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A regularly updated resource of information and news items.

Archive for the ‘Social Networking Sites’ Category

Social media and driving: Know the rules

Posted Friday, February 27th, 2015

 

If you’re aged 17 to 29 or a van driver you have probably checked your mobile while driving.

Researchers looked at habits in England and Scotland and found these groups of motorists most likely to look at mobile messages at the wheel.

Unsurprisingly, they found texting and using social media is now a bigger issue than drivers making calls.

But is glancing at Facebook off limits? We check out the rules:

  • You definitely can’t hold your phone
  • It is illegal to use a mobile phone held in the hand while driving or while stopped with the engine on.
  • This has been the law since December 2003.
  • If you break this law, even if you are otherwise driving safely, you could face a fine of £100 and three penalty points on your licence.

What about hands free?

If you are deemed not to be in control of a vehicle while using a hands-free phone you can still be prosecuted.

The penalties are the same as for using a hand-held phone.

But watch out because…

You only need to be seen using a mobile phone while driving by police to be prosecuted.

But, if your driving is bad, or if there is a crash while you are using the phone, you could be prosecuted for careless driving, dangerous driving or, if someone is killed, for causing death by careless or dangerous driving.

Fines can be much greater and prison becomes almost certain if a death is caused.

So stay safe guys!


Snapchat to charge £50,000 per day for 1 advert!

Posted Friday, January 16th, 2015

With the ability to reach millions of viewers a day, the strong video focused messaging app promotes itself as a TV-style commercial space for the ad world. In late October, 2014, the app started rolling out paid ads. Universal Pictures were the first, advertising their film Ouija.

Sponsors pay for ‘Snaps’, short videos and photos, to show up in users ‘recent update’ feeds. Brands like McDonald’s, Samsung and Macy’s have jumped on the bandwagon early.

Photo and video ads of major events like the American Music Awards appear in the ‘Our Stories’ live feed.

Brands are being asked for a $750,000-a-day commitment if they wish to advertise to Snapchat’s estimated 100 million monthly users.

 

“From a monetization perspective, they are looking for fewer, bigger, better”, an agency executive said.

Advertisers have been told by the Snapchat team that ad placement is reserved for top brand category leaders as their ads could potentially reach tens of millions of views a day.

“We have clients for whom Snapchat works really well, it’s good for a product launch or a rebranding”, the agency executive explained.

McDonald’s and Universal have had success advertising product and movie launches through the app but sources say the program lacks sophistication.

Snapchat is unable to break down who is watching the ads because of its limited reported capabilities. At this stage, brands will never know who is actually watching as there is no way to determine how many women compared to men viewed your ad or age breakouts.

On January 5, Milward Brown Digital released analysis of the first six Snapchat ads and found that viewers enjoyed 60% of ‘Our Stories’ and 44% of ‘Brand Stories’.

Snapchat ad campaigns had a “significant positive impact on key brand metrics including ad awareness and brand favorability”, says the study.

But with rates significantly higher than its competitors, “it is difficult to go forward with Snapchat at the prices they are quoting”, an executive explained.

Do you think the price is too high?


Instagram now bigger than Twitter

Posted Friday, December 12th, 2014

Instagram says it has the potential to “change the world” as it announced it has overtaken Twitter with 300 million users.

The company’s CEO Kevin Systrom described the milestone as “exciting” and said the company would “continue to grow”.

Twitter claims to have 284 million users accessing the network each month.

Facebook, which boasts 1.35 billion monthly active users, bought Instagram in 2012.

Kevin Systrom said: “Instagram is about seeing a live pulse of the world right now, it’s not just about taking a photo of a cute baby or a cute dog.”

Instagram is also introducing verified accounts similar to the blue tick symbols used by Facebook and Twitter.

 


Has Snapchat murdered Facebook?

Posted Friday, October 3rd, 2014

I watched a video yesterday from Casey Neistat who is an awesome YouTube film creator and an avid user of Snapchat

He put this video together yesterday: Snapchat murdered Facebook

It’s a massive thumbs up to Snapchat and makes Facebook look like the old grandpa that just isn’t is as cool as it used to be. I agree it’s not as cool as it was but here’s why I think it will avoid any brutal Goodfella’s type murder from Snapchat

  • The age of the users: it’s clear from Casey’s video that the snapchat generation are very young and in this example mostly girls (that’s likely the result of Jerome’s influence!). It nonetheless demonstrates that whilst Snapchat has an avid following, they’re young and this is backed up by having a 50% smartphone penetration in the US in the age range 18-24 year olds. However, Facebook is still the leading social media app among 18-34 year olds with a smart phone penetration of 75.6%. Yes Snapchat is making ground on Facebook and Facebook needs an injection of the cool factor but despite the threat to its dominance people won’t leave Facebook yet, there’s too many of their friends on it, too much activity, too many groups, messages and pages that they interact with.

