Archive for March, 2013

Embeddable Vines Make 6 Secs Last Longer

Not sure what your stance is on Vine. I personally love it. It’s like an animated GIF but easier! I like that I have 6 secs to show and/or communicate something. Nothing quite like being constrained to certain rules for creativity to flourish.

Mind you…I’m not sure my embeddable Vine below is all that creative, although it’s pretty clear what I’m trying to communicate. 🙂

Simple to do: you can embed Vine via the app itself, or go to a post’s page and get the link there.

You like Vine?
Any brands out there using Vine? Links in the comments please!

Brands Need Social Media Professionals – Not Gurus, Ninjas, Wizards & Mavens

Whether it’s brands like Celeb Boutique using inappropriate hashtags, or HMV leaving disgruntled soon-to-be ex-employees access to their social media platforms, it seems that some brands still have a lot to learn about social.

One of the latest examples was Luton Airport. Although quickly removed, a post was misguidedly published showing a photograph of a crashed plane on a runway, with the caption:

 Luton Airport Post


The crash that was pictured had unfortunately killed a six-year-old boy and was immediately the focus of negative comments from Fans of the Page.

Luton Airport apologised for the ‘wholly unacceptable and insensitive’ post and also added:

Luton Airport apology

We’re sure that the staff member didn’t mean to cause any offence but this incident highlights the importance of hiring experienced staff to manage your communities and/or having a permissions structure in place.

Timing can also be a factor that brands need to take into consideration. One example of misjudged timing would be from Qantas. They chose to launch a #QantasLuxury hashtag competition asking followers what their ‘dream luxury inflight experience’ would be. At any other time, this campaign would probably have worked very well. There were a pair of first class tickets were in the offing and competitions with great prizes are always a good way to increase your reach.

At that particular time though, Qantas was in the middle of an industrial relations dispute with their workers and many planes were grounded. The hashtag was of course flooded with angry and sarcastic tweets such as the following:

Qantas Luxury Competition


Anyone who’d taken a proper look at the sentiment around the business at that time should have realised that this was not the right time to launch a competition.

When hiring your next Community Manager ask yourself this question:

Community Management Experience



If the answer is no, but they seem like they have potential, then an authorisation process must be put in place before they publish any content to your Pages.


If they do have experience, then check how they are doing with their current communities:

Good Community Management





What might seem like a good idea at the time to an enthusiastic new hire, can often have unforeseen consequences. A workflow or social media tool that manages permissions will ensure someone is double-checking their posts before they go public.

Before publishing, someone needs to be making sure the content is appropriate and checking whether it could be misconstrued but they also need to question timing.

Social Media Publishing Checklist




These examples are just some of many which go to prove that if your brand is serious about social, you need to make sure the people you hire understand the opportunities and the pitfalls.

Hire staff that have the skills to keep it light and fun while recognising bad timing and bad ideas when they see them, and they will help keep your company off the ‘social media fails’ list.




Selecting and Sizing Photos: Essential Graphic Design for Social Media Managers

Images are vital to a strong social presence for any brand, making understanding basic graphic design essential for all social media managers. But, how do you get started? How do you source and select images for use on your social channels? How do you make sure the photos are perfectly tailored to fit each network’s specific audience?

Finding Photos for Social Media

In a perfect world, you’d use original photos from your brand’s internal design team. Not only will you have the rights to use the photos, but you can be assured these images are high-quality, unique, and on-message. However, with the fast-paced nature of social media, you can’t always get your hands on an image internally. What’s a social media manager to do?

Definitely avoid the temptation to grab any image you can find on the web—or you could be in hot water. Whoever took that photo and will most definitely take issue with a brand using said image without permission. Not to mention it’s poor etiquette.

The savvy social media manager knows better, and uses these resources to source images for use on social networks:

  1. Stock Photos: The most straightforward way to get images is to pay for them. iStockphoto is widely reliable, but you can find an excellent breakdown of different stock photo offerings online. The key here is making sure you choose photos that don’t look like stock photos—meaning highly-posed, cliché, or just bad.
  2. Creative Commons: Many photographers will let you use images if you attribute them as the source. Creative Commons is an excellent way to find photos you can use, even commercially, as long as you credit the photographer. Keep in mind, attributions can be lengthy, especially if a copyright notice is included. This makes it less than ideal for use on some social channels (namely Twitter, due to character count limits).
  3. Google Image Advanced Search: Searching for photos on the Internet? Use Google! (Ever heard of it?) Kidding aside, Google’s advanced image search is a great way to find photos that you are “free to use, share, or modify, even commercially.”

