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Instagram vs Snapchat: The Stories Debate

Instagram vs Snapchat: The Stories Debate

Another day, another social media update! On Tuesday, Instagram rolled out a new feature called Instagram Stories.

This feature allows users to upload photos and videos that will disappear automatically after 24 hours. ‘Stories’ sits at the top of your newsfeed, and you can bring your content to life with text and drawing tools. Sound familiar? Yes! That’s because it’s just like Snapchat.

Essentially, Instagram have copied the whole concept of Snapchat Stories. Once a place where you could only see the ‘highlights’, Instagram are ready to take on their fellow tech giant; swallowing their pride with this huge ephemeral curveball. In an interview with TechCrunch, Instagram’s CEO Kevin Systrom even said that Snapchat “deserve all the credit”.

But what does this mean for the future of Instagram and Snapchat? Reaction has been mixed online.

In favour of Instagram ?

“Good artists copy; great artists steal”, say Next Web who have revived the words of Picasso. Some say that Instagram has taken a concept built by Snapchat but “out-innovated” them with their own spin on the familiar feature. When you think about it, this feature is actually a perfect fit for Instagram. Ultimately, Instagram has made the feature more accessible and easier to use for a wider group of people and higher numbers of users; people who sometimes struggle with the current Snapchat model. In their official blog, Instagram said that now their users “don’t have to worry about overposting. Instead, you can bring your story to life in new ways with text and drawing tools. The photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear on your profile grid or in feed”. The new feature will be rolled out globally to both Android and iOS users over the next few weeks.

Instagram Stories offers something more – i.e. beautiful imagery and highlights; along with a raw, unedited look into daily lives. This is a move that could really bring Instagram to the forefront, to make sure it stays on top. The best of both worlds! Watch out, Snapchat.

Instagram Stories

In favour of Snapchat ?

We spoke recently about how Snapchat really is the app for innovation, and it still is. Snapchat pioneered the ‘Stories’ feature which has taken over the social media world, not to mention Snapchat ‘Memories’, ‘Geofilters’ and ‘Lenses’. Snapchat have been original with their product, a product which has contributed to the decline in “original sharing” via Facebook. Copying Snapchat is an extreme move by Instagram, one which is telling of the problems the app is facing. People have always liked Snapchat because of the freedom associated with it, it is a place where you don’t have to feel judged for posting like you might do on Instagram or Facebook. The new ephemeral feature on Instagram has basically confirmed that this type of sharing is the way forward. Snapchat have innovated before, and there is no doubt that they will do it again.

With a dedicated and loyal fan base, it is hard to see how Snapchat will suffer as a result of this move. Not to mention the fact that Instagram have annoyed many people with their recent algorithm change – ‘Stories’ has just added salt to the wound. With sentiment erring slightly on the negative side, could Instagram become the Bebo of our time?

As always in the world of tech and social media, we can never tell what’s around the corner. Who will reign supreme? Time will tell. In the meantime, the digital team at The PHA Group are looking forward to the next update from Snapchat…

 

 

Highlanders’ social media flop

After finishing a disappointing 14th in the 2013 Super Rugby season, Highlanders’ fans thought they were in for an uplift when the club put digital PR resources into announcing a high profile signing on Thursday.

The PR Announcement

But when the Otago based club unveiled their new signing – assistant coach Tony Brown – the Highlanders fans were less than impressed.

The Fan Engagement

Brown joins two other former All Blacks – Jon Preston and Scott McLeod – as assistants to head coach Jamie Joseph. There is no doubt that Brown will make an exceptional addition to the coaching staff, having coached Otago’s NPC for the past two seasons, but the delivery has left fans feeling misled and disheartened.

Headlines are arguably the most memorable and the most noticeable part of a story, any good journalist will make sure they are as attention-grabbing as possible. Whether in print or online, conversion is important, which is why you can’t blame newspapers for making their headlines as interesting or as shocking as possible. But for a digital strategy to work the focus needs to be on more than conversion rates and website traffic. Brands need to gain trust, develop a loyal online community, and hire community managers to listen and engage with these fans on social channels.

