Social Media

What Is Thumb-Stopping Creative?

How Instagram wants us to create engaging content whilst giving them our money.

The Simply Measured LIFT Conference in Seattle came to a close with a keynote from <American Buzzword> Head of Monetization </American Buzzword> at Instagram, Vishal Shah. Whilst it wasn’t the most inspiring speeches of the whole conference, there was a key takeaway that we now know Instagram are after from advertisers: Thumb-stopping creative..

This term, now a regular in my social media marketing vocabulary, describes and summarises what all marketers want their audience to do – it epitomises the primary objective to any campaign on Instagram: to be noticed.

As we scroll down the feeds of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, what is it that makes our thumbs pause? Is it an interesting headline? Is it a video title? Is it the content? What was it about the content that made you stop? If you notice on Instagram, the captions aren’t the first thing you look at, it’s all about catching the eye.

According to Shah, there are three best practises we need to follow as marketers to be effective on Instagram:

  • Capture the imagination
    1. Be immersive in the platform
    2. Be relevant to your audience
  • Design for the frame
    1. Think visual first – that is the whole point of Instagram!
    2. Mobile first – Instagram is first and foremost a mobile app so always keep that in mind when creating content
  • Turn Inspiration to Action
    1. According to Shah, there shouldn’t be a divide between your brand and direct response.
    2. <buzzword> Story-selling</buzzword> is telling a story to sell your campaign.

So how is DTW going to use this new information for our clients?

With creativity at our heart, and amazing designers in house, we plan on continuing to capture the imagination of our client’s audience through creative, immersive content. As we talk to clients about their objectives, this thumb-stopping creative will be at the front of our minds.

seattle sunset Senior Strategist Jess Volpe went to Seattle and had a blast!

Social Media

Twitter Verification For Everyone

Twitter verification for the masses! 

The gap between the privileged few, and the majority of lowly users is fading – no more will there be an ‘us and them’ atmosphere; freedom and equality is coming to the masses!

For many, getting a verified Twitter account can make a significant validation of a brand’s reputation. Unlike Facebook verified pages (which is linked to a bit of code that you place into your website); Twitter’s verified accounts were at the discretion of Twitter themselves.

Verified accounts can be vital for companies, as it gives a piece of mind to a customer; as Twitter’s registration process is so open, it is very easy for brands and companies to be mimicked. I know of an international company that had ‘local branch’ accounts opened by unhappy employees, leading to unhappy customers when the ‘branded’ accounts posted incredibly inappropriate content.

Now, Twitter has opened up verification to all kinds of accounts it means not only public figures and big brands can benefit from the better reputation those little ticks can mean. All you have to do is fill in a fairly simple form explaining why you think you should be verified.

As someone who has suffered at the hands of Twitter’s treatment of smaller brands (trying to get a handle from an inactive account for a company that owned the copyright…), I really hope this new freedom for accounts means companies of all sizes can boost their marketing credentials.

And although it isn’t quite the laissez-faire process of verification of Facebook, the opening of Twitter’s verification process to everyone adds to the signs that Twitter is trying hard to appeal to large and small companies (other factors hinting to this include the algorithmic feeds, new analytics, and easier ad management platforms).

In addition to this, the announcement of Twitter’s Engage app – an app to help the management of accounts, including more in-depth insights – it is clear Twitter’s investment in the ‘little man’, investment in appealing to the masses (i.e. small businesses), is a demonstration of how the platform can help all businesses return on investment, big or small.

If this isn’t the start of an egalitarian Twitter, I’m pretty sure the revolution will be Twitterised…

#teamDTW News PR Social Media

Shortlisted for the CIPR Pride Awards 2016

Awards are great, but the proof is in the outcomes 

We’re chuffed this afternoon here at DTW towers. We’ve been shortlisted for 3 CIPR Pride awards for our work (we find out in December if we have actually won).

One shortlist for media relations work with local authorities across the north east region on a road safety campaign, one for social media work for an Easter campaign with the Law Society (England and Wales), and one for the very grand title of Outstanding Consultancy, which is particularly nice as it really recognises everyone’s contribution. 

Awards are great – when you win. I’ve been at great evenings where we’ve won, less great evenings where we’ve come an honourable second or third, and also done the hard yards sitting round the table as a judge on more than one occasion (yes, judges do take it seriously, no it isn’t all fixed, and yes it is hard work).

