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.

What’s social media got to do with mental health?

A lot. It’s mental health awareness week and I want to touch on the issue in relation to social media from the perspective of a social media manager.

First up my disclaimer is that I love social media, and believe it holds incredible value for business and brands and consumers. I also am real enough to admit that on a personal level it’s not all roses and sunshine – like anything it can be abused or used in a way to abuse ourselves and others.

As a marketer, and curious person, I find it interesting to observe how we interact with each other online, and the different ways we use social media. We’ve really have carved a social culture out online that continues to evolve  and there are some habits that I’ve noticed that haven’t really shifted in the last 6 years or so. I think they’re relevant because our habits have an impact on the way we live our lives. Here are a few quick fire thoughts of habits that I believe we need to be careful of:

  1. Posting or venting your thoughts and feelings on social media doesn’t mean you’ve dealt with an issue.
  2. It’s ok not to have an opinion on everything.
  3. It’s not ok to hide behind social media and use it as a tool to abuse others in the same way it’s not acceptable to do that face to face with someone you do not know. FYI According to my twitter feed today it looks like the law is introducing serious consequences for those who choose to take that path now too.
  4. The need to be known or followed is overrated, seriously. Remember what you see on social media the majority of the time is someone’s highlight reel. I know of people who have large reputable followings who look cutesy and inspirational on the outside, but severely depressed, isolated and lonely in reality.
  5. Comparison in is a killer – this is really relevant in any sphere or walk of life, but especially on social media when we are matching and patching our homes, family and lifestyles against other people.
  6. Time management  and healthy breaks – if we turn our phones off, or delete our apps for a second it doesn’t mean we’re missing out. Actually I highly recommend taking social media breaks to just be in the moment. I have been guilty of this one too, so I recently removed Facebook from my phone (except Pages for work purposes) and I can’t tell you how much time and space in my mind I’ve saved from a developed habit of being glued to social media. Its liberating.
  7. Consumer or consumed? Our attention span has dramatically fallen over the last few years, and whilst I’m no mental health professional, I know this is having an impact on the way we consume content, particularly online. For example, the length of copy, or video clips has continued to shorten and simplify to accommodate our fast-paced lives.

Consumed or consumer? Stay tuned for Friday’s blog post that delves deeper into the question how much does social media impact on our mental health?

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. 

3 reasons to use Periscope

Have you tried Periscope yet? If not, why not? I love it. It’s the hottest new platform from Twitter. You don’t need to wait for that big break on TV or film any longer. Just download the app, connect it up to your Twitter account, and tell the world what you see!

I almost shrugged this channel, and snapchat off. Even though I could see it was trending, it just felt like a hassle. Generally, you create a few seconds of content that disappears within a few seconds (or 24hours if on Periscope). At first I failed to see the point of it, but actually there is… it’s about connection. Connecting with an audience on ground level, at real time. It’s an incredible opportunity for business to get personal with their customer. So why haven’t we seen more companies on Periscope and taking advantage of this fantastic opportunity?

I believe part of the problem is that people want to see BIG return, for little input. Whilst I understand that on a business level you want to see a return for the time and effort you put in, social media should be viewed as a long term strategy, with short term goals.

The other reason is that now we have other channels including Snapchat and Facebook live providing similar more convenient options accessible options. Although all three of these platforms bring something different to the table

So has Periscope missed the boat? I don’t think so, for the right company and reason there is still opportunity to be had for those not scared to venture out of their comfort zone.

It’s a great way to do a live Q & A giving brands control over questions they want to answer, and adding another dimension to the relationship or community you are trying to build.

3 ideas for using Periscope for:

  1. Live Q & A
  2. Interesting facts
  3. 5 minute couch talk
  4. Training and teaching workshops

 

 

#businesstalk #socialmedia #justathought #myopinion

 

Being the customers choice

If you want to be the company your consumer chooses, then be the company they’re looking for first.

You attract what you personify in the same way our bodies project a certain message by our unspoken actions, (otherwise known as body language) in which case we push away customers when we fail to give them a smile, or be in the slightest willing to go the extra mile and check the stock room for whatever they may require – especially when we know it’s in stock.

The stock room doesn’t mean this post only relates to those in retail, or warehousing now – the stock room can be the treasure chest of please, thank you and how are you today? Don’t ever underestimate the power of an honest kind word.

The biggest changes are born out of the smallest number of steps; so take a step in the right direction today and choose to be the company you would want to shop in. Leave making a fast buck aside because when it’s all said and done money that comes fast, leaves fast.

Free is no substitute

Giving away free samples and gifts are all great if your business is built from a place of trust and integrity, but if you can’t provide customers with a service that is sustainable, then you shouldn’t think that giving away free tickets to a concert is going to be enough to keep people buy in.

Gimmicks’s don’t work. As the consumers choice increases, our expectations in what we look for in any one supplier will inevitably change – and this is more than an economic issue.

Cake in a Jar

I had a completely different blog planned for The Social Exchange this week. However, I decided to write about something off the cuff, so be prepared. This is a little bit of a brain dump post. Today, I decided to write about this:

CAKE IN A JAR!

There’s nothing special about this except maybe that it’s pretty, multi-coloured and probably full of sugar and E numbers. This is simply cake in a jam jar. Now I don’t know about you, but I’ve not thought too much about eating cake from a jam jar and yet as the cupcake market (in my opinion) becomes saturated and most likely hit it’s peak, the question begs what’s next for the cake industry. Well on researching the current market share for the cake industry, (yes I am a geek like that) here is what I found:

If you managed to read that you would have read that the industry is facing a few challenges of it’s own at the moment, although the cake category did show some growth by 1.1%. So what does all this mean, and what am I getting too?

Well, first, I included the above clip from a well-respected industry report as it confirms my thoughts on how the consumers buying pattern has changed; And secondly, why I believe believe that this, cake in a jar, is the next big thing. Yes, tt’s nothing new, in fact if you look online it’s already circulating pinterest, and various sites and blogs in America – the pioneers who revived the cupcake and the whoopie pie, in recent times.

I believe cake in a jar is the next innovative thing to show up for two reasons:

  1. It’s innovative
  2. It’s innovative

We love things in a box! I love things in a box. It makes us feel special. We have become crazed with shopping online and the packaging of little boxes from companies like Amazon, Graze, Moo, and others. because it makes us feel special. It’s a shot in the dark, but I’m pretty sure I’m right on this. As the economy has tightened our spend, we are way more careful in what and how we spend our pennies, and we are more likely to spend it on something that makes us feel special, or on something that we really really like than to spend it on something that is simply average.

I was a subscriber to Graze for a few months and loved awaiting that small and slim brown package filled with healthy treats, and I am still obsessed with purchasing from Amazon and Moo.com for similar reasons. Cake in a jar excites me, and I’m willing to bet it will excites you too. Even if you still say no right now, like with most things, there is a tipping point and I’m I believe cake in the jar is just about to be called upon, by the cake consumers of this fine country!