Why General Electric is the smartest brand on social media

What if a 100 year old person was better at social media than you? A lot of brands better be asking themselves this question, because General Electric is 123 years old this year and are rocking every social media platform from LinkedIn to Vine. It’s not just about the brand’s commanding presence on social media, however. We’re more interested in the way a century-old company who most people know best through lightbulbs and refrigerators can take every aspect of social media, from GIFs to infographics, and integrate them seamlessly into their strategy. Here are some main reasons why GE kills it daily on social media.

1. They encourage conversation and participation

GE always has a social media contest going on. Last year they took to Vine to get people talking about science. Their #6SecondScienceFair invited everyone to interact with their brand by capturing a 6 second video of the coolest science experiment they could create. GE posted their favourites on their own social media page, and created a tumblr account for all the best videos. Like the experts they are, GE made sure to tie the fun contest back to their main message of influencing science and technology. (They also won a shiny award for this educational video series at the 2014 Cannes Lions advertising competition).

6 second science fair

2. They experiment with new sharing platforms 

General Electric is known for being early adopters of new social media platforms (for instance they got on Vine one day after the video-sharing app launched). Now, GIFS within tweets is the new image within tweets. One brilliant aspect of GE’s social media strategy is that they know how to take each emerging platform or trend and seamlessly integrate it with their mission. Check out how they put GIFS to work in the example below. An inside glimpse of a new ice nugget maker? Sweet, I’m in.

GE has also been all over Periscope lately, the new video live-streaming app. Their most recent endeavour included a ‘DroneWeek’ where, using a modified drone, General Electric gave social media followers an up-close and personal look at the biggest and tallest machines.

Live on Periscope

3. They personalize their brand

General Electric is proud of everything they create, and they let people know. Their Instagram account is full of behind the scenes images and videos detailing a day in the life of a GE employee as well as glimpse s of testing facilities, aviation grounds, and wind turbine fields. Their Instagram is a machine enthusiast’s fantasy: who doesn’t like giant pictures of airplane engines and gas turbine load compressors? Behind the scenes snapshots are also smart because they increase the brand’s positive reputation and build enthusiasm and trust between the company and its social media followers.

4. They teach as well as promote

GE promotes the new technologies they’re working on through social media the best possible way: they educate users about what they’re building. Their YouTube series ‘Invention Factory’ provides an investigation on some of humanity’s biggest questions, and how GE is looking for answers. They’ve produced many videos such as the one below to create enthusiasm about their big picture work.

5. They embrace the light-hearted aspect of social media

GE seriously promotes their technology and their mission, but they also know when to loosen their ties and have a little fun. They’re big fans of emojis on Twitter. (And in general, check out their whole EmojiScience campaign).

https://twitter.com/generalelectric/status/623528180394102784

6. They keep investors in the loop

While some companies may believe that social media and investor relations doesn’t mix, General Electric challenges that idea with a seamless integration between the two worlds. (We also think it’s a perfect marriage, and we’ve written about it before). General electric releases investor highlights on their social media channels with bold images for easy sharing and consumption. Keeping investors in-the-know on social media makes for a more engaged investor audience.

7. They love engaging other brands

It’s clear that GE has a lot of fun on social media, and they love engaging other brands. A lot of times GE’s Twitter will publish an Emoji puzzler concerning a historic scientific breakthrough and will call out other companies and invite them to take a guess. They also love congratulatory tweets, and spread love to everyone from NASA to Bill Nye the Science Guy.

https://twitter.com/generalelectric/status/624319459574943745

https://twitter.com/generalelectric/status/622084145230016514

 

 

8 creative ways to use Instagram for business

It’s 2015, and many companies now have the hang of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Instagram, however, is the newer, slightly trendier cousin who’s shown up to the party late and not everyone knows. Although it’s true that Instagram is a perfect space for fashion brands and their summer catalogues, we’re interested in ways that all companies can benefit from a little Instagram for business. You don’t need to be Starbucks or Lululemon to have a rockin’ account. Here are some ways to have fun with an Instagram account for your company while still sticking with your brand and staying informative.

