social Tag

My Snapchat Masterclass at The Guardian’s Changing Media Summit 2017

This month I hosted a session at The Guardian’s annual technology and media-focussed conference in London. The aim of my masterclass was to demystify, explain and contextualise Snapchat’s role in the world, and in the marketing mix for brands and agencies.

The presentation I went through is below and whilst lots of the content was delivered verbally, there are lots of useful stats, examples, best practice and case studies for Snapchat marketing in there.

If you have any questions about any of the content, or need professional help with your digital marketing drop me an email or tweet me @willfrancis

Will Francis at The Guardian's Changing Media Summit 2017

 

 

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Your Weekly Social Media Diet

So many social media sites, so little time. This is my plan for keeping on top of it all, and getting more out of your social media life.

Weekdays

Breakfast – catch up and schedule

Get the latest on what’s happening and find shareable content with Digg Reader for news and blogs, YouTrends for the latest trending videos, Reddit for trending funnies and Twitter for the big conversations globally or in your area. Instantly share the most interesting stuff using Buffer (and its brilliant Chrome plugin), which staggers your updates throughout the day. This keeps your Twitter and Facebook filled with good content, taking the pressure off in case you have a busy day. 

Lunch – respond and engage

This is when everyone jumps on Facebook and Twitter so a good time to check in on the ‘big two’. Use TweetDeck to view Twitter and respond to  engagement from your Buffered posts – thank any retweets and mentions with replies or favorites. Then have a scan for any recent developments worth commenting on or adding to your Buffer.

As you’re probably at a computer, this is also a great time to show some love on Pinterest, trawling through your feed to find great images to like and re-pin.

Dinner – longer reads

Chances are you’re in the majority that have flirted with Google+ but don’t use it regularly. I find that people get great value out of it once they start, so get the ball rolling by posting something and actively joining a conversation in a Community relevant to you or on your timeline, every afternoon. It’s a heavily American audience so early evening is a good time to start posting if you’re in UK/Europe.

This time is also when a lot of commuters are bored on the train, reading Twitter, so your Buffer should have a few scheduled slots between 5pm and 7pm. A good time to post links to well-written content (like the best stuff on Medium, for example)

Supper – prime time conversations

The peak of social media traffic in the week is always at around 8pm, in line with TV’s prime time. Conversation on Twitter is largely driven by real-time conversation around TV, so if you’re watching a popular show get tweeting about it with the hashtag, make any witty observations and retweet other people’s. Share relevant bite-sized content on the topic such as memes – as opposed to long blogs or videos.

If you’re really keen, now is a good time to put a few things in your Buffer so you have content going out to followers in other time zones while you sleep.

Weekend

It goes without saying you should try to maintain your weekday activity where possible, especially the ‘breakfast’ and ‘supper’ ones, but here are some weekend-specific to-dos:

Saturday – capture your moments

Typically the quietest day in social media as people spend the least time at screens on Saturdays, instead opting for shopping, seeing friends and doing stuff around the house. This is however when you’re likely to do your most interesting stuff so take lots of pictures with your phone’s camera app, and then Instagram them both on the day and later. Think of your fun weekend activities as opportunities to capture photos for use throughout the week.

Sunday – putting time into bigger content pieces

In opposition to Saturday, Sunday is traditionally the busiest day online, particularly in the mid-afternoon post-lunch lull. It’s when the most people are online, they have the most time and are most relaxed – meaning the best content to put out here is long-form content such as blogs, articles and videos. It’s also when you have the most time to properly produce and promote it.
Write a blog post or record your video blog or podcast in the morning, post it in the afternoon and then take the time to promote it across all your platforms. Beyond putting links with great hooks such as questions or counter-intuitive statements (e.g. Why Drinking is Good For You, Could Drinking Really Be Healthy?) generate conversation where possible through reaching out to passion centres of the topic e.g. tweet at influential people in that sphere asking them what they think, go to the Google+ Community or sub-Reddit and ask people there what they think. Remember to not take a promotional tone, but a human and conversational one.

Weekly Tasks

Twitter – follow new people, @mention influencers and keep an eye on your Buffer analytics to learn what’s working and what’s not. Use ManageFlitter to find new people to follow and clean out your Following list if bloated.

Blog – at least one post per week, but always as many as you can manage. Use Google Analytics to see what worked and where traffic is coming from.

Pinterest – find new boards and people to follow to keep your feed fresh. Pin cool stuff from around the web (sites like Tumblr, FFFFOUND!, editorial and interest-specific sites).

Periodical Tasks

Review your blog theme and any widgets you’re using. Is everything up-to-date? Is your bio still true or relevant across all networks? Do you still have links to sites you’ve abandoned?

