Is social media targeting ads based on our conversations?

Have you ever mentioned a product in spoken conversation only to be advertised that exact product on social media hours later? We have.

There could be a number of reasons for this, but we’re going to discuss the two most plausible explanations: either algorithms are much more sophisticated than we think, or companies are listening to our conversations through our mobile microphones. So which is true?

We feed sensitive information to all sorts of hungry machines from the moment we wake up until the moment we fall asleep. In fact, some of us track what’s happening to us even whilst we sleep. Our devices and phones know where we are, the route we used to get there, who we’re likely to talk to, and can predict when we’ll be on the move again. And that’s readily available information – think about what we manually input; Do you take photos of your food? Do you track your steps and calorie intake? Do you monitor your heart rate and sleep pattern? Do you use internet banking? Technology knows a lot about us.

Over the past few years users have suspected social media platforms of listening in on conversations through mobile phone microphones. For good reason too, as with the emergence of virtual assistants (Siri, Alexa, Cortana, Google Home) we’re talking to technology more than ever. But here’s the conundrum: how much of this information is shared? I’m not the only one who has been targeted with extremely particular advertising on social media. So how do the likes of Facebook know what I’m talking about?

Theory one: our phones are listening to us

Do our phones listen to our conversations?

Google and Facebook categorically reject accusations that they are listening to our conversations to advertise to us. The thing is, this doesn’t mean they aren’t listening. As pointed out by Terra Ferma Media MD David, if you have an android phone, Google IS listening to and recording your conversations. It’s highly likely that Apple users have the same issue, but there’s no way to turn this off yet. So they’re listening, but both social giants insist they aren’t using this information for advertising. Facebook released a statement about this in 2016.

Google has a developer policy that all app developers must agree to that specifies apps must not breach privacy in this way (you can get lost in the policy here).

It’s also worth reminding you that Facebook owns WhatsApp and Instagram. Google owns YouTube and Google Maps. The point is these companies have a lot of information about us, whether we like it or not, and are using this information to their advantage.

Theory two: it's just a clever algorithm

Is it just a clever algorithm?

Every social media platform is governed by algorithms. Twitter is a good example of this with its trending topics; a live, fast-moving algorithm that displays the most popular topics based on a number of rules (how many people are talking about the topic, at what speed the topic arose, how many verified users are talking about it, if it’s a breaking news item, etc).

Facebook probably uses the most advanced algorithms in the game. The benefit Facebook has over other platforms is the plethora of your friends’ data. Facebook knows who your family is, who your partner is (and ex-partners), and who your closest friends are based on interactions. You and your close friends probably have a similar way of thinking, or are interested in similar topics, so Facebook will assume that anything your closest friends are talking about will be of interest to you. This also means whatever your friends are searching for, reading, liking, hiding, and following could also be of interest to you. This is how clever targeted advertising comes into play.

We also can’t ignore the fact that companies advertising on Facebook have a huge range of data available to them. They can target people living in certain locations of particular genders and ages, people who attend certain schools or workplaces, commuters, people with particular interests, and so much more. Combined, these two methods of data gathering is probably the outcome of the adverts you’re seeing. No hocus pocus.

Our advice? Keep talking.

Finally, to cover all bases, we need to mention cookies and remarketing. A cookie (apart from being delicious) is a small code left on every web page you visit, telling the website owners which pages you’ve clicked on. Take Amazon: you’ve probably browsed something on the Amazon website only to see that product advertised to you on Facebook too. This is because Amazon remembers what you’ve looked at (via a cookie) and uses their advertising space on Facebook to show this product to you again (remarketing). Even if you searched for something months ago, if Amazon wants to sell it to you, it will advertise that product to you.

So where does this leave us? Facebook and Google both deny using the microphones on our phones to listen in to our conversations for advertising purposes. Can we believe them? On the algorithm side of the coin, there are three things at play:

  1. Sophisticated algorithms taking data from your extended friendship groups
  2. Companies having excessive amounts of advertising data to target specific audiences
  3. Social platforms storing information about your online habits

These factors combined make a convincing case that could make you think you’re being listened to. It really is that clever.

