(image: The Verge)

How many followers do you have? 10s, 100s, 1000s, more? When you first start out on social media, building a following can be slow. And for that reason many people are now opting to buy their friends. But apart from being a bit sneaky, are there any other disadvantages of buying Twitter followers? We’ll discuss that here.

How Do You Buy Followers?
 

The most common way of buying followers is through a method called ‘zombie account following’. This is where you enlist the services of a 3rd party company, who have a database of ‘zombie’ accounts. They will then follow your Twitter page from these accounts. These are usually inactive users or fake accounts, made solely for this purpose.

The Pros 

(image: Fame Burst)


You’ll be one of the popular kids


The more friends you have the more popular you will appear. Whether they are true followers doesn’t matter, it’s the figure that counts – isn’t it? 

And a high number of followers will make you look and feel important. High numbers dictate worth – you must be worth a follow if 1,500 people already do. 

It’s quick and easy


Results don’t happen overnight if you do things the right way. But if you are looking for a quick win, then this may be the answer. There are numerous sites out there that promise 1,000s of followers for only £5, which is sure to get the savviest of bargain hunters interested. Just don’t expect any of the 1,000 to interact with your account. 

The Cons


Eww! Spam!


Nobody likes ‘spam’ as a food and it is especially disliked in our inboxes. If you decide to purchase Twitter followers you could end up seriously p***ing off your ‘real’ followers. 

Most of these zombie services will insist on access to your account, and while they are in there they will send out many messages to advertise their dubious methods. This is something you as the account holder have little or no control over.

Receiving the same tweets and direct messages not only is annoying but it can really…

Give you a bad rep   

Do you pride yourself on your business’ great reputation and strong relationships with your customers? Well, that integrity may become tarnished quite quickly if you decide to use this technique. 

Buying followers is like cheating in a race, by cutting out the hill climb, and jumping over the fence onto the home straight and the finish line. It is generally seen as immoral. And if you can’t put the time and effort into your own business, can your customers really expect you to give it to them? 

You’ll get found out

It’s easy to think “oh we’ll never get found out”, but you’d be surprised how many people do. Apart from the key giveaways, such as huge increases in a small amount of time, and the relentless advertising, there are now online tools which will scan for fake profiles. 

A simple Google search for ‘find fake followers’, will result in a myriad of checkers, who will pull the results for any Twitter handle. 

It’s nothing but a number

Would you rather 10 real friends or 100 associates? The same question can be applied to your Twitter account. As we previously mentioned, these bought followers won’t interact with you. It can be lonely at the top!

It won’t give you a Klout!

Do you know what your Klout score is? Well, as outlined in, our essential guide to social media terminology, Klout measures your social influence. The higher this is, the better.

And bought followers should help you, fake it until you make it. Whether real or fake, all followers are counted towards your overall score – aren’t they? Well… no. 

Having thousands of followers may make you appear to be influential, but Klout looks at your interaction to formulate your score. So if you don’t have any retweets, replies or favourites you are unlikely to make it, even to double figures. 

Danger! Danger!

Finally, before handing over your details (and your money), stop and think ‘is this safe?’ Some (not all) of these companies are phishing schemes, which are looking to take advantage of unsuspecting businesses and their followers. Is it really worth the risk?  

(image: Slate)

So will you be buying Twitter followers any time soon? Here at Liberty we believe in expanding your following the good old fashioned way – with engagement and interaction!




Do you find yourself frequently looking up social media definitions and Googling what the experts say? Not to worry. If you’re a social media novice or just looking to beef up your knowledge of the latest terminology, we have you covered. Here is your essential guide to social media terminology:


A


AddThis – AddThis is a social tool that allows you to guide traffic to your social media pages from your website through social media shares. It can help you to grow, track and optimise your social pages with analytics data. This is a great tool if you want to know when people are using your pages and how often.

Avatar – An avatar is an image, or an icon, which represents an individual online. This is usually paired with a username. 


B


Bitly – Some social media sites will restrict the length of a post, so to keep your character count down use Bitly to condense and shorten your URLs. 

BoardReader – If you want to know what your target audience really want to read about, why not look at forums and noticeboards? And don’t worry you won’t have to trawl through them for hours. Search for mentioned keywords using BoardReader!


C


Call to Action (CTA) – Tells your readers where to go – literally. All call to actions should tell a reader where they can find out more and provide vital information, such as a link or contact details. 

Chat – This can refer to any online communication, but is usually used to refer to private instant messaging. 

Circles – Circles are a component of Google+, that group together other users that you have connected with. You can choose to categorise these in a number of different ways, such as by colleagues, customers, or friends. You can then share your posts with a specific group if you wish.  


