Tag Archives: Social Media Marketing

Coca-Cola’s website, Ikea’s service and the Tube’s screens


This week in Digital Bytes: Coca-Cola launches a new website that looks like a ‘digital magazine’, Ikea launches an online wedding service, and new digital screens are launched in London Tube stations.

Coca-Cola revamps website to make it look like a ‘digital magazine’

Source from Flickr
Source from Flickr

Coca-Cola has launched a new website which aims to appear more like a ‘digital magazine’ than a corporate site. (click to tweet)

The new site is called Coca-Cola journey and will have a greater multimedia and storytelling focus in a bid to drive brand engagement by making the site more socially enabled, Coke said.

It will feature both branded and non-branded content in an “editorial style” and an interactive Q&A section.

“The launch of Journey gives us the opportunity to shift the way we communicate online,” said Stanislas Magniant, Digital Communications Director for Coca-Cola North West Europe.

“Through Journey we want to bring to life the stories about our company, our brands, our employees and our actions around the world. We also want to make our stories more appealing, relevant and engaging to people by using the right multimedia content to bring them to life.”

Ikea launches Google Hangout-like weddings service

Source from Flickr
Source from Flickr

Ikea has launched a new service called ‘Wedding Online’ (click to Tweet) that allows couples to get married via a digital ceremony.

The Swedish retailer enables couples to invite guests to a virtual wedding room, which locates their faces on a page that is fully customisable by the couple. Settings include a farm, rooftop, beach or white hall. Each wedding venue is full of pieces that also happen to be available at Ikea, so in a couple of clicks you can find out more details about a particular product and even enter its online store to buy it.

Social media users can be invited to join the live-streamed event via Facebook where their faces will be transplanted onto the page for all to see.

Despite the service enabling users to marry via webcam, the couple, the marriage officiator, and two witnesses must be in the same room during the ceremony for it to be legally binding.

 

London Tube’s HD screens: a new platform for digital ads

Source from Flickr
Source from Flickr

A new generation of bigger and brighter digital screens are set to produce a ‘premium visual experience’ for London Tube commuters. (click to Tweet)

As well as being able to display high quality moving images on huge 11 square-metre screens, the new DX3 technology features state of the art media players that offer live feeds, video content and daily features.

Jason Cotterrell, Managing Director at Exterion Media, said: “Our next-generation DX3 screens signify a new chapter for digital out of home (DOOH), enabling targeted advertising and engaging content across the London Underground network.

The number of DOOH units in the UK is set to grow by more than 40 per cent with DX3 also allowing advertisers to tailor content to audiences based on different times of the day and location.

 

Tune in next week to get more Digital Bytes; bringing you the latest from the digital world

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Google+ Split into Photos and Streams: What You Need to Know


google plus split into photos and streamsSince its launch in June 2011, Google’s social network, Google+, has struggled to gain traction and a clear place in the market. Its value as a tool to assist in a site’s search ranking is clear – the search giant has sought to leverage its social network by using a good presence on the site as a key indicator in the SERPs. However, in most other respects, many brands simply don’t see the worth in a Google+ presence. It’s not Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram, but rather an amalgamation of some of the best pieces of functionality of all four that never quite adds up to a complete whole. Getting on Google+ just seems like another channel to maintain.

Last month, however, Google sought to etch out a clear place in the market for its social network by splitting it into two distinct products: Photos and Streams. The announcement caused a significant amount of online buzz, and instigated a lot of misinformation as some commentators misunderstood the announcement and suggested the site is closing. It’s not, but the new Google+ certainly ain’t your Daddy’s Google+.

What’s changed?

Quite a lot, obviously! Whatever way you slice it, dividing the network into two distinct parts is a big shift – a total functionality shift, really – and it’ll take brands and users some time to really get to grips with it. The Streams half of the site is relatively simple to understand. Think of Streams as Facebook’s News Feed, or your Twitter Feed. This is where you dump all the status updates and random ponderings that pop into your head. So, when you sit down for your dinner and think, “This is a really nice ham and cheese sandwich. I wonder if anyone else is having a similarly tasty dish?” and take to Google+ to express that thought, here’s where it’ll appear.

The Photos section is where the biggest changes are happening. From now on, Google will automatically sift through any photos you upload to Google+ and choose your best photos, and rearrange them into a scrapbook-style layout that you can edit and add captions to. Google is calling this feature Stories, and to account for the speed at which digital life runs, these Stories are generated quickly and you’ll be notified once the process has finished.

So, if you wanted to demonstrate the unbelievable loveliness of your ham and cheese sandwich and took a few pictures of the delightful dish to upload to Photos, Google+ could rearrange them into a Story, making it easier to share and, ahem, digest. It’s a reflection of the fact that visual media is by far the most significant form of communication on the internet at the moment, and to make those images come alive even more, Google has created a GIF-creator, allowing you to form photos taken in quick succession into a GIF.

As you’d expect from a company whose bread and butter is search, Google has also revamped the search functionality on Photos. Now, you can just head to the search bar, type in “my photos of [that incredibly fantastic ham and cheese sandwich]” and you’ll have them all there to view. The photos are separated into Albums based on date or location, and shows you the ones it deems to be the best or most significant. You’re unlikely to get what you’re looking for right away, every single time, but it’s a good start and a step in the right direction.

Hangouts

The one thing we haven’t mentioned so far is one of Google+’s most unique and valuable elements: Google Hangouts. Even as Google+ has struggled, Hangouts has regularly been cited as the best part of the site, and Google has constantly sought to keep improving it with new features and functionality. There was never any chance it would fall by the wayside in a restructuring of Google+; in fact, if the site were to ever get put to pasture, it’s the one feature that would definitely survive the cull.

Indeed, Google’s Bradley Horowitz, who will now head up the restructured Google+, said in December, that Hangouts is seen less as a part of a social network, but its own independent, all-purpose communication tool: “It’s texting, it’s telephony, it’s one-to-one, it’s many-to-many, it’s consumer, it’s enterprise… We’re trying to do something broader that helps people communicate wherever they are using whatever products they prefer.”