Why? Because the more fans you have sharing your content, and engaging with your social channels, the more exposure your brand will receive – It’s “word of mouth” advertising at its best.

Highlanders' social media flop

After finishing a disappointing 14th in the 2013 Super Rugby season, Highlanders’ fans thought they were in for an uplift when the club put digital PR resources into announcing a high profile signing on Thursday.

The PR Announcement

But when the Otago based club unveiled their new signing – assistant coach Tony Brown – the Highlanders fans were less than impressed.

The Fan Engagement

Brown joins two other former All Blacks – Jon Preston and Scott McLeod – as assistants to head coach Jamie Joseph. There is no doubt that Brown will make an exceptional addition to the coaching staff, having coached Otago’s NPC for the past two seasons, but the delivery has left fans feeling misled and disheartened.

Headlines are arguably the most memorable and the most noticeable part of a story, any good journalist will make sure they are as attention grabbing as possible. Whether in print or online, conversion is important, which is why you can’t blame newspapers for making their headlines as interesting or as shocking as possible. But for a digital strategy to work the focus needs to be on more than conversion rates and website traffic. Brands need to gain trust, develop a loyal online community, and hire community managers to listen and engage with these fans on social channels.

Why? Because the more fans you have sharing your content, and engaging with your social channels, the more exposure your brand will receive – It’s “word of mouth” advertising at its best.

Lights out for British Gas as Q&A Flops

British Gas Fail Twitter PR backfired

Courtesy of flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/4226949238

 

To somebody over at British Gas HQ, it was a brilliant idea.

“Yes, we’re hiking up gas prices by 9.2% this winter, but we’ll just explain it away by hosting a live Q&A the same afternoon”.

Genius. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, as it turns out, the session was a disaster for Britain’s largest energy provider.

Bert Piljs tried his hardest to keep the sinking ship afloat, but in the end, the @BritishGas Twitter handle was flooded with sarcastic, witty and serious questions:

On a serious note, Mr Piljs tried to explain the significant price hike, blaming the increase on rising ‘wholesale prices’. He stressed that those who are on fixed-rate contracts will be spared a price hike this winter, and handed out a hotline to those concerned about their vulnerable neighbours and relatives.

The end result, however, was one of embarrassment for British Gas. Twitter didn’t seem to care about wholesale prices or fixed rate contracts. All anybody wanted to do was gain recognition for the most humorous tweet:

Bert was determined to ignore the jokers, however, and stuck to the job at hand. To end the session, he thanked those for participating and passed the burden of dealing with angry customers to the British Gas help desk.

In a further attempt to try and douse the PR blaze, British Gas released an official statement defending the Q&A:

“Our announcement today is difficult news for customers. We didn’t make this decision lightly. We know people are worried about rising energy prices and they want to talk about this – including on Twitter – and it’s important we’re there for them to talk to. That’s why we offered a Q&A session with our customer services director. It was the right thing to do because we are committed to being open and transparent with our customers at all times.”

Seems like a load of hot air to me…

 

 

NBC Earn Their Comedy Hotspurs With Digital Viral Video

Our digital hats are off this week to… NBC!

On Sunday, the sports network released the video: ‘An American Coach in London’ – well, actually it’s comedian Jason Sudeikis, but the idea is that he gives a frightening glimpse of what might happen if a football team ever did decide to take in talent from the USA!

The hilarious video shows the coach (Ted Lasso) playing clueless when working with Premier League football club, Tottenham Hotspur.

Footballer Gareth Bale gets a special feature when Lasso asks: “Gareth Bale, where’s he from – England?… Wales… wait that’s another country?”

The video was made to advertise the Premier League coming to NBC and to date it’s had over 3 million views, 17,000 likes on YouTube and 2,400 comments!

