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Should your Brand Join Snapchat?

2014 March 26
by roostonline

In this post, we’re looking at the ways in which brands are turning the creative challenge presented by Snapchat’s fast-disappearing content into an advantage.

Since its launch in 2011, the app has gained 30 million monthly active users, the main demographic of which is between the ages of 13-23, and brands have started to recognise its potential.

The biggest barrier for brands looking to connect with their target audience on Snapchat is there is no way to search for and follow users, they have to be added by Snapchat users themselves

US-based Taco Bell was one of the first brands to utilise Snapchat, encouraging their audience to follow them on the app via a tweet which received excellent engagement. They then used Snapchat to announce the return of the ‘Beefy Crunch Burrito’. There were two appealing elements to this marketing approach: firstly,  the snap would be able to quickly generate buzz among fans. Secondly, as users could only view the snap once and for a maximum time of ten seconds they would have been more likely to give their full attention to it.




No two social platforms are the same and of course, Snapchat brings with it a unique variety of advantages and disadvantages:

On the negative side, as mentioned above, the brand cannot send snaps to the public unless they are added by the user, as a result this limits the amount of people who will see the images and videos. With its timed-to-disappear image content there is only so much content the audience gets access to, leaving the brand doubting who viewed the image and for how long.

Positively, Brands like McDonalds can use the Snapchat’s main age demographic to its advantage and specifically send out content aimed at this age group, this younger group can be used to influence purchase decisions of the older generation. The fast disappearing content will make the audience more eager to pay attention to the snap as they will only have ten seconds of it. Snapchat can be used as a great tool (as demonstrated by Taco Bell) to promote new products and show the consumers what to expect from the brand, causing excitement and talk over the new products.

Here are our favourite examples of ‘Snapchatting’ brand activity:

MTV UK sent fans promotional clips of the upcoming series of Geordie Shore, in addition to this they sent out Snaps to remind fans when the series was on air (just so they don’t forget).




16 Handles a frozen yogurt chain sent out its ‘Snappy New Year’ coupon promotion and claimed that after the campaign, it’s received more than 1,400 interactions with “friends”.




Last but not least, Taco Bell used Snapchat to promote the return of the ‘Beefy Crunch Burrito’, and even got people Tweeting about it.



Snapchat is definitely a great marketing outlet for a brands,  not only is it an exciting way to engage with their audience and customers, it brings variety to the brand and allows the audience to see more authentic and informal images:




Keeping your audience entertained is key, and for that reason surprising your fans by showing them that you understand their behavior and the latest trends allows brands to leverage a new group of followers as well as keeping their current ones.

So should you consider integrating Snapchat into your brand’s social mix? To help you make this decision, we recommend using Shoutlet’s four considerations:





Social News: March

2014 March 12
by roostonline

march social news

It’s hard to believe that we’re already heading towards Spring… Even though 2014 is barely only two months old there is a definite pattern starting to emerge; influence and reactive marketing were the buzzwords of 2013, but in 2014 they are becoming a consistent part of any communications plan.

1.     Harnessing disruption in a changing industry –

In this talk Nic looks at the prospects for the news industry in 2014. He argues that we are at the start of another period of intense disruption to business models and content formats as we move to a world dominated by mobile devices with new input and interaction methods.

Tags: Journalism, digital age, mobile

Watch-time: 18 mins

2.     12 more examples of digital technology in retail stores –

Bricks and mortar stores have to work hard to compete with online shopping, and one way of doing this is to use technology to create a great in-store experience.

Tags: Technology, experience, offline online

Read-time: 8 mins

3.     Super Bowl 2014 and the rise of the social newsroom  – 

The Super Bowl used to be about the battle of advertising budgets, now it’s a war of the social newsrooms.

Tags: Newsroom, real-time, content, reactive

Read-time: 4 mins

4.     How people explore their interests on Pinterest -

People use Pinterest to pursue their interests, but people have many interests that evolve over time. As a researcher here at Pinterest, I’ve been figuring out how and why people Pin.

