The Wilbert Group Blog

Posts in category Digital Updates

May Digital Updates

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We’re all about keeping up with the digital world at The Wilbert Group and leveraging the newest technologies to help our clients tell their stories. Here’s the latest:

#1 Instagram continues to pull ahead of Snapchat.

On the heels of a disappointing first earnings report for Snap, a new report indicates that the photo-sharing platform is having trouble attracting new users. Downloads for Snapchat in April 2017 fell about 16 percent, while Instagram downloads were up 19 percent. This is significant because Instagram recently unveiled a stories feature its CEO openly admitted was a Snapchat copycat, and it’s proven wildly popular and pulled Snapchat’s heavy Gen Z fan base away. In fact, Instagram announced this morning that it is introducing augmented reality facial filters in yet another Snapchat copycat move.

#2 Facebook celebrates Mother’s Day with a new reaction.

Facebook launched reactions over a year ago, allowing users to let content creators know if their posts made them feel happy, sad, angry, etc. Typically, the reaction options don’t change for holidays or seasonality like, for example, stickers on Instagram, but Facebook broke that pattern for Mother’s Day. About a week ago, a sweet, purple flower emoji appeared among the reaction options, and Facebook rolled out additional options for showing Mom love on her big day, like custom photo frames.

Mother’s Day wasn’t an arbitrary holiday for Facebook to test this feature: People thanking their mothers drove more posts in one day than any other topic, with more than 105 million Mother’s Day posts in 2016. This just goes to show that more people are taking to social media to celebrate special days, and brands need to have a strategy in place to get the most out of a holiday.

#3 Twitter wants to be your 24/7, go-to news source.

 If you’re a casual user, you might not realize that Twitter is struggling, but its shareholders are very aware. In what’s being called an effort to change market perceptions, Twitter is upping its live-streaming game. This move is behind the rest of the market, as Facebook and Instagram have been urging users and brands to “go live” for months, but it appears that Twitter wanted to take its time and make the move into live video carefully, in a way that appeals to both users and advertisers. They’ve struck 12 live streaming content deals with outlets like Bloomberg, Live National and the WNBA to begin this fall, hoping to appeal to millennial cord cutters. For individual users, Twitter and Periscope recently unveiled a new analytics dashboard for live videos in hopes that brands will get on board.

April Digital Updates

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We’re all about keeping up with the digital world at The Wilbert Group and leveraging the newest technologies to help our clients tell their stories. Here’s the latest:

#1 Instagram takes on yet another rival network: Pinterest.

Instagram is already encroaching on Snapchat’s territory with its popular Stories feature – which succeeded in stealing Snapchat users – so it makes sense that the photo-sharing giant is now going after Pinterest with its latest update. To the joy of its users, Instagram introduced the ability to save posts earlier this year. Now, you can sort those posts into “collections” that are eerily reminiscent of Pinterest’s boards. This update makes it more important than ever for content creators to create truly valuable, save-worthy content to allow it to live a second life for a user, whether it’s a recipe, design inspiration or a secret menu dish at a restaurant. As Engadget sums up the opportunity for businesses: “If you can create your ideal outfit by saving posts into collections, you might be more likely to buy that outfit.”

#2 LinkedIn continues to undergo a complete makeover.

LinkedIn’s facelift is in full swing. While there isn’t one noteworthy update to include here on the blog, I wanted to touch on this because, as social media managers, we’re constantly learning and relearning how to keep our client’s content fresh as LinkedIn shifts seemingly every day. Important changes for content creators include: The ability to use video, new photo sizes and filters and a new algorithm for the feed. LinkedIn also plans to revisit its publishing tools, including the ability to save articles for later and improved tagging, ultimately making the blog posts look much cleaner and full of dynamic content like photos, block quotes and graphics.

#3 Snapchat is reaching an increasingly older demographic.

