Instagram Adds New Editing Tools

Instagram Editing Tools

If you’re like the rest of the human population, you’re probably on Instagram everyday ūüôā Well, good news for the platform’s users: new photo editing tools.

Earlier this week, the popular image sharing social platform rolled out¬†a new set of tools to help edit photos even more, including the ability to change an image’s contrast, warmth, saturation and more. With many IG users already turning to¬†additional apps to help edit pics, it only makes sense for the platform to provide its users with tools they really want and need.

Instagram stated, ‚ÄúYou take a photo to capture a moment, but often what you see in the photograph doesn‚Äôt feel the same as what you remember.¬†From brightening up a photo of your dinner party to better capturing the warmth of a sunset portrait, these new creative tools help you bring out and share the beauty of the moment as you remember it‚ÄĒright inside the same simple Instagram you already know.‚ÄĚ

Although it may not seem like a drastic change in the application, for many this means cutting out the middle man — or other editing apps like the popular VSCO Cam. Similar to how IG added video capabilities after Vine was launched through Twitter, this new addition will make many folks happy and consequently, continuous use of¬†the platform.

Have you tried the new IG photo editing tools yet?

— Samantha

3 Quick Tips to Be Successful on Tumblr

1. Be Authentic. Although this is nothing new, it is a good reminder for brands who try to push to many brand-centric messages to their fans. Instead, try to be real with people!

2. Test and Learn. Another important piece of all social and digital marketing, but one that is not implemented as much as it should be. Don’t fall in love with one idea — or get upset when something doesn’t work out as planned. Be flexible, learn & move forward.

3. Focus on Images. Although having great copy is always a must, making sure your images are just as amazing is important as well. Make your creative interesting, unique and eye-catching to get people to truly engage with you brand.

–Samantha

Valentine’s Day Conversations on Social Media

Happy Valentine’s Day from Sike Social!

To celebrate, in true social media fashion, we’re bringing you a recent infographic from Radian6. Below, you’ll see that love was in the air as over 8 million mentions of the special day were immortalized on various social platforms from February 1st – 12th. Thanks to some great social listening, we can confirm that everyone loves to talk about… LOVE!

Enjoy the day!

– Samantha

SalesForce Valentine's Day Infographic

4 Tips for Better Facebook Posts

Making a Facebook page for you company is one thing. Taking care of it to encourage growth and brand awareness is a horse of a different color! In order to succeed on this mega platform, you have to use some elbow grease and a knowledge of your audience.

Here are a few tips that will put you ahead of your competitors:

  1. Use bold imagery. If you want to get your fan’s attention, use bright, colorful, striking photos. In fact, photos receive 5x more engagement than links and those featuring faces rate even higher. It’s no wonder why Facebook paid $1 billion to purchase Instagram!
  2. Keep copy short & include a CTA.¬†About 70% of fans access Facebook via mobile, so you should be motivated to write short & concise copy. As we’ve seen many brands do, a paragraph of text simply don’t work & you’ll lose your audience before you even get their attention. Try to include a question, fill in the blank or simply request people to ‘watch’ or ‘share.’ Be sure to make it a low barrier so the customer can actually do it with ease.
  3. Figure out what works. Check out your Reach and Engagement numbers (in Facebook Analytics) to gauge what post are doing well — and which are not. After a few weeks of consistent posts, this data should help you figure out what your fans like engaging with so you can do more of that in the future!
  4. Target & boost posts. When you can (& if your audience is large enough), try targeting your post by gender, location &/or language. By doing so, you’re narrowing your target to a specific demographic, which could mean more eyes on your content (versus throwing a ‘big net’ & hoping for the best). Lastly, consider a bit of paid support via boosting posts to counter Facebook’s recent algorithm changes. Do it early — within the first 24 hours — and make sure you’re pushing posts that received high levels of engagement early.

Got a tip to add to the list? Tell us below!

— Samantha

3 Things to Do Before Launching a Social Initiative

Social KPIs

You’ve successfully created one or more social platforms for your company and even built a loyal community online. You’ve made tracking your social growth a priority and now you’re ready for more! It’s time to launch your next social campaign (contest, giveaway), but what do you determine the objectives and keys for success?

Figure out your objective of the campaign. This part is important because without an objective, you won’t be able to drive the overall strategy. An objective is the reason WHY you’re launching this social initiative to begin with! For example, is it to drive brand awareness? Increase engagement? Get more fans and followers? Although each company’s campaign initiative will be different depending on the idea, make sure you choose one (or more) that you want to achieve!

