With many social media platforms available to businesses at the moment, it can be difficult to figure out which ones are worth focusing on.

By identifying which platforms will generate the most engagement and conversions, you’ll be able to save huge amounts of time and resources. Rather than trying to maintain a consistent presence on every single platform out there, why not focus your time and energy on curating content and imagery for the ones that will serve your business best.

Here’s a breakdown of the top social platforms on the scene to help you figure out which social media platforms will boost your business.

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You’re probably already aware that maintaining a social media presence is absolutely essential for any type of business to gain brand exposure and engaging with your consumer audience. But have you been keeping up to date with the social media trends that are set to dominate in 2016?

This year is all about fresh and up-to-the minute content through visual forms of communication, such as video and emojis. Users are also getting more social media-savvy and expect to be able to do everything they need in one app. “Tell me more!” you exclaim excitedly. Here are 5 social media trends that can’t be ignored when considering your social media strategy for 2016.

1. Real-time engagement rules

Towards the end of 2015 it became very clear that users are hungry for real-time video content. Live streaming app Periscope’s rapid rise in popularity since its official launch in March 2015 is a perfect example of the demand for live content. Once logged in, users are able to post live, unedited video segments that are viewed and commented on by their followers. In a similar fashion, Snapchat and Twitter Moments allows users to post live updates to their followers at the tap of their fingertips.

Give your audience a deeper look into your brand

Businesses who are taking advantage of these social platforms are quickly seeing results. By posting live video streams, a company is showing a more authentic side to its consumers, which in return builds trust and loyalty. People love the idea of getting live, behind-the-scenes peeks at what goes on with a company. For instance, retail chain Target used Periscope to provide a behind-the-scenes peek into their new Lilly Pulitzer line which resulted in such huge demand that 90% of the collection sold out within days. Behind the scenes, interviews and product announcements are just a few ways that Periscope and other live streaming apps can benefit a business.

2. Data-driven marketing will increase its dominance

It’s no secret social media helps you figure out who your audience is and how you can tailor your content to promote engagement and encourage conversions. Marketers haven’t previously had access to so much information about consumer preferences before and are quickly trying to cash in on this benefit.

Benefits of breaking down your data

Social media analytics can be used to determine when consumers are going through significant lifestyle changes, such as getting married, having a baby or buying a house, businesses. This is a time when consumers are more willing to change their spending habits and a sweet spot for gaining their loyalty. Plus, these consumers are also more likely to be advocates for your brand.

Coca Cola used Twitter’s Tailored Audience function to create personalised tweets that used consumers’ first names for their Share-a-Coke campaign in 2015, and increased sales by 7% in Australia and 3% in the US. These results strongly suggest that when marketing platforms are micro-targeted by audience segments, there is a noticeable increase in brand exposure and engagement.

3. Major leaps and bounds with in-app functionality

Long gone are the days when a user has to jump from one app to another to achieve what they need to do. Social media platforms and messaging apps are providing everything you need within one app for a seamless and time-saving experience. A perfect example of this is the messaging app WeChat, which currently has 549 million active users worldwide and contributes $1.76bn in lifestyle spending in China. Aside from allowing users to send messages to their contact list, WeChat gives users the ability to:

  • Express emotion with emojis and stickers
  • Send money and pay bills
  • Purchase products
  • Get one-on-one customer help
  • Make a call
  • Send voice messages
  • Host Group Chats
  • Post images, videos and status updates

Other messaging apps, like Whatsapp and Viber have developed similar functions although they’re not yet quite as developed as WeChat.

Jumping on the bandwagon

Due to its huge popularity, particularly in China, businesses worldwide are quickly realising the need to corner this lucrative market by setting up their brand on WeChat. By setting up a WeChat platform, companies can give users a range of functionalities, such as purchase products, access customer service and view regular updates and announcements.

Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo increased sales by 30% in China and doubled their WeChat followers from 400,000 to 1 million in just six months with the launch of their Style Your Life campaign in 2015. Consumers were able to try on outfits and use their mobile phones or in-store monitors to take photos and load them onto WeChat to superimpose them against different backgrounds (snow, tropical island, etc).

4. Gifs, videos and emojis.. oh my!

Visual communication has become driving forces of engagement, with micro-videos, gifs and emojis becoming a common form of expression, especially amongst young consumers. Facebook, Twitter and Google are all vying for more video and integrated gif content to deliver the demand and retain users.

