Have twitter made it easier for everyone or lost their USP?
Last night it was announced by Twitter that they will be testing doubling the length of tweets, so users are able to use 280 characters, rather than the current 140.
This is a huge change, as Twitter is famous for the 140 character tweets, which I often compare in my talks to the old text message style, for anyone who's ever had a Nokia mobile phone, you will recall the anguish of trying to get your text into 140 characters.
Twitters argument is and many would agree, are as follows:
So, will this innovation make it easier for everyone, in the same way as smart phones have made it easier to send longer messages or have Twitter finally given up their USP (Unique Selling Point) in a final desperate attempt to attract potential higher Ad revenues?
The USP is a point that I briefly discussed on LinkedIn with Industry fellow, Naomi Timperley and we both agreed there was an element of risk (feel free to add to the discussion here).
When will we have access 280 character tweets?
Roll-out of this new feature will initially only be to a small group, but as with most new twitter/social media features and changes, it will eventually be rolled to more users.
To make sure you have first access to it... Keep your Twitter App updated and wait for the magic number, 280 to appear in your tweets.
Kaz Laljee - @mrkazlaljee
Is there a dependency on scheduling tools? The importance and focus that many agencies, businesses and individuals are putting on scheduling tools when using social media concerns me. I am of course referring to the likes of Buffer and Hootsuite; other scheduling tools are available :)
I've been meaning to write this article for a while and was prompted to after witnessing last month’s social media posts, and felt that, enough was enough!
1. Be aware
I was looking at the many posts where the respective agencies and individuals had forgotten about the bank holiday Monday and had scheduled tweets and posts, as if it was a normal Monday. Yes, I'm sure these are honest mistakes, but it just underscores the reliance people have on scheduling tools and the unsocial way that they are being used.
2. Use the Channels
When talking about social media or referring to social media, it feels like the focus is on making sure the scheduling platforms have been updated, rather the social media channels. It seems like they are being perceived as the way to use social media.
3. Yes and No.
Do we need scheduling tools for social media? … Yes of course, many social media platforms themselves have schedulers built into them.
Is that the only way that we should be using social media? No, it's not.
4. Using Schedulers.
Here’s what I mean… You might have the best scheduling tools and software out there, that allow you to:
- Receive questions
- Allocate tasks
- Follow your fans
- Post on your channels
Plus, many more activities that the user, scheduling company or the platform deem useful. However, for me social media is so much more than this.
5. It's called SOCIAL media
The clue lies within the title… it's called SOCIAL media. So basically, that tells us, we should be social; and what is being social? In the simplest of terms, it's about having a conversation and listening to what others say. For me the latter is the most important… It's about LISTENING to what people say, and in the case of a business, it's listening to what your customers are saying.
Think about it this way… If you were at an event having a conversation with a few people and during this conversation one-person asked another, if they know anyone who works in a particular field (that field being yours). Even though they are not directly asking you that question, you can still join the conversation, by saying that you work in that field and offering assistance.
It is the same with social media, if people are discussing a topic, even if they do not @mention you… If you're following the conversation you can still join in.
6. A Two-way street
Social media is about being part of the conversation. It's a two-way street and not just about making sure you select the busiest time to post. It's about understanding what your customers are talking about and being part of their conversation, answering questions, solving problems and pre-empting their needs and wants. It's also about following conversations, they might not necessarily include your brand name, but are important in helping you understand your customer.
7. Because it's easier!
For me, scheduling doesn't give you this. In many cases, it feels like scheduling is simply becoming a routine. Something that people do as part of a checklist and then give themselves a pat on the back once it's complete. Why? Probably because it's easier.
8. You can use scheduling.
I am not saying that we shouldn't use scheduling. Of course, it has a place and use. You might have a New Year message that needs to go out at midnight or have time sensitive launches and campaigns.
9. Who needs to use schedulers.
There are other examples too… Big organisations and businesses often deal with customer complaints/enquiries through social media and need scheduling tools to allocate tasks and make sure they respond within set times.
Hard-working individuals; who are trying to run businesses, put in a day’s work and do social media, all at the same time, need assistance. So, using scheduling tools allow them to do this and rightly so! However, this is more of a short-term fix for the individual, rather than a long-term social media strategy. In the long term, if the opportunity cost of them doing it themselves is too much, they should delegate/outsource their social media.