Tags: Pinterest, interest, audience, usage 

Read-time: 3 mins

5.     How can brands apply the principles of SEO when content is shifting to video? –

In 2011 Cisco’s chief futurist, Dave Evans, predicted that 91% of Internet data in 2015 will be video. But, a year off that mark, it feels like we might already be there

Tags: SEO, video, trends 

Read-time: 5 mins

6.     How These Six Highly Productive Bloggers Get So Much Done –

“Routines are important, but only if you make them your own. Simply copying someone else’s routine probably won’t work.” — Jeff Goins

Tags: Process, bloggers, content

Read-time: 5 mins

7.      Reports Center for the Digital Future and Bovitz Inc –

Facebook use will decline in five years, Twitter and Instagram are growing, reports Center for the Digital Future and Bovitz Inc.

Tags: Facebook, trends, social media

Read-time: 6 mins


Highlight­ – slightly longer for those lunchtime moments…

8.     Brands that Millennials love to hate –

By now, one thing should be perfectly clear: Millennials are not monolithic. Individuals of specific generations are undeniably individuals – separate from others and unique in wants and needs.

Tags: Millennials, audience, behaviours

Read-time: 10 mins


Case study

9.     P&G’s Dreft sponsors birth of Jonas Brothers singer’s daughter –

Procter & Gamble detergent Dreft has taken the unusual step of sponsoring the birth of a celebrity baby, with the brand breaking the news via social media about the delivery of pop singer Kevin Jonas’ newborn daughter.

Tags: PR, influencer, earned strategy

Read-time: 2 mins

10.  Boots ties up with Facebook for live hair and beauty broadcast –

Boots has hooked up with Facebook and produced a 90-minute live-streamed programme full of style, hair and beauty tips, which will be carried on the retailer’s UK page on the social network.

Tags: Facebook, retail, content, partnership

Read-time: 3 mins


Social News: February

2014 February 6
by roostonline


Moving on from looking back at 2013 (Jan: Social News), this month we uncover inward and outward retail innovation, the latest Facebook changes and future trends and applications.

This month we’ve also included a ‘Highlight’ and ‘Case Study’ section. Each month we will throw a slightly longer article out there (Highlight) that has some interesting threads, alongside a Case Study that we through had stand out.

1.     Facebook Turns 10: The Mark Zuckerberg Interview –

Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t usually observe sentimental anniversaries. This year he’s confronted by three of them.

 2.     Tesco creates London innovation ‘lab’ to tap wisdom of start-up community –

Tesco has created a London “lab” of innovation which it hopes will capture and spread the “wisdom” of start-ups and SMEs throughout its business.

3.     Tesco and Waitrose plant click & collect at London Tube stations –

Tesco and Waitrose are following in the footsteps of Asda by bringing click & collect to a handful of London Underground stations.

4.     Facebook Starts Showing Fewer Text Status Updates From Pages, More From Friends –

Facebook has just announced a slight tweak to the Newsfeed algorithm. The newest version of the Newsfeed will show fewer text-based status updates from Pages, but will serve more text-based status updates from users.

5.     P&G looks to digital (USA) –

Procter & Gamble, the FMCG giant, expects its marketing budget for the coming year to be only slightly up on last year, with a C suite executive reporting that almost one third is being allocated to digital channels.

 6.     Why brands should not ignore social video –

Thanks to 4G-led improvements in mobile infrastructure and the proliferation of social video platforms like Vine and Instagram Video, it’s beyond doubt that video now has a life way beyond TV and desktop screens.

 7.     A Year on Vine –

We launched Vine one year ago. To mark the occasion, we’d like to celebrate you and the entire Vine community. Through your creativity, humor and the momentous events you capture and share on Vine, we’ve come together in ways we never expected.

8.     Jelly: Let’s help each other –

Jelly was founded in April 2013 by Biz Stone and Ben Finkel. We chose the jellyfish to represent our product because it has a loose network of nerves that act as a “brain” similar to the way we envision loosely distributed networks of people coordinating via Jelly to help each other. 


9.     Don’t build a product unless you can validate it –

Early adopters might have very different needs and habits than normal users, but they play an essential role in generating the kind of early buzz new products need.

