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Anthony Less

New Updates to Facebook Video

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Recently, Facebook has focused on establishing its video platform to compete with YouTube. It now boasts more than 4 billion video views per day as of April 2015, up from 1 billion in September 2014.

Videos also lead in organic reach on Facebook with 11.86% of page likes seeing a video post. Links reach 9%, photos reach 7.86% and status updates 6.12% of the total audience. Videos on Facebook are also right behind photos in terms of engagement. (Source: Locowise)

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Facebook video is obviously a great marketing tool for business pages. So, what’s coming next?

New Updates to Facebook Video:

1. Pay Per View

Right now, Facebook counts a view as “3 seconds of view time.” With most of my clients, the average duration of a video view is anywhere between 10 and 15 seconds. Now, Facebook is introducing a new video ad buying format that lets you choose to pay only when viewers stick around for at least 10 seconds, versus any time a video plays for a mere 3 seconds in someone’s newsfeed. This is beneficial because it will prioritize those that are really engaging with your content and are more likely to create a conversion on your video ad or watch the video in its entirety.

2. Floating Video

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Facebook is testing a new floating video feature with some users that lets you scroll through your newsfeed while you watch. The option, available only for some Facebook users currently, is accessible via an icon in the lower-right hand portion of the video. When you click the icon, the video becomes movable. The feature is only available on desktop, not mobile. For marketers worrying that their videos will get lost in the newsfeed, this is the perfect solution.

3. Priortizing Videos in Newsfeed

In a recent Facebok newsroom article, Facebook said that they will know show more videos to people who are taking action on videos similar, such as turning up the volume, making a video full screen, or pressing play, instead of just prioritizing videos in your newsfeed based on your likes, comments, and shares on videos.

Here’s what they had to say:

“Many people have told us that they enjoy watching videos in News Feed but don’t always feel inclined to like, comment or share them. For example, you may have found a video from a nonprofit you follow on Facebook to be really informative and you’re glad you saw it but it’s not something you felt inclined to like, comment on or share more broadly.

We are now taking into account more interactions with videos that we have learned indicate whether someone found that video interesting, such as choosing to turn on sound, making the video full screen, and enabling high definition. So if you turn the volume up or make the video full screen, we have updated News Feed to infer you liked the video and will show you similar videos higher up in your News Feed.”

4. GIFs

Facebook is this close to allowing business pages to post GIFs. GIFs are already able to be shared from your personal Facbeook account- just copy and paste a link to your favorite GIF in your status update and plays right in your newsfeed. Brand pages, however, are not able to share GIFs at this time. But a Facebook spokespersons recently told Adweek this:

“We built support for animated GIFs to help people express themselves in fun new ways on Facebook. Like many features that we release on Facebook, we want to ensure that this drives a great experience for people first before rolling it out more widely. While Pages cannot currently post GIFs, we are exploring ways to enable this in the future.”

Soon your marketing plan can include GIFs!

Brands react on social media to Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling

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In a historic day for equality in America, major brands are taking to social media to voice their support for the Supreme Court’s ruling that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage in all 50 states. By mid-afternoon today, the hashtag #LoveWins has already been used 2.24M times and counting.

Love has the final and enduring word, it seems, and these brands found creative ways to share their support.

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The Rise of Emojis in Marketing

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Today, Dominos is rolling out a “tweet-to-order” service. Once a customer has registered their Twitter handle on their Domino’s Pizza Profile, all you have to do is tweet the pizza emoji to @dominos and a pizza is delivered to your door step. Domino’s will then send you a direct message to confirm the order and the Easy Order saved in your customer’s profile will be automatically sent to your home.

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Brands are always trying to find unique and creative ways to reach millenials, the generation that grew up in a social, mobile and digitally-connected world. The generation that communicates with text messages and, increasingly, with emojis. Working in social media and communicating as a brand, it’s important to be able communicate with your target audience effectively, to demonstrate that you’re on top of the latest trends, and to convey messages in a simple way. What better way than with an emoji?

