The @crocbites social media roundup – October 2016

In summary, October was a bad month for Vine but live video continues to dominate with updates to Periscope confirmed and Instagram rumours surfacing. Find out all the details about these stories and more as we round up social media news from October.

Facebook

Messenger is going on a diet to spread its appeal to people with less powerful phones and slower internet speeds.

Facebook takes a swipe at Gumtree and Craig’s List by introducing Marketplace to help match you up with nearby people who want to buy your stuff.

Events from Facebook could alert more people to events you’re putting on by making them easier to find and letting friends recommend them to each other.

It’ll soon be easier for potential customers to interact with your company once they’ve discovered you.

Formerly ‘Facebook for Work, Workplace is now available to any company or organisation that wants to use it. Will you make this your internal comms channel of choice?

Don’t just watch cat videos on Facebook via your phone – you can now see them on your Apple TV or Chromecast-enabled televisions.

Facebook as a broadcasting medium is proving popular, with Real Madrid successfully nurturing its social audience with content from the club’s TV channel.

Remember when everyone was copying Snapchat? It’s still a thing, with Facebook rolling out new photo and video filters for the main app.

Twitter

Twitter’s decision to pour a hefty dose of weed killer on Vine came as something of a shock – albeit a pretty logical one when you think about it.

Vine’s pruning was part of Twitter’s cost-cutting exercise that became all the more necessary when it transpired nobody wants to buy it at present.

Twitter’s eggs now seem to be firmly in one basket, following the announcement that Periscope Producer will let businesses stream high quality live videos via cameras, rather than portable device

Instagram

Instagram’s version of Stories has managed to clock up an impressive 100m daily active users despite only being launched two month ago.

Rumour has it that Instagram could soon let users shoot live videos, not dissimilar to Facebook’s offering.

Want to learn more about using Instagram for business? You’re in luck – there are lots of webinars on the horizon.

Snap Inc

Friends are taking precedence on Snapchat again, with Discover pages being bumped down users’ feeds – auto-advancing stories (and ads played between them) are also on their way out.

Tidying up its main offering seems to be Snap Inc’s latest step towards its proposed $25bn floatation.

LinkedIn

Microsoft’s takeover is certainly helping to freshen up LinkedIn, with endorsements getting an autumnal spring clean.

They could prove useful for people looking for new jobs without telling their boss – which is now also a thing on LinkedIn.

While there are multiple changes happening post-takeover, it actually seems the platform was on the up before it happened.

Pinterest

Good news – UK brands can now use promoted videos, after it came out elsewhere back in August.

Dynamic retargeting is now a thing, so it’s now easier to show potential customers Promoted Pins that they’ll find relevant.

150m people worldwide use Pinterest each month, with 75% of the inspiration coming from businesses.

Want your Pinterest content to pop? Then you need to get in touch with the Pin Collective – creators who’ll help optimise your brand’s messaging.

YouTube

Google has bought FameBit, which helps brands hook up with creators and may be a little bit like what Pinterest are doing.

That’s that for this month – if we’ve piqued your interest, get in touch and we can have a chat about the best ways to use social for your business. Email us on hello@thecroc.com or tweet us: @crocbites.

5 things project managers could learn from Behavioural Economics

Planning and process are great, but so often digital projects fall behind or go over scope or over budget. It doesn’t matter how experienced team members are, how well project managers plan, things can always slip behind.

At The Crocodile our Project and Account Managers use wash ups and evidence-based planning to work out scales and timings plans, but bias (or optimism) tempers previous evidence: “we can do it better this time”.

By nature quite rational characters, PMs and AMs often don’t account for the irrationality of team members, and the ever-present “unforeseen circumstances”.

Illusion of validity

We consistently overestimate our ability to interpret and predict outcomes based on our previous experience – essentially, we’re overconfident. If this happens at every level of a project – planning/scoping/design/build/QA etc – it accumulates a potentially huge amount of error in time/cost estimates.

At The Crocodile we try to remember that each team member will most likely be underestimating the time and cost needs of their area, and factor that into each project step.

Planning fallacy

Daniel Kahneman, the godfather of behavioural economics, says, “the existence of a plan tends to induce overconfidence”. When planning the steps that are required to complete a project, we tend to foresee that they will all run typically, and therefore structures times and costs accordingly.

But what if one step behaves atypically? Or two?

The longer and more involved the process, the greater the probability that something will behave atypically. And that probability increases at a greater rate than our intuition would predict.

