5 Effective Social Media Contest Ideas to Increase Engagement

by Bistriti Poddar |

5 Effective Social Media Contest Ideas to Increase Engagement


In order to thrive in a competitive landscape, businesses need engaged customers. Shoppers who engage with a brand daily are 2x more likely to make more purchases than others. The easiest way to engage with customers and go viral is through social contests. Social media has become an inseparable part of consumers’ daily activities. Users … Read more

Social eCommerce Emerges as a Refreshing, Lucrative Breakthrough for Marketers

Social ecommerce

As shoppers continue to prefer online shopping, integrating social media with ecommerce is going to be one of the most powerful strategies for brands in 2021. Owing to Covid-19, the global social commerce market is expected to grow at a rate of 31.4%. Social ecommerce enables users to shop directly from social media. It is … Read more

Social eCommerce emerges as a Refreshing, Lucrative Breakthrough for Marketers

Social eCommerce emerges as a lucrative breakthrough

As shoppers continue to prefer online shopping, integrating social media with ecommerce is going to be one of the most powerful strategies for brands in 2021. Owing to Covid-19, the global social commerce market is expected to grow at a rate of 31.4%. Social ecommerce enables users to shop directly from social media. It is … Read more

When Loyal Meets Social

social engagements

The most effective loyalty programs are those where loyalty meets social; where customers engage with and transact with their favorite brands. Annex Cloud has been advising clients and helping them build loyalty strategies that include both components for years. Over the years we’ve seen some customers set on building only transactional program. We’re happy to share … Read more

Beauty Rewards Program Is an Ideal Fit for Loyalty

beauty rewards program

As per a report by Edited, the global beauty industry is valued at $532 billion and counting. Since the bulk of the consumers are millennials, the beauty industry has got the enormous potential for a phenomenal rise. Many companies today are looking at the beauty industry to leverage the potential by designing the beauty rewards … Read more

Social Commerce: the Future of eComm & Customer Loyalty

social commerce

It’s 2019 and social media is evolving way beyond social purposes alone. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram have taken giant strides toward implementing a seamless eCommerce experience into its functionalities. From discovery to conversion, commerce can now be facilitated from your favorite social media channels, across devices and countless supportive apps. Social media and other … Read more

Creating Your Full-Funnel Facebook Ad Strategy

Facebook Ad Strategy

To create a full-funnel ad strategy on Facebook, not only must you have a great funnel, but your landing pages need to be on point as well. You can write the best ad copy and target the right audiences, but if your landing pages are missing valuable information that the prospect needs to make their … Read more

How Referral Marketing Can Combat Facebook’s Algorithm Update

How referral marketing can combat Facebook's algorithm update

In the wake of yet another update to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm, marketers need to shift their focus from brand broadcasting to referral programs and word-of-mouth, earned social media. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg recently sent the marketing world into a flurry when he announced a News Feed algorithm update that prioritizes personal profiles and groups over … Read more

Product Update: Visual Commerce Reporting Enhanced with Pinterest and Instagram Insights

shoppable post scheduler

Our development team has been hard at work on the latest enhancement to Annex Cloud’s Visual Commerce solution. In an effort to fully round out the visual commerce platform, we are adding comprehensive Pinterest and Instagram insights to the reporting dashboards.

The original form of our Visual Commerce solution was a straightforward visual marketing solution that gave brands the ability to collect customer content and permissions, and curate pictures with the goal of boosting onsite conversion. The development of Shoppic: Shoppable Instagram, expanded our capability by giving clients a way to monetize their Instagram traffic with a shoppable feed connected to their profiles. As well as streamline their visual social media strategy with a built-in scheduler.

This most recent enhancement accomplishes the goal of delivering a truly well-rounded visual marketing platform for our clients. Pinterest and Instagram insights give clients access to a breadth of data that can help inform and improve their visual marketing strategies. Here’s the breakdown of the insights included for each platform:

Pinterest Insights: Our Pinterest insights consolidate and expand on the information you can collect through Pinterest Analytics.

Insight: Pinterest Engagement Driven by Content On Your Website
Find the breakdown of Pinterest shares from your website, pins created from your website’s content, and which pins featuring your website content are driving the most re-pins.

Benefit: These insights help identify the content that inspires customers to share your brand on Pinterest so you can replicate it and continue to proactively drive engagement and product/brand discovery via Pinterest.

Insight: Website Traffic and Engagement Driven By Pinterest
Monitor website visitors, both new and returning, who are being referred from Pinterest. Discover which pins and boards are producing significant numbers of impressions and click-throughs to your site.

Benefit: Find out what content on Pinterest spurs customers to click back to your site to make a purchase.

