Top 5 video seeding tips

October 10, 2015

People often refer to the term ‘viral video’. However, without video seeding and organic growth all you have is a video – it is the seeding and sharing that make a video ‘go viral’ / reach its potential.

This means that ‘video seeding’ should be an integral part of an online video campaign.  A successful seeding campaign, which is fully integrated across your entire brand’s marketing activity, will get your content seen on social channels and plant it across the web, ensuring it gets in front of as many of the (right) people as possible.

A critical element of any online video campaign is, of course, creating a great piece of content; one that is as ‘watchable’ as possible. There are a number of key considerations. Think about the length of the video (ideally it shouldn’t be over 2 minutes) and understand the intended aim of your video and set out clearly defined KPIs so that you can measure its success. Most importantly, make sure you have created a video that is compelling enough for your fans to want to watch and share with their friends. By completing this check list of online video best practice you’ll be the ideal position to launch your seeding campaign.

Here are our top 5 essential steps to give your video the very best chance of success:

1.       Optimise the videos for search

Whether you’re hosting your video on YouTube, Vimeo, MetaCafe or another video site it is crucial to optimise it for search in order to maximise the number of video views.

YouTube, for example relies on three key signals when ranking your videos within the YouTube search results:

  • Keywords in your title and description
  • Number of video views
  • Video ratings

It is crucial to think about what keywords you use in the titles and descriptions when uploading your video. At the outset you must carry out keyword research in order to uncover niches in the targeted terms.  Use your brand insights to decide upon your keywords in your title, description and tags and ensure each is fully optimised. Here’s a checklist to ensure your videos are fully optimised:

Title:  The title is very important to SEO. Make sure it grabs the attention of your target audience and use high volume keywords. You have 99 characters to optimise your title text so search engines can easily categorise it and your audience can find it. Think carefully about your target keywords, as well as any other keywords you may want to rank for, and choose a title that is popular enough to drive viewer numbers. Another important factor to remember is that before you even upload the video you need to optimise the file name of the video using your keywords.

Description:  The video description should explain exactly what is being shown in the video. You have 5,000 characters in which to describe your video (though keep in mind only about 25-30 characters will be visible in your YouTube search results) and optimise it for key terms. The YouTube Creator Playbook advises putting the most “compelling” information at the beginning. It’s important to avoid key word stuffing, however you must also make it as easy as possible for search engines to find your content – getting this balance right is crucial.

Tags: Tagging your videos allows you to choose a range of words or phrases that will help search engines and your audience to find your video. The key to using tags effectively is to choose unique keyword phrases that you think people would use to search for your video. As a rule of thumb around 5-10 tags for each video is best practice. One tip that may also prove useful is to include any misspellings of your brand name.

2.       Use social bookmarking tools

Submitting your videos to social bookmarking sites like Reddit, Digg and StumbleUpon is an extremely useful way to set in motion your video seeding campaign. During the initial launch of the campaign these sites can help to drive increased traffic to your videos.

Submitting to these sites will also help your video get indexed faster and will help to optimise your video by providing additional inbound links and improving video search engine ranking.

However, as a brand you must be extremely careful how you promote your video. If the audience think that you are simply pushing out a video while offering no value this may be seen as spamming and could result in a backlash from online users.  One way of avoiding this is to use Reddit’s sponsored links, which allows brands to upload content while avoiding accusations of spamming.

3.       Maximise organic growth

For brands social media is all about creating compelling content that has great viral potential, content that fans want to talk about and share. The more creative and innovative you can be the more inclined your audience will be to share your content and engage with the brand.

Make use of the viral nature of social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+, as well as leveraging your other marketing channels such as your website and newsletters. By creating an integrated strategic marketing approach and optimising all of your channels will greatly increase the exposure of your video.

This will also bring with it optimisation benefits. Google use the number of links to your video to determine its position in the search rankings, so by encouraging people to share your videos across the social web you will also boost your SEO results.

4.       Use advertising

While organic growth and manual seeding are powerful ways to boost the number of views your video receives social advertising is also an extremely effective way to reach specific audience groups.

Strategic advertising can be run on video sharing channels themselves such as YouTube who offer a range of options, such as promoted videos as well as ‘InVideo Ads’.

Facebook’s advertising platform also offers a powerful and highly targeted way to promote your video. With the ability to target by age, sex, location and also by interests it provides an invaluable way to promote and drive traffic to your video channel.

