How teens use #SocialMedia (written by actual teenagers) [PART 1]

Within this blog post, we hope to show you a candid view into how we, two 16 and 17 year old teenage girls, living in the South East of England, view social media and how it is used by us and our friends.

Intro

The majority of teenagers in our modern world today use social media and it plays a huge role in their daily lives. On the other hand, the way in which they use social media greatly differs to the way in which most adults utilise social media, in both the sites that they choose to go on and the way in which they use them. 

Most teens use social media as a means of communicating with friends, whether that be through sending a Snapchat using the bee filter, so their voice seems to have jumped 3 octaves higher, or by posting a ‘candid’ photo on Instagram which only took 20 tries to get. For this reason, teenagers generally prefer different forms of social media to adults, as they try to communicate using the social media platforms, which are fun, quick and easy to use. This therefore explains Snapchat's increasing popularity amongst teens because it is instantaneous and amusing to mess around with, whilst Facebook is being used less and less by teens as they can get more visual, safer experiences elsewhere, without their mum commenting on every single photo that they are tagged in. 

There are many preconceptions linked with how teenagers use social media channels, from the expectation that teenagers are deprived and send inappropriate photos to each other over Snapchat or that they harass adults on Facebook for expressing what teens believe are ‘outdated’ opinions. Even within the social group of teenagers there are stereotypes attached with how we use social media. For example, when going through Facebook or Instagram, every 15-18 year old is dreading the inevitable encounter with a ‘Twelvie’, that one friend everyone has who is twelve and thinks they are the coolest person in the world. They regularly post pictures of themselves with the caption ‘I didn’t choose the thug life, the thug life chose me’. The pictures tend to consist of poses which cause scorn and second hand embarrassment from the older teenagers, mainly because they remember a time when they thought that was a cool thing to do. 

Likewise, even within the older branch of teens, we dread running into that one friend who has very strong opinions and is not afraid of saying them, whether that be through a post on Instagram with a caption a mile long or 100+ seconds on a Snapchat story ranting about some injustice they encountered that they just had to mention. This became particularly prevalent in the lead up to and the aftermath of the EU Referendum…#Brexit. Certainly in our school common room, you couldn’t go five minutes before someone closed their apps and locked their phones in disgust, professing that ‘Suddenly everyone’s a politician’.

Most Popular Types of Social Media in the UK (In Order of Popularity) and How We Use Them:

Facebook - created 2004


Facebook is the most popular social media channel on every ranking website and the stats are unsurprising. There are 32 million UK users and 1.65 billion users globally. It is one of the few types of social media which has an age restriction, as you must be at least 13 years old to create an account, yet, it is easy to alter your age on Facebook, which commonly happens. At our school, the only education we received on social media was concerning Facebook, as it was blocked on the Internet for anyone who was under the age of 13 to encourage this restriction.

Statuses


The ability to input status updates, which inform everyone on your Friends List what your thoughts are about certain topics, where you are, what you are doing and recently, even how you feel about that, with the ability to input a choice from a list of emotions with corresponding emoji faces (in case the words feeling angry aren’t obvious enough, the small red pouting face makes it abundantly clear that you are not happy). Along with just a written word, you can input pictures or tag your location to a map.

Privacy


Many see Facebook as the easiest form of communication and keeping updated with how the friends you rarely see are doing, particularly teens. 

A common phrase bandied about by teens is “going on a Facebook Stalk”, which implies a lack of security and privacy. Whilst there are methods to find out private information about people including their phone number or email, unless the person has weak privacy settings, all you can see is whether you have mutual friends and their profile picture. 

Whilst this tends to be a bit annoying to the girls stalking the guy they met at Starbucks, the lack of photos and information available for those who are not friends on Facebook is reassuring and fairly secure. 

Our Opinion


Personally, we use Facebook mainly as a way to communicate in group chats and to post the occasional photo album. The documenting of life events is very useful since one of our families lives in the USA and this way there is only the responsibility of having to respond to comments on the pictures/statuses rather than replying to long emails and attaching photos. Therefore, being able to see what is going on in our family’s lives makes Facebook the clear winner. 

Many of our friends, however, who live in the same town or city as their extended family, find the Facebook presence of their parents or grandparents horrendously embarrassing. They prefer the anonymity of other social channels, as they are more private.

Personal Image


Personal image is something that is not stringently edited on Facebook, a fact that over the last year or so we have realised is actually extremely important. The yearly lecture the Sixth Form get from our Deputy Head of School saying that anything you post on a social channel you should be happy for future employees to see, only really became an actual warning once it became more popular for future employees to look up their possible hires on Facebook. 