We particularly LOL’d at his appointed nickname from the team. If you haven’t watched it already, do so now! It’s Friday after all.

Royal Baby Fails to Spice Up Twitter

Given the day and age that we live in, it may have been more appropriate had Will and Kate took to Twitter to announce the birth of their new-born son. Perhaps something along the lines of: “OMG! Just given birth lol. Check out this selfie of my little prince” would have generated a much larger online buzz rather than a placard erected outside Buckingham Palace. But such is tradition, as us Brits would say.

At its peak, just after the birth was announced, a total of 253,000 tweets were posted each minute. In its own right, that is a very impressive amount, as is the 900,000 times that the hashtag #royalbaby was used. Compare that, however, to two other events that have gripped the world this year and the birth of the wee man who would be King pales in significance. Jorge Bergoglio’s election as Pope Francis garnered 132,000 tweets per minute, whilst Barack Obama’s second election victory generated a massive 237,000 tweets per minute. To be fair, it might seem harsh to pit a new-born child up against the President of the USA and the head of the Catholic Church, but these are the standards we should be setting for the future monarch.

Even the Spice Girls, that Great British institute, managed to generate more tweets per minute (116,000) when they reformed earlier this year. Usain Bolt’s dash to Olympic victory last year in London produced 88,000 tweets per minute, so the yet-to-be-named prince has a bit of catching up to do…

Either way, the buzz that has been generated elsewhere-from constant surveillance of Kate Middleton’s hospital to continuous parades across the UK and endless bandwagon campaigns from brands online-has been astounding. And like it or not, it will come to dominate headlines for weeks to come.

Have a Break, Have No-WiFi

Free WiFi is available everywhere. It’s available in bars, restaurants, trains, tubes, airports, supermarkets and even at Mount Everest – here in the digital team we do not see this as a bad thing. However, it does mean that people are constantly online.

Kit Kat saw this as an opportunity to give people a break. Instead of offering Free WiFi like every other brand, they created a Free No-WiFi Zone.

Have a Break, Have No-WiFi

A big sign with a small WiFi jammer that blocked all the signals within a five-meter radius. So people could escape e-mails, updates, tags and even likes. Encouraging people to read a good old newspaper, a real book or have a genuine conversation. Whilst eating a Kit Kat.

Their stunt started a conversation about the need for places where people can disconnect, which was just the sort of attention they were looking for.

Do you think there is a need for places where people can disconnect? We would love to hear your thoughts.

How to Create a Viral Tweet

Last Tuesday, Warren Gatland announced his 37 squad that will be touring Australia, England Captain Chris Robshaw and kicking legend Jonny Wilkinson were left out. There was much contention surrounding Wilkinson’s non-inclusion due to the 24 points he kicked against Saracens the weekend prior. Virgin Holidays were listening to the twitter chatter and seized the opportunity with a spur of the moment tweet.

The tweet did not go viral; they did not gain a significant number of new followers and their Instagram following was not propelled to new found heights. This we thought created the perfect opportunity to discuss how to create a viral tweet. Everyone wants more Facebook traffic, more YouTube views, more YouTube subscribers, more Twitter and Pinterest followers and more social influence.  Why, because if you can get something to go viral on the web, you can get a lot of exposure in a small amount of time.

Here are 4 ways to increase the probability your tweet will receive ReTweets:

A CALL TO ACTION
Every tweet should be done for a specific reason and should include a call to action. Every time you tweet, you want followers to ReTweet – every time your content is ReTweeted it expands to another network of Twitter users.

TIMING
You need to experiment to see when you get the best responses from your followers. When you get a ReTweet track it in a spreadsheet and note the day, time and content of the tweet.

LINKS
As a general rule tweets with links have a higher ReTweet rate, researcher suggest 70% of tweets that include links get ReTweeted.

ADD VALUE TO YOUR COMMUNITY
The more you give, the more you receive.  Tweet useful content such as ‘How to’ information, breaking news, technology warnings and competitions and/or discounts.