For more information on video advertising visit

5.       Blogger outreach

Blogger outreach is another extremely effective strategy when running an online video campaign. Working with prominent bloggers you can connect with targeted groups of consumers who you know are interested in your offering and are receptive to your messages – this will guarantee your brand word of mouth recommendations across key communities.

With access to influential, relevant and trusted influencers you will be able to successfully drive traffic to your video and leverage the passion and enthusiasm of the target audience and amplify the reach of your video.

Optimisation + great content

‘Optimisation’ is key when it comes to video seeding. When you have uploaded your video you must optimise the key words so that search engines can easily find it. Then, in order to optimise the reach of your video, you must use social advertising and social bookmarks. Finally you must optimise the power of your message by leveraging trusted influencers on blogs, Facebook and Twitter.

It is worth exploring YouTubes showcase ideas to inspire new ways to engage within video apps.

These tactics will help to maximise the chances of your video being seen by as many people as possible – and are key to helping videos reach their potential. However, it’s also vital to keep in mind campaign effectiveness will be limited unless you have a great piece of video content which people want to share and engage with in the first place.

So, when launching your video, remember that it requires the perfect combination of great content, measurable objectives, a comprehensive seeding strategy together with continuous optimisation. Only then are you giving it the very best chance to go ‘viral’.

Why you should care about Google + brand Pages

December 20, 2011

When Google+ launched it was about connecting people on a personal level, but the search engine giant always maintained that they would be launching a solution for brands to promote themselves on the platform.

In November 2011 Google finally unveiled brand pages for Google+, allowing businesses and brands to join Google’s social network.

So why should your brand care about Google+ pages? Initially it would seem there is little difference from Facebook. Google+ brand pages are similar to Facebook in both appearance and layout. However, it’s been claimed that Google+ is not a Facebook ‘killer’ but is rather an evolution.

So, while Facebook may be at the centre of the social world, Google is positioned firmly at the centre of the business world – and a closer look at Google+ reveals added benefits that will help businesses make closer connections with their audience.

For these reasons, and because of its unique features, businesses must seriously consider establishing their presence on the channel. While at this early stage Google+ pages are where businesses interact with early adopters and Facebook is where you interact with everyone else (Facebook boasts 800 million users, while Google claims around 50 million) there is a lot to suggest this could well change in the future.

Here are our top 3 reasons why brands should consider using Google+ brand pages:

Demonstrates commitment to innovation and offers unique features to engage

 Launching a Google+ brand page now will help set your brand apart, marking you out as an early adopter – and puts you in a stronger position than your competitors. It also demonstrates your willingness to be innovative within your field and shows you are ready to engage with your audience on the latest platforms.

While Google+ pages at first appear very similar to Facebook there are a range of key differences – not just in terms of appearance (though Red Bull’s use of Gifs in their page is worth taking a look at) but in terms of the unique functionality which allows you to engage with fans in new and powerful ways.

One of the main features of Google+ is Circles which allows users to group followers in specific categories. While it may appear initially a challenge (you can’t add a person to a brand page’s circles unless he has first added your brand page to his circles), once you have won the right to be in a person’s Circle you can create lasting bonds with the pages (and people) that matter most by sending targeted, relevant messages to niche audiences sets.

Google+ Hangouts offer brands another unique feature, allowing them to hang out with followers or customers through video chat. This is a great feature for customer service for example and could potentially also be used to host live events.

Brands can also use competitions to build engagement. While currently, Google+’s content and promotion policies page states you cannot run promotions DIRECTLY on your Google+ page, you may link to a separate site (such as your website or blog) that promotes your competition.

Google is also adding a feature that will allow users to “check-in” via the Google+ mobile application in order to receive time-sensitive deals or discounts. This feature is mentioned in Google Places’s Help documentation, but has not yet been made available to business owners using the Google Places service.

As Google continues to build on its initial model and offers brands greater and more compelling ways to engage with their audience we will see a rise in its effectiveness as a way to drive traffic, raise brand awareness, increase audience reach and engage with your audience in more powerful ways.

The Google App-roach

The vast reach of Google and its range of apps will allow you to reach and engage with its huge existing audience base – this offers almost limitless potential.