Instagram Insights: We are building out a comprehensive Instagram Insights dashboard aimed at helping you improve your visual marketing strategy.

Insight: Follower Data
Find out which of your followers have the greatest number of their own followers, discover the Instagrammers and posts with the most impressions that mention your brand handle, and track new followers by post and overall follower growth rate.

Benefit: Getting deeper insights into your followers helps you understand their potential to increase your reach and offers a simple channel to discover new influencers. It also helps you gain an understanding of what content drives the highest increase in followers so you can continue to improve your Instagram posts.

Insight: Instagram Engagement
Unearth hashtags that are driving the most engagement with your brand, find out which of your posts earn the highest impression rates, monitor what content delivers the most likes and comments, and track overall user interaction with each Instagram post.

Benefit: Understanding how your content performs on Instagram helps inform your future strategies so you can collect and create content you know will continue to drive engagement and brand awareness.

Insight: Instagram Stories Data
Quickly find data including unique views on your stories, number of customers who viewed your full story, and which stories drive the highest number of direct messages.

Benefit: Quick insights into your Instagram Stories can help you regularly improve the content you put out to boost re-occurring engagement with your Instagram profile and improve brand recognition.

For more information or to learn more about our Visual Commerce reporting capabilities, contact us or get in touch with your Customer Success Manager today.

UGC, Brands & Emotional Touchpoints on Social: Key Strategies from Sprout Social’s Latest Report

social media and user generated content

Just a month ago, Sprout Social released its meticulously crafted social media and user generated content report, Moments & Milestones: Brands, Emotional Touchpoints and UGC on social.  It once again reinforced the unavoidable role that social media and user generated content play in the lives of consumers and their buying decisions and one important customer insight has been revealed. The report says that for 79% of people, social media has become the de facto medium for sharing their life milestones with friends and family. Customers are creating more content than ever about pivotal moments and disseminating it across their social media networks. And, more often than not this content features or highlights brands and products the customers love. The real question is, are brands aware of this content and are they using it to its fullest extent? We’ve broken down the key findings of Sprout Social’s report of UGC on social media and offered actionable marketing strategies for each one.

A) 51% Of Customers Turn To Facebook To Find Recommendations While Planning Life Milestones:

Milestones are the most cherished life experiences for people. They eagerly anticipate exciting, and often-times hard-earned moments and the sentimental nature means customers will put in the extra effort around these moments. They want to make sure that everything involved will live up to their anticipation. 92% of consumers trust recommendations from other friends and family and they usually look at social media for these kinds of recommendations. Sprout’s Social’s report on UGC on social backs this up and has identified specifically where customers turn when they are planning for a life milestone. 51% turn to Facebook, 42% use Pinterest, 34% use YouTube, and 35% of millennials use Instagram. social media and user generated content What is more important is, these recommendations are not just empty words. They are positively impacting buying decisions of those researchers. This social media and user generated content report confirms that 48% of consumers have made a purchase for a milestone after seeing that product, service or brand on their social platforms.

What Can Brands Do?

The message is clear. If almost half of the customers are making milestone related plans and purchases based on social media content, all brands need high visibility on social media platforms. Considering peoples’ inclination towards sharing milestones on social media, convert this natural act into a well-oiled campaign. If you are a chocolate maker, ask your customers to share the photos when your chocolate was an important ingredient in their celebrations. Hotels or travel firms can ask their customers to share photos of their delightful stays and adventures. You can then collect these images under one unique hashtag and distribute them to all the digital avenues that you have at your disposal. This enhances the visibility of your brand and gives you an easy way to collect and disseminate content that will inspire customers to include you in their next big life milestone. It’s also important to note, user generated content can also be used to learn more about your customers. Maybe your brands or products are being used in customer’s big life milestones and you aren’t even aware of this potential. Capitalize on your ratings and reviews to ask customers these kinds of questions to find out how they’re using your products in unexpected ways.

B) People Want To Share Happy Moments On Social Media Posts:

After firmly establishing that people like to share milestones on social media, Sprout’s report of UGC on social digs a little deeper to find out what sort of milestones they like to share. The report found out that some people are sharing almost every type of major milestone, both good and bad. 66% of people said they would like to post about holiday celebrations, followed by travel or vacation milestones (60%), family milestones (59%) and relationship milestones (58%). The surprising thing was 47% of people—said they’ve shared a difficult milestone—the death of a loved one—on social.

social media and user generated content
What Can Brands Do?