 

  • They’re different platforms: once upon a time there was only room for one sherif in town whether it be Friendster, MySpace or Facebook but that’s changed. There’s room for more than one these days as more people have flocked to social networks and are happy to use different apps for different functions. People don’t want or expect one app to do all things, they’ll go to Instagram for filters, Pinterest for nice pictures and vine for short snappy videos. Each serve their purpose and Snapchat whilst fun for pictures and videos won’t offer all the functionality that Facebook does and nor should it and so there’s no immediate reason to delete your Facebook account yet

 

  • Video on mobile: this one’s close to home as I’m in the final stages of developing BeBirbal (Twitter: @bebirbal) and I totally agree that video hasn’t been provided to the public in the best way yet. However, with two-thirds of mobile data expected to be video by 2017 I feel as though there will be an influx of video apps that will try to be the solution. Is Snapchat the answer? It’s great for the time being but something tells me there’ll be an array of options coming soon. And would Snapchat’s stories be enough to leave Facebook, probably not, but it’s where I go for real-time video and then return to Facebook to continue scrolling through my news feed.

These are just my thoughts, you might have a different opinion which I’d love to hear. I’m a massive fan of Casey’s (I watched every video he’d uploaded to YouTube in one sitting when I discovered him and check Snapchat to see his stories) but I just thought I’d add my thought on this video

Have a great day!

 

 


Why Your Business Should Be on Google+

Posted Thursday, April 10th, 2014

There are some very compelling arguments in favor of including Google+ in a social media marketing strategy.

Google Plus has a huge user base
With more than 540 million active monthly users, Google Plus sees its number of users increase daily. Google is encouraging you to link your profiles on Google Play and YouTube and with more peopel using these platforms, more people will be using Google+

Make use of Google Hangouts.

With Google Hangouts, free live video conferencing can take place for as many as 10 people. The benefits for a small business are obvious: You can reach out to customers, dealers, vendors and social media contacts at no cost. You can also participate in Hangouts initiated by others and communicate with thought leaders in your niche.

Be cognizant of the Google connection.
Google is at the epicenter of all search engines. While Bing is also a player, Google is still the big daddy. There is sufficient anecdotal evidence to suggest that profiles that do well on Google+ get indexed quicker on Google. Add to that the fact that Google Plus business pages are beginning to show up on search engine results pages, and you have two very strong reasons to work on establishing a presence here.

Take advantage of Google+ reviews.
With Google+ reviews showing up on search results, potential customers might be influenced to choose your business if they come across positive reviews. Therefore, provide great service and proactively solicit reviews on Google+. Nothing beats a favorable reference from one human being to another.

Explore Google+ Ripples.
Google Plus is a feature-rich social media platform; you can leverage Circles, Hangouts, Hangouts on Air, Communities and Ripples. The latter category can be particularly useful for small businesses. It is a data visualization graph that lets you take in at a glance the manner in which your content has been shared.

Are you on Goolge+ or is your business? How do you think it compares to Facebook, Twitter or Linked?


Reskinning Apps- the opportunities to reskin differently

Posted Friday, April 4th, 2014

Here’s a blog post I wrote for an app blog which is about to go live and I thought I’d share. It looks at how many indie app developers are reskinning apps with he same old code and having trouble standing out in the app store. Here’s thoughts about a different approach and how reskinning could even help people around you.

Smashing Apps

We’re all in the app reskinning business and hopefully everyone is smashing it! It took me some time to get my head round how it all works and implementing the systems that helped me release quality apps quickly. But as I’m sure many people experienced, I hit some early financial losses when I started which I couldn’t afford and what’s more, I was worried whether the app business would work for me or I would get it right.  It forced me to find a way of making guaranteed income from reskinning before I spent all the money I had to build apps

I’d love this article to be about how I’ve cracked it, instead it’s a couple of thoughts on the opportunities reskinning offers and how I’ve used what I’ve learnt to make alternative revenue. Initially I needed to find a way to cover my costs to reskin my own apps but eventually I realized how reskinning could apply to any new business. Hopefully there’ll be a follow up message on how I’ve nailed it!

