Social Media Trends

5 Social Media Game Changers You Can’t Afford to Miss in 2015

It is clear that old digital strategies and individual channels are being overhauled due to the need to create a common brand experience across the digital environment. Customers expect to access information across platforms, apps and devices and in order for brands to “be the best answer” wherever buyers are, they will need to evaluate what’s next and where to focus.

Considering one quarter of the world’s population use social media, it’s in the interest of brands to take the changes into account. There are several social media game changers to look ahead in 2015 that relate to running a business. Dig in, learn and enjoy:

1- “Buy” button finally comes to social media

This year, people will finally be able to purchase products seen in their Twitter and Facebook feed without ever leaving those networks.
This is a handy way for the user to purchase new products, but especially a very big opportunity for the seller to get more conversions. Imagine promoting your short-term deals in Twitter and Facebook having the best call to action: a “buy button”! There will be no distraction between your marketing and sales efforts. This tool could be particularly effective for time-sensitive offers, to entice consumers to act quickly and seal the deal.

Twitter Buy Button

An example of the Twitter “buy” button from the company’s website. Twitter

2- Mobile apps as a priority

More than any other channel, mobile allows brands to generate attractive micro moments at different stages of the purchase process, either through push notifications or in-app product recommendations.

Considering the evolution in geo-targeting and geo-fencing, brands are advised to put mobile apps as a priority in their marketing plan, providing their audience with timely contextual messages on a one-to-one basis. A significant 65% of social network activity comes from mobile devices and major social networks are constantly improving their mobile presence. 2015 will certainly witness optimised social media networks becoming increasingly geo-targeted (allowing advertisers to showcase relevant ads based on location), with related real-time content, indispensable in every online marketing plan.

Mobile App

3- Smart devices will be more social

Everything from home appliances like bathroom scales and refrigerators to wearables like fitness bracelets and smart watches are now collecting data and transferring it easily to the web. Also, many of them are pushing notifications to social networks like Facebook, a trend that will continue in 2015.

The challenge this year is how to improve the social intelligence of these devices. This will probably start with tapping into users’ exclusive network of friends and followers in smart ways. By tracking users’ interactions with their contacts, then responding subsequently, smart devices will become even advanced in 2015.

Sony Smart Watch

Sony Smart Watch: a mini version of a smartphone

4- Private messaging reveals big potential

Private messaging has been around for some time, but brands are still not fully embracing its potential for customer interaction. The most interesting aspect of messaging apps lies in the diversity of content forms and media companies, for instance, are starting to use the likes of Snapchat and WhatsApp for live media coverage. A good example is Durex’s activity on WeChat allowing users to ask confidential questions about taboo subjects in China.

Durex and WeChat

Private messaging is crucial in many people’s lives. In 2015, more brands will focus on this strategy, including it on their social media marketing plan, starting with sharing icons and slowly moving to elaborated campaigning.

5- The rise of snackable content

2014 saw the rise of a number of shared pictures and videos also known as “snackable content”, especially between younger audiences. According to the latest comScore report, Instagram is the second most used social network for people between 18 and 34 years, with 43.1%, while Snapchat comes in third with 32.9%.

ComscoreThat’s because more and more this audience wants to consume, produce and publish information quickly, just with a simple click.

Lately, Instagram has added in-feed advertising to their videos. The ads can target users based on age, gender and country. This is a great way for marketers to get their message in front of their target audience. For Disney’s “Big Hero 6,” for example, the film’s animated characters are posting selfies of themselves, fitting in with what normally appears on Instagram.

So, brands should bet on concise content, like photos published in Instagram or Pinterest, or even short videos, such as Vines, that communicate efficiently and boost the audience.

Looking closely to changes in all social networks, it is clear that a new approach should be studied by the companies who use them as a sales channel. Now it’s time to listen to the needs of the consumer and social networks are the best tools for it!

Which trends do you see dominating 2015? Leave us a comment or tweet us @socialmedia_ie – We would appreciate hearing about your expectations!

Written by Juliana Pereira

Bio: Juliana Pereira, a Brazilian living in Dublin. A Public Relations and Marketing Specialist. She is very passionate about social media, technology and innovation.

