October’s Digital Round-up

October’s Digital Round-up

There’s been plenty to talk about in October’s digital roundup, from social media sites shutting down to privacy issues throughout the industry. Here, we outline the top bits of news that marketers and business owners need to know from October 2018.

Instagram copies Snapchat (again)

There’s been a lot of change at Instagram over the past month, but one thing they are pushing is making it easier to follow and be followed by new people.

The new ‘nametag’ feature is essentially Instagram’s version of Snapchat’s ‘snapcode’ and works in a similar way.

There has been some murmurs within the industry suggesting that Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, sees Instagram as it’s long-term ‘money-maker’. If this is the case, we could see a lot of changes appearing on the platform in the coming months, especially with Instagram’s original founders announcing in September they would be leaving the company after 8 years.

We finally say goodbye to Google+

The platform (once described as a serious rival to Facebook!) has now announced it will be shutting down in October. After a 3-year-old security flaw was discovered, Google took the step to shut down their social network for consumers.

Google+ is the company’s fourth attempt at creating a social networking site but has followed the same path of its predecessors in failing to grow an engaged user base.

It’s yet to be seen whether Google will attempt to create another social networking site or if they will continue their push on hardware and home devices following their October “Made by Google” events.

No more clickbait?!

Facebook has announced it is clamping down on low quality ads on its platform in an attempt to reduce the amount of clickbait and unwanted content which appears on users newsfeeds. It aims to create more meaningful connections between people and businesses.

The penalties imposed on anyone deemed to have created low quality ads are:

  • Individual ad: A reduced reach or will be disapproved
  • Multiple ads: This may have a negative impact on all ads running from that account.

This news comes as no surprise as Facebook tries to move back towards its roots by championing a more user-friendly experience which promotes high quality, engaging content.

Facebook targets transparent ads

Along with clamping down on low quality ads, Facebook is also aiming to make political adverts more transparent in the wake of several security issues they have faced this year.

Facebook have imposed several new, strict rules around political advertising that you’ll have to obey. From now on, you’ll need to prove your identity and location in the form of a passport, a driving licence, or a residency permit. Each advert will also feature a “paid for by” label.

They have introduced a new online archive which shows previously ran adverts, how much was roughly spent, and who they are reaching. The archive can be searched by anyone and does not require a Facebook account to access.

Snapchat vs Instagram

Since it’s rise, Snapchat has always been billed as a social platform for Gen Z, however according to a recent study by Piper Jaffray, Instagram was used (slightly) more often per month. 85% of participants said they opened Instagram once a month, compared to 84% for Snapchat.

Some reassurance for Snapchat is they topped the list for “favourite social platform” with 46% choosing the platform compared to 32% choosing Instagram.

Could this be another step towards doom for Snapchat? It’s widely suggested they have always struggled to monetise the app, but their new Amazon search feature could help increase the popularity of the platform which already seems to have its best days behind it.

Twitter maintains profit

It looks as though Twitter is going to make an annual profit for the first time since the app was created in 2006 even with the number of monthly active users decreasing. This could be down to a number of reasons, such as video ad sales increasing, the site cutting costs in certain areas and the livestreaming of major sporting events.

The broadcasting of sports has been in the media frequently these last couple of years with a number of different platforms trying to secure some of the biggest events to help grow their audiences. During Q3 2018 Twitter streamed MLB and MLS games which meant revenue increased as advertiser interest increased. It will be interesting to see how platforms continue to introduce more streaming aspects to their services in the future.

October was certainly a busy month for social media news as we’ve only scratched the surface. It looks as though user privacy is going to be a subject which consistently appears, so it will be interesting to see how that moves forward

How to create great blog content

How to create great blog content

It can be difficult knowing where to start with creating blog content. An empty page seems overwhelming, how can you engage your audience? How do you get seen in a busy online world?

Blogs are valuable content. They serve as brilliant social fodder and, if done well, help drive visitors to your website through search queries.

Here are a few tips to help you get started with creating your business blog.

It’s all about the plan

The most difficult part of blogging is knowing what to write about, so creating a plan provides you with a list of topics to get talking about. Spacing out your content means your blogs aren’t like buses all being posted at the same time.

Start by planning out the year. Are there any industry events or milestones that you would like to talk about? Do you have any launches or campaigns happening that should be shouted about? Plan these into a long-term plan, getting into the finer details when looking at the month ahead.

Think about the questions that your audiences are asking and answer them through your blogs. Don’t just use your content to promote yourself and sell your services – make sure you are being useful. How can you help? Always write for your customer, put them first and speak to them in their language.

The Four Rules of Thumb for engaging content

There are four principles we recommend you keep in mind when writing blog content – in fact, any content!

  • Be Relevant
  • Have Intent
  • Be Familiar
  • Be Engaging

The Importance of Being Relevant

Think about your target audiences – in fact, list them out as personas. Think about each type of customer when you are planning and writing your content; are you writing to every persona, or do you keep focusing on a just one? How should you write slightly differently to each persona? In your plan, detail which persona your blog will be tailored for, so you can picture them whilst you are writing. This helps your writing become more conversational as well as being relevant for the audience you are trying to reach.

What is Your Intent?

Your content always needs to have intent. Think about what the purpose of the post is before you open the Word Document and start writing. Are you trying to educate your customer? Instruct them on how to use something? Give them your opinion about a news item, encourage thought around a topic, or inspire them? Make sure you keep that blogs aim in mind whilst writing to keep it on track. Add calls to action to help them along their journey.

Something Familiar?

It’s good to have a clear tone of voice when you are writing as your brand, it helps you sound consistent, striking a note of recognition with your audience. Keep that same tone of voice across all your marketing channels so that your brand is always the same, no matter which route your customer comes through. Think about the great brands like Innocent – they always have the same tone of voice, so if you didn’t see their logo and name, you would still recognise who had written that content.

How to be Engaging

Your blog content needs to work hard to be engaging, to keep people reading – to make them want MORE. Make sure to ask questions, make your readers stop and think. Use subtitles to break up your text so it doesn’t look too long and like a chore to read. Keep the language short, chatty in blogs as though you are talking directly to your reader.

Importantly, always make sure your content has a personality. Never be boring.