State how you’ll measure success. Also known as¬†Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s), these metrics are what you and your team will use to measure success with the campaign at hand and what will ultimately help determine your goals. Make sure that your KPI’s align with your overall objective. We suggest looking at Comments, Shares, Likes/+1s to start, but other indicators to think about include:

  • Overall views & unique views
  • Time spent on your site/page
  • Engagement rate on social platforms
  • Contest entries
  • New fans, followers
  • Newsletter/email opt-ins

Set goals for your campaign. At this point in the process, you need to develop a set of goals which will help determine a return on investment (ROI) after. To get you thinking, talk with your team to understand how long the campaign will run for, what will drive traffic to the campaign (including a specific number of posts/tweets and possible paid support), what are possible conversion numbers (entries, shares) and how much fan growth is expected.

Once you’ve completed all three steps, you’ll be able to better track your campaign online. Repeat this several times and you’ll add an economic value to each indicator to truly help you measure the value of the initiative in relation to how much you’ve already invested.

Got questions? Let us know below!

— Samantha

Vine Turns 1 & Celebrates Best Videos of the Year

A Year on Vine

It’s crazy to think that a whole year has passed since Vine was introduced to the world.

For those who are unfamiliar, Vine is a mobile application where users can create six-second videos, with the ability to start and stop recording as many times as they want. In January 2013, Vine was acquired by Twitter and made big news as people and brands could now easily express themselves through another medium.

Although competitor Instagram introduced video capabilities in June 2013, Vine has remained popular. Today, it celebrates its first anniversary. To get the party started, check out Vine’s 200 video compilation totaling 18 minutes,¬†including funny clips from fans, as well as videos from President Obama and Justin Bieber.

We picked out a few of our faves:

Tell us: Which is your favorite vine video from 2013?

— Samantha

Top Retailer on Pinterest

Amazon on Pinterest

Who reigns supreme on Pinterest as we get closer to Christmas 2013?

Why it’s the one & only, Amazon!¬†

According to BizWeek, an average of 16k pins a week have been generated from Amazon content — around three times more than the next largest, Walmart, at 5,778 pins and Apple.com at 3,871. And with the holiday season in full swing, Pinterest is proving to be a highly powerful platform to not only share content to push engagement numbers, but also helps retailers maintain relationships with their customers. The closer the relationship, the higher probability that the fan will turn to that particular company to shop!

Amazon Р16,360 pins per week, 1,740,314 total pins, 5,637 followers.

Walmart Р5,778 pins per week, 529,992 total pins, 33,337 followers.

Apple Р3,871 pins per week, 1,111,959 total pins, 1,597 followers.

QVC -325 pins per week, 54,935 total pins, 42,683 followers.

Staples Р307 pins per week, 17,252 total pins, 2,025 followers.

Best Buy Р281 pins per week, 60,630 total pins, 4,047 followers.

Netflix Р202 pins per week, 7,802 total pins, 445 followers.

Sears Р29 pins per week, 1,511 total pins, 190 followers.

Office Depot Р27 pins per week, 2,635 total pins, 1,994 followers.

Dell Р9 pins per week, 2,715 total pins, 1,160 followers.

Having said this, many companies have started to create Christmas boards which provide content on how to decorate, bake and even wrap gifts. Such content isn’t always directly tied to specific products. Instead, these pins help create a larger and more-encompassing story which helps create strong bonds between fans and brand.

Although we’ve always known that Pinterest is a great tool to push product links through the use of highly visual creative, we’re excited to hear that companies are investing more time and resources to sustaining relationships and creating content that is easily sharable. As social media continues to expand, we believe that having brand loyalists will prove to be more and more important than anything else.

— Samantha

Watch Out Snapchat, Introducing Instagram Direct

Intoducing Instagram Direct

Recently, there’s been a lot of buzz in the news of CEO¬†Evan Spiegel turning down a $3 billion offer from Facebook to buy his increasingly popular photo-sharing app. Well, Mr. Spiegel may now be rethinking his decision.

Introducing Instagram Direct,¬†the ability for users to send and receive photos and videos during those moments that we want to share to only a select few.¬†Unlike Snapchat where an image or video is delivered and is live for a maximum of 10 seconds, Instagram has added a whole new level onto it’s already expanding platform allowing users to more intimately share content that they already have on their phone AND to take images/video in real time — additions that could essentially wipe out a need for a platform like Snapchat.

Users on Instagram will now see a new icon in the upper righthand corner of the newsfeed. Once clicked, one can view pictures and videos from people who have directly Instagrammed them. If they want to directly Instagram their own friends, simply enter the normal camera button and click the button at the top of the screen to share with particular friends or “Direct.” After clicking “Direct,” one can choose the friends they want to share an image or video with, write a caption as normal and tap send to finish.