Case Study

10.  Axe: Call To Arms –

Unilever-owned body spray AXE is inviting people to ‘make love not war’ to promote its new variant, AXE Peace. A 60-second film, directed by Rupert Sanders via production company MJZ, echoes both real life tensions (North Korea, Vietnam, Libya, Tiananmen Square) and juxtaposes them with cinematic references (the grim districts in The Hunger Games, the epic Asian landscapes in Apocalypse Now, the wrecked Warsaw in The Pianist).

‘Social News’ is an aggregation of all the best bits from the web brought to you daily, weekly or monthly by keyword and/or theme. For an example of content relevant to your brand or category get in touch for a free demo.




2014 January 22
by roostonline

The Facebook Newsfeed ranking algorithm is an ever-changing beast, but the latest announcement from the Facebook team will be helpful to brands’ Community Managers when planning content for the next few months.

The most recent changes, and those we should expect more of in the near future, are focussed on altering the categorisation of posts from friends and posts from Pages. In testing, Facebook has found that people have been engaging far better with text-only updates from friends and have begun to adapt the algorithm accordingly. People will now see more of this type of update in their Newsfeed and consequentially, less content from brands.

Dips in reach and engagement for text-only updates from Pages can almost certainly be expected, but increases may be seen for other story types, so Community Managers should act quickly to make their content work harder for them. One way to do this is to increase the number of posts featuring images or videos and particularly increase the number of posts with links.

Facebook suggests embedding a link within a post, then using the link-share function to share it. This combination of actions is more likely to drive reach and engagement.

Social Trends for 2014

2014 January 14

top sm moment

Introducing our new monthly roundup of all things insightful and interesting on the web –  brought to you by the ‘Social News’ aggregation service from Roost. Each month we’ll be sharing the latest trends and news “hot off the web” be it favourite campaigns and interesting opinion pieces from industry insiders.

For January we’ve been looking back at 2013, and forward to what this year has in store. Here are our top picks to get you up to speed. 

1. Infographic: 2013 – the year in social media - 
Social media is no longer a trend in digital, it’s a variety of media that have quite simply transformed the way millions of us communicate, do business, find out about our world and make connections.

2. Ask a Billionaire: Eric Schmidt’s 2014 Predictions –

Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) — In a rare interview, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt gives Bloomberg his outlook for 2014 trends. (Source: Bloomberg)

3. Top social media moments of 2013

More than one million Twitter followers saw the universe through the Canadian commander’s eyes during his time on the International Space Station. He returned to Earth on May 13…

4. Facebook ‘Dead and Buried’ Among Young Users: Study -

Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) — Scarlet Fu reports on the decline in use of Facebook by teenagers. She speaks on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg Surveillance.” (Source: Bloomberg)  

5. Why Vine is going to completely change marketing -

When Twitter first came out, most marketers dismissed it. How can you communicate in 140 characters or less?

6. Collaboration, Project Management, and Social Business: 2014 Trends to Watch Out For -

The myriad goals of a successful business can seem pretty fractured when put under the microscope. Much like being the kind of person who “does it all,” the ideal company model requires dabbling in countless initiatives 

7. Six social-media skills every leader needs

Few domains in business and society have been untouched by the emerging social-media revolution—one that is not even a decade old.

‘Social News’ is an aggregation of all the best bits from the web brought to you daily, weekly or monthly by keyword and/or theme. For an example of content relevant to your brand or category get in touch for a free demo.


Why Vine is here to stay

2013 October 4
tags: ,
by roostonline


Despite the introduction of video to Instagram Vine still has a place in the market.

In August Vine tweeted that their number of users had increased from 13 million to 40 million in two months, following the rolling out of the Android version of the app. Last month research from The 7th Chamber revealed that 5 tweets per second contain a Vine link and that a branded Vine is five times more likely to be seen then a branded video.

This tale of success is all the more surprising when we look back to June when Facebook announced that Instagram users would now be able to create short-form video uploads. Almost instantly #RIPVine started trending, but as Vine’s subsequent growth suggests this has not been the case.

While Instagram continues to have obvious advantages (their 130 million users obviously being a key factor) including filters and the ability to edit videos we shouldn’t write Vine off just yet, as it has many benefits as a marketing platform.

