. Sending messages of safety

One of the most useful features Facebook has developed in the past few years is a ‘mark yourself safe’ option, Safety Check. This feature was first established during the devastating earthquakes in Nepal in 2015 but have since been used in acts of terrorism in Paris, Brussels and London. You have the option to mark yourself as ‘safe’ after an incident or natural disaster in your surrounding area, so your friends and family all over the globe know you’re OK. Features like this can relieve some of the pressure off overloaded infrastructures where disaster has struck.

 

8. Communal learning

One unlikely outcome of the meteoric rise of social media use is a better communal understanding of some subjects. Cast your mind back a month or so and you may remember social media raving about an audio clip that divided listeners. Some of them could hear ‘Yanny’ and some of them would hear ‘Laurel’ – we bet if it did find its way onto your feed, you now know why we hear different names. This is a learned experience; something you have learnt simply from the hype of social media. Although they seem trivial trends and tend to be over in a day or two, some pretty interesting articles have been written about what we can learn about ourselves from these communal discussions.

 

9. A global marketplace

The integration of online shopping into a selection of different apps has made it easier than ever before to make purchases (we’re counting this as positive, but your bank balance might not agree). This isn’t just about YouTube and Instagram influencers trying to tout their newest clothing collaborations; Instagram has enabled many designers, photographers and illustrators to curate followings and sell their work to audiences all over the world.

 

10. Social media gives everyone a voice

The final point to be made is that there are no gatekeepers when you publish via your social profile (aside from each platform’s terms of use) – you can write anything, and anyone has the chance to view it. Social media tends to be more democratized than traditional print media (which hasn’t always offered the most representative sample of voices) and it has given everyone a medium through which to express themselves.

 

There you have it – our top 10 reasons why social media is great. Considering the improvements that social media has made to lots of aspects of our lives, as evidenced above, it seems a little harsh to write it off in one fell swoop.

What do you think, have we persuaded you into giving social media another chance?


Email etiquette:
Do you fall foul of these pet peeves?

269 billion emails were sent every day in 2017.

It’s no surprise that we’ve reached a point of ’email etiquette’ – unwritten rules about how emails should be written, read, and sent. The thing is, not everyone abides by these rules and it can get pretty frustrating.

So, what’s getting on our nerves about emails? We’ve listed our top offenders below.

DO “Reply to all”

Let’s say we are sending an email to person A and CC’ing person B and C. When person A replies, they don’t “reply to all”. Why?! Think about it: person B and C have been copied in for a reason, probably because they have some sort of involvement in the matter, yet when person A responds, they are ignoring those two people who probably need to know what’s going on.

The only occasion whereby you should omit the persons CC’d is if the conversation turns into something that does not involve them. Maybe they’re in Accounts and you’re now discussing design with person A – it’s perfectly acceptable to remove B and C from the conversation. Otherwise, PLEASE REPLY ALL.

NB: We should also state it’s imperative you only CC people necessary – no one wants to receive unwanted emails, ever.

No email signature

If we had a pound for every time we’ve tried to find someone’s contact details in their email signature, only to find they don’t have one, we’d be rich. Or at least £100 better off. You should make it as easy as possible for your customers or clients to be able to contact you. Adding your phone number and website address to your email signature not only achieves this but drives traffic to your website. Better yet, it’s completely free to do. It’s a no-brainer!

Clear subject lines

Remember when we said 269 billion emails are sent every day?* Think about how many emails you receive daily. Now think again – how many of these emails have a clear, concise subject line? We can’t stress enough how important a good subject line is, and quite frankly, we’re much more likely attend to an email with a clear subject line as opposed to a confusing one – or worse – NO subject line. If you deal with multiple clients/locations/stores/teams, try to structure your subject line like this: who – what – action. For example, “Wimbledon Tennis – Social media strategy – Decision needed”. Easy.

Beware of the dreaded typo.

Businesses that use anonymous email addresses

Have you ever received a generic response from a company signed off with “Sales Team” or something similar? We understand why small businesses might use this tactic – to appear larger – but wouldn’t you much rather know who you’re talking to? Even just a first name will suffice. It makes your correspondence much more personal and tells your customer/client who to contact in the future if required.

Proof-reading

Before you click “send”, take a quick glance at your email. You’ll be surprised how many emails we receive with typos and whole sentences missing. This can be extremely frustrating, especially when these are instructions that need to be followed. We use Grammarly to flag our typos and grammatical errors.