To me though, whether or not we win none, one, two or three awards in December, the value of our work comes back to one thing. Delivering outcomes that make a difference for our clients. Solving our clients’ problems is what makes us tick and what gets us paid.

Communications, marketing and PR is undergoing a revolution that those who don’t work in the industry (and quite a few who do) find it very difficult to grasp. But one thing doesn’t change – delivering results is what is valued.

Thanks for reading


PS – In terms of the CIPR I should declare an interest, in that I’m on its national Council for the CIPR – which has nothing to do with judging shortlists for regional awards!

PPS – if you are reading this and feeling grumpy because you didn’t get shortlisted ask yourself three things:

1)       Was it really award-winning work? If not, don’t enter it next time

2)       How well did you answer the exam questions? Judges like entries that actually address the criteria

3)       What did your work achieve – that is the golden nugget that will make the difference between winning, being shortlisted and feeling grumpy

#teamDTW Latest News Social Media

A Peachy New Year?

Ask what Peach is and you will get two different answers depending on who you’re talking to.  Anybody over 25 and not working in social media will tell you that it’s a deliciously sweet and furry fruit that comes from Florida.

The others will show you their iPhone and the sparkly new app of the same name that is getting a lot of attention since it’s launch in the past week.

It has a sprightly, bright look about it and looks effortlessly clean and a little similar to the other messenger platforms people use to chat to their friends. It’s fun, easy-to-grasp and cool. Even it’s web address is

Like Snapchat before it, the other breakout app from 2015, it’s magic is in the little details.  It’s very easy to sign up to and find your friends, simple to use and has a ton of fun functionality epitomised by it’s ‘magic words’ function.

It works like this – if you type in the word ‘GIF”, Peach will let you search for and insert a GIF into your message stream natively within the app. Sharing visual images and emoji’s seamlessly is as near as essential for millenials especially. It’s also very useful for social media professionals posting on the move who want to enhance their posts without having the time or the will to do an image search followed by an edit session to make the image the right size. Peach will do it all for you.

This would be impressive enough but another tool in Peach’s armoury is ‘draw’. Very simply, it lets you add a hand-drawn image into your stream – a fun little doodle! ‘Shout’ lets you type your text in huge letters with a coloured background to make it stand out even more.

Some early adopters having good success in terms of attracting an audience and attention include the usual suspects like MTV but surprisingly more conservative brands such as Merriam Webster – the biggest dictionary publishers in America. They are using Peach to turn their word definitions and updates into a form of Pictionary and it’s resonating with the audience far more than a simple dry, definition.

Time will tell if it can be a sustained breakout hit or if Facebook and Twitter will just say ‘thank you very much’ and replicate the functionality in their messaging or just give up and buyout the founders but if your key messages or products are visual first it might be worth taking a bite out of this Peach.

Latest News Social Media

Presenting the facts

#Solicitorhour – a year in engagement from Guy Bailey

This week Emma Maule, social media officer from The Law Society and I were invited to give a presentation at a PARN communications event in London on Thursday.

PARN is the Professional Associations Research Network – the group that works with organisations that are made up of professional members such as the Law Society, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Institute of Biomedical Science who hosted the event.

The topic was a review of #Solicitorhour – the twitter chat where members of the public interact with solicitors on a different topic weekly at 1pm on Thursdays, which has been operating for just over a year.

#Solicitorhour was the ideal topic to discuss as the event focused on how membership based organisations can better communicate with their members and the public on a regular basis.

We’re proud of the success we’ve been able to achieve in the previous 12 months.

  • 77 #Solicitorhour sessions
  • 13,016 tweets
  • 5 million timeline deliveries
  • 5 million users reached
  • 2,332 unique contributors

Other speakers included David Biggins from The Institution of Engineering and Technology on how to generate shareable content and from Sandra Scott from the UK Council for Psychotherapy on managing member content in magazines.

We had a great audience who asked several questions both about #Solicitorhour, the Use A Professional Use A Solicitor campaign we created for the Law Society in October 2014, and how an agency like ourselves can work successfully and seamlessly with a large, multi-faceted organisation like the Law Society.

The presentation is embedded above for you to view and download and I would be more than happy to answer any questions you have about the campaign or #Solicitorhour – apart from our future plans!