(image: Jeffrey Lapin)

Comments – A comment is a message posted in reply to a post on Facebook or other social media sites. 

Connections – A connection is the term given to a person a user has befriended on LinkedIn. These are called connections rather than ‘friends’ as this is a professional networking platform.

Creative Commons – Looking for that perfect picture to accompany your latest blog post or tweet? Then search through Creative Commons. This provides free licensed images to be shared and/or edited by the general public. 


D


E



Facebook - The most popular social media network in the world. Facebook has 1.23billion monthly users, 945million mobile users, and 757million daily users. It connects people with ‘friends’ allowing them to share messages both publically and privately, post photos and videos, as well as play games. 


(image: Simon under CC0 1.0)


Flash Mob – A flash mob is a group of people who perform an unexpected yet pre-planned dance number in a public space. The participants then disperse quickly and go on their way. Flash mobs are often filmed and posted on social media for advertising or marketing purposes.  

Here’s an example from T-Mobile in 2009:

 

Flickr – Is a social media community that inspires the sharing of photography. It allows users to store and view photos, as well as discuss the images. 

Forums – A forum is an online message board, which creates discussion. Someone will post a question and then any other user can reply with an answer. 

Followers – This is Twitter’s version of friends. A follower is a person who subscribes to and follows your tweets. 
Follow Friday #FF – This is a hashtag that is only used on a Friday. This hashtag is a way of recommending another twitter user, whether this be a friend, colleague or company. 

Friends – Like in real, everyday life, friends are people you connect with – on Facebook. 

G


Google+ - This is Google’s answer to social networking. Google+ is described as a social layer that is not only a networking site, but combines a number of different Google features under one umbrella. It can also provide online authorship for web content posted on blogs. 

H


Hangouts – This is a video service provided by Google+. It allows a user to video chat with a number of different people at the same time, and share documents while chatting. 

Hashtags – A hashtag is this symbol ‘#’. When placed in front of a term or phrase it providers users the ability to group and track its usage. Hashtags are a handy way of finding what topics are most spoken about on Twitter. 

HootSuite – This is a social media management system. HootSuite allows users to control what they post across a number of social media sites from one page. Interaction is then reported through HootSuite and results can be tracked.

I


Instagram – Instagram is a popular photo sharing application for mobile users. Photos can be taken, edited and then shared among users on the network. Instagram can also be linked to Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms. It is however only available on Apple devices.


(image: Zenspa1 under CC BY 2.0 and Mackey Saturday)

 
Instant Messaging – Instant messaging, or IM, is an online way of conversing privately in real-time. 


J


K


Klout – Klout measures a user’s social influences and scores it with a numerical value between 1 and 100. The higher your score, the more influential you are on social media networks. 


L


Like – This is a quick action on Facebook which allows a user to show their interest or approval without having to write a comment. 

LinkedIn – Social networking isn’t only for your social life, LinkedIn is used professionally to help network and maybe even find you a job.


M


Meme – A meme is an image overlaid with text to show humour or a thought.



N


News Feed – This can also be known as a ‘timeline’. A news feed is used as a homepage on Facebook. It combines all of the latest updates from friends in one place for easy viewing. 


O


P


Pinterest – Pinterest is an online pin board where users can group together, select or ‘pin’ pictures to boards. Pinterest is used by millions as a place to find inspiration or aesthetically pleasing imagery. 


Q


R


Reddit – Reddit is an entertainment based social networking platform that allows users to upload and share content to a registered community. This is usually funny images, videos or memes. 

Retweet – This is a re-share of another person’s tweet. Retweeting will share the message with your followers and attribute it to the original Twitter user. 


S


Sendible – Sendible is a powerful social networking tool used by businesses. Like HootSuite it collates all your user accounts, allowing you to post and track from one place.  

SlideShare – An online network which enables the sharing of presentations and documents virtually. 

Social Media Monitoring – This refers to the checking and responding to messages received on social media accounts. 


T


Tag Cloud – A visual depiction of the keywords used within written content. 


Throwback Thursday – A hashtag used on a Thursday, alongside a nostalgic photo or message that looks back on past events. 

Timeline – This can refer to two things. 
(1) See ‘News Feed’ 
(2) The latest style of personal Facebook page, which displays posts chronologically. 

Trending – This is the term given to the terms or topics which are most spoken about on Twitter. These ‘trending’ items can be looked at globally or nationally to see what users are interested in. 

Tweet – A 140 character message posted on Twitter. This may also contain photos, videos or links to web content.
 