Snapchat isn’t just for millennials anymore. The app – which recently made its IPO – is experiencing increased usage in those ages 25 to 44, far from its typical younger audience. Forty-one percent of users ages 25 to 34 used the app more often today than during Jefferies’ first survey last June. Forty-four percent of the 34 to 44 demographic use Snapchat more now, the firm said.

It’s not atypical for older users to follow typically young early adopters to new platforms – just look at Facebook and Twitter. However, that migration sometimes drives the younger users away because the platform isn’t cool anymore, or because grandma and grandpa are now able to view their content. This shift may be a ways off for Snapchat, but something the app should consider moving forward. Hopefully, they can continue to provide content – from news stories to fun face-altering filters – to keep their original base happy while expanding to new audiences.

March Digital Updates

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We’re all about keeping up with the digital world at The Wilbert Group and leveraging the newest technologies to help our clients tell their stories. Here’s the latest:

#1 Yet another Snapchat clone arrives via Facebook.

First came Snapchat. Then, Instagram Stories. Now, Facebook Stories is rolling out to users in Chile, Greece and Vietnam. The feature was first tested in Ireland, and its expansion shows that ephemeral photos and videos resonate with users across different platforms, even though other apps already possess this service. While some users grumbled about yet another Snapchat clone arriving (and they have a point – who has time to post short clips three separate times?), it makes sense for brands constantly battling Facebook’s ever-changing algorithm. Brands can’t post more than a few times on the day on the platform if they want to keep a high position in newsfeeds, but Stories would allow them to share content throughout the day and keep constantly atop their audiences feed. If this feature expands to the U.S., it could mean that Facebook will be able to bring back their share-happy younger audience (the average age of an American Facebook user is 40) and brands will be able to up their content game.

#2 Apple throws their hat in the video ring with Clips.

Apple has unveiled a new iOS app called Clips, a content creation platform reminiscent of Snapchat, Facebook Live and video editing software like iMovie. It allows users to stitch together videos and photos and add filters to create a “story” (are you sick of that term yet?). The app’s most unique feature is the ability to insert a soundtrack, making it easy to edit higher-quality video content from your smartphone. Clips will not launch alongside its own dedicated social network, but will allow users to post their creative content on Facebook or Instagram. This is great news for brands that don’t have many resources to dedicate to video editing but need to post that kind of content on social media. Video is here to stay, and brands need to get on board.

#3 Twitter prepares to launch live video.

On the heels of the popularity of Facebook and Instagram’s live video features, Twitter is preparing to launch a live video API with more powerful integrations than the platform’s existing Periscope tie-in. This move raises the question of whether Twitter will stay committed to keeping Periscope its live video app, or if it will roll more of the broadcasting and livestream browsing into its main app.

Twitter makes more sense as a home for live video than Facebook or Instagram, so it’s important they do this right and make it easier for users to share and interact with this type of content. Journalists love Twitter, and millennials and Gen Z use the platform to get their up-to-the-minute news and for coverage of major events rather than tuning into CNN or a traditional broadcast outlet. In fact, 59 percent of Twitter users rely on it for news, so this could make it easier for media outlets to get live video content to an audience of cord cutters and smartphone addicts.

Digital Updates: April, 2016

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We’re all about keeping up with the digital world at The Wilbert Group and leveraging the newest technologies to help our clients tell their stories. Here’s the latest:

#1 Snapchat’s Bob Marley filter provokes outrage.

bob marley-snapchatSnapchat’s filters have revolutionized the art of the selfie, using animation to transform users into puppies, flower crown-wearing festivalgoers and, most recently, reggae musician Bob Marley. On April 20th, Snapchat created a special lens that made users resemble Marley, complete with a crochet cap and dreadlocks. The internet exploded, with people accusing Snapchat of creating an offensive blackface filter. Surprisingly, instead of removing the filter, Snapchat kept it up throughout the day, pointing out that the filter was created in partnership with Marley’s estate. Still, Snapchat undoubtedly lost loyal users over the debacle and will likely be more sensitive when choosing special filters in the future.

