instagram Tag

What happens when a brand collaborates with its Instagram followers

There’s nothing quite like a hopping on a bike and feeling the breeze in your hair on a sunset bike ride along the picturesque Sea Point promenade. Childhood memories of riding with “no hands” for the first time, the flying sensation of high speeds, near-collisions and scraped knees come flooding back. You can’t help testing your bell – brrrrrring brrrrrrrring – for safety purposes, of course.

But how do you communicate that experience on a website? Having been long-time customers of UpCycles, we got chatting about their website and before we know it, that question was ours to answer. So we checked out UpCycle’s social media presence and found that people had such a blast that they LOVED taking photos of their joyrides. And you can see the what a good time they’re having. So we let them tell the story of what it’s like to rent an UpCycles bicycle by collaborating with them on the UpCycles website.

Here’s a taster of what Instagram users happily contributed to the Upcycles website:

The result?

We used a grid design because we were working with generally square pictures of a relatively low quality (having been shot on the fly with phones most of the time). We used a small slider on the homepage and built links to important pages around it. We got across the important information as succinctly as possible with maps and clearly listed rates and contact details. We also incorporated their Instagram, Facebook and Twitter feeds to show off their online communities.

We had a lot of fun developing this site on a tight timeline and budget – and even more fun hearing how thrilled Jared and Shannon from Up Cycles were when we showed them the end product.

Upcycles website

Five reasons why I love Instagram

Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms – particularly in South Africa. And I just love it.

Are you on it? Because you should be. Here are five reasons why it’s creeping into my heart.

1, With Instagram filters, even your driver’s license photo looks good. True story.

2. The character limit is quite generous, and sometimes the captions are even lovelier than the images. There is something about the artsy vibe of Instagram that tends to inspire people to think of more creative captions. Being a words person, I sort of love this about a visually-driven platform.

3. You can be inspired by such a wide range of posts and people to follow. No matter what time of day I check, the following are always in my feed: incredible travel destinations, awesome fitness inspiration, beautiful poetry (tip: follow tylerknott – seriously. Just do it.), and little windows into the lives of my friends.

4. The short video feature – just enough to entertain you, not long enough to get boring.

5. While you may get a kick out of following celebrities on Instagram and getting a first-hand snapshot of their “real” lives (once they’ve been selectively filtered and cropped), it’s the rare glimpses into reality that I love most. Case in point: Anna Kendrick. And photos like this one, which is captioned: “I would just like to remind everyone of the reality of the situation.”

anna kendrick

You can follow me @skgurney and Liz on @123_liz_is_me

Are you a social media addict?

Question: How many of you check Facebook, Instagram or Twitter before you even get out of bed in the morning? No? How about before you wash your face in the morning?

I am definitely guilty of this at least two or three days in the week. And that’s only because I actively stop myself from doing it on the other days.

Social media addiction is a real thing. I’m pretty sure I have it.

In a couple of weeks I’m going to Botswana for a whole week and do you want to know one of the things I’m looking forward to most? Sipping red wine in the bush under the stars? Um, YES. But also: no phone signal, no internet connection. An enforced break from all things social media. I can’t wait.

You may say that I could just give myself this break in the land of connectivity too – what’s stopping me except my own lack of self-control right? But the problem is, it’s my job now. I have linked myself inextricably to social networking sites.

Yip. That’s my story. It’s legit ok?

And I’m not complaining – I do love it. It gives me such a kick to watch clients’ followings and reach grow each week on various social media platforms, and to keep an eye on the latest platforms and trends. It’s all changing at a rapid pace and it’s pretty damn exciting to be involved in something like this. But, at times, it does get a bit much.

Do you know how many times I’ve checked Twitter while writing this post? I’m not going to tell you. Because it’s a few times too many.

I know I’m addicted. But I’m not alone.

Apparently an estimated 350 million social media users suffer from Facebook addiction syndrome. On average, people between the ages of 20 and 29 spend a full two hours a day on social media. 31% of people admit to checking social media while on the toilet. Yip. 31%.