Ultimately we don’t have the magic answer, and of course if large companies were indeed using our conversations to advertise to us, they wouldn’t exactly shout it from the rooftops.

Our advice? Keep talking. While there’s no evidence of any wrong doing, if you are being targeted with relevant ads, then what’s the harm? If you’re that worried why not start talking about the lottery and see what happens. You never know…

 

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Real news about fake followers

Director David Fernando sounds off about fake followers on Twitter (in other words, cheats). He writes:

News this week claims that up to 50% of Donald Trump’s Twitter followers are probably fake. That’s genuine ‘fake news’ I guess. But how do we know?

When Trump announced his candidacy for President, his Twitter account had just over 8 million followers. Today that number has swelled to 31 million. Perhaps not surprising for POTUS but according to a wide variety of sources including  The Metro, Newsweek and others – 14,776,939 of these are not real people, they are most likely to be automated “bots” – paid for by the account owner.

Donald Trump fake followers

Why? Simple. Vanity and power. A high number of fake followers can artificially boost the perceived popularity of social media accounts thus positioning the owners as influencers. You don’t have to look far to find other examples of this dubious practice, in even your local neighbourhood (and, yes, we all know who you are in Wimbledon).

Fake followers can be bought online for around $90 per 10,000. True, not all fake followers are bought, and every account will probably have a small number. But an account that has a significant number of them has probably acquired them illegitimately in an attempt to dupe people.

Accounts that have (seemingly) popular social media accounts can help win business and influence people. They can also inflate the social media assets of their company and therefore apparent value (although any decent due diligence would quickly uncover the truth).

And how do you find out the truth? Well, there are many ways. You can even try it yourself for any Twitter username here: Twitter Audit or here: Fakers.

It’s not a fake fact that when it comes to social media, sadly many businesses are still convinced that a large number of followers is more important than good levels of engagement.  But, as a sensible business knows, the real value is not the number of followers you have but the levels of engagement you achieve via your social media activities.

“Why does any of this matter?”, I hear you ask. Well, in the grand scheme of things when famine is about to claim millions of lives in Yemen, the honest answer is, “It doesn’t”.

However, in a world where the social media giants are under increasing pressure to root out deception in their channels, it still resonates and should be addressed.


Will anyone buy the revived Nokia 3310?

The world went crazy when the Nokia 3310 revival was announced, but will anyone actually buy it? We asked Sophie, our 25-year-old Account Executive, what she thinks.

In a questionable move to promote their latest smartphone, Nokia announced the revival of everyone’s favourite first mobile: the Nokia 3310. The limelight was instantly on the 3310, leaving any thoughts of their shiny new release in the dust. Does anyone even know what their new phone is called, or the features of it? Nope, not me.

So let’s talk 3310. Originally released in 2000, the phone was a huge hit with mobile users. At the time it was revolutionary – not only could you make calls and send texts remotely, but you could choose from multiple ringtones (and even create your own), play games and… Did I mention make calls and send texts remotely? Admittedly it’s hard to remember what the phone COULD do as opposed to now what it CAN’T do.

"A modern classic reimagined" - Nokia

So why have we come full circle? Looking back, the original 3310 has features I’m envious of even 17 years later.

It was indestructible. You could throw it onto concrete ground and it wouldn’t even crack your beloved personalised cover.

The battery lasted forever (OK, a week). Apart from when taking the phone out of its packaging for the first time, does anyone remember charging their 3310? The battery went on and on and on and on and…

Snake. Before Angry Birds and Candy Crush, there was Snake. The real MVP of the mobile gaming world, it still remains a sought-after classic.

However, there’s a huge, massive, BUT to this story. It’s been 17 years. Technology has moved on. We have moved on. We use phones differently now.

A lot has changed in seventeen years.

The new Nokia 3310 has SO MANY missing features from both modern day smartphones and the classic 3310, it’s almost embarrassing. Here are a few crucial missing features:

There is no internet. Well, with due respect, apparently there is a basic browser that can access basic versions of Facebook and Twitter. I’m not convinced.

There is no Wi-Fi. I’m not sure why you’d even bother to access the limited internet on Wi-Fi, but hey, you don’t have a choice either way.