Twitter – Twitter is the second most popular social media networking site, and uses microblogging for users to send ‘tweets’ to other followers.


U


Username – This is a pseudonym or screen name that users are required to create when setting up a social media account. It is the name by which you will be referred to while online. 

Did we miss any terms out? Then tweet us your terms or phrases, and we’ll define them for you!


Social media is huge! Around 900million people use Facebook, 310million use Twitter and there are multiple other networks out there. Of these, there are many celebrity users who tweet and post messages to their fans.

Every person uses social media in their own way, and celebrities are no exception. Whether you are serious about selfies, or dip in and out of your accounts, take our quiz and find out which celebrity user you are most like. 

 

1. Why do you use social media?

(a) To TWEET and POSTTTT LIKE I’M SHOUTTTTTTIIINNGG!!!

(b) To promote myself, and the businesses I invest in, duh!?

(c) I use it because my manager and PR guy say I have to 

(d) To share my wealth of knowledge with the world and post witty remarks about current events

(e) To fight trolls

(f) To share my lad and dad photos of course 

 

2. How do you interact on Twitter? 

(a) I do retweet and reply, but it’s mostly about me

(b) I just Instagram everything and reply in my own time to tweets

(c) I have Twitter but I don’t use it very often  

(d) I do like a good intellectual debate

(e) I send funny replies to the people who slag me off


(f) I don’t have Twitter

 

3. And what about Facebook?

(a) It’s mostly pictures and advertising my work

(b) I don’t use it that often but I like to show my love for my close friends and amazing fans

(c) I try to post about business but people keep sending me memes

(d) I don’t really use it

(e) Sharing group photos and crowd pics is fun. Don’t forget to tag yourself!

(f) I try to ignore the Facebook stalkers who <3 <3 <3 me

 

4. How often do you log in and check your social media accounts?

(a) Every few hours

(b) 3 or 4 days a week

(c) Once a week

(d) When I’m bored or see something elsewhere online I want to share

(e) Once a fortnight

(f) Most days 

 

5. What are you more likely to share and retweet?

(a) A bit of everything – charity links, funny videos, fashion questions

(b) Instagram pics of course

(c) Messages about me and general funny stuff

(d) Lots of music videos and an occasional picture of things that amuse me

(e) I’d rather comment on things

(f) I don’t share or retweet anything

 

6. What are your feelings on nude photographs being posted on social media?

(a) If you’ve got it flaunt it!

(b) It wouldn’t really fit with my image, but bikinis are fine

(c) Photos? What are they?

(d) There are much more interesting photographs out there in cyber space

(e) Only if they are simulated using food art

(f) Do I look buff? 

 

7. What does your about me bio say?

(a) Nothing about me, just a link to my latest work

(b) My Facebook page holds the story of my life

(c) Absolutely nothing. There is where I’m from though

(d) It lists my many career disciplines and how I got to where I am today

(e) I made a witty comment about my achievements to date

(f) I don’t need a bio, if you are looking at my page you know who I am

 

8. Are you a fan of selfies?

(a) I’m a bit obsessed with taking photos, but most of mine have been removed for inappropriate content

(b) 90% of my photos are of me, on my own or with other people, but only a few I took myself

(c) I don’t really take photos

(d) I’m partial to a selfie, but only if it is a special occasion

(e) Only if it’s a group picture with models or influential people. You know what I look like.

(f) I have other people take photos of me

 

9. Who are you more likely to befriend and follow?

(a) The people who message me the most

(b) People in the same industry as me 

(c) I don’t follow people, so I’ve hidden this information from other users

(d) Anyone who has something interesting to say

(e) People in power

(f) I have a fan page so I don’t have to have friends 

 

10. What is your profile picture?

(a) A selfie of course

(b) A promotional pic for my latest work

(c) A rockin’ black and white picture, where I look very serious 

(d) A simple picture of me at home

(e) A work related picture

(f) A close up reaction shot

 

Mostly A’s = Rihanna

Pop siren Rihanna currently spends most of her days tweeting about the World Cup. But, when she isn’t commenting on the sporting event, she is posting photographs of her in a lack of clothing. Her mum Monica has even told the singer off for her saucy snaps. Rihanna told Elle Magazine, 

“I’m not afraid of any person other than my mother, but I’m terrified of her.

“She went crazy on me. I was embarrassed”

If you had mostly A’s then you, like Rihanna, are no stranger to social media. You use it a couple of times a day and enjoy sharing things you find interesting. Though you may want to tone some of your photos down a little. 

