Maximise Instagram trends for your social media campaigns

December 6, 2018

How to maximise Instagram trends for your social media campaigns

It’s been a great year for Instagram with some exciting new features and updates which not only help to make the platform even more exciting for users, but offer huge opportunity for digital marketers.

Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to reach your audience on Instagram as we start planning 2019.

Insta Stories

Insta Stories has been a huge success for Instagram, and as its daily user-base has grown by 150 million in the last year, it should definitely form part of your Instagram marketing strategy.

 

Why is using Instagram Stories beneficial?

  • Increases engagement and your brand’s profile
  • Generates buzz around campaigns
  • Drives traffic to your websites as links can be added to the Instagram story by using “see more” or “swipe up” (available for business accounts with 10k+ followers)
  • Using stories on Instagram is an actionable way to step away from the “on brand” feed and add personality to your profile

 

Insta Stories Highlights

Another great feature to concentrate on in the months ahead is Insta Stories Highlights, which allows users to create a permanent home to show off their ephemeral content without posting to the main feed.

It’s easy to create and edit a highlight, so it can be easily accessed by followers.

You can add up to 100 photos or videos to a story highlight. It makes the process of seeing what a brand has to offer much easier as all your content can be compartmentalised into the different services you offer as a whole.

 

How to make the most out of Insta Stories Highlights

Here’s some things you can do:

  • List services/products you offer
  • Highlight behind the scene type exclusives
  • Share your achievements
  • Announce events
  • Collect user generated content to gain customers’ trust

 

With Stories Highlights, content is more organised, simpler and faster to navigate through.

 

Insta Stories Ads

With 400 million people watching Instagram Stories every single day, and the cost of Facebook advertising increasing, Instagram Story ads are the cheaper, more innovative way of advertising your products to a larger reach as we move into 2019.

With its full-screen, vertical format, businesses can share photos and videos that submerse followers in their content.

With the ability to target your ads by reach, video views, traffic, conversions, app installs and brand awareness, there’s real potential to drive business results.

 

Insta Stories Shoppable Stickers

The new shoppable stickers for Instagram Stories mean businesses can tag physical products from their e-commerce platform.

When users click on an item in a post, they’re able to view the item name, price, and description.

Shoppable Instagram Stories stickers can be placed on both images and videos, so it’s a great way to offer product information without coming across like you are constantly trying to push a product on your followers.

The great news is that you don’t need to be verified or have 10,000 followers to use them!

 

Micro Influencers

Influencer marketing continues to boom as brands collaborate with opinion leaders to enter an already-established community to promote their product. Micro-influencers have become a new trend on Instagram.

It’s proven that micro-influencers, who have a media following of anywhere between 1,000 and 30,000, drive more significant engagement than influencers with a larger following.

 

Why collaborating with micro-influencers is beneficial

Collaborating with micro-influencers allows you to save on promotion as their rates are lower.

You can expect a higher average engagement rate and also establish contact with them in order develop a longer term relationship and collaborate in the future.

 

Instagram TV

IGTV is a new Instagram feature and app for sharing and viewing video in a vertical and full screen format. It offers the potential to create hour-long episodes of a long-term series, or to use Instagram TV as an extension of your standard Instagram profile.

Play-Doh has used IGTV to great effect with its series, The Play-Doh Show”, which brings creative, colourful fun to life. While the series likely has kids fighting over their parents’ phones, it’s fun for all ages and you can do it too! Instagram provides a wealth of opportunity to reach current and new audiences in exciting and engaging ways. Definitely not a platform to be ignored when planning your 2019 marketing strategy!

 

If you want to find out how to take your social media offering to the next level, contact us at agency:2 on 0203 598 9194.

Instagram updates: a welcome game-changer for digital marketers!

March 20, 2018

Instagram has been growing at a phenomenal rate over the past two years. At the end of 2017 it hit more than 800 million monthly active users, more than double that of Twitter and Snapchat combined. And 72 percent of users say they have purchased a product after they’ve seen it on Instagram.

This growth is largely due to a raft of new features introduced in 2016, notably business profiles and analytics. Then, in August of that year, Instagram took on Snapchat with the launch of Stories. A year after it launched, Instagram Stories surpassed its rival with 250 million daily active users.