Use ManageFlitter or Klout to chart your growth on Twitter and in social media over the year.

Most of all, have fun and enjoy it. I don’t get round to all of the above but now I’ve actually written it down in this post I’m going to start trying! Let me know any useful habits of yours in the comments below!

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Samsung Galaxy S5, Gear 2 and Gear Fit Hands-On

I’ve been at Mobile World Congress 2014 with Samsung, where all the latest technology and mobile innovations are announced. I was lucky enough to be one of the first people to play with the Galaxy S5 smartphone, the Gear 2 smart watch and Gear Fit sports band.

Find out more about the new products over at Samsung’s site

image
This was actually really hard with my brand new skinny jeans on

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Change: A World In Flux – My #CogsTalks @ The Hospital

Here’s the presentation I gave this week at The Hospital in London, showing my take on how the digital world is changing and why this constant change shouldn’t scare us but rather is an endless source of opportunity.

Here’s the presentation I gave and below is the full video of my talk:

Visit My SlideShare

Video courtesy of VideoJug

Any questions, feel free to comment, tweet or email me 🙂

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Facebook Pages Upgrade – What You Need To Know


The old, and new Facebook pages at a glance

On 10th March all Facebook Pages – i.e. pages which are not for personal accounts but for brands, businesses and organizations – will be upgraded to a new style consistent with personal profiles, with a picture gallery across the top and ‘tabs’ now linked to in the left-hand navigation menu as opposed to across the top. You can manually upgrade now at facebook.com/pages/status

The key things you need to know if you run or contribute to a page are:

Use Facebook as your page

This new feature allows you to take on the persona of your page as opposed to your personal identity. You can go around liking, commenting and interacting as the page.

One way you can exploit this is through joining conversations on similar pages. So if you’re a guitar shop you could go and join in conversations about guitars on Fender or Jimi Hendrix’s page to gain exposure in relevant communities. I expect to see this feature abused in the near future and it will be interesting to see how Facebook deal with this.

Notifications and a newsfeed
 

Once you’ve switched to using Facebook as your page, when you click the Facebook logo or ‘Home’ you will see a newsfeed as normal, but now it won’t be your personal one containing updates from your friends but rather the page’s newsfeed containing updates from other pages you have liked whilst using Facebook as that page.

You will also see different notifications. Again, instead of your personal ones they will all relate to activity on the page you are using Facebook as.

Photo gallery at the top of the page, ‘tabs’ and liked pages on the left
 

Once you upgrade the first thing you will notice is the new layout. You have the photostrip at the top just like on your personal profile which displays photos you have uploaded as that page (it does’t include photos uploaded to your wall by users), and the ‘tabs’ (can we call them tabs now? Maybe they’re ‘subpages’ or just ‘apps’) are linked to on the left, with pages you have liked (whilst using Facebook as your page) listed below. You can also feature any number of admins who run the page should you wish to bring out some human personality into the page.

Iframes and the death of FBML

This is in my view the biggest change by far, but a technical one and so possibly the least discussed amongst marketeers. In short, your existing Static FBML tabs will be safe (and updatable) forever, but after 10th March you will not be able to add the FBML app to create new ones. You will have to create a Facebook app and insert an iframe into it. Sounds scary, but whilst definitely more time consuming than the old Static FBML tabs it’s a bit easier than it sounds. I’m currently writing a tutorial just for you, so hang tight and stay tuned 🙂

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Why I Quit Foursquare and Gowalla (And You Will Too)

I recently had a look over my profiles on Foursquare and Gowalla (the latter always being my favourite on aesthetic grounds) and seeing my patterns of behaviour spelt out in check-ins made me feel a bit uneasy.  Even though I was always careful to never check in at home, or any locations near home I could instantly see that every Saturday I go to the same organic deli. Once or twice a week I take a train from the same mainline train station. I’m the ‘mayor’ of the MySpace UK office and have made it clear which places in proximity to work I hang out at. Basically I’ve made it incredibly easy for people to find me. People who I do not know.

I get a lot of friend requests on Foursquare and Gowalla, all from people who are listed by their supposedly real names like Alex Hunt or Jenny Vergara, to take two random examples from my Gowalla friends. Despite the reality that they’re no less of a threat than if their handles were ‘s3ri4lki11er’ and ‘SocMedManiac666’ it feels fairly harmless to accept their requests because one imagines that they, like me, are just trying out this cool new thing and if they have iPhones and are into new social media fads they must be pretty harmless, right? Well, far be it from me to demonise the internet but we all know that the online revolution has been to paedos, murderers and stalkers what the advent of the chainsaw was to lumberjacks and whilst I can’t even say for sure what the real risks are to me of releasing this data, it just feels too much. And for what payoff?

