Category : Social Media

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Social Media Legal Matters and Copyright Questions Answered

We can all agree that Social Media channels are among the most informal spaces for users and marketers. With that comes a much more relaxed attitude about certain things, including Copyright, Trademarks, and other legalities. We often receive questions from clients regarding these topics and so we decided to lay it out on our blog.

Often times clients confuse what’s OK for individual users to post on Social and what’s LEGAL for business to post.

There really is no right answer, and we are not lawyers, but we can offer up some best practices and rules of thumb to help keep you on the safer side. Any look on Google for “answers” (because well it’s 2017 :P), most “answers” you see are very confusing and far more complex and in-depth than most marketers and business owners expect or would like. Here are the top three concerns we often talk about with clients:

  1. Trademarking Logos
  2. Stock photos
  3. Music

Trademark

Trademark laws typically cover anything that might be used to identify a company, so of course, most logos are created entirely for this reason, which means logos are generally protected under Trademark Laws. You might ask why larger companies don’t use the TM or R symbols across their platforms and the answer is simple, a large company known by millions is not going to have as many people trying to steal their logo or use their logo in an inappropriate way. For much smaller companies that may not be the case which is why our research leads us to one thing: be proactive, adding the TM or R symbol to your logo is a great way to help prevent others from using your logo.

Photos

“If it’s on the internet it’s fair game.” We hear this a lot. While in many cases using images you don’t own on Facebook is common, given credit to the owner of the image is always recommended. Anytime you are using someone else’s image you are using property that THEY own, not you. However, DO NOT, in any case, use any image you don’t own on a business website. Even with giving the owner credit, this could get you in big trouble. Be sure to purchase or get written consent before publishing images on your website. The biggest distinction is to think of it this way: if you’re using someone’s creative property to sell or make money (whether in an ad or on your website (a place of business), and the person can sue you. Unless there is a Creative Commons License stamped on the image, it is royalty-free, or you have paid for a stock image, you do not have rights to those images.

If asking for permission or buying the image is not an option, there are plenty of great FREE stock photo websites.  One royalty free website we can confidently recommend is Unsplash. Facebook also has a massive stock library of photos free for you to use if you are advertising on their platform. *OR* be original and create your own custom images. It’s the best way to 100% avoid any issues with Copyright laws and is the best way to personalize your brand!

Music

Another common concern we hear about is using or creating videos with music. Facebook is going to much greater lengths to control what videos are put out on Facebook and many of you have probably run into this in the past with YouTube already. If you try to create a Facebook Live video and Facebook bots hear copyrighted music they will stop your video immediately.

Just like images you use on your pages, you must have rights to the music you use. Ways to avoid running into an issue like this would be by getting your music through websites such as https://audiojungle.net/ or the YouTube music library if you’re on YouTube. It might not be as great as your favorite Beyoncé single but in the long term, it can prevent any potential lawsuits.

While this topic is complex and ever-evolving, we believe some of the best practices we listed above will help you to steer clear of any legal troubles you could come across. Knowledge is power, here is a link from the government to learn more about copyright and copyright laws. If you have further questions about topics we didn’t cover in this blog, just reach out to us!

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Social Media on your Brand

Social Media Impacts Your Company’s Brand

Nowadays, it’s incredibly common for people to check out an organization’s Facebook page before buying its product or service. As we know, first impressions are crucial even on the web! The messages an organization frames on social media can receive heavy traffic so they must accurately portray it.

Branding in the Age of Social Media

Facebook has become a mecca for updating where you are and what you are doing there. You might discover a new restaurant when your friends tag themselves there for a romantic dinner. You may learn of a new place for your kids to play when a fellow mom posts pictures of her kids having fun there. Now more than ever, we have access to information on organizations.

We want to go to a company’s Facebook page to find out more about it. We can read reviews, see images, and find links to its website.There is this increased desire to share our experiences, good or bad, with each other. People can get passionate about their like or dislike for a brand. With the help of social media people can share those strong feelings. An online review and rating can make or break a person’s decision about a brand.

So does this make branding easier or harder?