Apps such as Gmail, Google Maps, Chrome and YouTube – to name just a few – are tools that many online users make use of everyday — and can be tied back to Google+. By aligning Google+ with these platforms extends the reach of the platform and by extension your brand page.

We are already beginning to see opportunities arise – Google is using social to integrate their apps, providing a personalised approach and helping to drive users through to Google+ and enabling users to easily share content with friends.

YouTube is a great example. The deep Google+ integration has seen Google add a YouTube search tab along the top right edge of each Google+ screen. Plus, when logged into Google all the subscriptions and channels you follow are organised into a left sidebar, which makes it easier to see videos that are shared from people within your social circles on Google+. When users search for a video, they now see a pop-up video player and playlist of related videos, and each one can be +1’ed and shared with the user’s Circles.

Google has also created integrations with Google Reader and Chrome. As they add to this they are increasing the opportunities for brands to drive people to their Google+ pages – and this is a great benefit for brands. It means as Google+ grows it will be able to further promote its social network — and the branded pages within it — in ways that are inaccessible to Facebook or Twitter


Being the largest search engine in the world certainly gives Google a massive advantage – one which they are taking advantage of. This is where Google has a competitive advantage over Facebook. That’s because creating an engaging brand experience on your Google+ page will help improve your search rankings.

Now that users can +1 your brand (the equivalent of a “Like” on Facebook), your + 1 will begin to affect the rating and placement of your brand in the search results, especially Google’s.  Google’s Product Management Director Dennis Troper said Google will add up all +1 button clicks — from brands’ pages for Google+, websites, and search results — and the single total will be used to determine relevancy in Google’s search ranking results. attracts over 1 billion unique visitors per month so this is obviously a massive benefit for brands and by implementing a strategy that is focused on keywords and optimising all relevant terms, brands can use Google+ to really benefit their search engine rankings.

Google is also debuting a feature called “Direct Connect” so that users who type “+” in front of a company’s name in Google’s search field will be connected directly to the company’s Google+ Page, if there is one.

Google + Brands = audience growth

While Google+ is still in its relative infancy it is clear that it has grown at an impressive pace and offers brands new and compelling ways to reach their audience.  With such a huge range of apps and platforms at their disposal and a willingness to integrate these in social ways, Google is showing that it can challenge Facebook and provide brands with the tools and data they need to target their audience – which means you need to be there to talk to them.

Spotify becomes more App-ealing

December 1, 2011

At it’s first-ever U.S. press conference yesterday, Spotify unveiled their new app platform, which they hope will be the next big step in social music.

The platform allows third-party developers to use the streaming service’s music library and community to create personalised and tailored services for their users. Initially the Spotify Platform is only launching with a dozen apps but more are expected to appear shortly.

Spotify have so far confirmed they have partnered with the likes of Rolling Stone,, Billboard, Songkick and The Guardian, as the online music service aims to build on its current offering and enhance the user experience.

An app launching its own app platform is a fascinating move and also an exciting one – it should allow companies and services to use Spotify in new and inventive ways.

For music publications such as Rolling Stone and Billboard, apps offer a way to allow users to read a review while silmultaneously listening to the album. However there are even more exciting and compelling ways that services can use Spotify. Let’s take the example of the app within Spotify.

Last.Fm is the world’s largest online music catalogue, powered by your scrobble. Spotify has long allowed users to integrate their Spotify listening to their accounts. Now, the integration is bolstered with customised playlists. The new app allows users to generate related song playlists based on the track they are currently listening to – by clicking “Similar Tracks Playlist,” will generate a playlist of similar tracks of music available to listen to or subscribe to within Spotify and suggestions for users.

That’s not all – the “Now Playing” section of the app allows users to get more information about a track or band.

The future of social music?

Having launched in America, begun its subscription model and formed a partnership with Facebook it has been a busy year for Spotify. These new apps will help to continue to build the brand and add a new and exciting dimension to Spotify’s user experience.

YouTube’s new social-friendly design goes live

November 24, 2011

With the launch of Google+ the search engine giant has been taking steps to more closely integrate its platforms – and this has now extended to YouTube.

Last week they announced a new design of their video platform and this week it was rolled out to certain users. The revamped design features a new look and places a much larger emphasis on social integration.