Yes, these stats are a little scary. But, looking at my own life, I take solace in the fact that:

a)   My friends do not refer to me by my Twitter or Instagram handle. It’s not that dire yet.

b)   I don’t yet plan my day around the amount of battery I have left on my phone.

c)   A notification doesn’t bring me more happiness than a smile from a real live person. And that’s a win for real life, right?

d)   Being out of range for signal and internet connection for a whole week makes me excited rather than panicked.

So I can’t be that bad, right? There’s hope for me yet?

One last question: How many times did you check social media while reading this article? Mmmm. That’s what I thought.

Image source. You can buy this print here

Social media talks at schools

Whether they’re permitted to be or not, the fact is that a lot of school kids are on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and SnapChat. Remember how you used to get in trouble because you would spend all day with your friends at school and then come home and talk to them for hours on the phone? Well, social media is the new THAT.

It’s a great way for them to stay connected with their friends all day long, sharing photos, videos laughs and making plans.

The thing is, when you’re digitally surrounded by your friends, it’s easy to forget that these platforms are not safe little social bubbles – they are public platforms. And they can get kids into a lot of trouble, sometimes even when intentions are entirely innocent.

While school learners are digital natives and are very comfortable with these digital platforms, their parents and teachers, as digital immigrants, are not always as comfortable. They sometimes avoid having the all-important “how to be safe on social media” conversations with their kids because they don’t understand the platforms themselves or are unwilling to venture into these murky waters – so where do they even start?

Pomegranite offers social media talks at schools (both primary and high schools) which can be tailored to address the issues specific to your school. For example, would you prefer a talk on bullying on social media or how to stay safe on public platforms – or both?

I recently gave a talk to the grade 4s and 5s at Auckland Park Preparatory School about social media and bullying, and it was a great success. The girls were FULL of questions at the end, and one little girl even put up her hand and told me she loved my nail polish. Winning!

Here’s what their teacher, Vicky Hyland, had to say:

Thank you for a great talk around Social Media for our Grade 4 and 5 girls at APPS. It was pitched at the right level. Your examples were current, relevant and practical. The idea of interaction as well as questions at the end of your talk worked well.

It also highlighted for all the teachers sitting listening how vital a talk of this nature is.

All our pupils are making use of the platforms in one form or another. The girls themselves said how informative your talk was, particularly empowering them on their respective platforms of choice and making them feel safer.”

If you’d like to chat to us about giving a talk, please get in touch.

[Feature image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net]

sceptical baby social media

5 simple ways to engage your audience on social media

Ever wanted to have your own shop selling stuff you love or be a radio presenter recognised and adored for your sense of humour? If you’re active on social media, you’re already taking on roles like these.

Social media is space we all curate – whether it’s our personal brand (of life being amazing all the time) or a business’s brand (of the business’s values, products, lifestyle). Visual platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr can be compared to custom magazines and you could say that Twitter is like having your own transcribed podcast beaming out to followers who are tuned in. So what are you doing with your curated spaces? Getting people to participate is one of the best ways to build loyalty. Here are five simple ways to get followers to engage.

1. Polls

Polls are a great way to get feedback from your community while not asking them to make much of an effort. There are plenty of apps out there to facilitate them – just be aware of your settings: pranksters can have (hilarious but) devastating effects when you allow the public to add suggestions.

2. Competitions

For as long as society has used pronouns, people have loved free stuff. Facebook recently slackened the rules for running competitions which has made life a lot easier. By using an entry mechanism where ‘liking’ your page is a condition, you can build follower numbers quickly. After that, it’s up to you to keep them around.

3. Videos

Generally, we’re a pretty lazy society and there’s no better example of this than our internet habits. We would much rather watch a short clip than read a paragraph of text. Film is a multi-sensory experience and, while it’s expensive in relation to writing text, the impression it gives is incomparable and you can get a lot of mileage out of it. A short, captivating clip to introduce your brand and a number of key points can be used in presentations, on your website, and shared on all of your social media platforms.

4. Links

Your curated space doesn’t have to be made up exclusively of original content. While a certain amount is crucial, your brand’s online presence can also be a hub for relevant and useful content. You can be the go-to place for all things [insert your field here].