Mostly B’s = Selena Gomez

Disney princess Selena Gomez is a savvy social media users and understands the power of online platforms to boost business. She often posts promotional content for her music career and the other businesses she invests in. 

If you had mostly B’s, your social media will have a healthy mix of business content and personal items, which gives your accounts personality. You use social media a few times a week, and you pick and choose quality content. 

Mostly C’s = Eminem 

Eminem isn’t a fan of social media sites and only uses them to keep in touch on occasions. If you had mostly C’s, you could do with making your social media accounts more personable. Post personal photos, follow your most avid tweeters and simply log in more often. 

Mostly D’s = Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry isn’t your everyday social media user.  He brings a sense of high culture to the sites. If you had mostly D’s, then you are likely to have social media for your own pleasure, not to promote anything. You share things that genuinely interest you. 

Mostly E’s = James Blunt 

James Blunt gets a lot of stick from Twitter trolls so tries to beat the bullies by replying with witty remarks that belittle them. His social media accounts are a bit snooty, so if you had mostly E’s, you may want to upload content that’s a bit more down to earth! 

Mostly F’s = Vin Diesel

If you had mostly F’s you need to get Twitter! Twitter is the second most used social media network and is quickly catching first place, Facebook. Whether for business or your own personal activities, Twitter is a great way of interacting with others. 

Your Facebook is very popular but you don’t chat to people, so get to know the people who look at your page and you could have many more likes very soon. 

 

 

(images: Wikimedia and Sticky Egg)

When we were young, baby digital marketers learning the ways of the world our elders often told us that “you have to make mistakes to learn from them”. 

We wonder if these 11 businesses learnt their lessons!? 

1. #AskBG

High utility costs have been a hot topic in the news over the last year or so, and many providers have disgruntled customers. So it probably wasn’t the best idea for British Gas to ask its Twitter followers what they think of the company a few days after announcing a price hike of nearly 10%. 

2. The battle to be burger king 

Of all the burger joints out there, the biggest two are undoubtedly Burger King and McDonalds. Last year Burger King was hacked by an unknown group, and its profile was changed to mimic its bitter rival. The hackers even tweeted that Burger King had been bought out and made accusations that its employees were on drugs. 

3. #PricelessSurprises from MasterCard

If you should take anything from this example, it is to not tell journalists what to write about. In an attempt to create a successful marketing campaign MasterCard planned to tweet about the Brits. 

The brand’s PR company lined up plenty of videos, pictures and tweets to accompany the event, but also tried to tell journalists what they could say about the event. They even suggested tweets, hashtags and when the journalists should send them. 

Of course, many journalists didn’t take the instructions well, and the brand’s social strategies were published for all to see on Twitter. A very #PricelessSurprise. 

4. Samsung and the birth of a king 

In July 2013 the country rejoiced when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge saw the birth of their first child. A new royal was born and it was time to celebrate. But technology company Samsung took this as a time to get some free advertising on the back of the momentous event. 

Here’s how they advertised the then new Samsung Galaxy 4:

5. HMV should have changed its password

When you are going to fire someone in charge of your social mediam it is probably a good idea to change your passwords first. HMV wasn’t that clever. When it went into administration the company had to lay off thousands of employees which unsurprisingly left many of them disgruntled. 

1 such staff member decided to voice her anger to the world by live tweeting her HR meeting with HR using #hmvXFactorFiring. 

6. Benadryl’s social pollen count 

Ever wondered where the pollen hot spots are in the UK? Well, hay fever prevention specialist Benadryl wondered that too. So it decided to make an interactive map, where hay fever sufferers could plot their sneeze locations and share it on social media. 

However, some people took this as an invitation to make some unusual art work.  

7. BA’s customer service fail 

Having someone moan about your business on social media is a bad thing, but it isn’t the end of the world. But it is if that customer buys social advertising to promote their issues with your business. Sadly, this was a reality for British Airways. 

When BA failed to find Hassan Syed’s father’s luggage he decided to voice his opinion with a promoted tweet that was seen by more than 75,000 Twitter users. What’s worse, BA did not respond to Syed for more than 8 hours!

8. Ryanair’s frisky CEO 

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary isn’t the most up-to-date when it comes to social media, but he does take the time to answer questions from the public about his budget airline’s services. Though in his case he is probably better off keeping quiet.

Back in 2013, O’Leary made sexist and confrontational replies to questions which considerably tarnished his public image. And on top of this he didn’t even remember to use his own speciality made hashtag #GrillMOL. 