Social Media

Facebook Reactions is coming…

Facebook has begun the roll out of its new ‘Reactions’ feature which is the much vaunted response to the age old clamour for a ‘dislike’ button. Users in Ireland and Spain (lucky them!) are the first to get access. Apparently these two markets have been picked as test beds for the functionality as they have fewer international connections than other markets Facebook operates in, as well as – in Spain’s case – allowing testing of how the emoji based reactions will go down with non English speaking users.

You can get an idea of how reactions will work from Facebook’s launch video:


So how will it work?

When ‘Reactions’ lands in the UK at some unspecified point in the not too distant future (exactly when will depend on the results of the aforementioned testing) the chances are it will be enabled for individual users’ accounts first, with Pages (the homes of businesses and brands) following on from that.

As well as having the ability to “Like” a post, users will also be able to react using five other emotions: “love,” “haha,” “yay,” “wow,” “sad” and “anger” – each coming with it’s own friendly emoji.




Posts will include a tally of how many of each reaction has been applied to it and it’s worth noting that each user will only be able to apply one reaction to a post – so you won’t be able to ‘like’ and ‘yay’ the same post.

What will it mean for me?

Well, aside from your friends on Facebook being able to react to your posts in a load of different ways, the big news as I see it is how brands and businesses are going to handle this functionality being enabled on their Pages.

Online commentators are already pointing out how reactions has the potential to be misinterpreted and it’s still not clear what the implications will be in terms of the algorithms Facebook uses to push posts out into user’s news feed – it could be that a post with a greater number of ‘angry’ reactions gets given less weight by the algorithm than one with the same number of ‘wow’ reactions, but of course those reactions will be determined by the content of the post and the make-up of a Page’s audience.

There’s also the potential that the new system is open to abuse…


If, as expected, Facebook incorporates Reactions information into its analytics package, we’ll have access to a much more granular level of data through the analytics dashboard. This will help massively with things like promoted content targeting, as well as developing an understanding of a Page’s audience as a whole.

That said, it also opens up the engagement metric – something which is currently pretty hard and fast – to interpretation as to what a user’s sentiment was when they clicked on a particular reaction, so it will be important for Page owners to consider how they want to use and measure this data (as well as the weight and credence they give to it) in advance of it rolling out to their Page.

So, that’s our initial reaction to ‘Reactions’. There’ll be plenty more head-scratching as it takes hold in the UK in the near future. Before then the message for brands and companies is to prepare by understanding why your audience is engaging with you through Facebook in the first place. Then you’ll have a good idea of what they want from your content.

Digital Latest News Social Media Uncategorized


The Facebook website and mobile apps went offline for 40 minutes on Monday afternoon, the second short outage in a week and the third in three weeks, blaming, engineers tinkering, which was the reported cause for the previous outages.

Now what is a minor annoyance or disruption for the ordinary user, or benefit if it gives you the chance to have a cuppa and catch up on work, has real-world consequences for organisations.  Starting with Facebook themselves, their share price took a 4% hit (£56 a share) or 1% for every ten minutes. Then there are the cascading consequences for other apps and websites that use Facebook as their primary login method or are built on Facebook’s structure. Tinder, the popular dating app, is the highest profile example. There are also the hundreds of thousands of Facebook advertisers whose campaigns may have been postponed or lost as a result of the unscheduled stoppage – Facebook has to take their concerns seriously and make amends in short order.

Other social networks, primarily Twitter, had a lot of fun at their expense, providing an outlet for frustration and also underlining their own robust systems but the little blue bird and others are just as susceptible to a malfunctioning algorithm or even something as minimal as a 0 retyped as an O.  Computers are unlike people in that there is no shade of grey regarding their operating parameters. A program either runs or it doesn’t – there is no nearly right here.

Such rare events also illustrate the danger of building a business model or primary presence on a platform that is ultimately out of your control – both proprietary and technically.  If you have a website, it is very unlikely that the internet will go down as there are a myriad of redundancies and work round’s to avoid it. A single site or platform is much narrower and easier to disable no matter how popular or famous.

Facebook has a lot of engineers and data scientists who can solve and fix issues and game plan for likely future offline incidents. In honour of #FacebookDown, maybe you should game plan your own social survival strategy if your main showroom simply vanishes into thin air…

Latest News News Photo Social Media Uncategorized


When was the last time you pushed yourself so hard, out of your comfort zone and even to the point of being scared? Whether it’s work or life it’s necessary to do it often, to gain a sense of achievement and if you can do it for a good cause even better.