The Background

I run a company called SWARMbuzz which helps businesses with their online, social and mobile strategies. I’d been running the business for 3 years when I discovered how to build an app, I love everything mobile so I thought I’d give the app game a go. But I took a massive early hit; I made some poor decisions on my first app, severely overspent and finally got nailed by the developer. It was a disaster. But I tried again and whilst I’d learnt a few lessons, I still made mistakes and made a loss, poor developers and my own inexperience were costing me. By my third attempt I had an app released which saw some good early downloads but it would have needed to be a smash hit to recover expenditure on 3 apps, 2 of which didn’t even get released!

I couldn’t afford to keep losing money but I wanted to continue having a go at building apps as I believed it was a great market and I enjoyed it. I needed to find a way to cover my early losses and get some quick income to fund further projects. I continued to release some small games which were making money but my P&L sheets weren’t looking very healthy and I needed to do something about it

 

How can I play the reskinning game differently?

Initially I thought that the reskinning game was a secret I should keep. As I’d spent the time and money learning only I should know about it. But this didn’t last, partly because I think it’s better to share knowledge and secondly I’m not very good at keeping secrets! The more people I told, friends and clients, the more they were interested and saw the sense in it. Until a friend who owns a successful company asked me to produce monthly games for his business targeting families. He knew they were reskinned apps and he was happy they were, I wasn’t cheating him, I was helping him. He’d been producing apps for his other companies paying tens of thousands of dollars but I was telling him I could produce apps at a fraction of the cost and quicker, he was naturally very happy and I now produce small games for him each month. You may ask why I wouldn’t just produce these games for myself but in the early days the money I charged allowed me to recover my loses, I liked working with his company and we’re about to start new mobile businesses together because it has worked so well

When we think reskinning we think of games immediately because that’s what we’ve seen our teachers do and what we’ve read most about. But I’ve come to realize that the opportunities are truly endless, so far I’ve found a source code that has suited all of my crazy ideas! As an example, my family run a charity to help educate children less fortunate in India and Africa so I decided I could take a wallpaper source code I owned and use it to build a charity app. I wanted to offer it to other charities so I contacted local charities to show them the app I’d built and how I could do the same for them. I covered my costs and time and whilst it made a little money, it was the chance to help charities reach a mobile audience and acquire donations via an app which was all for good causes.

Where are these opportunities?

Networking networking networking! Speak to new people on social media, forums and friends at the bar!. Reach out to new people and speak to your friends to share your app knowledge because mobile is still very new to many people. I made a point of listing the people I knew who ran a business which could best benefit from apps. I sent them an email and just asked if we could meet for a chat. All of them agreed and those who understood mobile liked apps and they loved reskinning because quite frankly, it makes sense! Keep in contact with the people you know who own or work in a small business with a simple email or text message; majority of your business will come through people you already know.

To help my online business I took out a $1500 loan from my family and joined a networking group which could be hard work as it started at 6.30am once a week, but it gave me the chance to meet local businesses and talk about the online and mobile world. Remember we’re tech ninjas, there are a lot of people, even young people, who don’t understand the mobile game and how it’s conquering everything! When I decided to offer reskinning commercially I arranged meetings with fellow members and we discussed how I thought apps could help them. Over the course of my two years with the group I did $25000 in business (a mixture of mobile, social and app work) so I was thankful the investment was worthwhile.

It’s not as though my time is now filled with building other people’s apps, I still have plenty of time to build my own. But it brought in some early money to help cover my mistakes. What I’ve enjoyed the most is being able to help companies build a low cost app that is equally effective as one that would’ve cost far more money. It also started conversations with successful business owners who now want to build other mobile businesses together.

The fighting talk

What’s cool about all of this is that I’ve never written a line of code, I can’t design an icon or implement a chart boost SDK. That’s not what I do, a property developer doesn’t build the walls, they try to spot the opportunity and that’s what I enjoy the most; now and again it pays off!