This was just a few suggestions, we would love to hear what works for you.

 

Image courtesy of Bro Jeffery Pioquinto SJ, flickr.com

Share a Coke

For the first time ever, Coca-Cola has altered the script on 500ml and 375ml bottles to read the names of customers – and we love the idea at PHA Digital!

Coined as The ‘Share a Coke’ campaign, shelves across the country have been stocked with 150 of the most popular names, from Aaron to Zoe – it’s intention to capture the nation’s imagination this summer and drive growth for retailers.

Starbucks launched a similar campaign last year and awarded customers with personalised name inscriptions, but did you ever find yourself unwittingly annoyed at the misspelling of your name?

Yeah, us too.

Coke have overcome this hitch by giving customers whose names are not available on the pack, the chance to create their own virtual can online.

Be sure to Tweet us pictures of your personalised bottle and in the meantime, Happy Sharing.

Share coke

Cover image courtesy of Mike Mozart, flickr.com

The Future of Social Media in Sport

Last week, Saracens Rugby Club launched Wi-Fi throughout the entirety of Allianz Park. Reportedly the first sports club in Europe to attempt to encourage real-time user-generated content (UGC) that could add value to the match-day experience.

The clubs goal was to communicate that they now have a permanent home in London, whilst also creating a fan-based social media buzz around the game. Saracens promoted a selection of hashtags throughout the match-day programme, across their own social media channels (Twitter and Facebook) and featured them on 2 display screens.

They had recognised that one of the biggest requirements to improve the match day experience was information, such as; player statistics, team statistics, etc. To try and combat this, the live game commentary was fed through Twitter along with all major incidences and occasional sports stats. The real-time trial received tremendously positive feedback, the clubs twitter reach increased by 45%, in-game messaging increased by 20%, and picture-based content soared to a staggering 67%.

Times are changing. As sport becomes more tightly integrated with technologies more pressure is put on clubs to find more innovative ways to engage fans and enhance live sporting experiences. Edward Griffiths, CEO of Saracens commented on the new initiative, “not every rugby supporter will appreciate ‘second screen’ activity, but we are pushing the boundaries… and our fans are having fun.” For Saracens this is only the beginning, they will be further looking to drive additional revenue to the bars and restaurants through effective community management.

With the future of social media in sport in mind, here are 5 trends to watch out for:

BRAND MARKETING – Currently most clubs use social media for brand marketing, for example; tickets, merchandise and adverts. Similar to Saracens, most clubs will start focusing on the match-day experience – the statistics, the atmosphere, the music, the pre-match rituals, etc. Instead of telling the fans what they should aspire to want, marketers will start absorbing the emotions and stories fans experience throughout the game.

SOCIAL MEDIA HUBS – European clubs will start taking note of this brilliant invention on the other side of the pond. Social media hubs are allocated areas within the stadium on match-day where pre-selected fans (social media savvy and influential in the digital space) can take control of the clubs social media presence. Simple yet effective, as who knows what the fans want better than the fans themselves?

TWITTER PARTIES – American clubs recognise how powerful and influential their socially active fans can be and one way of rewarding them is a “Fan Night” in which fans are invited to go to the stadium to meet their fellow tweeters and put faces to twitter handles. An excellent way to bring clubs most influential tweeters, Instagrammers and followers closer.

FAN-BASED CONTENT – Some Clubs have already started to include fans in their official content but we predict this to rise. Whether it is getting a fan to write a match report that features in the programme or create a YouTube interview with a player. Fan-based content is a whole lot more engaging.

PINTEREST – Pinterest seems to have been neglected at current but it is an obvious tool for clubs to use to promote their online shops. But boards can also be used as a platform for fans to share their favourite moments, quotes, etc.

Here in the PHA Digital team, we are excited to see the evolution of Social Media in Sport and how effective UK Sports Clubs are at utilizing their own Social Media Marketing Strategies.