Conclusion

And that is, perhaps, the biggest takeaway from Google+’s restructuring. The site is by no means dead, but as a social network may well be – if it’s not, it’s certainly entering its final days.

Google has now realised that it can’t play Twitter and Facebook at its own game. Those two companies are too well-established, and their users are too entrenched in them, for any site to pierce the bubble. A new angle must be sought, and by restructuring its social offering into what is essentially a multimedia communications network featuring text, imagery and video, Google has taken the first step on its way to finding that new angle. The next step is for it to distance this useful and engaging functionality from the tarnished legacy of Google+ and take Photos, Streams, and Hangouts into what should be a much brighter future.

 

What about you? What do you think of Google+’s restructuring? Get in touch if you’re looking for a trusted agency to take care of your social community building requirements.  

 

Check out this article below to learn how to set up your Google Places and Google+ Local for your Business.

set up google local and google plus places



Social Takes On YouTube for Video Supremacy


social media takes on youtube for video marketingThey say a picture’s worth a thousand words, so how many is a video worth? That’s the question that’ll be on the lips of content publishers across the internet this year as video becomes an integral part of their online arsenal. It’s always been like that, of course – video is a quick and engaging way to impart information to an audience – but with the proliferation of mobile devices and the need to catch your audience’s attention quickly growing more urgent, it’s become even more significant in recent years. YouTube is still very much the dominant player in this area, but recently other social networks have started moving to stake their claim.

Last year, Facebook announced a native video player that would allow publishers to add video content directly to their Facebook page, rather than posting them to YouTube and then posting a link to YouTube on to Facebook. Not to be outdone, Twitter is following suit, revealing last month that it too will be launching a new native video player. This technology will sit alongside its other video platform Vine, which has proven a huge success since launching in 2013.

discovery channel uses social media

The development has been welcomed by publishers keen to get as many eyes as possible on to their content. The Discovery Channel, for example, has been using Facebook’s new functionality for the last few months and has found it greatly expanded its audience. “Hands down, almost in every instance, the video posts outperform any other content types in terms of overall reach and engagement,” Derek Dodge, the channel’s Director of Digital Programming, told Variety. “It changed the way we think about using Facebook. In the past we saw it as a marketing platform — now it’s more of a pure media platform. This is helping us extend our video strategy into social media.”

According to Mashable and CrowdTangle, the likes of Buzzfeed, Upworthy, CNN, The Huffington Post, and ESPN have all started using the functionality in the last year, seeing significant boosts in views. ESPN, for example, received just 6,500 shares of its last 15 non-native Facebook videos, while its last 15 native videos received around 53,000. In an online culture where the recommendations of those you follow are so important in helping content achieve expanded reach, such statistics are exciting and not to be viewed lightly – but nor should they pass without scrutiny.

Intention and Engagement

One of the major benefits Facebook and Twitter have over YouTube is that their News Feed makes it easier for users to discover content. Sure, YouTube has recommended videos and the ability to subscribe to your favourite channels, but there’s still a certain level of work needed to seek the content out. This isn’t the case on Facebook and Twitter, where if you’re following a page, videos appear in News Feeds and can be discovered almost by accident, viewed, and subsequently shared.

Views aren’t everything though. In fact, on Facebook, they’re a very misleading metric to judge success by. If a video is played for three seconds on Facebook’s player, it counts as a view, and if the video plays again, that’s another view. Fair enough you might think, but Facebook videos play automatically, so simply reloading the page, or scrolling through your News Feed could activate the video, and suddenly it’s racked up another view, whether you’ve actually watched it or not. Contrast that with YouTube, where user interaction is needed to activate a video, and where repeat views are not counted to the view total, and Facebook metrics start to seem a little less impressive.

Speaking to DigiDay, Greg Hounslow of American airline WestJet, broke down the stats behind the company’s Spirit of Giving Christmas video. Without any money being put behind paid promotion, the advert garnered over 1.1 million views using Facebook’s native player, attracting 77,000 likes, 45,000 shares, and 21,000 comments. Impressive though these stats may seem, they lose their lustre when analysed. Facebook also offers metrics on videos that are viewed for more than 30 seconds, and only a third of the 1.1 million people who saw the video stuck around for that long. “A huge percentage of people are dropping off after a very short amount of time as they scroll through their feed,” said Hounslow. “Meanwhile, if you arrive at a YouTube video, you’re probably in a dedicated video-watching area, so retention tends to be a lot higher.”

The message is clear: Facebook may get more eyeballs on a video, but if the user intention isn’t there, chances are the engagement won’t be either.

YouTube is still YouTube

YouTube is KingFacebook has undoubtedly been making waves with its video player, but not without sinking a few ships along the way. As it’s sought to make its own video content as attractive and engaging as possible, it seems to have reduced the power of YouTube videos. As Contently points out, while a Facebook video appears in News Feeds as a beautiful, big, visual screen, YouTube links are plain white and littered with text; only a small image with a play button is offered to suggest that there’s a video to play. No surprise then that while metrics for Facebook videos went up, those for YouTube videos went down.

YouTube is still the number 1 site for online video content, and with 100 hours of video uploaded to the site every minute and over 6 billion hours viewed every month, that’s not going to change any time soon.  Moreover, YouTube isn’t just a video behemoth; it’s also the web’s second largest search engine, processing 3 billion queries every month. Facebook has been looking to expand into Search for several years, and is likely to redouble its efforts in 2015, but it’s still some distance off achieving YouTube’s power and likely to remain so for a while to come.

Choosing YouTube over Facebook clearly isn’t the right policy then, but should publishers put their content out across both platforms? Facebook Video will certainly give you the reach, and with the company doing so much to push its own technology over YouTube, there’s an element of risk involved in publishing only to YouTube. But is it really in a publisher’s best interest to split their audience in this way? As with all Google products, YouTube rewards clicks, shares, and interactions, and the more you’re taking away from YouTube and giving to Facebook, the more you’re suffocating your video’s chances of strengthening its place in the YouTube and Google rankings.

