Instagram now allows businesses to schedule their posts.

Over the last few years, Instagram has been consistently innovative, as well as continuously working on a good user experience. However, there was one thing that was lacking – a free tool to allow marketers to schedule content.

In comparison with other social media channels which offered free tools like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite that allows people to schedule Tweets for free, as well as Facebook, there was nothing on Instagram.

Imagine the frustration when its holiday season or over a weekend.  You would need to set a reminder so as not to forget to publish the posts manually. There are scheduling tools like Later that would send out a push notification to remind you to publish a post at a given time. But no functionality was available on Instagram itself. The good news is that HootSuite is one of the first partners to implement a scheduling functionality.

“The scheduling and publishing of Instagram content has been the number one request for our 16 million customers,” said Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes, in a statement. “Now, they can manage large volumes of content, multiple team members and multiple Instagram accounts with ease and security. HootSuite is excited to partner with Instagram to make this happen.”

Read the full article on Tech Crunch

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Collaboration is critical to effective content generation.

Today content is one the hottest currencies, no matter its form.  Organisations now communicate with their audiences through a multitude of channels.  This need has dramatically changed the role of public relations.  As PR practitioners we cannot just write a press release and push information out – we now need to become publishers, social media aggregators, content creators, writers, influencers, vloggers, bloggers, videographers, broadcasters, etc.

From inception, The Press Office has been positioned as an off-centre PR agency.  In that, we understand how our environment has changed and that we needed to offer clients a service that is centred on crafting quality content that is both newsworthy and dynamic.

The basics of knowing who your client’s target market is and pairing it with appropriate media channels and building relationships with key journalists and editors cannot be overstated.   However, there is now a continual process of generating content, which for many organisations is quite frankly exhausting.  Because for content to be effective it needs to increase thought leadership, brand awareness, customer loyalty, sales lead generation, and most importantly it needs to resonate with the organisations target audiences, thus creating real engagement.

However one of the most important lessons we have learned is that content cannot be developed in isolation, it requires collaboration. As a PR agency, we understand that success lies in working closely with our client’s marketing, advertising and business development teams – sharing the client’s vision and collaborating on the strategic messages.

In the past, and I am sure in some instances is still the case today, the PR, marketing, advertising and sales teams worked in silo’s rarely engaging even at a strategic level.  But this approach often creates confusion, especially in regards to messaging and how effective one’s outcomes are.

It is for this reason that The Press Office decided our approach would always be collaborative because this is how we achieve success for our clients.  We are also remained true to our roots, by being a dynamic little team with a broad range of expertise.

To find out more about the dynamic, innovative and creative Press Office team visit us at http://www.thepressoffice.net

3 Keys to an Effective Social Media Presence

We can’t run away from the fact that social media plays an important role in marketing your business and you will see the results if you do it right. Most people assume they can run a Facebook marketing campaign because they have a personal Facebook account and they are always posting or they can run the business Twitter page because they are on Twitter. Social Media for business and personal are completely two different things and should always be separated. Here are a few things that you need to consider when running a business social media page.

  1. Why do I need social media for my business?
  2. What is my overall digital strategy?
  3. How will I measure success?

Yes, you guessed right. You do need to save costs as much as you can as a start-up but it doesn’t mean that you should neglect social media because that’s where you can connect with potential clients and partners if you managed to do it right.

According to an article by Entrepreneur one of the things you need to do is to always keep your end goal in mind — regardless of platform or situation. Be sure to coordinate internally to create a voice and content style that accurately represents your organization and aligns with your other marketing materials. Will you communicate through a formal tone or informal one? Will you create videos to showcase employees or customers? Spending time outlining your preferred social media interactions and how you envision your company on your chosen platforms can help you maintain your overall goals, even if the objectives shift across the various social platforms.

Source: Entrepreneur.com

Discover new strategies with your free Twitter Assistant.

By Lebogang Mgiba, Digital Director at The Press Office.

The digital world is forever evolving and social media strategies need to be reviewed at least every 6 months to make sure that you’re always on trend and reaching your audience with the right audience. Union Metrics is a Twitter Official Partner dedicated to helping businesses and brands achieve more with their social marketing through better analytics.

The free Union Metrics Twitter Assistant analyses your recent Tweets to provide customised recommendations for what you can do to increase engagement and grow your followers. Use it whenever you need fresh ideas for your Twitter strategy.

