The Idiot Proof Guide To Snapchat 

Since the progression of ‘web 2.0’,  we have seen vast developments and changes in applications and various social media tools.

Two of the biggest and most prevalent social media applications are Snapchat and Instagram.

Snapchat

Since originally launching in 2011 as ‘Pictaboo’, the application began with a measily 127 users and after a year of the founders arguing over equity, the application was later renamed to ‘Snapchat’ in 2011. By the summer of 2012, Snapchat had finally found it’s calling with an exuberant 100,000 users – the app quickly spreading throughout cyberspace.

How does it work?

Snapchat’s intended usage was for participants to send ‘snaps’ from user to user, with a timed feature. This meant the user could select for the image or video to be seen for up to 10 seconds. Therefore, the content was unsalvageable and could only be seen on a one time basis.

However, the catch 22 was screenshots. The opposing user could screen shot a certain image or video to save the content permanently. As the app has continued to evolve, the opposing user is now notified if their content has been screen shot or viewed by followers.

The app enabled the user to send characterised text or other keyboard features such as emojis and other phone symbols.

Snapchat Stories

One of Snapchat’s unique selling points (USP) was the Snapchat story. This gives you the control to create your own story of events, using both pictures and video. It works like a running thread of content which lasts up to 24 hours from the posting date and time.

As an account holder, you are also able to save the story to your mobile phone and keep as a permanent copy. Which enables you to keep the content after the 24 hour time out has been exceeded.

Geofilters – otherwise known as Location filters

Another USP for Snapchat is the interactive filters which can be used on various smart phones. This makes any content produced in this manner Snapchat exclusive, which is easily recgonisable among other social media.

 

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These filters were initially introduced for humourous purposes and to help friends interact with each other in a comical and entertaining manor.

The filters worked via face recognition, transforming an individuals face, such as superimposing an animal’s face with an animated tongue integrated (see image). One of the many exciting filters added to the system.

 

 

 

 

 

The team at Snapchat have thought of even more ways to encourage cash flow into the company. According to TechCrunch Snapchat has 2 types of filter; the community Geofilter  and the sponsored filter. This can come at a cost if you choose to go down the marketing route.

Community filters are free but cannot include logos or any marketing content. For example, an ideal design for a community filter is the name of the town or city or popular location in the world. This is triggered via the location features enabled on smartphones to identify the exact location of an individual.  img_0437

The sponsored Geofilters enables big brands to cover large distances with marketable content which of course involves money- a clever tactic from Snapchat. The image below explores the marketing many companies used for Black Friday.

The minimum range parameters for these filters to be accessed is from 5000 square feet to an astonishing 5,000,000. There is also a minimum time frame of 30 minutes to a maximum of around 4 weeks. You can design your own filter here by directing yourself through to the Snapchat website or click here for more details.

snapchat-sponsored-geofilter-1-1img3-copy

So how much does it cost?

Considering how much flexibility the application gives you from a marketing perspective, the price is quite reasonable. I did a small grid reference around my house in Bristol and found it would cost roughly £16.00 to have the filter active for 1 hour. It was a basic PNG image with small icons inside it.

 

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On the opposite end of the spectrum, it would cost around £3000.00 to have the filter active till the end of the month (21 days) which seems a lot more expensive in the grand scheme of things.

How does this complement PR?

This is an absolute godsend for PR professionals, particularly for campaigns and promoting an up and coming event.

The Sponsored Geofilter would be extremely effective for a PR stunt or campaign. It would enable the public to engage with the event interactively and share the information on other media. This would work particularly well if a hashtag took off and as a result, began trending on Twitter and Instagram. Running the filter for just 1 hour (£16) seems like a feasible alternative to promoting your event.

The idea you can save stories gives you the accessibility in reposting to other social media  such as Facebook, Twitter and other popular platforms. The large advancement means you can create a social media loop whereby the user is directed around each of your social media channels.

If it is a PR campaign you can encourage consumers to ‘add us on Snapchat to see more behind the scences of the campaign and what else we are up to’. A fantastic way to consistently put out content for customers to view back to back. It should also encourage users to follow you on your other platforms, increasing awareness of your campaign.

It is obvious that Snapchat is a great tool for eager PR people but with the constant shift of activity in the digital age, Snapchat’s reign could soon come to an end. According to Owen Williams (2017), since Instagram coincidentely acquired their own ‘story feature’, more people are returning to Instagram to do the same thing they originally became obsessed with on Snapchat. Either way, both platforms give plenty of food for thought among practitioners in the public relations world.