The look and feel includes an updated sleeker design which is less cluttered and also easier to navigate. YouTube may be the biggest video sharing platform on the web but its design has never been the most appealing, especially compared to other video sites such as Vimeo. This new design goes a long way to improving this. The design also provides users with more sizing options for their videos and also makes recommended content ‘pop out’ when clicked.

The greatest change, however, is the deep Google+ integration. When logged into Google all the subscriptions and channels you follow are organised into a left sidebar, which makes it easier to see videos that are shared from people within your social circles on Google+. This means it’s simple to watch videos that people who you trust have recommended. There are also recommended content category sections tailored to your needs.

This is a smart move by Google, providing users with a personalised service and integrating their services – and in the long term it should see Google+ grow their user numbers.

How to enable the new design

The new design is currently being rolled out in phases to certain users and will not be available to all video users for a few weeks. However, there is a way you can start using the new design right now.

It’s relatively simple to do and will only take a couple of minutes. When you’re on the YouTube website, you need to open up your browser’s developer tools — Ctrl / Cmd + Shift + K in Firefox; Ctrl + Shift + J (Win) or Cmd + Alt + J (Mac) for Chrome — and input the following code. Alternatively to put it more simply – right click on your mouse, in the pop up box click on ‘Inspect Element’ then click on the ‘Console tab’ and copy paste in the line of code:


Close the pop up box, reload the site and you should then be viewing the brand new YouTube design.

Top 5 Twips for Twitter success

November 3, 2011

Twitter has grown more in the last 9 months than in the last 5 years. This staggering growth is fantastic news for brands. Twitter is a platform which offers a range of opportunities to brands, with companies having used Twitter in innovative and effective ways to increase online visibility, communicate key messages, provide customer service, promote themselves and, most importantly, engage directly with their audience.

Working with brands and developing a Twitter community we have found that people who follow brands on Twitter are more likely to both buy and recommend those brands’ products. Indeed over 50% of users are more likely to recommend a brand to a friend after following them on Twitter.

This ability to increase customer loyalty means brands must be ready to take advantage of the opportunities Twitter provides. Yet, it is not a simple or straightforward process – building an audience on Twitter requires you to both attract and continuously engage with your fans and build a longstanding relationship with them.

So, how do you attract and keep the audience that you want? Here are our top 5 tips:

1.       Set out objectives

The first and most important question must be: what do you want to achieve with Twitter? Before embarking on any social media activity it’s crucial to have tangible aims in mind and a clear vision of what success means for you. There is no point (and, most importantly, it’s a wasted opportunity) launching a Twitter account with no clear objectives in mind. You need to decide: is it a customer service tool? Is it a promotional tool? Is it simply for brand awareness?

At the outset you must carry out research on your competitors so you can analyse what they are doing on Twitter and uncover the gaps in the market. Brands can use this information to devise a way to differentiate themselves and offer their audience something new.

When formulating your Twitter strategy you also need look at the broader marketing and strategic goals of your business – this will give you an understanding of what you want to accomplish. The most important thing to ascertain is if Twitter is right for your business. If it doesn’t make sense for your company, then don’t use it.

If you decide it is the right platform you must set out measurable goals and KPIs so that when you launch you have a clear focus and are able to measure exactly what you have achieved.

2.       Monitor to understand your audience

When it comes to understanding your audience Twitter is an invaluable source of information and insights. Its real-time search engine provides you with an immediate pulse of public opinion and it’s vital you use this to discover what your audience or clients want. Utilising this information will be invaluable in understanding the public perception of your brand and devising an ongoing strategy that responds to audience needs.

There are also a range of external tools you can utilise to track your brand on the platform. By creating search queries for key industry terms and tracking them throughout the day using a tool such as HootSuite you can uncover and understand the conversations that are happening around your brand.

Utilising Twitter monitoring tools allows you to track conversations about a problem your business can solve and gain insights into what is happening in your industry. You can also understand if one of your customers is making a complaint about you (and respond immediately) as well as receiving direct and immediate feedback on promotions you are running.

3.       TwOptimise your Tweets

Optimising your brand’s keywords on Twitter is crucial to your brand’s social success and must form the foundation of any strategic plan.

Think carefully about your keywords and create a content plan that schedules what you are saying and sets out which key terms you will be using in your posts. Keeping a very clear focus on the core essence of your brand – and the keyterms you will be using – is crucial for optimising your brand for search.