These changes have seen Instagram move from photo-sharing app to serious social media marketing contender. We round-up all the recent updates and the impact they will have on digital marketing in 2018.

 

  1. Organic post scheduling

 

In one of the biggest shake-ups since the launch of Stories, Instagram announced that it would now allow third-party apps to post organically to business profiles.

This is a game-changer for marketers, who until now have had to either restrict posting to business hours, or remember to log-in during their downtime to post content.

 

  1. Stories archive and highlights

 

When Stories first launched they were designed to be ephemeral, disappearing after 24 hours. This proved something of a headache for marketers, who spent hours creating the perfect Story only to have it disappear into the ether.

Now Stories are automatically archived, allowing users to add old Stories to the new highlights reel, which appears at the top of a user’s feed. This is a golden opportunity for businesses to showcase their brand and tell more of their story.

 

  1. Follow hashtags

 

Since the end of 2017, users have the ability to follow hashtags they are interested in to ensure that content appears in their feed.

For marketers, this makes it easy to keep an eye on industry trends and competitors (for example, they might want to follow #SocialMediaMarketing or #MarketingTrends), as well as track user-generated content via a branded hashtag.

Asking users to follow branded hashtags is another way marketers can get their own content seen, as well as the user-generated content their fans are creating.  

 

  1. Carousel Ads in Stories

 

Until now, businesses were limited to one photo or video in their Stories adverts. Ads in Stories are set to triple in length, with Instagram allowing adverts to be made up of three separate pieces of content.

Users still have the ability to swipe away, however, so marketers will have to work hard to create engaging ads that their audience will want to click through.    

 

  1. All-new Stories options

 

Instagram are constantly adding new features to Stories. Last year saw additional filters, stickers, a poll option and superzoom introduced. Now, gifs and Type Mode, which allows users to upload Stories with no images, just text, offer marketers further ways to engage their audience.

 

Two predictions to watch out for

 

  1. Regram button

 

Instagram has been testing a regram button to make sharing content natively a possibility. Users reported seeing a regram button at the same time as they started seeing gifs in Stories and Stories Archive being tested, so speculation is rife that a regram option is not far off.

This holds a whole host of possibilities for marketers, who will be able to encourage their followers to easily share their branded content.

 

  1. Shop Now button

 

Until the end of last year, the ability to shop directly from Instagram was only available to a handful of retailers in the US. But as 2017 came to a close, Shopping for Instagram was rolled out to thousands more merchants.

At the time of writing it is only available in the US, but we predict it’s only a matter of time before UK merchants get this feature, too.

These new features, along with ‘paid partnership’ tags, recommended posts and direct messaging changes, saw a huge shake-up of Instagram as a marketing platform last year.

Coupled with Facebook’s momentous news feed changes, marketers must now invest in Instagram as part of their digital marketing strategy and get ahead of the curve when it comes to thinking of innovative ways to use the constantly evolving platform.

Top 3 Social Media Trends for 2018

January 4, 2018

Top 3 Social Media Trends for 2018

With such a fast-paced industry, it is always good for marketers to be on top of the social trends for the coming year. Here are 3 social media trends we predict will be most impactful in 2018, alongside some top tips for marketers:

 

The rise of video

Mark Zuckerberg forecast that in 2018, a whopping 90% of Facebook’s content will be video-based. Facebook Live is on course to further develop this year and Facebook will also be introducing its new offering: Watch. Watch is a new platform to broadcast live or recorded shows which consist of a series of episodes and follow a storytelling theme. These will have a high degree of personalisation and allow viewers to connect with the viewing habits of members within their social network. For example, people can see ‘what friends are watching’ and see their reactions and comments in real-time. We predict a rise in video hangout platforms in 2018, such as Houseparty, focused on allowing friends to hang out digitally.

agency:2 Top Tip: Brands and digital marketers should ensure that in 2018 they are maximising their use of trending video platforms, such as Instagram Stories and Facebook Live, to boost their engagement and reach. Marketers should adopt a mobile first strategy based on users’ viewing habits and closely monitor how the latest innovations, such as 360 videos and augmented reality, can help take video to the next level.