It might not be your bag getting involved in other businesses; personally it’s what I love to do. If you’re in reskinning just as a passive income then you can still consider how your app flipping knowledge could pay for your first app, your next app or a big app you’ve been dreaming of releasing. You could reskin an app for your local restaurant or even your or your kid’s school and then multiple schools in your area. Charge whatever you’re comfortable with or enough to pay for your next app. Or simply find fun opportunities to utilize your app reskinning knowledge.

How cool would it be to build fun apps, extraordinary businesses and potentially help others, with the app reskinning lessons we’ve been taught, there’s no reason why we can’t!

Good luck to you all!

Get in contact:
Twitter: owhittle

 


10 things you didn’t know about Facebook, the world’s biggest social network

Posted Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Today is Facebook’s 10th birthday. For better or for worse, the little site named ‘thefacebook’ created in Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm room on 4 February 2004 has become a global phenomenon

1. Why is Facebook blue? Facebook’s logo is blue because Mark Zuckerberg is red-green colour blind. “Blue is the richest color for me. I can see all of blue,”

2. You can browse Facebook upside down. Facebook currently supports more than 70 different languages – including English (Pirate) and English (Upside Down).

3. Zuckerberg’s famously low-key wardrobe (either a grey t-shirt or a hoodie) is so that the CEO saves time deciding what to wear each day.

4. In July 2006 Zuckerberg turned down a $1 billion offer for the site from Yahoo. He was 22 years old at the time and owned 25 per cent of the company.

5. Around 350 million photos are uploaded to Facebook every day, with the site estimating in September last year that users had so far put up more than 250 billion images.

6. Following the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 Iceland decided to rewrite their constitution using Facebook to solicit suggestions from citizens.

7. A YouGov poll claimed that three-quarter of UK Facebook users’ photos showed someone drinking or inebriated.

8. Zuckerberg isn’t much of a Twitter fan. Despite having nearly three hundred thousand followers on the service he’s only tweeted 19 times – once in 2012 and the rest in 2009.

9. Facebook operates a bounty hunter program – for bugs. Like many other big technology companies Facebook offers cash rewards to security researchers who point out flaws in the site’s code. The minimum payout is $500 and the largest prize to date has been $33,500.

10. More than a third of divorce filings in 2011 referenced Facebook, said a survey from UK-based legal firm Divorce Online.

Do you know any others? Let us know


How important is video content to a business in 2014?

Posted Friday, January 17th, 2014

For starters, all marketers know that they need to be present in the same places as their audience. And, if the rocketing numbers of users on these new social video sites are anything to go by, some of the hottest seats in town can be found there.

  • It expands your reach

Being visible on these channels opens your brand up to new audiences and, therefore, new potential customers. Platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo have a staggering amount of users (YouTube has over 1bn unique users and is the second biggest search engine in the world), too, and by not reaching out to them you are cutting yourself off from a huge portion of the internet. In fact, five tweets per second contain a Vine link. That’s hard to ignore.

  • It puts you in favour with Google

It’s not just your audience that will appreciate the implementation of video, Google will too. The number one search engine no longer favours static websites. Instead, it places more emphasis on sites that produce consistently fresh, quality content, particularly rich content like video.
These days, sites have to be dynamic and interactive to stand any chance of being heard above the noise.

  • It’s easily digestible

Content today needs to be quickly and easily digestible, where the consumer has to put in minimal effort. People are hungry for information, but they don’t want to have to work too hard to get it.

  • It’s being used by your competitors

This was a good year for video, but it’s set to get even bigger next year. The 2013 video marketing trends report found that 93% of marketing professionals used online video in their strategies this year, with even more implementing it in 2014.

  • It makes a positive impact on your brand

If the points above haven’t persuaded you to start playing with video, then this certainly will. The video marketing trends report states that 82% of the marketers surveyed said that implementing video content in their marketing strategy had a positive impact on their business or organisation.

  • Conclusion

So, it seems that whatever your business goal is, video can help you get there; it reaches new audiences, puts you on good terms with Google, and provides snippets of useful content to your audience.

Perhaps most importantly, though, it adds another dimension to your content strategy, keeping things fresh, interesting, and memorable so that people keep returning. Not to mention you don’t want to be left behind your competition.


