To Pivot or Persevere – Personal Development in life and business

To Pivot or Persevere – Personal Development in life and business

The terms “Flogging a dead horse” and “Success is only just around the corner” spring to mind when talking about this concept, articulated by Eric Ries in his New York bestseller “The Lean Startup”.

In your business as well as your everyday life, how do you know when to “give up”? Or, if you do change direction or quit, were you JUST about to make that breakthrough or success you worked so hard for? What if you are achieving moderate success and therefore if you quit it would prove embarrassing or would lose you the moderate income you are used to. What if, on the surface, you are highly successful, but actually you are unhappy, stressed and working 60 hours per week just to keep the ‘success’ going.

When do you Pivot? And when do you Persevere?

What does it mean to pivot? To pivot is to change direction, drop something that isn’t working, and take one area or your whole business in a different direction. Most of the time you would take some of the past version with you. Sometimes you lose the past version altogether.

A great example is a tech company started by Dan Carroll, a well-known name in silicon valley, in 2007. In it’s original form it was called “kaChing” and was a online “fantasy league” for amateur investors, designed to spot good investors. They built a sophisticated system, but customers found the concept confusing and didn’t buy in. The team decided they couldn’t persevere as it existed and decided to celebrate what had been achieved up to this date, but make a pivot. They abandoned the gaming concept and instead focused on creating a platform for amateur investors. On the surface, the pivot seemed quite dramatic, a new company name, new branding and discarding a lot of the system that they had built, but underneath a surprising amount stayed the same. What worked in the system became the core that everything new was built around. The company (now called Wealthfront) is now a leader in the field.

If the team hadn’t had started in the first place they would never have had the knowledge and core system that they then built upon.

Another example in The Lean Startup is the online Voters platform Votizen. It took 4 huge pivots to drag it to the success that founder and CEO David Binetti had visioned, each pivot building on the previous versions successes.

The interesting fact is that, every time he decided to pivot, it took less time than his last pivot. Of the 4 major pivots, the first took 12 months, the second six months, the third took four months and the last pivot took only a month to put into place.

This can be attributed to 2 things. Firstly, the structure and business allowed for a pivot and adapted easier each time. Each change built upon the things that were great about the business and discarded the things that didn’t work. With each pivot there was less to discard and more opportunity to build on what worked.

The second observation is that, the decisions became easier to make, as the decision to pivot had been made previously. The team even brought the ‘pivot or persevere’ concept into their strategic meetings, something that Eric Reis recommends that every business do.

To persevere?
The dictionary’s definition of perseverance is “doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success”.

A client of mine regularly pivots in her business and on reflection feels that she may have recently made too many. She feels compelled to pivot as she is haunted by the alternative of persevering.

Her dad had a 30-year career working for the same company, with the promise of becoming the first person ever to go from being the apprentice to a director in the 100 year history of the company. After years of blood sweat and tears his final promotion was due. He prepared to become director and enjoy has last years with the company before retiring. The board of directors then decided to promote the boss’s son instead. His hopes, as well as his pride was completely crushed and my client is haunted by the memory of the only time she’d ever seen him break down in tears.

Years of persevering did not bring him to where he wanted to be and the worst thing was that he had no control over the future he’d planned for himself.

What happened to him didn’t have to force him to make a pivot in his life; he could have continued to work for that company. Maybe he might have eventually got the directors role that he was promised. But the pivot he made took his life in a better direction than he could ever have imagined.

An entrepreneur approached him to work as partners. With his engineering background and keen project management skills they start a competing firm. I’m sure you will agree that someone that has been an employee for 30 years starting a business of his own is completely daunting, but he partnered up with the right person. He pivoted at completely the right time, not through choice but nevertheless formed part of the team that, after a couple of pivots of their own, built a company that now turns over in excess of £2million per year. He now has the directorship that he wanted and even better, is working hard for his own company, not someone else’s.

The unplanned pivot was the best thing that could have happened to him. How did this happen? Because his new partner heard that he hadn’t got a promotion and saw it as a perfect time to approach him. This is a perfect example of taking what is good from the previous version and leaving behind what didn’t work, which in his case was the company itself!