5. Photos

Because they communicate immediately and powerfully, images are some of the most shareable content on the internet, especially when overlayed with text. There are plenty of easy-to-use, free tools out there such as PicMonkey which make creating this kind of content a cinch.

If you’d like to take your social media to the next level, check out 26 Facebook Fan Engagement Tips or get in touch about our social media workshops and social media management.

10 amazing social media stats (to make you sound like you know what you’re talking about)

I wasn’t a huge fan of numbers at school. Maths was my worst. WORST. The day I wrote that final matric exam was possibly the greatest feeling in my life to date. Ok, let’s call it top five…

However – as I’ve grown older and wiser, I’ve come to appreciate the power of a good statistic. Here is a little fact for you: quoting an (accurate and current) statistic makes you sound like you know what you’re talking about. It just does.

So I’ve compiled a little list of 10 amazing social media stats for you to quote in your next meeting/dinner party/awkward conversation that descends into silence and badly requires you to make words.

1)    72% of all internet users are now active on social media. My mom is one of them. The other day she invited people to like a page. It’s happening guys!

2)    5700 tweets happen every second. Every. SECOND.

3)    As you might expect, the majority of Pinterest users are female, but those demographics are shifting. Right now the divide stands at 68% female and 32% male.

4)    There are currently over 1.15 billion Facebook users, 23 percent of whom log in at least five times per day. (Where do you stand here? More or less? Be honest…)

5)    Approximately 50% of individuals between the ages of 18 and 34 check Facebook immediately after waking up.  More than half of these individuals check their Facebook pages on their smartphones before getting out of bed. (Guilty)

6)    Instagram now has 150 million active users, and the most followed brand on this platform is MTV.

7)    Facebook users share 2.5 billion pieces of content each day. I can’t even wrap my mind around that number…

8)    Twitter has 560 million active users. It’s not quite Facebook’s 1 billion, but it’s growing at a rapid rate – particularly in SA. Not one to be ignored!

9)    79% of LinkedIn users are 35 and older. Let’s be honest – this is not the most exciting platform. But I know a few people who have been offered jobs through LinkedIn or generated leads. It has its place for sure.

10) 71% of users access social media from a mobile device. So often, in fact, that it’s hard to go to dinner with friends without someone picking up their phone mid-conversation to check a tweet or Facebook update. New game? Upon arrival, everyone puts their phones in the middle of the table. First person to touch their phone buys dinner for the table.

[Sources: Mediabistro, jeffbullas.com and lifementalhealth.com]

[Feature image source]

Social Media trends for 2014

So we’ve all finally got our heads around the fact that the working year has begun, and the trauma of early mornings and no afternoon naps has been faced. Let’s get our grown-up pants on, stay on top of our game and check out the trends forecast for social media in 2014.

Stop following me!

Like we used to hang out in our parents’ cars and play CD’s during their lame dinner parties, teens are fleeing social media platforms where their parents (gah just leave me alone!) are encroaching and are carving out their own social spaces online. The fleeting nature of Snapchat seems most appealing – Fast Company reports that “with more than 360 million photos shared – and deleted within seconds – this company is proving that a younger generation is in fact cozying up to the idea of private moments.”

If you can’t beat ‘em…

Google Plus had a rough start with a reputation for being unintuitive and obscure but an obligatory SEO tool for anyone wanting to please the great Google. Brafton predicts steady growth on the platform and hails its unique features: “Google+ offers a lot of functions that other networks don’t have, such as Communities, Hangouts and the ability to share specific content with targeted groups.”

Content is king

To kick off the year, Mashable asked nine successful entrepreneurs how they are planning on altering their social media marketing strategies in the next six months, based on their predictions for the new year. Here’s what Andrew Howlett from Rain had to say:

“To achieve a deeper connection with your customers, a company needs to engage on a deeper and more intelligent level. Short videos, infographics, quality imagery and polls are all ways to engage deeper. Companies need to look at the content they put out and ask themselves, ‘Is this shareable?’ […] Also, companies need to focus on the fans they have and not the fans they want. If your message is always trying to reach out, you’ll bore the fans that have chosen to connect with you.”

