Using social media to grow your business [INFOGRAPHIC]

Whether you want to engage with current customers, raise awareness for your brand, or attract new customers, be sure you have a solid online presence and that you are using social media platforms effectively.

Businesses have been, and are continuing to be, affected by social media, as these social networks revolutionise completely the way we provide services, and interact with customers. But how to work alongside with Facebook, Twitter, and many others channels can help to boost your businesses visibility? Where can you find your audience? Is it on Google +, YouTube, Pinterest? Let’s connect and hear what your clients have to say about your business!

Image created by Merchant Money

Image created by Merchant Money

 

#DigitalRevolution at the Barbican Centre

The Social Shop attended Digital Revolution exhibition this weekend at the Barbican Centre. A truly amazing, immersive and interactive experience in its final weeks, bringing together the rise of digital media, including art, videogames, films and music.

The exhibition is divided in three main areas, where in the first part we could explore the “timeline” of early animations, music hardware and videogame classics such as Super Mario World, Tomb Raider, Pac-Man, Game Boy and more. We could also see visual effects behind the scenes of films like Gravity and Inception.

apple

game boy

The Treachery of the Sanctuary was by far one of the highlights, an interactive installation by @chris_milk which we can play and experiment with our shadows, dialoguing with unreal birds. Daniel Rozin even let us make digital and mind blowing”selfie” portraits of ourselves!

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 16.22.32

baba

bobo

DevArt is a proof that art is fast evolving, consisting of art made with code, making possible for us to interact with digital butterflies as well as travel the world on different radio waves with @zachlieberman.

BvkWRCYCUAEIUdw

Umbrellium Assemblance was also one of the best parts of the exhibition, when we entered a dark room with lights and lasers coming out of the ceiling, which react to our movements creating different shapes in the air.

colour

Marshmallow Laser Feast Forest consisted of a light sculpture with orchestrated music  where each tree is tuned with a specific and different tone.

green

Oh, and the exhibition is also “social media friendly”, as everyone who attends is encouraged to share their experiences on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook with #digitalrevolution hashtag!

The importance of scheduling content on social media

Why consider scheduling posts on social media? Pre-scheduling social media activity can be a time saver, giving us more time to devote to other aspects of the business, it also helps us to make sure we have fresh, regular and relevant content available on social networks. But how and when to do it?

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 17

It’s always more appropriate and more effective to schedule statuses updates in advance during the period when we are creating content. Perhaps dedicating an hour each day should be good enough to keep a business on the top of its audience’s interests.

Although, we have to understand that social customer service should be more real time, making sure we monitor mentions over social networks hourly and every day. And while trying to keep up with these mentions, why not build real time conversations with the audience and guarantee a genuine interaction with customers? It’s a great opportunity to boost online relevance by interacting with people!

There are some other top tips: realising the right content for each sort of social platform, giving the right value to each one of them as well as their followers/fans and create conversations and engagement; taking some time to measure what’s working and what’s not working. Note that the peak time to post on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and so on varies for each business. Measuring results is a crucial part of any social media strategy.

We would recommend TweetDeck and Hootsuite as social media tools for managing social media accounts.

 

Messenger and Swarm apps: wrong moves?

Facebook and Foursquare recently split their user experience into two apps, Messenger and Swarm, requiring mobile users to download both apps, claiming that the changes will benefit users somehow.

Facebook Company reports that Messenger app is faster and more reliable, but why force users to download a second app? People are clearly unhappy about it, as it is pretty inconvenient to have two different apps with the same purpose, no one wants two apps to do one app’s work. Some people believe that the new Messenger app allows Facebook to access phone camera and record audio, call and send messages without your permission, identify details about you and all your contacts, and send that info on to third parties, giving the company access to a wealth of personal data stored on your phone. However, none of the permissions requested by Facebook is new and apparently we’ve approved all of these permissions already when we first download the Facebook app.

1

2

While the debate remains, for those who dislike the idea of having two apps, the good news is: apparently there is a way to check your messages without downloading the Messenger app.

Foursquare also separated itself in two. While the Foursquare 8.0 “helps you find places you’ll love, anywhere in the world”, just like Yelp and Trip Advisor, Swarm is the new check-in app, helping people to “keep up and meet up” by checking into places, seeing who’s nearby and making plans.

Just like Facebook’s debate, there are a few concerns/criticisms about them. Although Foursquare did do a good job in remaking its app, with new features and functions, providing a city guide experience, it seems that the new Foursquare has got pretty dense design, a lot going on in a 4-inch mobile screen.

3

4

However, it’s difficult to think of an app that basically invented the check-in, without the actual check-in. And this is one of the reasons many longtime users are struggling with. People don’t really know which app should use exclusively for checking in or exclusively for discovery, or do both at the same time. From a mobile professional’s point of view, the separation was a business move in order to try and take users away from Whatsapp, Viber and other similar apps. It is indeed a terrible user experience, as we constantly need to go between two different applications. All of Facebook/ Foursquare services should be housed in the one app. On the plus side, Messenger is a far more comprehensive messaging tour, but perhaps should just be a stand alone app, and not integrated with the Facebook app. The Messenger app is at the top of the free charts in the App Store – overtaking Whatsapp, but people clearly don’t like being forced into this separate experience (Messenger is currently rated with 1 out of 5 stars).