The common thread among all the milestones that people share is that they are all highly emotional- and they touch every stage of life. The challenge in front of marketers is to construct a user generated campaign that can touch these moments while remaining sensitive to them. For segments such as fashion, travel, electronics, automobile, and retail, it’s comparatively easy to do so, as their products can be directly connected to achievements and positive experiences. A gift seller can ask its customers to share their stories of special events such as birthdays, anniversaries, or the birth of a child. It’s a pretty straightforward campaign to ask customers to share stories when it’s related to a gift-giving occasion. Other industry segments may feel that they don’t fit into this narrative of sentimentality. But every brand can create a space for itself. This is again where user generated content and social media can come in handy. Routinely engaging with customers and finding out what role your products play in their lives is key to finding unique campaign angles. Mint, the personal budgeting software showed us how it’s done. Mint used the inherent emotion in making your dreams come true for its recent Instagram contest,#MyMintMoment. Realizing the role that money plays in fulfilling customer’s dreams and ambitions, it asked its customers to share photos of the milestones they were finally able to achieve such as purchasing a home or car as a result of good financial planning. The campaign also allowed people a chance to win $1,000.

social media and user generated content
Indeed, this is a case where a brand was able to connect a somewhat cold, un-inspiring product with a deeply emotional experience. By using major milestones, Mint genuinely demonstrated what people could achieve with its products, without the brand doing any of the talking.

C) 54% Of People Share Their Best Moments On Social Media To Invite Their Network To Celebrate:

As Sprout’s report of UGC on social is quite extensive and comprehensive, it has gotten down to the crux of the issue. It tried to identify what motivates people to share their milestone moments on social media. And it found that more than half of the people do so to celebrate those moments with others. What’s more, it also found that 43% want to inform their network about their milestones. social media and user generated content
What Can Brands Do?

As mentioned above, the two stats scream of customers’ need to pass on their message of milestones on to their network. Note that the term network here doesn’t just include friends and family. It’s a network of people who share common interests, similar product likes and dislikes, and love for specific brands. That’s precisely why the best way to be a part of your customers’ celebrations is to give them a wider audience through your user generated campaign where they can pour in the countless stories and photos of their celebration of milestones. The call to action to this insight into UGC on social is a proven method. Create stronger and bigger customer communities around your brand. Let them interact effectively and regularly. Naturally, once you link these communities to your user generated campaign, it doesn’t just ensure greater reach and engagement. It also creates more brand imprints on the psyche of non-customers, as devoted customers are at the forefront of sharing the brand content on multiple networks. When you look at the typical cost of building brand awareness through traditional advertising, this is by far a much more cost-effective way to connect with new customers. Of course, all these benefits come as add-ons after fulfilling the basic need of people to share and celebrate with more people. Walmart Moms, though it was not totally devoted to celebratory moments, was a textbook example of how user generated content can be juxtaposed with a stronger user community.

social media and user generated content
What began as an online community created by Walmart to represent this large and diverse demographic is now composed of 22 moms who write blogs and share information on raising kids, shopping, household chores and more. The blogs written by Walmart Moms can be found on the Walmart.com website. They have also established Walmart YouTube channel, where Walmart Moms constantly update their videos. Owing to the massive size of Walmart, the reach of this community has grown significantly. So much so, that Walmart Moms are considered a powerful voting bloc. Taking a cue from this, a marketer can create a separate thread of celebratory posts by running a special hashtag and publish them among a sturdy base of a community.

D) 50% Of Surveyed People Said That They Would Include A Brand Name In Social Posts To Recommend The Brand:

While researching why people include brand names in celebratory posts, Sprout’s social media and user generated content report found that 50% do so to recommend brands to their peers. A 2014 survey by American Express supports this, stating that 46% of American consumers say they always tell others about good service experiences. The report also found that 34% of people mention brands in celebratory posts to thank their respective brands. social media and user generated content
What Can Brands Do?

This finding is easiest when it comes to drawing an unequivocal learning opportunity. It clearly suggests the need to connect user generated campaigns with a strong referral marketing strategy. Customers are already recommending brands through their celebratory posts, built in referral opportunity will make these kinds of recommendations systematic and measurable. They also represent a defined opportunity to increase sales. That’s mainly due to the trust that people have in peer recommendations. 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends or family. Besides, another point that the report makes in this regard is that reasons for mentioning brands in posts aren’t completely altruistic. 45% of people mention brand names in celebratory posts to receive discounts and incentives. It’s much easier for a referral program to meet this expectation, as rewarding customers for referrals is its primary objective. A referral program, thus, would look like a natural extension of your user generated campaign. To get this symbiotic relationship perfect, first, come up with a user generated campaign focusing on celebratory events and then link it tie in your referral platform with relevant referral calls to action. Monitor it thoroughly and reward people based on the total number of brand mentions and referrals they make.

