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brand

3 screenshots of Instagram stories. Runners in the Great North Run with caption 'About to cross the Tyne Bridge!'. A pair of hands holding a Macmillan Christmas, text reads 'Like our snazzy Christmas cards? Swipe up to get yours!'. A tin full of brownies, text reads 'Should Coffee Morning be a monthly event? Yes / No'.

4 ways to boost your brand with Instagram

Our Social Media Officer, Jessie Donnelly,  shares her top tips for Instagram success.

Oh, Instagram. It’s all just shots of people’s meals and heavily planned ‘candid’ travel shots, right?

Nope.

(Well… not entirely, but who doesn’t love a good bout of Insta-induced travel envy?)

Instagram is a social media behemoth with a growing user base, recently declaring 800 million global monthly active users. But these users aren’t just opening Instagram and liking a few photos – even if everybody in the UK, from the newest of newborns to the oldest Brit alive*, posted on Instagram, they wouldn’t be able to match the estimated 95 million daily posts.

But what use is Instagram for brands? Frankly… a lot.

Instagram is dominated by millennials, that oft yearned-for audience, who consistently engage with brands and businesses on the platform. 50% of Instagrammers follow at least one business, while 75% are inspired by posts to take actions such as visiting a website or making a purchase.

So how can you take advantage of Instagram with organic content?

Vary it up…

3 Instagram photos: Macmillan fundraisers cheering on a bus, three Macmillan Christmas cards on a counter top, a cartoon moon and stars against a green background - text reads 'Twas the night before Coffee Morning...'

Vary your content to keep things interesting

With so many Instagram accounts to choose from, you need to give people a reason to follow you. Posting the same content all the time won’t do that, but keeping things fresh by varying your content will.

Don’t try to achieve the same thing with every post, either – just because Instagrammers follow a brand or business, doesn’t mean they want to be encouraged to buy or join something with every post. Mix up posts with a CTA with fun ‘just because’ content or throwbacks to an earlier event!

… but don’t be afraid of regular features

2 Instagram photos. A green square with the words 'You are so much stronger than you think you are' written in the centre. A photo of a man standing on a wooden post in the  large lake with mountains in the background, text reads '#MeetMacmillan'.

Examples of our regular Instagram content

Regular Insta features (such as our weekly #meetmacmillan or semi-regular inspo posts) are a great way to ensure people continue following your account and means people can expect to see content they enjoy.

Most brands dedicate a specific day to a feature – for Macmillan, Fridays are #meetmacmillan days!

Features can also be a great way to encourage people to interact with your brand, whether it’s Lonely Planet sharing their favourite snap from #lpfanphoto or Vans cross-posting their five favourite #vansgirls photos to Tumblr.

Celebrate your supporters

2 Instagram photos. One with 5 illustrated green balloons reading '40000'

Show your supporters some love

Your Instagram followers aren’t passive consumers of your content, so don’t treat them as such.

Acknowledging that your supporters are helping your account to grow and praising their hard work ensures a committed group of followers.

Celebrating follower milestones is a simple and effective way to achieve this, especially as you can encourage your followers to spread the word and help you grow even more.

Also, try sharing user-generated content (UGC) as it rewards people for engaging with your work and shows the authentic side to what you do. Just make sure you always give credit for UGC!

Use Instagram Stories

3 screenshots of Instagram stories. Runners in the Great North Run with caption 'About to cross the Tyne Bridge!'. A pair of hands holding a Macmillan Christmas, text reads 'Like our snazzy Christmas cards? Swipe up to get yours!'. A tin full of brownies, text reads 'Should Coffee Morning be a monthly event? Yes / No'.

Bring your brand to life through Stories

Instagram Stories, challenging the idea that stealing is wrong since August 2016…

Sure, Instagram may have been ‘inspired’ by Snapchat Stories, but it’s now the dominant player in the game, with 300 million daily active users as of November 2017. Not only are more people on Instagram Stories than Snapchat Stories in general, it’s likely that you have a bigger audience on Instagram than on Snapchat – it makes sense to focus your content where your audience is.

A huge range of content is possible on Instagram Stories. It’s a great way to cover events ‘live’, letting your audience feel like a part of the day even if they can’t be there. Even better, using a hashtag on a picture or video in your Instagram Story will also include it in that hashtag’s story, which anyone can see if they search that hashtag in the app!