Google Advanced Image Search

Make sure you click through to see if the images that turn up require attribution. Occasionally, your search will turn up images that are public domain, which means you are free to use them without attribution!

Posting Photos to Social Media

Now that you’ve got your hands on a photo, you can just upload it and post it, right? Well…not quite.

Each social network has distinct optimal image size specifications, and of course, what is perfect for Facebook’s feed isn’t the right size for Twitter, Pinterest, or Google+. If your photo doesn’t fit those specifications, it might be cropped or automatically scaled to fit.

Hangry Kitty Screenshot

Take the screenshot above, two photos in the Facebook Newsfeed. The photo on the left is too large for Facebook’s feed. The text is cut off and fans would have to click on the photo to view the whole image, which is not an ideal experience. The image on the right is perfectly sized for Facebook, and the whole photo is visible. This makes for a clean newsfeed and provides a more pleasing experience for fans.

Social Media Image Sizes

It’s a basic technique that makes such a big difference. Crop and resize images yourself with any photo-editing tool, or this free online resizing tool.

We’ve provided a handy cheat-sheet detailing the optimal image sizes for each social network’s feed so you can custom-create images for each network:

403×403 pixels
843×403 pixels (Highlighted Image)

375×375 pixels

600 x 800* pixels
*The height of images on Pinterest is flexible, but if an image is too tall it can become almost impossible to see. This height/width ratio seems to be the most flattering when scaled down to thumbnail size, too!

497 x 373 pixels

Do you think your social media feeds could benefit from perfectly sized photos?

Is Your Brand Making One of these Social Media Mistakes?

Social Media is no longer a question of if brands should join its ranks, it’s now a question of how, when, where, and to what end? It should be a no brainer, right? Wrong. Brands, from those who are fresh to a network to veterans that were early adopters, should consider taking basic steps to enable fans to gain value and build a solid relationship that extends past the screen.

If you’re looking out for what could pose as a road block for your brand in social, or have come to a speed bump that you’re not quite sure you can clear, the tactics below may help. Think about these barriers next time you’re between a rock and a hard place, and re-evaluate your Social Strategy to work for your fans once again.

Social Media Mistake #1: Focus on Only One Social Media Network

Choosing the first Social Media Network to debut your brand’s presence is important, and should be picked based on where your target audience is most heavily engaged. However, budding brands shouldn’t necessarily stop there. For some brands, fans are concentrated on one platform, and if that’s the case it’s wise to stick to one alone, as long as research guided the selection of that specific network.

Otherwise it’s wise to choose a solid variety of networks to focus on. Keep messaging, imagery, and voice consistent while tailored to each platform’s target audience (LinkedIn for business, Facebook for friends, Twitter for networking, etc.). Providing fans with a range of networks to engage with allows fans to choose which network best suits them so they may get to know, connect with, share, and potentially builds a relationship with your brand where they already spend time online.

Social Media Mistake #2: Focus on Only One Measurement of Success

Whether it’s important to grow your presence, increase the number of shares of your content, get consumers talking with and about your brand, or allowing fans to bring content to you (UGC), all measures of progress and success in Social should be treated equally important. If you have a fan base of 1 million, great, but if no one is joining in to chat, share, and influence, your large fan-base loses its importance. Keep an eye on the metrics most important to each social channel & tie into social goals that directly relate to your engagement, awareness, ROI, and overall marketing goals.  Also, don’t forget to monitor that growth (or at least a consistent ebb and flow) is present throughout the month. Keeping an eye on KPIs is an essential way to know what’s working, what’s not, and what your brand can do to maintain a solid profile and community.

Social Media Mistake #3: Publish Content Curated for One Network Across Others

The process of researching, drafting, editing, scheduling, and finally moderating curated content for a platform can be cumbersome, but there’s a rhyme and reason. Tailoring content for each network’s target audience means the correct brand message is received and understood by fans every time. Not only does making sure your content is on point, interesting, and of value to consumers, carefully curated content shows your fans you care about the relationship you are building with each one of them. Although it is good practice to carry a campaign, voice, theme, etc. throughout all social networks consistently, each message should be tailored to fit its corresponding audience. Re-using content might save you time, but in the long run it will cost you brand credibility amongst your fans.

Social Media Mistake #4: Publish Content without a Focus

It’s essential to develop a solid content and social strategy before you start posting, especially if you’re new to social. Maintaining a healthy mix of content, as well as making sure it is on topic, and relates to a brand is key to consistently keeping the attention of fans. Defining and maintaining a focus is also vital for brands that have had a social presence for an extended period of time.