The camera is rubbish. At 2MP, it’s a long way away from today’s phone cameras. Good luck uploading your rubbish photos to Facebook from your phone.

Snake isn’t Snake. This one I’m almost offended by. One of the main draws of the revived 3310 is that users can play Snake again, but this Snake is completely different. This one moves diagonally, in colour (reminiscent of Snake II), and it just looks wrong. Bad move Nokia.

No WhatsApp. Yep, that’s right. The new Nokia 3310 doesn’t support WhatsApp, the world’s most used messaging service.

The old-style keyboard. You’ll probably never forget how to text on a 3310 and just how fast you were at doing so. But part of the reason we were so good at texting on a 3310 was because everyone used text talk, back in the days when we were charged per character. With today’s intelligent spellcheckers and predictive texting, I think users will get fed up of the old school keyboard fairly quickly.

The battery life isn’t THAT great. Granted, any phone that lasts a whole day with vigorous use is music to my ears, but the classic 3310’s battery could last up to a week. The new 3310 battery is said to last anywhere from 22 hours up to one month (albeit on standby mode – so basically not using your phone at all). Useful.

"Play the legendary Snake" - you're not fooling me Nokia.

So who’s actually going to buy this phone? Here’s my comprehensive list:

  • Elderly people
  • Festival goers
  • Phone detoxers
  • People who only want to call and text
  • Die-hard Nokia fans

…that’s it. No one else will buy, and more importantly, use this phone. At only £42, I suspect people might buy the revival just for laughs. It’s been called a “dumb phone” for a reason.

A quick “raise your hand” in our office revealed that no one will be swapping their smartphone for a 3310. Sorry Nokia, but I think you’ve gone too far on this nostalgia trip. And give us the original Snake back.

 

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5 things beginner Social Media Managers should know

With 2.3 billion people using social media, it's no surprise that it has become a key pillar of companies' business strategies.

Major brands have dedicated teams looking after their social channels, but what if you don’t have the capacity for a social media team? If you’re about to embark on managing social media accounts, we think you’ll like these tips.

1. Use a dedicated Facebook account.

You’ll thank us for this one. To become an admin of a Facebook page you must link the page to a personal account. This means, day and night, you will receive notifications from business pages linked to your private account. You’ll be bombarded with likes, comments, and analytics from business pages and your personal notifications will become few and far between. So, create a new Facebook account to keep your personal and work accounts separate. If you need to keep on top of things you can still receive notifications, but if you don’t want to receive them out of working hours, you don’t have to. Bliss.

2. Audit, audit, audit.

It’s difficult to measure ROI with social media, but something you can track is the number of followers, reach, likes, comments and shares. Keeping on top of progress is essential for figuring out what sort of campaigns your audience responds to. Audit your channels once a month (always on the same date) to keep track of progress (or lack of). Improvements can always be made, but you need to know what’s working – and not working – beforehand.

A well thought out content plan will keep you and your client on track.

3. Create a content plan.

If you want to ‘do’ social media well, you need to plan. Posting ad-hoc day-by-day isn’t good enough when it comes to successful accounts. Yes, you need to stay current and keep an eye on the day’s news, but preparing a monthly plan is imperative. Outline key social dates as well as key dates for your business (product launches, offers, events). Your plan doesn’t need to be fancy – we use a Google Sheet – but make sure it’s clear, you include all social channels, and you have a way to share this information with other employees or clients. Hootsuite has a free social media plan you can download here.

4. Keep up with the Joneses.

Who are your competitors? What are they doing on social media? What’s the latest feature on Facebook advertising? What are the popular hashtags on Instagram? Don’t get left behind – social platforms release updates and new features all the time, and if you’re not in the know, you’re already lagging. We like to keep up with Mari Smith for Facebook updates, she really knows her stuff.

5. Have clear goals.

This might sound obvious, but it’s easy to get side tracked. Are you using social media to increase footfall in-store? To raise brand awareness online? To encourage conversation and interaction? To sell something? Whatever your goal is, stick to it. There’s not much point in advertising online if customers aren’t coming in-store – why not create an online offer that’s redeemable in-store only? Always keep your main objectives in mind.


