making sense of social
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Is your brand a social locust?

“What’s the next big thing?”

“{insert new platform name} is the next Facebook”

“Teens flock from X to Y”

The above are becoming all too familiar headlines as brands and marketers display Locust like behaviour, swarming in on a platform or buzzword technology, eating up any case study they can get before moving on to the next.

We’re an industry obsessed with the next rather than the now.

Before you move on hungry for the next meal, have a think about if you’re even getting the now right…


I’m sure you’ve read an “it’s dead” article or two by now. Before you go and put flowers on the grave – have you heard that they’ve started to change their offering? no longer expecting you to communicate and nurture a fan base but instead go back to investing in good old broadcast and reach.

Yes, it’s annoying they want you to do something different and forget lots of the stuff you’ve been busy getting your head around, but at the same time, it’s a chance to do less better. The craft and creativity of proper advertising. Whatever you want to call it – advertising or content it’s a blank square waiting to be brought to life with something more than a question and a stock image. Interestingly, it feels like the platform is perhaps now more aligned to the mentalities of classic above the line creatives, beautiful and simple crafted short form image and copy.




Have a look at this blog post on “100 brilliant examples of print advertising” everyone of these would make an amazing Facebook post (some slightly strange) and hopefully that challenge should inspire a creative, especially if it’s going out in front of millions almost instantly, what print title can get you that these days?


I’ve always liked how twitter has kept it simple – links, images and words that you have to get into 140 characters. The restriction often becomes a challenge, you have to get creative being succinct and to the point. It’s also somewhere which is even easier to question “are you doing it right?”. If you’re a brand you have more than 140 characters at your disposal.

Paid promotion and targeting: whether it’s promoted tweets or promoted accounts have you tried them out and tested what works? Not just creatively but also with the sophisticated targeting. Do you know your followers and who they follow, if so it’s easy to find more people like them and get in front of them.

Promoted trends: they’re not cheap and it’s always surprising how little some brands make of them. Just using it as a broadcast way to get people to see a single message or expecting that because the hashtag is there sit will instantly get used. You’re being put up on the top of twitter pedestal, have something to say and do everything you can to keep any attention you might draw.

Twitter Cards:  this really takes you outside of the 140 characters. Push email sign up and data capture through lead gen cards, provide previews content and what’s behind the link, app install cards for one click downloads. It’s surprising how little these seem to be used or how little I see them in action at least.

Finally, image dimensions. You don’t need users to click to see your content. Adapt to the context of the platform in which the content is served, like the BBC below:

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Further reading:

Twitter tips for beginers: Everything I wish I knew about twitter when I started 

Twitter at eight, a great summary of the past eight years of twitter

Twitter Media best Practice guide


You put your videos on here right, so that you can embed them in websites and post to Facebook and twitter? Yes, that’s one use for it but YouTube is a social network in itself. One that people keep turning up to in their masses not just to see what content has been posted recently but to actually spend time to search and find things.

How healthy is your YouTube channel?

Push for subscriptions. This is a valuable and still one of the only owned channels you have full control over, you won’t have to pay to reach those subscribers. You’ll give every piece of video content a good head start the more subscribers you have.

Reply to comments. YouTube used to be a little more negative than it is today, it’s worth engaging and speaking to those users as much as you do on Facebook and Twitter, it’s surprising how many brand channels neglect the comments that gather below the video they’re paying to reach millions of people.

If you’re planning to continue being a Social Locust, then YouTube might be the place for you:


Looking good at looking up

Is this going to be a big trend for 2014 – telling consumers to look up from their mobiles, to get out of the social feels and pay more attention to the real world?

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The Shoreditchification of Social Media

Alex Proud wrote a piece on the Telegraph website about the Shoreditchification of London. This paragraph pretty much sums up what he means by the term:

“You find a previously unnoticed urban neighbourhood, ideally one that’s a bit down on its luck. Pioneer hipsters move in and coolhunters ensure it starts trending on Twitter. A year later, the mainstream media notices and, for the next 12 months, the neighbourhood is byword for urban cool. Soon property prices soar pushing the original residents out, the bankers (always a trailing indicator) begin to move in and a Foxtons opens. Finally, the New York Times runs a piece in which it “discovers” the area and the cycle is complete. The last hipsters move on and find a new neighbourhood to play with.”