 

Increased use of chatbots and messaging apps

Currently over 2.5 billion people use messaging platforms globally and this technology is fast evolving. In 2018 we predict increased brand participation in messaging platforms, such as WhatsApp, WeChat and Messenger, and utilising chatbots to interact with fans with a higher degree of personalisation. Gartner has forecast that in 2018 30% of our ‘conversations’ will be assisted by smart machines.  These forms of ‘conversations’ are the preferred form of communication for Generation Z, who more than ever, have increased purchasing power.

agency:2 Top Tip: It’s important for brands to build up a persona around chatbots that stays true to the company’s values and ethos. New tech should always be carefully tested by a diverse range of audience groups for ease of use before implementation.

 

The Importance of Ephemeral Content

With the rise of Instagram Stories and Snapchat, time sensitive ephemeral content is becoming increasingly important for brands, as well as individuals. These fleeting pieces of content, typically lasting just 24 hours, are often the best way to reach Millennials and Generation Z, as they can be less formal and more authentic. They are effective for communicating short-term offers, or for storytelling during live events.

agency:2 Top Tip: It’s vital that brands build ephemeral content into their social media strategies for 2018 and realise that this type of short-live content can be less polished and more informal than permanent content, which is part of the appeal. Connecting this content with a brand’s influencer strategy can work effective for a time-sensitive platform takeover.

2018 is set to be an exciting year for social media.

Best use of Facebook at the global Shorty Awards

April 10, 2017

 

facebook ad award winner Shorty

We are delighted to announce some exciting awards news today. We are a Shorty Awards winner: Best use of Facebook.

A couple of months ago we entered one of our Facebook advertising campaigns for the prestigious Shorty Awards. The award honours the best in social media across the globe, with a glitzy ceremony held in New York on 23 April 2017.

We delivered a ground-breaking Facebook campaign for our client Showcase Cinemas which was fuelled by our unique audience insights technology – the Social Insight Engine. By tapping into the audience’s passions and interests on social, we achieved outstanding social media marketing results for our client. Our team of paid social media experts and the creative team here at agency:2 are very proud of the campaign results.

Today we received the fantastic news that agency:2 is a winner of this highly competitive category which saw some of the world’s leading digital agencies enter their Facebook campaigns. We would like to thank our client Showcase Cinemas and our team here. Together we truly pushed the boundaries of what excellent Facebook marketing can deliver and we proved its ability as a highly cost-effective acquisition channel for businesses.

http://shortyawards.com/9th/thomas-friends-the-great-race-cinema-launch

 

Toy Fair 2017: ‘The Spirit of Play’

February 6, 2017

toys social kids brands

Members of the agency:2 team were excited to visit Spielwarenmesse in Germany, the much anticipated international toy fair in Nuremberg which took place during  the first week of February . The fair showcased over 1 million toys from over 60 countries. It was the ideal place to explore the latest developments within the toy world, meet up with international contacts and experience ‘The Spirit of Play’!

Our team’s favourite area at the toy fair was the Trend Gallery, where 1,000 m² showcased the latest global innovations and exciting new ideas for 2017. Some of the top trends on display this year included tech toys; focusing on everything from electronic activated pets, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, drones and augmented reality.

It was clear that licensing is here to stay in the toy world, with Star Wars and superheroes having a prominent presence this year, and impacting all products from scooters to backpacks. Promoting girl power and updating classic role play toys were other popular trends, with storytelling being an important focus amongst niche start-ups all the way to global brands.

Exciting new products require new and inventive methods of communication through social. Complex toys are best showcased on videos and immersive Facebook canvas ads to effectively highlight their numerous attributes to consumers. The team at agency:2 is looking forward to using our innovative Social Insight Engine technology to hyper-target parents on social media, and clearly communicate these exciting messages in 2017.

We are a Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA Winner!

December 9, 2016

deloitte-winner-technology-award-emea

 

agency:2 is thrilled to be ranked the 144th fastest growing tech companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). We would like to thank our amazing clients and hard-working team for helping us to achieve this fantastic recognition by Deloitte.

The Deloitte Technology Fast 500™ EMEA award is a prestigious acknowledgement of the 500 fastest-growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and energy tech companies across EMEA.

