15 a-MAY-zing articles I read…in May

Copy of tweets blog

I’m sorry about the pun in the headline…actually, no I’m not! If I can’t fit a pun in my own blog then where can I?

Anyway, it’s that time again to round up some of the best things I read during the last month. May has been a month of big social media news, with Instagram’s new brand being rolled out and Twitter confirming what changes they’ll be making later in the year.

As with last month, I’ve included 15 pieces in this roundup as I really struggled to justify chopping it down to 10. As always, this articles are all worth reading in full, so I strongly encourage you to do that.

Before I get into the list, I know the real reason you’re here…a guinea pig update! Our new boy Angus is getting more confident and entertaining by the day and Lizzie seems absolutely thrilled to have him – although his young legs are a bit quick for her to keep up with when he’s tanking around the carpet!

Right, time for the list – get ready for 15 treats!

1. 6 Tips for Using Facebook Live for the First Time (by Ashley Manweiler, Colorado State University Social Media blog)

Facebook Live is hot right now, hotter than most other forms of live video streaming it seems. This is probably helped by the fact that the infamous Facebook algorithm will reward you greatly if you decide to go live.

However, going live is a little scary, so this helpful post from the social team at Colorado State University is very welcome. PS, don’t worry about their note saying only verified pages can go live – you can go live for any page you manage now, just get yourself the Facebook Pages manager app.

Key quote:

It’s a little intimidating to use as a brand. Okay, really intimidating. There are so many positives to livestream videos…but there are also some terrible, awful scenarios that you will have nightmares about. (Seriously, I had nightmares the eve before our first go at it.)

Not to mention Facebook notifies all your page’s fans the minute you broadcast. As if there isn’t enough to stress over.

Read the full article 

For more Facebook Live inspiration, check out what the New York Times has learned in their first month of using the platform.

2. The plan to ban work emails out of hours (by Hugh Schofield, BBC News Magazine)

I don’t know about you, but I really have a problem with out of hours work emails. Aside from the very few occasions when they are valid – ie in a time of crisis – I just fail to see the reason for them being sent at that time. They’re unhelpful and unhealthy – just like not having a proper lunch break (although that is likely to be the subject of its own blog post).

With that in mind, I was really interested to read about moves in France to allow employees a ‘right to disconnect’, effectively setting in law when work emails can and can’t be sent. It sounds like a solid idea – obviously, the details remain to be seen, but the principle is, I think, healthy.

Key quote:

Employees physically leave the office, but they do not leave their work. They remain attached by a kind of electronic leash – like a dog. The texts, the messages, the emails – they colonise the life of the individual to the point where he or she eventually breaks down.

Read the full article 

While we’re on the subject of work-life balance, this article from Forbes asking ‘When Will Modern Office Culture Become Obsolete?’ also struck a chord.

3. Is Your Content Creation Achieving Anything? (by Eric Stoller, Inside Higher Ed)

Content. We’re all desperate to create it – required to create it in fact – but is it actually making a difference? What is the point? Regular star of these monthly roundups Eric Stoller pulls together five cracking points to make sure you are maximising your content efforts – follow these and you’ll certainly feel content about content!

Key quote:

One or two channels where you are crafting amazing content is far better than a swarm of “meh-inducing” pieces. Hone, minimize, and keep a steady amount of restraint with your social media engagement. Be brave, experiment, and evolve, but don’t load up too many spinning (social media) plates.

Read the full article

4. The seven unmistakable signs of a shit brand consultant (by Mark Ritson, Marketing Week)

Whenever I see the words ‘brand consultant’ I automatically think of the agency Perfect Curve from the brilliant series 2012 and W1A. WHile, those characters are extreme chariactures, they’re funny because they are based on reality, which is what sparked this article.

The author had spent an evening with a friend who had just had to suffer a terrible brand consultant. Their rage became productive as they pulled together seven glaring signs that the consultant in front of you should be dropped as quickly as possible – read and enjoy.

Key quote:

Any mention of millennials means you are dealing with a marketing moron and should lead to immediate cessation of all discussions. I’m serious about the “moron” tag. Anyone dumb enough to think that the 14 million British millennials qualify as a segment needs their head examined. They fail every possible test of segmentation and anyone who refers to them in any context other than to point out that they are a total load of clichéd bollocks should not be trusted.