Now, we tend not to post anything that an incredibly religious and conservative Grandma would not approve of but we often see articles or hear stories about people who thought it would be funny to post an embarrassing photo of their friend drinking at a young age and consequently, that person has been rejected in a job application.

Due to all of these methods for people to essentially look into your brain and see out of your eyes, it can be seen as one of the most invasive social channels out there. Whilst many people do censor what they are saying and present a more polished persona of themselves, others allow this platform to be a place where they candidly express their opinions or images of themselves or others, despite the negative backlash this could have. The ability for people to form an opinion of you based upon your Social Media presence and persona is most obviously done through Facebook.

YouTube - created 2005


YouTube is the top website for uploading and viewing videos with there being 19.1 million users in the UK and 1.3 billion people using it globally. This is hardly surprising, as it provides a space for people to easily share content with a huge audience, which they have either created or filmed and viewers can find almost any video that they want to watch, all in one place.

News


More and more people prefer to watch something visual to read and teens are no different. Watching a ‘BuzzFeed’ video on the weird ways in which some fruit and vegetables grow (pineapple grows in the ground?!) appeals to us much more than reading a 1000 word article about it, with at best two photos. This is because we can be passive and relax, whilst still being informed and teens live up to the role our mums give us of being ‘incredibly lazy’.

‘YouTubers’ and ‘Vloggers’


‘YouTubers’ and ‘Vloggers’ are words which did not even exist in our vocabulary 12 years ago and adults still fail to believe that they are proper jobs, yet a huge number of teens use YouTube to watch ‘YouTubers’ who have created content for their channel and viewers, which can range from gaming videos to beauty tutorials. 

Many of these ‘YouTubers’ also ‘vlog’ their day, which means they carry out their day-to-day lives whilst filming it and uploading it to YouTube. This appeals to teens as there is something fascinating about being able to see what someone does in their normal life, behind closed doors, similarly to how we read the Daily Mail to catch up on the latest celebrity gossip... because who doesn’t love a bit of gossip?

Music


Most of the teens who go on YouTube will at some point use it to watch Justin Bieber’s latest steamy music video or catch up on Beyonce’s audio for her new album, as you can listen to songs for free and watch their music videos which is quick and simple.

Interviews


The huge numbers of celebrity interviews on YouTube are also incredibly great to watch and appeals to teens, which we realised after spending an hour watching Zac Efron interviews. 

Negatives


A negative aspect of YouTube is that once a creator has posted a video, if it is slightly controversial or offensive, this could cause problems for them later on in their life, such as when applying for a job.

Twitter - created 2006


Twitter is seen as a way to express opinions in only 140 characters. There are 15 million users in the UK and 645.75 million globally.

Anonymity and Personal Image


There is a sense of anonymity attached with Twitter, as your followers consist often of strangers and some friends. This feeling of security enables people to be as forthcoming as they choose in their tweets, and in a society where extreme opinions are censored, Twitter has become a platform to post any controversial views you have, or any opinions you have on current events. 

However, sometimes this can come back to haunt you, for example saying rude comments about your future place of work and then when your future employee searches for your name, these tweets come up, they are usually accompanied by a reply saying, you will not have to subject yourself to X place of work, you are not hired. 

Hashtags


The use of hashtags became popular through Twitter (and now is used in a multitude of apps, particularly Instagram), as a way to sort out what information is seen by each viewer. By stalking a tag, you only see the tweets related to that, rather than having to sift through the approximately 500 million tweets posted per day. This streamlined search capacity makes Twitter a very convenient social channel.

How We Use It


One of us made themselves a Twitter account when they were a rabid fangirl at 14 years old. After six months of reading nonsensical tweets that they rarely contributed to, they gave up on Twitter. 

Despite our lack of interest in Twitter, one of our friend’s swears by it, and will use it constantly to get news updates or information about her celebraties of choice. Interestingly, she also uses it to get people’s opinions on how her public exams have gone. Between May and June this year, she used Twitter after every AS Level examination to stalk the tag of the exam. She could see the national perspective on the exam, and hoped that everyone else would say that they too found it impossible. 
From what we can tell, Twitter is not all that popular with teens, with only 33% of teens aged 13-17 using it. Compared to the 71% of teenaged Facebook users, Twitter is becoming outdated, just after its 10th birthday.

Instagram - created 2010


Instagram is definitely one of the most popular social channels utilised by teenagers. It has 14 million UK users, 500 million global users, and 80 million photos are shared per day. 52% of teens use Instagram, and unlike Facebook, it does not have an age requirement to become a member. You can refine your Newsfeed to only photos from people you want to see, which keeps the interest of teenagers.