What's happening with social media in 2017?

The social media world moves fast.

While it’s pretty much impossible to predict what will happen to social media this year, here are a number of trends you should keep a close eye on in 2017.

 

1. Paid content continues to soar

It’s extremely difficult for businesses to reach their audience with organic content. The answer to this problem is paid content (adverts), which is fast becoming a dog-eat-dog world as competition rises. Brands are paying more than ever to be seen online. Social media ad spend is estimated to surpass $41 billion in 2017.

2. Social commerce shakes up online purchasing

Customers want products, and they want them now. With 75% of consumers making a purchase because they saw it on social media, it’s no mystery why brands are bending backwards to sell on social media. Instagram’s instant purchase feature (a button under an image) is set to soar, and businesses are creating Instagram-specific pages where all items featured in a photo are listed. Brands are tapping into their follower’s emotions for purchases – 28% of consumers said a brand’s social presence was the biggest reason to try new products or services.

3. Customer service becomes a priority

34.5% of people choose to contact brands through social media for customer care, beating website/live-chat, email and phone methods (see below). Complaining on social media is public – everyone can see complaints – which forces brands to keep customers happy and up their reputation. The positive of this is that if your social media management is good, customers will also see you’re great at responding to issues. If it’s bad, well… You know the drill.

 smt

4. Millennials are moving away from Facebook

While Facebook still remains extremely popular, it is actually becoming more popular with non-millennials. 41% of millennials use Facebook every day, but it is their least popular social media platform, preferring YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. For younger millennials, disappearing content platforms are the bee’s knees. The allure of disappearing content is too tempting to ignore, with Snapchat reigning and Instagram following suit with Stories. Make sure you know where your target audience are hanging out online.

5. Live video

We can’t mention social media and 2017 without talking about video. In this case, live videos will dominate in 2017. Nothing is more in-the-moment than live video, and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram already offer brands the opportunity to create live videos. News channel CNN used a Facebook Live video during the inauguration of President Donald Trump, which gained over 4 million viewers.

 

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Shhh! The walls have ears.

2017 is shaping up to be the year of the digital assistant.

Devices featuring voice recognition digital assistants took CES by storm this year. Intelligent, voice activated digital assistants abound. Amazon has Alexa, Microsoft has Cortana, Apple has Siri and Google has… well, Google.

Amazon’s Alexa stole the show as it seems to have gained first mover advantage by not only featuring successfully in the popular Amazon Echo device, but also being the voice recognition system of choice for other companies producing everything from media streaming to fridges.

I think people are just waking up to the possibilities for – and dangers of – this technology.

We were amused by the story of a 6 year old girl using Alexa in her parent’s Amazon Echo to order herself a dolls house. When the news was reported on local TV in San Diego, the words spoken by the newscaster triggered other Amazon Echoes within earshot of tuned-in TVs to perk up and attempt to do the same. Ooops.

The trouble is – that’s how easy it can be to voice activate these digital assistants. They hear their trigger phrase (or think they hear it) and off they go. I’ve often seen my Google phone activate when it thinks it hears me talking about the Google Assistant (normally using the words, “OK Google” as part of a wider conversation on the topic).

"People are just waking up to the possibilities for – and dangers of – this technology."

Should we be concerned about this?

Maybe. You may or may not know that Google already records and retains all your Google activity. This includes keeping an audio transcript of everything you say whenever you activate Google’s digital assistant. Alexa does the same thing. You can review and delete these messages, but they are there.

You can see your Google audio transcripts by visiting https://myactivity.google.com and filtering the content to “Voice & Audio”.

When we tried this, we found that many snippets of conversations had been captured and could be replayed at the touch of a button. This included personal or work related conversations that could have included sensitive material. Try it yourself, it’s a little unnerving.

We’re not discussing anything nefarious here – but why does this make me uneasy? The thing is, these tech firms say they need to capture and retain this content to help fine tune the accuracy of their digital assistants. Maybe…but still.

On that note, whilst Alexa is the star of this year’s CES event, newly arriving Google Home (not yet available in the UK) may yet win the race. The search giant may be a late comer to the personal assistant device party but it’s own Google Assistant should, on paper, have access to a wider range of information than Amazon.