Whether it’s time to jump into social, or rejuvenate your content flow, brands should look at what their focus and goals are in relation to the content being published. If you’re a finance company, and only publishing videos of cats because they “work” on social, there just might be a slight disconnect between what works for your brand and audience in social, and what you are deeming as valuable and presenting to your fan-base. Having a variety of content, an open mind, and a sense of humor is great, but all content should relate to your industry, fans, and overall Social Strategy before the publish button is ever pressed.

Social Media Mistake #5: Ignoring the Content of what is Published         

You could be posting too much or too little. You could be filling your copy with marketing, sales, and business speak. Maybe posts are riddled with spelling and grammar errors that go unfixed, or the tone being used isn’t connecting with fans. Keep an eye out for these potential follies, as it will hinder you from developing a valuable and memorable conversation with your fans. Fans remember both the positive, and negative experiences they have throughout your conversations. Make it easy on your brand by making sure that all loose ends are tied; copy, images, and links are approved and correct; and your voice and tone are that of a person, not a billboard trying to sell something to your fans. Fans do notice mistakes and will call you out on it, just as a friend would in real life. Take note of brands that do not value the process of building a relationship, they are not so kind. So remember, treat your fans like friends, and give them the best that your brand has to offer to make their experience with you that much more valued.

Maintaining one Social Media channel is tough, and managing many is even more of a challenge. To keep everything in check, we ask you to remember these simple things to make sure you are successful, and build meaningful relationships with fans:

  • Focus on the quality and content of what you publish
  • Maintain consistency for your brand throughout it’s lifespan and on all networks
  • Treat all metrics as valued assets
  • Give each Network you choose to represent your brand on the time needed to build up relationships with fans

What are some examples of brands that you think have nailed Social Media?

Essential Graphic Design for Social Media Managers: An Introduction

Images can be a great way to emotionally connect to your audience. As you tell your brand’s story, the right image can evoke nostalgia, excitement, desire, and reflection. Coca Cola, for example, knows this, and has mastered the craft of storytelling with powerful imagery, whether it’s in the milestones of their rich history or a personal one between two people sharing a Coke.

Coca Cola Milestone Coca Cola Milestone 2









Compelling images, now more than ever, are an integral part of successful social media engagement, and the presence of images in social media has become more and more prevalent in recent years.

Photos and images are the foundation of popular social platforms like Instagram, Tumblr, and especially Pinterest, which, at over 10 million unique visitors, is the fastest growing social network in history.Tweets Get 88% More RTs

And, on Facebook and Twitter, images have become a reliable way to garner engagement. Tweets featuring images see 88% more retweets than tweets with links and 19% more retweets than those that are text only. Furthermore, Facebook posts with a photo typically see nearly 3 times more engagement than status updates. Facebook’s Timeline redesign and acquisition of Instagram also reflect Mark Zuckerberg’s affinity for the power of photos on the social network:

“You see the organic News Feed posts moving toward bigger pictures and rich media. The success of products like Instagram is because they’re so immersive on a small screen.” (Source)


Catering to the short attention spans of the social audience, images are quickly and effortlessly consumed on smartphone screens, making content easier to digest and share. With 57% of Facebook users now accessing the site via mobile device social media will likely become more and more mobile, making captivating images more crucial than ever.

With this emphasis on well-designed images, social media managers would be well-served to have a basic understanding of graphic design, especially design that works where your social audience spends most of their time: online and on mobile devices.

Facebook Photos 3x More Engagement

Designing for Social Media

Ideally, you will have access to an in-house design team that can create images for use on social media. In that instance, as social media manager, use the information presented in this series to provide your designers guidance, especially if they typically work in print or web media and aren’t as familiar with the needs of social media sites.

And, as social media often works quickly and reactively, you might not always be able to turn to your graphic design team to create the images you want. In these cases it can help to know the basics so you can make the images yourself.

In this series, we’ll cover the fundamentals, listed below, as well as provide instructional tutorials (with, and in some cases without, Photoshop).

  1. Photo Selection & Sizing: What to look for in a good photo & how to size and save your images so they display well on various social sites.
  2. Playing with Color: How to determine what colors to use to stand out, while staying on brand.
  3. Font Type & Lettering: The magic of combining text and photos, and how to select the right font.
  4. Composition: Putting it all together: how to compose an image that stands out, and how to create a collage.
  5. Examples & Inspiration: What are other brands are doing with images, and ideas you can implement immediately.

We hope you join us next week when we discuss how to choose a good photo and make sure it looks good on whichever social site you decide to share it to!