Brands are embracing emojis to enhance their marketing efforts and to communicate with audiences on social media. According to data from eMarketer, there are nearly 2 billion smartphone users worldwide, and 41.5 billion messages and 6 billion emoticons or stickers are sent around the world every day on mobile messaging apps, according to branded digital startup Swyft Media.

Emojis represent a more visual form of communication, presenting brands with an opportunity to convey their messages more creatively and to make posts more fun and expressive.

Last year, Budweiser seamlessly used emojis to celebrate the 4th of July and have continued to use them in promotional tweets and messages.

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Emojis have become so mainstream that brands are now looking for ways to make them more personalized. Like Burger King, who celebrated the addition of its Chicken Fries product as a permanent menu item with a Chicken Fries emoji keyboard.

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Instagram has jumped on the bandwagon, too, and just recently update their app to include emoji hashtags and the ability to search emoji hashtags.

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Previously, Instagram’s hashtag feature did not support emoji, so comments or captions with the hashtag symbol and emoji were not searchable. Now, users can add emoji (or a string of emoji) to hashtags and posts that have been previously tagged with the characters will also show up in searches.

According to Instagram research, within a month of iOS launching the emoji keyboard in 2011, 10% of the captions and comments on the platform contained at least one emoji character. Just four years later, that number is now nearly 40%.

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Keep it simple and start small. Start by simply adding emojis to your tweets or Instagram posts. Just make sure they are appropriate and “on brand.” For example, a manicure emoji works perfectly for a beauty client while the beer emoji is great to promote a craft beer event for a brewery.

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If the rise of emoji teaches us anything, it’s that brands are looking for more effective ways to communicate information in unique and creative ways with their audience  Now that’s something to 🙂 about.

 

Meerkat: What is it and how can you use it to market your business?

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Meerkat premiered at SXSW on March 13th and since then, the app has seen an explosion of sign-ups, with more than 120,000 people currently using the app. The Meerkat developers claim the number of users has been increasing by around 30% a day since the big reveal at SXSW. Could it be the next big thing in social media?

What is Meerkat?

Meerkat is a free app that lets you stream live video from your mobile device to anyone who follows you on Twitter. You start broadcasting simply by tapping the Stream button in the app, which also lets you schedule broadcasts for later. It allows others to subscribe to and attend the live streams. It doesn’t just broadcast video content thought, it also lets you have real time interaction with other users watching the stream.

Is it different from Vine?

Yes. With Vine you’re recording video and then sharing it with your followers. Meerkat is live and instantaneous from the moment you tap that Stream button. Also, Vine limits you to 6 seconds of video and Meerkat doesn’t place any time limit on how long you can stream, so you can keep broadcasting for as long as you want.

How does Meerkat work?

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Sign into the mobile app using your Twitter account information and after you give Meerkat permission to use your phone’s camera and microphone, you’re ready to stream. Give your stream a title and hit “Stream” to start live video. The bottom right corner of the app gives you buttons to activate your camera’s flash, switch between rear- and front-facing cameras, and stop the recording. Meerkat informs you how many people are watching your stream and shows their Twitter icons across your screen. Likes, retweets and comments from followers also appear, and a chat icon in the left corner of the screen lets you talk back to your followers in real time.

What happens when you schedule a stream in Meerkat?

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By adding a title for your stream and pressing the “Schedule” button, you can let your followers know that a stream will be happening at a given time. Select a time and a photo and Meerkat will list the upcoming stream in the main window of the app. Anyone following you through Meerkat gets a notification when you plan to launch your next live stream. And the Meerkat app will notify you when the appointed time arrives.

How can brands effectively use Meerkat?

Events

If you’re hosting an event, it’s unlikely your entire audience will be able to attend, but that doesn’t mean they should miss out. If your brand or business is hosting an event or conference, you could live-streamthe action and get your Twitter followers involved using the hashtag. It also allows you the ability to provide exclusive behind the scenes videos, giving your audience an insight to what goes on while they’re not there.Live conversation is key for event success, and Meerkat really opens to the door to a world of possibilities in this area.