If only it had a more personal name than “Google”. My bet is that it will sooner than we think.


Digital businesses boom in London

London is open.

Facebook, Google and Apple have announced major expansions in London, proving the capital is open to the world’s biggest brands and is the leading city for trade and investment.

Facebook announced they will be doubling their presence in the UK by opening new headquarters in London’s Fitzrovia. The new hub will open in 2017, creating 500 additional jobs including engineers, marketers, project managers and sales staff.

Google, who already has a London HQ, is moving 2,500 staff into brand new digs in King’s Cross. The new 371,000 sq ft building consists of 11 floors and even includes a 90m running track for employees to let off some steam. Rumour has it the tech giant has snapped up a number of nearby properties, suggesting further developments in the future.

Rumour has it Google has snapped up nearby properties for future developments.

Earlier in the year Apple revealed that they will be making Battersea Power Station their new headquarters, spending an eye-watering £9 billion on the project. Apple will be moving 1,400 staff from multiple sites around the capital into their new campus, expected to be open in 2021. Apple will occupy six floors (500,000 sq ft) of the Grade II listed former electricity generator.

London’s position as a global technology hub isn’t showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon.


Up your game with these 9 Instagram hacks

It's tough in the world of Instagram.

With over 500 million active monthly users, it can be difficult to find and interact with your ideal audience. Are you struggling to create content that people like, or failing to gain engagement and followers? Get the most out of Instagram with these nine hacks.

1. Hashtags

Did you know the most popular Instagram hashtag is #love? A sure-fire way of getting more likes, followers and comments is by using hashtags. Use appropriate (repeat: appropriate) hashtags on your posts and you’ll find your engagement rates sky rocket. You’re allowed to use up to 30 tags per post, excluding comments, which means you can comment on your own photos with extra hashtags to reach more people. Do some research about what your competitors are tagging and, if you can think of a use for it, create your own hashtag.

2. Lighting

Instagram is all about photos, and good photos need great lighting. A well-lit, naturally bright photo will always get more likes than a dark photo. It’s a no-brainer. Try to take your photos in a light room (or outdoors), but stay away from harsh sunlight.

3. Angle

Know your flat lays to your FWIS’s. Products, food, clothes and more can benefit from flat lays. Essentially this is taking a birds-eye view photo of your subject laid flat on a surface. Check out @flatlays Instagram account for inspiration. FWIS (From Where I Stand) is another popular Instagram angle, which creates a sense of viewing life through someone else’s eyes. Just make sure you have cool shoes on. Check out @fromwhereistand.

4. Filter

Instagram’s own filters are sufficient for some, but not us. We love Ludwig, Juno and Crema, but sometimes it’s just not enough. Use your phone’s inbuilt photo editing software or our favourite app, VSCO, for more editing options. VSCO has hundreds of free filters to choose from and, better yet, you can upload a VSCO edited image to Instagram and continue to edit in-app. Your editing options are endless, just don’t go OTT. Once you’ve found your favourite filter style, try to stick to it.

Know your flat lays to your FWIS’s.

5. Captions

Keep them short, sweet, informative. Think of it this way: if you’re posting a photo of your dinner, we already know quite a lot about your meal. You might want to tell us what it is, if it was nice, or how to make it. Instagram users scroll through photos quickly, so you don’t have much time to grab their attention. Chuck in an emoji if you’re feeling fancy.

6. Timing

When’s the best time to post on Instagram? Good question. Start with your audience demographic. How old are they? If they’re of working age, posting during working hours should be avoided. Where do they live? Don’t forget about time differences. If your audience is in the UK and USA, posting in the evening (UK time) is a good place to start. When is your audience online? At school, whilst commuting, whilst the kids are at school, in the evening, etc. Think about your audience, combine these answers and you’ll find your perfect time to post on Instagram.

7. Links

Instagram does not like links. No one will copy a link and paste it into their phone’s browser, so don’t bother pasting a link into the caption of your photo. The only way around this is by changing the clickable link in your Instagram bio. If you’re releasing a new product, plugging a blog post, or referring to a recipe, pop the link in the URL section of your bio. Change this link before you post or immediately afterwards – IGers are fast movers.