The Six Second Limit: Twitter applied the same science of limitation when instituting the six second Vine videos. The short length encourages brands and users to think outside the box and be creative when telling a concise story.

User Experience: Users go to Vine expecting to see a video, unlike Instagram which is more established as a channel for static imagery.

Looping: When a Vine video is played it does so on a continuous GIF-like loop. This feature makes the videos more fun to consume and adds creative challenges and advantages.

Despite the above reasons ultimately your decision of whether to use Vine or Instagram to create and share a video on should be most influenced by the channel you want to share your video on. Both Twitter and Facebook are key for marketing, so ultimately it’s not about choosing one over the other. It’s about utilising the right video platform for the right channel. Brands posting video on Twitter should use Vine and those posting video to Facebook should use Instagram.


Facebook Simplifies Promotions for Brands

2013 September 16

Up until now any Facebook page I’ve come across with the words “Like or Share to Win” has resulted in irritation. Facebook’s Terms and Conditions clearly stated that pages were required to run competitions through third party apps.

But a week or so ago,  Facebook surprised us by relaxing their previously stringent competition rules. Brands are now allowed to run their competitions directly on their page by asking users to either like or comment on a post to enter, using likes as a voting mechanism or entering by messaging the page. As of yet sharing a post as an entry requirement is still banned.

This clearly makes it easier for smaller companies who would prefer not to or are unable to invest in apps. There’s been a mixed reaction from those who work in digital marketing around this turnaround so I thought I’d weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of the rule change.

Ella's Kitchen and partners have made good use of the rule changes.


1) Makes competitions more accessible for small businesses

If you’re a small business with a small audience and want to offer a prize it’s now simpler, faster, easier and free to run a competition.

2) Allows you to spend your budget on Facebook media

If you have a limited budget to spend on a competition, you can now spend it promoting your competition post and have it displayed to more people than your usual organic reach (around 10% of your fans), instead of splashing out on an app.

3) Greater post reach

The higher the amount of engagement on a post the higher its reach is. So if the competition entry mechanic is commenting or liking the post itself, it’s far more likely to have a high reach.



1 )Lack of data capture

For larger brands a big advantage of running a competition through a third party app is that they facilitate easy data capture, allowing brands to increase the size of their e-marketing audience.

2) Manually collating entries

Larger brands or competitions in which a high value prize is given away tend to have a high number of entrants. Manually collating these from the Facebook post and randomly selecting a winner is time consuming and potentially inaccurate. (Although Woobox have sought to minimise these risks by creating a free app that allows you to randomly select a winner from those who have commented or liked on a post.)

3) Risk of Negative Talk around the Brand

Facebook has made it clear that brands must clearly state the Terms & Conditions of competitions run on the page timeline and release Facebook of any liabilities. In competitions such as these, there is a greater risk of contestants talking negatively about the brand if they feel it is not carried out in a fair way.


A fan gate is a great way to build a page audience


 4) No fan gate 

A great advantage of third party apps is that many allow for the installation of a fan gate, making contests a great way to build a page audience. Although brands can make liking a page part of a competition’s Terms & Conditions this rule is harder to enforce.


So are these changes good or bad?

Just as every brand is different, every Facebook community is different so there’s no clear answer to this question.

The changes make things far easier for smaller brands with smaller community sizes and limited budgets.

But for the bigger brands there is still much to be said for the visual appeal and easy data collection that comes with using an app.

Ultimately it comes as little surprise that Facebook have implemented these changes, as well as simplifying things for brand page owners they likely to benefit from an increase in Facebook ad revenue.

Creating Great Content

2013 March 28
by roostonline

So often the focus when analysing whether a Facebook page is successful or not, is based on the number of new likes the page receives and the reach each post generates within Facebook.

At Roost we know the key to sustaining a valuable Facebook community isn’t just about gaining fans but keeping them and engagement is a means and not an end.

The topic of this, the first of my new weekly feature will explore the answer to the basic question: How do you prevent a like from becoming an unlike? We will do this by looking at Facebook page content both good and bad and exploring what we think the cause of their success or failure is.