Demonstrations

Video is a great way to demonstrate how consumers can use your product or service in a simple and efficient way. You could create one video at the launch of a product, weekly videos to keep your consumers engaged, or even daily videos to build up audience interaction.

Interviews

Interviews are a great way to really demonstrate brand transparency and industry expertise. No one likes to think they are talking to a robot on Twitter and Facebook and it can be really beneficial for brands to show their audience their human side of a bran.

Storytelling

Videos could be used to simply give fans a tour of the brand’s headquarters, introduce them to all the employees, or give them an insight into a day in the life of the business. As mentioned before, people love brand transparency, and Meerkat gives businesses the opportunity to really let their audience in.

The future of Meerkat

While it’s safe to say that the Meerkat app has gained some real momentum out of the gate, only time will tell if it sticks. Twitter is launching their own live streaming service called Periscope, so Meerkat already faces tough competition. However, if Meerkat takes off and stands the test of time, businesses will want to jump on the opportunity to establish themselves as expert Meerkaters now and capitalize on all the hype.

3 ways to expand the reach of your tweets

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1. Use an image

Twitter is getting increasingly visual. If you want your tweets to stand out, including images is a surefire way to boost engagement. Adding an image to a tweet can boost engagement by up to 150% and Twitter itself reports that tweets with photos gain 35% more retweets than those without an image.

Tip: If you don’t have a custom image to tweet out and you are just sharing a link, use Twitshot to add images to tweets containing links. This Google Chrome extension allows you to choose from multiple images that appear in the link to share with your tweet. See below.

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2. Test different versions of your tweets to compose the perfect one

Researchers at Cornell recently developed an algorithm to figure out the sentence constructions, rhetoric, and keywords that make certain tweets get more attention than other. Their online tool lets you compose two different wordings of the same tweet and weighs them against each other to determine which one will be more popular.

What makes a perfect tweet, according to these researchers?

Using language that is familiar to your target audience and consistent with past tweets, abbreviated headlines, giving a tweet a positive or negative spin, making it easy to read and informative, staying away from first person (using the word “I” cuts down a tweet’s sharing potential by about 50%), and adding the words “please retweet” makes it 95% more likely to be shared, according to the algorithm.

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3. Use Video

Twitter recently introduced native videos to their site, allowing users the ability to capture, share and edit videos up to 3-seconds in length by using the camera button directly in the app, just as you do with photos.

This is great for marketing opportunities and for covering a live event. Dick Costolo, Twitter’s CEO said, “We believe that during any sort of local event, national event, global event, the opportunity for people, participants, to be live tweeting those things and broadcasting them to the world is a massive opportunity. That’s one of the reasons we are so excited about consumer video.”

Actor Neil Patrick Harris was the first person to post a video to Twitter using the new native video sharing tool.

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How Facebook Has Evolved Over the Years

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Facebook was created on February 4, 2004 and this month the behemoth social network is celebrating its 11th birthday. First debuting on the Harvard campus as “The Facebook,” the social networking powerhouse has become a tech giant.

This is how Facebook has changed over the last decade:

2004

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The Facebook debuted on Feb. 4, 2004 at Zuckerberg’s alma mater, Harvard University. One month later, it also went live at Stanford, Columbia, and Yale, and continued to grow  to support more than 800 college networks.
2005
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This is what a typical profile looked like in 2005. Very reminiscent of Myspace, no? This is also the year that “The Facebook” opened up to high school students.
2006
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On Sept 20, 2005 thefacebook.com officially dropped the “the” and became Facebook. This is the year Facebook opened to all students over 13 with a valid email address and when they allowed multiple photos on your profile page, allowing images to take a far more central place in the Facebook universe. This is also the year yours truly joined Facebook the summer before my senior in high school.
2007
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This is the year the “mini-feed” was introduced, later known as the timeline. Several weeks after the Mini-Feed went live, Facebook moved beyond schools and opened to anyone with an email address. This year, video was introduced to Facebook as well as a Facebook app for iPhone. This is also the year yours truly joined Facebook as a senior in high school.
2008
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This year, a new Facebook “wall” was introduced as well as a cleaner-looking profile with a menu bar up top.
2009
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In March 2009, the Publisher tool from user profiles was added to the main homepage to let you post links, photos, videos, or write a note without an extra click. The Facebook homepage also updated in real-time, modeled after Twitter.
2010
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Laying low for most of 2010 due to protests from all the changes in 2008 and 2009, Facebook introduced a new profile design in December of 2010, including photos and an “about” section displayed at the top of your profile.
2011
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2011 was the year the “Timeline” was introduced. Designed to “tell the story of your life,” the Timeline featured a large cover photo and a Pinterest-like assortment of posts that scrolled back through your Facebook history.FB 2011
This is also the year the “ticker” in the right hand side of the Facebook timeline was introduced.
2012
This was the year Facebook bought Instagram. Very little changes to the Facebook appearance.
2013
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Facebook introduces hashtags and verified accounts.
2014
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Why Blogging Matters

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It’s 2015. It’s a new year, folks! It’s time to make resolutions and stick to them. It’s time to refocus, recharge, and realign your objectives for the upcoming year.

In addition to my yearly New Year Resolutions to try and eat fewer sweets (yeah, right) and become a more decisive person (I decided this should be my resolution. That counts, doesn’t it?), one of my main resolutions for work in 2015 (and one I’m much more likely to stick to than the aforementioned attempts at self-improvement) is to blog on a regular basis.

Why Blogging Matters for Your Business (1)

Here are some reasons why:

It helps drive traffic to your website. And if you haven’t noticed, Gossip Genie just got a new website. The more visitors, the better I say.

In fact, 55% of companies that blog generate more web traffic.

It helps establish authority. We have great minds working at the Gossip Genie office and our blog is a great place to share our social media tips, advice, and insights.

It’s a great way to generate leads. 57% of companies have acquired customers from their blog and 61% of customers use a blog to research a company. Here’s a handy infographic with these stats.

Blogging is also an effective way to display knowledge or thought leadership, to curate content, and start conversations

In addition to blogging for this site, Gossip Genie offers blogging and blogger outreach services to help launch and effectively manage your company’s blog. Learn more here.

What would you like to see me blog about this year? Feel free to share in the comments!

 

 

5 Ways Social Media Is Changing Our Brains

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The popular YouTube channel AsapSCIENCE recently created a video on the crazy ways social media is changing our brains.

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Here are a few interesting takeaways:

  • 1/3 of the entire world use social media sites
  • 5-10% of Internet users are unable to control how much time they spend online (a majority of these must be social media managers!).
  • Heavy social media users perform worse during multi-tasking tasks. I may have to disagree with this one!
  • Phantom Vibration Syndrome, the psychological phenomenon where you think your phone went off but it didn’t, is a recent symptom that 89% of people say they experience once every 2 weeks. Social media is actually rewiring our nervous system!
  • Social medie trigggers a release of dopamine, the feel-good chemical, since it provides immediate rewards from things like a “like” or “retweet.” The reward center in your brain is then activated.
  • People like talking about themselves, which releases dopamine. While 30-40% of face-to-face communications revolve around talking about yourself, an astounding 80% of social media communication is self-involved, thus releasing more dopamine during social media use.
  • Partners tend to like each other more if they meet online. There is a statisitcal increase in successful partnerships that start online.

Watch the full video here:
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Top 10 TV Series on Twitter and the Year’s Most Tweeted-about Episode

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Nielsen has released its list of this year’s most talked-about series on Twitter, which was calculated from September 1, 2013 to May 25, 2014. Breaking Bad not only topped the list — with an average reach of 6 million people per each new episode — but also took home the award for the greatest reach for a single airing, thanks to its buzzy series finale. Viewers’ final hour with Walter White reached 9.1 million people on Twitter. However, The Voice set the record for total tweets sent about a single episode with 1.92 million tweets about its episode on May 13.