Find Juliana on Twitter @juliana_rp

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How to use amazing Instagram content to boost your digital marketing

If you don’t care about the future of your business or customers, stop reading now.

Instagram is a tremendously powerful platform and it’s your duty to leverage it for your business. User engagement levels are 15 times higher than Facebook, and over 75% of leading brands are already present on the platform.

Maybe you already knew that or you are already using Instagram.

But are you using it like the pros?

Most people are going in blind and then wondering why that photo of John’s leaving drinks didn’t get any likes; or why that whiteboard brainstorming session didn’t get any feedback; and don’t get me started on stock images of the product. The images aren’t appealing, and who wants to follow an assortment of photo garbage?

People want to engage with you, but most of the content you upload doesn’t relate to them.

It’s key that you get involved, start with a good foundation, create meaningful interactions with your community, and fine-tune your message to improve your brand’s visibility.

What’s the best way to do that you ask?

I’ve been playing around and experimenting with Instagram for the last two years. With ups and downs I’ve built a strong following by captivating and engaging my audience. I won the ‘Best Job in the World’ campaign by Tourism Australia, helped their marketing team with one million Instagram followers, and was a finalist in the first ever Insta-Film Festival.

These experiences have taught me a number of ways to organically grow and maintain a strong following. Yet nobody teaches these things in school.

I want to share with you a few examples and techniques that have helped me along the way. Here’s a teaser to skim the surface.

Examples:

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1. Pick Your Topic
Cats, food, fashion, nature, portraits, sunsets, selfies. Whichever you select, your photos need to be centred on that topic. Consistency is key.

If you have a talent (everyone does) you could showcase that. Be it dancing, drawing, literature, fashion trends, great cooking or an obscure interest. There are bound to be people searching for the same interest.

Pick a topic that you’re most happy with and stick with it. It will define who you are.

If all else fails, just take photos of your pet.

 

pick

 

2.  Hashtags (Done Right)
Ok so people (usually always) say you need to tag your photos. Each photo is allowed a maximum of 30 tags. But wait!

Stop hash tagging so much! You’re annoying people.

As you’re posting you can tag your photo with some relevant tags (zero to eight maximum), then wait and put the remaining tags as a comment so that not many people will see them, but makes your photo still findable in search.

 

hashtags

 

3. Reaching out to Accounts
To take you photos to the next level you need to get them in front of a huge audience.

There are hundreds of accounts with huge followings that repost other peoples photos. If they pick your photo you’ll get credited, and get great exposure.

 

accounts

 

Your job is to find accounts that post similar photos to you. Tag your photo with their name, tag their account and hashtag in your caption or in a comment under your photo, and hope they love your photography.

The more accounts that feature your photos the more likes and followers you get. In order to be featured your photos need to be epic.

———–

 

Here’s your chance to learn a lot more.

We’re offering you a course in the coming new year 2015 with some amazing material that will definitely help your business succeed. If you’re interested then drop us a line.

I’m @daxon on Instagram, or tweet me @daxon

 

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Develop The Spookiest Marketing Campaign For Halloween

Since our whole Connector team is really brave and not frightened by ghosts or zombies, we are the perfect digital agency for you to work with this Halloween.

In our secret laboratory we have a team of highly skilled crazy professors who can help you with concepts, design, videos, games and all your social media requirements.

Last year, we did a spooky ‘Halloween Pumpkin Run’ campaign, where we delivered purple pumpkins filled with sweets to twenty lucky Dublin based agencies. See the photo below. Each and every pumpkin had the connector360 personal touch – hollowed out, painted and filled with treats by our very own minions. A QR code inside led to a special Trick or Treat page with our credentials and a party invitation. What a treat! We think we did a spooktastic job! 😉

We can create campaigns for you right up until last minute but why not talk to us today about your Halloween campaign! Boo!

You can contact us at team@socialmedia.ie or call us on +353 1 906 0006.

Pumpkins

 

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Film Industry

Experimental ideas – The Future of Film industry

As featured on connector360, our little sister website, we will now bring you a collection of innovations from film industry.