Instagram Stories are also a fantastic way to promote products, encourage people to sign up to an event, or share your content from elsewhere on the web. By adding a link to a piece of content in your story, viewers can swipe up to be taken directly to that page. This lets you get around the fact that Instagram still hasn’t made links clickable in post captions…

Plus, Instagram is adding new features to Stories all the time, so make sure you’re up to speed! Have you seen the recent addition of polls? Whether silly or serious, you can now ask your audience a question and see their responses in real time.

Oh the possibilities…

* Bessie Camm, by the way

For more Instagram inspo, follow us @macmillancancer.

Three Snapchat logos with 'We are Macmillan Cancer Support' written within them.

Why we should bother with Snapchat

Our Social Media Officer, Jessie Donnelly, discusses the value of Snapchat for charities and why it shouldn’t be dismissed.

Like all the other big social media platforms, Snapchat is becoming a word that everybody knows. It’s the home of puppy filters and the birthplace of the now ubiquitous Stories feature. Still, there’s no way Snapchat can be a seriously helpful tool for brands, right?

Wrong.

The sheer numbers of Snapchat’s audience prove it’s a mistake to ignore it. The app has a global audience somewhere in the region of 170 million – if Snapchat were a country populated by its users, it would have the eighth largest population in the world. By the end of 2016, around 11.2 million of those users were in the UK, which is expected to rise to over 13 million by the end of 2017. It’s estimated that a quarter of all UK smartphone users have Snapchat installed, which will rise to a third by the end of the year. That’s a pretty big audience!

For us here at Macmillan, the news is even better as Snapchat is dominated by users outside of our usual demographics. 51% of adult Snapchat users are aged 34 or under and 23% of adults on Snapchat in the UK are aged 18-24. In the longer term, this is the next generation of people affected by cancer but, in the short term, it’s an audience of potential volunteers, fundraisers and interns.

But what does that huge, committed user base mean for organisations like Macmillan?

Brand awareness.

For a platform that’s largely built on content of 10 seconds or less, Snapchat holds its audience – the average time spent on the app by users is 25-30 minutes every day! That means there’s plenty of time to reach your audience and boost your brand awareness on Snapchat, and there are two main ways to do this: Snapchat Stories and On-Demand Geofilters.

 

 Snapchat Stories

Two Macmillan employees fundraising outside the Ritz.

 Snapchat Stories are a great way to tell the story of a day or an event in small bite-sized installments that can be viewed (again and again) by your audience until they expire after 24 hours. The temporary nature of Stories is a great way to spotlight events and give people an insight into life within Team Macmillan, while the somewhat less polished nature of it all gives the content a more authentic edge. As it’s quick content that disappears, you can be playful and more humorous than on other channels (especially as the audience is younger) while it’s also a great platform to introduce people from around the organisation who our audience might not ordinarily meet (from interns to volunteers to the social media team itself!).

 While our Snapchat following is still relatively small here at Macmillan, our viewing figures are consistently growing on our Stories, as is our number of followers so it’s definitely a platform for us to continue building on! The only major drawback to Stories is that the content is only viewable to those who already follow you, but that’s where On-Demand Geofilters come in.

 

On-Demand Geofilters

Geofilter for the London Marathon with silhouttes of the London Eye and the Big Ben at the bottom. Text reads 'One mile to go!'

 If you’ve ever used Snapchat, you’ve likely added a geofilter at some point. Most towns and cities have at least one, as do landmarks, airports and a whole heap of other places. Tacking a geofilter onto your Snap is a fun way of letting your friends and followers know where you are (perfect for making people jealous if you’re off on holiday!).

But aside from the geofilters that Snapchat provides, it’s possible to design and upload your own to be visible to people in a certain location at a certain time. Compared to Snapchat Stories, this is an excellent way to boost awareness of your brand as they’re visible to everyone in that location at that time, not just your existing followers. Cost-wise, geofilters are an incredibly efficient to spend money – unless you’re competing for prime territory like Buckingham Palace, you can generally cover the space you want for less than £20 per day.

Even better, that geofilter will be seen by whoever a user sends it to or whoever views a story it’s been added to. This is how geofilters set up for events attended by several hundred people can eventually be seen by thousands of people. Take the Macmillan Volunteer Conference earlier this year – though the conference was attended by around 400 people, the geofilter we designed to run on the evening of the Awards Ceremony was seen more than 39,000 times!

Geofilter from the Macmillan Volunteer Awards 2017.Text reads: 'Recognise. Reward. Celebrate.'