Key Takeaways:

1) 79% of surveyed people wanted to share their moments of celebrations on social media. It’s a sign that milestone marketing is all set to arrive with a huge force. The creative and effective ways of using user generated content to incorporate this trend is a must.

2) People want to share their most cherished moments on social media. Try to find out how your products are playing a role in these moments and encourage customers to share those using specified hashtags.

3) A celebration is a social act. Keep a space in your user generated content campaign where an influence of community can play a role.

Using User Generated Content on Social Media: Why And How

User Generated Content On Social Media

User generated content (UGC)–including reviews, questions and answers, and visual commerce–is the most trusted form of content, but it’s not worthwhile if it’s not shared and seen.

What is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content (UGC) refers to any form of content created, published, or submitted on the Web by users of a brand. It is the act of users promoting a brand rather than the brand doing it. Although UGC is not created by a brand itself, brands do leverage user-generated content for additional reach and online visibility.

The user-generated content could be reviews, social media update, blog comments, video and a podcast.

Nothing is as powerful as social media in hitting the highest possible spot of reach and online visibility. Besides, at least once a month, 83% of survey respondents hear about a brand or product on social media before they hear about it from any other source. This outlines the strong link between social media and product discovery/awareness. Consequently, one major reason to use user generated content on social media is to multiply its reach. But there are two more arguments for pairing the two.

User Generated Content on Social Media is a Cost-Saver

One of the strongest motives to use user generated content on social media is that both UGC and social media are inexpensive ways to reach out to more consumers. It’s easy to pare down your content production budget by putting UGC, like customer photos and videos, into your mix. Besides, shoppers are accustomed to seeing their friends’ visual content, product reviews, and recommendations on social media. When you share it, you appear more natural and authentic.

Additionally, integrating UGC content from your reviews or Q&A platform on your company’s social networks can be a departure from costly ways of connecting to consumers and maintaining expensive customer service resources. Let your wider audience–not just those on your site–know about common questions and answers and what your fans have to say! When you provide opinions and answers early on in the buying journey, you can easily reduce shipping and returns costs.

UGC Cultivates Positive Mindsets

Nearly 31% of online shoppers say they are using social media channels to buy products. Even those who aren’t buying through social media are at least hearing about products through it. Clearly, it’s a real opportunity for retailers to shorten the path to purchase for customers. But if a sale has to happen, the user needs to have a positive and favorable mindset towards the product. An average customer reads 10 or more reviews before buying something and a brand needs 12 positive reviews to offset the impact of one negative review.

Social media can help in fastening that process, as people are sharing their brand experiences on social media. 26% like to voice their opinions, and one in four passes on personal recommendations of things they like on social media, which is great news for brands. Also, 49% share information on products hoping to change opinions or encourage action. And people do value what people say about brands on social media. Adding reviews to Facebook boosts customer’s time on your site by 9.9% and adding reviews to Twitter boosts time on site by 35%. The point to note here is that by having users praising products on social channels through UGC, a brand can eliminate the need to run a separate ORM campaign and save money.

Why User-generated Content is imperative for Businesses?

In the current marketing buzzword, user-generated content has surpassed the other marketing trends. Truth to be told, this trend matches with the fast-paced digital world and unlocks maximum benefits for marketers.

UGC is the most authentic, reliable, and creative content online according to users. It acts as an excellent social proof because it is not the brand doing the promotion but the customers themselves after using the product. The reviews from customers increase the credibility of your brand and consumers start believing what you claim.

Let’s discuss its benefits:

User-generated Content Boosts Trust

More than 90% of buyers trust brands that create UGC more than traditional advertising. This is because UGC is unbiased and created by users who share their real-life experiences.


Consumers trust 2.4 times more user-generated content than other forms of advertisement created by brands. Consumer-generated content is highly effective as it engages your customers. It not only increases the company’s value in the market but also captures new eyeballs.

Less Investment, High ROI

All big companies are aware of the power of UGC. When customers post their pictures or videos using the products on social media, it garners huge publicity. This makes UGC more cost-effective than other TV commercials and Billboards. In a nutshell, users promote the products without marketers having to empty their pockets.

Encourages Users to Make a Purchase

The most taxing task for any business is making people buy their products. UGC influences the decision-making of customers and increases the conversion rate by 4.6%.

Chances of Going Viral

User-generated content has more potential to go viral than that of ordinary content as users share their experiences through videos and stories on social media channels, such as Instagram and Facebook.

But to actually pluck these conferred benefits, there is a need to find innovative and feasible ways to put user generated content on social media. Following enlisting gives glimpses of such innovative and feasible ways covering multiple social media networks.