Native video is the choice for Facebook success, but for holistic success, YouTube remains in the lead.

Who has the power?

Be under no illusions, Facebook branching out into native video isn’t about video. Just as its interest in Search isn’t about Search and its interest in online gaming wasn’t about games. Facebook has a very clear end-goal in sight and it’s not to deliver really great video content; it’s to be a giant, holistic content publication platform. That means video, audio, image, and text content all coming together under one roof. Facebook’s roof. As The Awl notes: “All the things we link to on Facebook now, Facebook could conceivably host.”

This is bad news for publishers and creators. As they’ve already proven with their demoting of YouTube content, Facebook insists that if you live under its roof, you’ll live under its rules, and the more content hosted on Facebook, the more it’ll be empowered to start imposing its rules on its users. So if Facebook wants to start rewarding paid advertising with more views, it can do that. And if it wants to squeeze referrals to third party sites to reward content that’s hosted natively, it can do that too. Facebook is interested in Facebook, and it’ll do what’s necessary to keep users on its site and the dollars and cents rolling in. Understandable – wouldn’t you do the same?

Of course you would, and that’s why maintaining as much control over your content (be it video or not) as possible is so important. By doing so, you’re largely immune to the tweaks and changes Facebook will make to design and algorithm, and the ebb and flow of metrics that those changes will cause. As ever in digital, the best approach is a holistic one that finds a balance between social and Search, third party and self-owned.

 

Now over to you, what do you think, do you agree? Let us know in the comments below or via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

To find out more about content marketing, click on the image below to read our post where we uncover 7 popular content marketing myths.

content marketing myths uncovered



New Year Resolution: Set up Google Places and Google+ Local for Your Business


google-places-local-fastwebmedia-small

Many people come back from their Christmas holiday feeling refreshed and ready to start the New Year with the intention of sticking to their resolutions. However, only 8% of people actually achieve their New Year goals. For those of you with your own business, make one of your New Year resolutions to increase the visibility of your business online. This is one goal you can achieve if you set up Google Places and Google+ Local for your business.

What is Google Places for Business?
Cadbury-world-google-places-fastwebmedia

By setting up a Google Places page, a business can control what information Google has and how it is presented.  A company can fill in its Places page with a description of the business, photos and images, contact information and opening times. The Places page will place a business on the map, making it easier for customers to find the physical address, and seeing as many GPS devices now use Google Maps, this makes it easy to retrieve a business address.

For example, a search for “Cadbury World” brings up the map as well as the address and reviews.

Without a Google Places page, Google may still have some of this information but not necessarily the map.  By setting up a Google Places page, businesses can manage all their information in one area which they can update anytime.

 What are the Advantages of Google Places?

  1. Google Places helps increase the overall online visibility of a company as the business is on Google and Google Maps – without costing a penny.
  2. Google Places may give a business a competitive advantage above others that do not have a Google Places listing when local searches are made. Local searches are prioritised, meaning if a user that is close to your business searches for a keyword, your listing has a higher chance of appearing top of the results.
  3. It is “free advertising” for a business even if the company does not have a website as customers can still contact the business via phone, text and also come into the store.
  4. Images and videos can be added to a business listing page.  Reviews will also appear on Google Places as well as the link to the company website.

What is the difference between Google Places and Google+ Local?

Google+ Local is the social aspect of search. It’s an expansion of a user’s own Google+ page but for a business.  It used to be called Google+ Business but is now Google+ Local and it allows companies to connect with their customers, sharing updates, videos, and photos. Customers can add the company (e.g. Cadbury’s ) to their Google+ circles and they will be able to see the company’s status updates, photos and videos.

Mark Potter wrote a post about 10 Brands with Great Google Plus Pages and this clearly shows how brands have used their Google+ Local page to their advantage. They are able to build up an audience and a following to their pages, and can create and record hangouts with their customers for up to 9 participants.

Below is a screenshot of the Cadbury’s World Google+ Local Page.  There is an ‘About’ section, posts shared, as well as photos and videos.

cadbury-world-google-local-fastwebmedia

Google+ Local can help improve a company’s overall visibility. If a company is looking to drive more traffic by increasing its visibility (which many are of course), then Google+ Local can help as it offers personalised search results based on Google+ connections.  For example, if a customer who has added your company to their Google+ circle then searches for a product/service similar to what your company offers, your business will appear higher in the search results. Therefore it is very important to work on increasing a business’ followers and connections by sharing updates and relevant information with them.

So What Should You Do?

It’s important for any business to set up a Google Places page; this allows businesses to create their own local listing in Google and it means when someone is typing in that company name and location in Google, the business will appear in Google Maps. Once the Google Places page has been set up, it needs to be validated by postcard or via phone to show there is a business at that address.  It is best to use the business email address when setting up Google Places and once this has been verified, set up a Google+ Local Page. When the business has this set up and it has been verified, they can start engaging with their customers, sharing posts and photos.

Google Maps and Google+ Local are great platforms to use to help build brand awareness, traffic and sales to a business. Make this one New Year resolution you will keep and set up these two accounts in January without fail!

Having trouble setting up your Google+ Local page? Why not get in touch with our team to find out how we can help? Comment below if you have experience using Google Places and Google+ Local.

If you want to find out more about the benefits of using Google+ for business, watch this video created by Salford Business School’s MOOC and Fast Web Media.



FWM’s Top 10 Digital Trends for 2015 #2: How to Write Right


content-marketing-social-media-fastwebmedia-smallHere’s a video of a Chihuahua chasing bubbles in slow motion.

Here’s a mock George Lucas Special Edition of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer

Here are some cool mugs that Buzzfeed reckons “you need to drink out of right now”.

What have these topics got in common? They’re all powerful examples of great online content. Engaging, easy to digest, and deeply social, these pieces have racked up over 600,000 shares between them and will probably continue attracting shares and views for many months, if not years, to come.