Effects on Insecurities


It promotes showing a single snapshot of highlights in your life, and encourages editing the photo to make it as aesthetically pleasing as possible. 

Whilst it may fill you with joy to have that perfectly edited selfie getting over 100 likes, it does somewhat promote a feeling of insecurity, particularly among teenage girls. When scrolling through your Instagram feed on the sofa in trackies, a t-shirt and gross hair, coming across a picture of your best friend with legs for miles, perfect hair, flawless skin and a witty caption, it does not do a lot for your self-esteem. 

Comparing a user’s everyday moments to the highlights of their friends or celebrities, enforces the societal conception of perfection and beauty, and can lead to an increase in the feeling of unhappiness amongst those who have insecurities (as we all do).

How We Use It


Whilst Instagram can promote this, we actually love the app. It is safe to say that it is one of our favourite channels of social media. Part of our love for Instagram stems from our love of pretty pictures and while we follow all our friends on Instagram, we also follow nature channels that highlight the beauty of the world and the places in the world that you will probably never travel to yourself. 

We also follow many tutorial pages and funny admins. A popular admin that is followed by most of our friends is ‘TheLadBible’. Based on its name, one would assume that it is aimed primarily at teenaged boys and young adults. While the content posted by ‘TheLadBible’ is definitely aimed at ‘Lads’, the satirical way that it laughs at society and the witty captions accompanying photos makes it applicable to most of the younger users on Instagram. 

Your Posts


Now, aside from your actual feed, the other aspect is the content that you yourself upload. Amongst teenagers it tends to be photos of ourselves looking our best, our family and friends, or occasionally the beautiful scenery or sunset that you encountered that day. 

One of our friends in particular says that, unless she is in exam season, she has to post every 3.5 days so that people don’t unfollow her, and will time her posts so that she can get the maximum number of likes. That is not to say that she is being vain, but who doesn’t love seeing other people’s appreciation for a picture that means something to you. 

Privacy


The new update to Instagram that allows you to privately message other users makes Instagram much more of a Social Network than it was previously. However, it does unwittingly promote slightly scary encounters. One of us was messaged by a man on the other side of the world looking “for a friend”, to which we quickly shut the message and blocked the user. So whilst it is updating and becoming in line with other extremely popular social networking sites, it had felt particularly safe from ‘stranger danger’ until this new update. 

The update has also slightly weakened the privacy settings that were previously some of the best we had ever seen. Before, if your account was made private, then any user who did not follow you could not see any of your photos, your profile picture or who you followed. They could see your bio, but that tends not to be too revealing. With the new update, not only can you get a message from anybody, but they also can now zoom in on your profile picture to actually see what you look like. Some of the anonymity of Instagram has been lost which we think is a shame. 

That has not, in anyway, curbed the usage by teenagers. The easy control of who can see your photos makes it a place where more controversial photos would be posted as opposed to Facebook, because if you do not want people to see your posts, they can not. 

Google+ - created 2011


Quite frankly, the extent of our knowledge of Google ranges from the browser to the email system. Anything other than that, including Google+, is a mystery to us. It is used by 12.6 million UK users and 2.2 billion global users. Given our lack of knowledge about what it is as a social media channel, having looked it up (on Google), it states that it is “a social network that builds off your Google Account”. From what we can tell, it is a way of blogging about your interests without having to have any sort of knowledge of other users. It seems like a more polished version of Tumblr.

 

Our Opinion


Neither we, nor our friends use it, it does seem like a judgement free zone where people can rave on about their passions. That ability to speak candidly without repercussions is a trait that we think teenagers are seeking in Social Channels, and so perhaps Google+ will be the next big thing with teenagers.

Thank for reading Part 1 of this epic article. We'll be continuing next week where we'll look at Pinterest, Snapchat, Vine and more.

Don't miss out! Make sure you subscribe to #SchoolBytes, if you haven't already, so we can send you the next article hot of the press.

What do you think of this amazing teen perspective on social media? Comment below please 😃

How to #StandOut: The Head's Welcome conundrum

At @intSchools we promote one core ideal for you to integrate into your school's marketing: ✨STAND OUT✨. We see, day-in and day-out, so many of the key marketing tools employed by schools failing to live up to this simple mantra. Chief among these are the school website.

Now imagine you are a parent, looking for something that really speaks to them - the place they want to send their child to gain an education. If your site looks like any of the above the likelihood is they will skim right past it. 