#2 Instagram increases focus on video sharing.
Instagram has added a video channel to its Explore tab, a move that comes on the heels of another shift: last month, Instagram rolled out 60-second videos for users, a major change from the previous 15-second limit. This channel shows users videos they might like based on personalized preferences (mine was spot-on with baseball highlights, hair styling tutorials and, of course, puppies). This presents a great opportunity for brands to get more eyes on their content if they push out high-quality videos that resonate with their audience.

#3 Facebook might add a virtual tip jar to posts.
Facebook users looking to profit from their posts may be in luck; the social network is thinking of adding a digital tip jar to posts. Apparently, Facebook users aren’t sharing as much personal information as they used to, with platforms like Instagram and Snapchat becoming the go-to space for glimpses into friends’ lives. In order to encourage more activity on the platform, Facebook sent a survey to verified users asking how they would like to profit from posts, with options ranging from branded content to the tip jar function. This is good news for retail brands and nonprofits, which might soon be able to make money simply by posting good content.

Digital Updates: March, 2016

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We’re all about keeping up with the digital world at The Wilbert Group and leveraging the newest technologies to help our clients tell their stories. Here’s the latest:

instagram-algorithm#1 Instagram follows Facebook’s lead with a new algorithm.
To the chagrin of many users, Instagram has announced that it will begin prioritizing posts with an algorithm similar to Facebook’s. Ideally, this formula will place the content you want to see at the top of your feed, but the move has been controversial. Many users say they only follow users with content they care about and don’t want prioritization, while brands are concerned their content will be pushed in favor of that of friends or celebrities. In response, Instagram says that users miss about 70 percent of posts on their feed, so an algorithm is necessary. The switch won’t happen until later this year, so it will be interesting to keep an eye on the feedback from users and brands in the meantime.

#2 Need to reach college students? Snapchat is the answer.
Companies are actively targeting the sought-after Millennial group, who are known for being social savvy and seeking an authentic relationship with brands. Researchers at Cornell have determined that college students are using Snapchat more often than other social platforms due to its informal nature and ease of connecting with both friends and feeds from around the world. Brands like Amazon, COVERGIRL and McDonald’s have jumped on the opportunity to reach a new audience on Snapchat, and it’s likely more will follow.

#3 Commenting on current events on Twitter could be catastrophic.
Whenever there is a crisis or news story that gains traction on Twitter, like this week’s attacks in Brussels, at least one brand is typically vilified for being insensitive in their response or simply having bad timing. This mistake often occurs when brands try to use a trending news topic to promote themselves rather than offer their deepest sympathies, like this cringe-inducing tweet from Kenneth Cole:

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Alternately, some brands forget to check their scheduled posts during a crisis and make a poorly timed error, such as this unfortunate tweet from the NRA just after the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting:

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The lesson: when tragic news is trending online, offer simple condolences and double-check any scheduled posts to avoid embarrassment.

Digital Updates: February, 2016

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We’re all about keeping up with the digital world at The Wilbert Group and leveraging the newest technologies to help our clients tell their stories. Here’s the latest:

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#1 Instagram finally enables account switching.
This week, PR folks everywhere rejoiced when Instagram announced that it would now allow multiple accounts with an easy account-switching function. Social media professionals have eagerly awaited this feature for what seems like an eternity, and the account switching action is fast and has no bugs (yet). The only catch? Digital managers can have only five accounts, which isn’t sufficient for those of us with many social media clients. Hopefully Instagram will inch this number up as users test the new feature.

#2 The most digital companies are leaving the rest behind.
Digital is huge right now in most industries, and new apps and features are being rolled out what seems like every day. However, Harvard Business Review points out that the U.S. economy operates at only 18% of its digital potential, and a gap is widening between the companies that embrace digital media and use it to further their business goals, and those who do not. Unsurprisingly, the most digital savvy companies are leaving the others in the dust, and they come from both obvious sectors like technology and media, as well as financial services. The sectors that are behind include government, healthcare, hospitality and construction, all of which have great social potential. Stragglers better get on the digital path quickly, because highly digital companies have more leads and enjoy better revenue growth.