How does this translate into our personal success? I’d like you to take these 2 steps, in your personal or business life if you like. Take 10 minutes to think about your answers, write them down and build your findings into your plan for success. Just by being aware, will set your subconscious mind the task of resolving any issues holding you back.

1. Are you a pivot-er or a persevere-er?
Take a moment to think about some pivots and perseverance’s that have led you closer to success, or away from success. Think about how you could have changes your thinking to get a better outcome.

[A classic perseverance is staying in a marriage for too long, out of fear that you will be more unhappy out of it that you are miserable in it!]

I’d like you to think about your life or business, what’s holding you back from that next step of success. What is stopping you? Is it your thinking? What’s the ‘barrier’? Did something spring into your mind while reading this article? That’s probably what your unconscious mind needs to be analysed further.

2. Write down 2 things that are holding you back you right now and then ask yourself the question – Pivot or Persevere?

What we can take from this silicon valley concept:

1. If we want to do something, we need to make a start. Imperfect action will teach you more than no action ever will.

2. It’s not a failure if we have strategically decided to pivot! Start making the changes needed and each time it will be less painful and achieve more in less time.

3. Its ok to pivot and its equally ok to persevere, we just need to know our reasons for doing so.

How To Make a Good ‘About Us’ Page

How To Make a Good ‘About Us’ Page

The ‘About Us’ page is a vital part of any website. It is actually one of the most visited pages of any and every website. Think about it – if you want to find out about a company, organisation or individual, it is probably the first page you look on their website. Therefore, one of the first impressions you can make on a potential consumer is from your ‘About Us’ page. Fortunately, this is good news for everyone, especially because it is one of the best pages on your website for you to truly personalise and get creative with.

We have all seen good ‘About Us’ pages, and we’ve all seen bad ones equally. Therefore, the initial question here is:

What actually makes a good ‘About Us’ page?

 

Be Unique

Firstly, we definitely believe it should be memorable.

The ‘About Us’ pages that we all remember are the ones that truly stood out to us: perhaps the page was funny, entertaining, used a lot of good imagery, or anything else that made it memorable. Whatever it is, find the unique points of your business and let it shine creatively in your ‘About Us’. Depending on your business’ style, you can make it work to create an ‘About Us’ page that stands out against other businesses in your field.

Also, bear in mind that your consumers will appreciate a company that doesn’t take itself too seriously. If you show a little humour, and uniqueness, through your ‘About Us’, then it reveals a quirky side to your business that will appeal.

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Giphy
 

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Mostly Serious

 

Personalise Your Page

The second thing to remember when you’re creating a good and effective ‘About Us’ page is to personalise it enough, to suit you and your business. It should contain information that would relate to your users and consumers. Personalisation will also help to show the humane side behind your business and brand; depending on how much information you are prepared to share.

However, if you believe that you are a business that doesn’t want to reveal any personal information about you, or the people behind the company, then there is still a way to personalise your brand through your ‘About Us’. Think like a worldwide brand, and reveal the intricate details about your company: for example, show how your business came to be, and reveal other interesting snippets that only your true fans would care to learn.

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Twitter
 

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Beats

 

Tell Your Story

If your business has a particularly interesting, or unusual, back story relating to how it came about, then that would also be a fun way to make the most of your ‘About Us’ page alone. Reveal your story – the how, why, and what your business ultimately stands for. This is particularly effective if you have a brand message for your consumers, or believe that your company personally has something to offer that differs from the rest of the market.

Although, always keep to the fact that your ‘About Us’ page shouldn’t be too lengthy. You don’t want to overload your consumers with too much information, or, indeed, bore them off the page. You want to keep your page eye-catching and interesting. It is advisable to break up any large bodies of text or information with fun images, or a particularly pleasing colour scheme.

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Refinery29
 

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PicMonkey

 

Create a Business Timeline

Another fun way to reveal all about your business, which won’t be too wordy or uninteresting, is through an interactive timeline. This is also a good way to easily showcase significant times that your business expanded, and highlights for your company. It keeps the tone positive, and focuses on how successful your business has become over the timeline.