The ‘secret sauce’ of these pieces is hardly a secret any more. In the years since Buzzfeed first LOL’ed its way onto the internet, online content has changed significantly. Consumers are not just looking for enlightenment anymore; they want entertainment, and they want it quickly and easily. It’s become a very simple equation:

Demand + ease (x entertainment)

Nothing lasts forever though, especially not online, and in 2015 it’s likely we’ll see the content landscape change again as readers start seeing through such formulaic content, and Google legislates against it. The first to go may well be the syndicated content you see at the bottom of articles recommending similar articles for readers. In theory useful, these pieces have devolved into cynical clickbait and their stock will only continue to fall in 2015.

Headlines too will come under scrutiny. Howls of “You won’t believe what Celebrity X said about Celebrity Y!” could become a thing of the past next year. Such headlines are formula and formula can be detected, analysed, and ignored, both by search engines and humans. That ‘demand + ease (x entertainment)’ equation is a good start, but it’ll only get you so far.

Buzzfeed has recognised this and in 2014 started creating long-form content to accompany its short-form pieces. There’s no particular demand for content like this, it’s not entertaining in the way Buzzfeed has become known for, and its length means it’s hardly easy to read. So what’s the secret?

“[It’s the] human factor, tugging on the heartstrings,” creative director Philip Byrne told The Drum earlier this year. “Nostalgia is a huge driver. As everyone knows, there are dozens and dozens of nostalgia pages on Facebook – I remember the 90s or I remember the 80s. Nostalgia is like giving people a sort of perspective on their own past through sharing; things that reflect the person you are and the person you want to be seen to be by your friends. It’s part of the story you’re telling about yourself through your social presence.”

Emotion and social value come into the picture then, and it’s no surprise that 75% of Buzzfeed’s monthly traffic comes from social sites.  But that doesn’t mean that social is the key to good content. Buzzfeed’s success comes from the integrated way it approaches site and social; its social feed is a content platform and its site is a social platform. It’s not about mastering both; it’s about mastering the link between both.

As this link becomes more important, alternate social networks will see a rise in their significance. Reddit and Tumblr, as discussed in our previous blog posts, have both enjoyed huge gains in 2014, and Instagram remains a key player too. With Yahoo owning Tumblr and Facebook at the helm of Instagram, it’s unthinkable that one or both wouldn’t undergo some serious monetisation efforts in 2015. Tumblr at least, with its 98 billion posts, is low hanging fruit ripe for plucking.

The final piece of the puzzle is analysis. Working out what your readers are responding to is nothing new of course – we here at FWM have been analysing data for years – but as content develops it takes on an even greater significance. Drawing insights from your content will help the content itself, improve tone of voice on social, and hone search strategy. It’s a holistic, integrated approach and when you put the three together and you have a new equation for 2015: Demand + Ease (x Entertainment) is both outdated and ineffective. Instead, think about:

Site + Social (x Search)

 

Wondering what is the next trend for 2015? Click below to find out more:

business-intelligence-automation-fastwebmedia-large



URBAN eat appoints Fast Web Media for digital strategy


Urban-Eat-Range-fastwebmediaWe’re very proud to announce that leading Food to Go brand URBAN eat has appointed Fast Web Media to manage its marketing activity across all digital and social media platforms.

URBAN eat is planning to invest over £1m in digital marketing in the next four years to build on its 55,000 plus Facebook following and expects its new partnership with FWM to take the brand to a whole new level of engagement with consumers of all demographics.

Head of Marketing John Want explains: “URBAN eat was initially launched in the student market and we have done a great job of reaching out to that specific audience, however as the brand has gone from strength to strength and secured listings across all sectors we have recognised a real opportunity to grow and ultimately monetise our following.

“We talked to a number of leading digital agencies before ultimately deciding to appoint Fast Web Media who were clear winners, impressing us at every stage of the tender process.  The FWM team clearly demonstrated that they had taken the time to get underneath the skin of the URBAN eat brand and came up with a host of creative solutions that played to our core brand values.

“They also have a proven track record in supporting big brands such as Carling, Coors Light and Golden Wonder which we know will prove invaluable as we look to take the URBAN eat brand to the next  exciting stage of its development.”

Fast Web Media’s Director of Client Services Stephen O’Malley said:  “UK consumers spend over £6bn per year on Food To Go with around three-quarters relying on shop-bought sandwiches as part of their lunch.  It’s a fiercely competitive market, and we will be running multiple digital campaigns to boost awareness and drive further engagement online for URBAN eat.  The brand has a friendly, quality feel and a loyal following, so we’re delighted to have been chosen to build on this and help the company reach new market segments.”

URBAN eat is kicking off its partnership with FWM by launching a Sandwich Selfie promotion that gives consumers the opportunity to spend this New Year’s Eve in New York, ‘the City that never sleeps’.

 

To find out more about Fast Web Media’s digital services, visit our services page.



Tumblr: Aren’t you missing an ‘e’?


At the start of the social revolution, things were so simple. There was Facebook, there was Twitter and, well, that was about it. If a brand was on at least one of those platforms they were ‘social’ and ready to let those precious likes and retweets flood in. Then things changed. Google created its own platform, Google+, and made its use a key part of its Search architecture. MySpace made a surprise attempt to bring sexy (or at least mediocre social networking) back under the stewardship of Justin Timberlake. Pinterest landed on the scene in a burst of excitement and frantic ‘pinning’. And Instagram was bought by Facebook and became a force to be reckoned with – or, rather, share what you had for lunch on.

One of the most intriguing platforms to emerge out of the social boom is Tumblr. The site has quickly become one of the most popular social networks on the net, but little is known about it and many brands stay away out of ignorance – only 31 of the top 100 global brands have an account (all of them are on Facebook and Twitter). Looking at the stats, it’s hard to understand why.

In a survey from GlobalWebIndex in December 2013, 34 million people said they contribute to or use Tumblr on a monthly basis.

As of July 2014, the site had generated 83.1 billion posts from 196.8 million blogs.

Engagement is high. Bounce rate is 45.20% and users visit 6.36 pages per visit, spending around six minutes and thirty seconds on the site on average.

giphyThat’s great, but who am I talking to?