Press record to encourage engagement

Facebook is set to dominate the video scene with the introduction of 360 video, a camera system that simultaneously records 360 degrees of a scene, allowing viewers to pan and rotate to watch the video from different angles. For instance, ABC NEWS used 360 on Facebook to allow their viewers to take a look into Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Utilising new video apps to gain brand exposure and increase engagement will show that your business is focused on creating buzz and staying

Making sense of emojis

Emojis are another trend that marketers are using to their advantage. Think what you want about Kim Kardashian, but her release of the Kimoji app generated 9000 downloads per second which generated $1 million revenue per minute! The app was so in demand the servers crashed due to its inability to keep up with demand.

At first glance, they might just seem like a fun way to express yourself but if you take a closer look you can gather important information about your consumer base. “But how?” you ask (insert frustrated emoji here), “they’re just cute little images people use when messaging their friends.” Consider the following questions:

  • Do you know what emojis are associated with your business and what they mean?
  • Do you know the context of such conversations?
  • Can you convert that information into actionable insight?

By analysing the actual meaning and logic behind the use of emoji characters, you should be able to discover valuable information about your target audience.

5. Buy buttons will become the norm

The ability to purchase products in social media apps has already been introduced by Facebook and Pinterest, who’ve introduced ‘buy’ buttons for advertisers and users. Facebook are currently testing their ‘call-to-action’ button across small and medium-sized business in the US with the hopes of rolling it out worldwide this year. Pinterest ‘buy’ buttons are displayed on pins, which allows the user to click and purchase without having to leave the app.

A new way to reach your target audience

By the end of 2016 most major social media brand will feature a ‘buy’ button in some kind of capacity as an element of their advertising campaign. This will allow businesses access to a whole new realm of advertising, giving them the ability to push specific products targeted towards segmented audiences. For example, a baby products company is able to target women who are due to have a baby or recently given birth, to advertise newborn products such as clothing, nappies and nursery accessories which can be purchased at a click of a button.

So there you have it… another exciting year in the always-changing world of social media. Are there any other social media trends that you think are set to take over in 2016? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Kristine Stone is a copywriter at Sydney-based design agency Orion Creative. She’s obsessed with social media, blogging and keeping up with the latest digital marketing trends. A self-confessed word nerd, Kristine has experience writing about women’s lifestyle, bridal, technology, interior design and a wide range of other industries.

If you’ve ever had a public online presence – such as a website and social media pages for your business, or yourself – then at some point you’ve probably come across people who dislike you. Sometimes they have a reason, such as a bad experience at your establishment. Sometimes there’s no discernible reasons – haters gonna hate. And sometimes, it comes down to a case of misinterpreted words and bad luck. Just ask poor Justine Sacco.

How these people react can range from something as simple as a grumpy, “I hate you” statement, to rude and aggressive messages, to a full-on barrage of posts and tweets from people threatening to kill you or demanding you kill yourself. Hopefully, most of us will never experience that last one, but it can and does happen every day.

So, how should you deal with online harassment?

1. Take your hands away from the keyboard

Of course you want to respond immediately. Perhaps you were misunderstood, or the other person is using a spurious argument, or there’s a valid reason for what you said or did.

It doesn’t matter.

Don’t touch that keyboard. Close the browser window, step away from the computer, and go do something else. Go look at your nice flowers outside, or crochet one. Beat up your punching bag, go for a run, cook some comfort food. Whatever floats your boat.

Then, and only then, come back to the comment or comments. Consider the tone of the comment. Is the person serious about having a dialogue, or do they just want to prove they’re right? If it’s the latter, don’t respond.

If you do decide to respond, by this point you should have calmed down enough to give a less heated, less emotional response. To have a constructive debate, if you will. “But I’m not the kind of person who gets angry!” you say. Perhaps so. Just keep in mind that a lot happens in the unconscious mind, such as your choice of words. Consider, for example, how the phrase “Police fired tear gas” evokes a stronger emotional response than “Police sprayed tear gas”.

So step away from the keyboard, go do something else, then come back later.

2. Do not engage! Repeat: Do not engage!

As mentioned in the previous point, if someone is simply out to prove they’re right, or wants to complain, don’t respond.

When you’re in the maelstrom, it’s highly emotional. Most people’s first instinct is to either defend themselves, or lash back. After all, you’re under attack. But those are two of the worst things you can do, because it encourages your attackers to respond – and the last thing you want is a protracted, emotional debate in the public eye. It puts you, the public figure, in a bad light and gives more people a (bad) reason to attack you as well. It’s why authors, for example, are told that it’s generally a bad idea to respond to negative reviews.