Furthermore, each social media platform has its own unique language and an audience who want to be social in different ways... eg. even if the message is the same, the way a post is curated and shared on Facebook is different from twitter. This is not simply about word count, but the way in which the audience wants to read and process the information.
In summary, I believe there is an over reliance on scheduling tools and there is a disconnect in the way that they are being used. We should not forget the social element of social media and how it is important to be part of the conversation...
After all, people buy people.
Kaz Laljee, @mrkazlaljee
LinkedIn have rolled out video on their platform! My first thoughts are, 'Yes, this is fantastic' followed by... 'About time too!'
It's great to finally see the opportunity to post video content on to LinkedIn, as it gives us the opportunity to post work related videos in the professional environment, rather than having to use Facebook or Twitter, which are great, but at the end of the day... LinkedIn is Linkedin and we rely upon it as the professional social media network.
Here is a graphic via Jonathan (Jasper) Sherman-Presser on LinkedIn
The new feature will give us the ability to record and upload videos only, we won't be able to go LIVE... but, you can only imagine that will be a matter of time. However, my first impressions are good! Video quality is good and works well.
It is in beta stage and being tested by a selected number of users. However, it'll only be a matter of time before this is available to all users, so make sure you keep your LinkedIn app updated.
By now we have all seen the jaw-dropping and shocking pictures and videos of the man literally being dragged off a plane.
What did these videos and pictures actually say?
It showed a customer being told by a business; that we don't need you and we only care about ourselves! The fact remains; that customers were being asked to leave the plane so United Airlines staff could be accommodated.
The initial response from the CEO of United Airlines, Oscar Munoz (who ironically was honoured with the title, 'Communicator of the Year' by PRWeek, just a few weeks ago) was to send, an email endorsing and supporting the behaviour of the staff and basically backing them. While staff and a few news outlets were reading this email/statement... The rest of the world via social media, was watching a respected GP being literally being dragged off one his planes; while screaming and shouting, with blood pouring from his face. You can also hear other horrified passengers shrieking and shouting... 'Oh My God!' All this while taking pictures and videos on their smart phones.
It shouldn't and doesn't take a PR genius to work out that this is not going to end well for the airline and they have made a huge mistake. By the way, it should be noted that the CEO sent his email even after seeing these pictures and videos.
What happened next?
We need to remember we are no longer living in the 1990's... We don't have to wait until 6pm, before we get home to turn the TV on to see the news. The news is literally in the palm of our hands and on our desktops. We don't have to search for it either, 'trending' news items and things our friends are talking about are sent to us as alerts. I also have to say this; it takes a rather ignorant CEO & PR team to think that people would back the giant corporate airline over a GP. Have they forgotten marketing basics?
The CEO, after watching his share price plunge approx 4% or dropping by $1bn... eventually got round to doing what he should have done in the first place... He apologised; however it's safe to say damage has been done. Just think, imagine if the CEO had been pictured with the GP and apologised publicly straightaway, rather than waiting 21 hours?
Newspapers, online channels and social media would have seen smiling pictures of Oscar Munoz pictured with the GP, Yes, the videos would still be out there, but at least people would understand that a mistake was made and the CEO himself has acknowledged this and tried to right a wrong.
Instead, twitter has gone into overdrive with more and more people getting involved and hashtags like #BoycottUnited trending. In addition to this, United Airlines have managed to anger China. Once again, it doesn't take a PR genius to tell you that you don't really want to be angering the people of arguably the World's biggest economy.
There are even allegations and confirmed tweets about Twitter actually DELETING negative tweets about United Airlines. This is not what I call good crisis management.
So whichever way you slice it, this whole situation has been a PR nightmare and the United Airlines PR Team & the CEO himself have grossly underestimated the power of social media. Did they really think this was a small incident that would appear as a bit part story in the Chicago local press and were they that naive to think ' a CEO supporting his staff' would come out on top? This is now World news and isn't just on social media.