The Head's Welcome

Let's focus on one change that really can make a huge difference when employed properly. Yep, you guessed it: the Head's Welcome

This is often one of the first pages that new visitors to your site will visit - or are directed to. So when we saw this article from TES we were shocked to see that so often what should be a really good, engaging Head's Welcome is lost in a world of 'same'.

This just will not do! It is so important to ensure that it is as good as it possibly can be - it should reflect the school's brand as well as the personality of the Head. In fact, we would say that of all the pages on your school's website this is the one that you can inflect real human-to-human engagement

Take a look at your Head's Welcome page. Notice the language used. Now tick off each word from the image below. How many are in there? 1? 2? 5? All of them? It's no surprise - this is the type of language that has been synonymous with schools for a long time. Let's be fair, every school is keen to highlight that they have high standards of excellence; that they achieve outstanding results; and are the best at what they do. School's are always proud of their pupils, who leave with strong and confident personalities; and school's are, of course, rich in learning; an exciting place to study; and a safe haven to develop in.

We get it - these are all huge, massive, gargantuan traits that schools are keen to be advertising. However, imagine you are that parent again and you're looking at 10 schools in the area. You read this similar message 9 times and something with a bit more honesty and creativity just once. Which one are you going to remember?

Every school is starting to sound the same.

What do I do?

Tailoring a super-innovative, original and mind-blowing Head's Welcome is no easy feat. Really, there is no one-stop piece of advice we can offer. Instead we can offer some guiding points - the rest is down to you!

  • Understand your competition: The best way to move away from your competition in the quest for originality is to research them. Understand what they are saying about their school. Note the points that are similar to your own school and the points that don't appear genuinely unique to their school (if any). This will give you a starting point on what to avoid and a focus on making your school's own uniqueness come through.

 

  • Understand human behaviour: The way we are reading websites and taking on information has dramatically changed from even 10 years ago. A key element to always consider is peoples' attention. On average a person will spend less than 60 seconds on a webpage, unless they are engaged. With this in mind be succinct in your message and display it in short paragraphs (think of it as bite-size segments).

 

  • Keep it relevant: Having a proud heritage or a building built 400 years ago might be interesting for you - but does this interest the parent looking at your school? What does an old building offer their child? They want to know about the education and care your school will provide. Keep it relevant to the people who will be reading your introduction.
  • Be honest: The article, linked above, from TES made it clear that what many Head's are writing in their welcomes are attempts to cover negative issues surrounding the school. While some of the examples noted in the article are a little tenuous it does promote something important - honesty. There is no shame noting the school's difficulties (perhaps with budget or staff numbers). This is to offer parents and stakeholders a wider picture of your school.

 

  • Show proof: Almost every organisation will have a motto, a mission-statement, a strapline. But what do they actually mean? Most of the time, they are created because that's the normal thing to do. We want schools to prove that the words they are saying actually mean something!

Learning a lesson

The Head's Welcome is important for two reasons:

  1. As we have already noted it is often the first page that parents and stakeholders navigate, or are navigated, to. It goes without saying that the first impression is vital to whether or not this person will remember what they have seen or look to invest in your school.
  2. The Head should always set the bar. Yep, the Head is the school's leader and an example for other departments and individuals to follow after. If you make the Head's Welcome as the prime example of what is good, it stands to reason that the rest of the website will follow. 

Just remember that the aim of the game is to...

We would love to hear your thoughts on this article. Comment below.

The evolution of the iPhone

Quality is much better than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.
— Steve Jobs

Let's be fair - smart phones and tablets have become standard household objects for many of us; as common as refrigerators or washing machines. In the UK, it is estimated that at least 65% of the nation own a smart phone in some respect. The smart phone has also replaced laptops as the number one device for accessing the internet. 

This all equates to some pretty interesting facts about consumer habits and how marketing is having to adapt to impact on the shorter attention spans we are developing.

Amazingly, this trend has not been long-lived; we are only really just getting started with using technology in this way. In fact, it was only back in 2007 that it all truly began. Yes, this was the year that Apple - led by Steve Jobs - released the first generation of the Apple iPhone.