Instagram is the current king of UGC for brands. Its format makes it simple to share user-generated photos and videos, whether as regular posts from your own account, components in your Story, or as ads. Even adding nicely formatted reviews as photos is easy.

This company puts a customer’s review in the text caption of its photo.


Check out how Ugg Australia used this sponsored UGC image from Kylie Jenner to gain authenticity while playing off her huge following…

ugg kylie instagram


Due to its exclusive visual appeal, Pinterest is a great playground for UGC–especially for images and brand related photos. One study points out that more than 80% of pins are repins. And repins are nothing but a curated form of content. Thus, content curation amalgamates with UGC as soon as a user repins branded pins. But for that brands need two things: A collaborative pinboard and an engaging hashtag. The prime benefit of a collective pinboard is it takes user participation to the next level.

Gap solicited user photos through a group pinboard.
Gap solicited user photos through a group pinboard.


While Twitter’s character limits may seem inflexible, you can always add photos and videos to your tweets. Thus, it’s a perfect place to embed a short customer review explaining the gist of the product’s qualities alongside the product’s photo. This assemblage deserves a chance, as 70% of consumers trust reviews written by other customers above professionally written marketing content and businesses see a 26% increase in traffic from Twitter after sharing reviews.


Due to updates to the Facebook news feed algorithm in 2016 that placed emphasis on content from friends and family, UGC is generating tremendous traction on Facebook. There are reports suggesting that UGC drove a 6.9x higher engagement level than brand-generated content. Unsurprisingly, Facebook emerges as the first choice when brands think about putting user generate content on social media. Companies are doing this because highlighting these individuals will make others want to live their brand as well.

Forever 21 shares user photos collected through Visual Commerce on Facebook.
Forever 21 shares user photos collected through Visual Commerce on Facebook.

The success of above examples leaves no doubt about how integrating user generated content on social media improves mass reach, customer engagement, brand mentions, and operational efficiency. But remember that every social media platform has different strengths and weaknesses. The brand must be ultra-clear about what sort of user generated content it wants and how it is going to curate and use this collected dust of gold. Thus, the blueprint of the overall curation, syndication, and marketing plan must be ready before the content shared by your customers begins to crawl on your social network pages!

Snapchat Deep Linking + Lead Gen Ads Copy Facebook’s Ad Tech

snapchat deep linking

Snapchat is testing two new ad tech features that take a page from Facebook’s playbook. Given the history of competition between the two social media juggernauts, which has heated up over the past year or so, this move isn’t surprising. However, marketers and advertisers should take note of how Snapchat deep linking and lead gen ads-the two new capabilities–will work and possibly help them.

If we examine Snapchat’s moves over the past few years, its efforts to make itself ad-friendly and shoppable are easily noticeable. In 2015, it teamed up with shopping search engine ShopStyle, which allowed bloggers to create styles for their followers to shop. In 2016, it offered third-party verification from companies like Oracle Data Cloud,Nielsen mobile Digital Ad Ratings and Google DoubleClick to add more measurement capabilities to the ads. But it seems that the multimedia mobile application is far away from putting its efforts in that direction in cold storage. At least, the recent tests made by it reflects that.

With the unofficial launch of Snapchat deep linking and lead gen ads, the company is implementing capabilities that Facebook started using in 2015.

Snapchat deep linking enables users to swipe up and tap a link, which will bring them to a specific place within another application, such as a playlist in a music app or a product page in an e-commerce app. Now, this means that advertisers will be enabled to run ads for a product they want to sell and users can “swipe up” to view and learn more about it. After tapping the screen, they will be directed to that product page.

For those who are not familiar with the concept of deep linking, the following example will illuminate it: A streaming music service may buy a Snap Ad where, after viewing a 10-second video, users are directed to swipe up. From the web-view page, they have the option to tap through to another app. If they don’t have the necessary app downloaded, they could be directed to a page where the app can be downloaded. Clearly, Snapchat deep linking going to be instrumental in giving marketers superior control over the messaging and communication of the ad once they get that initial conversion by enabling users to easily click to their own digital property.

The second new feature is lead gen ads, also known as web auto-fill. These enable viewers to fill out lead-generation forms with one tap on the screen after seeing an ad, and, to protect their privacy, they are asked if want to use the feature every single time it’s utilized. The ad can extract any user information, like name, phone number, email address and birthday. In short, it’s a way of sparing them from repeatedly entering their details on smartphones. This is very significant move considering how agonizing it is to put all your details by typing through the small keypad of the small screen. It will undoubtedly speed up the overall purchase process.