Also, if you make it interactive, you can allow your users to click through to read more about the milestones that they find interesting. This will then entice them to read more and spend more time with your website and company.

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Moz
 

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Android

 

Be Clear and Concise

Asides from inserting fun and your own uniqueness into your ‘About Us’ page, you must remember that the main point of the page is to explain who you are. The page must, most of all, be informative and clear. The ‘About Us’ page should explain succinctly what your company does, and what the goal is, but in a fun and relatable manner. Don’t overdo it with the explanation, however – the best ‘About Us’ pages are concise and simple, making it easy for the audience to understand your business and your intentions.

Another solid way to inform your consumers helpfully is through using a few testimonials. Ask your previous clients for these and feedback – and remember to assign their names and authority to the quotes. Testimonials will make your company look more legitimate and successful, as well as quietly boasting about the strength of your consumer base.

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A Cup of Jo
 

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GorillavsBear

 

The People Behind Your Business

If your company wants to be more friendly and relatable, then you may not necessarily want to focus on your business and goals. In that case, it may be more appealing to focus your ‘About Us’ page on you and your staff members. Especially if you have a small team, focusing on your staff can be a very effective way to appeal to your consumers, as they can see the people working behind your business.

You don’t have to include a lot of information about anyone in particular, and certainly not any really personal details. However, if you get the staff members to write short paragraphs about themselves, revealing a quirky snippet about themselves or what they do in the team, then this will be enough information.

It is also essential to use photos for every staff member, and make the images look fun and unique, in order to truly reflect the feel and personality of the company. Interesting images compliment any ‘About Us’ page.

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Etsy
 

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Kickstarter

 

We hope that you have enjoyed our examples, and ideas for how to create a good ‘About Us’ page. Check out your own page – do you feel inspired to make the little changes that make it really stand out?

All ‘About Us’ pages are different, and they should be designed to suit your business’ personality! There are no strict rules, just remember to spend time and don’t ignore the importance of this page.

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Us!

 

We Can Help!

If you need help with creating an effective ‘About Us’ page, or any other part of your website, then Bright Yellow Creative can help! Contact us today to find out how we can make your website really stand out, and drive traffic; increasing your consumer base significantly.

We also offer bespoke services that will improve the content and the quality on your website, or social media. Simply check out our services here, as well as our quality price packages here!

LinkedIn: Why Bother?  7 Reason Why You Should Be On It And Using It

LinkedIn: Why Bother? 7 Reason Why You Should Be On It And Using It

When it comes to social media marketing, LinkedIn is often overlooked by many individuals and companies. They are already on Twitter and they have a Facebook Company Page, so why bother with LinkedIn as well? After all, isn’t it just used by people who are looking for a new job?

In fact, LinkedIn is just as useful as both Twitter and Facebook if you know how to use it correctly. Indeed, in some cases, certain businesses and business people would be better off focusing their social media efforts than they would on other social networks.

Here are just 7 of the many reasons why you should be on LinkedIn and be proactively using it.

1. It Clearly Establishes Who You Are

Unlike other social networks, LinkedIn clearly establishes who you are. Not only does your LinkedIn profile prompt you to give as much professional information about yourself as possible, but other people can vouch for the claims that you are making.

On your LinkedIn profile, you can ask others to write you a LinkedIn Recommendations (a written testimonial for your work in a particular role) or award you a LinkedIn Endorsement (where other LinkedIn users can publicly endorse you for a particular skill you have listed on your profile). These are an important selling point of LinkedIn, as only other users themselves can post LinkedIn Recommendations and award LinkedIn Endorsements, and both link back to the referee’s own LinkedIn profile (thereby enhancing the authenticity of the reference).

Profiles on other social networks are populated solely by the individual in question, and it is therefore comparatively easy to make outlandish claims about your skills and successes to date. LinkedIn encourages you to put yourself in a good light and then get others to confirm your claims, which in itself is a powerful selling tool.