9. Insecure Comments from Domino’s Pizza 

When one devout Domino’s customer posted a photo of her pizza along with a comment that stated it was the ‘best pizza ever’ and for the popular chain to ‘keep up the good work’, the company decided to reply with a strong apology. 

They later said “we meant we were sorry it took Jeaneth so long it took to enjoy the best pizza ever”, and then made further comments that it was human error. 

10. Celeb Boutique doesn’t pay attention to the news

Nearly 2 years ago in Aurora, Colorado there was a mass shooting at a cinema that rocked the USA and the world. And at this time British fashion retailer Celeb Boutique took the rule of commenting on current events a bit too far. 

Believe it not #Aurora was not trending because of its Kim K inspired Aurora dress. 

11. Habitat wants to be popular 

UK home furnishing store Habitat is also a main offender when it comes to hashtags. Relevance went out the window when the store decided to attach popular hashtags, such as #Apple and #iPhone to random tweets in order to increase visibility online. This is not the way to use social media and not how established brands should interact. 

 

Do you struggle with social media? Or perhaps you just don’t have time to tweet, post and pin? Well, not to worry Liberty Marketing is here to the rescue. Why not include social media within your monthly servicing?

 

(images: PR Disasters, Social Slurp, Business Insider, and Huffington Post)

Hello, my name is Steph and I am a social media addict – sort of. It started off with an innocent Bebo account, then there was Myspace, and today I have accounts with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, just to name a few.

Thankfully though, a rubbish phone and a hatred for selfies has stopped me becoming totally obsessed. What about you? Are you a social media addict? If you’ve made any of the following confessions then you may be:


1.       People call you by your screen name or Twitter handle not your birth name. In real life.


2.       You take ages to fall asleep at night because you’re scared to shut your eyes just in case you get a notification.

 3.       And when you do finally drift off, you are already excited about the new followers the morning will bring.

 4.       You plan your #throwbackthursdays well in advance.


 

5.       Your pet has social media accounts – yes plural.

 6.       Daily activities are planned around the possibility of Instagram snaps.

 7.       A low phone battery is scary.

 8.       So you have to carry around a portable phone charger.

 9.       After you meet someone for the first time you stalk them on social media. What were they doing 3 years ago last Tuesday?


 

10.   You have the perfect ‘followers’ to ‘following’ ratio.

 11.   Your Klout score means EVERYTHING to you.

 12.   You ‘check-in’ everywhere you go.

 13.   Friends tell you that you are attached to your phone or computer.

 14.   You are scared to drink alcohol because you don’t know what you’ll say online.

 15.   You delete Facebook posts if you don’t get enough likes.


 

16.   Face-to-face conversations are scary.

 17.   You know everything about a friend’s partner although they never mention them and you’ve never met.

 18.   Hashtags are part of your #everyday #language.

 19.   But one good thing about all this is that your life is well documented.

 20.   You are going to spend ages sharing this post and deciding on the ideal hashtag to accompany it.

 

 

Social Media Addiction and Business

Although being glued to your social media sites 24-7 can be disruptive to your personal life, being on top of your business social media accounts can do wonders.

For example, let’s take number 4: Throwback Thursdays. Planning your posts and tweets well in advance using social media management tools such as Sendible and Hootsuite will ensure you are creating quality content and tracking the effectiveness.

Stalking someone, like in number 9, is a little extreme, but knowing the type of people who follow your social media activity gives insight into your current and potential customer base. And when you know who these people are you can create social content that caters to their interests.

Finally, a well-documented business life is a great thing! If you frequently post and tweet you are more likely to generate engagement from other social media users and maybe even gain a few more customers too. Regular posting will also give your business a sense of authority or trust in the industry; but don’t forget to show personality as this is important too.

So do you have a social media addiction? Or perhaps you have more questions on social media? Well, give us a tweet or comment on our Facebook – we’d love to hear what you think! 

(images: thegirlwiththeblog, Bill and Vicki T and weareiu)


From global pop stars to footballers and all the Z-listed celebrities in between, Twitter has become the modern day social platform for a good old fashioned slanging match. Using the instant message platform to their advantage, insults can be published immediately, reaching all corners of the globe and with the potential to be seen by millions.
In amongst the insults are some comedy battles, with some of the more memorable involving a One Direction member and a national rugby player, another One Direction member and national paper British GQ and just about anyone who has ever been on Big Brother from 2006.