Now if we swap ‘urban neighbourhood’ for {social platform} or {tech trend} I think this description could still remain true. Read More


Jelly – why this new platform will be relevant for marketers

This week’s social media platform launch is Jelly; a text-plus-image-based question and answer platform from Twitter co-founder Biz Stone which, at first glance, seems like a cross between Quora and Thumb (remember that one?). The idea is simple – stick up a photo of whatever it is you’re talking about, scrawl on it in a Snapchat-esque way to indicate the relevant area, and then ask a question in supporting, overlaid text. Second-degree contacts from your Facebook and Twitter profiles (i.e. friends-of-friends) can answer, and you can reward their answer with a ‘Thank-You’ card.

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darth vader

Why brands need to think about their Lost Content

Star Wars appeared on Instagram with a highly shareable image, perfectly placed on the platform taking queues from its most culturally popular behavior in the form of a Darth Vader Selfie.

Not everyone has the luxury of a multi-billion dollar franchise with some access to some of the most popular iconic characters of all time, but we can learn a few things from them.

Lost Content is based on the idea that we often focus on the main campaign, content piece or single output – perhaps a TV ad or a photo shoot for a magazine. More often than not there is lots of valuable images, videos and opportunities that get overlooked or collected and then forgotten about. Magazine shoots or PR shoots might pick the single best image for a spread but there was probably many others shot on the day.

How well are you using Lost Content and is there anyone else doing it right? Let us know in the comments.


Best Of The Best Of Social 2013

2013 is coming to a close, and we wouldn’t be a blog of no-nonsense social media without ‘best of 2013′ post.

We can be honest though, we’ve been lazy as the job has already been done for us by each of the social spaces themselves, and they all do it so nicely we’ll let you just enjoy them at your own leisure. Just so that this isn’t viewed as too much if a cop out we have at least gone through them an placed them in order of our favourites.

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Social Sunday Selection

A little round up of nice bits of social that we saw this week, including Bill Gates vining, Adidas trying to be the center of attention and Beyonce launching her album with an instagram.

Since we failed to find six bits of good social, we’re having to rename this segment to something less specific than ‘six bits of social’ which just goes to show how well we’re all doing at getting good work out there…

If you spot any next week, don’t forget to tell us on Twitter.

Beyonce’s new album


What it is: Beyonce decided to forgo the normal media circus to launch her latest album and instead rely on word of mouth through social media to do the job.

Why we like it: Clearly the element of surprise has helped here, and has an air of secrecy – but it’s interesting to see a celebrity such as Beyonce use Instagram to unveil a new album. Musicians are obviously in a high interest category, though there will still be learnings for brands so we’re watching how this one plays out. Forbes has the full story here.
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The dictionary definition of a selfie

Selfie; a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.

All of a sudden, selfie is in the dictionary and it’s as if that’s a signal to bastardise the word. It has become ‘a thing’ therefore it means less than it ever did.

Selfie seems to be worryingly bolted on to any picture of a person, increasingly taken by others!

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social sunday six

Six nice bits of social 3

A little round up of six nice bits of social that we saw this week, including Gap’s Instagram competition, KFC’s social TV ad and Old Spice’s Gentleman Hunt. If you spot any next week, don’t forget to tell us on Twitter.

British Airways – Twitter customer service

What it is: Twitter user Collyn complained on Twitter about delays to a flight she was supposed to be on, and BA rebooked her on a different flight.
Why we like it: We’re not 100% sure whether we like this a lot, or find it really creepy that BA put quite personal details in a public tweet and not a DM. But it’s interesting either way. Not amazing, but, you know, interesting.
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GAry Vee image

Gary Vaynerchuk in London

Last night I went along to the Islington Design Centre to see Gary Vee talk. I’ve followed Gary for a few years and always liked his brash and blunt opinions on how simple social media actually is but still people choose to get it wrong.

Rather than him talking, like I’ve seen him do in videos from other events this was a Q&A. This worked perfectly for someone like Gary, every reply giving the person asking more than they probably expected. From actual business advice to suggestions on where to go and how to solve a particular problem. This really showcased Gary’s main point of the evening and what his new book – Ja, Jab, Jab, Right Hook is about – the how rather than the why, the practical manual of execution rather than (another) book on the theory.

He stated that theories and ideas can be right, but they’re nothing without execution. Success is based on the execution.

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