Why you need to be on Snapchat

Have you been on either of these channels lately? They’re booming. It seems a lot of people think Snapchat is in trouble now that Instagram has introduced a face filter feature to Instagram stories. However, I beg to differ. And here’s why…

  1. The face feature on Instagram are limited, and they’re much less jazzy than Snapchat.
  2. Instagram’s facial recognition within this feature is slower and less accurate than Snapchat when it comes to the application of said filters.

Perhaps, the most important reason to note is that Snapchat is actually in a strong position within the market. It’s innovative idea to spearhead intimate photo sharing, and creating the original my stories platform, allowing creators to share content in chronological order for 24hrs has been so popular it’s been copied by Instagram, Facebook and Whatsapp amongst others. It seems everyone wants to “own” the camera -as Silicon Valley tip computer vision and augmented reality to be the next big thing.

My final thought

If you are a business Snapchat is not a channel to ignore or underestimate. If you aren’t already on it, you should be. The platform is now focused on growing their partnerships with brands, to create tailored branded content that when gets into the hands of its users, allows people to press and share with their friends or as part of their daily story. And if you didn’t already know – consumers are 7x more likely to buy or engage with a brand that shares video content.

Now think about what I just said, and remember they can share it with their sphere of influence instantly and direct.

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4 trends you need to know about driving growth in 2017

writing and email

As companies begin to think more like their customers, and ideas spread across industries faster, it’s important to be aware that consumers are actively comparing and contrasting business performance when making a decision on where to spend their money. With today’s consumer now looking for control and convenience over their time, money and space companies will be challenged to react to market trends quickly and effectively. In this post, I’ve identified 4 areas that we see playing an important role in defining company strategy in 2017. This is based on findings of a white paper produced by White Space agency.

  1. New pricing and ownership models

 

Thanks to Spotify, Netflix and Zipcar who took this ownership model mainstream we are now able to purchase products that were expensive, or used infrequently on a need to want basis. Research has also shown that this of particular attraction to millennial consumers who have less space and money and can see the benefits to removing the burden of ownership. There is also a growing trend in subscription services that provide us with the basics, including; coffee, razor blades and underwear, which saves the consumer time and offers that all important convenience factor. Where it is possible to offer this kind of service companies will be able to maintain value to the customer, and nurture long-term relationships with individuals. Despite the expense of changing pricing models for an established company, I believe it’s worthwhile for companies looking to determine whether products should be marketed and sold as a service, or promote the value of ownership as identify.

 

  1. Energy Storage

 

Fully expect to see lots of changes in the area of renewable and energy storage this year. This shift comes as policy changes to the feed-in-tariff and a fall in the price of renewable energy below the level of oil and gas, contributing to the reduction in the installation of renewables throughout the UK. This being the case you may see those type of companies switch sales strategies and seek alternative revenue streams once Ofgem sets clear guidelines for ‘energy generation’ going forward. The reduction in price to energy storage has opened doors for businesses operating in this space to tackle the issue of whether energy storage units are appropriate for them, or if there is an opportunity to lease additional storage space to the National Grid to enable them to reduce peak demand.

 

  1. Customer Service Automation

 

The power of good customer service will give businesses the power to increase acquisition, retention and encourage brand loyalty. As mentioned earlier the high expectations of today’s consumer now demands an easy, effective and emotive service at their convenience. And with companies like Amazon and Uber leading the way on change, it’s not how well established you are, but how well you adopt new technologies that allow for easy and effective customer service. This means stripping back those long and complicated menu systems and replacing it with voice recognition software that can help people get where they need to go quicker.

Companies who can capitalise on this trend and look for data and ways to problem-solve in real-time, linking up different channels, through one seamless approach will reap great rewards.

 

  1. New Payment Methods

 

Don’t expect to see new technology go viral, but there is good reason to believe there will be improvements in the way payments are currently taken, and opportunities for gathering additional consumer rich data that will provide useful insight to companies looking to strengthen internal analytics functions, and be better prepared. It’s thought that this year will be one of rapid innovation, marked by increasingly sophisticated payment-based data and biometric payments.  For example, you can now confirm your identity by looking at your eyes through a camera on a mobile phone – a technology developed by ‘EyeVerify’ and already being used by early adopters such as Mastercard and Atom Bank. With these targeted payment technology options available, suppliers and retailers can now plan on how they will use the data collected from these streams to improve and add value to the customer experience and be different.

 

Conclusion
As the boundaries between different types of companies become blurred, and the consumer draws comparison from companies across sectors with keywords such as speed and convenience drawing their attention. It’s vital for the established companies including supermarkets, utilities providers and those in the financial sector to identify the trends and take action on market demands to avoid the risk of being left behind.