Our observations and tips for this week are:


Build up a buzz around competition launches


With ever increasing numbers of competitions vying for attention across Facebook, Twitter and blogs you need to offer something different to make yours stand out from the crowd.  Moshi Monsters have found an effective way to create excitement and buzz, with users liking and sharing the news in anticipation of their soon to be announced “Design a Moshling” competition.


Facebook fans love exclusives


Sales focused posts from retail brands are some the trickiest pieces of content to position, as anything that comes across as too pushy risks turning followers off.  But sneak previews of new products can work brilliantly on Facebook as fans love exclusives. Kiddicare have taken this approach here: building up excitement and awareness around a soon-to-be-released range, but without a brand site link in site!


Conversations around broader topics will help increase engagement 

John Lewis

Another big consumer turn off can be an overwhelming focus on your product range with no attempt to engage with your community in a broader way. Here John Lewis has engaged with a number of their community members by asking a simple question which requires a quick and easy answer.

They’ve also showcased and linked to one of their products but in a way that is both subtle and appropriate as it fits the question perfectly.


Don’t be afraid to share content from other brands

The Fatherhood

For today’s digital audience no brand is an island and use of other brands creative content where relevant can encourage debate or result in further engagement on your page.

Earlier this Fiat unveiled The Motherhood their ad for the Fiat 500L. The content struck a chord with many mothers and as a result a number of baby and child focused brand pages shared the video, with great results!

Now its sequel The Fatherhood has been released we see further opportunities for engagement for these brands. Fiat might seem far removed from Mothercare but in this case it could fit!

Food for thought. Will keep my eyes peeled for more great (and not so great) examples ready for next weeks update.


Algorithms – now the headache of Social Media Managers…

2012 December 3
by roostonline

It is no longer just SEO specialists who have to concern themselves with algorithm changes. Facebook (and other social network platforms) are joining Google in regularly moving the goal posts and sending the ‘socialsphere’ into a state of panic at the potential consequences.

The second guessing is still taking place as to the impact of Facebook’s latest Edge Rank changes and what it means for brand page reach and content engagement. We recently wrote an article looking at Google’s latest Panda update and the impact that it would have on the blogosphere, so with the likes of Twitter also starting to make changes what does this all mean to marketeers and brands?

The Social Communication Web

For a long time we have advocated having relationships with content creators, in particular bloggers. There are a lot of benefits to these symbiotic relationships; reach, search, peer endorsement etc., but one of the lesser talked about elements is that these early adopters are platform agnostic – they ‘share’ where they think it is most relevant.

Facebook is now a public company and as such it has shareholders to satisfy through increased revenue streams – after all it is not a ‘free platform’ and, as marketeers, we are simply looking to take advantage of the opportunities that it offers.

Social media strategies need to be looked at from a long term point of view. As such plans need to take into consideration that platform rules and revenue models will change; the way to mitigate these changes is to put the power back into the hands of the consumer, let them proliferate content amongst their peers and also across the wider social web and whichever platform (or platforms) that might include.

Long term thinking

The goal of every social media strategy is to open a dialogue with a community; it must therefore be the ultimate goal of a brand to ‘own’ this relationship first hand and to not be reliant on a 3rd party platform which should be the means to an end and not the end itself.

Through looking at Facebook as part of a social media mix and through empowerment and audience insight, Roost are able to take this long term approach. Content is still very important but so is the contact funnel – at the root of which needs to be ‘how do I take ownership of this relationship?’

Wondering about what these changes mean for your Brand’s Facebook Page? We’d love to hear what you think the future holds…


Mumsnet BlogFest

2012 November 21

Community Strategist and lifestyle blogger Frankie Holloway gives her thoughts on Mumsnet BlogFest.

As an enthusiastic blogger and lover of blogs both in my personal life and at Roost I jumped at the opportunity to go to Mumsnet’s inaugural BlogFest to meet bloggers and watch an impressive array of speakers, including one of my favourite writers Caitlin Moran.

I went to BlogFest as a blogger on Saturday 10th November and have also written about the experience and the people I met on my own blog. But the lessons and tips I took away from the day were so fantastic that I wanted to share them with our audience at Roost as well.

BlogFest was held at Millbank in Pimlico overlooking the Thames. I’ve been to several blogger events before and where this one really stood out and differentiated itself was its significant number of high profile speakers and panellists – many of whom were journalists.