So plan in contingency time, and then double it. We try to make this explicit to our clients, as well as the additional budget that may be needed – they are just as susceptible to the “but we have a plan” mind set as we are.

Confirmation bias

You’ve made your project plan; you think you’ve factored in the planning fallacy; you look back at the evidence of past projects to support your projections – but you will likely be working with with evidence that mostly supports your already finely tuned scope and estimate and will minimise the importance of evidence to the contrary.

We encourage team members with different perspectives and from different disciplines to look at our timings and scope of work. We want to have a wider range of views from people who will be better placed to challenge our biases.

Rationality

Generally Project Managers assume that we are rational beings, and our team members will act accordingly. But that doesn’t take into account procrastination, making tea, creative blocks, sick children, toasters setting off the office fire alarm, and of emergency change requests late in the day…

All of these things happen in some shape or form through the project lifecycle, and we try to take that into account when planning project timings. At every step/project phase we plan in some buffer time accordingly – and likely twice as much overflow as we think we might need.

Process/positive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement about abilities increases performance, so it’s better to plan for short bursts of activity with regular reviews. We respond better to outcomes today than those we know are coming tomorrow. This could be one of the reasons behind the success of Agile development methodology.

At The Crocodile our Project Managers lay out regular, often daily, milestones and reviews at the start of the project, making sure they are clearly communicated to the team so they know what to expect and what to work towards.

But even armed with this awareness of behavioural tendencies we’re still likely to fall prey to them.

Communication and constantly challenging assertions are the best way to allow for bias. Most of all we should keep process flexible to fit the team and the circumstances rather than trying to change the team to fit the process.

Content management systems are for content, not marketing

Over the past 15 years, in roughly reverse chronological order, I have worked with the following content management systems (CMS):

Adobe ECM, Kentico, Terminal Four, Fatwire, Drupal, Perch, Alterian, Episerver, Typo3, Squiz, Umbraco, WordPress, Immediacy, Morello, Rhythmyx, Tridion, RedDot, DotNetNuke, Contensis, and Plone.*

And that’s ignoring the other platforms that sometimes try to do content management, but aren’t inherently built for that purpose (Sharepoint, Hubspot, Magento, etc).

I’ve used all of these as an admin or editor, and for nearly all of them I’ve been involved in the development of new websites. So from that experience I can roughly put them into one of 2 categories:

  1. CMS built by and for developers to play nicely and experiment with, that try hard but ultimately fail to offer a good user experience
  2. CMS built for big organisations to satisfy IT, security, marketing and procurement requirements, that are over-engineered, over-complicated and never seem to deliver against promises

Who’s actually using your CMS?

Now, the very obvious issue here is that not a single CMS is built to address the needs of the real every day user, the web editor or manager.

In larger organisations especially, IT and/or marketing are often the route to procurement, so complex technical infrastructures, digital asset management, email marketing, and marketing automation are what’s being sold nowadays, with the art of content management being forgotten.

In contrast, the web editor or manager has one key concern: updating the website with new content that helps deliver against the objectives of the business, while keeping the web presence in good order. Typically, this means adding new pages, blog posts, uploading images and video, and occasionally restructuring a page or even the whole structure of the site.

The limits of a Content Management System

By their nature you have to build templates into a CMS for them to work, which means editable areas have to be defined.

Yes, there are platforms that give you flexible drag and drop style templates and widgets that promise you endless flexibility, but at the end of the day there is still a coded template behind it with limitations and restrictions – want to change the size of your hero image? Want a new template with a pull out quote? Got a load of images from an event but your gallery doesn’t handle different proportioned images well? The list goes on.

These are the real problems the modern web manager has to deal with and content management alone can’t solve them.

Over the years, the web editor/manager has evolved to be a predominantly editorial and marketing function, with limited technical skills. The assumption is that CMS platforms alone can fulfill all their needs, but the truth is all they are really good at is maintaining the status quo, updating basic content and publishing new content of a fairly fixed generic format.

Plan to develop

The only way to solve all these problems is to understand what you want your website to be and how you want it to evolve, and then plan for that, because you WILL want it to change at some point.

To achieve this, businesses would do well to look at how publishers manage their websites. Knowing they need to constantly develop engaging and innovative content to stay relevant, they form strong multi-disciplinary teams to support the publishing function, with in-house UX, design and development skills.

The BBC has its own CMS – it built a bespoke one just to be sure it was right – but if there’s a story to tell using video, infographics, or whatever, the Beeb has designers and developers on hand to do that, because it’s just not something that you can standardise.