Whether the CEO understands social media or not, his PR team should. If the CEO doesn't understand social media, then why not??? We are in 2017, a CEO, and for that matter, all members of the C-Suite should have an understanding of social media and how it works. I am not saying they should understand analytics and strategy, but they should know the difference between a tweet and retweet, what followers are, what's a hashtag and reach vs. engagement.
I admire the Director's who book on to my 1-2-1 social media training sessions and I applaud C-Suite representatives who attend my social media peer-to-peer learning workshops. They are forward thinking and understanding of the importance of social media for their respective brands & companies; and also for their own personal branding and how they can use social media .
I would like to add to this point is, what a lot of people forget is that; more than anything, social media is a listening tool. It's not about who can create the most choreographed statement. It's about being part of the conversation and responding.
While writing this article I took a glance to the United Airlines twitter channel, ironically called @United. There are just a couple of tweets in the form of statements regarding this issue. Even within the replies, they are not engaging in the conversation about the issue. You can see someone in the United Airlines Ivory Tower has said, 'make sure we put something out on twitter' and then moved on to the next order of business. Where's the human touch in all this I ask?
They should be using LIVE video via Twitter and Facebook and the CEO appearing to publicly apologise, rather than creating carefully crafted statements and sending them out as a press release or attached to a tweet.. They are simply not getting social media!
However, rather than simply criticising, I would like to offer United Airlines a solution. Yes, I believe they should be using some of my recommendations and I would even be happy to assist them. So Oscar, if you want to resolve this situation, email me or drop me a line on 0792 537 9528.
Finally... This is a parody United Airlines Ad video, currently doing the rounds... This is a YouTube version, however it has already been seen by millions on TV and social media platforms..., Enjoy!
Last night Facebook released some staggering figures that have had the news, business and social media outlets amazed.
This would be the bit where I could bore you all with technical details and stock market figures...
Instead in my own usual way I will break it down into bullet point details:
1. Half of the UK population is on Facebook.
2. Facebook revenue from businesses that spend on advertising on the platform is up 177%!!! That's right, 177%!
3. 65 million Pages exist on Facebook
(these are Business, Company, Brand, Org Pages etc).
4. Facebook introduces recommendations to the UK! The feature will allow friends to recommend and Facebook to suggest businesses to use.
5. Video is the future (For the time being at least)! Facebook will be giving priority to longer videos.
As you can see these are exciting times for Facebook and for businesses that are on Facebook.
Just on Tuesday of this week at my 'Facebook For Business' workshop I was talking to delegates about how Facebook is growing and how we can use video and Facebook LIVE.
The above information also tells us just how important Facebook is to your business and how this will grow! Remember Facebook is only 12 years old and in my opinion will get bigger and bigger. By the year 2020 Facebook expect over 40 million people in the UK to be on Facebook!
If you are not on Facebook as your business/brand/organisation… In my opinion; you should be. It doesn't take long to set up a Facebook Business Page, it is very simple and easy to do…. If you're not sure, here at Soc-Med we offer a Facebook setup package for just £129 +VAT. Call us on 0161 410 4455 to arrange.
I hope you found the above information useful and it underscores the importance of Facebook; now and in the future…
Remember, Facebook is only going to get bigger!
Using Facebook allows you to put your companies own personal billboard underneath the thumb of your customer.
Over the festive period we would all have received emails from most of the companies we engage with....
However, it surprises me; no matter how big these companies, many of them are making the same error.
They are using the old Instagram logo. Instagram (owned by Facebook) updated their logo in May 2016, yet many organisations and companies have failed to update their email footers and websites with the new logo.
Here are just a few examples of emails that I have received (there were many more!). They are from Domino's, Tesco and Debenhams respectively.
Why does it matter?
Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media and currently has over 17 million accounts in the UK. It is now only 2nd to Facebook!
Many of you may say that it doesn't really matter, but others would argue to say that this represents the company and reflects the image of a company too. By having the old logo; is the company saying that social media isn't a priority or are they saying, they didn't realise the logo had changed or are they just saying they forgot to change it?
Below, I have included examples from Pizza Hut and M&M Direct respectively, who have updated the instagram logo.
Is your logo updated?
