The Wilbert Group Blog

Posts in category Social Media

The Power of the Force AND Hashtags

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It’s May 4 and on Twitter and Instagram, the hashtags #StarWarsDay and #MayThe4thBeWithYou reign supreme.  

Hashtags are a quick way to search and discover what social media users are discussing, and a way for businesses to direct users to content. In fact, Twitter’s own research shows hashtags can increase engagement almost 100 percent for individuals and 50 percent for brands.  

Below are five tips to keep in mind when using hashtags.  

Know your platforms: Twitter and Instagram are the most commonly used social media platforms for hashtags. Facebook introduced them in 2013, but didn’t get the same traction. Research initially showed there was little positive effect on reach, but Facebook uses different rules and algorithms. There is still plenty of research to be done and hashtags can play an important role in boosting traffic to Facebook pages. LinkedIn experimented with them, but ultimately gave them up. Other platforms that support hashtags include Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, and Vine.

Don’t overuse hashtags: Be judicious when tweeting. It’s best not to use more than three hashtags on Twitter; otherwise it looks like spam. In fact, research shows that tweets that use more than two hashtags show a 17 percent drop in engagement. Finding and highlighting the words that represent the theme of your tweet with a hashtag is most effective. Since Instagram posts aren’t limited to 140 characters like Twitter, there are often more hashtags. Instagram allows up to 30 tags on a post. It can be wise to use as many as possible in the early stages of building a following, but once the account is established there’s no need overdo it. Research shows the magic number on Instagram is 11, but as few as five can get results.

Familiarize yourself with the most common hashtags: A company can certainly create its own hashtag, but it’s also important to take advantage of existing hashtags to get involved in conversations with current and potential customers. A good resource to find relevant hashtags is Google; there is no shortage of popular hashtag lists.

Understand tags and what’s happening in the  world: There are plenty of examples in which using hashtags backfired for brands. In the summer of 2014, survivors of domestic abuse adopted the tags #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft following the Ray Rice controversy as a platform to discuss domestic violence. Soon after, DiGiorno Pizza made a huge gaffe by tweeting, “#WhyIStayed You had pizza.” In this case, the social media manager saw a trending topic, and without knowing the background, entered the conversation. Another example occurred when doughnut and cookie manufacturer Entenmann’s attempted engagement with its #notguilty hashtag, asking its followers how they feel about indulging in its confections. Unfortunately, this was the same day the verdict was released in the trial of Casey Anthony. 

Use trending hashtags: In addition to common or static hashtags, trending hashtags are essential for enhancing a social presence. Static hashtags are good for day-to-day engagement, but trending tags are used to share news in real time and monitor developing stories. For instance, the shooting at the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo produced the trending topic #JeSuisCharlie that appeared in 5 million tweets in the first three days following the attack. And while that topic was serious in nature, there are certainly opportunities that are much lighter. One of those is today, when people and companies across the world will use Star Wars hashtags to be a part of a larger global conversation. In honor of Star Wars Day, my inner fanboy brings you the best tweets from brands incorporating #StarWarsDay and #MayThe4thBeWithYou (get it?). We’ll be updating this page throughout the day so check back often.

 

 

Let the Force guide you! #MayThe4thBeWithYou #StarWars #Disneyland #Disneyland60 (Photo: @bowsbeadsbows)

A photo posted by Disneyland (@disneyland) on

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:

kennethcoletweet

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:

nratweet

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

If You’re Not on Snapchat, Consider Joining

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Snapchat has become the fastest-growing social network. This infographic from Webpage FX examines the growth of Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram, and reveals that Snapchat has an estimated 200 million monthly active users, including 100 million daily active users. These metrics put Snapchat ahead of all of its other competitors after a mere four years in existence.
Snapchat’s four-year growthCreated by WebpageFX

Big brands like Samsung and McDonald’s are advertising on Snapchat – and are paying big bucks for a 10-second video. The Wall Street Journal, along with other top-tier publications, is publishing content within the Snapchat platform’s Discover Channel. Just this week Forbes launched its Snapchat account. Even most of the leading 2016 presidential candidates are posting Snapchat videos and photos.

What was once simply used as a means to give others an inside look at one’s personal life has transformed into a social channel that gives consumers and other stakeholders a behind-the-scenes look into a corporate brand. The “Stories” feature on Snapchat is essentially a structured narrative, and an effective way to highlight your company culture, showcase involvement with clients, and much more.

Unlike other social media platforms, Snapchat forces you to engage since you have to open the Snap in order to view it—and engagement is powerful. Engagement means consumers are actively investing time in a corporate’s brand, and an invested millennial means a brand advocate.

Ready to use Snapchat? Remember, it’s a casual social media platform, so it’s important to keep a Snapchat upbeat, short and snappy (pun intended). The biggest challenge brands run into is growing followers. Snapchat differs from other channels in that it does not suggest users for you to add. Instead, you are tasked with manually adding people or brands that you know by name, or you can wait for others to add you.

An effective way to increase Snapchat visibility is to promote your account on other social media platforms and in physical locations. Many users put their Snapchat QR code on a sticker or handout at events, or place the code in a prominent location, making the ability to follow one short snap away.