Like its close cousin Reddit, which I covered in depth in the piece Amplifying Content Through Reddit, Tumblr is most popular in the US, with 32.6% of visits coming from the States. Only 4.4% of visits come from the UK and that goes some distance to explaining why brands stay away. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, its global reach is somewhat stunted, so if you’re aiming at a primarily non-US demographic, you might not think it particularly frugal to invest resource in a platform that only a fraction of your target audience is going to see.

There’s little arguing with that, but just because you can’t speak directly to your target audience doesn’t mean you can’t create a healthy relationship with them indirectly by building your brand reputation. Tumblr is the (self-proclaimed) Home of the Creators. It’s one of the most original and creative social networks on the internet, with users publishing memes, GIFs, images and videos through it, many of which accrue a huge number of notes (likes or reblogs) and subsequently go viral. If you’ve seen a GIF on Buzzfeed, the chances are it probably started its life deep in the depths of Tumblr.

giphy_teacherOk, tell me how…

There’s no magic formula for hitting the jackpot on Tumblr. This is the new Wild West, where rules (and logic) simply don’t apply. A GIF from a TV show can gain over 150,000 notes, a picture of a gold watch can gain over 260,000 notes, and a picture of a cat can inspire over 190,000 notes. Even something as bland as a picture of some flowers can attract over 85,000 notes. These are all visual posts, but on a site like Tumblr, where so much of the fundamental design of the site is image-led, the fact that visuals do better than text goes without saying. There’s very little else to connect these posts, or other popular posts across the site, so what guiding principle can be used to instruct a Tumblr strategy?

The key to all social networks is to deliver something new or unexpected, but that’s doubly true of Tumblr. That Kim Kardashin GIF may not be unique in itself, but it can be applied cleverly by other users – added to a post as a punchline, to emphasise an emotion, or to make a point. The same can be said for this wildly popular GIF of an unexpected skateboard stunt. This is more impressive in its own right than the Kardashian GIF, and that leads to some of its success, but the re-use and re-application of that GIF in new and unexpected ways also contributed to its near 400,000 notes. This, for want of a better term, is ‘creative recycling’ and is it’s the lifeblood of Tumblr.

If that sounds intimidating, don’t worry, because your show of creativity doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel. If the success of the gold watch and flowers pictures show anything, it’s that something so small as a well-taken photo of an attractive item can go viral. Look, for example, at this picture of a totally normal box of doughnuts, which has gained over 170,000 notes. There’s nothing remarkable about the doughnuts, but the quality of the image, the way the colours of the doughnuts seem to pop off the screen, strikes a chord with people. This is ‘food porn’ at its best, and it’s eaten up (sorry…) across the internet as a whole and Tumblr specifically.

How does this work in practice?

Like any social network, success on Tumblr is not immediate. You have to work at it; indeed, as paid advertising is limited in comparison with the options available on Facebook and Twitter, you might need to work harder on Tumblr than you would elsewhere. There are no easy wins here; you need to consider a long-term strategy that puts imagery and creativity at the forefront, and makes use of the area that Tumblr excels at: tagging.

All blogs, whether WordPress or Blogger, make use of tags. They help the blog owner order their posts and make those posts easier to sort through for the reader. On Tumblr, however, they’re not just an effective means to organise posts, but a vital way to amplify them. Tumblr tags are no different to hashtags on Twitter, allowing users to group posts together under a single topic. Whereas hashtags tend to be reactive and fleeting, appearing and disappearing with equal haste, Tumblr tags offer a service something more akin to a search engine.

Search for a word on Tumblr, and you’ll be inundated with a seemingly endless list of results, no different than if you’d put the same search into Google. Your search can be very broad or very specific, either way it’s likely to bring up a vast number of posts and many different kinds of posts: text posts, images, videos, GIFs. Anything and everything. Tumblr isn’t just a blog and it’s not just a social network, it’s a tremendously powerful content discovery network where the most creative and unique content (rather than the most well-backed – Facebook – or most retweeted – Twitter) succeeds.

giphy_dogLet’s look at a couple of examples. Say you want to look at some pictures of animals. Tumblr has a tag for that. Let’s say you’re looking for something really specific and want to see posts about dogs. Well, it’s got a busy tag for that too. How about a certain breed? Let’s say you particularly like Chihuahuas. Well, here’s the Chihuahua tag. Not a fan of Chis? How about Dachshunds? Or Labradors? Or Pugs? Pretty much every breed is covered and covered in depth. You can (and probably will) get lost in all the content you find.

So, how about something more saleable: food. Let’s start with a very broad search: ‘food’. Simple, loads and loads and loads of posts about food. How about we go more specific. I’m looking for something nice to make for my lunch and want inspiration. So, I search for ‘lunch food’ and get another truck-full of posts. Great, but I want something that’s easy to make; I want a sandwich. What’s Tumblr got for me? Plenty. Oh, but I’m vegan, so that’s a bit too specific, right? Wrong. In fact, there’s a whole blog dedicated to Vegan Sandwiches. Wow, that’s cool, but I’ve suddenly decided I’m not vegan at all and have a terrible craving for bacon. How much does Tumblr have? Lots and lots, my friend.

The depth of content is limitless, as is the opportunity for brands, you’ve just got to do some research, consider your strengths and plan ahead.

Case Study

That’s what I did when I set up my Tumblr blog, From Director Steven Spielberg, in November 2011. The site is a sort of ‘online archive’ about Spielberg and his films, and there’s a lot of content on there – well over 2,000 posts. As Spielberg has made nearly 30 films, and as the content covers everything from reviews and interviews to behind the scenes pictures and posters, there had to be a simple way for the user to sift through this content and easily find what they wanted. Moreover, as I have no budget behind the site and am entirely reliant on generating buzz organically, I needed a platform where the social element was already baked in.

I’ve used WordPress and Blogger on previous blogs, and neither fit these requirements. After some research into Tumblr, it seemed an obvious choice. Easy to use, highly social, incredible tagging system – a no-brainer really, so I set up and slowly began working out what found success and what didn’t. As expected, images and videos (posters and behind the scenes images from around the web) did very well, so it became clear that my initial plan of focusing mostly on written content wouldn’t work. I had to find a happy balance between the two instead, so I began curating content as well as writing original pieces.

