Snap or Gram for your brand?

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What is better/more appropriate for your brand, Snapchat or Instagram Stories? Clients have begun asking this question with greater frequency for sure. With the heated rivalry bubbling at an all time high, they both provide very compelling arguments and benefits.

This piece from Social Media Today provides some solid insight, backed by data on the topic and is worth a read. Our take is that brands should be playing in any ecosystem where there is potential to stand out and capture the attention of their target demo AND IF they can put out good, relevant and consistent content. Know what you want to say, know how to say it on the platform(s) in question and then execute.

We work with a lot of smaller or early stage brands who are just learning their voice, who their customer is and how to create and deploy content. With them we have historically focused more heavily on evergreen vs ephemeral content, as it sticks around longer and carries more long term value. When Instagram stories came out we wrote a piece about it and talked about the idea of documenting vs creating (and therefore not having to invest a lot of time in crafting excellent visuals) and encouraged clients to experiment with some raw content. Early results for our clients have proven that there is underpriced attention there, and we are all in on that.

Since many SMB’s have already taken the time to create Instagram accounts for their business, have learned the ecosystem and have developed an audience already, we give “The Gram” a slight edge.  Brands have already figured out ways to “advertise” there and trying to do that for the first time in the Snapchat environment will feel a bit foreign.  It is also a bit less intuitive for most and harder to navigate, therefore making it a less attractive option in the short term.

We sense that both will play a big role in 2017, but as it stands today Instagram provides an easier roadmap and path to success for SMB’s. Stay tuned for updates on both throughout the year, but for now head over to IG and follow some of our brand’s stories for some inspiration.

 

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POV on Instagram Stories

If you are alive and have a smartphone (read: everyone) then you probably already know that Instagram rolled out their “Stories” feature in August as a way to compete with their growing competitor, Snapchat.  By rolling out this easy to use feature, natively on the already popular Instagram platform, they took an increasingly growing and popular format (short term “must see” disappearing content) and served it up in a seamless way (via Instagram’s app already on most users phones).

Facebook has historically either purchased their growing competitors (i.e. Instagram) or outflanked them and beat them at their own game (Facebook Live > Periscope and now Stories >Snapchat). Many influencers jumped right in, as did some major brands. Over the past couple of weeks smaller brands have dabbled, including us on some of our client accounts. Our approach (as it always is with these things) was to sit, watch and consume both content put out by brands AND the many articles written about the topic in the past three weeks before we jumped in with a recommendation for our clients.  Now that we have done that and a new month and a new season is afoot, here it is.

We think Instagram stories are great for offering up context as opposed to content. Whereas we are big believers in using Facebook and Instagram proper for staging attractive looking content that stands out and is appealing visually, with stories we are much more about “documenting rather than creating”.  So it should feel raw and semi abstract. Less structured, no edits and just real deal storytelling about what the brand is up to.

For now it is a great way to document the how, why, where and even the who, behind the what. Some ideas:

1) Give followers more context into who you are and what your personalities are about? Are you fun? Do you clown around? Do you like dogs? Do you like memes?

2) Document growth and inertia. Palettes of product going out? Perhaps a shipment headed to a customer, a blogger or model visit to the studio etc.

3) Celebrate your fans, followers and even retail partners. Have some fan photos queued up on a screen and create a story saying “we see you @ABC and @DEF and @RST and we appreciate you!” OR go to some of your retailers and shoot on location!

4) Show off product being eaten in the office? Create a story about the making of the product. Show off your point of sale displays, so perhaps people recognize them when they see them in a store. Give an inside look into your warehouse or studio filled with product, or even your production line etc.

5) Show off ingredients and/or USP’s with quick story clips.  What is in it and/or what makes it different? Tell the followers first hand without the need for a fully stylized video shoot!

In the end of the day, be fun and whimsical.  Don’t feel the need to stage, light or refine.  Experiment and remember, it doesn’t last an eternity.  So take some risks and be a bit more carefree and real.  Instagram could be your buttoned up self at work, but Instagram stories can be you at home in sweats and a scrunchie.  Got it?

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New Social Media Networks On The Rise

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Facebook,Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest may be the most popular social media platforms now, but their days might be numbered. Mashable put together a list of 10  social media networks that are currently on the rise.

Secret: 
This app allows its users to anonymously post any feelings or thoughts and share them “Secretly” with their Facebook friends and phone contacts.

Shots: 
For the people that love selfies this platform was designed for them. Users can take selfies, reply to other peoples selfies and send direct messages.