Originally, Twitter was created with the purpose of sending short text message-style ‘tweets’ on a platform, to be seen by potentially the world. Creator Dorsey imagined his site would be used to send “Short bursts of inconsequential information”- however eight years on and Twitter has become a battle ground for the disgruntled among the celeb world. Some of the best battles so far have been:


Katie Hopkins vs. Everyone


Once given the weekly air-time on our televisions as a competitor on The Apprentice, Katie Hopkins quickly became famous for sharing her highly controversial and mostly absurd personal opinions on everything; from children’s names and parenting styles to calling everyone from Lily Allen to X Factor winner Sam Bailey “Fat and pretty hideous.” A classic example of using Twitter’s instant publishing qualities to insult and offend, forgetting her manners and behaving childishly in the social media school-yard.


Lord Alan Sugar vs. Piers Morgan


Lord Sugar doesn’t get away lightly as a regular on the Twitter battle field, coming under fire for his constant battle of words between his arch rival Piers Morgan. There may be an ocean between these two over-grown children, but it doesn’t stop them swapping insults and general petty comments via the social platform. Both parties admit they are really friends, but continue to use Twitter to send mean and petty messages to one another.

 

 

Jeremy Clarkson vs. Piers Morgan


It seems Piers Morgan cannot stay away from the instant message platform when it comes to sending tweets with intent, and his next victim was to be Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson. Not one to shy away from an argument, Clarkson tweeted he “cannot wait for the day [Morgan] he goes to prison”, attaching a photo of the business man at the time when the phone hacking scandal was hot topic. Piers and Jeremy exchanged a few nasty tweets calling each other names and generally behaving like bullies.

 

James Blunt vs. The public


Poor James Blunt is a regular on the Twitter battle-field, facing a barrage of abuse daily, but with a cool twist of sheer brilliance, he shares the abusive messages - along with his excellent witty replies - with everyone on Twitter. Receiving private and direct tweets, Blunt then retweets and mentions the abusers, taking away the venom immediately and shaming them very publically: “Thanks for asking. RT “Does anyone still care about James Blunt?” James Blunt-1, nasty public- 0.

 

 

As social media platforms become our main form of communication in the 21st century, perhaps we should all think twice before posting that offensive or rude message for the world to see, it will probably go a lot further than you think.

From a business perspective, it is better to remain professional and polite - even on your personal account - as you never know who will be reading your tweets!

 

[Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wfryer/2959807121/sizes/z/]

Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are quickly becoming a part of everyday life for many. We constantly have our phones on us and even then we may check our newsfeeds by computer or on our tablets. You may even check your Klout score on a regular basis. So, is it that surprising that our kids are starting to take an interest in these socialising platforms?

Facebook and Twitter state that their services are not meant to be used by those under the age of 13, so technically no children should be using their services. Though lying about your age is quite simple. Younger and younger children are setting up social media profiles but how much does social media impact on the young? And is social media good or bad for kids?

Here are a few of the pros and cons for children using social media platforms:

Pros

·         Children will learn technology skills that can be used later in life. Being able to work a computer is a highly desired quality when applying for jobs.

·         It teaches them how to network. They can make friends all over the world.

·         They communicate more than ever improving their interaction and social skills.

·         Social media improved children’s relationships. It helps them to remember friends’ birthdays and give compliments by liking photos. This way children can stay in touch even if they don’t meet up physically anymore.

·         It gives a sense of belonging and boosts self-esteem.

·         Social media networks provide children with a platform where they can voice their opinions and interests. It is a great tool for self-expression.

Cons

·         One of the biggest problems associated with children and technology is that they spend less time playing outside and more inside on a computer. With social networking this may create an army of keyboard warriors who hide behind their computers and become shy in face-to-face encounters.

·         There is a big bad world out there and social networks are home to many bad influences and predators.

·         Social media networks can be a place for children to act out and attention seekers may get into trouble with inappropriate comments, statuses, videos and pictures.

·         There aren’t any restrictions on correct spelling and grammar. It is even considered cool to misspell and this may seep into their school work.

·         Some teens may suffer depression or anxiety as a result of using social media sites. Stalking other people with ‘better’ lives can alter a child’s mood drastically and depression will create problems with face-to-faceinteractions.

The Consensus

As with everything, social media sites have their pros and cons. You can let your children use the computer but make sure to keep them protected with adequate child locks and a good dose of common sense.

Only allow your children to use social media sites when they hit the suggested age by providers, and educate them so they have a full understanding of the pros and cons of using such a site.

Even if “everyone else uses them” it doesn’t mean your child has to as well. In the vast majority of cases social media is harmless but it is always best to be prepared just in case.

Do you let your child use social media sites? Or perhaps you are dead against them? Let us know what you think on @LibertyOnlineUK.