While Twitter is about being flexible and responsive, it’s also crucial to have this content strategy in place so you stay focused on achieving key objectives. This doesn’t mean you can’t vary the type of tweets you are posting but it does mean that you have to regularly publish ones that are on-topic and keyword-rich. This will ensure that your Twitter page ranks higher than your competitors.

There are other ways you can make your brand easier to find for search engines. Your Twitter profile is like any other page Google is indexing, with a headline, body copy and links. Therefore, you must ensure that the copy is keyword dense – while not forgetting that it needs to be compelling enough so that whoever reads it will want to follow you.

4.       Remember: Twitter is a value exchange

Many brands, particularly smaller businesses (but also some bigger businesses as well), are misusing Twitter as a platform to simply push out promotional messages onto users’ Twitter streams.

This is a mistake. At the forefront of your mind should be that Twitter is not about you – it’s about providing something of value to your audience. People follow brands for specific reasons: for example, to receive exclusivity, promotions and be “in the know” (67% of brand followers expect unique content from them). As a brand you need to be offering all of these things – and more – to ensure that people read your tweets and are engaged enough to click on your links and retweet you.

Carry out research to uncover what your audience want to hear about and tweet it. Understand which tweets get the most interaction and refine what you are saying until you have perfected it. You must also follow relevant people and use the features on Twitter, such as hashtags, to engage in conversations and make your brand more visible.

Through all of this you must remain strategic about how you tweet. This means focusing on your brand proposition, providing value and not focusing solely on ‘the sale’. In this way you will develop a style that matches your brand personality and engages with your consumers in a consistent, compelling and helpful way. Such an approach ensures that when your audience need what you offer, you are the brand they choose to use.

5.       Fit Twitter Into Your Social Media Marketing

Your online and social media marketing needs to be integrated and connected and it’s crucial to constantly keep in mind how Twitter fits into your overall social media marketing strategy. This can help to build stronger relationships by offering value across the social web. There are a number of ways to do this.

At the simplest level you must make sure that there is a clearly displayed link to your Twitter account on the homepage of your website.  In addition to this add a link to your account in your email signatures. It’s also best practice to add your profile to popular Twitter directories such as WeFollow, Twellow and Just Tweet It. These directories increase the chances of relevant audience groups finding you as they allow you to put your brand in the most relevant and popular categories.

Another effective way to ensure a ‘connected strategy’ is to link your tweets through to relevant content you have produced on other platforms. Linking through to blog posts will allow you to drive traffic and engage in industry debates with your followers. If you are running a competition on Facebook use Twitter to promote it, and vice versa. This kind of cross platform promotion is a great way to keep your audience engaged and aware of everything you offer.

However, remember that each platform demands its own strategy – so don’t have tweets that are synched directly to your Facebook Page, as hashtags and the way tweets are presented do not often lend themselves well to Facebook.

Your audience is out there

The great news for businesses is it’s clear that if you get all of these elements right the audience on Twitter are very open to having a relationship with your brand. Too many get it wrong and don’t understand why their follower numbers are low or why there is no interaction. However, brands who do provide value and engage with their audience are really seeing the benefits of using the platform. Your audience is out there, you just need to understand what they want – and deliver it.


Storify expands its social media curation offering

October 10, 2011

Back in May we reported about Storify and discussed how it will be extremely interesting to see if social media curation platforms would get adopted by the mainstream in the same way blogs and Twitter have.

It was clear that Storify was an intriguing concept but it needed to ensure it was recognised as the place to go when major ‘events’ occur.

Recent months have shown that Storify and social media curation has grown up. It is becoming recognised as a popular and leading service that a number of brands and publications are using to promote content and tell stories, just like blogging. If you haven’t yet used Storify, it allows you to aggregate social media content from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and other platforms to quickly and easily build stories.

The White House, The Guardian, Mashable and The New York Times are just some of the prestigious institutions which have used Storify to drag and drop social media content into an attractive and easy to read timelines.

So how has Storify grown up?

  • Growth in User Numbers

In the week beginning 5th September 2011 Storify reached a new peak at 46,493 connections and the top story of that week had over 288,000 views. The previous peak was at 43,000 with #ukriots in August 2011.