…the last thing you want is a protracted, emotional debate in the public eye

It’s not worth it, and you will never be able to change another person’s mind through an online argument because they’re already convinced they’re right. It’s called Confirmation Bias.

There are also those who deliberately post inflammatory statements to get a response. Whether it’s for attention or for amusement, these “trolls” just want to agitate you and make you angry. There’s a reason one of the most common sayings online is “Don’t feed the trolls”!

And if there’s an online mob out to attack you, responding simply makes you a bigger, better target for them. Anything you say can and will be used against you.

3. Total lockdown

Anyone seriously determined to harass you will also try to get into your email, social media accounts, website, and anywhere else they can dig through your private information and find information and/or pictures that can be used against you.

Lock down all your important accounts. Change your password and security question/answer – and make sure they’re secure! Use a password manager, which generates long, randomised passwords for each site and automatically signs you in – meaning you only need to remember one password. Turn on two-factor authentication, which requires an additional code sent to your mobile or generated by an app, before anyone can log in. Perhaps this sounds like overkill, but if someone is out to get you, gaining access to any of your accounts is like a goldmine for them.

Finally, ensure your personal data is scrubbed from the internet (see this useful guide). It’s not always foolproof and you may not be able to remove everything, but you can make it a lot harder for a stranger to find out where you live and work!

4. Seek support

The “Do not engage” principle doesn’t always work. There are people who, despite your silence, will continue to attack you.

Sometimes, it’s just one nasty comment. Other times, it’s a protracted attack by a particularly determined individual, or a whole segment of the internet. Whatever the case, it can be easy to become stressed and beaten down by the ferocity of the attack.

Don’t try to deal with it alone.

The internet can become a vicious place when you’re a designated target. Just ask anyone who’s experienced more extreme bullying, and they’ll have tales of having their personal details leaked online (doxxing), receiving abusive anonymous calls, violent threats, takeaway sent to their door for payment on delivery, even in some cases having the police called to their property after being tipped off about someone being attacked there. (In America, the standard is calling in a SWAT team, and there’s even a term – swatting.)

It can be overwhelming, so seek support from loved ones and friends. Complain to them offline, out of the public eye. Ask them to help you sort through the nasty messages, because it’s much easier for them to keep an emotional distance. Crash at their place if you feel threatened, or cry on their shoulder.

You can also seek support from communities dedicated to helping people who are being harassed online. Crash Override Network is one such community set up by two online abuse survivors, who have created a network of experts in fields from law enforcement and law to white-hat hacking, PR and counselling. They provide advice for how to prevent attacks, as well as support for those under attack.

And if you ever reach the point where you’re contemplating suicide, please, please reach out to organisations such as BeyondBlue on 1300 22 4636 if you’re in Australia, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1800 273 8255 if you’re in America. Here is a list of suicide hotlines for a number of other countries.


Online harassment can be a stressful, heartbreaking experience. But you can learn to deal with the smaller-scale haters, and survive through the big ones. You are not alone. You don’t have to be.

This is the third post in our January tech series, “Things to ask your…” . Catch up on the previous two: Three things to ask… Your software developer and Four things to ask… Your website developer!

This week, we’ve turned our attention to social media. After all, it’s where you grow a community around your service or product, engage with your customers and potential customers, and build brand loyalty. I sat down with Shonay Shaw, who works as a social media manager, to find out the four key questions you should be asking a potential social media manager.

What are the key audiences of different social media sites?

Not all social media sites are created equal. Different sites serve different purposes and attract different audiences. It is important that the person looking after your social media strategy has a good understanding of how social media sites vary, and also a thorough understanding of your organisation’s needs and target market. This way, they can assess which sites will be worth investing in and focusing on.

How do you plan on using social media to engage with customers or clients long-term?

Using social media successfully for a business is very different to using social media for personal fun. A good social manager should be able to understand how social media fits into your business. They will also have a long-term strategy around keeping existing customers or clients engaged while drawing in new ones from areas you haven’t tapped into yet.

In addition, how does the social media manager see the platform as a tool for communicating with your clients? Is it the main point of entry to your site or initial source of updates? Does it serve a help desk function? Ensuring you’re aligned on all these points will make for a good relationship.

What are the latest features of [Social Media Platform]?

Social media is constantly changing and evolving all the time. Features change. Search and display algorithms change. It’s important that your social media manager is up-to-date with the latest trends, features, updates and new sites so that your social media presence continues to work for you. Do some research beforehand, find out about the newest features that have been released on your original platform(s) of choice, and check if the candidate knows of them.

