social media

Paper Plane Crash – Social Media Tip : Research your hashtags

Here’s a quick tip if you’re setting up a social media campaign that relies on a hashtag:

“Do Your Research”

A PR company in Australia have launched a campaign for a Japanese restaurant in Bondi called “Paper Planes” encouraging users to repost a flyer on Instagram and tag with the hashtag #paperplanes.

Innocent enough you would think.

However the hashtag #paperplanes is already in use to tag images on Instagram with an altogether different meaning – most commonly relating to the practise of smoking marijuana.

The two screenshots here show the original post from the company (top) and some images that a search for #paperplanes reveals.

Now this could be a really clever way to get publicity for the client, or potentially a case of creating a hashtag without researching its existing uses.

Either way it’s a good reminder to always do your research before embarking on a social media campaign.

It really is a “hash” tag.

Save Our Spoons social media campaign from wahaca Mexican restaurants in London

wahaca – the Mexican Market Eating chain in the UK – have created a fun social media campaign based around their specially designed spoons.

Over the years it seems that customers have taken quite a liking to wahaca’s spoons with no less than 25,000 walking out the door during 5 years of trading.

To encourage a safe return home for their lost cutlery (and to generate some clever social media buzz) wahaca created the “save our spoons” campaign. Customers who have previously “borrowed” a spoon are encouraged to hand them in to their waiter next time they dine and in return for their new found honesty will be rewarded with the cheapest dish from their order for free.

Additionally, to help combat future cutlery crime, wahaca are encouraging customers who witness their friends trying to escape with a spoon to dob them in by posting a photo of their crime to their Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/wahaca) or Twitter using the hashtag #spoonamnesty. The most creative photo wins a meal for 2 each week.

You can find out more about the campaign and watch as photos are posted on wahaca’s Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/wahaca

Why Facebook will fail within 5 years

Earlier in the year I read a very interesting article by Ross Dawson giving his thoughts on scenarios for the downfall of Facebook.

He stated that in 5 years time “the most likely outcome is that Facebook will still dominate” but gave 4 key reasons how, should that not be the case, Facebook could potentially fail, they were:

  1. issues relating to privacy and overcommercialisation
  2. an alternative becomes more popular (eg: Google+ or Socl)
  3. an alternative non-commercial social network becomes more popular (eg: http://diasporaproject.org/)
  4. a shift towards a mobile targeted social network

I wanted to add three more ways in which I see Facebook could potentially fall off the top spot:

a) Over-controlling the newsfeed

The primary way that users browse Facebook content – the newsfeed – has changed a lot over the years, and we’re now in a phase where Facebook have a lot more control over it than many people realise. Originally it was a chronological list of ‘events’ – ie: who did what, who said that, who liked something, etc. Basically a window into the lives of your friends, exactly what made Facebook popular in the first place. Today by default your newsfeed is set to show “Top Stories” which Facebook say are “the most interesting stories at the top of your news feed”. But how “most interesting” is determined is largely out of your control.

Some of the “most interesting stories” are in fact sponsored posts from companies that your friends like which raises the question of relevance. For example, as a vegetarian do you really want to see posts from McDonald’s in your news feed just because someone you went to school with ‘likes’ them on Facebook. Or when a friend ‘likes’ a political activist group that you don’t agree with do you really want to know about their rally in the local park this weekend?

We all joined Facebook because we love seeing what everyone else is up to. If that’s taken  away from us and Facebook start to make the call on what they think we want to see then that could start to drive people away.

b) Visual social networks – people love pictures

So I know Facebook own Instagram, but what’s been interesting is watching the growth of Instagram not just as a post-processing photo filter app but as a social network in its own right. The cameras on smartphones are so good these days that nobody really buys compact cameras anymore and having a place to quickly share snaps from your phone with your social network is going to become more and more important.

Facebook launched Instagram style photo filters in the new Facebook app recently but is this enough to stop a migration from Facebook to Instagram and other similar niche photo sharing networks? Uploading a photo to Facebook on your mobile is still a relatively clunky experience, it’s simple on Instagram.

Photo sharing is one of the most popular aspects of social media, so a network that provides a simple & easy to use way of doing this could well pull market share away from Facebook.

 c) Overly complex layouts

Take a look at your Facebook news feed page. There’s a lot going on. Links down the left, your apps, the news feed itself, birthdays & events, ads down the right, the live ticker, chat application, search, and a lot more.

What killed MySpace? Ok a few things, but it has a reputation for becoming way too cluttered and hard to use before everyone jumped ship.

Could Facebook’s need for driving revenue since the IPO mean the introduction of sponsored custom layouts, more integrated advertising such as over-the-page (OTP) rich-media ads or banners in the news feed? And if so, would updates like this eventually drive people away to simpler niche social networks to get away from all the noise?

Whatever happens, I don’t think you can say with any certainty whether Facebook will still be number one in 5 years time. However this is no time for them to rest on their laurels as like we all know things can (and do) change very quickly in the Digital space…

Ross Dawson’s original article can be seen here: http://rossdawsonblog.com/weblog/archives/2012/07/scenarios-for-the-downfall-of-facebook-and-a-new-landscape-for-social-networks.html

 

Instagram style photo filters in the new Facebook app

If you’ve downloaded the new Facebook app there’s a new feature that’s easy to overlook but well worth a try – photo filters. Instagram users will be used to post-processing photos on their smartphones and parent company Facebook have added the same functionality to their own iOS app.

To try it, upload a photo to the app in the same way you normally would but then note the new icons that run across the bottom. Try tapping the magic wand icon (circled below):

The magic wand brings up an Instagram style selection of filter options. Tapping on each of the preview squares updates the main image.

The filters include various highlights, hues, contrasts and a grayscale option.