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Here are the year’s top ten series on Twitter (in order):

1. Breaking Bad
2. The Walking Dead
3. Pretty Little Liars
4. 
The Bachelor
5. Game of Thrones
6. Teen Wolf
7. American Horror Story: Coven
8. Scandal
9. The Voice
10. Dancing With the Stars

In terms of television specials, The Oscars and the Super Bowl led the charge. The Oscars reached 13.9 million people with one billion impressions (mostly thanks to Ellen Degeneres’s selfie), while the Super Bowl reached 15.3 million people.

Are you surprised by these results? Which shows do you tweet about the most?

A Guide to Covering Events Live on Social Media

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Elizabeth and I attended the National ProStart Invitational in Minneapolis last month to cover the 3-day event live on social media for our client, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

The top-chef style competition for ProStart Program students had culinary and management teams vying for championship titles and $3.75 million in scholarships. With 50 culinary teams and 50 management teams from each US state competing, there was a lot of ground to cover on social media!

Social media is a great way to provide live updates to your fans, interact with attendees, and provide coverage for people unable to attend the event.

But where do you start? Here are some first-hand tips on how to successfully live cover an event on social media:

1.    Create a hashtag for the event and follow it continuously

Make sure it’s relatively short, unique to the event, and easy to remember. Make sure to promote the hashtag beforehand so that attendees know to use it during the event and keep the hashtag consistent across all social media platforms. Creating an official hashtag for an event not only allows your fans to easily follow along with your updates but it allows you to track the chatter at the event so that you can easily interject in conversations on Facebook and Twitter and like and comment on photos on Instagram

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 2.    Compile a list of important attendees and their social handles

At the National ProStart Invitational, there were 50 high schools competing and countless scholarship donors and event sponsors that needed to be acknowledged on social media. Beforehand, we researched every school, donor, and sponsor attending to see if they had a social presence. By researching them and creating a document with their social handles, we had them readily available to tag at a moment’s notice during the fast-paced event. Preparation is key when live covering an event!

3.    Schedule and drafts messages

While you are going to be sharing content live from the event, anything you can do ahead of time helps. There are certain aspects of the event you can anticipate. For example, at the Invitational, we knew exactly what time each team was competing so we pre-scheduled tweets to announce which team was competing when. That gave us time to take pictures and share everything else surrounding the competition.

 4.    Take as many pictures as you can!

There is no better way to share the experience of being at an event than to show it via images. Don’t be afraid to get close and get the perfect shot to give your fans a look at what is happening, live from the event!

An up-close shot of one of the culinary competitors!

An up-close shot of one of the culinary competitors!

5.    Take notes of what you hear

Quotes are a huge hit on social. During the Invitational, there were countless speeches and commentary about the students competing and the restaurant industry as a whole. Documenting key quotes and snippets of dialogue to share on social will help your fans relive the event. The more knowledge you share from the event, the more your audience will feel they were a part of the experience as well.

6.    Vary your content across social platforms

While you want to keep your message and tone consistent throughout the event, change up the content you are sharing across each social media platform. What is appropriate for Twitter may not be right for Instagram. Make sure you share your information with the uniqueness of the platform.

 7.    Keep an extra charger on hand!

There is nothing worse than covering an event and your phone dies. Constantly snapping pictures and sending out posts from your phone will cause the battery life to diminish quickly. By carrying an extra charger or with you, you’ll be able to upload photos, post updates and consistently execute multiple tasks throughout the entire event and not cut yourself short due to a dead phone.

8.    Have a team member(s) to help you out

Covering an event live on social media definitely helps when you have an amazing partner like Elizabeth to share efforts with. Definitely couldn’t have done it without her!

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What other questions do you have about covering an event live on social media? Ask away!