After sending content (and very similar to Snapchat), a user will be able to see who’s viewed the pic or video and see in real time who is commenting and liking it. Receiving a direct Instagram is just as easy. Anything that is directly sent to you will show up immediately, while content sent from a user that you’re not currently following will simply be sent into your requests box so one can choose to view it or not!

Direct Instagram

Bottom line? We think Mr. Spiegel must be shaking in his boots. Not only is this is a direct competitor using similar methods to send and receive images and video, but Instagram has taken it to a whole new level by integrating better ways of viewing engagement in real-time — and content isn’t lost in the inter-webs forever either.

For brands and businesses, this provides a distinctly unique way of marketing to customers. Simply take an image of a new product, coupon, etc. and directly Instagram it to a select group of followers, then track who’s seen it and the immediate engagement around it. We especially love how brands will be able to send direct Instagrams to followers who may not necessarily be following them back, therefore increasing their chances of having more eyes on particular messaging, etc. A brand’s reach is now much larger than before — and because many other social platforms don’t allow you to target posts or tweets in the same customizable way, Instagram just gained a few more points ahead of the competition!

Tell us: Will your company start using direct Instagrams in the future??

— Samantha

1% of Sales Powered by Social Media

Black Friday Online Shopping

After one of the biggest shopping days of the year, Black Friday sales numbers are officially in. According to IBM reports based on all 800 U.S. retail sites, social media pushed only 1% of all online sales on Friday. In other words, just 1% of all online orders on Friday came from users who had just visited a social platform.

Shocked by the low number? Don’t be. As we’ve known for several years, it is difficult for digital professionals to directly measure a return on investment from social media efforts. According to Jay Henderson, the strategy director at IBM Smarter Commerce said “Social doesn’t have the ability so far to drive traffic or sales directly to the site. It tends to have more of an indirect influence on purchases.” Of course, most community managers would agree with this statement as the majority of social efforts are designed to build overall brand awareness and keep a business top of mind.

However, there’s no need to be nervous about your company’s social strategy! Instead, understand that users are inherently going to multiple websites when surfing the web, including yours. Just because they aren’t buying immediately after visiting your Facebook page or tweet, doesn’t mean that your messaging didn’t stay top of mind or that a product is not being bought later. In fact, this lack of tracking simply means we need to work on finding a better way to measure the initial engagement with branded materials affecting the future purchase.

The good news is that the most online conversations were about “Black Friday” versus “Thanksgiving Day.” Adobe Digital Index discovered that “Amazon was the most referenced retailer for the two-day period with 450,000 posts, followed by Walmart with 300,000 posts¬†(Mashable).” Both companies experienced a large number of business transactions yesterday, but it’ll be a bit longer until we can figure out what our social media posts and tweets are doing on a more exact scale.¬†

Henderson said, “Our ability to attribute success to the influence of social media will improve over time. As long as you can show the influence that social media is having on the eventual purchase, that should be more than enough too justify the investment that marketers are making in those channels.”

Tell us: Did your brand successfully track purchases and engagement on Friday?

— Samantha

Best Buy, Walmart Dominate Black Friday Social Efforts

Black Friday is only one day away and if you’ve been anywhere near a computer or TV, you know how hard retailers are marketing their holiday sales. As Social Media Today recently reported, Shareablee (a social business intelligence platform) discovered the top brands that are engaging the best online. What makes brands successful? Being innovative, creative and developing unique content that is highly sharable to expand reach.

Twitter: BestBuy wins with the most engaged followers

According to Shareablee, BestBuy followers represented 30% of all the RTs related to Black Friday, followed by Nordstrom with 9% and Ebay and Target with 8%. ¬†As many social experts will note, a RT is a great way to measure word of mouth marketing because if one is willing to RT your company’s content, they are most likely interested enough to share it with their own communities.

Shareablee Most Engaged Audience

Facebook: Walmart dominates with the most engaged fans

When it comes to one of the best metrics to measure engagement on Facebook, shares take the cake. Similar to a RT, a share is a direct action that typically means a fan cares enough about the brand’s content so much so that they’re willing to repost it. In the first half of November 2013, Walmart fans at 27%¬†shared 3 times as much content than other brands, followed by QVC at 9% and Macy‚Äôs and Nordstrom at 8%.

Shareablee Most Engaged Audience

For those brands that don’t show as much success, we agree with Shareablee that there’s still a chance to increase engagement before the big shopping day arrives. Brands need to keep content short, CTAs (call to actions) clear and creative as interesting as possible to rise above the noise. If this is possible, such businesses will have the best chance at converting engagement into future sales.

— Samantha & Mike