Chances are if they don’t have a clue about most of the major platforms, they won’t be able to make full use of all the platforms can offer. It may even harm your online presence if they’re not aware when big changes come in, especially the ones made behind the scenes.

Do you create content?

The creation and distribution of valuable content is one of the most powerful social media strategies an organisation can use. Quotes and images with your company’s logo that can be easily shared, tweeted or pinned can be a big boost in getting your brand recognised. Leading images, thought-provoking posts, infographics and even well-designed guides within your company’s area of expertise are also a big plus.

A social media manager who is able to manage a content strategy, as well as author or source original content, is invaluable.


Featured image: thewooj [50mm]

Do you have any other questions we should be asking potential social media managers? Let us know in the comments!

It’s a sad fact that according to the White Ribbon report, about 40% of Australian women will be the victims of violence at some point in their lifetime. But for many women, escaping the situation isn’t as simple as walking out the door. Many fear for their personal safety, and in this day and age where the internet is a treasure trove of information, staying hidden or under the radar isn’t as safe as it once was.

Here are five tips to help you, or someone you know, protect themselves online. These tips are from Telstra’s Safe Connections program, a partnership with the Women’s Services Network (WESNET) to help women impacted by domestic violence to stay safely connected.

1. Always turn location/GPS and Bluetooth off on your phone

It’s easy to forget that most smartphones have a GPS feature that can pinpoint your exact location. Someone who’s previously had access to your phone can use apps that send this GPS location to their phone, so they always know where you are.

With Bluetooth, it’s possible for someone with previous access to use a Bluetooth connection to access your phone. This can include access to your SMSes, call history, contacts, and even photos. The safest way is to keep it turned off.

2. Change your passwords regularly

Whether it’s your phone, Facebook, online banking, or your laptop, to name a few – if it has a password, ensure it’s changed every month, or even every week. Yes, it does make passwords a pain to remember, but it also ensures that your abuser doesn’t have access to any of your private information.

3. Create a separate email account for safety planning and legal communication

If you’re talking to a lawyer, a victim advocate such as someone at WESNET, or even to a friend about your escape plan, do not use your regular email. Set up a separate email account on a computer that your abuser doesn’t have access to, and only check that email account from the safe computer.

Don’t assume that just because you’ve changed your password for your normal email account, your abuser can’t access it. Your password may not be as secret as you think, or they might find another way to access it through your tablet or phone, for example. Play it safe, and use a new, different email account they’re not aware of.

4. Adjust your children’s and your own privacy settings on devices and social media

Just because you’ve unfriended your abuser on Facebook doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to see your posts. It’s as simple as them getting access to one of your friends’ accounts, and they can see everything once more.

Facebook now has options to choose who can post on your wall, and who can see what’s posted on your wall. Go through all the privacy settings for the social media you use, and ensure that friends and family can’t accidentally reveal or provide clues to your location with a seemingly innocent comment.

Same with your children – have a discussion with them about what they can and can’t say online, as well as when and how the other parent is allowed to communicate with them. Then keep a close eye on their social media accounts, regardless.

5. Document all threats

Even if you think your phone or computer is being accessed or watched, don’t simply throw it out or abandon it. You need to ensure you have a record of all threats that have been made against you, so you can take them to the police, your lawyer, or a community legal service to have them documented as evidence.

There are many programs that can back up texts. You should also take screenshots or print your call history. Many phones these days also allow you to record phone calls, though that’s getting into slightly murkier legal territory. You’ll need to get legal advice to determine if you can use such recordings as formal evidence.


These are just some simple ways to protect yourself online. But most importantly, trying to deal with violence and abuse on your own can be very dangerous. If you are in such a situation, always work with a domestic violence or sexual assault support worker to help you plan for your safety, and always call 000 in an emergency.

If you, or someone you know, needs help with domestic violence, abuse or sexual assault, you can call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) for support and assistance. You can also access online counseling at www.1800respect.org.au.

Unless you have been stranded on a deserted island for the past few years, you would know that Facebook is like the “Godfather” of social media, with Australians interacting with the platform more than any other site on the Internet. If your business isn’t on Facebook yet, you really are missing out.

Facebook has given the term “marketing” a whole new meaning to business owners. Which other media channel in the world right now can target millions and aim at the exact demographic you wish to have direct communication with?

Whether you are a service or product based business, big or small, businesses are successfully using Facebook for online sales, brand exposure, communicating with new and existing customers, building loyalty and capturing emails to generate leads and converting them into actual sales.