1. What about keeping your smartphone switched on at cinema? That is the challenge of Cinime that developed an interactive app to “use your little screen to get more from the big screen”. Read More

2. Civil drone and helicopter use in cinema is offering new ways to shoot action and provide a significant change in film visuals. Here is an amazing example of what can be done:

3. Have you always dreamt of living in a movie? Thanks to virtual reality in cinema the gap between real and movie world will become so close that you will feel like being part of the film. Read more

4. This behind the scene video reveals the secrets of 7 Oscars winner film Gravity and the remarkable technological innovation created to shoot the movie.

5. A new concept inspired by the trend of Slow Food just shows up on TV and proposes a different and fun way to watch TV.

For more stories like this, follow us on Twitter @connector360

The future of Retail

Experimental ideas – The future of Retail

As featured on connector360, our little sister website, we will now bring you a collection of innovative ideas from retail industry.

To receive our full list of retail case studies, please email team@socialmedia.ie

1.  Avenue Imperial created a digital retail experience which makes you feel like you are shopping in a store while you are browsing on your computer.

2. Technology helps to improve customer service in many ways – the interaction between iBeacon and Google Glass could be the future of retail and may change customer shopping experience forever.

3. Thanks to this Pizza Hut digital table you will be able to create your personal pizza like a real chef!  You will never be bored while waiting for your meal again.

4. Are you confused when buying clothes as there is so much choice? C&A helps solve this problem with its Facebook “Likes” campaign.

For more stories like this, please follow us on Twitter @socialmedia_ie

Crowdfunding: Peer to Peer lending continues to take business off banks

Crowdfunding: Peer to Peer lending continues to take business off banks

Have you ever thought about starting your own business? In the current economic climate, it may be difficult to find funding via traditional ways (such as bank loans). Even angel investors are an highly solicited, sometimes leaving aside a lot of people with brilliant ideas and ultimately missing some great opportunities.

However another solution could offer you a new way to finance your project, whatever it may be. That solution is called crowdfunding. Crowdfunding isn’t a new idea, as the practice has been used since the 18th century. However with the emergence and growth of the Internet, its field of applicants and supporters has broadened greatly.

The goal is for entrepreneurs to ask the public to financially contribute to their projects in exchange for a reward or out of sheer generosity. Why limit yourself to one business angel when you can have hundreds?

Today, Kickstarter is one of the biggest crowdfunding websites on the web. Since its creation in 2009, it has contributed to the successful funding of almost 55,000 projects, with a total of over a billion dollars being contributed. 5.5 million people helped those projects getting funded with nearly 14 million pledges.

One of the biggest success stories thus far is the Pebble smartwatch. The project was so successful it raised 100 times its initial goal by the end of the funding period. Eoin from the connector360 team even has one!

Ireland also has its own crowdfunding websites. Fund It has enabled projects to raise more than two million euro from the ‘power of the crowd’. Fund It works similarly to Kickstarter, allowing entrepreneurs to assign different rewards to different pledge levels. However, Linked Finance – another Irish crowdfunding website – allows the crowd to propose loans at a fixed interest rate. If the loans are accepted by the entrepreneurs, funders will get back the amount loaned, plus interest, usually starting one month after the funding.

All these success stories might make it seem like crowdfunding is the obvious solution to all funding problems, but this is not always the case. A rewarding campaign is hard work, comparable to a marathon that can last from 30 to 60 days. No matter how amazing your idea, artwork or music may be, nobody is sitting around flipping through platforms, waiting to donate to you. It is up to you to create a hook that entices your contributors to make them believe in your vision. It is up to you to use the power of social media wisely and strategically.

Do you want to try crowdfunding for your next project? Here are connector360’s top 5 tips for making your crowdfunding campaign a fantastic success, and not a fallacious flop.

1. Choose your platforms wisely

As stated above, driving your campaign is a grueling process and you don’t want to spread yourself too thin. It may not be necessary to push your message on every online platform. To have any form of success, it is likely you will need to be active on Facebook and Twitter, where there is the largest volume of audience. After that it all depends on where your audience is. For example, if your project has strong audio/visual impact well then YouTube or Vimeo may enable you to reach your greatest audience.

2. Blog

Starting a blog will be useful no matter what your project may be. It offers you a platform to drive traffic to your site should the donor want more detailed information. It will also allow you to keep them informed on your progress once the campaign is over.