What annoys you about emails? We’d love to know. Comment below and who knows, we might even add it to our list…

 

*Source


Top 5 website questions we get asked

How much does a website cost? How quickly can a website be built? These are the top 5 website questions we get asked, answered.


1. How much does a website cost?

How long is a piece of string? Our websites are all bespoke. We don’t have packages because every client has different needs. Think of it in terms of buying a car: do you want a run-around to get you from A to B, or do you want a convertible with all the bells and whistles? Sorry to say, this isn’t a one size fits all answer. We have built websites in the region of £2,500 all the way up to £35,000+

 

2. How long does a website take to build?

Believe it or not, this heavily depends on the client. We have built a website in 48 hours. That said, it can take a lot longer. On average, it takes about 6 weeks, but if you’ve got your copy, content, images and a clear idea of what exactly you want on your website, the process will be a lot smoother. If you don’t have any copy, if you change your mind about the look and feel of the site, or any other odd factors pop up, well… It will take a lot longer. Click here to read the 6 things to consider before creating your website.

 

3. Can I manage my website myself?

Yes. We specialise in WordPress websites, which is a popular CMS (Content Management System) that gives you, the client, full access to your website. We will train you to use the system before or after launch (you decide) or if you don’t have the time to manage the website yourself, we can do it for you. We’re always on hand to help if you need advice. This freedom allows you to change copy and images and even create pages yourself.

 

4. How can I stop my website being hacked?

Good question. This is where hosting comes in. Websites don’t simply live on the internet; they have to have a place to sit, or a home, which is what hosting provides. We use a reputable, reliable and extra secure WordPress host called WP Engine, who identifies and prevents attacks before they happen, meaning your website is completely safe in their hands. Think of it like this: your website is your supercar, and hosting is your safe and sound garage, including  your burglar alarm, security gates, CCTV and guard dogs all in one. No one’s getting past WP Engine. You don’t have to use our hosting provider, but it’s definitely recommended.

 

5. Will my website work on a mobile?

Yes. The great thing about WordPress is that all the websites we build are mobile-friendly. This means that you don’t need to create a separate mobile website. Instead, your website will automatically reconfigure itself to fit a mobile without losing its style. Even better, this is the case for any device; tablets, laptops, and mobiles are all covered. Google favours mobile-friendly websites, so your website is more likely to be found by your potential customers.


The 5 most popular Twitter tips

The five most popular Twitter tips in the world? No. The five most popular Twitter tips of all time maybe? Not even. No, ladies and gents, we proudly present the five Twitter tips that are greeted with the loudest "...oooooh!" when we share them with delegates at our business training workshops.

Now, many of you will, of course, be using these already. But many others, like a lot of our workshop attendees it seems, have yet to discover them.

So, here you go:

1. You can manage more than one Twitter account from within the same Twitter mobile app, at the same time

This is something you cannot do within the same browser if using Twitter on your PC. No need to log out and log in again on mobiles! Perfect for businesses who have both a personal and business Twitter account.

The technique to achieve this differs slightly for iPhone and Android. On iPhone, you will find "Add Existing Account" under your Twitter options. On Android, you tap your profile pic and then the downward facing arrow that appears alongside it to reveal "Add Existing Account". Henceforth whenever you wish to tweet as one or the other, simply toggle between the two using the same process.

2. You can be notified every single time a particular user tweets something. 

Quite useful for keeping tabs on your favourite client, potential client or, dare I say, celebrity. Twitter itself has recently made this more prominent.

You firstly need to follow the account in question, then visit their profile and tap the icon that shows a bell and a plus sign. This turns on the notification and it can be turned off again just as easily. The account in question does not get notified that you are being notified. Follow me?

3. You can schedule your tweets from within Twitter itself.

Now, you may not think that automating or scheduling your tweets is a good thing and you're probably right if that's all you do. However, it can be very useful for constructing a backbone of content for your Twitter feed that you can then augment with more reactive content and up to date responses.

There is a myriad of third-party tools that allow you to schedule your tweets (we use Hootsuite - love it), but to do so from within Twitter you need to sign up for a Twitter Ads account. This is free and carries no obligation to advertise (they will send you loads of emails encouraging you to do so, however). Once you have a Twitter Ads account, you will have the ability to choose a custom post option to schedule your tweets for the future. Main benefit is, it all happens within the same app.