“Innovation is more than technological advancement; it’s also a state of mind,” said Paul Sallomi, vice chairman at Deloitte LLP and global technology, media and telecommunications industry leader. “The winners of the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 program in EMEA recognize that this new type of thinking is essential for business success. We look forward to your continued leadership in introducing new tools that can enhance the personal lives of consumers, and drive growth for companies worldwide.”

Joel Davis co-founder of agency:2 commented on another great achievement. “We’re excited to be placed alongside the most innovative and fastest growing companies in EMEA as it’s a real compliment to our team. To also be recognised as the 3rd fastest growing company in the UK media sector is an incredible testament to our ability to deliver game-changing results for our clients and a recognition of our drive for achieving innovation in social media marketing. I’m immensely proud of everyone at agency:2.”

About agency:2

agency:2 is an award-winning social media agency powered by audience insight technology. Our leading social media advertising technologies and expertise enable us to deliver results that far exceed expectations. As innovators for the social ad industry, we work with world leading brands such as Barbie, Worldpay and Sony to deliver the best social media results.

 

 

Additional resources

Learn more about agency:2 here: www.agency2.co.uk

Learn more about our Social Insight Engine technology: www.socialinsightengine.com

Contact Joel Davis: 00 44 (0)203 567 1381

Christmas comes early on Facebook: How will you maximise your #smm?

November 16, 2016

Christmas comes early on Facebook: How will you maximise social media during this busy period?

social-media-sales-christmas

The countdown to Christmas is now officially on…only 39 more days. Can you believe it? Each year consumers say the same thing: the build up to Christmas gets earlier and earlier. Audiences are surely switching off from the Christmas messaging….or are they?

 

During the run-up to Christmas, new research released by Facebook actually shows that consumers are more interested in consumer products and messaging in this busy pre-Christmas period. (Source: Facebook)

 

As a social media marketer, you may be asking yourself:

  • Did our Christmas campaigns hit the mark last year?
  • How can I beat my competitors during this Christmas period?
  • Is my agency doing the best possible job with my Christmas budget?

 

So, before we look into how to improve social media marketing in the busy pre-Christmas period, let’s have a look at what Facebook had to say:

  1. Christmas conversation begins on Facebook on October 24 (yes, October!).
  1. Black Friday, November 25, is the biggest shopping day of the year for women on Facebook.
  1. Last year Cyber Monday, November 28, online spend totalled £968m in the UK.
  1. The build up to Christmas and last minute shopping takes place within the period from 8-31 December.
  1. Boxing Day is topical on Facebook throughout all of December with an amazing 21.6m interactions related to it.
  1. The first two weeks in January can offer some of the best value CPMs seen all year on Facebook.

 

How can we use this information and insight in our social marketing to enhance our Christmas campaigns and capitalise on the increased spend?

agency:2’s Christmas marketing advice:

a) It’s always important to stand out from the crowd as this is a very busy period on social – 32m pieces of content are posted to Facebook every day over Christmas! Your brand will need to be the best e.g. use video to boost audience reach.

b) You can widen your audience by adding grandparents, uncles and aunties, as they are the true Christmas buying audience for anything over £50.

c) Increase reach further through audience insight tools such as the Social Insight Engine. For example, by using our unique ad serving software we can select parents with siblings in a similar age range, and therefore sell more to the same user. Overall, this will improve return on investment.

d) As it’s such a busy period, clever targeting is important to get your message in front of the right people at the right time. Linking targeting to consumer behaviour and interests is a great way of making an emotional connection, which can lead to strengthening purchasing intent.

e) It is also important to connect social media activity with offline behaviours, PR and other marketing activities.

f) Use Facebook’s unique abilities – for example, friends can tag each other in comments e.g. ‘this is the one I wanted you to get for my daughter’. You can’t do this as easily with other marketing channels so make the most of these features.

g) Make sure your posts are mobile friendly as 86% of Christmas posts are shared on mobile and 88% of all videos are shared on mobile.

Here at agency:2 we have already applied these strategies to our social media marketing for some of the world’s leading brands, achieving fantastic ROI for our clients. Find out how you can take your social offering to the next level. Call us on 0203 567 1380.