While there were many shortcomings with the device, it was undoubtedly an exciting and innovative release, which quickly set the bar for other competitors to aspire to. Since 2007, the iPhone has gone through no less than 10 generations of devices - with the 11th (the iPhone 7) now clearly on the horizon. How then have Apple evolved the iPhone to remain fresh and desirable in an extremely competitive market?

iPhone Evolution.gif

The first gen iPhone might not seem much by today's standards but it really was the first phone of its kind. On January 9th 2007, Jobs took stage as he announced Apple's newest product. He said: 

Well, today, we’re introducing three revolutionary products of this class. The first one is a widescreen iPod with touch controls. The second is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough Internet communications device. So, three things: a widescreen iPod with touch controls; a revolutionary mobile phone; and a breakthrough Internet communications device. An iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator. An iPod, a phone … Are you getting it? These are not three separate devices, this is one device, and we are calling it iPhone. 
Today, today Apple is going to reinvent the phone, and here it is.

Later that year (June 29th to be exact) iPhone was released to the US market. It took 74 days to hit the first million units shipped mark. Fast forward 9 years and over a billion iPhone units (across all 10 generations) have been sold to a global market.

iPhone (2G) (June 2007)

The first iPhone set the standard for what we see in today's smart phone technology: it was touchscreen; used apps; made large use of digital media; and provided access to the internet. The phone came with a 320 x 480 pixel resolution (the very best of its time), a 2MP in-built camera and 8GB of internal storage. It certainly had it shortcomings (i.e. it did not utilise 3G, and the only available apps were directly from Apple) but it provided a solid foundation for the next version...

iPhone 3G (July 2008)

...the slightly confusingly named iPhone 3G. If the iPhone 1 was a good success, the iPhone 3G was monumental! Consumers were now offered high-speed internet connectivity via 3G, and the App Store was given a huge overhaul to radically improve it. In fact, this overhaul is the same business model you see today - not just on Apple products but Windows laptops, Smart TVs and many other products. Design-wise, the iPhone 3G was sleeker and the back cover changed to a shiny black.

iPhone 3GS (June 2009)

Consumers were largely disappointed with the 3GS launch - citing that not enough had been done to make this stand out against the 3G. However, a new 3.2MP camera, larger storage, significant performance upgrades, video recording capability, and voice control (pre-Siri) all added up to make this model a far more powerful version of its predecessor. 

iPhone Evo - unlock.gif

iPhone 4 (June 2010)

The iPhone 4 proved to be a massive step-up from the 3G / 3GS. For starters, Apple were able to integrate their Retina Display - pushing the screen resolution up to 640 x 960 pixels. A much-improved camera (5MP) was added and HD video recording became available. 

iPhone 4S (October 2011)

Externally the 4S was exactly the same. Internally however, graphic capabilities were largely improved and a new 8MP camera installed.

The 4S was also the first time that Siri was exclusively available on an iPhone. Ok, so Siri back then (and still today to be fair) was not perfect. However, its introduction was the first of its kind for smart phones. If nothing else, it showed that Apple were still ahead of the game in terms of innovation.

 

iPhone 5 (September 2012)

The newer model has very little in terms of specific upgrades. Instead, Apple looked to change the screen size and aspect ratio - delivering a longer screen running at 640 x 1136 pixels. While this model lacked the usual technical innovation, consumers were largely pleased with a crisper, bigger display.

iPhone 5C / 5S (September 2013)

The 5C and 5S releases were interesting. It was clear at this stage that Apple stock was taking a slight toll, as more and more Android and Windows based phones were coming to the market. To help stymie the gap Apple released two new iPhone versions.

iPhone 5C was almost exactly the same as the iPhone 5 - barring a few aesthetic and battery-life changes. It was intended fully as the more affordable iPhone option, to directly compete with those competitors who were able to  undercut Apple in terms of unit cost. In fact, the iPhone 5 was taken off the market so that the 5C was the only option for consumers looking for a phone at this spec and price.

The iPhone 5S was the notable upgraded version. It provided more power, a better battery, a better camera, and a new fingerprint scanner for added security / fun. It was also this year that Apple released the newest version of their operating system (iOS 7). This was a significant upgrade for Apple users and was perhaps the biggest selling point for the phones.

iPhone 6 / 6 Plus (September 2014)

Consumers were taking note in 2014, ahead of the iPhone 6 launch. Last year had seen two new iPhones introduced and successful sales had led to the product officially being the top-selling smart phone of all time. What could Apple do this year to ensure that this fact became legacy?

At the iPhone 6 announcement, Tim Cook (CEO of Apple) stated that:

Today, we are launching the biggest advancement in the history of iPhone.

And so, for the first time, two completely different sized models were announced!

While this is not the most exciting news, it does point towards one major thing - understanding how consumers are using their devices. In having a larger model, Apple are offering a choice between function and aesthetic; that is to say those who want to continue using their smart phone as it is vs. those who want to get more out of their smart phone, from a watching and interacting point of view. 

