Social Media

Staying on Top of Social Media Trends

social-media

Do you find it hard to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of social media? With the release of new platforms, features, updates and the continuous shift in algorithms, remaining on top of online trends can be tough, not to mention time consuming.   

However, being informed is crucial when it comes to being a successful online marketer. To give you an insight into how we stay up to date to best serve our clients, we have some suggestions for keeping you in touch with what's new in social media. 

 

Blogs and News Sites

Blogs and social news websites offer a fantastic way to stay well versed in online trends. Subscribe to blogs or check back weekly (once a month if you are really short on time). Our favorites include:

* Buffer Blog – Thoughts on Social Media and Online Marketing

* Social Media Examiner

* AdEspresso by Hootsuite

* TechCrunch

* HubSpot

* Simply Measured

 

Google Alerts

A simple, powerful way for keeping up to date on industry news, your own business and competitors is Google Alerts. In short, you will be alerted by email every time Google discovers new search results for the topics you want. Ask for alerts on the social media channels that you use, receive news about industry changes and monitor your own business (and who is talking about it) online. Trust us, you will save A LOT of time!

Sign up here

 

Twitter

Twitter may be in decline but we find that it is still a highly valuable resource for staying abreast of what’s happening in the news and across social media. We like to choose who we follow, shall we say, “wisely” and what could be easier and less time consuming than following industry leaders and scanning their 280-character tweets? Don’t forget that checking out what’s trending on Twitter can be helpful too. As well as Buffer, Social Media Examiner and those mentioned in the blog section above, profiles we get a lot out of include:

* Mashable @mashsocialmedia

* Wired @WIRED

* Social Media Today @socialmedia2day

* AdWeek @Adweek

* Tyler Anderson @tylerjanderson

 

Podcasts

Podcasts are one of the best ways to stay briefed on industry updates. If you feel like there is not enough time in the day to add any more to your to-do list, podcasts could be the medium for you. Maximize your time by listening to a pod while you’re driving, taking public transport, having your morning coffee, taking the dog for a walk, anything – that is really the beauty of podcasting, you can take them with you anywhere you go. Our personal choices include:

* Social Media Social Hour Podcast with Tyler Anderson

* The Science of Social Media from Buffer

* Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield

* Social Pros by Jay Baer and Adam Brown

 

Let’s Talk Hashtags

As online marketers, we regularly get asked about hashtags—where did they come from, why do we use them and how do we use them across different social media sites?

In this blog post, we hope to answer some of those questions.

First of All, Where Did Hashtags Come From?

Already in use on internet chat rooms where the use of a pound sign would categorize topics into groups, hashtags first gained traction on Twitter where they were used to search for content. It all started here, when techie Chris Messina proposed their use in August 2007:

Initially the idea was rejected, “[Twitter] told me flat out, ‘These things are for nerds. They’re never going to catch on,” Messina told The Wall Street Journal's Elana Zak in 2013.

However, Messina started using the # symbol and convinced some of his peers to do the same. During the Californian wildfires in October 2007, Messina managed to encourage others to label their tweets using the hashtag #sandiegofire. With the subject widely discussed and easily trackable on Twitter, they began to take off.

Fast forward to 2009 and Twitter fully embraced the hashtag, adding hyperlinks to the tags and integrating a search box into profile pages so users could discover even more content.

Eventually hashtags were adopted by Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and well, just about anyone…

Why Do we Use Them?

In the simplest terms, hashtags are just like keywords and adding them to your posts will help you to share your content with a much wider audience.

They will also help you to research your target market, categorize your posts, publicize your campaigns and enable you to find relevant content and communicate with other brands and influencers.

Your online visibility will grow through the correct use of hashtags and and your follower count and number of likes will improve as a result.

How to Use Them

One of the most important parts of using hashtags the right way, is doing your research. Before you start using them to market your brand, try and find the hashtags that are popular and relevant to your industry and location. Make a list and refer back to it every time that you post.

For example, if you are a restaurant in New York City, search for popular hashtags that relate to food and drink in general and then food and drink found specifically in NYC. If you are a real estate business on Maui, find hashtags that are relevant to both real estate on Maui and Maui as a destination.

Whatever you do, don’t use hashtags that have no relevance to what you are posting such as tagging Nike in a post about your restaurant, just to get eyes on your content. Don’t make your hashtags too long (people will not read them and won’t be inclined to reuse them) and don’t use spaces or punctuation.

Also, remember that every social media platform is different and your hashtag strategy should be catered to the channel that you are using. For example, Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post. However, we wouldn't dream of using that many tags on Facebook.