As we shall see below, all your interactions on the LinkedIn network link back to your LinkedIn profile, so it is important that your LinkedIn profile is properly populated and accessible to all.

2. It Is An Effective, Non-intrusive Way Of Keeping In Touch With Your Address Book

LinkedIn in many ways is the modern equivalent of the Rolodex; instead of filing away a business card when you get back from a meeting or network event, the modern equivalent is sending a request to connect on LinkedIn.

While it would be foolish to be overly reliant on LinkedIn as a form of CRM (Customer Record Management System), LinkedIn is an alive, dynamic online version of your address book. Depending on how LinkedIn settings have be adjusted by others and yourself, you will get notifications of when others change jobs, are approaching work anniversaries or have been recommended/ endorsed by others. You can also see who others are connecting to as well (again, depending on the settings).

Not only that, but Linkedin, like Facebook, has a central news feed which you immediately see when logging into the social network. As with Facebook, you and others can post status updates, links and photos to this feed, which will be visible to all your LinkedIn contacts.

It is therefore sensible to view LinkedIn as a professional equivalent of Facebook through which you can cultivate your B2B relationships, and this should be a consideration when selecting what material or information you want to share via the network.

3. LinkedIn Groups Are A Great Way Of Networking Online

Away from your LinkedIn profile and the news feed, LinkedIn hosts thousands of web forums (exclusive to the social network) known as LinkedIn Groups. LinkedIn Groups are set up by LinkedIn users themselves and can be in relations to any professional sector, geographical region, interest or hobby you can think of.

The diversity of LinkedIn Groups is a great boon when it comes to meeting new people with whom you could have a professional relationships, while offering the user to establish their own credentials and online persona by contributing to the debates taking place within the groups.

Just as I have added to people to my LinkedIn network who I have met ‘offline’, I have also added people who I have only interacted with via the LinkedIn network itself. On the back of my posts in LinkedIn Groups, I have had enquiries about my services and requests for collaboration.

Even though some LinkedIn Groups have a particular regional focus, most of the sector-orientated LinkedIn Groups have an international scope, making LinkedIn great if you are looking to establish connections or a professional reputation overseas.

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4. A Good LinkedIn Profile & Persona Is A Great Way Of Attracting New Clients

As has already been alluded to, proactive use of LinkedIn can lead to new clients or customers and this is why it is crucial that you have a professional demeanour on the network and a fully populated LinkedIn Profile. All your interactions on LinkedIn can lead back to your profile, so ensure that it is of the highest standard and fully reflects all of your abilities and accomplishments.

LinkedIn is also increasingly being used by employers and companies as a vetting reference when it comes to either recruitment or sourcing new suppliers. I for one always check out the LinkedIn profiles of individuals I am about to do business with, and I know that I am not alone in doing so.

In other words, a decent LinkedIn profile can seal the deal with any companies or other individuals who are looking to hire your services. All LinkedIn profiles are indexed in LinkedIn’s internal search engine, so also think about keywords that you should be using in your profile to attract the attention of potential clients or customers.

In addition, you can also have a special LinkedIn profile for your company, known as a LinkedIn Company Page. Given the focus on the individual elsewhere on the network, LinkedIn Company Pages are a bit of an awkward feature on LinkedIn in my opinion. However, I would argue a LinkedIn Company Page needs to be set up for an organisation or company for general external reference, although I personally would advise not spending too much time and effort in supporting it on an ongoing basis.

5. It Is Not Just About New Customers; LinkedIn Can Help You Source New Suppliers Too

LinkedIn is not all about finding new clients or customers, nor is just an exercise in personal branding; LinkedIn is an excellent source of finding new suppliers as well.

In many ways you can invert the advice given above; if someone has gone to the effort to fully populate their LinkedIn profile and have received many LinkedIn Recommendations and LinkedIn Endorsements from others, you are more likely to use their services than someone in an equivalent role in an equivalent sector. You can quantify a lot more about someone if they have provided you with the necessary information you need to make a choice about whether to use their services or not.