8. Take advantage of Instagram’s apps

Instagram is not a one-app band. In fact there are three official sub-Instagram apps to enhance your Instagram experience. Boomerang adds fun to your stream by creating short, snappy videos that play on a loop (a bit like Vine, but shorter). Layout answers all your photo mosaic prayers, giving users a number of – you guessed it – layouts to input multiple photos. Hyperlapse creates stabilised time lapse videos that allows you to edit the speed of the video.

9. Engagement

Believe it or not, Instagram isn’t just about cool photos. There are real people behind Instagram accounts, and they like to talk. If someone comments on your post, don’t ignore it. Respond to get the conversation flowing. In the same breath, spend time commenting on other people’s posts, too. You’ll find that this helps to get you noticed as an active and engaging user, which is exactly the kind of user people want to follow. Ka-ching.

 

That’s it. Whilst nothing happens overnight, if you abide by these nine hacks, you’ll no doubt propel yourself (or your company) through the harsh digital world that is Instagram. Good luck!


Business cards, do we still need them?

A resounding Yes!

OK, we live in a digital networking age where everyone can be found online somewhere – a corporate website, a social media channel, a PR piece, Blog post, whatever. But no matter how digitally advanced we are your business card often remains a potential customer’s first contact with you and your company.

The old saying still stands: you never get a second chance to make a first impression. A business card connects with a new prospect on a personal level, encourages them to find out more about you and what you do. A well-designed, simple, impactful business card does this. Here are some of our most practical tips on creating a distinctive and professional card.

 

1. Logo and tagline

You may think it’s a ‘no-brainer’ but I can’t tell you how many business cards we’ve come across with either no logo at all or, possibly even worse, a really ill-conceived or blurry or smudgy logo.

And what, precisely, is the purpose of knowing your company is XYZ Solutions if you don’t let me know what solutions you could bring me? Think about a four- to five-word company descriptor, that is clear and precise, and hey presto, you’ve got your tagline.

Your logo and tagline are extensions of your brand, and your business card needs to convey your business to your audience in a powerful and memorable way. Your prospects should be able to identify your brand and instantly recognize it wherever they see it in the future – on your website, your portfolio, your email signature, or your premises.

 

2. Name and job title

Seems obvious, doesn’t it? It’s likely that business cards have the contact’s name on it. But if they do have a job title, then that doesn’t necessarily tell you what role they perform in the organisation.

Let’s start with the name. My name is Andrew, and it’s always Andrew. It’s never Andy. So many times I’ve been given a card from an Andrew / Katherine / Stephen and I’m immediately told that they go by the name Andy / Kate / Steve. If that’s the case, and you want to make a personal connection with the prospective new customer then put the name you want to be known by on the card. But let’s just stick to real names and avoid at all costs nicknames or buddy names.

When I see a job title on a card I want to know what that person actually does. Quite how much help is it (besides finding out how high they sit in the company’s organogram) to find out this person is a Managing Director or Partner or Director? By the time I’m back at the office I’m not sure what the person’s job was or why I should call them. So, Jane Jones, Partner, ABC Financial doesn’t tell me much. But Jane Jones, Corporate tax expert and Partner, ABC Financial does.

 

3. Contact Information

OK, we’ve come this far. You’ve met someone interesting. You’ve impressed them with your brand, and it’s clear to them what you do and how you can help them. As they are passed from hand to hand, business cards create a personal connection between you and your contact. Now you need them to get in touch following this meeting.

The contact information is the substance of the business card. You need to make it as easy as possible for people to contact you. But which of all your contact details should you include? The key here is that you want this person to contact YOU. You want to make it easy for them. So it would be counter-productive to send them through a labyrinth of gatekeepers and digital dead-ends. Let them have your direct contact details.

Email addresses such as info@ or office@ are generic and impersonal and frustrating, as are switchboard telephone numbers or voicemail hell.

Lots of business cards these days don’t include a physical address on their business cards. Leave this out if you’re struggling for space. But include it if your business model is local, or related to a geographical area. Often, prospective customers may specifically want to do business with a local firm.