4. You can set up more than one Twitter account using the same email address (sort of).

You may have discovered that Twitter only lets you associate your email address with a single email account. But if you have a Gmail email account (and if you don't, why on earth not?), then you can modify your email address and use it over and over again for Twitter accounts.

Gmail will ignore a plus sign and single word placed between your username and @ symbol in an email address. However, Twitter sees any such modification as a completely separate email address. So, if your email address is joebloggs@gmail.com (and this address is already registered with a Twitter account), you can create joebloggs+something@gmail.com and Twitter will allow you to use that as a new email address (you can interchange any word you like where I've used the word "something" and to repeat the trick, just use a new word).

The best bit is this. Any emails sent to your modified Gmail email address will still appear in your main Gmail inbox. Happy days.

5. You can make one of your tweets "sticky" by pinning it to the top of your Twitter feed

And there it will stay for all time unless you decide to un-pin it.

Simply select a tweet from your tweet list that you want to pin (tap it). When it opens in its own window, tap the three dots in the top right-hand corner. This will reveal the option to "Pin to your profile". Do this to make the tweet sticky. Undo this to un-pin it. Simple.

 

Well, there you go. Not the most earth-shattering revelations, but we hope you found at least one of these Twitter tips useful. If you need any more advice on all things social or website, please feel free to get in touch.


How to create an Instagram business profile

Finally, Instagram business accounts have arrived.

The change adds a call-to-action button to your page, displays your sector, and, most importantly, has analytics.

Making the change is simple.

  1. On your mobile, open Instagram
  2. Go to the profile you want to change to a business account
  3. Click on Settings (top right corner)
  4. Scroll down and click "Switch to Business Account"
  5. This will prompt you to login to Facebook
  6. Login to Facebook and allow the app to view your Pages
  7. Select the page you want linked to the Instagram account
  8. Confirm the details of your business

Done! Your page will now be a business account.

PLEASE NOTE: Be cautious when choosing an account to make a business account - you can only authorise ONE page on Facebook to be an Instagram business account. This means if you manage more than one Instagram account, only one will be able to be a business account.

Once you've made the change, your page will change slightly. There will be a call-to-action Contact button under your general stats, and you'll be able to explore analytics in the top right-hand corner or on individual posts.

Get snapping!


Nextdoor: Connect with your neighbours

Originally tested in the US, new social media network Nextdoor, aimed at encouraging social interaction between your neighbours, is launching in the UK.


Nextdoor
enables you to interact with your neighbours via a mobile app. Neighbours can post about crime alerts, items for sale, required services (babysitter, plumber, etc), parking or building notifications, events, and much more.

Lost your pet? Found a child's toy? Maybe there's an issue with litter on your street? You can discuss this directly with your neighbours on Nextdoor.

Neighbours must verify their address via postcard or phone number, and once verified (and there are more than 10 members in one neighbourhood), the fun begins. The app has proved a great success in the US and has been tested in 500 neighbourhoods in the UK. It is thought that the timely launch of this app will help to rebuild local communities as a result of the Brexit vote.

We have social networks for close friends and family, for places we want to visit, for following celebrities, and for contacting businesses. Why not create a social network for our neighbours? Nextdoor is the ultimate community noticeboard.

The app is new to the UK so you might find that your neighbourhood doesn't have enough members to get started. So tell your family and neighbours that you (might) already talk to about the app to get the ball rolling.

More here: https://nextdoor.com/

We've signed up and below is an example of our neighbourhood.

nextdoor social network


Twitter to relax 140-character limit

Good news coming from Twitter's towers today.

Have you ever sent a tweet with an image, video or GIF and been frustrated that it takes up a chunk of your 140 character limit?

It seems like a lot of users are fed up of the restriction as Twitter announced that it will no longer count photos, videos, GIFs and links from its 140 character limit. The change will give users greater freedom to compose longer messages.

Whilst the news was announced way back in April 2016, the feature is coming into effect very soon, we're told.

Here's what will no longer eat up your character limit:

  • @names when replying to a tweet
  • Media attachments - photos, GIFs, videos, polls, quote tweets

Another major change is that Twitter will show your "@name" tweets to all followers. Currently, when beginning a tweet with an @name, only the person mentioned will see the tweet in their stream. The workaround for this was for users to use ".@name", which would show the tweet to all followers. Don't worry, if the person mentioned replies, this won't show up on your timeline.