Again, one cannot emphasise enough that LinkedIn is not just about LinkedIn profiles. I have asked many times in LinkedIn Groups for suggestions of suppliers for particular jobs and services, and I have received recommendations and direct approaches in return. If a supplier is alert and proactive enough on LinkedIn, it can win them additional work.

6. LinkedIn Can Help You Find A New Job

Even though it does play into the predominant yet false cliché that LinkedIn is only for people looking for new jobs, there is no getting away from the fact LinkedIn is a brilliant tool for looking for new career opportunities.

You adjust your LinkedIn settings so that you get notified when businesses or sectors you are interested in are advertising for new staff, and many companies proactively push job opportunities in the LinkedIn news feed and within LinkedIn Groups.

Not only that, but you can even apply online via LinkedIn for certain roles, using your LinkedIn Profile as your CV submission. This only highlights the importance of having a decent and full LinkedIn profile, regardless of how you plan to utilise the social network.

7. LinkedIn Can Help You Find New Staff For Your Business

The obvious flipside of the above is that LinkedIn is great if you are looking to recruit additional staff for your own business. LinkedIn behaviour and a LinkedIn profile can tell you a lot more about a potential candidate than a static, traditional CV.

As a potential employer, you can even message those who have provided LinkedIn Recommendations via the network itself if you require further information or clarity about a candidate, and the LinkedIn search function allows you to headhunt without the need of a traditional recruitment agency.

The only caveat to this is that should involve your Human Resources department in all of this, to ensure that you are abiding by your organisation’s recruitment process and recruitment law in general. This is especially true given that many recruitment processes ensure that recruitment decisions are not made on the basis of ethnicity, gender, sexuality or age, some of which can be inadvertently discerned by looking at potential candidates’ LinkedIn profiles.

 

In conclusion, I think a LinkedIn presence is essential for almost all professionals, and is an absolute necessity if your focus, products or services are B2B. Like the other social networks, LinkedIn is far from perfect and it has its issues (the User Interface is at times woeful, for example), but I think having a LinkedIn profile will soon become an expect norm for the modern worker.

How Often Should You Tweet?

How Often Should You Tweet?

Twitter is quite a unique social media platform, as the whole concept was initiated around written posts and updates. And, despite the fact that Tweets can include images and embedded videos, this is still the mainly used form of communication on Twitter. When it was first created, more than a few users suggested it was basically the Facebook Status Update tool in one social media channel.

Basically, this means that being a frequent user of Twitter relies on reading a lot of Tweets, and it simply isn’t possible to read it all. Therefore, some users have latched onto this idea and decided that the more you Tweet, the better, as there is more of a chance that your Followers will catch at least one Tweet.

This theory seems logical, but is it too risky? As we have learnt about Facebook lately (read it here), too many updates can start to annoy the users who follow you, and will in fact cause less engagement. So, how similar are the two platforms? Are more Tweets beneficial or just counterproductive?

To Tweet or Not to Tweet?

The first thing to do when it comes to your own Twitter presence is work out how many times you are Tweeting currently. Also, as a business, are you solely Tweeting through a business Twitter account, or through a personal account, or both?

One of the main things when trying to boost a business through Twitter is to work out how best to promote yourself. We suggest that it is beneficial to have both a business and personal presence on Twitter, although it is important to attempt to separate your business and personal accounts. Stick to the business-related and relevant updates on your business Twitter, and use your own account more personally. Although, don’t forget that your personal account is linked to your business as well.

The second part is trickier, as it is difficult to know how much to Tweet, and how often would be considered as too often. Twitter users seem to use the platform quite differently, with a few users using it to Tweet many times a day, and others selectively Tweeting. The surprising answer to how many Tweets is too many is actually more than you would think.

 

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You Are What You Tweet!

Surprisingly, Twitter and Facebook seem to be completely opposite about how much to update and post to your Followers. For Facebook, the general response is that updating too many times a day will cause users to tune out and become less engaged with your business. However, on Twitter there isn’t really a point where you can be considered to be Tweeting too much.