The takeaway here—don’t leave Snapchat to the millennials. Acknowledge the importance of social networks like Snapchat to your corporate brand. Build brand awareness with creative snaps, and engage with your audience. Snapchat offers an opportunity to put your business in the spotlight – so take a look at your PR and marketing strategy and consider it, especially if you have a consumer-facing brand.

Facebook updates the “Like” button with Reactions

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fb reactions

After years of requests for a Facebook “dislike” button, the social media giant finally compromised and released a new way for users to interact with posts. In addition to “like,” Reactions allows users to express the following emotions: “love,” “wow,” “sad,” and “angry”.

facebook reactions

According to Wired.com, Facebook tested the new feature in other countries before releasing it to the rest of the world today. To use the new feature, users hover over the “like” button and the five additional emoji icons pop up.

We are excited to track Reactions for clients; we will now have more meaningful data about how and why users are interacting with brands on Facebook.

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:

Add-Multiple-Accounts-to-Instagram

#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.

#Twitter10K: Will the short-form social network expand the character limit?

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twitter10kSince Twitter’s start in 2006, one of the most defining (and often frustrating) characteristics of the platform has been its 140-character limit. Surprisingly, it looks like change may be coming to the short-form social network. Rumors have been flying since September that Twitter may be increasing its character count to 10,000. Last month, CEO Jack Dorsey took to Twitter to share his thoughts on this issue.

Note that even in Dorsey’s message, he chose to use more than 140 characters. Clearly, Twitter recognizes its obstacles and is taking people’s suggestions into consideration. This change could provide more thorough and effective communication.


However, not everyone is thrilled about this potential change.


For the most part though, it seems like most people are divided.


There has been no official announcement from Twitter yet, so be on the lookout in the upcoming weeks. For the latest news, follow us on Twitter @TheWilbertGroup, and join the conversation by using #Twitter10k.

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:

snapchat

#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.

Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines

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Santa at Avalon

1. 11 Alive recently reported on new technology that makes visits with Santa more personal than ever at Avalon in Alpharetta. Santa’s cottage is equipped with radio-frequency identification (RFID) that lets parents convey personal information about their children without whispering in Santa’s ear. Parents fill out a questionnaire about their children when they register online or in person at the concierge desk. “Special requests from Santa are also encouraged, such as clean your room, stop fighting with your sister or do your homework,” said Carla Toro, director of marketing at Avalon. Avalon created a video to explain the process for parents. Check it out here.

2. This year, Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year, was expected to pull in a record $3 billion in sales, experts said. Traffic was expected to be up about 14 percent Monday over last year. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Leon Stafford interviewed local Atlanta businesses about what successes and shortcomings they saw this year, with Wilbert client Revenue Analytics’ Dax Cross providing insight into the continuing evolution of online shopping. Cross said, “Big box retailers are generally seeing 10-15 percent annual growth in online sales over last year. This growth represents a greater and greater proportion of their total growth… but their growth rates still trail Amazon’s.”

3. Our client Aaron’s remodeled the Boys & Girls Keystone teen center last month in Jacksonville, FL, its ninth Boys & Girls Club remodel this year. The club’s makeover was covered by Florida-Times Union reporter Amanda Williamson, who interviewed Deborah Green-Ward, unit director for the Beaches Clubhouse. Green-Ward said, “Here, [the teens] have a voice. We provide them with a space — and more importantly, a vehicle to express. … We know the teens will use this renovated space to invite other teens in the area to join our club so they can in turn learn and develop their leadership skills.”

4. This week, Howard Mavity, partner at leading labor and employment law firm Fisher & Phillips, penned an op-ed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution in response to the recent mass shooting in San Bernardino. Mavity has some advice for employers in Atlanta on the best ways to increase their preparedness for such an unfortunate and increasingly common scenario. His tips include maintaining an Emergency Action Plan as required under OSHA regulations and ensuring all entrances and exits are professionally assessed.

5. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s J. Scott Trubey, “Midtown Atlanta’s Colony Square was decades ahead of its time. Now, the venerable mix of office towers and shopping mall is about to play catch-up with the modern era.” Developer and Wilbert client North American Properties and equity partner Lionstone Investments closed on their purchase of the towers at 14th and Peachtree streets last week. Unlike much of Atlanta’s recent development history, instead of tearing down the towers and starting over, the developers plan to spruce up and reinvent this pioneer of mixed-use urbanism. You can read more about the purchase in Trubey’s article, along with several quotes from Mark Toro.

Exciting news for client, North American Properties

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colony-square-north-american-properties

It’s been an exciting week for our client North American Properties, which purchased Colony Square in a deal that closed Monday. The Wilbert team, led by account executive Liana Moran, secured coverage in outlets ranging from The Wall Street Journal to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to Creative Loafing to WSB-Channel 2 to GlobeSt to Bisnow.

NAP also launched a social campaign, encouraging people to share their ideas for Colony Square with the hashtag #ReimagineCS. Our digital strategist Rebecca Hartman is using Zoomph to track the number of times #ReimagineCS is used. After only three days there have been 140 posts with #ReimagineCS and 266,228 social impressions.

140 posts – that’s a lot of social chatter! But what’s our favorite Tweet?

This one, of course…

Always good when a client is happy!