This week is Dementia awareness week, 17 – 23rd May, and what better way to spend it than taking part in the Mount Snowdon midnight challenge – 20 miles, 1100 metres high and in the pitch black.

Last year I decided to sign up for the cause. My family is affected by Alzheimer’s and I had first hand experience of the emotional rollercoaster of people, places and familiar faces being forgotten.

People suffering from Alzheimer’s have mountains to climb every day just climbing out of bed, so why not raise awareness and funds by doing the equivalent in the dark!

So five months ago the training started, many snowcapped summits, Lake District views, hairy descents and very tired muscles – also a fair bit of complaining en route.

Each time taught me more, the biggest lessons learnt, be prepared for any situation and have lots of small goals and by the time you have reached them, you will be on top in no time. This was soon applied to lots of things I did at home and work too.

I arrived in Snowdonia a little worried last Friday as the hardcore climbers gathered, all 243 in total. Torrential rain, high winds and zero visibility – why would it possibly be anything else?

It’s amazing how people’s life stories, the support of sponsorship and loved ones backing you pushes you further and helps summon energy when you need it most. It was horrendous.

Three hours later a very wet, cold but ecstatic Laura ran through the doors, placed fourth and the first woman home. It’s fair to say I still don’t believe I made it, let alone in such a time.

The most amazing part of the whole challenge is the £3,000 I raised will add to the total of £170,000, which will aid support with research, befriending services, campaigns and publications. Dementia will affect one million people in 2015 and with this disease there are no survivors.

So maybe we can’t move mountains, but we definitely can climb them, helping others preserve, make and keep memories alive. #DF24

Latest News PR Social Media

Up Periscope

Following Meerkat’s launch last week, Twitter sped up the release of it’s own integrated live streaming app Periscope. Despite still being in beta, the social giant quietly acquired Periscope in early March for around $100million. With Meerkat beating it to release, Twitter acted quickly to shore up its new acquisition and blocked Meerkat’s access to some of Twitter’s core functions.

Periscope is available now on Apple’s iTunes store (the Android version is currently TBC). Like Meerkat its users can broadcast a live video stream direct to their followers, allowing businesses and individuals to communicate messages to their Twitter followers simply by providing a link they can click through to a broadcast they can watch on their mobile, PC or laptop.

This type of service is not new, Amazon spent almost $1billion last year acquiring live game streaming app Twitch. Twitch allows gamers to broadcast live gaming sessions to fans, who can message and chat within the stream. While Twitch is hugely popular with gamers and the video and computer game industry – Periscope brings live streaming to the masses, and taps into Twitter’s huge mobile-focused user base.

The potential for Periscope is mind-boggling and the service is expected to mark a significant shift in the ever-changing world of social media. Think of it in terms of business. Using Periscope you can now broadcast live video of meetings and conferences to your pre-warmed list of followers, or customers, providing an even more intimate insight into what you do. It allows experts, celebrities and bloggers to speak directly to the people who follow them, negating the need for any third-party media outlet to help them get a message out.

In terms of PR, PR professionals are looking at how they can use Periscope with their brands’ Twitter accounts to help them engage more directly with the people who follow them and raise awareness of their brands. It’s a powerful tool as it adds to the arsenal of ‘owned’ social media tools in a big way. 

PR professionals need to learn how to use Periscope. Those that can master this new channel will help set their brands and clients apart from the crowd. 

Creative Design Social Media Video

The power of animation

We’re a multi-talented bunch here at DTW and we’ve had great fun creating illustrations for, and animating, our advert for the Law Society’s ‘Use a professional. Use a solicitor’ campaign.

The advert, which launched on ITV Player in March 2015, highlights how wills are not just for old people – everyone should have one!

(Turn up your sound)

We wanted to capture the attention of all of those people who don’t yet have a will, or whose circumstances have now changed making their will invalid, and highlight the importance of making a will and using a professional solicitor.

We created an engaging and thought-provoking animation that promoted wills to a younger audience in a fun, creative and eye catching way. By combining clean line drawings with injections of colour and using cute animated characters, we created a stunningly simple but highly emotive advert that resonates with a younger, as well as older, audience.

The 30-second advert was part of a larger campaign DTW worked on for the Law Society as part of its Consumer Campaign. Integrating PR, social media, video, online advertising, out of home advertising and ITV player advertising, 2015 marked the second phase of DTW’s work on this national campaign, pointing consumers to the Find a Solicitor website to search over 140,000 legal professionals to find the best solicitor to suit their needs.