Be a Leader in Social Media : A masterclass for #SMW

September 19, 2016

Leading in Social Media at Social Media Week London 2016

We were thrilled to host the ‘Be a Leader in Social Media’ masterclass as part of Social Media Week’s global event series on 16 September, at our offices in London.

This is the 3rd year we worked with Social Media Week London. Our event sold out quickly (!) and we welcomed senior marketers from a wide range of sectors and companies, including Virgin, Young’s Pub, Ella’s Kitchen & University of West London to our event.

smwevent-social-media-agency2

This year we explored key themes important to social media marketers:

  1. Major trends in consumer engagement and their impact on social media marketing
  2. Tips for increasing ROI of social media campaigns such as tapping into the emotions and interests of your target market to improve targeting effectiveness
  3. Proving social media ROI to senior decision makers with our recommended attribution model

We were delighted to welcome Josh McBain (Head of Innovation, Future Foundation) who shared some key insights from DMA research report ‘The Future of Customer Engagement’.

Joel Davis, agency:2’s co-director, spoke next about applying the trends to make key decisions by:

  1. Connecting with consumers’ emotional side
  2. Hyper targeting though matrix segmentation
  3. Understanding audience motivations and drivers to purchase
  4. Engaging with the audience’s wider interests to spark a connection
  5. Reporting KPIs that matter most to the board

Our audience was very perceptive and asked many questions, which allowed for the sharing of many practical learning points.

We are already looking forward to next year. If you want to lean more about the discussion on the day, follow the conversation on Twitter using #SMWLeadSocial

 

 

Twitter: What we know in 140 characters or less!

August 5, 2016

It’s been talked about and talked about, which social network is growing and which is declining? Which should we invest time in and which should we leave behind? Today we focus on Twitter; despite declining figures, we still think it’s one to keep in your toolbox.

Twitter trends 2016 / 2017

Twitter trends 2016 / 2017

What do you think about Twitter? Are you still on board and eagerly awaiting new developments or have you already said #ByeByeTwitter?

 

Twitter on the Decline – Fact or Myth?

April 4, 2016

As a leading social media agency, we have been actively following Twitter performance announcements as they unfold, and are constantly attempting to determine what the future holds for the platform.

According to Business Insider, the Twitter Active User Base figures are at an all-time low.

twitter

 

 

Not only has there been no growth, but active users have been steadily declining. This is worrying for investors, as the falling rates prove that Twitter cannot reach anywhere near Facebook’s user figures.

According to The Verge (see here), Twitter’s 320 million monthly active users are way behind Facebook’s 1.59 billion monthly active users.

 

Will Twitter  be a serious social media contender in 2016/2017?

There has been speculation on the ‘Twittersphere’ that the 140 character limit could in fact be lifted. A recent interview with Jack Dorsey, has reversed the thinking surrounding this change, with his comments hinting otherwise e.g. Twitter’s 140-character limit is “a beautiful constraint” and Twitter “will never lose that feeling.” (Source: Tech Crunch)

Even if this character limit change did come into play, it would seem that it just wouldn’t be enough to transform the platform. With Facebook’s innovations being introduced at lighting speed, Twitter will need to do a lot more to be thought of as more than a glorified news channel.

 

What do we think here at agency:2?

Judging by recent trends, we predict that by the end of the year Twitter stands to lose up to 100 million active users if it doesn’t act fast; this will result in a huge loss in advertising revenues and equally devastating, a great loss in investor confidence.

 

Will our agency be pulling the plug on Twitter?

The writing’s on the wall, but it’s not signed, sealed and delivered just yet. For the moment, Twitter remains a viable newsworthy platform, thus allowing agency:2 to be in control and up to speed on the latest social media insights and news stories. We continue to proudly support our clients brands on Twitter, constantly making valuable connections with their customers worldwide.

Twitter may need an overhaul of its basic features to inspire user growth; however, focusing on its speed and dominance in the live conversation sphere seems like a much smarter approach.

If there is one thing Twitter still has over Facebook, it’s the service’s uniquely instantaneous reactions to live world news and events as they happen in real-time.

 

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