This geofilter gained over 39,000 views!

 

Not every geofilter will perform as well as this – even we’re slightly surprised by it. The number of times they’re used can’t be predicted, but competing with several other brands (as could happen at big events like the London Marathon) can have an effect. But as a cheap, fun way to get your brand out there, on-demand geofilters are a fantastic tool!

 

You can follow Jessie on Twitter @JessieDonnelly  and add Macmillan Cancer Support on Snapchat by searching ‘macmillancancer’.

Icons of graphs and devices to represent google analytics

Google Analytics: An interview with our Digital Analyst

Hattie Biddlecombe, Digital Analyst at Macmillan Cancer Support, uses Google Analytics to provide insight into Macmillan’s online presence. I sat down with Hattie earlier this week to discuss how Google Analytics helps her in her role and the impact that it has on Macmillan.

Read more +

Logorama

French designers H5 imagine a world where logos festoon every surface and where it is customary to be exposed to brand activity at every turn.

Extra, extra …

To celebrate our first 100 years, we’ve created an eye-catching graphic device to appear on special centenary publications and promotional materials. The thinking behind it is that we don’t just want to tell people we’ve been around for 100 years. Instead we want to focus on

  • the positive impact we’ve had on people’s lives
  • new or extra things we’re doing for our centenary
  • the extra things people can do to celebrate
  • how everyone can join in our celebrations.

That’s why our centenary device features a plus sign as well as the following straplines …

It’s not a new logo, so you don’t have to put it on everything. And don’t worry, Macmillan’s logo and everything else brand-y is staying exactly the same. The 100+ is just for the special items we produce in our centenary year. After that, it’ll magically vanish into thin air.

The other thing to bear in mind if you’re producing materials for special centenary events, is that it’s not just a case of slapping the 100+ on. What we’ll be doing is developing new creative solutions using our established brand elements to communicate key centenary messages. A great example of what we mean is our recent centenary fundraising pack.

Watch out for more on the 100+ coming soon on be.mac and the green rooms.

Elephant in the room

OK, it’s only June but preparations are well underway for our centenary in 2011. One of the first products we’ve produced following our new centenary branding solution is this pack for local fundraisers. Apparently they’ve been champing at the bit to get going with planning special centenary events, so we needed to let them know what we’re doing and how they can get involved. The solution: to send an update for the much-loved fundraising guide.
This comes as a set of extra pages and tabs to snap into the existing ring-bound folder, and is full of suggestions for special events they could hold, a brief history of Macmillan, and info on things like merchandise and using our new 100+ device. Our aim is to inspire people to join us in celebrating our centenary and hopefully raise even more money for us next year.

The elephant silhouette and ‘something big is coming’ copy on the folder holding the new pages is great example of how we’re approaching the marketing of our centenary. It’s all about using our established brand elements creatively to communicate key centenary messages, not just sticking a new logo on everything.

Look out for further info on our centenary branding solution coming soon to be.mac and the green rooms.

It’s Fairy good!


Hello,
When I go back up north to visit my Mum she always sends me back to London with a bag of shopping! (i know, she’s so sweet) Either toilet rolls or tins of beans from her BOGOF bargins. But, last time she put in two bottles of Fairy liquid. But, the bottle was different and reminded me of making rockets when i was a little girl, as it was a retro bottle.

My Mum told me it was a right bargain at Morrisons supermarket, as they were selling them for 50p to celebrate their 50th anniversary! The company decided to commemorate the date and remember old days. The new promo-materials feature Nanette Newman, who starred in its 1980s spots in the newly launched campaign to promote the iconic bottle. Want to read more about the Procter & Gamble campaign click here…

I love the idea and it really makes you feel nostalgic. Plus, retro is so cool and the brand is so iconic!

Tell me what you think by adding a comment underneath the post.
Is there anything Macmillan can do from the past to celebrate our centenary next year?

The brand quiz

What makes up a brand?
Really fun game, if you’re into that sort of thing, EVERYONE SHOULD TRY THIS.
I scored a paltry 17 out of 21. Can you do better?
A fantastic prize to the winner. Post your score below. Try it out here.

Government paid £6,000 a digit for NHS 60th anniversary logo

Brilliant piece by The Times. Make sure to read the comments though!

“It might seem like a minor tweak but when ministers added the number 60 to the NHS logo for its anniversary, they employed two designers, took ten days — and sent taxpayers a bill for £12,000.”

Read the whole article here

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