In fact, we wouldn't recommend going above 20 tags on Instagram—the overuse of hashtags is not a good thing, it appears spammy and devalues the quality of the post. A gorgeous picture with somewhere between 15-20 tags is the best formula for us. Check out the leaders in your field, take a look at influencers and find what works for you.

When hashtagging on Facebook, you must take care not to over-tag or engagement will plummet. In our marketing, we try not to hashtag every single Facebook post and when we do, we keep it to a minimum of between one and three tags.

When it comes to Twitter, try and limit them to two per tweet. You only have 140 characters to work with in the first place and studies (courtesy of Quicksprout) have shown that tweets with 1-2 hashtags have 21 per cent more engagement!

That's it for today's blog and we haven't even touched on hashtags for Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr and more (#sorry). Although we have only scraped the surface of hashtag use in this blog, we hope that it can help you in your social media marketing efforts. If you are still confused and would like our help, contact Cake Media today.

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful weekend! 

Laura and Jenny

Emojis, Engagement and the Release of iOS 10

Apple announced at a press conference marking the launch of the iPhone 7 this week that iOS 10 will officially be released on September 13, 2016.

So, not only are we in store for shiny new iPhones with wireless AirPod headphones, advanced camera options, water and dust resistance and more—we are also going to get a and a host of new features as part of Apple’s updated operating system. This includes new emojis.

Love them or hate them, emojis are here to stay and from a social media marketing point of view, they can be a valuable tool for increasing engagement and communicating with your online communities.

Emojis can speak to your audiences across language barriers, they also convey tone, which can often be misinterpreted online and via text. They can also make your brand appear friendlier, funnier, and up-to-date with younger followers.

Studies have even indicated that internet users respond to emojis because they resonate on an emotional level. We kid you notneuroscientists have actually studied the effects of emoticons and emojis on the human brain and have found that we respond to these smiley faces in the same way that we would with a human face. 

If you aren't already using emojis in your social media marketing campaigns, give them a try. You'll be amazed at the boost in engagement levels.

So, what are we getting with these new emojis? Diversity tops the list. As seen recently on Apple.com, “Apple is working closely with the Unicode Consortium to ensure that popular emoji characters reflect the diversity of people everywhere.”

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We’ll see female police officers, firefighters and construction workers, dancing men with bunny ears, single parent families, female basketball players, the Rainbow Flag and much more, as seen on Emojipedia. The new-look emojis will also have a better, updated design, will be slightly larger and will also feature more animals, sports, facial expressions, food and drinks. Lovers of bacon, who don’t have the inclination to type out b-a-c-o-n, your emoji is almost here…

DID YOU KNOW?

The word "Emoji" has nothing to do with emotions, it means "picture character" in Japanese

Emojis are different to Emoticons, which look more like this :-( and :-)

July 17 is World Emoji Day

This emoji 😂 was chosen as the Oxford Dictionaries word of the year for 2015 (!!!)

Nearly half of all comments and captions on Instagram contain emoji characters

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That's it for today's blog. Thanks so much for visiting our site and have fun with those new emojis!

Laura and Jenny

Stories: Instagram's Boldest Change Yet?

When we published our last blog post, discussing a huge year of change at Instagram, little did we know that one of the app's biggest releases was just hours away.

In case you haven't heard, Instagram began to roll out Stories last week. It's a new feature that lets users combine images and video, which are then turned into a reel or "story." These stories can be viewed for 24 hours and don't appear in grids or feeds.

It's not just similar to Snapchat, it's a pretty clear knock off of the clip-sharing platform, who introduced their own 10-second storytelling feature in 2013. As reported by TechCrunch's Josh Constine, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom openly admitted that Snapchat "deserve all the credit." 

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How to use it? Once you update your app, you'll see a series of circular avatars at the top of your IG homepage. Clips from users that you follow will be ringed with a rainbow, tap their avatar and you'll be able to watch their story. Swipe right to go to the next story and, if you want to skip, swipe left. If you want to direct message another user while viewing their story, swipe up.

Here's some great information about how to post to Stories, thanks to 9to5Mac.com.

While the video and image quality is not as polished as what you see in your profile grid, the ability to add filters, text overlays, emojis and cool neon highlighters (for giving cats laser beam vision, of course...) are fantastic additions to IG's features. As is the fact that you can post all the stories you like and they won't spam other users' feeds.

It's an audacious move, one that reminds us of the Periscope launch that swiftly signaled the demise of Meerkat. Dare we say it, it may even spell the beginning of the end for Snapchat.

One thing is for certain, in this year of transformation, we get the feeling that Instagram are not done yet.