1. Teach your audience something new

Short Instagram videos are a great way to create product demos or just produce some fun how-to’s.  Buzzfeed Food’s Instagram often publishes food hacks like the infamous bacon taco-shell below to provide their followers with helpful mealtime tips.

Bacon Mac and Cheese Taco! Follow @buzzfeedfood for the recipe.

A video posted by BuzzFeed (@buzzfeed) on

2. Prove you’re experts in the industry

General Electric’s Instagram is out of control (aka they’re one of the most followed companies on Instagram). GE alternates between animations, nicely designed quotes, and short videos to really give their page some spark. In the post below they promote their aviation testing ground with a fun fact about the engines they produce. This is a great idea. Be your followers’ ‘helping hand’ in the industry and share valuable info and fun facts with them, along with a visual they’ll want to share.

3. Introduce someone from your team

Get personal and share those smiling faces you’re so proud of. Ben and Jerry’s pulls out all the stops with a full video about one of their ‘flavour guru’s. The video is pretty cool, but a team member introduction can also be as simple as a nice picture and a fun writeup. Ask them to introduce themselves, talk a little about their job and day-to-day duties, and end with a little fun!

4. Give people a behind-the-scenes glimpse

Lasers to create smoothie labels? Who knew? Even if you think your company’s day-to-day routine might be a bit, well, routine, it’s not that way for anyone else! Your followers will be interested in some BTS glimpses into the life of your company. Capture a boardroom meeting, a day on-site, or some after work Friday bonding and put a filter on that fun.

David is playing with lasers today. He claims it's for genuine work reasons. Nobody's buying it.

A photo posted by Innocent (@innocentsmoothies) on

5. Use your followers as your testing ground

Covergalls Workwear is a Canadian (woot woot) company inspired by the female mining experience to design and develop working clothes for women. In their Instagram post below, they shout-out to all their followers and ask for an opinion on a new product. This is a great way to show your audience that you’re listening to their feedback and determined to produce a product that everyone will love.

6. Send your community some love

Speaking of shoutouts…give your followers and customers some thanks. Instagram is a great platform for getting personal with those you do business with. Tag a company who has been supporting you the whole way, make a fun video for a special individual, or tag those who recently came to an event of yours with a word of thanks. A little really does go a long way.

Sending a super rad customer some #unbouncelove today. #unbouncing ❤️

A video posted by Unbounce (@unbounce) on

7. Preview new content you’ve published

If you have a regular newsletter or frequently publish blogs, promote them on Instagram. It’s a little annoying since Instagram won’t let you hyperlink in a post, but tell people the link is your bio and then add a subscribe link to your profile page. Previewing content is a great way to generate some interest around what you’ve been writing. Or reach out to your followers and ask what they’d like to hear about next.

8. Tell a continuous story

Turn your Instagram into a series. Verizon Wireless  got really into it with their ‘The Call’ campaign. Conduct an interview with a notable industry professional, have a week-long ‘Instagram takeover’ internally where someone different from your company posts to the page, or promote a series of blog posts with multiple part Instagram posts. Make sure to label each one ‘1 of 5’, ‘2 of 5’ and so on. By connecting different posts, your followers are more likely to come back to check out what’s happening the next day. Instagram also becomes more than just a snapshot of company life, but a more in-depth way to learn about your company’s story.

tell a continuous story

 

Just can’t get enough? Why should you? Now check out 6 tricks for using Twitter for investor relations.

The Inner-workings of Hyperlapse by Instagram

Last week, Instagram came out with their newest app called “Hyperlapse,” a tool allowing anyone to create and share time lapse videos with their iPhone or iPad. The app is already at the top of the iTunes app store charts, and it’s easy to see why. With a single click of a button, Hyperlapse users can shoot footage that, before, was thought only possible through professional-and expensive-photography equipment. Hyperlapse has released time lapse technology to the masses. People are taking it to the cities, the skies, and down lonely country roads.