Twitter is staying tight-lipped on the official launch date of these updates, but our guess is that it's sooner rather than later. Watch out for the changes over the next two weeks or so.

 

UPDATE: The changes are live! They came into effect on the evening of Monday 20th September 2016. Happy longer tweeting.


10 Social Media Sins

Resident web development manager, Adam Leone (and self confessed social media grump) is having a bit of a moan and has come up with ten social media sins. These are just some of the things we experience on a daily basis on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

1. Referring to loved ones as "This one" or "These people"

Posting a picture of your friend or loved one, with a description that reads along the lines of "Found this one at the pub".

Ah, yes - only the true 10 or so friends will get what you're talking about. Good job you were so cryptic about your relationship with "this one".

 

2. Motivational posters, quotes and memes

An image of a sunset, someone walking down an empty road or someone looking longingly into the distance with a quote or caption by someone that we've never heard of.

We all have that one friend on Facebook who feels the need to preach through the use of memes or posters about how we can best live our lives.

 

3. Detailing your child's every move

It's become a trend now to upload images of ultrasound scans, followed by an image of the little one fresh out of the womb.

Here's something to consider before you next post a picture of your little one. No one cares about your child as much as you do.

 

4. Adding the word "Life" to hashtags

Uploading pictures of yourself on a beach, on a boat or somewhere else, accompanied with hashtags ending in "life". #YaughtLife #BeachLife #AnnoyedLife.

We get it, your existence on this earth is perfect because you've nestled yourself into whatever niche or fad that best suits your #QuirkyLife.

 

5. Uploading too many holiday photos

This is a fairly obvious one. Twenty photos is enough - not a 100.

Why is this annoying? Facebook is a place to pick and choose what you want people to see, not every little thing that goes on during your trip away - nobody is really that interested in you.  Also, holiday photos just advertise the fact that your house is empty.

 

6. Duck feet

When someones feet are pointing inward in a photo.

This is meant to make the person look cute or slimmer by increasing the size of the thigh gap. Just stand properly please.

 

7. Over hashtagging

Using hashtags too much.

#When #You #Use #Too #Many #Hashtags #It #Just #Becomes #Noise #And #Looks #Like #Youre #Shouting!

 

8. The whinger

People complaining about their lives in a status - feeling tired of this.

People complaining about how they've only had three hours sleep or another arduous day at the office. These people actually serve a purpose by keeping things real on social media, however it's still a blatant cry for attention and shows a lack of perspective.

At least you have access to a phone or computer to upload your moans to the world. Some people in the world don't even have access to running water.

 

9. Voicing your political opinion

People taking a "higher ground" with their views during referendums or other times of political strife.

Proceed with caution. Know what you're talking about fully before doing this, or even better still, get a job in politics and make a real difference.

 

10. Speaking in the third person

Adam Leone is actually guilty of #thisone #ThirdPersonLife #SocialMediaGrumbles #SocialMediaSin #Facebook #Twitter #Instagram


A kicker of a social media manager slip-up

Every social media manager's worst nightmare is posting something on the wrong social channel.

With the click of a (wrong) button, a social media manager can unleash any number of posts, tweets, photos or videos to the wrong account for thousands to see. For an inexperienced manager, this is an easy mistake to make. For those of us more experienced, this is only a distant nightmare that we (touch wood) hope will never happen.

Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened to the social media manager in charge of Arsenal's Mesut Ozil and Man City's Ilkay Gundagon's social media channels. A post that was clearly meant to be posted on Gundagon's Twitter page was accidentally posted on rival team player Ozil's page. The link between the two is that both players are German-Turks, which makes it even more likely that this mishap was the working of the same social media manager.

The interesting part of this story is the reaction from fans. Many were disappointed at the realisation that Ozil wasn't personally tweeting himself. Fans felt betrayed and annoyed that the persona they'd come to know and love was actually a random person at the end of a computer. The upside to this is that the social media manager must have been doing a good job to make fans think it was the man himself.

So, what can we learn from this all-mightly slip up? Firstly, take social media with a pinch of salt. It's highly likely that your favourite celebrity is paying for a professional to run their accounts for them. Secondly, remember that for many, social media is all business. Whilst the average Joe might use social media for its primary purpose - communication - celebrities, footballers, brands, bloggers, etc use social media for business purposes, and it can be very lucrative. Last but not least, if you do want someone to run your social media accounts, choose someone with experience and a good track record. I'm sure we know someone...