This is something every business should plan for. Your content will change – you won’t just have new press releases getting churned out forever. Your content management system will need someone to help you make those changes.

So, my 3 top tips for picking a CMS are the following:

  1. Pick a CMS that your web editor likes using and won’t make them scream at their monitor on a daily basis
  2. Pick an open source one, because it’ll be free, simpler to use, and you won’t struggle to find developers to work with it
  3. Make sure you have either an ongoing relationship with your agency, or your own in-house developers, so you can plan for change and act upon it.

And most of all, please, please, don’t pick a CMS just because it comes with a load of bells and whistles. Pick it because it manages content well.

* A final note

This asterisk is here just to make you read all the way to the bottom. And in case you were wondering, the best of all these CMS I have worked with was Immediacy, which is sadly now long gone. Sure it was a bit crashy and fatally slow for very large sites, but editors loved it – simple, understandable and – with the basic licence – unencumbered by other unnecessary features.

Cool new appointment for the social media team

The Crocodile has been appointed as the new agency partner for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Air-conditioning Europe Ltd (MHIAE), a company established by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to deliver heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) solutions across Europe. The Crocodile will be providing social media and content marketing support, and has already produced a slick new product video in time for MHIAE’s annual European distributor meeting:

It’s an exciting time for MHIAE as they prepare to take their new premium SRK-ZS and high-end SRK-ZSX units to the European market. They worked closely with an Italian design agency on the new products. It marks the start of a new design era for MHIAE and the business recognised the need for a marketing approach to match.

The brief

MHIAE and The Crocodile will be working together to deliver a social media strategy designed to increase awareness of MHIAE in the market, support new product launches and events, and increase online engagement with the distributor network, installers and end users in Europe.

The @crocbites social media roundup – September 2016

With updates and developments around every virtual corner, there’s no time to rest on your social media laurels.

Here’s a summary of what opportunities September brought:

Facebook

Using Messenger to talk to your customers? Now you can see them too, with Instant Video.

That’s not all – the whole Messenger experience is being refined to make it smoother for businesses to chat to their clientele.

Your videos on Facebook may not have been as successful as you thought after FB realises it’s done its maths wrong.

Riffing on Snapchat was still a thing in September, with a soft launch of Messenger Day, which is essentially Snapchat Stories.

Want to see who’s been reacting (and how) to your posts? It may be getting easier, with tests to include profile photos with thumbs, hearts and emojis.

Facebook is helping shops sell more in-store by tracking physical inventories with Dynamic Ads for Retail.

WhatsApp

You’ll get a notification if you get @mentioned in a group chat, even if you’ve got it muted. Cheerio, productivity.

Twitter

Customer service is getting better on Twitter, with support services being made more obvious.

Twitter takeovers generally involve chosen individuals taking over corporate accounts for a bit of publicity. This Twitter takeover could involve billions of dollars and change the social media landscape.

Instagram

Instagram ads are becoming easier for people to interact with, with more obvious calls to action.

Probably just as well, seeing as there are now over 500,000 advertisers using the platform.

Everyone can now save drafts to work on later, which is handy.

Snapchat Snap Inc

It’s all change at Snapchat – first off, the company will now be known as Snap Inc (the app is still Snapchat, mind), and it’s now in the hardware business with Spectacles, which let you shoot point of view photos and video.

LinkedIn

You can now track conversions on LinkedIn, as Microsoft looks to lure in more advertisers to help the professional platform pay for itself.

LinkedIn Learning goes live; lots of lessons from Lynda.com.

Pinterest

It’s getting colder, so it’s probably OK for Pinterest to start talking about how to ace your Christmas campaigns.

Advertising on Pinterest is getting easier – set up a Promoted Pin in nine seconds (if you’re in the US, but it’ll probably come over here too).

Pinterest’s second screen game is strong, with many users unable to tear themselves away from the platform while watching TV.

Periscope

Twitter’s getting brands more involved with live content on Periscope.

Your followers need never miss your Periscope feeds again, as they can now get notifications when you go live.

There we have it – plenty to look out for this month: will Twitter’s takeover chat continue? How will LinkedIn continue to evolve under Microsoft? Who will be next to copy Snapchat? Discover all this (maybe) and more during next month’s exciting instalment of the social media roundup.

Oh, and don’t be a stranger – tweet us: @crocbites, or email: hello@thecroc.com and talk to us about how these updates affect your social media marketing.