Hyperlapse captures the minuscule,

Creating with #hyperlapse is going to be a lot of fun. Well played @instagram #ants

A video posted by Jake Hiller (@jmayerhiller) on

the ‘in motion,’

the remote,

and the heartbeat of a city. 

So, how does it all work? Anyone watching a Hyperlapse video can see that the technology doesn’t just “speed up” the video, but also smooths out the motion.

Instagram released a post on the Instagram Engineering Blog entitled “The Technology behind Hyperlapse from Instagram.” The post explains how, “time lapses are mesmerizing to watch because they reveal patterns and motions in our daily lives that are otherwise invisible.”

Instagram engineers implemented a specific video stabilization algorithm called ‘Cinema’ and combined this algorithm with other design strategies to create a cleaner and more simplified user experience.

“Cinema… uses the phone’s built-in gyroscope to measure and remove unwanted hand shake…we feed gyroscope samples and frames into the stabilizer and obtain a new set of camera orientations as output. These camera orientations correspond to a smooth ‘synthetic’ camera motion with all the unwanted kinks and bumps removed.”

Besides the inner workings of the algorithm, Cinema also achieves fluidity by slightly manipulating the video’s frames to eliminate the most obvious camera shakes. See this strategy demonstrated below:

“The region inside the white outline is the visible area in the output video. Notice that the edges of the warped frames never cross the white outline. That’s because our stabilization algorithm computes the smoothest camera motion possible while also ensuring that a frame is never changed such that regions outside the frame become visible in the final video.”

Read the full blog post here.

 

Be a Facebook Expert: Insights to Instagram Video & Facebook Updates

1. Facebook adds video to Instagram

Mobile video is exploding! Twitter’s Vine has been a popular hit but we’re not sure if it’s going to withstand Instagram now. Instagram got to the social media world before Vine so it’s fair to say it has a bigger and stronger fan base. Question is, if you already have Instagram on your phone and now that it has a video functionality, would you still download Vine? Check out TechCrunch’s detailed comparison of the two apps and here’s my quick summary of the pros and cons:

 

+’s for using Instagram Video

  • Up to 15 seconds
  • You can personalize Instagram’s 15 second videos with filters and frames
  • You can share videos on multiple social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, Email & Foursquare)
  • Image stabilization
  • Has photo map
+’s for using Vine

  • Short and punchy in 6 seconds
  • Videos are embeddable via desktop
  • Vine videos can loop, while Instagram videos only play once
  • You can share videos on Facebook & Twitter
  • Users will have the ability to create drafts soon

 

2. Facebook revamps its analytics dashboard

Facebook’s analytics dashboard, Insights, has a fresh look – clean and simplified. The “People Talking About This” is now broken down into smaller charts, which allows us to measure the reach and engagement of each individual post. What does that mean? Each post will have its own chart of stats (likes, comments, clicks and shares), and you can also break down your analytics to your specific target (women ages from 18-24 or men over 35). It’ll be easier for marketers to judge which type of content is more popular with which crowd. (See Mashable’s print-screens for visual examples)

3. Facebook reply comments with photos

Forget about typing a comment to reply, post a photo if you can! Comments just got that much more expressive. According to PCMag.com, we can reply status updates with images and mobile users will be able to view it too, but we can’t post photo comments via mobile just yet. So never mind about finding the right words for replies, find the right pictures or better yet, memes ;)!

Just in case you missed the news, Facebook introduced #hashtags last week and emoticons to its status updates a while ago. Facebook is bringing in a lot of new updates to remain the biggest social network. Despite the fact that they’re still the biggest with 1.1 billion citizens, competition is stiff as other networks are growing rapidly. Are you a Facebook loyalist? How do you like its new updates? Or are you more interested in growing with other channels like Google+? Let me know! @BlenderMedia