This again reinforces how PR is adapting to the digital age, through the various advancements which are happening on a monthly basis. New applications and social media tools are always being launched and integrated with current successful media. This shows the versatility of PR and how it can be easily moulded to majority of new resources and materials in the ‘digisphere’.

Word count: 1030.

References

Crook, J (2016) Tech Crunch. Available from: [https://techcrunch.com/gallery/a-brief-history-of-snapchat/slide/15/]

Williams, O (2017) LinkedIn. Available from: [https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-im-leaving-snapchat-so-all-your-friends-owen-williams-1?trk=v-feed&lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_search_srp_content%3B%2Fyk7XfR6Ucmms7UXwBsVwg%3D%3D].

Book Review – David Randall – Great Reporters

An inspiring and thought provoking read from one of Britain’s most iconic journalists

Following from the must read The Universal Journalist, Randall brings us the insightful Great Reporters. A timeless echo of history, remembering the legends of reporting throughout the years. While The Universal Journalist was a very much how-to guide, in Great Reporters, Randall reinforces the dedication of the reporters and the hostile environments of war reporting.

 

The book puts emphasis on the struggle of war reporting and the attributes and skills needed to be a successful journalist – how to stand out from the crowd. Determination and perseverance are clearly highlighted by Randall. From Floyd Gibbons surviving nine wars with his eye blown out in the field, to Meyer Berger revising the ‘Eye graphs’ to secure his entrance into the battle field. The author’s passion and dedication to the industry adds inspiration and a great incentive to gain a career of similar stature.

Randall takes us back in time through historical events that have helped shape the journalistic industry of today. The heroic William Russell is described as being ‘the first journalist to cover a conflict’ Throughout the Crimean war until sadly passing away in 1907. Great Reporters helps explore how much journalism has changed and how it will continue to change in the future. One chapter briefly discusses Russell’s salary of being an appalling £600.00. When in fact the average journalist nowadays earns forty times more than Russell at £24.000 per year.

As the historical themes continue to roll out throughout the book, David Randall brings significant reference to the events leading up to the terrible and tragic events which unfolded throughout Germany from 1941 to 1945. What could have happened to prevent one of the world’s most horrific genocides. Enter George Seldes, “A reporter who got up the noses of the high and mighty” The chapter speaks of world war one and president Hindenberg serving as the second president of Germany. Seldes and three other correspondents ignored the travel ban in Germany and decided to track down Hindenberg to interview him. The US army heard of this and threatened them with breaching military law if the ground breaking interview with Hindenberg was published.

Seldes claimed in his autobiography “I believe it would have destroyed the main planks on which Hitler rose to power” This is a iconic and remarkable moment in history. This could have prevented the damaging and destructive nature that came with the rise of Hitler. Leaving a chilling hindsight that such events may not have happened if the interview was published. Those six million innocent men, women and children may have had their lives spared from the effects of the mind numbing holocaust.

How a London Furniture business did the most ingenious PR stunt

On the 25th November 2015, the Nill’s furniture shop in Edmonton North London was vandalised by three young men.

The over night break in disrupted the Turkish owners during the opening period of the new furniture store. Dispute this unwanted event, all but one piece of furniture was recovered from the spray paint.

Since visiting the area, I discovered that this piece of vandalism was completely staged by the Turkish owners, who thought it would be the best way to get publicity for the new store about to open.

What a fantastic way to get media exposure! Especially as most of the damaged furniture was recovered, making it even more of a stunt to pull off and salvage stock.

 

 

The world of 360

Digital media has been greatly influenced by latest revelations of technology. This includes filming in 360 and the development of virtual reality handsets. The world of VR is a new development and only time will tell in terms of the pros and cons drawn upon by consumers.

Today I attended the talk about filming in 360 from two companies: Chromatrope and Rock of Eye. They discussed 10 things they had learnt from filming in 360.

There were a few interesting things that I would like to reflect on. Glen from Rock Of Eye discussed the making of the drama ‘Echo Chamber’ which captures two people’s experience of dementia – quite a clever idea in itself. One of the biggest issues from a directing point of view is that the director cannot actually be on set. This is of course quite problematic as the director usually needs to be in the thick of it – helping to smooth things along.

This film involved shooting with a Go Pro camera. I believe Glen claimed they shot with 4-6 Go Pro cameras at a time. Must have been complicated to ensure everything was functioning correctly.