Aestheticism is the major selling point for the iPhone 6. Both display size and quality were radically improved - the 6 gaining 0.7" in screen size and the resolution jumping up to 1334 x 750; whereas the 6 Plus had a mammoth 5.5" and full high definition display of 1920 x 1080 (that is TV quality in your hand). 

It is important to note that the 6 Plus is not a tablet device - but somewhere between phone and tablet (phablet). Yes, it is a word that now exists!

To date, this is the most pre-ordered Apple iPhone; the record being absolutely smashed on just the first night it was available to order.

iPhone 6S / 6S Plus (September 2015)

In terms of hardware, much stayed the same from the previous year's models. Apple used a tougher alloy to create a sturdier, more resilient product, and the rear-facing camera got upgraded to 12MP. To accompany the new camera was a new feature - Live Photo - allowing a few seconds of video to be recorded for every photo taken.

The major new feature however was Apple's new 3D Touch technology. This allows different functions to be used dependent on the amount of pressure applied to the phone. For example - users can preview messages by pushing down on the Messages icon lightly, or quickly go to the Alarm window by pushing down on the Clock app. 

Click to enlarge

iPhone SE (March 2016)

The latest version of the iPhone, the SE, holds nothing new compared to the iPhone 6 models. It basically is a newer version of the iPhone 5S with new camera, higher storage and the new iOS 9 software. 

This is intended to be a cheaper option to keep Apple competitive against their mid-range competitors. 

iPhone 7 (September 2016)

Apple's big reveal for the iPhone 7 happened this month and the first pre-orders will be shipping out very soon.

Apple have upped their game once more and there are some new features to take special note of:

  • No headphone jack: Yes, perhaps most controversial of all is Apple's decision to totally remove the usual 3.5mm audio jack port at the bottom of the device. Initial response was not good, as many consumers feared that they would have to buy new equipment just to use this feature, but all is not lost. While there are new, Bluetooth earphones that can be bought (£159), Apple will be shipping out both a set of Lightning EarPods (which connect via the charging port) and an adaptor so you can use your normal earphones (again connecting via the charging port). This has already caused quite a stir but it could be said that innovation has to start somewhere. With wearable accessories becoming more marketable, why not have wireless earphones? 
  • Dust and water resistance: this year Samsung have sold their latest phone, the Galaxy S7, very well on the strength of it being resistant to water and dust. While you can't take it on a Jules Verne adventure, it will survive the typical slip into the bath or toilet. It is unsurprising that Apple have followed suit.
  • Battery life: Apple have vowed that this is their best ever battery, with an expected life up to 2 hours longer than that of the 6S.
  • iOS 10: The launch of the iPhone 7 will match the launch of iOS 10, which promises to have the most intelligent version of Siri yet!

It can certainly be said that Apple have done their utmost to pioneer this technology sector. The initial release of the iPhone in 2007 has inspired other companies to create smart phones - but it is always Apple that seem to remain ahead in bringing simple, incredibly effective and very creative innovations to consumers.

Do you think Apple are pioneers? Has the evolution of the iPhone always been ahead of the curve? We'd love to hear your views on this article. Please comment below.

Which social media should I be thinking about this year?

Happy #BackToSchool time everyone!!! Yes, it's the new academic year and you might just be wondering what social media breakthroughs have crept up on you over the summer holidays. 

Here is our handy summary of the social media you should be on RIGHT NOW, or at least getting very excited for! So...where shall we begin?

STATS!

Yes, statistics. We all love them - don't lie. These numbers and facts help us to see the reality of how entities such as social media effects us. More importantly they offer guidance in where your school should be driving its social media marketing strategy.

Overall

Click to enlarge.

It will come as little surprise that Facebook is the largest, most populated country out there.

In fact, if you were to add together Facebook and the companies that they have purchased, namely Facebook Messenger; What's App; and Instagram, the population would equal 3.9 billion people (users). That is over half the entire world!

Teenagers (13 - 17)

Knowing your audience is the simplest but most important rule for any business. Luckily your current, and indeed future, audience is providing all the data you need - right now! 

Right now social media has an incredible presence in the life of teenagers. It is important to realise that what they are engaging with now will shape what is developed in the near future. 

% of all teens 13 - 17 use....

  1. Facebook : 72 % 
  2. Instagram 52 % 
  3. Snapchat 41 %
  4. Twitter 33 %
  5. Google + 33% 
  6. Vine 24% 
  7. Tumblr 14%
  8. Other 11% 

Facebook trumps all once again. However, particular attention needs to be paid to Snapchat and Instagram. Both are image and video sharing platforms and both are quickly rising through the ranks with this age bracket. 