5

Social Media for Small Business workshop @ The British Library

The Social Shop attended the workshop “Social Media for Small Business” in the British Library Business & IP Centre on Wednesday 6th August.

photo 1

The workshop is free and happens once a month, leaded by Neil Infield, Manager of the British Library Business & IP Centre, targeting entrepreneurs, inventors, innovators, pre-start business and anyone else interest in social media.

In the three hours workshop, Neil manages to cover the most relevant social platforms, giving the audience – most entrepreneurs looking for opening their own business – tips on how to use social media tools to help your business, increasing brand awareness and sales, and engaging with customers. Here are our workshop highlights:

  • It’s important to use Social Media to find out who your customers and competitors are, what they are saying about your business, to measure your brand impact, and to engage with your customers, critics and potential new clients
  • Blogging is crucial to drive traffic to your website, to build trust among your customers and to increase the chances to be found on Google – according to Neil, “Google loves blogs and hates cheaters”. However, the blog should be published regularly, with current and intriguing content, short and relevant titles
  • It’s important to use other social media channels to promote and share blog posts
  • Facebook statuses should be posted daily and monitored hourly, with questions about customers’ opinions, offers, promotions, images and videos
  • Twitter is a good platform to engage with customers, build good relations, protect your reputation, and it works as a great search engine, driving people to your website. Neil also highlights the importance of not ignoring complaints on this platform
  • LinkedIn is a very good research tool for competitors, business partners, potential customers
  • Pinterest is the latest hot topic in social media and it’s a good platform to direct traffic to your website, having a benefit from visual content over text
  • Google + is a worth adding platform as it’s incorporated in search results, together with YouTube
  • Hootsuite, Tweetdeck are great social media tools to manage posts
  • Facebook Insights and Google Analytics are fundamental tools to measure results
  • Try to limit 30min a day on social media for your business & have fun with it!

photo 3

We can find the slides of the Social Media for Small Business workshop here.

XX Commonwealth games on Social Media and Mobile

It is a fact that we love anything related to social media, but The Social Shop team also love sports. All sorts of sports. And as the 2014 Commonwealth games happen from 23rd July to 3rd August , we could not help ourselves from dedicating a post to them on our blog! So, shall we take a brief look at the social media work that is being done? Scroll down, everybody!

The XX Commonwealth Games’ Digital Media team have been sharing news, exclusive content, features and competitions over official social media channels and mobile apps. Their official website has Facebook and Twitter icons, but we also noticed their presence – after a deep web search – in other platforms, such as Pinterest, Flickr. It’s a shame that users have to look for them by themselves.

website 2

website 1

The official Facebook page is with no doubt the most popular Commonwealth games’ social media platform, with over 260,000 likes, and it’s interesting to see how they try to engage and establish real time conversations with fans via interactive posts: Fan of the Day, Athlete of the Day, when the audience are asked for direct opinions, and giveaway posts.

facebook 1

facebook2

facebook 4

facebook 3

There are two official Twitter accounts: @Glasgow2014 with over 143k followers and 11.5k tweets, bringing all the latest from the Commonwealth games and using several hashtags including #BringItOn #Glasgow2014 #commonwealthgames #2014athletics #2014tabletennis #2014gymnastics #2014swimming etc. These hashtags can also be found on Facebook.

twitter 1

twitter 2

twitter 3

The second official channel on this platform has just over 2,800 followers claiming to share remote cam feeds, exclusive content, and insider images from this sports event. However, it’s safe to say that people would have a much better experience if all the content was shared via only one profile, maybe with a specific hashtag for example #TweetCam2014.

twitter 4

From the main website, we are also taken to a hotsite where people can show the country they’re cheering for with dedicated hashtags #GoEngland #GoScotland and so on. The Leaderboard section is provided by SSE GoGlasgow – which stands for Southern Electric Scottish Hydro SWALEC – 2014 commonwealth games’ partner. The higher the number of hashtagged tweets, the higher up the leaderboard teams will climb. Once you tweet for a team, the comment is shared on your Twitter timeline.

sse 1

sse 2

sse 3

The Digital Media team exhausted the use of image exploring Instagram, Flickr, and Pinterest, although the last one reveals that there would be still some work to be done.

Instagram

filckr

pinterest 1

The content shared on Commonweath games’ Google + page is provided exclusively by their official YouTube channel, with highlights videos of the day to day competition. We could even suggest that Google + was pretty neglected by this sports event, once this platform does not have its own content.

google +

google + 2

youtube 1

youtube 2

XX Commonwealth games tries going mobile

We can also keep up with all the news from Glasgow 2014 through mobile. There in not only one, but three official apps available for free on iTunes, Google Play, Windows Phone, Amazon.

Glasgow 2014 My Games: this app brings us the full schedule for the 11 day event and allows us to create our own plan of the sports we’re most interested in.

mobile 1

Glasgow 2014 Results

mobile 2

Glasgow 2014 Postcard: Take a photo or use an existing one, add fun effects to it and then turn it into a real postcard which is printed and dispatched on our behalf the same say. This app also provides its own filters, just like Instagram. However, we need to create an account, insert credit on it and pay for these postcards to be delivered either in UK or even abroad. Well, a bit painful, right? What if somehow we could be given the opportunity to simply share via email, text messages and social media networks for free? The idea is great, but not useful at all.

mobile 3

It’s very unlikely that people will download three different applications for the same event, because they expect the app to be the source of all the information. Also, three apps take up significantly more space on the user’s device. The experience of having three apps would also mean potentially more battery and data drain for the user. One heavier app with all three purposes combined is still a much better experience for the user. Don’t you agree?