The next learning was about the subject of the content. Which era of Spielberg’s career was most popular? Which film struck the right notes with Tumblr’s demographic? I assumed the early classics would find most favour: Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., and the Indiana Jones series. That turned out to be true. Those are perennially popular films, and they accrued plenty of notes whenever I posted about them. However, they weren’t the most popular film.

Instead, it was Jurassic Park that was the real winner. What I’d neglected to understand is the slightly younger demographic on Tumblr. Jurassic Park was released in 1993 and so is 21 years old now. The core demographic of Tumblr is late teens and early 20s, so it makes sense that the kids who grew up watching tramping T-Rexes and rampaging Raptors are sharing and engaging in posts that revolve around the film. I therefore increased my capacity of Jurassic Park posts.

indiana_jonesMost importantly, I learned how to get the most out of tags. When searching for Indiana Jones posts, do people search ‘Indiana Jones’, ‘Indy’, or the specific name of the film they’re looking for? If they’re searching for the specific name, do they search for ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ or simply ‘Last Crusade’? Experimenting with tags and analysing the results allowed me to appeal to more people and subsequently gain more shares and engagements. It’s not the most exciting of tasks, but it really generates results.

Without paid media, From Director Steven Spielberg has gained over 1,000 followers, attracted 27,000 hits this year (20,000 of which are unique), and been featured on the Huffington Post and Yahoo, as well as key film blogs /Film and The AV Club amongst others. Were the site not set up on Tumblr, I doubt it would have achieved such success.

Best in Class

Disney’s Maleficent

For the release of its 2014 film Maleficent, Disney set up a Tumblr blog called Evil is the New Black. The blog is sleek and modern and is heavily reliant on videos and images. In terms of content, Disney provided clips from the film, but was not reliant on it. Instead, it leveraged the iconic status of its star, Angelina Jolie, to appeal to its core demographic (young teenage girls) by adding fashion content. This allowed Maleficent to be more than just a film; it was a statement. Watching it meant you were embracing all the cool things the blog covered.

Coca-Cola

Coke has embraced Tumblr in a big way, positioning its blog as ‘where happiness lives online’. In line with the Maleficent blog, Coke’s site is dominated by visuals, with GIFs and pictures being prominent. Its posts are split into distinct categories: #LOL (funny images), #MOVE (GIFs), #QUOTE (inspirational quotes), and #DIY (user-generated content). The blog emphasises creative and reactive content, and while the vast majority of posts include a Coke bottle, the blog still feels lightly branded. That’s because rather than repeatedly forcing the product, Coke instead makes it secondary to the core brand value of happiness.

Dark Rye

American food brand Whole Foods Market took a slightly different tack with Tumblr, creating not just a blog, but an entire online magazine. Dark Rye emphasises its core values of coolness and creativity by almost entirely stripping itself of branding, and focusing instead on “the pioneers of unconventional ideas” in an attempt to “explore the outer edges of the creative life”. The blog is very visual, but features an above-average level of written content, helping emphasise its magazine feel. By keeping branding to a minimum and associating itself with pioneers, Whole Foods Market has been able to position itself comfortably in the creative community and achieve its goal of creating “a mixtape of their secrets”.

tumblr_tipsTop Tips

Embrace the community. Tumblr content isn’t just about putting your posts out there and expecting them to be well-received. It’s about being an active part in the wider community. Your posts should take up around 80-90% of your output, but you should also reblog. It makes you look generous, respectful and, most importantly, a part of the group.

Be creative. There’s so much content on Tumblr that it’s easy to repeat things. Find your niche and work out a creative way into it. Give people something new to share, and keep an eye out for the creativity of others to position yourself not only as someone creative, but as a curator of creativity.

Be visual. Written content is vital to any successful digital strategy, but on Tumblr, it’s pictorial content that makes the biggest impression. Use GIFS, photos, and videos to show off your products and, again, don’t be afraid to get creative with it.

Use tags effectively. Trial and error is key here. Search through popular tags and try using them in your own posts. If they don’t work, drop them and try something else. Give careful consideration to tags, and you could find yourself striking upon a busy tag that fits your brand perfectly, and which can amplify your content more effectively than paid media can.

Be patient. Tumblr blogs can be built in a day, but successful ones can’t be. It takes time to create a good Tumblr presence, and it can be a very slow and frustrating process. Don’t rush in. Don’t push things too hard. Take your time to devise a smart, long-term strategy and bit by bit, bloggers will find you, engage with you, and ultimately buy your product.

Dancey celebration time? Yeah. Dancey celebration time!

dancing-dog

Are you considering joining Tumblr or are you already on there? Let us know your thoughts below!

All GIFs via Giphy

 

If you liked this post, why not check out this one about using Reddit to amplify your content marketing strategy, just click on the link below:

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Case Study: Amplifying content and generating traffic through Reddit


redditIf I were to mention Reddit to you, your mind would probably race to images of online obsessives posting ‘hilarious’ memes to something called a subreddit at two in the morning. In fairness, you’d be right. Reddit is a hotbed of the weird and not-so-wonderful of internet culture, and careful consideration should be given before diving in and posting. But Reddit’s also a powerful tool for traffic generation that can work wonders for the amplification of a content strategy. Post the right content to the right subreddit at the right time and the hits will start rolling in.

It’s not hard to see why Reddit has its aforementioned reputation. With its endless subreddits, dense jargon, and (it must be admitted) unappealing design, the site can seem more trouble than it’s worth. But look beyond the surface-level complexity and the site’s surprisingly easy to use, so it’s worthwhile taking a look at exactly what Reddit is, and what everything on it means, before exploring the benefits it can bring.

WHAT IS REDDIT?

Reddit is, quite simply, a social network, no different to Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. Users sign up, submit content as either a direct link (a link with no explanatory copy to provide context) or a text post (a short post with a link added at the end), and engage in conversation with fellow users about it.