The trick is increasing sales
for your business by increasing the interaction between your brand and customers through your Facebook page – so having users click, like, share and comment regularly.

But, the million dollar question is, how do you do this?

The Basics

  • Social media is a continuous process that requires constant attentionYour FB page must be professionally branded and use the timeline cover image to make it clear what it is you do or offer.
  • Social media is a continuous process that requires constant attention. Think of it as starting a conversation with your customers and midway you go silent. Be committed and consistent every day.
  • You need a healthy number of users opting in to “like” your page. Promote your Facebook page link to all your customers, on your business card, email and website.
  • If you need to gather new “likers” – you can run a simple, low cost paid Facebook campaign where you target users (just make sure they are “likers” you’d LOVE to have as clients and fit the demographic that suits your business).
  • A word of warning – people still regard Facebook as a fun social space where they chat to friends and check out photos. So it’s not just about getting lots of hits or tacky hard sell; it’s about providing relevant and insightful information that actually keeps your customers there and talking.

Content – What, and how much?

Earlier this year, Facebook rolled out algorithm updates that have resulted in decreased visibility for business’s organic page posts. It means you really need to spend more time posting great content several times per day to cut through all the other businesses jumping on the bandwagon.

  • spend more time posting great content several times per dayPost 3-4 times per day – sounds like a lot, right? But, around 15% of your fans will see at least one of your posts per day (if even that) so increase your chances of appearing in news feeds by posting more, increasing the chances one post will get a bite.
  • Spread out your posts or schedule them (look into your insights tab to work out when your likers are online the most (morning, late afternoon or evening?)
  • Keep your posts short and sharp – 150-250 characters for optimal engagement
  • videos and You Tube clips have HUGE engagement ratesBy posting amazing content, the chances are it will be commented on, shared and liked many times – videos and You Tube clips have HUGE engagement rates and get great attention
  • Post a healthy mix of helpful information, images and useful resources that your target audience would value. This is a good driver of leads to your website and will have you perceived as trustworthy to buy from.

Paid Facebook Advertisements

With organic reach down, now is the perfect time to experiment with Facebook ads and the new revamped system is easy to use. Paid Facebook ads can appear right in a user’s newsfeed capturing a potential user to take action.

  • You can even zone in on actual suburbs Ensure before you create your advertisement, you know what your goal is – more website visits? More fan engagement? There’s now a guided format to help select your objective.
  • Take advantage of the unique targeting options – make the most of age, gender, relationship status, their workplace and job title. You can even zone in on actual suburbs if you need to attract local customers.
  • Use your audience meter, ensuring it isn’t too broad – advertisements will generally perform better when they are targeted to a few thousand people.
  • Include a clear call to action and enticing headline to encourage users to take your desired action.
  • Go crazy with your images (but remember to choose carefully). You can add up to six images at no extra cost and it’s a real clever way of testing how different images coupled with your advertisement perform
  • Have you got a healthy database of emails? You can now import your contacts (up to 5,000 names at a time) – imagine the possibilities of inviting them to your Facebook page and targeting posts to them.
  • Include a clear call to actionNeed more emails captured? Use software like LeadPages – it’s a powerful way that links with Facebook and allows you to present an offering (usually something for free like an E-Book or how-to-guide) in exchange for an email. Customers sign up and you now have their email to start communicating with them one on one, building a relationship of trust and expertise and then slowly building up to offer your products or service

Finally, as always, you’ve got to test, tweak and measure – always look at your Facebook insights to gauge how popular your posts and advertisements have been and who is actually taking notice – this data is gold to your ongoing efforts and it allows you to quickly see what you’re doing right or wrong – above all – have a little fun with it, put effort in daily, follow the tips above and you’ll be reaping the rewards in a short amount of time.

Featured image: djchuang

Danielle is offering a FREE 30min consultation to clarify your strategies and efforts and give your FB page a health check via Skype or a phone consult until 23 December 2014. Get in touch with her directly on danielle@creativebuzzdesign.com.au or www.creativebuzzdesign.com.au

Adanielle-grantbout Danielle Grant

Danielle Grant is the director of Creative Buzz Design + Marketing based in Sydney. Danielle is a seasoned marketer, graphic designer and former English high school teacher and has spent the last decade in hospitality, transport and government roles which have developed her design, marketing flair, social media and communication skills.

She has a strong drive to help women in small businesses and entrepreneurs through workshops and 1:1 to re-shape their marketing efforts so it is fuss-free and low-cost. Danielle has helped business owners through the often daunting process of understanding social media and equipping them with the necessary tools to strive for more.