Some examples of recent popular stories include REM breaking up and streams of photos and updates of events on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

These stories highlight the breadth of topics that Storify can help showcase. Storify provides a resourceful and appealing way to aggregate conversations and content about an ‘event’ that has gained a lot of attention and is a useful way to display the range of opinions and thoughts in one central hub.

  • Storify now helps with Search Engine Optimisation

Storify also helps with search engine optimisation. Co-founder Xavier Damman claimed that this has been the company’s most-requested feature from users. Storify now allows their content to be published out onto the servers of the most popular blogging platforms – such as WordPress, Tumblr, Posterous and Drupal – using XML-RPC to push permanent, search engine-friendly HTML.

This change means that content will live there permanently, will be indexed by search engines  and will help boost search engine optimisation.

  • Slideshow and new offerings

Newspapers and other publications will now be able to use Storify to post the same social media stories in a slideshow format as well. All stories on Storify – there are over 100,000 of them – can now be viewed as a slideshow.  You can do this by either adding “/slideshow” to the end of the URL or choosing “slideshow” from a drop-down menu within the embed option.

This option will enable Storify to continue to grow. As Damman states “We are using our own API to do the slideshow,” he says. “Anyone can develop a template for displaying a story, this is something that is really new.” This will be of great interest to brands and publications looking to communicate content in new and interesting ways.

It’s this fluidity, flexibility and willingness to listen to users which will see Storify grow and thrive, offering brands the chance to get involved, optimise content and strongly enhances the storytelling offering that brands can provide to users.

RIP Steve Jobs: 1955-2011

October 6, 2011

‘You’ve got to find what you love.’

Steve Jobs, the co-founder and chairman of Apple, died on Wednesday at the age of 56.

He leaves behind a phenomenal legacy, his name synonymous with innovation, inspiration and technology.

He was an icon, a visionary and an innovator whose passion and skill allowed him to take his dreams and make them a reality. He was a doer who had an innate understanding of what the market needed even when the market itself didn’t even realise they needed it.

For that reason he has had a massive impact on the world around us. When he returned to Apple in 1997 (having been forced out of the company in 1985) he oversaw their product development, leading a decade of unparalleled innovation. In this time period we saw the launch of truly iconic products that really have changed the way we live, including the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad.

The exceptional success of these products took Apple from near-bankruptcy to the world’s second most valuable company. It was not just financial success: these products have redefined the music, mobile and personal computing industries – and Jobs also transformed the film industry with his animation studio Pixar.

Few entrepreneurs have had as much impact as Steve Jobs. As President Obama stated this morning “Steve was among the greatest of American innovators – brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it.”

He was an inspiration to everyone. As Jobs himself stated: ‘Stay hungry, stay foolish’.

Instagram: version 2.0

September 29, 2011

Last week Instagram version 2.0 arrived, giving the photo sharing app’s 10 million users live filters, instant tilt-shift, high-resolution photos and a much more robust user experience – and in a drive to gain more market share from their competitors, such as Flickr and Google’s Photovine.

CEO and co-founder Kevin Systrom claims these changes are “important to bringing Instagram to masses” and will “take us from 10 million to 100 million users [changing] the game in the terms of usability and efficiency.”

Instagram is already a phenomenon – and these new updates, billed as the biggest change since they launched, will help to boost its appeal even further.

Of the new changes the biggest see the introduction of live filters and tilt shift. This allows you to choose how the photo looks in real time and which lens best suits your subject as you take a photo (as opposed to afterwards).

Other changes include increasing the photo resolution, the addition of some new lenses and greater speed in applying filters (while it previously took the application six seconds to apply a filter, it now only takes six milliseconds).

Instagram and the mainstream

The growth of Instagram is certainly impacting on the mainstream. Other platforms have also taken notice – as we reported here  the big players such as Google, Facebook and Twitter have launched either new platforms or additional functionality to compete with the huge popularity of Instagram.

More and more brands are also recognising the importance of having a presence on Instagram. While the visual nature of the app is obviously perfect for fashion brands such as Burberry, there are opportunities for brands from a range of industries to take advantage of – food, travel and beauty to name just a few.

What brands are doing well on Instagram already? Starbucks currently has over 98,000 followers, asking followers to tag their coffee photos with #starbucks, while Burberry has around 91,000. ABC World News is a great example of how Instagram can be used to communicate breaking news while Jamie Oliver does the same for food. Brands like BMIBaby and ASOS are also doing innovative things within the space and we’re likely to see more brands sign up as the app’s popularity rises.