Make sure the card doesn’t look cluttered – space is good! Don’t be tempted to overstuff it with detail as this will not have a positive impact.

A good business card is an extension of your brand, and needs to be memorable and impactful, appealing to all the senses.

4. Social media profiles

You should always include your social media profiles on your business card, as they have now become indispensable if you want to connect and engage with your target market. But you don’t have to use all of them. Your social media profile is important as, with a lot of your potential target audience, if you’re not on social media then you don’t have a public profile.

But don’t overwhelm your audience. Remember what we said above about being clear and easy, and that space is good? You don’t need to list all your social media accounts on your business card. Think strategically about your accounts and only list the few channels where contacts can get an overall impression of your business and the ones you’re most active in.

If your business has several social media accounts then a good tip is to ensure that all the handles on your multiple channels are the same, for example @abcfinancial You could then simply display on your card: social @abcfinancial People these days are knowledgeable enough to know to search the various channels using your handle.

 

5. Use the back of the card

Always use the back of the business card! This is free advertising space. You’ve managed to get your card in you contact’s hand and one of the first things they’ll do is flip it over. I always do, but maybe that’s because I’m a marketer.

This space is free space to highlight your branding or messaging. Whatever you do, use it wisely and make it memorable. You can use your logo and brand, photos, brand statements, a short company descriptor – anything memorable.

 

6. Production values

Without naming names, we recently designed a fabulous business card for one of our clients which ticked all the boxes above. When it came to printing the cards, some bright spark within the operation thought they would earn brownie points with the boss by sourcing a much cheaper print quote than we supplied. And the boss went with this cheaper quote. Although the business cards were beautifully and effectively designed, when printed they looked exactly what they were – cheap and nasty and, frankly, an embarrassment to the company.

You’ve come all this way, so don’t fall at the last hurdle. Once your design and content are spot on, push the boat out and produce quality cards that have the required, positive impact with your new contact. Engaging more than one sense at a time – in this case, touch and feel – improves recall, so people will be more likely to remember your business, in a positive way, if you have high production values.

Thicker cards feel more expensive and they make your business seem more professional. You should also consider having a good finish, something like a matt or gloss laminate. There are a wide range of finishes available, so speak to your printer (or a good agency) and do the right thing.

 

A parting word: A good business card is an extension of your brand, and needs to be memorable and impactful, appealing to all the senses. It should convey, clearly and concisely, the right information about who you are, what you do, and the easiest ways possible of contacting you.


Facebook launches Workplace

Workplace by Facebook is a new way to communicate with your colleagues.

When was the last time you communicated with your friends by email? Ages ago, we bet. Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, iMessage and FaceTime provide us with a simple way to talk and share images and videos with our friends and family. Workplace by Facebook combines all of these features but is designed for communicating with our colleagues. Instead of using Facebook before and after work, Facebook wants us to use the platform during working hours too.

Here’s how it works: Workplace by Facebook has the same look, feel and features as Facebook. Colleagues can create groups (e.g. “Advertising” or “A/W 2016 Ideas”), invite other colleagues and use the platform to brainstorm, share photos, arrange and hold meetings online, and much more. Think of it as a Facebook page just for your office.

Importantly, and quite rightly so, your personal Facebook and Workplace Facebook pages are completely separate. No more worrying that your latest drunken escapade will be on show to your bosses.

Workplace could replace all emails within your company.

Admittedly, similar services have been around for years. The difference is everyone is familiar with Facebook, making Workplace much easier to navigate and for newbies to hop on the bandwagon seamlessly. It involves very little training, meaning fewer costs for businesses.

We now have an excuse to spend all day on Facebook.

What about security? You’re probably hesitant to discuss business critical, highly sensitive information on a social network, right? The good news is that Facebook is serious about security. Companies control all of their data, meaning you can modify, delete or export your data at any time. You can read more about Workplace by Facebook’s security here.

We expect companies with a large workforce will benefit the most from Workplace. It seems like a great place to collectively brainstorm and communicate, which can be tricky and confusing when you have to factor in 50 members of a team via email.

If you’re still a bit confused about how Workplace by Facebook works, watch this video.