Instagram’s all grown up, with the introduction of Photos of You and video

The changes are coming thick and fast for Instagram. Hot on the heels of their recently added Photos of You feature, which was a very welcome update for brands, they have now added video.

So what are the updates?

redbull_ig_tagPhotos Of You

Brands on Instagram were previously missing out on an abundance of engagement and Reach opportunities that are now being fulfilled by Photos Of You. This new feature finally enables users to tag brands, people or products in their Instagram photos, so users can tag the establishment they’ve taken the photo in or tag the product they are photographing.

Instagram Video

Instagram video has sprung onto the scene as a competitor to Twitter’s Vine. Like Vine, it allows short videos to be filmed and uploaded but Instagram’s version allows fifteen seconds of film rather than Vine’s six and it does not include the famous Vine looping action.

How does it work?

Photos Of You

Photos of You works in the same way that Facebook allow you to tag your friends in your photographs. For example, when a user takes a photo of their Starbucks coffee they’re enjoying with their best friend, they can tag both their best friend and Starbucks in that photo. The photo will then appear in their best friends’ and the brands’ ‘Photos of You’ section.

Instagram Video

When a user taps the camera icon, they will now be given the option of video. They will have to hold their finger on the screen to record continuously and there’s the option of tapping the screen to auto-focus on a specific spot. It also of course, includes the option to use Instagram’s handy filters to make the videos look extra special.

What does this mean for brands?

Ultimately both updates are a positive change for brands.starbucks_ig_vid

Video will allow brands to create great new content using Instagram’s filters and with fifteen seconds allowed, it gives brands more of a chance to get a complete message across. For those brands that would prefer to keep their platform management to a minimum, it means they can at least upload both photo and video to the same platform now.

Photos Of You allows them to tap into the rich user generated content which is probably already on the platform but not yet attributed to their brand, venue or products.

It’s a way to curate content and ensure that your brand name or products are being seen and given credit, thereby increasing your opportunities for engagement and your reach.

However, the update will mean that extra moderation time is required, as it can (and most likely will) result in your brand being tagged in inappropriate photos.

Extra moderation! What’s a brand to do?!ig_tag

First, change your settings so the only photos that appear in your Photos of You tab have been manually approved. This will allow you to keep control of the content related to your brand.

  • Go to your profile page,
  • Select the new Photos Of You button
  • Click settings in the top right and check ‘Add Manually’

Alternatively you can keep the setting as ‘automatic’ (the default) and use ‘untag’ to remove your brand name from inappropriate content.ig_tag_2

  • Go to your profile page,
  • Select the new Photos of you button
  • Click on the photo you wish to view
  • Select the ‘more’ option at the bottom of the photo (the ‘…’)
  • Select Photo Options
  • You can then choose to ‘Hide From My Profile’ OR..
  • To delete the tag completely, choose ‘More Options’
  • Select ‘Remove Me From Photo’
  • You also have the option to ‘Report Inappropriate’

What else?

The photos you approve will now appear in Photo of You, so it has become a useful tool to curate great user generated content. This is particularly useful for brands who already receive a lot of UGC (e.g. Benefit cosmetics) and for those who want to start encouraging it.

It doesn’t appear that this tagging function is available yet for video content so we’ll watch that space to see if this updated.

Want to get creative?

Photo contests and CTA’s are already part of the Instagram landscape but until this point they’ve relied on hashtags. Photos Of You now offers the option of Fans also tagging your brand in the post. Not only does this mean that brands benefit from an influx of great UGC but it also ensures other users can find your genuine account and may choose to follow you too.

Ways to encourage UGC can now be part of your marketing plan. It also enables brands who run several accounts, to tag each other in their posts.

Your marketing plans should now include ways to encourage Instagram tagging Photos of You. Check out some examples of how other brands are already using this feature:

Levis:

levis_ig_tag

Puma:

puma_ig_contest

The Bigger the Facebook Page, the Harder it is to Reach Fans

Have you ever wondered if the size of your Facebook page’s fan base plays a part in the distribution of posts from your page? According to a recent analysis done using Facebook post data, the rate of distribution on a post decreases as the size page’s fan base increases.

Generally, which fans are reached by the average post depends on the Facebook sorting algorithm Edgerank, which takes into account not only the content preferences of your fans, but also the affinity between your fan base and your page.  Whenever your page posts, the message automatically shows up in the newsfeed of a subset of the fan base, the impressions garnered from this is called ‘organic reach’.

In order determine what the average percentage of a page’s fan base is reached organically, over 40K posts across multiple verticals from Q4 2012 were analyzed.  The sample data was then grouped by fan base size, and the average organic reach per post was compared to the total fan base size.

Facebook has previously reported that a post reaches anywhere between 15 – 20% of a pages total fan base organically. Independent studies put the average organic reach much lower, at anywhere between 3 – 7.5%.  The average percentage of fan base reached in the sample analyzed here was 10%, but the most interesting information popped up when the data was separated into fan base brackets.

Screen Shot 2013-04-01 at 2.52.32 PM
As a page’s fan base goes from under 500K to over 1 million, the percentage of the fan base reached organically gets cut nearly in half! And pages with over 10MM fans only reach on average 4% of their fans, that’s a third of the organic reach of pages with less than 500K.

We’re not suggesting you should stop trying to grow your page’s fan base, as 4% of a page with 10MM fans is still a much larger audience than 12% of a page with 500K. However, the moral of the story is: be mindful of the quality of fans your page is acquiring, as there does seem to be a reach cost as your fan base size grows.

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:

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

Twitter
375×375 pixels

Pinterest
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!

Google+
497 x 373 pixels

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