These lead gen ads are a very interesting move in that it could very well be used by a significant portion of B2B companies–provided, of course, that their prospects are on Snapchat. While plenty of B2C marketers use lead gen tactics and forms for a variety of reasons, this shows how Snapchat is trying to branch out to new types of advertisers.

Why are Snapchat deep linking and lead gen ads being tested?

Monetization: Of course, a huge reason for the implementation of new ad technologies is the aim to stand shoulder to shoulder with Facebook and Instagram, who are the current hot favorites of advertisers. The much more evolved functionality and gigantic user base of Facebook and Instagram are the prime reasons for that.

The move appears even more logical when we look at the scenario where about 30% of all online sales in Southeast Asia in 2016 occurred via social networks. And some 80% of shoppers in Southeast Asia used social media to research items and contact sellers. Data from Sumo Heavy puts that that figure in America is at 18.2%, an increase of 8.3% in the past six months. Snapchat is wise enough to understand the growing potential of social commerce…and rightly so, it wants a sizable chunk of a share of it.

Snapchat’s Own Ad Related Miseries: Apart from the monetization, this move also has to do a lot with the Snapchat’s fight with its own demons. Though it has a huge user base of millennials and Gen Z, along with its meteoric rise over the last couple of years, its interface has always been a point of concern for marketers. They have always found it a platform that is hard to sell from.

To begin with, the first issue that markers have with Snapchat is that it’s very difficult to get rapt and undiluted attention on ephemeral brand stories, which vanish after 24 hours. And that’s why to keep up the content feed up, marketers have to use their own resources all the time…and that’s like involving the inventory!

Another issue is that Snapchat’s way of advertising is better suited for brand promotion and creating a buzz about products. For big brands with larger ad budgets, this might work. But relatively smaller companies view ads as a tool that directly lead to sales.

Plus, a Snapchat ad is a costly affair. As per one agency source, campaigns run between six and seven figures, and another said a sponsored lens can run between $350,000 to $700,000 a day. (Nevertheless, there are some kinds of ads you can purchase for under $50,000.) Besides, Snapchat ads need specific filters due to their vertical video or platform nature. It forces agencies to make ads specifically for those filters- and that costs extra money.

Mike Dossett, manager of digital strategy at agency RPA, has accurately put the finger on this pain point when he said, “Their standard video inventory requires new production because it’s vertical, and there’s a 10-second limitation. That makes it challenging to plug and play.”

Naturally, with such a wounded revenue leg, Snapchat cannot run in the race of its planned $25 billion initial public offering. It has to shore up its monetization strategy and position it as a potential growth generator if it has to attract investors to purchase its stock. And through updates like Snapchat deep linking and web auto-fill, the business is trying to keep no stone unturned in the pursuit of profitability.

Note: We always keep a close watch on each and every happening in the social media world. In this blog also we have discussed Facebook’s product tags and Messenger Stories. Here, you will know everything about Facebook’s launch of Marketplace. To know which new targeting tools Snapchat has added in its arsenal, have a glance at this blog. Similarly, to get acquainted with the recent Instagram updates, this blog is a must read.

Is Twitter Dead, or on the Verge of a Revival?

twitter dead

Just in time for Halloween, we have to ask ourselves: Is Twitter dead? Or will it be making a supernatural rebirth?

Only a few days ago, at their Q3 2016 earnings call, the company announced results that beat analysts’ expectations but still make it a loss-making company. More dramatically, it announced layoffs of 9% of its workforce, as well as the eventual demise of Vine, the short video-looping and sharing platform it owns.

Of course, this state of affairs didn’t come about overnight. The readings of all the experts- as far as the Twitter dead march is concerned, pinpoint towards the fact of lack of innovative spirit in the Twitter head office. It looks like Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, is trying everything to bring back the boat safely to the shore. Albeit it’s too late and too little, but he is trying to overhaul the product from top to bottom. We will dive into what changes Twitter is planning to do to turn the tide of the current danger.

Is Twitter dead? Well, Vine is, but it’ll be preserved for mourners to view…

Twitter is all set to close down Vine, a looping video app. In this announcement, it said that users will be able to download their Vines and that the Vine website will remain online so users can continue to watch previously posted content. Twitter also says that the website will remain online because the company thinks that it’s important to still be able to watch all the incredible Vines that have been made.