The answer is not so simple. The ability to build brand awareness may be more achievable. However, it is challenging and time consuming to maintain relationships with the public. Studies done by the Pew Research Center say that 69% of Americans use social media.  These numbers continue to climb. According to a survey by Cone Communications, 93% of those people expect companies to have a social media presence. 

This doesn’t just mean Facebook. It includes all of the main social mediums, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

It’s not as simple as having a social media presence. The goal is to use each form of social media in the best ways to frame effective messages that reach consumers. There is a science behind when and what to post. It’s usually connected to an overall larger communication plan that is carefully crafted based on research. Social media also provides an opportunity to connect with the public in a personal way and respond to customer complaints.

This is why it is crucial for an organization to have a social media expert on it’s PR team to represent the brand.

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Optimizing your Social Media Presence

Effective use of social media is a necessity in today’s business landscape. All forms of social media provide opportunities to get in touch with customers in a quick and relatively inexpensive way. Jayson DeMers recently wrote about optimizing social media profiles for Forbes. In this post, we’re going to share some of his tips, as well as our own, to help get your social media presence on Facebook into tip-top shape.

Visuals
The cover photo is the perfect place to get creative and to express the essence of your business. For example, restaurants might want to choose a picture that features a signature or popular dish. It is also important to consider that mobile devices account for 65 percent of all digital screen time. Therefore, be sure that your cover photo will format well on computers, 828 x 315 pixels, as well as smartphones, 640 x 360 pixels.

Information
Customers will often seek out information about a business on social media before using any other avenue. Use the ‘About’ section of Facebook to your advantage by providing as much information as possible in a clear and concise manner. Include any external website addresses as well as hours of operation and physical location. In regards to content, don’t just share products or services. Add value by sharing articles, videos and photos that relate to your business and its lifestyle.

Interaction
Creating an online presence for your business does not have to be time-consuming. Set aside a certain amount of time each day or week to respond to inquiries and schedule posts. Interact with your followers by sharing behind the scenes information and company news with them. Respond to comments and questions with an upbeat and friendly tone and re-post positive reviews from satisfied customers. In order to encourage more interaction from your followers, consider running a social media contest or creating a unique, business related hashtag.

Remember, it is worse to have an inactive social presence than none at all! Starting with these tips should put your business on the right track. Feel free to reach out to us on social media for guidance or help getting started.

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Geo-filtering Between the Lines

Social media has changed the way we communicate with everyone from Grandma Marie to little cousin Kaylie. From Facebook to Pinterest to Instagram, we’re on it all. But what about Snapchat? Who uses it and what’s a geo-filter? We’ll break it down for you.

Snapchat is a messaging app that’s all about posting photos and videos. It’s THE network right now. Over 70% of Millennials use Snapchat and the figure only continues to grow. One of the defining features of Snapchat are its geo-filters. “What’s a geo-filter,” you ask? It’s a special filter that provides a location (city, business or event) on top of your photo. But did you know that you can create your own filter?

Here’s how to make your own Snapchat filter, according to their website:

  1. Visit geofilters.snapchat.com to download your 1080 x 1920 Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop template. Create a design and/or logo to incorporate into your filter and drop it into the template. The design must adhere to Snapchat’s guidelines and fit into the template. Snapchat offers two types of filters – business (for businesses and brands) and personal (ex: weddings or graduations).
  2. Set dates and times for your geo-filter to go live. Filters can only be scheduled on an hourly basis (and remember to check your am’s and pm’s!). The geo-filter can be live for a max of 30 days.
  3. Draw a fence around where you’d like the geo-filter to be visible – you can cover anywhere from 20,000 square feet (minimum) to 5 million square feet (maximum). Keep in mind that the longer your geo-filter is up or the larger the area it covers, the higher the cost may be. Visit Snapchat for more information on pricing details.
  4. Check-out: verify order details and enter credit card info before submitting the order.
  5. Snap away!

