Facebook’s big announcements + sharing habits + our insights on blogging

Welcome to The Watercooler, issue 33.

LMTD has picked out some of the most interesting digital and social media stories making waves around the web this week, to keep you up-to-date with developments in the world’s most exciting and fastest-growing industry.

Something else you’d like to see? Let us know at news@teamlmtd.com.

What’s new from Facebook: our favourites

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Round-ups of Facebook’s recent announcements are everywhere (Seriously! They’re here and here. And here). So we thought we’d just pick out our favourites. Which isn’t the same thing, okay?

– Analytics for apps: a web dashboard that gives you a cross-platform look at the audience engagement and conversion rates for your apps. Given how important apps are as a method for consuming online content, any effort to help marketers use them more efficiently is good news.

Messenger as a service: Zuckerburg et al bring you Facebook Messenger as its own platform, complete with 47 natively integrated apps, the ability to message businesses, and even to complete commercial transactions. The motives behind splitting it out from Facebook proper finally revealed?

Giphy: get ready for marketing by gif, no matter how you pronounce it.

What do people like to share?

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Did you know that consumers doubled their sharing activity on mobile in 2014? No?

Knowing your audience’s social sharing habits helps you pick the right medium, the right platform, the right content. It could mean the difference between a successful online campaign and a black hole in your budget.

If you’re a little stuck for a start, take a look at this report from the guys at ShareThis, which takes a closer look at the sharing trends you should know from 2014.

Our top takeaways include:

– In Q4 2014, 81% of all shares came from Facebook: although this study didn’t include Instagram (a big miss, considering Instagram has a pretty impressive engagement rate), this stat can’t be easily dismissed. Content sharing is big business on Facebook, so if you wan’t something shared fast, it’s a good first stop.

– If you want your content shared, it should be scannable and concise: ‘Listicles‘ and ‘how to’ posts were among the most shared content types in 2014. Find a way of making these work for your brand and the shares will come.

– Mobile users now spend 20% of their activity on that device sharing content: mobile is big. Make sure you’re content is optimised, or suffer the consequences.

If the report is TL;DR, take a look at this summary from Social Media Examiner, which also covers the best times to post across your social channels.

#BeBetter, blog posts

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This one’s a little meta, considering the platform, but bear with us…

These days, blogging is tough. Not only is there an unending sea of competition, but long-form isn’t nearly as popular as it once was (see above RE: listicles). There are plenty of resources to trawl through if you’re looking for advice on how to sharpen your writing, or reach a wider audience, or convert that audience into loyal customers, so there’s no need for us to replicate it here, but a few things have become apparent to LMTD‘s creatives that beg a share.

Before you start blogging, consider two very closely related things: your motivation and your purpose. Why are you blogging? And what do you hope to get out of it? If you’re blogging to reach a wider (or even a more specific) audience, what do you want to do with the blog once you get them? What are they going to get out of it?

Your brand identity will inform the style you use, and while it may sound self-evident, it’s important to remember both the audience and the platform you’re using to reach them (that is, the magic of the Internet). Brands often occupy themselves with protecting their existing identity, without considering the possibility that their identity on social can feasibly be different, while appealing to the same target demographic. Just because you’re looking to reach middle-aged men with money to spend doesn’t mean you have to write mid-life crisis copy. These guys share pictures of cats just as much as the rest of us.

Finally, don’t forget to tell your readers the truth. That is, try not to manipulate them too much. Actually, that’s not very clear. Which is sort of the problem. If you’re using your blog to sell a product, then sell your product. If it’s a good one (and we presume it is, since you decided to blog about it in the first place), information about it should be front and centre. It should be obvious to your reader what you’re trying to persuade them to do / buy / advocate. That being said, try not to demand they feel a certain way (‘this blog post will make you cry and cry and cry…’). That’s just annoying.

Does The Watercooler break any of these rules? Have you figured out our purpose yet? Why not come back next week to find out if you’re right…

#ICYMI

Autoplaying ads coming to Twitter?

Password-free app downloads from iOS

Find Rihanna’s new song exclusively on Dubsmash 

Instagram introduces Layout for photo collages

Facebook to host third-party content

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