One of the biggest topics up for debate was the differentiation between 360 and VR. I can see where the confuse arises but the best way to think about it is the idea of VR solely forming from gaming. An interaction with a game and psychically engaging with a device or person. 360 is where video recordings are viewed in every direction and recorded at the same time, shot using an omnidirectional camera or a collection of cameras.

Relating this to my own experiences, I have noticed this has been implemented by Facebook. Where a user is able to take an image and uploaded it through a ‘360 view’ where other occupants can move the camera to embark upon their own 360 journey. Other examples would include the ‘panorama’ option on mobile cameras, where you can perform a 360 image by slowly moving the camera.

How much can we trust social media?

With the results from the US election, people from around the world have taken to social media expressing their shock in Mr Trump becoming the next president in line from Obama. There has been much debate about possible sources influencing the general public’s opinion of who to vote. Although it seemed as if everything was piled again Mrs Clinton after the news broke of her dodgy emails. Trump was always going to be at an advantage.

Latest trends in the media

 

This being said, Mark Zuckerberg the CEO of Facebook has been accused  in having an influence on the recent results of the US election – leading to the rise of Trump. Zuckerberg’s Facebook algorithms were under question with rumours hinting at news feeds being solely dominated with Republican content which is quite significant considering 62% of Americans get their news from social media. Of course Zuckerberg denied these claims despite there being claims of bias earlier in the year.

This shows how social media can affects the opinions of the general public – especially in this case.

There was also more of a problem with ‘fake news’ and these outlets being verified on Facebook. This made it quite unethical that these companies were making money from ads on Google and Facebook when in fact the news being sourced was untrue. This makes it hard for us to trust social media? That blue verified tick can be misleading. It is up to yourselves to research a story and decide your opinion on the matter.

 

PR campaigns II: The Battle of the Christmas ads

A few blog posts ago, I talked about the power of social media campaigns fuelled by public relations. In this particular example I discussed my employer John Lewis – and their successful role as a company to create engaging Christmas adverts for the general public.

With this in mind, it costs companies like John Lewis millions of pounds every year to fund such campaigns. Especially with other competitors following in the partnership’s footsteps – it is important to keep up with the demand for more successful media.

The 2016 John Lewis Christmas advert: #BusterTheDog

There have been many mixed reviews of this advert with people wanting more of a ‘tear jerker’ like the previous year, ” Man on the moon” This advert cost the company an astonishing £7 million.

From a marketing perspective it is interesting to note how impressive the John Lewis campaign is. As discussed previously, the 2014 campaign with #MontyThePenguin – was so successful that the Monty The Penguin merchandise completely sold out in John Lewis nationwide. It appears that they have decided to follow this motive and introduce Buster the boxer and other animals that featured in the ad. A great way of making even more money around the Christmas period.

This recurring theme of the dog Buster is a key theme implemented by John Lewis. Both as a marketing perspective and how the hashtag #BusterTheBoxer can thrive in social media. Showing the power of social media for public relations and organisations. Even other companies have used this advert to their own advantage – to gain attention from the public eye.

sportsdirectThe marketing department of Sports Direct have been very clever by using a play on words from the newly released John Lewis advert. ‘price Buster’ in reference to Buster the dog. This adds a sense of humour and also that marketing edge from other companies stocking trampolines and products alike.

It is quite interesting to monitor other competitors such as Aldi with the build up to the festive season. Previous years they opted to ‘take the mick’ out of the infamous John Lewis ad by defining a sheer comparison of price between the two companies. With a key aim to encourage customers to walk away from the partnership’s high price range. However, this year Aldi has decided to up their game by introducing a new advert of their own:

Social media security and privacy

Since the progression in the digital world and huge advance of web 2.0, social media has been thriving for the last 20 years. As much as this brings about many positives in society, there are many users under grave danger. Privacy and security are two large factors which ultimately have a big impact on social media and the digital world.

With the wide reach that social media has had and the amount of users that have multiplied over the years, consequently everyone is now at risk. There are many dangers such as – being under the influence of identity theft or simply being hacked. All of these things can easily happen if one’s privacy and security are not monitored properly.  An article from CNBC, reiterates this theme of checking your social media security, to ensure you are properly protected. The issue is equally monitoring all of your networks which lets face it, is pretty hard to do with the sheer amount of them all.