People often ask me about social media, and the most common question, usually delivered in a fairly incredulous tone, is “why?”. When it comes to Twitter, MySpace, Flickr, Tumblr etc the answers are easy because these services have such obvious benefits which when explained and demonstrated can fill even the most staunch Luddite with dumb wonder. My sister recently asked me why I use location-based services Foursquare and Gowalla. My honest reply was that location is a factor which is playing an increasingly significant role in social media so it is in my interest to know everything about it so that I may wield this new technology to further my own projects. Outside of this reason, I could not find any purpose for it whatsoever. This is not to say that I think LBS (location-based services) have no use or future, I think you can do amazing things with geodata such as The Museum of London’s ingenious ‘Street Museum’ app which, using the iPhone’s built in GPS and compass, can tell exactly where you are and which direction you’re facing and overlay old photographs from their archive over the physical scenery before you. You could expand that idea and have a location-based content-sharing network so people could leave media in places, or dump files. The possibilities in that area are endless and very exciting.

Now I do understand that the ‘check in, get points to beat your friends, get badges’ mechanic taps into what we call ‘game theory’ which dictates that if you give people things to do and rewards (even ones without any real value) they will have a natural compulsion to complete the tasks and collect the rewards. That’s great for Foursquare, the mechanic is getting people using their service in droves. But to what actual end? What use is any of this to its users? When I’m on my deathbed am I going to think to myself “what was this life all about? What did I do for the world? Oh, I got the ‘Douchebag’ badge and ten others on Foursquare! I wonder if I can check in at heaven’s gates… Byeeee!”. Probably not. You might of course be tempted to level this sort of trivialisation at tweets, blogs and shared photos or videos, but content and information sharing has some indubitably genuine value. It educates, informs, entertains and drives the effort to make the world a smaller, more accessible and hopefully democratic place. This, which was once referred to quite sincerely as ‘Web 2.0’, has truly driven a human revolution. Is checking in at McDonald’s this afternoon and earning the ‘Super Size Me’ badge supporting a crucial pillar of this step-change in human history?

OK, so I hear you thinking “what’s the alternative? How do we pull together groups or conversations around a geographic location?”. Call me old-fashioned but in my mind a tweet saying “having coffee at Frank’s café, a guy just walked in with a cat on a lead twitpic.com/xxxxx” is of more value than a check-in through Foursquare from that same place. Not only is Twitter a bigger, more established network and easier to access and use but you can now geotag tweets if you so wish. It’s first and foremost about the content, which is after all the important stuff, with location being one of several optional identifiers, or meta data, attached. Conversely the LBS is firstly about location and has barely begun to start implementing content-sharing. Furthermore, the hashtag is yet to be written off as a great way of stringing tweets together. Nothing beats it for conferences and events as it’s very easy to track, search for and generate RSS feeds from. So seriously, if anyone reading this can provide a solid explanation outlining why we need Foursquare and Gowalla I will literally check in at my own house with an attached photo of my stretched, Gowalla-branded scrotum.

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My Week Offline

I’m back online after a whole week off work and without any tweets, blog posts, photo uploads or much action between me and the internet at all.

If you’re curious to know what it’s like to live without Facebook, Twitter, iPlayer, Digg or whatever it is that keep you stuck to your laptop in bed, at the dinner table, on the sofa, on the train and at work I urge you to give it a go. It really made me realise that amongst other things…

  • Social media is a means, not an end. I’ve always maintained this when referring to people who make social media their life, going to wanky conferences and ‘tweetups’ to try and talk to people who know less than them because it makes them feel better about their insignificant lives. But really stepping away from it for a week and seeing that it had no negative impact on my life drove the point home for me.
  • Making stuff with your hands is what we humans are designed to love doing. To my shame I’ve not really created much in the physical world in recent years. In my week off I redecorated my house (well, half of it) and was reconnected with the primal joy of just making stuff with my bare hands.
    Of course there was the odd “should that tile be 3 pixels to the left?” and “can I buy some #ffffff paint please mate? Actually make that #f7f4ea….er… I mean magnolia” moments but I didn’t miss the certainty and consistency of virtual objects and processes, run perfectly every time and rendered on a pixel-perfect LED screen. Now I see why men hit their thirties and start wanting to build their own house.
  • Email will never die. There are people who see email as a relic from phase one of the internet, soon to be usurped by messaging tools provided in social networks such as Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn. I see that messaging functionality within other services as a passing trend, particularly with the increasing security concerns that are being aroused by the likes of Facebook. When it comes down to it, you can’t beat email and phone (or Skype).

