Forget cup finals and royal weddings, our very own Brighton has been a sea of colour this month, with the children’s parade, the Fringe festival, the Great Escape music festival, open art houses and so much more. With all this fun it’s sometimes hard to keep up with work.
But we didn’t want you to feel left out so, please do take a moment to catch up on the most important goings on from the world of social media. With new ad formats in Instagram, crack downs on ‘Pods’, emoji polls, and news from Facebook’s F8 conference, we’ve sifted the wheat from the chaff to bake you only the most important bread. (Ed: What are you on about?)
Instagram goes Pods hunting
On most social media platforms engagement is everything. Likes, comments and shares can determine the success or failure of a post or page. For a while now, groups of people have been forming groups (or ‘Pods’) for the sole purpose of liking and sharing each other’s posts. This mutually beneficial process games algorithms into promoting posts, even though they’re not receiving genuine interactions from followers.
However, this week Facebook has announced that it has taken down 10 large Instagram Pods (one with over 200k people) signifying a crackdown on this practise.
So, what does this mean to me?
If you’re part of an Instagram Pod, then be aware that its days may be numbered. Quite where the line falls between group chats discussing shared interests at set times each week, and these outlawed ‘Pods’ is unclear.
In any case I’d advise using your own judgement and avoiding any groups that seem to focus more on algorithms than community. It’s far better to put your efforts into building a loyal following of people who are genuinely interested in what you’ve got to say. And if you’re stuck for ideas on how to do this, do check out our free guide 8 Steps to an effective social media strategy or sign up to our Content Marketing course.
Instagram allows organic posts to become adverts
Coming soon… the ability to turn organic Instagram posts into adverts. Up until now, the only way to gain extra clicks on existing posts was to use the in-app ‘Promote’ button (similar to Facebook’s ‘Boost’ button).
But now, you’ll be able to use Facebook Ads Manager or Power Editor to create targeted ads based on existing posts. This gives advertisers more targeting options for Single Video or Single Photo Feed posts. It’s likely that the same feature will be enabled for Carousel, Stories, Branded Content or Shopping posts in the near future.
Through Ads Manager you’ll be able to see results for the paid for portion of the post, but the In-App Insights feature (available to business profiles) will show you a split of Organic and Paid metrics.
Facebook connects Brands and Creators
In a move we flagged in last month’s blog, Facebook has been hard at work developing a capability which will enhance the potential of Influencer Marketing. A new search engine within Facebook will allow brands to find and work with content creators that will help them engage with new audiences.
Although currently only in the test phase, a leaked screenshot (from AllFacebook.de) tells us much more about how this will work.
Facebook points out that this feature will help brands access new audiences with more authentic content. They’ll be able to tap into the talents of creators, as well as their existing fanbases. Creators themselves will benefit from a new way of monetising the content they make, and audiences will enjoy more interesting and creative content. So, that’s win win win.
How can I get involved?
Creators are currently being invited to participate in the trial. If selected, you’ll be invited to set up a portfolio which includes your best branded content, and share details of your audience size and metrics. To begin with the focus is likely to be on Lifestyle brands and creators.
As a brand you’ll be able to search for creators with specific audience demographics, such as location, gender, interests, education, life events and more. So if you wanted to partner with a creator who had a strong following of young, single surfers in Spain, you could probably do that.
The search results show how closely each creator’s audiences match your requirements and allow you to make contact with any of them. There’s no mention of how creators will be vetted, or material approved to ensure it’s not offensive. I’m guessing that may come down to a private contract between the brand and creator, as it would when hiring a freelancer or agency.
During testing Facebook doesn’t take any money, but might do in the future. It does prevent creators being paid to simply re-post content from the brand that they didn’t create themselves.
Influencer marketing is a growing trend – a way for brands to appear more authentic, by having have their products re-interpreted by creative thought leaders who really understand their followers. With advertising real estate limited, Facebook needs to find ways to get advertisers to pay more for the same amount of space. Higher quality, more engaging content, could well be the answer.
Instagram Emoji sliders for voting
Why give something a rating of 1 to 10 when you can go from sad face to happy face?
This month the world’s fastest growing language, Emoji, has entered polling. Your friends in Instagram Stories can now respond to your polls using a sliding scale of emojis.
This form of polling gives people an engaging way of indicating their views on various topics. As businesses we are now able to ask our followers ‘how much do you…’ rather than simply ‘do you’? People can indicate their sentiment on various topics, rather than being tied to a simple yes/no response. Life’s more complicated that than, right?
To create an Emoji slider poll, just select it from the Sticker menu when creating an Instagram Story. You can choose any emojis from your phone’s library which will then animate as the voter drives it up and down the scale.
You’ll be able to see live results for each individual respondent, plus an average of all responses.
How can I make use of this?
As content creators, this new feature might be worth playing with. People react most to content they can interact with in new and different ways, and also enjoy sharing their views and preferences.
Why not try to come up with five questions you have about your own business and treat this as a little light market research? You could post a split screen photo of two products and find out which people prefer? Or what colour they prefer from a range? You could ask them what the most important aspects of your business are to them (i.e. speed of shipping, quality of product, customer service) and use that information to make sure you develop to meet these needs.
You could also present prototypes or new business ideas and ask people which you should develop further. There’s nothing like getting feedback directly from your own customers, and this also involve your customers, breeding loyalty and affinity with your brand.
Headlines from Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference
Fancy Facebook moves into the world of online dating. Their new ad-free platform, will be separate from your current profile but draw some data from your activities on the network.
Facebook Clear History will allow people to easily clear their entire Facebook history, causing headaches for fans of retargeting adverts.
VR Oculus Go is on sale now for just £199 bringing VR into the mainstream. Now is time to consider what your business can offer in this space in terms of products, services and promotional content.
AR and Messenger make for powerful marketing tools when combined. New Facebook features will enable brands to send out camera effects featuring immersive brand experiences to highly engaged followers.
(Nothing to do with Facebook and just for fun) Flopstarter’s crowd funding platform for completely useless inventions.
That’s all for this month, thanks for reading. See you next month, same time, same place, with the same off kilter banter.