For instance the network known as ‘Linked in’ is a platform that was initially introduced as a replacement for the CV – an online version for people to advertise themselves. In other words it encourages the user to give as much content as possible to seek potential employment from various companies in the network. This therefore contradicts the idea of remaining ‘private’ because you must give information on Linked In to give employers more information of your education and other personal background statistics. This means that it totally depends on the context of your application. Settle with your paper based CV if you do not feel comfortable documenting your personal information via applications such as Linked In.

Controlling your security and privacy

When registering for a new account on a social media, it is vital to visit the settings as soon as you can. For example on Facebook, you are able to tick off specific boxes such as ‘who can see my stuff’ here you can select whether your posts are published to the ‘public’ or if you only want your friend to be able to view them. Otherwise everybody can see your content without being friends with you.  So as you go through the various pages you can filter out where you want your content to go and how it will be received.

Accounts such as Twitter and Instagram, give you the control to simply make your account private. This way, users must send you a request in order to view your content, you must confirm or reject the request depending on who it is from.

One crucial step is ensuring you change your passwords for different networks and making sure that it has a variety of: upper case & lower case letters,numbers,symbols and other punctuation. An example of this would be: Public_Relations*21!/?. This helps secure your account and makes it a lot more difficult for hackers to access your account and retrieve personal information that you do not want to be shared.

Privacy invasion in the media

One of the most famous examples of this is from the whistleblower Edward Snowden. He unveiled the mobile phone hacking scandal. This involved the NSA (national security agency) hacking millions of people’s mobile phones without any prior permission. Snowden himself worked within the NSA and decided that the world must have a right to know that the government is accepting such a thing. He therefore broke the news to Guardian Journalist Glenn Greenwald.

This was not the first time that mobile phones were hacked by big organisations. Rupert Murdoch’s empire once consisted of a newspaper known as ‘News Of The World’ They were eventually shut down by Murdoch as the newspaper had been found guilty of hacking the phone of the missing girl Milly Dowler after she had disappeared. This was of course  illegal because it is against the law to hack some one’s mobile phone even though it may have led to the conviction of Milly’s murderer Levi Bellfield.

A more recent example comes from media giant Yahoo, who hacked thousands of Yahoo mail accounts – also linking to the NSA. This was one of the biggest data breaches in history and had reports of also affecting Broadband customers connected to Yahoo. This has had huge a impact on Yahoo and their future prospects.

This shows the overall importance of privacy and security. As a user of the internet you do not want your information to get into the wrong hands. Make sure you are safe and that you remain to stay safe over the coming years. Having control of your social media should be the user’s priority when setting up a new account.

PR campaigns

No matter what size a company or organisation is, PR strategies are seriously important – whether it’s promoting new products or campaigns or purely to raise awareness and public interest.

The business sector is full of PR stunts – making news out of effectively nothing.

With the build up to Christmas, there is one company that always dominate the annual unveiling of Christmas adverts. This is of course John Lewis. Each year, millions of pounds are invested into creating these iconic Christmas ads, aiming to entice as many shoppers into the department store as possible. Also to show the company is keen to fully immerse itself in the Christmas spirit.

Back in 2014, PR week’s Ian Griggs discussed the campaign costing John Lewis a whopping £7 million. With the fluctuating value of the pound and recent effects of Brexit – perhaps John Lewis may cut costs in this area. However, every year there are constant competitors in rival supermarkets/department stores such as M & S, Asda, Sainsbury’s & Aldi.

This 2014 edition involving ‘ Monty The Penguin’ was extremely successful. In both viewers and fetching massive sales in the Monty The Penguin soft toy that fully sold out in stores across the UK. Who thought people would go so crazy about a stuffed soft toy?

It is quite interesting to observe the evolution of the John Lewis Christmas advert – from it’s first airing in 2007 till the present day. Why don’t you Pick your favourite? Personally I don’t think you can pick the 2014 edition. I think it is very clever the way it is ‘just a dream’ at the end of the trailer. Also a clever marketing strategy to get people so into the advert that they want to by the exact same penguin for their kids or even themselves!

There has been mass amounts of anticipation on Twitter for this years much awaited reveal, courtesy of the Dailly Mirror. This just goes to show how strong the PR team at John Lewis is. They’ve pretty much trade marked the Christmas advert in the festive season, with people already discussing what artist or music will be accompanying the trailer. Others believe there may be a tribute to the legend David Bowie who sadly passed away this year.