An unmatched social experience - How the Wimbledon Tennis Championships uses social media

Capturing the attention of over 8.5 million people in 2015 on social media alone (up by 3 million in 2014), there's no doubt social media has a huge part to play when it comes to The Wimbledon Tennis Championships.

To date, Wimbledon has more Facebook, Twitter and Instagram followers than The Australian, French and US Open.

We're lucky enough to be just down the road from the action, and we've whittled down the tactics the All English Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) uses on social media.

 

Which social media channels is Wimbledon on?

 

  1. Facebook (incl. Japanese) - www.facebook.com/wimbledon
  2. Twitter - www.twitter.com/wimbledon
  3. Instagram - www.instagram.com/wimbledon
  4. Google+ - plus.google.com/+wimbledon
  5. YouTube - www.youtube.com/c/wimbledon
  6. Periscope - www.periscope.tv/wimbledon
  7. Vine - vine.co/u/911632124128407552
  8. Snapchat (mobile only - username Wimbledon)
  9. Pinterest - www.pinterest.com/wimbledon
  10. Weibo (China)
  11. WeChat (China)
  12. Line (Japan)

 

How has Wimbledon used these social media channels?

 

Twitter

  • Bespoke hashtag emojis for #Wimbledon, #TheQueue, #TheHill, #TheWorld
  • Live tweeting exclusive videos and behind-the-scenes photos
  • Using Twitter's live video feature, Periscope, to stream live footage in and around the grounds
  • Live play statistics

 

Facebook

  • Original content, video and images
  • Linking closely to sponsor's Facebook pages with collaborative non-salesy videos
  • Sharing live behind-the-scenes videos
  • Building up to the event with #WimbledonAwaits and #Wimblewatch

 

Instagram

  • Exclusive content, on-court and behind-the-scenes
  • Takeovers from celebrities and Wimbledon-related staff

 

Snapchat

  • Live stories (which are only available to view for 24 hours)
  • Personalised Snapchat geo-targeted filters

 

YouTube

  • Live @ Wimbledon
  • 360-degree drone footage

 

Pinterest

  • Wimbledon Party board
  • Wimbledon facts

Most importantly, Wimbledon makes sure to share original, individual content on all platforms. They stay on-brand over all platforms, keeping continuity of fonts, colours, and all other branding to create a seamless experience.

 

What's so special about Wimbledon tennis compared to other tournaments?

 

    • Media content is king - 34% of all Wimbledon's Twitter posts include either a video or picture, compared to the French Open (25%), US Open (15%) and Australian Open (14%)

 

    • Branding - You can't quite beat the history of Wimbledon. The gravitas, the royal and celebrity attendees, the dress code, and even down to the strawberries & cream and Pimm's! They stay true to their strong brand values and call on their archive footage to create interesting, shareable stories

 

    • Behind the scenes - Fans aren't just given the facts and scores on social media, they're given behind the scenes access. In 2014, Roger Federer gave a tour of the grounds via Periscope (Twitter's live video feature). And who can forget the real-time video of David Beckham catching a tennis ball? The Beckham catch video gained over 10 million views, by the way.

 

What’s in store for Wimbledon 2016?

 

The Championships are launching an Apple TV app, where smartphone app users can post their own shareable "Wimbledon Story" (think Snapchat stories) by uploading photos during the tournament, whether at home or in attendance.

Something that's been up the AELTC's sleeve since last year, a powerful computer called Watson will be making an appearance at Wimbledon 2016. To help AELTC keep an eye on all things Wimbledon on social media, Watson analyses vast amounts of text and creates meaning from it. Watson can instantly learn what the hottest topics are and can even respond with relevant articles, posts, tweets, stats and images. The team has already trained Watson to memorise every match statistic since the beginning of Wimbledon - impressive!

 

How will WTC use social media in the future?

 

They’re pretty tight-lipped about this, but we have some predictions. The obvious choice would be to stream matches live on social media channels. This would mean tennis fans worldwide could watch a whole match live via Twitter or Facebook Live, pretty incredible, huh?

We know for sure that Wimbledon has been trying to tap into a younger audience for a while now. Whilst the AELTC already use Snapchat, which is used by a majority of 13-24-year-olds, the AELTC doesn’t seem content with the reaction to date. We imagine they'll up their video production game by creating engaging, shareable content that appeals to a younger audience. Video is the way forward.