#3 Super Bowl social media chatter declined this year.
Live-tweeting the Super Bowl has become as much of a tradition as watching the big game with a plate of buffalo wings and a beer. However, despite high expectations, social numbers for both Facebook and Twitter declined during Sunday’s event. Facebook’s post count was down from 265 million to 200 million, and Twitter reported 27 million tweets as opposed to last year’s 28.4 million, which was an all-time high. This slight decrease is hardly a bad omen, and experts point to a less interesting game as the reason for the slump. In fact, the most socially active points of the nights were during Lady Gaga’s national anthem, the halftime show and the final whistle.

Digital Updates: January, 2016

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We’re all about keeping up with the digital world at The Wilbert Group and leveraging the newest technologies to help our clients tell their stories. Here’s the latest:

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#1 Snapchat is moving into the over-35 crowd.
Since its debut in 2011, Snapchat has largely appealed to the teen and 20-something crowds as an innovative way to communicate through photos. Five years later, the app has become a source for world news, celebrity happenings and brand outreach, making it a must-have for smartphone owners of all ages. It’s no surprise that six in 10 people ages 13 to 35 in the U.S. use Snapchat, but last year the app doubled its number of 25 to 34-year-old users, and the 35 and over demographic grew faster than their 18 to 24-year-old counterparts. This is good news for brands like the Wall Street Journal, which recently partnered with Snapchat to create a tailored feed, who want to target older consumers with higher incomes and more purchasing power.

#2 Twitter makes Periscope videos accessible sans app.
Periscope is new to the app game, but it made a splash in 2015 with its ability to easily stream events in real time, from protests to concerts to fashion shows. Periscope quickly gained 10 million users, many drawn to the app from links on Twitter and other social media platforms. Now, using Periscope is an even more significant opportunity for brands due to a recent partnership with Twitter and its 307 million active users. Twitter has added Periscope streaming directly to its feed, allowing users to watch live without downloading a second app. This integration means brands can skip building an audience on a separate social network while still reaping the benefits of live streaming.

#3 How Chick-Fil-A won social media in 2015.
An Engagement Lab study has determined that quick service giant Chick-Fil-A was the overall favorite brand of 2015 on social media, largely due to the fact that the casual, friendly atmosphere of restaurants translates seamlessly to social media. Chick-Fil-A’s social success is due to the fact that they know their highly engaged audience and stay perfectly on-brand while bringing a human voice to corporate social media. Their tone is cheerful and relaxed, incorporating humor and drumming up conversations. Other keys to their continued growth include tailoring different posts for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, targeting the massive online foodie community, and staying true to their values by going offline on Sundays.

Digital Updates: Tech News to Know

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We’re all about keeping up with the digital world at The Wilbert Group and leveraging the newest technologies to help our clients tell their stories. Here’s the latest:

 

#1 Brands are using Snapchat as a digital marketing tool.

Snapchat is huge with the millennial set, and brands like haute couture giant Burberry are using it to promote events and products, including their spring 2016 collection. Fans were invited to follow Burberry on the photo-sharing app to enjoy a virtual front row seat at London Fashion Week, where the line premiered. While there are sophisticated live-streaming apps like Periscope, Snapchat is a smart choice for brands seeking to give a large range of consumers a peek into their inner workings and a preview of what’s to come. With 100 million daily active users, Snapchat has a wide audience and is easy to use. Other brands frequently sharing Snapchat stories to the masses include Taco Bell and Major League Baseball.

 

#2 Facebook is trying to lure journalists away from Twitter.