5 social media metrics that your business should be tracking

Posted Friday, November 1st, 2013

1. Reach

Metric to track: Audience Growth Rate

Tracking benefit: Directly connect social media data with business’ profits

Related metrics: Audience Growth, Total Followers

One item you should pay attention to is your Audience Growth Rate. A refinement of New Followers or similar stats, expressed in percent-change over time, the growth rate of your audience depicts your social media momentum

2. Engagement

Metric to track: Average Engagement Rate

Tracking benefit: Make engagement numbers meaningful and actionable

Related metrics: Reach, Overall Engagement, Audience Growth Rate

As your Audience Growth Rate follows a positive level of growth, you also need to ensure that you’re speaking to the right people – and that those people are listening.

3. Acquisition

Metric to track: Visitor Frequency Rate

Tracking benefit: Optimize targeting of new and returning visitors

Related metrics: Click-Thru Rate, Impressions from Social Media

Although total acquisitions from Twitter and Facebook are far lower than from organic Google search, the Return Visit % demonstrates these network’s unique value to your business.

4. Conversion

Metric to track: Assisted Social Conversions

Tracking benefit: Directly connect social media data with business’ profits

Related metrics: Last Click (Direct) Conversions

Beyond getting visitors to your brand’s website and then getting them to return, you should clearly define goals for how you want these visitors to convert into sales or other desired actions.

5. Activity

Metric to track: Customer Service Savings

Tracking benefit: Show impact on business’ bottom line

Related Metrics: Customer Service Costs, Social Media Posts

Go beyond post counts and content types to connect social media activity with profits. Combine your social media data with other data related to your business, and derive information like Customer Service Savings. Your business’ savings from social media equal the average time to complete traditional customer service, multiplied by hourly cost of customer service. Repeated 100 or 1000 times over, this translates to significant savings for your business.

Avg. Time x Costs Per Hour x Customer Service Inquiries Completed = Savings

(If you’d like to get even more precise, subtract out the costs of answering those inquiries through social media)


8 Fun ways to use Instagram for your business

Posted Monday, August 12th, 2013

Hundreds of millions of active Instagram users every month are posting forty million photos a day on Instagram. Think about those numbers for a few minutes. Now that they’ve sunk in I think we can agree that learning how to use Instagram to best promote your business, product or service is a very, very wise move

Why Instagram Is Good For Your Business

1. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

No it’s not a cliché at all. Do you have a product that you can display in a really visual dynamic way? Or a service that some great photos can highlight in an emotionally charged, dramatic manner? If you can translate the passion of what you offer or do into a visual image this opens a fantastic door of opportunity.

2. Instagram Can Offer A Behind the Scenes Look

When you share some photos that offer a behind the scenes look at your business, it can go a long way towards building a sense of rapport and familiarity between your work and those you are offering it to. This is one of the most powerful ways social media can help you change the game.

3. It Encourages Customer Participation

Once you have built a reasonable amount of followers the door is wide open to encourage customers to exchange and participate in exchanges involving your business, through the use of things like hash tags. Why not encourage them to share photos of themselves using your product or service, if appropriate? Social media is social after all.

4. Instagram Allows You To Build a Personality for Your Business

Instagram should be an intricate part of building a distinct and winning personality for your business. Combined with other forms of social media, your website and your advertising, you are given a great opportunity for moulding how your business is perceived by your customers and potential leads. Are you trying to convey lightheartedness, seriousness, or some other “feel”?

5. Trust Building

The online experience can take a human face away from our business interactions. This is a bad thing if you are looking to build trust in what you offer. Instagram lets you put a face, literally, on your efforts and in ways that can be targeted to help build confidence in you.

6. Instagram Keeps Your Name In Conversation

Instagram is the ideal platform to hold contests to promote your business. The options are only limited by your imagination. “The best photo shared featuring what you offer receives a free product” is a popular formula that works again and again. – See more at:

7. Instagram Helps Promote Special Events

Are you planning on going to a trade show or something similar? Promote the fact you are going, on Instagram, to draw support and interest in your attending. During and afterward, document your trip with cool and fun Instagram photo shares. Focus on some containing yourself and customers or other business associates.

8. The Chance To Go Viral

Think company mascots, pets, adorable babies or animals doing funny things around your logo. It only takes one home run to change the public profile of your business forever so don’t laugh this off.

You can see with a nice dose of creativity, some thought, a plan and the right spirit can go a long way towards Instagram becoming a real asset in helping your business. Jump right in and don’t be shy. Getting your feet wet in Instagram is something you can do right away, and the more you use it the more comfortable you will become in the Instagram arena


 
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