Image source

‘GIRLS’ talks to its viewers in their language

Love it or hate it, GIRLS is back and they’ve developed a great online presence ahead of the launch of their third season, which aired on Sunday night. I’m an unabashed GIRLS fan, so move on over if you don’t smile with fondness at these ladies (I’m a lady, you’re a lady, she’s a lady, we’re the ladies.)

 

girls7

 

Wednesday night

shoshray

The show hasn’t gone without criticism – indeed the above images show a group of well-off twenty-somethings staring at their navels – but if you happen to be a twenty-something ‘girl’, it reflects your messy existence better than anything else out there. It’s refreshing to laugh at your own ridiculous naivety and self involvement through this group of undeniably hilarious characters.

The show’s target audience is of a similar age and that market is online. All the time. “For us, this is an increasingly challenging demographic to reach with traditional means,” Sabrina Caluori, HBO’s vice-president of social media and marketing, told Mashable. In the lead-up to the release of season 3, HBO has made some great marketing choices, reaching viewers through a range of current platforms.

Because the show is so quotable, an early mark online was the ‘GIRLS’ Tumblr page (previously WhatShouldWeCallGirls), which posts a bunch of GIFs, memes and fan-art, allowing fans the satisfaction of in-jokes and reliving moments from the show. Their Facebook page has run a fun campaign giving character portraits through emojis (Shoshana’s signature mode of communication) accompanied by translations. Over on Twitter, it’s a family affair with cast and crew members live-tweeting during the show, and answering fans’ questions after the show, starting with episode three using #GirlsFYI. These strategies have been adapted for emerging platforms such as Instagram, Vine and even Snapchat, as well as the usual social suspects like  Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. The biggest move so far has been the release of the double-episode season premier on Youtube just 12 hours after its release on HBO.

While the show may not speak to everyone, GIRLS is doing a great job of using online platforms to reach its audience.

A thousand words: The rise of the visual social network

We’ve said it before – images and video are becoming increasingly important elements when it comes to social media and your online presence. People would much rather watch a quick video clip than read a whole page of text. And if they are going to read a page of text, they’ll be much more likely to do so if it’s peppered with interesting and appealing visuals.

Just look at the top three fastest growing apps in 2013: Vine, Flickr and Instagram – it’s all about the images and video. The online audience is hungry for visually-rich material, and it is the brands that deliver this on social media platforms that are winning followers and recognition.

A recent example from South Africa is the Soweto Gospel Choir and Woolworths’ heartfelt and beautiful tribute to Nelson Mandela – a video that left me with tears and lasting goosebumps.

The infographic below, created by @ManwthePlanigan, unpacks this shift to the visual in the online space, and provides brands with a few ideas to navigate this ever-changing landscape.

visual infographic

Instagram logo

Instagram: Five reasons why you should join the party

Because there are so many social media platforms out there, picking the right ones for your business/brand can be overwhelming.

Instagram is definitely one worth considering – here are five reasons why.

1)    It is the third fastest growing app in the world

According to Mashable, the user growth of Instagram grew by 130% between the first and third quarters of 2013. With such impressive growth rates, chances are that your target audience is amongst the Instagram users.

2)    Visual appeal

The online audience is hungry for visually-rich material – it’s all about images and video. How do we know this for sure? The top three fastest growing apps in 2013 all focus on sharing video and images online: Vine, Flickr and Instagram.

3)    Feel like a pro

With the array of filters to choose from, even the most novice photographers can get a kick out of creating beautiful images. Seriously – Instagram is so much fun.

4)    Be accessible

Being on social media platforms show your target audience that you are accessible and that you want to engage with them. Send them the right signals on Instagram by asking questions and encouraging engagement in your captions. If people do respond, don’t make the mistake of ignoring them. It’s the fastest way to lose followers.

5)    Indulge the voyeuristic

Whether we admit it or not, there is a bit of the voyeur in all of us. Why do people follow celebrities on social media? For a glimpse into their lives. Giving people a window into the behind-the-scenes of a brand is a similar principle (although, admittedly somewhat less sexy). Still – people love a little behind-the-scenes. And social media is all about giving people what they want.

Follow Pomegranite on Instagram for a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the business. Only a few pics of what we have for lunch – promise.

Pomegranite Instagram

Liz at Chandler House on Church Street