Twitter has become the news platform du jour, with a whopping 62 percent of users reporting that they have gotten news from the site. As such, it’s become the social home for many journalists looking to share or hunt down scoops. However, Facebook is trying to change that trend with Signal, a free newsgathering tool that makes it easier for journalists to find the content they want. The tool offers a dashboard where journalists can follow hot topics and track public perception, factors that could also be helpful for PR pros looking for emerging trends. This initiative comes on the heels of Instant Articles, another news tool from Facebook, signaling that the social network is committed to edging out Twitter as a news source.

 

#3 Twitter users can now pay with tweets, thanks to a partnership with Square.

Twitter is aiming to increase customer engagement through a partnership with mobile payment company Square by allowing users to make political campaign donations and buy products directly with a tweet. The new feature – cleverly dubbed “cashtag” – requires users to visit a site to enter debit card information once. After that, they’re free to make payments with a few clicks. This lucrative initiative will likely bring a variety of retail partners to Twitter.

Digital Updates: Tech News to Know

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We’re all about keeping up with the digital world at The Wilbert Group and leveraging the newest technologies to help our clients tell their stories. Here’s the latest:

 

#1 You can now stream video live from Facebook…if you’re famous.

Comparable to live-streaming apps Periscope and Meerkat, Facebook’s newest feature “Live” allows celebrities to give their fans a peek into their lives via their news feeds. Currently, only verified users like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Serena Williams can try out this service, but Facebook says that they plan to make this experience available to all users as they fine-tune the product. Public figures already have massive Facebook followings, so their audience on Live will be much larger than on a less established app.

 

#2 Instagram quietly removed the option to add photos to a Photomap.

With its latest update, one of Instagram’s key features, the Photomap, was removed due to concerns of stalking when celebrities neglect to turn off the feature. While it seems to be a wise move on the company’s part, Photomaps were a visually pleasing way to display a user’s journey, and could be used for social media contests, scavenger hunts, and other fun ways to get users to interact with organizations off their smartphones.

 

#3 Getting your news from Twitter is now easier than ever before.

In 2015, many people turn to social networks to get their news fix, so it’s no surprise that Twitter is capitalizing on this trend with a “News” feature. The new tab, located in the bottom center of the Twitter mobile app, highlights stories from a number of mainstream media partners including USA Today and The New York Times. The service is similar to Facebook’s “Instant Articles,” however where Facebook hosts articles on its website enabling them to load quickly, Twitter only shows an excerpt of the article with a link to the full version.

Digital Updates: Tech News To Know

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We’re all about keeping up with the digital world at The Wilbert Group and leveraging the newest technologies to help our clients tell their stories. Here’s the latest:

 

#1 Facebook is testing a new floating video feature.

A new feature in which videos stream as you scroll is available on some Facebook accounts, allowing users to watch videos as they scroll through their friends’ status updates. This multi-tasking update lets users click and drag the video anywhere on Facebook’s homepage. The idea is that it will increase viewership on videos and please marketers who want their videos to be streamed for longer than ten seconds. Similar concepts have previously been used on Samsung’s Galaxy S3 phone, YouTube’s app for Android, and Tumblr, and will be included on Apple’s iOS9 for iPad.

 

#2 You can now hashtag emojis on Instagram.

In a recent update, Instagram introduced hashtag-able emojis, opening up a new channel for social media branding. Emojis come in many shapes and sizes, including animals, food, buildings, and technology, so by combining one to three emojis, PR practitioners can create a unique hashtag for their clients, or use them for events. For example, a horse emoji and a rose emoji hashtagged together can represent the Kentucky Derby.

 

#3 Microsoft’s new app Tossup makes casual event planning simple.

Long group texts arguing about where to go to dinner may be a thing of the past with Microsoft’s new app Tossup, designed to poll your friends and streamline planning for everything from vacations to brunch. Simply ask a question – i.e. “where should we go for lunch?” and select polling options from Yelp or write in your own, and you’re on your way to an easy group outing. Friends can discuss the decisions in a group chat, or simply add options to the poll. The app, which can be used for any type of polling in addition to event planning, emerged from Microsoft Garage, which allows the company’s employees to turn their own ideas into real-world projects such as apps.