The mainstream appeal of Instagram is demonstrated by the launch of the first ever UK exhibit of Instagram photos at a gallery – entitled – in London in late October 2011.

Yet one challenge still remains – Instagram is still only available on the iPhone. There is no android app yet.  The company continue to stress that an Android version will be created and Systrom recently stated that: “Getting version 2.0 out the door opens up a lot of time to work on new stuff”.

The importance of this was shown yesterday when Flickr launched its Android app yesterday – complete with Instagram-like filters.

Flickr has stolen a march on their main rival and it’s crucial that Instagram quickly develop their Android app before they are left behind.

New Media – Photovine

August 23, 2011

As part of their concerted effort to provide a more “social” offering, Google has launched a new photo sharing iPhone app called Photovine.

The idea behind Photovine is to use photos to tell stories through “vines”.  These “vines” are a collection of pictures around a caption. For example, if you go to watch Take That you can start a “vine” called ‘Take That Manchester Show’ and publish a picture of the concert. People following you can view this and also ‘join the vine’ by posting their own pictures.

Until now, the app has been in closed beta testing with a very limited number of users. However, it is now open for all to sign up.

Who will use Photovine and why?

Photovine will be aimed at everyone. The amazing popularity of Instagram (last week they surpassed 150 million photos being shared) has demonstrated the mass appeal of the photosharing services and Google has come up with an interesting concept that aims to differentiate itself from its competitors.

The idea of a grouping photos and encouraging people to add to a collection is a great way to drive engagement and is something that will spur users into action.


Photovine also helps to guide users who may be unsure about what photos they want to post – by giving them a theme or topic to follow, which makes it easier for them to get involved. This inclusive guided experience could encourage more people to post their own images.

The fantastic look and feel of the app – something that Google is not generally very good at – also means Photovine can compete with Instagram.

The Future

Photovine seems to have everything in place to be a huge success. The concept is original and the app looks great. It also features everything you would expect from a social network, with friend finding and sharing features on Twitter and Facebook. You can also chat with your followers, setup a profile, add captions and texts to your pictures.

The biggest challenge for Google may be getting enough users using the app to make it viable and ensure the ‘Vines’ concept works  –  though with the launch of Google+, integration between these services looks like a win-win situation, facilitating the growth of both platforms.

Cleaning up after the riots using social media

August 9, 2011

If there was ever any sign of the importance of social media as a form of communication then the riots in London and other cities such as Birmingham and Liverpool have provided it.

Social media is a neutral tool – and though it has been used by the minority to instigate violence it has also been shown to be an incredible way to share up-to-date news, a way to offer support and now, today, as a way for communities to join together and start the clean-up operation after the last few nights of destruction.

The ways in which social platforms like Twitter and Facebook allow messages to be quickly shared between large groups in real time and for instant communication to happen, have been invaluable to cleanup organisers who need to quickly and efficiently gather together followers in the aftermath of the rioting.

On Twitter people attending the clean up sessions are using the hashtags #londoncleanup and #riotcleanup to organise themselves. A Twitter account RiotCleanUp was set up last night providing a vital source of information for people looking to help rebuild city centres. The account tweeted places and times where community clear-ups were happening and also posted offers of help and resources. The @RiotCleanUp account has already gained more than 55,000 followers in less than 14 hours.

It quickly gained the attention of celebrities such as Rio Ferdinand, Simon Pegg and Tinchy Stryder  who tweeted about it. TV presenter Clare Balding wrote: “I’ve been trying to find some ray of sunshine amid the chaos, anger & violence. @riotcleanup can allow Londoners to show our real character.” Comedian Dave Gorman commented: “Went to bed depressed by the news. Now feeling strangely emotional as I read about @riotcleanup #riotcleanup Amazing.”

It wasn’t just Twitter that was being used to mobilise communities. One Facebook group called “post riot clean-up: let’s help London” had gained more than 7,000 followers at the time of writing with people offering help and posting about how people can donate to charities who are supporting those affected.

Other platforms have also been used to help people know what is going on. With many rumours about what has happened within London this Google My Map attempts to map verified locations that have been affected by the London rioting and looting.

You can also check out this London Riots Clean Up Storify created by Mashable to see how the story is unfolding.


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