Snapchat vs. Instagram stats: 

  • 73% of Snapchat are millennials 
  • 60% of school pupils use Snapchat daily
  • 30% of Snapchat users use it because their parents aren't a user
  • 71% of Snapchat users are under 25 
  • 90% of Instagram users that are younger than 35
  • 41% of Instagram users are between the ages of 16 - 24

You can see by these stats that these two sites are dominated by a younger age group. 

Learning these platforms throughly has two major benefits:

  1. You need to know how to safeguard your pupils. Many parents will either not use or simply not understand Snapchat and Instagram, so it falls to you to ensure that your school is educating the correct and safe way to operate on them. 
  2. From a marketing point of view your younger parents, and your upcoming parents, will be more au fait with Snapchat and Instagram. Knowing how to utilise and market well across them will make your school stand out against competitors. 

Mars vs. Venus

Just as with age, gender plays an important part in the social media marketing world. For example: Pinterest has a 70:30 split weighted towards women. That is really quite an astonishing majority and should be noted.

Knowing social media preferences between male and female is really important. What might work well for mother could be ineffective for father. Below are some handy images showing basic stats on the gender divide for the more popular social media sites. 

The rise of live-streaming

We think it's safe to say that this year's hot topic in social media will be centred around live-streaming. This, in essence, is streaming video across social media...live!

Many of you may well have heard of Periscope - easily the most popular live-streaming platform currently available. 

Periscope stats:

  • 10 million users
  • 2 million users live-stream daily
  • 75% of users are aged 16 - 34
  • 15% of the top brands on Twitter user Periscope regularly
  • 29% of Periscope streams are posted by women

Already we are seeing some fantastic uses for Periscope, and similar applications, by schools. For example one school live-streamed their entire sports day - event by event. This simple act enabled parents to watch those events their children were participating in, even if they couldn't attend the day in person. Other uses could include: live-streaming concerts and drama performances, or showing prospective (perhaps international) parents around your school without their needing to actually be at the school!

Honourable mentions

Currently there is no one social media platform that does all. Facebook and Twitter are both working towards this, but right now it is important to utilise the current offerings to their focussed and greatest strengths. To this end we have our honourable mentions list:

YouTube

Most people will know YouTube - the home of funny cat fails and Charlie biting fingers. This is the site for videos! 

This is where you should be posting all video content - and sharing as links across your other platforms (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn). YouTube specialise in video content so this is the safest and most efficient way to ensure that your video content is displayed and plays to its best.

YouTube is owned by Google, so to make the most of it a Gmail account is required.

Flickr

Likewise, Flickr is one of the best options out there for photography / images. It is a very simple site to get to grips with; excelling over Instagram and Snapchat in that it is capable of storing tons on photos - neatly organised into album folders. Albums are easily shared, in the same way as YouTube videos, to be disseminated over your social media sites. 

Flickr is owned by Yahoo!, so a Yahoo email is required to sign-up with. 

SoundCloud

We've had video and images - how about pure audio? Yes, SoundCloud is the perfect spot to host your audio content. These could be audio recordings of school concerts or perhaps student language lessons.

Issuu

Finally we have Issuu - a fabulous source for your published content. We see schools host newsletters and similar publications via Issuu quite often - but what about other ideas? Perhaps an anthology of pupil's poetry over the various years? 

Issuu arranges published work through 'stacks' - the premise being you create a stack (i.e. "School Newsletter") and organise content in that way.  

There we have it!

So that ladies and gentleman is a brief stat-fuelled summary of the social media world in 2016. Facebook and Twitter will remain the major port of call for most people, and businesses, but it is having a sound knowledge of other platforms, and their strengths & weaknesses, that will make your own marketing strategy more efficient. Remember - everyone is connected to everyone nowadays so it is more imperative then ever to STAND OUT!!!

What are you views on the upcoming and important social medias for 2016? Comment below.

5 books about social media from OUR inspiration

It is no uncommon site to see a blog post with 5 of the best this or 25 amazing thats. Books are no exception to this. Just Google '5 best books for ...' (enter anything) and there will be a host of lists devised by experts, fans and bibliophiles. To this end, putting together a list of the best social media books is a nearly impossible task. It would mean having read every book on social media in existence and taking everyones' preference into account. 

Instead we have listed 5 books from some of our social media heroes. These are the leaders we look to for inspiration, when defining our social media presence, and are among some of the most talented marketers to grace the digital, and physical, realms. 