Of course, there is a scope to believe that Twitter wants to focus more on its Periscope product and live streaming rather than the short looping video service Vine, but the reality is different. Twitter acquired Vine before it had officially launched in 2012 for a reported $30m (£24.6m). Considering its six-second video nature, it was a perfect match for Twitter’s crispy 140-character posts and it began with a bang.  It became no. 1 app on the iTunes App Store only six months after joining the company. The app reached 200 million active users…and then it stagnated. Just like its rapid rise, the world saw its rapid decline.

vine sensor tower
If Sensor Tower’s data has to be believed, year-over-year worldwide downloads of the Vine app declined 55 percent in Q3 across both the Apple App Store and Google Play. The major reason for this decline was the fact that six seconds videos alone were not enough for Vine to compete with Snapchat and Instagram. By this time last year, all of Vine’s three co-founders had left Twitter, some due to layoffs.

Twitter had to get rid of it somehow! But having said that, it would be interesting to see if Twitter plans to integrate Vine-like features into its main app. Vine still has a dedicated fan base, including celebrities.

Is Twitter dead? Abuse on the platform might just kill it.

One of the biggest pain points of Twitter is its inability to control ceaseless and crass comments, which invariably takes the form of abuse. So much so that it has become synonymous with the platform. It is leaving people with no alternative than to stay away from the platform.

As usual, the most common victims of this slur have been celebrities. We saw how actor Leslie Jones quit the service. But it is not just repelling users, but the prospective buyers of Twitter are also not in favor of this indecency.  The CEO of Salesforce, Marc Benioff, said he walked away from a deal with Twitter due to its price, work culture, and the amount of abuse on the site. It’s quite clear from this example, how the unacceptable use of language plays a huge role in ruining the deal.

That’s why Twitter is planning to deal with these issues of abuse and trolls with new tools and policies in November. The sources have said that company is working hard to put important safety features in place to make Twitter a pleasant digital place. The company said in its third quarter shareholder letter that next month, it will be sharing meaningful updates to its safety policy, product, and enforcement strategy. Hence, in this November we may expect that the planned solution of Twitter will act as a deterrent to all-too-common abuses. As of now, though, we don’t know many details…

Is Twitter dead? Well, its feed is being reborn.

Every social media network is working on making its timelines/feeds more and more engaging. Twitter’s personalized timeline has been already in testing. This testing also involves video broadcasts, which are based on people’s interest graphs and key influencers’ tweets. The motive behind this move is the simplest to understand. I have been saying that the wisdom is not in showing people what you want them to see. It’s in letting people see what they want to see. That was the main reason why Snapchat removed its Auto Advance feature, which automatically played every story in the user’s feed in a reverse chronological order. People want freedom of selection. Making them see something forcibly is a big no. And Twitter has realized this…at least it seems!

Really, is Twitter dead? Not yet, but we might be close.

Looking at it very, very objectively, I can say that these are some desperate attempts by Twitter to stay relevant and survive somehow. Its demise is imminent if it doesn’t make big changes, though. It will be interesting to see if these changes move hearts of potential buyers like Disney and Salesforce.

The responses so far have been mixed, though. A TechCrunch writer is in some testing for a new @ reply design and is reporting that it’s a mess, while the stock market has been showing more encouraging signs.

Note: We always keep a close watch on each and every happening in the social media world. In this blog also we have discussed Facebook’s recent updates for marketers, including product tags. Here, you can find out everything about Facebook’s launch of Marketplace. To know which new targeting tools Snapchat has added in its arsenal, have a glance at this blog.  Similarly, to get acquainted with recent Instagram updates, this blog is a must read.

Finally, to know what’s fresh in user generated content for next year, don’t miss out on our guide, “The New Wave of User Generated Content: 7 Concepts for 2017 and Beyond!”

Instagram Live Streaming May Debut Soon

instagram live streaming

That time is not far away that all social media platforms will look almost identical, if not similar. Snapchat created a ripple by coming up with its one-of-its-kind Stories. Instagram was quick enough to replicate that feature. After the resounding success of live video–first debuted by smaller platforms by scooped up by Twitter and Facebook, everyone is realizing the real power of it.  And now, Instagram live streaming may be just around the corner.

There has been no official announcement from Kevin Systrom and the gang about Instagram live streaming. But as per one Russian news site, which has images and video of the feature running on a Nexus 6P, a new “live” section in Stories will feature “popular live broadcasts”. The feature looks something like this…

instagram live streaming

As you can see, there is a big red button at the bottom with the label “Go Insta!” This is the button that lets you start your Instagram live streaming. There is also a “Schedule” button in the top right corner, which is similar to that of Facebook’s recent scheduling option for video streaming. If you are going live from Instagram, your followers will be able to see your profile along with the stories.