The most important thing on Twitter isn’t how often you Tweet; it is how valuable and varied the content you Tweet is. If you are making sure to send out a mixture of interesting links, relevant updates, and a balance of ReTweets and conversations with other users, then there isn’t a time when you can Tweet too often in one day. Alternately, if you are solely Tweeting links to your site, and plugging yourself too much, then this can come across as spammy and uninteresting for your Followers.

Simply, your content is paramount on Twitter. Also, people who use Twitter often use the platform to update themselves on current news and trends. So, it can be beneficial to keep up to date with what’s current and offer your opinion on a wider scale, while still keeping your Tweets relevant to your business and brand values.

Twitter Engagement

Traditionally, Twitter has been thought of as a way to reach your Followers much more organically than Facebook. Facebook has received a lot of flack for limiting the amount of exposure each Page update garners. There have been comparisons to Twitter, with users demanding that Facebook should just show everything, in a similar way to Twitter.

However, Twitter has recently been gaining attention over its true engagement rates. As recently as last month (July 2014), Twitter revealed their true engagement statistics and analytics results, and users were quite surprised. In fact, Twitter’s engagement is not much higher than Facebook’s, despite the fact that Twitter claims not to filter their feeds in any way. Twitter simply shows their users a time-based feed, where users see what comes up in their feed at whatever time they happen to be using the platform. And, logically, this means that your Followers would not be able to engage with every Tweet from your account.

Their engagement statistics, and explanations of why this would occur, do reflect back on the general Twitter theory: the more you Tweet, the more you will gain engagement from your Followers.

 

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Tweet for Success

So, the ultimate question here is: how often should you actually Tweet?

If there is no cap on how many times is appropriate, then don’t feel like you’re left without any real Twitter guidelines. There are a few studies that reveal approximately 5 Tweets a day is a good average, and we particularly feel like between 3-5 a day is a good start for a business beginning to Tweet.

Also, despite the fact that many users Tweet more often, we would advise that it is probably best for a business to always stay under 10 Tweets a day. Mainly because more than 10 Tweets a day, could simply seem like spamming and over-promoting your business.

We have already discussed the fact that content is the most important factor behind your Twitter success, however another important factor is to space out your Tweets over the day. If you think that you can spend approximately an hour a day, firing out Tweets and ReTweets, then you are not making the most of this platform. Tweets should be spaced out and scheduled over the course of the day, in order to attempt to reach the most engagement and not clog up your Followers’ feeds.

Break down your number of Tweets over the day like so: the first in the morning, making sure to reach your Followers going to work. Then, the second should be around lunchtime to reach people during their lunch break. The third should be in the early afternoon, approximately 4pm or just before people generally finish work. We would also advise the last fourth or fifth Tweet to go out in the evening period. The evening is one of the most frequented Twitter times of the day, and so putting out 2 Tweets in the evening would be quite effective and beneficial.

 

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Ultimately, we hope we have cleared up a few myths and beliefs about Tweeting, and how often you should Tweet daily.

If you are interested in finding more about how often your business should Tweet, and how you can best optimise your audience and potential consumers to gain desired brand engagement through Twitter, then Bright Yellow Creative can help!

We will sort out your Twitter account, and create and share interesting content to Tweet to your Followers. We will spend quality time on the platform, ensuring that your business is Tweeting often, and throughout the day, for optimal engagement.

Contact us for more information about our social media packages here, and take a look at our social media services here (the specific Twitter services we offer can be found here).

See how we can benefit your business through Twitter, and other social media, starting today!

Introducing Bolt – Your New Picture Messaging App

Introducing Bolt – Your New Picture Messaging App

Messaging apps have been having a moment recently. From picture messaging to unusual messaging you never thought you needed, such as Yo and Meow Chat, there seems to be an endless supply of message apps with new ways to chat and connect with your friends. So, it’s not surprising to be introduced to a new image based messaging app, to rival Snapchat, Mirage, Slingshot and more, created by Instagram.