Miriam González Durántez

The day opened with Nick Clegg’s wife Miriam González Durántez, who expressed her “monumental debt of gratitude” to the Mumsnet community for the support she received when she made it clear that she would help her husband politically but not as the expense of her identity or her family life.

After her address it was time for the first keynote session “Finding your voice” panellists included journalists Zoe Strimpel and Zoe Williams.

The session inspired a question that occurred in several of the key note sessions: How much do you reveal about your family life, your young children and those close to you?

This caused conflicting opinions among the panel and audience. The Times Journalist and Psychologist Tanya Byron stood up to reiterate her belief that if one of your children or family members asks you to stop writing about them on your blog then you should do so without hesitation.

Inevitably the subject of trolling was also addressed – with a couple of the journalists stating that until your work is published online you never realise how angry people become. The Bloggess who appeared via Google Hangout from Texas had an amusing, though perhaps unorthodox tip for dealing with trolls: As her blog’s editor she can amend her comments, so she simply changes her negative and expletive filled troll comments into ones of love and admiration and publishes under the troll’s name. The troll eventually becomes bored and gives up!

As well as the keynote sessions each delegate was given the opportunity to attend several breakout sessions. My first was on photography with Carrie and Darren from Digital Bungalow and the tips I took away are:

  • Foodie photos look great when from above with lots of natural light.
  • Tidy your kitchen before you take your food photos.
  • Instagram is great but don’t use lots of Instagram photos in your blog because they’re too small.
  • If using WordPress make sure your photos are as wide as possible – otherwise it will automatically try and wrap your text around them.

My final breakout session “Blog Beautiful” focused on Beauty Blogging but a I think the main point I took from the session can be applied to all types of blogger who work with brands:

  • Bloggers are the voice of consumers in a way that certain factions the press cannot be. A beauty blogger can afford to be honest about the products she receives. But beauty editorial in magazines is inevitably and irrevocably tied with the amount the brand spends on advertising in them.

Liz Jones

The final key note session featured four journalists and bloggers, who have become noted for their open and confessional style of writing. The most anticipated and talked about was The Daily Mail’s Liz Jones, who account of the session the next day ruffled the feathers many parenting bloggers. My personal view of this is that anyone who reads Liz Jones’s columns knows that her stance on motherhood and women who take maternity leave  is a negative one.  I was not surprised to read her article the next, in all honesty I’m more surprised that other people were.

Caitlin Moran

The day ended with the much anticipated Caitlin Moran taking to the stage.

As well as regaling her audience with an account of her recent accidental encounter with Samantha Cameron on a train (her latest book cover contains an unflattering description of David) Moran gave her blogging audience some great writing tips:

  • Always write with someone in mind – be it your mother, husband, children, sister of best friend, or in Caitlin’s case Tom Hardy – write your blog posts as if you are writing to them.
  • If you’re struggling to finish your blog post then copying and pasting and slightly rewording your second paragraph is often successful. The reason being that writers often write their conclusive views in their second paragraph following their intro.
  • If you’re thinking about what to write about – scrap your first idea everyone will have thought of that, scrap your second idea, clever people will have thought of it. What you need to do is think of a third idea and that is what you write about.

Caitlin Moran’s most interesting point was her belief that “the snark” (a concept we’ve come across before) was on its way out. So many writers, she said, (whether blogger or journalist) believe that a great way to be funny is to be unpleasant about others. This type of writing is now so prevalent that she fully expects a revolution to occur in the next couple of years.

Following this I rounded off the day with cocktails and canapés overlooking the Thames. At this point I met and spent an hour chatting to two other foodie bloggers, it was a lovely way to round off the day and highlighted what I enjoy most about these events being able to meet and chat with other bloggers. Although I talk to bloggers frequently across social networks both at Roost and at home nothing beats meeting them face to face.

I left weighted down by a fantastic goodie bag and feeling thoroughly uplifted after an interesting day – I am very much looking forward to BlogFest 2013!

Were you at BlogFest, we’d love to hear what you thought of the day.

Follow us @blog_community

Frankie Holloway @frankieholloway

Photos courtesy of Mumsnet

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