Snapchat:
Snapchat has been around for a while but only used by a few larger brands for marketing like Taco Bell. People love Snapchat because it allows users to share photos and videos for a limited amount of time. It’s very “now you see it, now you don’t.”

WeChat: 
With WeChat, users can send texts and make free calls. In addition, you can share videos and photo moments, use group chats, and search people nearby.

We Heart It:
This app is considered a “younger” version of Pinterest, because the user can scroll through ‘canvases’ and ‘heart’ photos. If Instagram and Pinterest had a baby it would be We Heart It.

Tinder:
Tinder is slightly different from other social networking apps. This app is specifically for dating. The app connects with the users Facebook to create a profile. From there the user can swipe left or right and be matched up with other profiles.

Medium:
Medium is created by Evan Williams and Biz Stone (formally of Twitter).  The purpose of this app is to publish stories and ideas. Users can recommend stories within their network and organize their favorites.

Vine:
Vine gained popularity after being acquired by Twitter several month ago. This app allows you to record, edit and share six-second videos. There are even such things as Vine Celebrities.

Bubblews: 
This social network startup lets users create posts – called “bubbles” – follow other users, and like or comment on other bubbles. Bubblews is different from other sites, however, because they pay users who attract advertisers.

Whisper:
This platform also allows users to post anonymously, send anonymous direct messages, ask for advice, or just chat.

While some of these social media networks may not be appropriate for social media marketing, it does give some insight into what may be around the corner.

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To Sling or Snap?

 

Last Tuesday, Facebook launched its new app, “SlingShot”. Strikingly similar to Snapchat, Slingshot is essentially a messaging app that allows users to send disappearing pictures and videos to other users. But Facebook says that the app is not a messaging app, but a “sharing” app – more of a “virtual status update”, if you will. Here’s what you should know about Slingshot that, slightly, sets it apart from Snapchat:

1. Slingshot allows users to send picture and video messages up to 15 seconds long

2. Anyone can send messages to anyone on Slingshot – there is no approval process for adding contacts

3. Slingshot requires users to respond to a message BEFORE they can unlock and view it– encouraging, or more so requiring, active engagement with the app

4. Once you “unlock” your Slingshot message, you can leave it open for as long as you like – but once you close it, it’s gone for good

5. Slingshot comes with features to save picture and video messages – but unlike Snapchat, the original sender will not receive a “screenshot” notification

6. Messages sent to only to you come with a “Just for You” notification, while messages sent to multiple people will appear with only the senders name

In addition to these more obvious differences, Slingshot is said to be faster and more elegant in its design and features like text and drawing tools than it’s competitor Snapchat. To see you for yourself, get it straight from the source, Mashable!

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Snapchat Additions: What Will Brands Do?

snapchat_large-540x200Snapchat announced two important new features last week; text messaging and video chat.  These updates make the rapidly growing photo sharing app much more versatile and intriguing. Good news for those individuals who are snap and chat ready at all times, but what does this mean for brands? Should they be on there? Why? What are the benefits?

According to a recent article on Adage, Taco Bell, which was one of the early adapters on Snapchat, has agreed to release it’s newest taco on the app. As more and more brands start adopting strategic integrations it should spark new ideas and inspiration for others to follow suit.

The playful platform is so popular among users and if you can figure out how to leverage that audience you are going to be in good shape. For the moment, there are no analytics beyond seeing the number of followers which could be a problem for tracking.  That being said, it is very hard to ignore this large of an active and engaged audience.

Keep up with all of Snapchat’s changes with Mashable here.

 

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Say Hello To Instagram Direct

Instagram direct

Today Instagram announced an exciting new feature that has been added to the application known as Instagram Direct.  This update is now available for iOS download and Android and is still in the works for the Windows phone.  At the press event in which the new exciting feature was first introduced, cofounder and CEO Kevin Systrom stated, “Communication is really core. It’s not about photography necessarily. We aren’t built into cameras. We are built into phones, and phones are communication devices.”

Rather than sharing pictures and videos with all followers, Instagram Direct allows users to choose who they would like to view their postings.  This gives Instagram a more personalized and private way of communicating with others.  Although some might say this is very similar to the social media application Snapchat, Instagram Direct seems to possess more pros.  Pictures and videos are supposed to last longer on Instagram Direct, and it appears to be easier for users to have chats about what was sent to one another.  With more than 150 million people accessing the social media tool before the update, this feature is certain to take off quickly!

For more information on this exciting new update, Read Here.

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