Increase impressions

Expand the reach of your Twitter account by learning what generates the most impressions and why

Share the best content

Learn what resonates with your audience (and what doesn’t) so you can create more impactful Tweets

Discover new strategies

Feel like you’ve reached a plateau on Twitter? Get new, customized ideas on what you can do to improve

Better reach your audience

Discover when your audience is most active and how to target them with detailed engagement analysis

Check out Union Metrics and how it will help you with your Twitter.

Content is king, so are videos.

By Lebogang Mgiba, Digital Director at The Press Office.

There has been a lot of content marketing articles the past few years around the rise of video as a content format but what does that mean? It’s no secret that Facebook native videos get more engagement compared to embedded YouTube videos. Video content should be part of every organisation’s digital strategy because there’s proof that it’s effective.

The digital landscape is forever changing and the truth of the matter is that marketers and content creators need to constantly stay abreast of new trends. However we should never ignore the local context and the fact that data is still expensive in South Africa, so creating a 10-minute video puts you at a disadvantage since fewer people will watch your videos.

HubSpot shared some interesting stats around the impact of video content marketing and what the future looks like:

  • A video is projected to claim more than 80% of all web traffic by 2019.
  • Adding a video to marketing emails can boost click-through rates by 200-300%.
  • Embedding videos in landing pages can increase conversion rates by 80%.
  • 90% of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions.
  • According to YouTube, mobile video consumption grows by 100% every year.
  • 64% of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it.
  • 87% of online marketers are currently using video content in their digital marketing strategies.
  • A third of all the time people spend online is dedicated to watching videos.
  • Video ads now account for more than 35% of all ad spending online.
  • 59% of company decision makers would rather watch a video than read an article or blog post.

If you’re going to publish videos on your page, make sure you promote them to get better views and Facebook gives you top analytics so that you can measure your performance and see what you can improve.

Is Instagram the right platform for your brand?

By Lebogang Mgiba, Digital Director at The Press Office.

A lot of organisations love ticking boxes so you will be asked which social media platforms you use and the answer will be “We’re on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat and LinkedIn”. But does being on Instagram makes sense for your organisation or brand? Do you have an Instagram strategy that outlines what you will post, how it will be posted and what are the results that you hope to achieve?

Some questions you should also consider before starting your Instagram account:

  • What will Instagram allow you to do that other platforms don’t?
  • Who is your target audience and which members of your audience are active on Instagram?
  • How will Instagram integrate with the other networks in your social media strategy?

Now imagine your target audience is men between the ages of 30-55 and you open an Instagram account but you haven’t done much research about their social media behaviour, chances of success are quite low.  An article by Omnicore Agency outlines that 59% of internet users between the ages of 18 and 29 use Instagram and 38% of female internet users use Instagram and 26% of male internet users use Instagram.

So it’s very critical to understand your audience and the different social media platforms they engage with the most so that you’re able to get the best results that you desire to achieve your goals.

The good news is that if you think Instagram is a platform you can best utilise, then the Sensible Insights article will be very useful for your strategy. One big thing that it also mentions is the usage of hashtags but also hashtagging correctly. “It is best practice to use between three to five hashtags, despite the fact that the maximum you can add is 30 per Instagram post.

Use your own, campaign specific hashtags as well as the more popular hashtags to increase the discoverability of your content. For example, try adding hashtags like #instagood (used is 300 million posts), or #tbt (Throwback Thursday), and don’t forget about industry-specific ones. If you are in IT, the hashtag #IT or #tech will do just fine”.

Shorter videos can help get your message across.

By Lebogang Mgiba, Digital Director at The Press Office.

We know content is king and video is currently one of the best content formats that generated the highest engagement on Facebook. The only trick is that you need to try and shorten your message, meaning creating shorter videos compared to long ones. Yes, data is expensive, but you also need to grab people’s attention within 3 seconds of the video.

Facebook states that 47% of the value in a video campaign is delivered in the first three seconds. For this reason, it is critical to capture attention straight away and consolidate your message to 15 seconds or less. This can give you an advantage in feed and increase the chances of having your message seen. An interesting tip from the list is that you should also tell your story visually. Using text and graphics can make your message easier to understand. Always mix your content to keep it interesting.

Click here https://www.facebook.com/business/m/tips-for-creating-short-form-videos to read the four tips to help shorten your video ad and get your message across quickly compiled by Facebook.