So, in no particular order.

1: Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy World by Gary Veynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk is the ultimate businessman. Born with an entrepreneurial spirit, Gary is a proven investor and advisor in the world of startups, and now an expert on the Fortune 500 world, through his work as CEO of Vaynermedia, a social media marketing agency. Having two bestsellers under his belt doesn't hurt either.

Right Hook is his ode to delivering that knock out shot in the marketing world. He inspires readers to change how they fight in business and how they look to make customers happy. With social media having changed so progressively over the last 10 years he notes that context as well as communication is a winning form; creating great content is as important as creating relevant content.

We love displays and symbols and stuff that quickly and silently tells the world who we are. Better yet, we love visual reminders of who we want to be.

2: The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users by Guy Kawasaki & Peg Fitzpatrick

Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool. He was also the chief evangelist of Apple. Guy is the author of thirteen books. These books are textbooks for the finest academic institutions in the world and have been both New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers. His writing focuses on the tactical and practical in order to empower and inspire.

Peg Fitzpatrick is a writer, speaker, positive vibe producer, a social media butterfly and connector. She has built an engaged following on social media of over 1,300,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and YouTube. In her writing and social media she will give you ideas for inspiration and the motivation to get it done!

The Art of Social Media is a thorough guide, for beginners and experts alike, to really nail down social media campaigns: from inception to delivery to analysis. It is filled with over 100 tips and insights for readers to expand their online presence across the social media platforms. Their combined knowledge cultivates years of practical experience in social media and marketing. 

Sharing good stuff is 90 percent of the battle of getting more followers. Almost everything else is merely optimization. End of discussion.

3: Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help Not Hype by Jay Baer

Jay Baer is a social media strategy consultant, and founder of the firm Convince & Convert, that works with leading companies and their agencies on social media integration. His Convince & Convert blog is one of the world’s top English-language marketing resources, as was ranked the #3 social media blog in the world. Jay is also the founder of 5 companies and has consulted for more than 700 companies.

Youtility prompts a clear question to marketers: how can you help? In social media marketing you are already vying for attention against the public, against customer's friends and family. To stand out you need to be offering something to them. Jay's premise in Youtility is simple but effective - if you sell something, you make a customer today, but if you genuinely help someone, you create a customer for life.

...stop trying to be amazing and start being useful. I don’t mean this in a Trojan-horse, “infomercial that pretends to be useful but is actually a sales pitch” way. I mean a genuine, “how can we actually help you?” way.

4: Social Media Explained: Untangling the World's Most Misunderstood Business Trend by Mark W. Schaefer

Mark W. Schaefer is a globally-recognised speaker, educator, business consultant, and author who blogs at one of the top marketing blogs of the world. Mark has worked in global sales, PR, and marketing positions for 30 years and now provides consulting services as Executive Director of U.S.-based Schaefer Marketing Solutions.  He specialises in marketing strategy and social media workshops.

Social Media Explained is the book for those who are too busy to spend hours trying the learn the fundamentals of social media marketing. It is heavily backed by the psychological and sociological findings of social media on people and culture, and what makes it work effectively. Schaefer explores this subject in a clear and easy to understand manner, and will make readers ask the right questions about their own marketing plans. 

...the social web is simply bringing us back to our marketplace roots where personal connection, immediacy, and word of mouth validation are the most important marketing considerations. We’re returning to the way people have ALWAYS wanted to buy from us – person to person. Humans buy from humans.  And now you have the opportunity to humanize your company and join in the commercial renaissance, too.

5: Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break Through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less by Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is an entrepreneur, speaker, author, podcaster, father and lover of all things orange. He is the founder of Content Marketing Institute, the leading education and training organisation for content marketing. Joe is the winner of the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council. Joe not only writes one of the most influential content marketing blogs in the world, he writes a column for Entrepreneur.com and is a LinkedIn Influencer. 

Epic Content Marketing is a bible for all things content. Joe draws on his years of experience to explain how to attract prospects and customers by creating information and content they actually want to engage with. No longer will readers need to interrupt customers with mediocre content and sales messages they don't care about. In short, great, epic content will be rewarded - and the reward is sales!

Content marketing without a loyal audience is not content marketing at all.

 

 

To commemorate this article intSchools will be starting a monthly book review to help bring you texts that can massively improve your marketing prowess. Our first review will be shared out on our social media outlets at the end of each month.

The first book we are going to review will be the first on this very list: Gary Vaynerchuk's Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. 

Have you read any of the above or have any suggestions you'd like to make? We'd love to hear some comments below.