Twitter is a valuable tool for businesses from industries across the board; allowing them to connect and reach out to customers in real time.  Despite Twitter being one of the most popular social media platforms around, with roughly 218m active monthly users, many people still don’t understand how it works or how it can be used for their brand. In my experience, many people just overcomplicate what Twitter is; put simply, Twitter is a micro blogging tool that allows you to convey a message in 140 characters or less. Let’s look in a little more detail at its functionality and how it can benefit your brand:

Hashtags

When you think hashtag, chances are, you’ll immediately think of Twitter. Hashtags have actually expanded to many other social networks now, but they gained popularity first on Twitter; do you know what they are actually used for though?

Using a hashtag on Twitter is a way of encouraging engagement, both with your followers and a wider audience. Don’t hashtag too much though – that’s plain annoying – try to use no more than 2-3 hashtags in your Tweet!
Carefully select keywords that you want to promote; so, for example, if we wanted to talk about a Google update on our Liberty Twitter, we might say something like: “Reading more about the new #GoogleUpdate targeting spammy #marketing techniques – what are your thoughts?” This way, you are only hashtagging the key elements of your Tweet (those common themes that people may search for or click on) whilst blending them in with natural conversation.

Clicking on a hashtag, or typing the text from the hashtag into the search bar, will take you to a list of everyone who is using the same common theme as you; this can allow you to then engage with others who are interested in the same topic and vice versa. If your brand is big enough, and you have a healthy follower base, you can even start your very own hashtag and aim to get that trending.

Be on trend

On the left hand side of your screen, you will see a list of topics that are currently ‘trending’ on Twitter; the list you see will depend on your settings: yours may be configured so that they show trends relevant to your interests or they may show for your location, but you can amend this if you want to see global or UK trends instead. Keep a close eye on the trending topics as this will allow you to jump into hot conversation; you can tweet about the theme if it’s relevant to you which can then encourage more engagement with your brand, as well as fresh followers.

Real time. Real talk

Twitter is short and sweet; it allows you to reach out to your followers in real time when compared to other social networks, so you can immediately keep them in the loop with the latest news or information.

It’s a great tool for feeding back to people when you’re at an event or a conference, especially if the organiser has created a Tweet specifically for the event – make sure you utilise this for maximum engagement. You can literally Tweet about something that was said at an event as it happens.

Create lists

Twitter allows you to organise your followers into specific lists; so you can separate them by the type of contact they are i.e. clients, customers, colleagues, support, or you can organise them by interest. This makes it easier to see what a particular section of your followers is talking about rather than looking at your whole feed and trying to find specific people.

Brand mentions

If someone wants to talk directly to your brand, they will usually use the @ character to directly Tweet you; however, many people might mention you in passing to their followers, so it’s worth using the Twitter search function to check for brand mentions. This can allow you to converse with people that you aren’t already connected to, but who show an interest in your business. It can also allow you to pick up on any positive or negative comments that are not being directed straight at you. It’s a beneficial feature, so make it a ritual to do a quick search regularly.

How can I make it work for my business?

So, now you know what you can do with Twitter to reach out to your audience, how can you apply this to your business?

•    Promote your blog posts – this will widen your readership
•    Ask your followers questions – this is great for research and development
•    Join in with trending conversations to expand your follower base
•    Monitor Twitter for brand mentions
•    Tweet at least once per day – the more you Tweet, the more engagement you’ll reap
•    Be consistent with your brand voice – use this when you Tweet
•    Tweet like a human – don’t always be promotional and don’t be afraid to show personality
•    Use it for quick and easy customer service – followers will appreciate your speedy response
•    Host competitions – you can use these to expand your follower base further

How have you tackled Twitter for business? Do you have any top tips for your specific market place?

Seasonal events and celebrations are always fantastic opportunities for generating content for your business. It doesn’t matter whether you work in law, finance, catering or beauty, you can make the most of occasions like Easter, Halloween, and Christmas by creating engaging images and copy to distribute across your blog and social channels (or even for use as PR) – and if you do this really well, you could potentially see it go viral, taking your brand to a wider audience.

Spook tactics

Let’s take Halloween as an example; the internet has exploded with spooky activity today as businesses have embraced All Hallows' Eve. Here are some of the best examples of seasonal digital marketing:


Krispy Screams

Never ones to miss out on a seasonal opportunity, Krispy Kreme took full advantage of Halloween by launching spooky doughnuts, by offering customers in full costume a free Original Glazed doughnut, and by hosting various spooky activities. They reminded followers of the looming celebration in the run-up to Halloween – therefore reinforcing their brand and promoting their new products whilst also encouraging people to engage with them on social channels.