Snapchat 101

  
Have you heard of Snapchat? Do you know what it is? Need a reason to download it? Let me help you.

The increase of people asking me about the mobile platform has rocketed in the last few weeks, so I decided it was time to blog about it and hopefully shed some light on what this mobile app does, and why it’s so cool right now.

As  one of the fastest-growing social media platforms, Snapchat has taken the market by storm in just a few short years. Overtaking Instagram, and potentially threatening to knock the social media king, Facebook down a few pegs or two, with the migration of young adults and teenagers moving to sites such as Snapchat, Whatsapp and even Periscope to some degree. The social landscape is constantly changing, but there’s a very good case for businesses looking to reach a younger audience to at least consider entering the world of Snapchat and instant stories. However, as a disclaimer, I’d like to add this post is aimed at the individual that it is to business, although I will add some comments around this, and post specifically about business use at a later date.

So here’s what you need to know

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is an real-time video and image sharing platform that you can instantly share with a specific friend, or to all of your friends, or even your entire city – providing they are on Snapchat, of course.

Why should I be on it?

You don’t. It’s a choice. If you are an individual wondering what all the fuss is about, then it’s just a cool way to send a message to one of your friends, in a similar way to Whatsapp, however, Snapchat let’s you send video and text together, and allow you to draw, message, or use one of their wacky but outrageously fun filters. At first this seemed to strike me as a great way to send an image to someone with a timer on it, so you don’t need to worry about sending a picture of yourself in your PJ’s and the receiver doing something dodgy with your image. We liked this very much, and reports have shown that in January 2016 around 9000 images are posted to Snapchat every second. We clearly like this a lot.

What can you do with it?

You can take a picture, or a video, add text to it, and select a filter before sending it to one or more of your contacts. You just need touch the lined square at the bottom right of your screen, to then select from your list of contacts who you want to share with. Now it’s not the easiest of apps to explain, but I just want to highlight the cool things you can do, so any specific questions that you have please do get in touch with me.

What else you need to know?

You can send it to a specific person, or group of friends by selecting their names in the list I mentioned, or you can check the My Stories box, and it will automatically save your snap to your ‘timeline’ if you will. This is a cool feature because it lets you go back and download your snap, if it’s something you want to keep. Remember when I talked about the images/video having a timer? When you send your Snap to a friend, you can’t undo or see that image again, but when you send it to My Stories, you can – at least for another 24hours. If you take several photos in one day, then it will string them together making one story for you to share with all your followers. You can also download that story if it’s something you would like to keep on your phone.  Just make sure you do it before the 24hours is up.

Oh, and don’t forget to play around with it, and try out some filters. They’re a mixture of funny, scary and weird. Feel free to add me by searching for my name @leemac85 too, and send me your snaps on Twitter to let me know you got it.

One last thing that I forgot to mention – you can also send it to [insert the name of your city] story. So for me it would be London story. It’s pretty cool to watch a day in the life of your city from many different perspectives.

I hope that helped. I need to run, but here’s one I made earlier. 😉 Don’t forget to add me!

Here’s one I made earlier…

  
Also don’t forget to follow me on @leemac85 on Periscope too! I am about to start #BreakfastwithLee Saturday’s where I share, make and take you to some of my favourite spots in London for the best food. 

Three Social Media Strategy tips for 2016

We’ve all heard and know the importance of being on social media by now, and how important it is to be able to build an audience through content that sits across multiple platforms. However, did you know that over 50% of purchases are influenced by digital? Now it’s really not good enough to say you’re investing in social media and you have an account on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and You Tube, without providing a valid reason as to why you are on there.

Firstly, I think we need to be thinking larger than those five obvious channels. We’ve seen incredible growth in instant broadcasting platforms like Snapchat, Periscope, Instagram and Vine. In 2015 we also saw the likes of messaging apps like Whatsapp and even dating app Tinder, but in the world of marketing we are still in the early stages of figuring out how best to use these channels.

Yes, I do believe there are still some businesses out there (well known brands) who appear to be covered in social media bling, but if they were honest they would tell you we are on social media, but we don’t really understand how it works for our business and what to do with it.

Here’s my three tips for

  1. Quality over quantity

It’s better for brands to choose the right channel and have a few than have 20 empty profiles online. In the same way that it is better to have one great piece of content, over three. Ok, I’m exaggerating here, and I do feel like I’m repeating myself, but I recommend we look at value over volume.