Now that your geo-filter is up, you want to take a peek at the analytics. How do you do that? Visit geofilters.snapchat.com and click on your username in the upper right-hand corner, selecting, “My Orders” from the dropdown menu. The analytics (aka metrics) will appear below. The metrics are usually available about 24 hours after the geo-filter has ended. A delay with the metrics listed is possible.

This short video explains the submission process, as well.

Happy Snapping!

Sources:

Snapchat.com

http://www.firebrandgroup.com/snapchat-geofilters-definitive-guide/

http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/snapchat-statistics/

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Let’s talk about the ‘gram

Over the past couple weeks, Instagram has made some major announcements.  We break down what’s going on with the ‘gram below.

instagram logo

First off, let’s talk about the new update, which was announced last week.  One of the most noticeable changes is the logo. The signature camera & rainbow remain in the app’s new flat-design logo. The company’s other apps (Boomerang, Layout, and Hyperlapse) also underwent logo re-designs.  The app also received a re-design, from the brand’s classic blue and white combo to a muted black and white.  This new re-design reflects Instagram’s idea to let the photos really shine through.  The outcry across the Internet has been mixed, with many preferring the old logo – many people either love it or hate it.  Just this week, Forbes shared some designers’ interpretations of a logo re-design.  On the flipside, Instagram recently shared users’ interpretations of the new logo.

Photo via @paulodevalle

Instagram made the following statement on its blog last week:

The Instagram community has evolved over the past five years from a place to share filtered photos to so much more – a global community of interests sharing more than 80 million photos and videos every day. Our updated look reflects how vibrant and diverse your storytelling has become.

The ‘gram faced similar backlash when the algorithm change was announced a few months ago.  Those changes have yet to go into effect.

This past week, Instagram also made an announcement that many business owners and brand managers are happy to hear about – the company has announced that it is testing analytics offerings.  In addition to maps and contact info, some of the offerings include:

  • Demographics
  • Impressions
  • Reach

Many social media managers (including all of us at Social Drive) have been patiently waiting for this update.  Recent updates — especially view-counts and 60-second video — have been beneficial to brand marketers.  Instagram has not divulged how much of its user base is testing the new business tools but has stated that it is “testing new business tools coming to Instagram in a few months.”  These new updates mirror those of Facebook’s brand pages.  As for additional changes, we’ll see what the future holds.  The one change we’re patiently waiting for:  in-app or desktop scheduling for brands.  Are you listening, Instagram?

For more info on all the recent updates, visit Forbes, TechCrunch & Entrepreneur.

Introducing…

Jay Joseph, Google SpecialistJay Joseph, the Newest Addition to the Team!

Jay joined the Social Drive team in mid-2014 (our apologies for the delay on this, Jay!) and has proved himself to not only be a valuable team member but also an awesome person to work with. Jay’s specialties lie in:

  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
    • Which includes Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Email Marketing
  • Paid Search
  • Online Reputation Management
    • Particularly, Review Management
  • Conversion Optimization
  • Web Design

These are his areas of expertise, and trust us; he seriously knows what he’s doing. But to really expound on what truly differentiates Jay from the somewhat crowded world of online marketers, we thought we’d create our very own “bulleted list” of why Jay rocks. So here goes…

  • Excellent Communicator – This is harder to come by than some might think. Not only is he extremely timely and professional in all internal/external communications but he’s clear and straightforward. This is something the team appreciates, and more importantly, our clients appreciate.
  • Goes Above and Beyond – We give our clients the best and sometimes that means we give them more than required (we’re people pleasers!), so it’s important that all team members are willing to do that. Jay is always thinking of what the next best move is and how we can make it a better, smoother more effective experience for the client and their audience.
  • FUN – Jay is a total joy to work with (insert *aww*). He’s quirky, sarcastic, witty and is a total dork who fits right in!

We could go on and on about Jay but instead we’ll leave you with one of his favorite quotes…

“If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.”

— John D. Rockefeller

To learn more about Jay go here.

