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Author: Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher was the Deputy Editor at Econsultancy. He runs pop culture site Methods Unsound and you can hound him on Twitter @Christophe_Rock.

econsultancy

14 best branded Instagram videos from August 2014

This month’s round-up of brilliant branded Instagram videos comes bearing an exciting new upgrade.

Last week Instagram introduced a new standalone time-lapse video tool called Hyperlapse, which is actually quite brilliant. I wrote about it in greater detail here: Instagram’s Hyperlapse: social video toy for brands

It’s very early days yet but it will be interesting to see how quickly brands begin using the tool and how many different creative ways time-lapse can be used.

In the meantime, here’s a breakneck Hyperlapse trip around the Econsultancy office…

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What is social CRM and why do you need it?

Earlier in the year I wrote a beginner’s guide to customer relationship management entitled What is CRM and why do you need it? Welcome to the next chapter.

Here we'll be investigating the next vital stage in your CRM strategy: social CRM, and how this can help your company track its relationships in an increasingly multichannel landscape.

First though, for anybody who needs a refresher, a quick recap of what CRM actually means….

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the digitals logo

Six inspirational B2B case studies from The Digitals

It’s awards season here at Econsultancy as the entries detailing inspirational case studies from a huge range of companies continue to roll in.

The Digitals 2014 are designed to showcase the finest work from the global digital and ecommerce community, but not just from individuals, we want to put the whole team centre stage in order to celebrate and truly reflect the collaborative culture of our industry.

You have till 24 September 2014 to enter, and in order to give you inspiration for your own entry we’ve rounded up some of the best B2B case studies we received in 2013.

For more advice on how to write your entry, read David Moth’s 10 tips for writing a stand out awards entry for The Digitals.

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20 of the best branded Vines from August 2014

Our best branded Vines round-up this month comes bearing great news.

Recently Vine has completely overhauled its desktop site so it looks and works a lot like YouTube, but most gratefully received out of all the new functionality is the ability to search.

At last! You can now search for individual users, locations or tags, making this particular writer’s job a heck of a lot easier. You can read about other improvements here: Vine’s desktop redesign puts community and search first.

In other news, Vine has also updated the app itself and it now allows you to footage from pre-existing videos on your smartphone. Allowing you to mix and edit multiple sources into your Vine. 

It looks like Instagram will have to pull something particularly spectacular out of the bag to keep up with its rivals (a half-decent desktop site would be a start).

In the meantime, lets check out the latest and greatest branded Vines.

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Now that's what I call internet timewasters: 13

It’s time for the weekly digest of all things dreadfully important or insignificantly trivial (and nothing in between) to serve you up another round of internet gold.

What’s that you say? Your pockets are already laden with nuggets from various other publishers of distracting nonsense? 

I highly doubt that… Go on, admit it, you’ve just been watching hours upon hours of ‘ice-bucket challenge gone wrong’ videos and very little else, haven’t you? 

I thought as much. Here’s the round-up.

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The complete guide to setting up and running a WordPress site

Earlier this year I embarked on a series of in-depth articles detailing how you can set up your own WordPress blog, using my own relevant experience and expertise. 

This turned into a three-month long 10-part epic with various digressions into other semi-related blogging matters. Imagine Lord of the Rings but slightly less wordy and definitely less ork-filled.

This compendium is as an attempt to condense my own sprawling epic into one handy guide.

Here you will learn: the differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com, how to set up your blog, advice for writing your first post, using the dashboard and content management system (CMS), essential widgets, themes, plugins and customisation tips, advice for SEO best practice, how to move your blog to a self-hosted WordPress.com site and lots more. 

This guide should be used for a general overview, however links to all the original articles will be included with each relevant chapter, as they will be necessary to read for more in-depth detail.

Are you ready? Let’s begin…

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Instagram’s Hyperlapse: a new social video toy for brands

Instagram has a new standalone tool and in just two days it has captured the interest of various trend-savvy brands and made this writer waste an entire evening playing around with it.

I think you’ll agree when you see the results below, that it was totally worth it.

Hyperlapse is a standalone video app designed by Instagram, allowing the user to capture high-quality time-lapse videos even if the smartphone is moving.

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What is growth hacking and do you need it?

Just when you think you can know everything there is to know about digital marketing, someone slaps you in the face with a new phrase.

During my first year at Econsultancy I’ve been making a point of writing beginner’s guides to any new terms or phrases I find particularly baffling, or that I might suspect other people may find baffling too. Today I’ll be looking at growth hacking. 

Of course the phrase ‘growth hacking’ isn’t actually that new. 

Let’s check Google Trends for the term. That’s always a fun job…

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96% of enterprise businesses ‘feeling the pressure’ of digital transformation

In terms of their markets and their business models, the vast majority of companies surveyed are under significant pressure from the shift to digital.

This comes from our brand new report Leading a Digital Marketing Evolution, produced in association with Epsilon, in which we exclusively surveyed companies with over $1.5bn in annual revenues, roughly in alignment with the top 1,000 global organisations.

The report looks at how Global 1,000 enterprises are remaking themselves to deal with the modern, always-on and mobile shopper. It explores the challenges that large companies face in being responsive, efficient and innovative. It asks how and why some businesses excel and others lag behind. 

Using industry leaders for comparison, this report offers dozens of measures that marketers can use for education, benchmarking and inspiration.

The landscape for brands has been fundamentally altered. The rise of the mobile-first, always-online consumer has meant companies have had to adapt or in many cases completely relearn what they previously knew about marketing.

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How seven ecommerce brands use highly persuasive copywriting

Just be a human. It's fairly easy to do. You are one after all.

This is a follow-up to my previous article five evocative examples of ecommerce copywriting where I highlighted how Onefinestay, Firebox, Norman Records, Firebox, Mr Porter and BrewDog use different writing styles in order to achieve similar goals.

The gains from creating quality copy for your ecommerce site are huge and widely varied: it can make your brand more trustworthy and foster a deeper sense of loyalty. Inventive, engaging or witty copy will entertain your customers and encourage them to stick around. The creation of original copy can also create a deeper job satisfaction because your writers will have more creative freedom.

This is before we've even got to the possible improvements in conversion rates.

How can all of this be achieved? Take a look at some of the examples below for inspiration and always remember the opening mantra.

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iBeacons: the hunt for stats

Are there any numbers out there to justify the hype? Let’s go on a little investigation.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, or in fact any publisher dealing in digital or marketing, you’ll likely be well versed in the world of beacons, iBeacons and other near-field communications (NFC).

If not, head on over to this handy beginner’s guide which should bring you up to speed.

Examples of beacons being used in everything from retail to one-off music or sporting events are becoming more frequent as the months roll on. It’s an exciting time, and there’s a genuine belief that this technology really will build the bridge between offline and online marketing.

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Ryanair's new mobile app frustrates and delights in equal measure: review

Whilst compiling examples for last week’s 10 essential features for mobile travel sites I was struck by how much I enjoyed using Ryanair’s new app.

Being as I only had to room to mention it briefly in the above mentioned article, I feel it deserved a deeper analysis.

The app was launched last month and was covered by mainstream news channels nearly as much as its much needed website redesign last year. 

The app continues Ryanair’s huge cultural revolution, although both the website and the app redesign haven’t been without their technical hiccups. We’ll talk about some of the reported problems with the app below. 

In the meantime, let’s take a look at Ryanair’s ever-improving mobile presence…

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