There is no ‘blur’ feature in this version though so fortunately there won’t be the same influx of tilt-shift or ‘miniaturised’ photos across Facebook that Instagram introduced to us (for the meantime at least).

 

The app update also features a well executed crop tool allowing you to drag the a shape around your photo and crop out any unwanted parts of the image.

The image can also be rotated 90 degrees at a time by tapping the round arrow at the bottom of the screen.

 

‘Hey someone is making up shocking posts…’ Twitter spam

If you receive a Direct Message on Twitter saying “hey someone is making up shocking posts that are about you…” (or similar) it’s SPAM and you shouldn’t click on the link.

It looks like this, I’ve received 2 instances from seperate accounts in the last 12 hours:

On both occasions the message was sent as a Direct Message not a @mention and the link is a bit.ly style link that doesn’t reveal its source until clicked.

The best course of action, as is always the case if you’re not sure, is to DELETE the DM and politely inform the holder of the account that they should update their password.

UPDATE: It appears once the account has been compromised the bot sends out tweets from it like this:

Best course of action in this case is simply to ignore that Tweet.

Find available screen names and how to update your twitter username

Sometimes you just need to change your online identity. Maybe you’ve recently changed your real name, or you’re being hounded by spam, or perhaps you’re just after fresh start. Whatever the reason, here are 3 tips for how to find that perfect new handle:

1) Twitter > Edit your account

Twitter allows you to check availability of a username in your account settings on its own website.

Click to your profile page, click the “Edit your profile” button then the “Account” link from the left and you’ll see the “Username” box above. Here you can type in new usernames and Twitter will instantly tell you if it’s available.

2) Name generator sites

Stuck for what to call yourself though? No problem – name generator sites can help. SpinXO (pictured left) is one of the best that I’ve found as it allows you to type in your interests, keywords and “must have” words and then generates options based on that.

You can then click on the name(s) that interest you and check their availability.

3) Name checker websites

But what happens if you’re after the same username that you can use across multiple sites? It can be cumbersome to go to each social media site individually and check using their own tools.

A better way is to use a site like namechk.com or checkusernames.com which let you type in your username and search availability across every social media site you can think of in one go.

Good luck with updating your identity online, let us know in the comments if you have any tips of your own.

How to remove Spotify from Facebook ticker and newsfeed

Spotify is now in Australia which is great. But you may have noticed an increase in the number of your Facebook friends who are now automatically posting their song choices as a result.

Automatic posting is a setting that can be turned off in Spotify, but instead of asking your friends to do that here’s a quick way to hide these posts from your own ticker and newsfeed.

Here’s what to do, the steps are shown in the screenshot above:

  1. hover over the most recent update and let the larger Spotify panel appear
  2. in that panel click on the X in the top right corner to reveal a menu
  3. select “Hide all by Spotify”

Facebook Marketing Conference – Reach Generator, Timeline for Pages and Logout Experience

Facebook have announced updates to Pages and advertising tools aimed at helping Marketers deliver better campaign results.

Logout Experience

Demonstrated at the recent Facebook Marketing Conference the new “logout experience” will enable marketers to target the page that loads once a user has logged out. This could end up being a pretty powerful place to advertise as it’s a very high-trafficked part of the site and there’s little else currently on that screen to distract from your message.

Reach Generator

We don’t have a great deal of information on this new tool yet but Facebook stated that it helped Ben & Jerry’s reach 98% of their fans and generate a 3:1 ROI. When more information comes we’ll post it here.

Updates to Pages

You’ve probably already seen Timeline – the new way Facebook displays your personal profile page with its large cover photo and chronologically ordered news feed – well the same principle is now being rolled out to Pages with the main updates as follows:

Large cover photo:
you can upload a new large graphic to the top of your screen such as your corporate logo, brand image or photo, or combine it with the smaller square profile pic and get a bit creative with all that new space.

Priority posts:
if you have a post that you want to highlight you can now do one of two things:
a) click the ‘star’ icon to increase the width of the post, or
b) click the ‘pencil’ icon to permanently pin the post to the top of your page – great for highlighting promotions or specials

The previously used Facebook tabs (those menu options down the left of the screen) will disappear however. This could cause some annoyance to marketers who’ve spent time building up a collection of custom apps for competitions, Fangates or to highlight specific areas of their business. However up to 12 promo spots can be customized on the new Page layout which would probably be the most likely position to move this content to.

Ready to upgrade?
If that all sounds good and you’re ready to give it a try you must login as an admin and click “upgrade” in your admin panel. If you’re not ready or dont like the changes then you’ve got until March 30th to change your mind before Facebook migrates all remaining pages automatically.

Need help?
If you need assistance with migrating your company Page across to the new format or want to learn more about how the new advertising updates could help your business then please get in touch with us at Fly Digital.

Twitter adds real-time URL shortening to twitter.com

Regular users of twitter will be pleased to hear there is no need to paste a link into bit.ly, tinyurl or whatever your preferred URL shortener is anymore now that twitter have added similar functionality to their own website.

Here’s how it works. Typing a tweet via twitter.com is exactly the same, however when you add a URL twitter does a few new things. Firstly the URL is highlighted and a new “Link will appear shortened” message appears next to the tweet button. Then twitter recalculates the number of characters you have remaining after the tweet will be shortened on the fly. Here’s an example:

See how I’ve posted a long link into the tweet and added copy before and after it. The total length in characters of that tweet would have been 255 but Twitter has calculated how short the URL will be once shortened and allows you to write additional copy until the newly calculated character count reaches 0.

This is how the tweet looks when posted:

A useful addition to the website. Now I wonder when image uploads will be included so we can take twitpic.com out of our bookmarks…