Read the full article

5. The average age for a child getting their first smartphone is now 10.3 years (by Jay Donovan, Tech Crunch)

I can’t decide if I’ve included this because I’m jealous that kids are getting their hands on super cool tech at an age far younger than I was when I finally got such nice toys to play with, or because it’s a little bit scary that 10 year olds are getting smartphones. Also, 39% of kids get a social media account at 11 – mad!

Key quote:

It is somewhat sad to me that my nostalgic memory of childhood—digging in the dirt, riding bikes or playing soccer, unattended, in the street—could be replaced by a portrait of kids who look just like their parents with their noses buried in a smartphone. At the same time, there is no denying that today’s kids are more capable than ever and are merely adapting to the tools available to them. To shun these tools also doesn’t make much sense.

Read the full article

6. 6 Proven Strategies for Successfully Promoting Content Across Social Media (by Brian Peters, Buffer Blog)

The Buffer Blog is a marvellous source of learning, with plenty of great articles and a very generous approach to sharing case studies and strategies. This set of tips of using social media effectively to promote your content might not be rocket science, but is certainly a useful list to keep in your pocket/bookmarks bar.

Key quote:

Social media managers and marketers know that sometimes even the most epic material requires love and hard work when it comes to promoting content across social media.

But with the right combination of strategy, effort, and luck you really can get your amazing content to succeed on social media.

Read the full article

7. Don’t hire a summer intern to run your social media program (by Connie Chan Wang on LinkedIn)

Summer interns are surely the perfect way of boosting your social media game, right? I mean, those youngsters will know exactly how to get the most of each platform and they’ll have your accounts smoking hot in now time. Sure, they’ll leave at the end of the summer, but by then they will have trianed you up too.

No.

There are lots of reasons not to rely on your summer intern to give your social media game a leg up, summarised brilliantly in this post.

Key quote:

I’m not hating on summer interns. In fact, I’ve worked with many talented interns who I’m sure will be my boss one day in the not-so-distant future. Interns, especially college students, are often on the cutting edge of social media. As digital natives, they can provide valuable perspective on what’s trending, help create interesting content, recommend new social media channels to invest in, and more. But if you’re looking for someone to steer the social media ship for your brand today, you need someone who is full-time, dedicated and embedded in your business every single day.

Read the full article

8. EgyptAir crash: The internet fakes and rumours (by Rozina Sini, BBC News Europe)

Social media in a crisis can be a wonderful thing. Sadly, it seems, it is increasingly becoming a minefield of fakes and lies. This piece from the BBC about the recent EgyptAir crash, where fake Twitter accounts were posting on the associated hashtags highlights a really worrying trend that is not only sick and insensitive, but alos poses great difficulties for anyone managing official social media channels during a crisis.

Key quote:

A Twitter user called “Perro” posted a photo purporting to be of his brother Alfonso, prompting several retweets from fellow users.

“My brother traveled (sic) there… please help me,” he wrote.

But a Google reverse image search showed that the photograph had been used before online, and had been linked to a series of different Twitter handles.

Read the full article

9. 85 percent of Facebook is watched without sound

You can take the crux of what you need from this piece just by reading the headline alone, but do take the time to click through for the full thing. It’s stats like this that made us here at Warwick ensure that this cool little video worked just as well without sound (some stock music) as it did with.

And it worked really well!

Key quote:

The news shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as Facebook has built a video ecosystem that does not require users to turn the volume up — and publishers have been more than happy to play ball. Most users’ news feeds are now inundated with short videos that feature text or captions narrating what’s being shown on screen. While most of these videos feature narration or some form of background music, the intent is to make it easy for people to consume the information presented in the videos without needing to turn the sound on.

Read the full article

10. How I Maintain 20 Percent Organic Reach on Facebook (by Jenn Herman, Jenn’s Trends)

If you manage a Facebook page, you’re probably desperate for ways to maximise your organic reach. You probably also feel like you’re fighting a losing battle. As such, you will definitely enjoy this piece from Jenn’s Trends, which explains who the author is maintaining an impressive organic reach on the pages she manages.

To be honest, as soon as saw that the first two tips were to post less content and post better content – something I’ve believed in for years now – I was completely sold. Check it out.

