From sledges to surfboards in just a matter of weeks… I’ve never been more proud of Britain, and my ability to start every blog post with a reference to the weather. Maybe I’ll compile a ‘Best of Weather Observations’ piece at the end of the year. You’d love that, wouldn’t you? 😏 Anyway, welcome to the May blog post, chock full of pithy insight into the world of social media.
This month includes news of LinkedIn’s new features to help you
stalk connect with your next business target, Snapchat’s shoppable augmented reality lenses, and how to create stunning 360 imagery in Facebook and Messenger. Enjoy!
LinkedIn helps you connect with people nearby
LinkedIn’s evolution continues unabated this month with the platform rolling out its new ‘Find Nearby’ functionality. This tool uses your device’s Bluetooth to search for others in your vicinity that have also enabled the feature. Once you’ve found someone you’d like to reach out to you can connect with them via LinkedIn for either 1-3 days or (if you really like them) forever. This feature is being rolled out around the world after successful tests last month.
To access this feature download the latest LinkedIn app on iOS, press ‘My Network’ on the bottom menu and you’ll see ‘Find Nearby (OFF)’ in the top menu. You can then follow the steps to switch on your visibility and connect with others around you.
How can I use this to grow my business?
Imagine you’re at a business event but have failed to meet in person and swap details with your intended networking targets. A simple tap on the LinkedIn app will show you other people at the event who are open to being contacted. You can then view their profiles and decide which you might benefit from networking with them. Once connected via social media you can easily arrange a meetup.
The Bluetooth range for an iPhone is only around 10 metres, so this will be most useful at conference seminars with a seated audience. If you’re great at remembering faces, but not so good with names and details then this might help you make a more targeted approach.
Running a business doesn’t only involve connecting with as many customers as possible. By developing good business-to-business relations you could find ways to:
- Reduce your costs – for example by finding a more competitive print supplier
- Benefit third party from expertise – by outsourcing some of your activities (SEO, anyone?)
- Form partnership deals – finding new channels through which to sell your products
- Improve the quality of your product – finding better quality materials or craftsmanship
Going into a meeting armed with a little information on who you’re meeting is likely to create a better impression and make your target more receptive to your approach.
Shoppable Augmented Reality: Snapchat adds buttons to Sponsored Lenses
You may not have considered the social media platform Snapchat as a tool for business yet. However, it is in the process of developing it’s offering to help marketers target its user base of young, cutting-edge Generation-Z’ers.
Snap’s sponsored lenses, launched in 2015 have been used by the likes of Beats by Dre, Malibu Rum, and the X-Men franchise. Taco Bell received a massive 224m views of content coming from their lens. Costing upwards of $450,000 each to make, sponsored lenses allow people to map various graphics onto their own faces (or those of their cats), create pictures and videos, and then share them. This generates tons of shareable content in the process. Great promotion if you can afford it.
Snapchat is now allowing advertisers to add call-to-action buttons to their lenses which allow people, for example, to make a purchase, install an app or watch a video.
With about 50% of Snapchatters (that’s 70m people) making use of a lens every day, this is looking like a popular development.
Sounds great, but I can’t afford that!
This sort of premium promotion is currently unaffordable for smaller brands, and only those able and willing to take the financial risk have been able to benefit. However, there are signs that costs may come down in the future. Snapchat has already launched Lens Studio – a community of creators who can develop augmented reality lenses.
Shoppable AR is going to be a huge trend throughout 2018 and beyond. Finding ways to reduce the friction between marketing and purchase is likely to increase the conversion of customers and give your business a head start on your competitors.
While waiting for the cost for Shoppable AR tech to come down, now might be a good time to look at how easy it is for your customers to buy your product. How many clicks do they have to make? What payment options do you allow? Can they buy directly through their favourite social media platform?
Find out more about Snapchat advert formats and costs here.
Facebook enables 360 pictures and HD videos in Messenger
Having launched the ability last summer to capture 360-degree images directly within the app, Facebook has now extended this functionality to Messenger. It now also allows people to share crisp quality 720p HD videos directly through Messenger.
In case this one passed you by here’s how to do it
In the Facebook app:
- Ensure you have the latest version of the app
- Tap to create a new photo post
- Tap the grey camera icon to capture a photo and toggle from ‘Normal’ to ‘360’.
- You can adjust the height of the image using the icon to the right of the capture button.
- Then move your camera around to capture the full image and post as normal
- Use the panorama setting in your camera to capture your photo
- Then share it in Messenger as you would do with a normal photo
- The app will automatically convert it into a 360 image
How could I use 360 imagery?
This is a great way to create eye-catching content and quite literally put people in your shoes. Think about your business – what’s unique and interesting about what you do? What might your customers like to see? You could show them your work surroundings, or give them an insight into an event you run, or show off your products being used out in the real world.
We love it when people experiment with new technologies to create innovative social media content. There are new formats being developed all the time and it’s really worth dedicating a bit of time to explore what’s possible. 360-degree photos or videos could really help you stand out from your competitors that only post still images.
Messenger and advertising formats are developing at pace and it won’t be long before 360 and virtual reality content become part of our daily repertoire. Developing your technique early is always a great way to stay ahead of the pack and draw attention to your brand.
Facebook’s News Feed Ranking – Explained in 3 minutes.
Back in January we covered the news of major changes to the Facebook algorithm. The platform announced that it would be prioritising posts from family and friends as opposed to brands and businesses, making it more difficult for businesses to have their posts seen. This short video explains a little more about Facebook’s motivations for making this change and how it might impact you.
You can catch up on our suggestions for how to turn this change into an advantage in our blog post.
That’s all for this month, thanks for reading. See you next month, same time, same place, with the same inane weather-related observations!