Carling

Carling pulled an excellent video out of the marketing bag this Halloween – the video proved to be so popular that it went viral in a matter of days, and it now has over 218,000 views on YouTube alone. That’s some successful seasonal marketing!
So why was this one so successful? Simple: Carling combined Halloween, humour, boyish pranks and beer – a recipe for social media success! Check it out.


Oreo


We’re big fans of the Oreo marketing campaigns; they are always super creative and engaging. For Halloween, Oreo created a series of Vines with the hashtag #OreoHorrorStories - they played homage to famous horror movies as the cookies met their death! If you haven’t watched these yet, then you have to check them out. They are simply brilliant.



FedEx


It wasn’t just the food and drink industry that got involved with some spooktacular marketing; Fed Ex embraced the world’s love of everything zombie by tweeting a picture of an apocalypse survival kit captioned with: “Ship just about all #Zombie Apocalypse survival gear for one flat rate.”


Folly Farm



On a more local level, Folly Farm did an excellent job of promoting their adventure park this Halloween. Their social channels were full of fun, spooky-themed pics. The Penguins and Pumpkins photo album on Facebook and this adorable pic of lemurs playing with a vampire mask are our favourites – the lemurs even managed to get themselves into the local press!
Folly Farm also embraced Halloween by running special events such as Jugglestruck's Spooky Show, Halloween Card hunts and Trails, Freaky face painting and Creepy Encounters with rats, cockroaches and giant land snails to keep kids occupied during the half term break


Capital FM

This South Wales based radio station played a mean prank on some of their unsuspecting staff by jumping out on them in the early hours of this morning whilst wearing a mask. They videoed the prank before putting it onto their social channels for the world to see. Take a look here.


Happy Halloween

At Liberty Marketing, we enjoyed some Halloween themed cupcakes, we turned the staff room into a spooky den, we spent the day in fancy dress and we raffled some sweet goods – all to raise money for charity.

What are you doing this Halloween? Whatever you are doing to celebrate, here’s hoping you have a spooktacular time!

 



After the Duchess of Cambridge went into labour yesterday, millions of users on Twitter waited with bated breath for the arrival of our new Prince or Princess. For the first time, Brits could celebrate a Royal birth on social media.

Trending topics such as #RoyalBaby and #RoyalBabyWatch emerged as Twitter users tried to predict the sex, weight and even the arrival time of the special sprog. Tweets came in thick and fast as companies and individuals across the globe joined in the Royal baby conversation.

Heir we go

As with the announcement of the labour, many people first found out about the new Prince as word spread across Twitter.

Almost immediately, trending topics changed from baby predictions to congratulatory tweets with hashtags such as #RoyalBabyBoy and #RoyalBabyNames emerging as users began speculating the name of the future King. News spread like wildfire to other social networks with Facebook timelines, and even LinkedIn, buzzing with the news.

The sheer volume of tweets and social mentions that went live yesterday was astounding – and the speed at which the news spread showed the true power of social media!

Royal baby branding

As well as making the most of the chatter on social channels, many brands tried to capitalise on the arrival of the noble new born with some strategic branding:

Starbucks:

The coffee giant’s UK Twitter account showed their support of the new Prince by tweeting a picture of two Starbucks coffee cups labelled with ‘Kate’ and ‘William’, accompanied by a mini coffee cup – all decorated with crowns!



Oreo Cookie:

Oreo celebrated the Royal baby by tweeting ‘Prepare the royal bottle service!’ They further branded the tweet with the slogan: ‘Long live the crème’.



Coca-Cola:

Coke made use of their current marketing campaign to show their support of the Royal news – they tweeted ‘Time for a Royal celebration’ with an image of two coke bottles ‘Kate’ and ‘Wills’.



Domino’s Pizza and Pizza Hut:

Pizza Hut took the arrival of the Royal baby as an opportunity to sell more pizza! They offered customers a free side or dessert with any medium or large pizza by using discount code: ROYALOFFER - whereas Domino’s tweeted a picture of a baby grow that had been branded with their colours and logo, and read: ‘Another great delivery’.



Souvenirs and memorabilia

Many brands will also look to jump on the baby bandwagon with souvenirs and memorabilia to mark the event. Companies such as the Royal Crown Derby and the Royal Collection Trust are already working on collectables to celebrate the Royal birth, but they certainly won’t be the only ones; we’re certain to see a broad range of businesses rolling out baby-themed products over the coming weeks!

What’s been your favourite example of baby branding on social media so far? And will you be buying into the Royal baby memorabilia? Let us know on Twitter @LibertyOnlineUK