Key quote:

It’s not about how many posts you share on Facebook, it’s about the quality of the posts. If you’re posting less, then you are more inclined to post the BEST content you can find, right?

I mean, if I’m only posting 4 times a week, I sure as hell am not gonna post something that is just ok. Nuh-unh. It’s gotta be really good to get into my Facebook queue!

And that way, my audience is more likely to react to it, thereby encouraging Facebook to share it to more people, because more and more people are clicking, liking, commenting, and sharing it. See how that works?

Read the full article

11. Educational branding: Six points to consider (by Ken Punter, CASE Europe)

Despite what you might be thinking, I’m not just including this article because it was written by my boss; this is an excellent summary of some of the lessons a load of us here at Warwick learnt from going through the luanch of our new brand back in 2015. Whether it’s the fact that your brand already exists anyway, or just tips of getting round the toxic nature of the ‘b’ word itself, this is a really insightful post.

(That should get me through my next 1:1!)

Key quote:

The output of education is profound, meaningful and life-changing, students, parents, alumni and staff care deeply about your institution and its reputation. Changing how it looks or communicates can be really challenging because people are heavily invested and if we get it wrong it’ll be heavily criticised.

Read the full article

While we’re talking brand, this piece about how lots of Universities end up coming across as remarkably familiar was also rather good.

12. How Typography Can Save Your Life (by Lena Groeger, Pacific Standard)

In this internet world, when you see capital letters, you probably assume someone is SHOUTING. SO, if you see something entirely in caps, either someone is VERY ANGRY or EVERYTHING LOOKS THE SAME LEVEL OF IMPORTANCE. This has become problematic for the national weather service in the States, who this month decided to stop tweeting their forecasts in all caps, because people weren’t getting important safety messages.

This excellent article gives plenty of reasons for using caps SPARINGLY, none more so that they are more difficult to read, so if you have safety information to get across they’re probably not the best option.

Key quote:

Companies that set safety warnings in all caps may, intentionally or not, veil important information from consumers.

Read the full article

13. Instagram Images Generate 31% More Engagement Per Post Than Videos (by Locowise Blog)

I’ve noticed for some time that, generally, the images we post on the Unviersity of Warwick’s Instagram page perform better than our videos – in spite of the fact that veryone, everywhere, is shouting about how great video is. As such, this headline really caught my eye. The ensuing article also packs plety of great Instagram stats that are worth a look at.

Key quote:

Despite the video push images stood for 90.81% of all the posts published during the month of April.

Images engaged 1.07% of the followers on average while videos engaged 0.81%. You stand to gain 31.1% extra engagement by posting images rather than videos.

Read the full article

14. Why Content and Connections Matter on LinkedIn (by Catriona Pollard, Huffington Post)

Another month, another useful piece about LinkedIn – for me, LinkedIn is now impossible to ignore and is becoming more and more useful all the time, mainly because better content is making its way to it. In fact, putting some effort into the content you share on LinkedIn will help massively, as this article underlines.

Key quote:

Think about it… associating your personal brand with the content of your posts that go on your timeline (which your connections see) makes you stand out and become synonymous with that content. This builds credibility and trust.

Read the full article

15. How a college student used Snapchat to land his dream internship (by Olivia Niland, Mashable)

A corker to finish on this month – I loved this story from the moment I read it. A college student designed a custom Snapchat filter for his dream company. The company saw it and the creative student now has a summer internship with them – which they offered him via Snapchat of course!

Now, it’s easy to get carried away with the ‘Snapchat’ part of this story, but for me this shows the power of using social media fullstop. If you’re clever with it, it allows you access to the people you want to meet and impress.

Key quote:

Allgood, a senior at California Baptist University, said in a blog post that he had designed on-demand geofilters in the past, and even used Horizon Media’s own Snapchat to determine which day the company used the platform the most (Tuesday, it turned out.)

Once it was live, Allgood tweeted a Snapchat of the filter to Horizon Media, and crossed his fingers the approach would grab the company’s attention. And it did: within hours, Horizon Media sent an enthusiastic tweet in response, and by 4 p.m., requested Allgood come in for an interview the next day.

Read the full article

That’s it for this month – what were your favourite reads in May? Let me know in the comments!

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