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Holiday Tips for Social

holiday photo in Boston5,4,3,2,1…HAPPY NEW YEAR! That’s right, the New Year will be here before we know it. Don’t let the holidays fly by without sharing laughs and fun memories with loved ones. These memories don’t have to be in person, especially for those loved ones that live miles away. Social media is a great way to stay in touch and spread holiday cheer. Share some of these basic tips with your family and friends to make the best of your holiday season:

  1. You and your friends can use hashtags on Twitter to post about what you’re doing everyday during the holiday season and stay trending. You can tag your favorite stores, your friends, and even different restaurants. You can even select a personalized hashtag for just you and your friends to follow together as an inside joke!
  2. Instagram is a great social image sharing app that can be used for uploading pictures right from your smartphone. You can capture all of your moments with a click of a button. You can get fancy and put filters on your photos to brighten them up. Snapchat is also an app to take some photos and share them with friends via your phone’s contact list… these photos disappear once seen though. Have fun and share the moments!
  3. Get Iconosquare! This is an application that integrates your Instagram account and provides fun analytics. You might be asking why is this type of app necessary during the holidays? Well, it offers a “year in review” based upon the top 5 most popular posts from your account and presents it in a cute video you can share. Reliving your coolest memories from 2014 was never this simple: check out more on Iconosquare’s video feature.
  4. Last, but not least, you can use Facebook to check in at different places. Tag your friends and family in pictures of your kids performing in a play or scoring a touchdown in the Thanksgiving Day football game. You might even get a discount for checking in somewhere… #SCORE

However you decide to celebrate this holiday season, don’t forget to share the love and cherish all of the memories with or without your smartphone by your side.

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.GIFs: What are they and why are they amazing?

Peanut Butter Jelly Time .gif

Animated images also known as .GIFs have looped around the Internet for 25 years, but have finally made a name for themselves in the last few years. But what are .GIFs? And why have they become such a phenomenon? First off, .GIFs are animated image file formats or pictures that move in an infinite loop. .GIFs swirled the Internet in the 90’s as little tiny clip art images which moved around and simulated life, but overall they never captured much attention from the public. However, today they have become sensations that have swept across all nations. These little motion pictures are being shared so rapidly that it takes only seconds for one .GIF to go from one end of the earth to the other.

Even though they are entertaining, .GIFs do have a practical side. They help deliver the news, tell stories, express public reactions to certain events, as well as spread important information to the masses. Many people believe that for young adults, .GIFs are a symbol of their childhood. They help some recall and even make fun of old relics from their past. Some believe this is where their growth and popularity began. Honestly though, the popularity of .GIFs probably came from its ability to help us convey our thoughts and opinions and share then it on a world scale in a short easy format. These will images have helped us connect with millions of people. Who knew that a little loopy clip could generate so much for us in only a few repeated seconds?

And DON’T FORGET, it was not long ago that inventor of the .GIF declared the official pronuntiation: How to Pronounce .GIF. Was it what you thought it was?

 

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Show me your “Klout”

How important is your Klout score? This is one of these questions that people tend to struggle to have clear answer for and identify its use for brands.

So what exactly is that mysterious Klout score? According to the founders of Klout, “The Klout Sdownloadcore is a single number that represents the aggregation of multiple pieces of data about your social media activity.” What does it mean? It means that the score will indicate your level of influence based on your ability to drive action on social networks. The score is updated daily and varies from 1 to 100. Justin Beiber or Lady Gaga being probably the closest to reaching the best score. Yes, and this also means that it is based on the individual and not on the company/brand unfortunately.

If you use variety of different networks and if you are active on them and people comment on your wall, you have tons of likes, subscribers, mentions, shares and so on… your Klout score will be measure and calculated as very high. The Klout score incorporates more than 400 signals from different networks: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Foursquare, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Blogger, Last.fm and Flickr and even Wikipedia.

Unfortunately the Klout algorithm is a big secret for us and it is really difficult to understand what its implication and meaning is outside of the Klout environment. It is so easy to trick the Klout by RT posts
on Twitter, sharing the content on Facebook or even liking tons of pictures on Instagram. Is it relevant? What is the difference between being a real “influencer” and a “Klout influencer”?

What is your opinion on the Klout score? Does it matters to you? Do you even pay attention to it?

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