Instagram Stories recently made their way to the “Explore” tab, and you can see that the live Story has a banner reading “Live” overtop its icon. After clicking on that button, you would be directed to a page called popular live broadcasts. But as it’s not yet functional, it wouldn’t load.

instagram live streaming 2

Though Instagram has received severe criticism for deliberately ripping off Snapchat’s stories idea, it did help it in stepping up its game.  And thus it’s outrightly sensible that their team chose Stories as its platform to launch the Instagram live streaming functionality. The Instagram Stories feature has all the technical framework ready to host the live broadcasting. Similarly, people are already hooked to this feature with more than 100 million daily users. Thus, there is a little to worry about the probability of reach and engagement. In fact, it will help Instagram in further boosting engagement.

There is no doubt that Instagram live streaming makes perfect sense for their road map. But as I have said, it is still in a testing phase. If the early beta testers don’t like it, the company might drop the whole plan altogether. The rumors also say that if everything goes well, Instagram may integrate it with VR (Virtual Reality). But it is not confirmed yet, and these are just speculations. We will have to wait for some sort of official announcement from Instagram. And considering that it will definitely add up in the already competitive market of social media, the wait is worth!

To Conclude…

I have always believed that social media is increasingly becoming a visual place with a dominance of videos. The development of Instagram live streaming just further confirms my belief. But there is a ringing message for marketers all across the globe and that message is: If you aren’t thinking in terms of videos to present or communicate your products or service on social media, you are at the opposite end of the future!

Note: We always keep a close watch on each and every happening in the social media world. In this blog also we have discussed Facebook’s new marketing tools. This post tells you everything you need to know about Facebook’s launch of Marketplace. To know which new targeting tools Snapchat has added in its arsenal, have a glance at this blog.  Similarly, to get acquainted with recent Instagram updates, this blog is a must read.

For more ideas on how to boost sales, recognition, and engagement with visual social content, take a look at our guides:

Snapchat Fashion Marketing: Fendi Gives More Life To Snapchat Stories

Snapchat Fashion Marketing

Whether it’s the use of drones to show its catwalk fashions or having its models walk on water to mark its 90-year anniversary, Fendi, the Italian high fashion brand, always knows how to market itself differently.  Currently, the fashion house is subverting things by taking content from Snapchat–which is famous for disappearing within 24 hours–and giving it a longer life. This Snapchat fashion marketing campaign is using Fendi’s website as a content hub for users to explore and be inspired.

Fendi’s Snapchat fashion marketing endeavor is called its “Snapchat Tour.” The brand is recording all the big events associated with it through the prism of influencers’ eyes. Fendi is such a huge brand that its events happen in many cities all across the globe. In each city, the brand has used influencer takeovers to let popular Snapchatters become the voice of the account. For example, it asked South Korean blogger Irene Kim to document its Peekaboo Auction in Seoul, South Korea in November 2015. There are other events too- the opening of Fendi’s Roman Palazzo, fashion shows, its 90th anniversary, and advertising shoots are a few to name.

Instead of giving a life of 24 hours to all these photos and events, Fendi wants to enhance the reach of that content to more and more people by giving it permanence. This Snapchat fashion marketing campaign then compiles all of its Snapchat Tour stories in one place. With the help of a digital map, consumers can explore all the main events via its website.

Fendi Snapchat

As you can see in the image, the hub will play the content vertically along with the countdown in the upper right-hand corner. To go to the next piece of content, the user just has to click on the video box. Of course, the need to differentiate its social presence is only one of the key reasons why Fendi is doing Snapchat fashion marketing campaign.

It’s not a secret that there is a tremendous curiosity in the minds of ordinary customers about the behind-the-scenes of any popular and influential fashion show. With documentation by expert influencers, users have a chance to peep into the internal and intimate environment of fashion shows which is often hidden from customers’ eyes. Naturally, this assures a higher level of engagement.

The second, and perhaps the most important reason for Fendi’s style of Snapchat fashion marketing is the acknowledgment of the power of user- generated content and influencer-generated content. In the past, Fendi experienced how much impact influencer testimonials had on its sales. This sort of a content is too valuable to be alive only for 24 hours. Moreover, there are all the chances that people might miss the snap due to its short digital life. Thus, there has to be some alternative way where people can see those beautiful and influential stories. This Snapchat Tour is that alternative.

To Conclude… Every marketer is using a variety of social media platforms to be in front of consumers’ eyes all the time. But that’s hardly a trend now…it’s a need. But from now on what is going to matter is how you use it. How are you going to customize it to suit your marketing requirements? I think Fendi has answered this question by challenging the basic ephemeral nature of Snapchat Stories.

Indeed, Snapchat, which is going through lots of changes, is an exciting platform to follow and analyze. We recently discussed how they’re developing a more personalized form of Snapchat Stories. Don’t forget to read this blog either to know which new ad targeting tools it is going to use in the future.  

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