2. Make content that will spread across a number of platforms

If you create a 3 minute video promotional video, can you cut or take a still image from your footage that could be used on Instagram, or Vine? You may have heard the phrase multi-channel marketing. Where content is used and squeezed of all it’s juicy goodness ensuring you are getting the most of your marketing spend.

Side note: Those little extra’s don’t cost that much to produce, but they go a long way in helping you reach your target audience. 

If you’re in retail, this point should be of particular importance to you as research shows 78% of consumers will look on digital before they buy in store. That is higher than 72% who buy online after trying on in store.

3. Be present and consistent

Show up. It’s bad business if you open late one day, and close your store early the next. If the customer doesn’t know where they stand you will give them more reason to divorce you. Those who are customer facing, make sure you have a strong customer service presence on your profiles, and please try not over complicate it by having 10 different Facebook pages that leave the consumer on around a maze of confusion. Post consistently, and don’t forget to go back and engage with those all important customers who take the time to leave a comment/share their thoughts. Use private chat for those more in depth and personal conversations that will quickly solve a customers problem, or defuse a possible hostile situation.

It was hard to pick just three, but I believe if you take these three strands into consideration this year you will most definitely be in a stronger position. Don’t forget to be creative with the content you produce too, yeah?

Ciao! 😉

 

 

 

Being yourself

I love that in the time short time I’ve been in the digital marketing industry, I’ve seen massive changes from being in a position where I was once inferior to the ‘powers that be,’ to actually having a voice and a pretty on point perspective of what actually works and doesn’t work.

Something that took the previous generations years to figure out, is being solved in a much shorter space of time – Given the extreme amounts of information that’s being downloaded every second, to the vast amount of connection that is taking place; not just locally, but globally.

The global part may not be news to you, but in the perspective of business marketing and digital marketing. This explains Google Panda, and Penguin, and to those who are not familiar with either of these. They relate to a bunch of guidelines, or boundaries that Google have put in place to stop black hat marketers cheat you out of your money, and sell you bad links, or anyone trying to cheat a game of fair play.

Although my marketing friends world would frown at me for saying this, but it’s true – And I for one think it’s a good thing. It’s good for everybody involved (generally)

It helps us the business owner choose a better fitting glove for our business when looking to partner with outside companies, etc. And it helps the consumer have a varied pallet to choose from – Hopefully giving them a better selection of genuine businesses.

What do I mean, by ‘genuine ‘ people who’re in business for all the right reasons, and not for a quick buck.

Oh yes, it goes that deep.

The wrong kind of fear

Way too many people are walking around today in fear of what people think of them. I want to encourage you today, to be bold and confident in your identity. If you don’t know what you stand for yet, then figure it out.

“If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.”

One of the most problematic areas I’ve found in social media marketing today is in the mindset held by suits at the top, or those in management. There is a fear that if they equip, or empower someone else to be the voice of their brand then, they are losing control, which is semi-understandable providing they don’t hire someone to be a social media strategist, and remove all privileges of what that entails, once they are in the door. This problem still consists today, and as hard as that may be to believe given the massive leaps and bounds made within the world of internet marketing, of late, I’m not sure we’ll see that back of it any time soon. My advice is best to be aware of this, and prepare to go around.

The truth is no business, irrespective of size can afford to be living in fear of what someone will say about your product or brand. If it’s a good product then there shouldn’t be a problem. Of course there will be a small percentage of people who just don’t like your product, or idea, and that’s OK. These are not good enough reasons to go all tightfisted on your social media team, if you have one (If you don’t, you have bigger problems that fear of what people think about your product, or brand).

Rather than shying away from the world, why not train your staff on how to handle complaints, and extend your customer service arm when needed through Twitter, Facebook and the various platforms that includes for you.

Remember some of those key fundamentals to having an online social media presence are:

  • establish your online presence
  • increase brand awareness
  • engage with your consumer market
  • encourage customer loyalty

 

 

 

Honest really is the best policy

If your thinking about investing in digital media this year, then by all means go for it. Just make sure you’ve done your research and explored every avenue before choosing your route.

Honest really is the best policy. So make sure you partner with someone who can back up what they say they can do. It really is unfortunate that there will be people out there who will happily take your money and run, or rip of your work at the drop of a hat. Not all of them, but there are a few.

Make sure you do your research before you enter into a contract. If you’re not up to speed with the land of digital marketing, then take your time and get there. Don’t be afraid to ask the questions until you understand.

The good news is… Googles January update, which was announced in a post, on the Insights blog on Friday. Will now make life extremely hard for anyone who doesn’t follow the correct processes. For more information on that, click here.