 

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About Facebook-Owned Instagram

Instagram is currently a highly popular phone app and social media service, which allows users to upload and edit their own photos or videos to share with their followers. It creates a unique profile for each user, consisting of their photos, and allows users to easily follow other users to gain their image updates in their Instagram feed. The app debuted in 2010, and amassed such a following that Facebook instantly purchased the app for $1billion in the same year. (See our Instagram social media services for what we could offer your business here.)

The main feature of the social media channel is that it allows you to filter your photos and videos, and create interesting edits. However, up till now, the channel has been rather unsocial for communicating with other users and your followers, as you are currently only able to comment on or like other peoples’ images, and respond on your own images. This seems to be all about to change with Instagram’s new app, which is designed for direct messaging with other users.

 

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Instagram’s new messaging app is called Bolt.

 

Bolt basically allows users to send self-deletable photos and videos from their mobile phones, through this messaging service. The unique selling point relies on needing just one click to select the user to send your image, and to take your photo and send it, all in one. Similarly, for videos, you just click and hold down for longer. Bolt basically shows photos of your contacts as round avatars at the bottom of the app screen, and clicking on one contact will automatically take a snapshot and send it, requiring you to hold down longer on the contact for a video. If you are worried about accidental sends through this process, then don’t worry as an extra feature includes being able to shake your phone in order to delete a photo or video that has been sent straight away.

 

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Bolt is Efficient

Instagram states that the speed of Bolt makes all the difference, and provides a much quicker and more efficient way to send images and videos. Another effective feature, they claim, is that Bolt only requires a quick registration of entering your mobile number, and you can get started. With Bolt, you are able to sync your contacts through the phone numbers you have saved in your phone, although you are strangely unable to sync contacts through either your Instagram or Facebook contacts.

However, at the moment, users are only able to access a maximum of 20 contacts through this app, with 4 favourites on the main screen, and an easy swipe through function to access the other 16. Also, the focus is very much on one-to-one communication, as users are currently restricted to sending their image or video to one person at a time. Although, Bolt has introduced some interesting features, including allowing users to edit and caption the photos sent, and an option to reply to their contacts with text overlaid over the previously sent image.

 

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Too Much Visual Messaging Competition?

Bolt seems interesting enough, but is there too much competition and similar applications already out there on the market? Is it different enough? For example, even Facebook itself, who owns Instagram and Bolt, have recently brought out Slingshot image messaging. The Slingshot app includes the unique point that users can only view a photo they have been sent after they respond with another, as well as including a send to all function. Also, the Yo chat founder has recently brought out a rival in Mirage, a picture service that has already gained widespread comparisons for being highly similar in function to Bolt.

Another critique that Instagram’s Bolt has faced so far is in the name, as it is directly the same as an Android application. This previous Bolt is a service dedicated to replacing traditional voice calling and text messaging through current phone plans. They have reached out to Instagram asking them to reconsider the Bolt name, in order to maintain their brand, but have yet to receive a response. Yet, it is highly unlikely that Instagram will change it.

 

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Bolt: Flipping the Concept

Instagram simply doesn’t seem at all put off by the competition or any critiques, including featuring as similar to any current photo and video messaging apps out there. An Instagram spokesman has already commented: “When Instagram itself launched four years ago, we weren’t the first photo filter app. Our tradition is that we look at a space and create a super simple, pretty experience to fit it.”

The Instagram app certainly gained mass popularity rapidly, and it seems that they are hoping Bolt will follow suit. Instagram claims that they are fully behind and support Bolt completely, and hope this will flip the whole concept of image based communication and photo sharing on its head.

 

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Download Bolt!

If you already can’t wait to download Bolt and send images to your 20 favourites to your heart’s content, unfortunately you will have to wait a little longer. Currently, Bolt has only been released in New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa. Bolt intends on expanding into other countries soon, although a date has not been confirmed. The release has been rather quiet so far, but perhaps this is a logical approach intended to scale the experience.

As Bright Yellow Creative are an office full of current Instagram devotees, we definitely anticipate the release! We are excited to witness what Bolt really has to offer.

 

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