3. Be realistic

Do not overestimate what you can achieve. Aim to under promise and over deliver. Project director of Fund It, Andrew Hetherington, has stated that campaigns of less than €10,000 have the greatest success rate. If it is a project that requires a larger amount, break up the campaign into more digestible chunks. For example if you were making a film, crowd source for production and marketing/distribution at separate intervals.

4. Crowdfunding starts well in advance of campaign launch

If you are not already active on social media, it is important to build your audience BEFORE you start a campaign. It is simply too overwhelming to do both at once. Don’t focus on your campaign or content ‘going viral’. Instead, focus on making it as vibrant, consistent and relevant to your audience as possible.

5. Say ‘Thank You’

Do not take the money and run! Once you have achieved your goals – and even if not – be sure to follow through on any rewards you promised in return for donations, and be grateful to those who helped make your ideas reality. You can, for example, send personal rewards with perhaps a handwritten card or message. It is also important to keep funders up to date with your progress with continued updates to social media/blog etc. Even if things are delayed or not going to plan, it is important to let the crowd know. The last thing you want is for them to feel like they have been fooled!

While crowdfunding may not be a walk in the park, a successful result will not only give you financial support, but will also give you a strong social base that will encourage you and show that others believe in you and your project! Most people on completion of this journey will recall it as a positive and fulfilling experience. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to bring your best ideas to life!

3d printing - a creative dreamland or a counterfeiting nightmare?

3d printing – a creative dreamland or a counterfeiting nightmare?

The 2010s have seen the spread of a revolutionary concept: 3D printing. However the idea itself is not so new, as the invention of 3D printing dates back to the 1980s, but has only become available to the general public over the last few years ago.

3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) is based on a really simple idea. Once you are in possession of 3D blueprints of an object, you can use a 3D printer in order to build said object. You can even design an object’s blueprints yourself with the help of CAD software. The printer will then break up the digital file into layers of data, which will be printed on top of one another until the final object is formed.

The field of applications is endless. 3D printers can use a wide range of materials, and 3D printer owners and designers are continuously finding more creative and useful ways to exploit the true potential of this tool.

A few months ago Mark Ebeling, founder of Californian non-profit organization Not Impossible Labs, came up with a life-changing idea after hearing about the story of a Sudanese boy who had lost his arms in a bombing. Ebeling was so moved by the story – which is sadly only one among so many others – that he decided to bring 3D printing equipment to Sudan and print inexpensive prosthetic limbs for people who were left handicapped by the war, starting with the boy. Even though the limbs were cheap and only restored a small amount of motor functions for the patients, it changed the lives of those deeply wounded by the war and finally gave them a chance to lead a more normal life.

However, while 3D printing brings a lot of wonderful ideas to life, it also comes with a few drawbacks. 3D models are easily accessible via the Internet and an increase in counterfeit goods could quickly become a big problem. Potentially nothing could prevent someone from setting up a large-scale counterfeit production unit equipped with 3D printers, and the proliferation of such goods could lead to a dramatic fall in the market success of the genuine original items. Even with the best intentions in mind, the use of such tools may negatively impact the lives of those in the manufacturing industry and create financial difficulties for the industry as a whole.

3D printing has its advantages and drawbacks, but that can be said about almost anything. One of the most interesting emerging ideas within this sector is bioprinting. What if we were able to print replacement organs for those who urgently needed them? That’s what some companies are starting to think about, and if successful, could lead to a bigger revolution than 3D printing itself.

What do you think about 3D printing? Please let us know by commenting or getting in touch with us.

connector360 invites you to join the 25th Connector Meetup

connector360 invites you to join the 25th Connector Meetup

Connector brings the Facebook generation ‘Face to Face’ at social networking social events. Join up to 100 of your peers on 16th April for our 25th Connector Meetup over the last 5 years.

Since 2008, we have organised 25 events with industry leading guest speakers from organisations including Facebook, Today FM, Daft, Microsoft, Boards.ie, Electric Picnic, Muzu.tv, Bebo & many more!

Come along and meet other passionate people from across the digital world and connect with them both online & offline! We promise a mix of business, technology and culture from around the world. Connector is inviting you to rub shoulders with some of the movers and shakers from the digital world.

There will also be a few surprises thrown into our little cultural melting pot!

You can join the event on Facebook for further updates.

We look forward to seeing you on 16th April 😎