Hello Future, we’re coming for you!

Instagram has been consistently rolling out new features for their community for some time now. As one of the most popular social platforms in the world, with one of the most heavily active user bases (500 million people access the app daily), in order to remain relevant and retain users’ interests, Instagram has to keep on evolving.

At its developers’ conference in April this year, Facebook announced its augmented reality platform – Spark AR. The platform was initially only available to a select group of creators and is where all those fun little Instagram Effects (hello cute dog ears!) were created. This exciting AR tool is now available to the entire Instagram community, meaning anyone can create augmented reality filters and effects for Instagram Stories!

Instagram isn’t the first to open up its filter technology, following suit of Snapchat which opened access to its Lens Filters last year. Social media has become a massive content generation destination in recent years, consistently adding creative tools for both users and brands alike.

Brands are in a continuous adaption of their marketing methods as social platforms become a playground for so much creativity and self-expression. Augmented reality has absolutely exploded, and will no doubt have a tremendous impact on how brands market themselves in the coming years. Those who jump in early to learn the ropes and find creative ways to build and share their own branded AR experiences will be best positioned to reap the tremendous benefits of Instagram AR, and ultimately be ahead of the game in this new age of advertising.

Are you ready to jump into the world of tomorrow? As one of the best social media agencies in Dubai, Seven Media is here for all your digital needs!

The power of video in PR

These days anyone can make a video. It can be produced and presented to an audience quickly, easily and with very little spend involved.

As the owner of video production company and owner of a PR company, that might seem like an odd thing to say. But it’s true.

There are, however, one or two important caveats to consider when examining this fact.

I was recently invited by PRCA MENA to speak about the role of video in today’s communications landscape and its use in social media and PR campaigns.

Rather than extol the virtues of moving images on a screen and their impact versus print or social media it was important to explain that, without a strong story at its core, most video content can easily end up being unfit for purpose.

As a former journalist, I understand the power of a story, how it can carry a message to a wide audience and elicit a response. People are hard-wired to remember stories – our belief systems are based around stories; they unite us, inspire us, create movements, influence behavior and build cultures.

Stories are at the heart of everything. They are used to cement power and start revolutions.

The principals of what makes a great story apply to any format, be it written or video. A story must engage, inform, entertain, and relate to its audience.

Because of the way people consume video content nowadays, these principals are even more important.

There’s endless data out there to show what type of videos are watched by certain kinds of people, at a particular time of day and in specific countries.

But the underlying fact is unless you’re producing a quality product, all you’re doing is adding to the hundreds of thousands of hours of forgettable content that already exists.

If your story is strong enough, it will achieve the greatest results. It will get your message across and it will meet the needs of your client.

For your message to have the desired impact, you need to ‘humanize’ it. People’s interest will always be piqued by other people – by what they are doing and feeling and how they are acting.

No one wants to be TOLD how a brand or movement is relevant to them, they want to be SHOWN in an engaging, informative, entertaining and relatable way.

From a PR perspective, the market for great video content continues to grow and grow.

People often talk about the shrinking media landscape, but it is expanding with new online platforms appearing all the time – and video gives you incredible access to these new publishing opportunities.

As traditional media outlets come to terms with reduced editorial and broadcast budgets, they are eager to use supplied video content that meets their standards. Be this bespoke social media or web content, B-roll for events or on-camera interviews, it is all in demand.

There are tangible results to this – a great story in partnership with great media relations can deliver a powerful message.

However, video, like print before it, is also a slave to people’s reduced attention spans. With viewers willing to spend less time watching a video, the content needs to not only be strong but also tailored to the platform that best engages with your desired audience.

How it’s presented has a huge impact on how it is received.

From using the correct format for the platform, editing size and running time for social media, to something as simple as adding subtitles, this all plays a role in how your message is consumed.

At its very essence, making effective video content is straightforward.

Create the strongest possible idea. Decide on the process and agree on the desired result. Be original and cut through the clutter. Catch people’s attention and tell a truly great story. 

If all these ingredients are present, you’ll have the recipe for success.

Watch Gregg’s presentation to the PRCA at: https://vimeo.com/342918793

The elusive Instagram algorithm

Social media agency Dubai - The elusive Instagram algorithm

Algorithm – it’s a word that has been bounced around a lot in the social sphere of late. But what exactly is this elusive Instagram and Facebook algorithm? And what can we do to make sure we’re on the right side of it?

Well, the bad news is that there is no correct answer. Or if there is, the Zuckerberg’s of the world are keeping it tightly locked up at Facebook HQ. But here’s what we do know…

Firstly, algorithms are ever changing. There’s no one secret to success that is everlasting. As such, social media strategies must constantly evolve to meet both social trends and your specific audience needs and preferences. What has been successful this month, may not work so well next month. And that golden strategy that was formulated last year, may not turn as many heads this year. 

So the first secret to success comes from monitoring and iteration. Take note of what is working successfully and what is not. It’s vital to constantly reassess your plan to ensure you are effectively engaging your audience.

Quality over quantity. There is no golden number when it comes to frequency of posting. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to put yourself in the followers’ shoes. Would you want to see repetitive, branded content appearing in your feed or stories every few hours? Of course not! Ensure your content is engaging, high-resolution and of interest or value to the follower.

Now, time to bust some myths. Despite widespread speculation, Instagram and Facebook have categorically denied ‘hiding’ user posts from their followers. Instead, remember that they reward accounts posting content that users enjoy seeing and engage with. Instagram announced that “What shows up first in your feed is determined by what posts and accounts you engage with the most, as well as other contributing factors such as the timeliness of posts, how often you use Instagram, how many people you follow, etc.” While they’re playing their cards close to their chest, our takeaway from this, paired with our experience managing brands’ social media accounts from around the globe, is that a holistic approach is necessary. Every aspect of your channel needs to be considered and planned for in order to achieve maximum success.

It’s vital to utilise all the features that social media platforms offer in order to gain maximum exposure and engagement. The total sum of our efforts on a platform are what yield results at the end of the month or quarter. On Instagram, for example, it’s not just about posting images to your feed. Make sure you’re active on stories and making use of the variety of engagement stickers available, test the waters with IGTV (…as long as the video is within the correct dimensions!), regularly update Instagram highlights, actively engage with followers who message and comment, follow accounts that are relevant to you or your brand and utilise hashtags.

Last, but by no means least, always keep in mind that social media is supposed to be FUN! Get creative, try new things and don’t be afraid to push boundaries. As one of the top social media agencies in Dubai, Seven Media is here to help.