Where Reddit differs from its competitors is the ability to drill down into specific types of content. Blending the virality of social media with the structure of an online forum, Reddit features a seemingly endless array of ‘subreddits’ – sections dedicated to certain subjects. These can be very broad, or very focused, and they’re all held on URLs with the structure reddit.com/r/[topic].

For example, the subreddit for cinema is www.reddit.com/r/movies

The subreddit for the World Cup is www.reddit.com/r/worldcup

The subreddit for politics is www.reddit.com/r/politics

Once the post has been added to one of these subreddits, other users can either ‘upvote’ it (approve of it) or ‘downvote’ it (disapprove of it). These votes dictate the post’s position on a subreddit’s homepage – the more ‘upvotes’ it has, the higher it appears; the more ‘downvotes’ it has, the lower it appears. The better the content, the more ‘upvotes’ it’ll receive, the higher it’ll appear on the page, the more exposure it’ll receive. So a careful strategy that pays close attention to the content that’s being posted, and the place it’s being posted to, is of utmost importance.

Users can also comment on a post, as they would on Facebook or Google+, and those comments, along with the up/down votes, contribute to the poster’s link and comment karma, a points system that indicates how positively a user has contributed to the Reddit community. Though these points have no bearing on the post itself (a poster with very high link or comment karma will not see their posts placed above those with lower figures), they are a mark of the user’s authority, and could inspire others to trust the poster more and therefore be more likely to engage with their posts.

CASE STUDY

 

from-director-steven-spielberg

I’m a huge Steven Spielberg fan and since 2011 have run a Tumblr blog dedicated to the film-maker called From Director Steven Spielberg. Being a small site with no paid media budget behind it and limited opportunity to gain organic traction in the already-packed film blog arena, From Director Steven Spielberg is heavily reliant on social media, which was one of the deciding factors in setting up on Tumblr, where the social element is already baked in.

Twitter has been my main source of traffic for the last few years, with Facebook and Google+ playing supporting roles. Traffic has been steady, averaging around 1,200 visits per month in 2013 and rarely more than 50-60 visits per day. As is typical of Tumblr, a platform users tend to open and stay on all day, perusing page after page of the blogs they visit, time on site rate is high (3 minutes and 23 seconds) and bounce rate solid (66.92%). Decent stats, but certainly in need of boosting.

During May, I signed up to Reddit with the aim of doing just that. Posting two pieces of content at different times to different subreddits every day for the month, my aim was to work out exactly how valuable Reddit is to generating traffic to my site and whether it was worth adding it to my list of amplification platforms in the long-run. I was particularly keen to learn more about the best type, placement, and timing of content.

My attempt to work out the best type of content proved somewhat inconclusive. I had assumed that pictorial content would perform exceptionally well in the fast-paced environment of Reddit, where immediate impact is vital. However, it was the wordiest post – a link to a review of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom by the science fiction writer Alan Dean Foster – that generated the most interest, pulling in nearly 200 comments, over 120 up-votes, and nearly 1,000 site views on the day of posting.

Why did this content perform so well? Two reasons. Firstly, it was posted in the Science Fiction subreddit rather than the Movies subreddit. This proved a perfect arena thanks to Foster’s position as a sci-fi legend and the more focused nature of the subreddit. Whereas the post would have quickly disappeared on the Movies subreddit thanks to the sheer number of posts on that very general section, it found a quieter home on the less active Science Fiction area. Secondly, it provoked debate, with users not only commenting on the harshness of Foster’s review, but also giving their own opinion on the film. The combination of these two factors made for a perfect storm that resulted in a very high level of engagement.

With regards to optimal time, it’s vital to understand that while Reddit has a large global reach, it’s most popular in America. Posting should therefore take into account American timezones – for example, when it’s lunchtime here, East Coast America is only just waking up. I found early evening and night in the UK was the optimum time, capturing the free time of those in the UK and the lunchtime and early evening crowd in the majority of the US. Only mornings were to be avoided, with very few page views coming in during those hours.

WHAT ABOUT FACTS AND FIGURES?

Comparing May to March, when there was no Reddit activity shows the benefits of exploring Reddit as a source of traffic and content distribution. The number on the left in each section is from May, while the number on the right is from March.

Views leapfrogged from 1,796 in March to 6,976 in May, a growth of 288.42%. Growth was even higher for unique visitors, jumping 336.38% from 1,248 in March to 5,446 in May. Moreover, there were 11,221 pageviews in May compared with 3,223 in March – another huge jump, this time of 248.15%.

reddit-stats

Looking specifically at the referrals, traffic jumped from 754 in March to 4,381 in May. 3,118 of these came from Reddit, far outstripping the second highest referrer, Twitter, which brought in only 354 visits. Only engagement rates were down, and even then, not by very much. Average time on site dropped from 1 minute and 35 seconds to 1 minute and 3 seconds, while the bounce rate jumped from 76.39% to 77.87%. Such drops are to be expected, but it’s a relief to see the dips were not significant.

The good news didn’t stop in May. During June, when I posted no links to Reddit, the site attracted 3,308 views and 2,339 uniques. This is, of course, a significant drop from May, but a sharp increase compared to March. The Reddit links worked as I had hoped – as a source of both short term and long term traffic generation – with 480 referrals coming from the site in June. There’s no guarantee it will last longer, of course, but with regular posting and a considered strategy, there’s nothing to suggest it won’t either.

LEARNINGS

On Reddit, content really is king. A vast and diverse source for all kinds of content, Reddit runs the gamut from the very brief and trivial (yes, those memes) to the in-depth and meaningful (check out that politics subreddit). There is, in short, a place for anything, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your anything will take off.

The key is understanding the three W’s: what, where and when. Trial and error will reveal key trends and provide vital insight, so invest in some experimentation time and use those learnings to put together a thorough content strategy. Once this is done, posting is quick and simple, and is likely to result in lasting benefits. Good luck, just remember to avoid those memes!

 

 

If you liked this post, find out how you can use Tumblr to amplify your content marketing strategy also, just click the image below

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Digital Bytes: Usain shows off footie skills for Virgin Media


Welcome to FWM Digital Bytes, where we discuss all the biggest digital marketing and digital media news. This week our post focuses on Heineken’s social tool on Twitter, Virgin Media’s campaign with Usain Bolt and Morrisons’ home delivery campaign.

