Meet the Instagrammers

Meet the Instagrammers_

They say a picture speaks a thousand words and, thanks to the camera phones we all pack in pockets, that’s never been more true. Instagram now has 14 million monthly active users in the UK who are logging onto the app 11 times a day. With data showing higher engagement rates and recall than many other social platforms, does your brand or business have an Instagram strategy yet?

For our latest Good Relations Digital Academy we explored opportunities with Gord Ray, Brand Development Lead for Europe from Instagram as well as London artist and Instagram influencer, Rich McCor, aka @paperboyo

So how do you start thinking about Instagram? Gord had three suggestions:

The visual vote

The human eye can recognise an image in 13 milliseconds so people are using Instagram as a rapid way to share passions. Their photos capture and share moments which are emotionally significant. There’s a reason the most Instagrammed city photo is Times Square rather than the Statue of Liberty, Gord explained: it’s because it’s a scene that evokes strong emotions despite not being the most iconic or beautiful part of New York.

Connect people to the world

Impressively, Instagram’s data shows people see images posted on the platform as three times more creative, imaginative and inspiring than on other platforms, including rival social platforms and print. That means there’s potential for really high engagement if you can find authentic ways to connect your audience with what you’re doing. For videos, grab viewer attention within the first three seconds and design video to be watched with sound off, which is how most people do it. And consider experimenting with exciting (and relatively new) formats like Hyperlapse, Layout and Boomerang – using them will show you speak the Instagram lingo.

Achieve business objectives

As with all social media, it’s critical to have a sound strategic reason for what you’re doing. You can then use Facebook’s sophisticated segmentation system (because Instagram is owned by Facebook) to laser target ads to your audience.

Meanwhile Rich showcased some of his fantastic images then gave his insight on how brands should be working with Instagram influencers. He stressed the importance of creative freedom (albeit within a framework) and that it always works best when both brand and influencer align around style and interest.

A point of view

Real-time relevance is always a big part of having a successful social media presence, whatever the channel. It’s easy to overproduce and overcomplicate production processes, and miss opportunities. At Good Relations we’ve now launched our own in-house Instagram Studio. It’s a dedicated facility with camera equipment and lighting, where we shoot bespoke for Instagram, rather than reuse ad content. It also means we’re quick and nimble, turning round imagery or animations in real-time, all of which is producing really high levels of engagement for our clients. Do you have an Instagram strategy? Contact me to find out how we can help.

Twitter changes — for the better?

The changes to Twitter announced yesterday really help make the platform easier and more accessible for more people and more brands.

The flipside is it’s easier for brands to spam users, upload more “push” content or shamelessly retweet themselves. It’s called social media, not antisocial media, and the PR nightmare begins when brands broadcast the wrong type of content in the wrong way.

[From comments I made to Gorkana]

Chatbots: what Microsoft’s ‘Tay’ teaches us

You don’t get PR by battening down the hatches; you need a point of view on the world and to be bold enough to try things out. People understand Chatbots are an early stage technology, which is prone to teething troubles.

Microsoft’s bot “Tay”, by way of one example, was hijacked – but, despite the embarrassment and offence it caused, actually highlighted the innovation behind the scenes at the company. The tech didn’t work out this time but it offered a glimpse of the future and showed a resurgence of innovation at Microsoft. It’s been part of helping reboot the reputation of the Seattle giant as the innovator it always was, rather than the corporate giant it has become seen as.

PRs play a critical role here. We work with CEOs, we deal in reputation, and we’re not afraid of entering conversations that we influence rather than control. That should make us the first choice for helping companies and brands deliver against their vision, and to experiment.

From comments I made to Gorkana 

Is Snapchat the Future of Social Media?

[I ran our Good Relations Digital Academy last week with Will Scougal, Head of Creative Strategy at Snapchat.]

Snapchat is the fastest growing app among millennials, with over 200 million users sharing 800 million videos and photo a day. It’s a huge audience who are highly engaged with the platform—but are you?

Relatively few marketers have integrated Snapchat into their communications programmes or truly understand its significance and potential. Until relatively recently, this was how Snapchat liked it.

Their Head of Creative Strategy Will Scougal explained at our Good Relations Digital Academy event this morning that advertising is now warmly welcomed – as long as it’s in keeping with the platform’s way of doing things.

So what are these terms? And how can marketers navigate them effectively? Our top three takeouts from Will are:

1. It’s all about ‘playtime’

One of the things that makes Snapchat special is that it allows users to pop a filter on top of the ‘snaps’ (pictures or images) they send to friends. Raise an eyebrow or open your mouth and the filter will animate along with you – it’s a whole lot of fun and hugely engaging. Will explained how brands have developed filters, plugging into topical events like the Super Bowl or offering something special, like a sneak preview of an unreleased song by megastar Drake. The beauty is the amount of time Snapchat users spend playing with the filter – literally playtime engaging with the brand.

2. Location, Location, Location

Brands can use geofences to make filters only available in specific locations. It’s a tactic used by McDonald’s and KFC very successfully at their restaurants – and a fantastic way of creating content that’s time/place specific. Great communications involves great targeting so this location based activity enables brands to tap into a customer’s behaviour at a given moment.

3. Time Machine

Snapchat’s original USP was centred on the self-destructing nature of the messages which disappear after a short period of time. There’s lots of opportunity to play with this time window, whether it’s promotions around time-sensitive events or placing a natural limit on special offers. The World Wildlife Fund’s created a series of selfies showing endangered species #LastSelfie to highlight the threat of extinction. Clever!

A point of view
Snapchat’s users are a generation of people who don’t consume traditional media in the way their parents did. They won’t come looking for you; you need to go to them. At Good Relations, we always recommend that brands and companies should be allocating budget for experiments to try out new platforms and new opportunities. Is your social media strategy fit for purpose? Do you have the content to drive a truly engaging social programme? Contact me to find out how we can help you.

From Storytelling to Truthtelling

They say truth is the first casualty of war and similar accusations have been levelled at PR in an age of spin and spam. Selective presentation, murky off-the-record briefings and non-recollection are favourite spin doctor tactics. Meanwhile, the trouble with storytelling is that ‘stories’ can sound like they’ve been made up – fiction.

People have fallen on the sword of truth before but we‎ now know truth sells. Studies show authentic brands and businesses are enjoying greater levels of recommendation and ultimately sales. Even political party leaders have been holding their hands up to the truth in recent election debates.

We’re entering a new era of ‘truthtelling’‎, which is why the PR industry is its strongest ever position. We’ve always been experts in finding compelling and creative ways to make true stories contagious — truths that will earn their place in the cultural psyche. The truth is on our side.

Based on comments I made to PR Moment