This doesn’t mean to say I’m ditching social media in any way. The week has merely served to recalibrate my use of it. I will be resuming service on my Twitter, Flickr, MySpace, willfrancis.com, Tumblr and the rest from the minute this blog post goes live 🙂

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How To Add Facebook ‘Like’ Button To Your Blog or Tumblr – UPDATED

Updated in May 2012

There doesn’t seem to be a simple step-by-step guide on the web so I’m writing this, particularly for Tumblr users but it will apply to other platforms too…

STEP 1:

Copy this code:

<meta property="og:title" content="{block:PostTitle}{PostTitle}{/block:PostTitle}"/>
<meta property="og:site_name" content="{Title}"/>
<meta property="og:image" content="{PortraitURL-128}"/>

STEP 2:

Go to tumblr.com/customize and click ‘Edit HTML’. Paste the code above somewhere after <head> and somewhere before </head>.

STEP 3:

Copy the code below and paste it into your theme code so it appears in the footer of each post, somewhere after {/block:More} and somewhere before {block:Permalink}:

<iframe src="http://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?href={Permalink}&amp;layout=standard&amp;show_faces=true&amp;width=450&amp;action=like&amp;font=arial&amp;colorscheme=evil" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" style="border:none; overflow:hidden; width:165px; height:24px"></iframe>

You can play with the width to make the text appear as one or more lines. You may also have to experiment with pasting that code in different places to get the Like button to show up where you want it.

STEP 4:

Save your theme changes and check out your blog. You can see an example at the top of this very post 🙂

For more info from Facebook go here or drop me a line.

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Google Buzz – Review

Phew, so the hype following yet another Google product release is starting to settle. Having had a good play with it on my iPhone here are some initial thoughts:

The initial experience of entering buzz.google.com into your iPhone browser is good. Like all iPhone versions of Google’s key products it’s a tad slow to load but when it does you’re immediately prompted to add Buzz to your homescreen. This sticks the Buzz icon amongst your apps and to all intents and purposes it acts like an app when opened.

When you’re into Buzz you can see a list of any new followers and a timeline of buzzes from those you are currently following. If you click on ‘Map View’ you see this:

This is nice. Here we can see a map with me at the middle and local buzzes displayed as speech bubbles dotted around the map. In this screenshot I’ve clicked on that speech bubble bottom-left, turning it blue and displaying the buzz info at the top of the screen (I was having a curry when first trying Buzz).

The button with the blue dot will centre the map on you. If you click that ‘Buzz’ button in the bottom-left of the map you get local buzzes in list form as in the screenshot below:

Back to the map and click the ‘Menu’ button and you get options to clear or search the map as well as choose other layers of info to display on the map like satellite imagery, traffic info, buzzes and Latitude – Google’s original location-based service which never really took off.

Here’s the map with Google Latitude data on. I don’t really have any friends but you can see my Latitude flag on there. Nice to see Latitude integration as it’s not likely to succeed as a standalone product.

Finally if you hit the ‘Local’ link in the top Google menu (where ‘Web’, ‘Maps’ and ‘More’ sit) you can not only find local businesses as before but also see buzzes posted from each place. I love this. Imagine a time when this is widely adopted. You search for a restaurant and not only can you find one, see its opening hours and read reviews but you can see real-time feedback and conversation such as “the risotto is better than usual tonight” or “the Final Fantasy group are sat at table 5. Spare seats if you wanna come join”. You might think that Twitter has this covered but when you think what a messy workaround hashtags are in connecting conversations around events etc and how short their geolocation currently falls it starts to look like Buzz might clinch this one.

So the massive question that Google Buzz raises is “who’s lunch is Google eating here?”

I personally don’t think this is a threat to anyone immediately. I predict that if people start to adopt it – and unlike Google Wave which is ultimately useless in its current form they might, due to the massive existing GMail user base – it could see off Foursquare and Gowalla by Christmas.

Some people are pitting Buzz against Twitter which doesn’t make sense. Twitter is about abstracted conversation around common events such as sports, TV shows, celebrity deaths etc and the beauty of it is that it is not tied to geography, which is why I disapproved of their introduction of local trending topics. Buzz is completely tied to local mapping. You could say that Twitter is the mind of social media, whilst Buzz is the feet.

The addition of Buzz to Google’s existing suite of admirably innovative but under-performing products such as Wave, Latitude and Profiles is no doubt part of a longer term plan to create the ultimate social platform. This vision is only now starting to peek over the horizon and if you spend just twenty seconds thinking about where we would be if all these services were bundled up with GTalk, GMail etc in a well-architectured way it starts to feel incredibly exciting, and being a self-confessed Google fanboy I’m more than happy to at least try to adopt these services and would be quite happy if Google quietly took the social web throne from Facebook.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below on the future of Buzz and Google’s campaign to dominate social media. And of course look for me in Central London on Buzz and follow me 🙂

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