Usain shows off footie skills for Virgin Media

Virgin Media has unveiled a new TV ad featuring Usain Bolt which was shown during the World Cup final match. The ad is to promote the ability to watch live Barclays Premier League games and other live sports channels in one place from one provider. Richard Larcombe, Brand and Marketing Director at Virgin Media, says: “With the Premier League season just around the corner, we are showing everyone they can take those must-see matches out and about on laptops, smartphones and tablets too.” Football fans will be able to find out exactly when and whom their favourite teams are playing with Virgin Media’s ultimate football fixture generator. The generator will also show what time matches start. Once TV schedules have been released, the generator will also give details of the channels matches are aired on. It will initially cover Premier League and Championship games, with more fixtures to be added as the season progresses.

Heineken develops social tool @wherenext

Heineken has created a new social tool on Twitter as the next phase of its global Cities of The World campaign, which has seen the beer and cider brewer omit its own brand name to provide ‘more credibility’. The @wherenext platform has been designed to help consumers “unlock the secrets of their city” by providing restaurant, café and bar suggestions based on their location. It uses a unique algorithm that listens to social media activity, such as tweets, check-ins and photos across Twitter, Instagram and Foursquare and analyses which locations are trending. The user needs to tweet ‘@wherenext’ with their location and the service will respond with a variety of options and a link to a mobile-responsive website, containing reviews and images. Paul Smailes, Heineken’s Global Head of Digital, explained that the tool differs from other recent entertainment marketing pushes such as the ‘Dropped’ reality series that saw participants thrown into unexpected locations, and forms more of a utility. He also added that connected devices and geo-located technologies in the broader sense are set to provide a “massive opportunity” for the brand as the brand is looking to use iBeacons to “reinvent” the bar on shopping experience for consumers.

Morrisons launches pun-filled home delivery marketing campaign

Morrisons has unveiled an outdoor campaign to support the launch of the Morrisons.com home delivery service. The home delivery service is available in North London and the supermarket plans to roll out its offering south of the river next year. The ‘Up Your Street’ campaign highlights seven London neighbourhoods with a visual food-based pun, examples being ‘Mornington Cressent’, ‘Tottenham’ ‘West Mincester’ and ‘Finsberry Park’. The retailer is facing a number of challenges to growth, including the rise of the discounter and the drive to smaller convenience store formats from its supermarket rivals. It is playing catch up in the home delivery market and has partnered with Ocado for its proposition. The London catchment area it is currently targeting contains some two million households and will be serviced from a distribution hub in Enfield.



House PR Demonstrate A Solid Second Screen Strategy: Extending the Life-Cycle of a TV Show


TV-Social-Media-FastWebMediaHow often do you sit on your sofa watching TV while simultaneously checking your Facebook newsfeed or your Twitter? You might even be doing some online shopping or watching something else on YouTube! It’s no big news that more of us do exactly that; multi-screening.

This is a topic we’ve already discussed at large; last year we looked at multi-screening trends in the UK, and more recently we looked at games consoles and multi-screening as part of our Top 10 Digital Trends for 2014. In our research, we noted that many advertisers are now integrating social signals such as hashtags into TV ads; enticing viewers to tweet while they watch TV. But it’s now time to take a look at other options to combine the power of TV and Social Media; i.e. second screen strategies.

Second screen strategies often come before the broadcast and survive after the last episodes and these are becoming widespread across the industry, as they very efficiently improve audience engagement levels, discovery, loyalty and ultimately extend the life of a TV show. Let’s take a look at some examples:

Cars That Rock
House PR, a UK based PR agency, set up a campaign using YouTube videos surrounding TV show “Cars That Rock with Brian Johnson”, which airs on Quest (freeview channel 37). With a collection of short clips; averaging between 1 to 3 minutes, showing behind the scenes coverage, interviews with presenter and Rock legend Brian Johnson, the objective is to whet viewers’ appetites and entice them to want to watch the TV series. On top of that, a dedicated hashtag was created #carsthatrock, inviting users to join the conversation on Twitter.

The collection of 10 clips has only been up for a week but these have collectively received over 25,000 YouTube views and counting. A great way to engage viewers; both car lovers and Brian Johnson fans, but also to extend the life cycle of the TV show, as no doubt these clips will continue to receive attention long after the final episode airs.

X Factor
It’s no surprise that talent shows like X Factor and the like would invest in social media campaigns. After all, the whole premise of these TV shows is centred around audience engagement via telephone and text, so social media fits in nicely.

As well as using hashtags throughout the live shows, the judges and finalists are known to ‘live tweet’ throughout the show, further engaging viewers via Twitter. The show also posts videos on its YouTube channel with behind the scenes coverage and auditions. The most recent advance was the development of an X Factor app, where users can watch performances, play games, vote for their favourite contestants, take quizzes etc.

Doctor Who
The long running TV show has no shortage of fans, but with the ever increasing demands for more content and information, the brand has opted to share backstage information with fans via YouTube.

Boasting an enormous audience, spanning over a number of decades, the YouTube channel has an abundance of audience participation and video views. With campaigns like ‘#throwback Thursday’ that invite viewers to share their favourite Doctor Who moments, and plenty of backstage coverage and interviews, it’s no wonder the channel receives millions of monthly views.

Top Gear
As a cult TV show with a loyal following, built up over a number of years, Top Gear has also invested in YouTube video content to further engage fans of the show. The YouTube channel features behind the scenes coverage, clips from the show, interviews with the presenters and celebrity guests etc. No doubt the channel receives a lot of interest even between seasons when fans are feeling nostalgic.

The case studies above highlight how second screen strategies can help to extend a TV show’s life cycle and keep viewers engaged even after the show has gone off air. There are plenty of other TV shows that have adopted similar strategies to further engage viewers and prolong the lifecycle of the TV series and no doubt this trend will continue as second screening continues to be part of our lives.