I will leave it up to you to decide, if you believe this is an easy oversight to make and not such a big deal?… Or whether you believe that this is an error that these companies shouldn't be making?
It would be great to hear from you with regards your own websites and email templates… How many of your own companies and organisations are using the old Instagram logo?
If you find that you are currently using the old logo, drop me an email and I'll send you over the HQ version of the new logo.
Finally, I hope everyone is enjoying the festive period and would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the very best for the New Year!
Any questions, just ask!
ps. I would like to add, that I have contacted a couple of these companies to make them aware of the oversight, in one case I received a couple of replies, neither of which grasped what I was saying and may well have been automated replies.
Works even without a strong network
Early this evening (UK time), Mark Zuckerberg, Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO, Facebook announced that Whatsapp (owned by Facebook) from today will start to offer a video calling facility. According to Zuckerberg, "video calling has been one of the community's top requests."
Video calling will allow users to communicate through video in addition to the existing message and phone service the platform already offers. To use video chat follow these simple steps:
1. Download the latest Whatsapp update (if not already done so)
2. Open the Whatsapp App and select contact.
3. Tap on the video camera icon to video call in top right corner (iOS see below)
You may ask, what's so new about video conferencing? True, there are many other video calling platforms available, but for me what makes this exciting and that little bit special is; that it has been released by Facebook and they seldom release updates and features unless they are very confident in them.
Mark Zuckerberg went on to say on his Facebook page, "We've been working on it for a while to make sure it works even in places without a strong network"
This will be of interest to us who may use other video calling platforms and are critical of picture and sound quality. Just a word warning, I can imagine many people will be dowlading this new feature, so please be patient when downloading the latest update.
Anyway, have a go and let me know what you think!
Rather than getting all geeky on you and writing a long email about how exciting and momentous this is... I thought I would just explain it simply with bullet points :)
What is Changing?
Why is it Changing?
Back in May, Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey told The Verge, "I'm excited to see even more dialogue because of this".
Twitter UK's, Dara Nasr told the Mirror Online:
"But sometimes you write a perfectly crafted 139-character tweet and then add a photo or a video to the tweet and it goes over the character limit, and you have to waste time cutting it down..."
For me the above perfectly summarises why the change is needed and why it will work well.
If you would like to get geeky about the change and discuss further, feel free to drop me an email or give me a call.... Better still, you could tweet me :)
If you ask me, this is the starting pistol for Facebook Vs LinkedIn. What on the outside may seem like a new facebook feature that will add to the facebook experience blah blah blah... In my opinion it's the first real formal step that facebook are taking to compete with LinkedIn.
No matter how you dress it up, conference calling is something that first and foremostly appeals to the business community. Yes, I'm sure it'll be great to speak to family and friends, but in actual fact I believe this is Mark Zuckerberg' subtle way of getting work colleagues and your business contacts to 'friend' you on facebook. This, I also believe will make it easier for facebook to launch more business related updates in the future, as your contacts will already be your friends, thus making the transition easier.
So what does the facility allow you to do?
'Group Calling' was initially announced last Wednesday, and subsequently followed-up by updates later that week after questions and clarifications points were raised by the tech community.
It basically boils down to the following:
If for any reason you miss the call, you can join in at anytime and also message someone who needs to join.
For the time being this is audio, however I'm sure facebook will introduce a visual element to this too and allow video conferencing, as and when the technology and/or opportunity allows.
The whole point of social media is so we can digest snippets of information which allows the sender to get their point across, while the receiver understands the message. Of course, this advances once engagement is established.
Keeping in my mind the same concept, those of us who would like to take in information about social media would also like to do so in a quick and informative way. This is potentially why infographics are so popular and tend to form parts of presentations, proposals and blog posts for that matter :)
I personally love the infographic below, it it gives you snap shot of the main social media networks that are around today. It's compiled by the good people at Leverage.
We will aim to post an updated version of this every six months... so sign up here to get the latest one!
Copyright Soc-Med Ltd 2017 -
All Rights Reserved
We provide social media training and account management in Manchester.
Reg Number: 09513117
All our prices are subject to VAT at 20%
This website has been Designed & Developed by: Soc-Med
Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing
Member of the Institute of Directors (IoD)
Salford. M50 2ST