What's my age again?

For a bit of Friday fun, we thought we'd test out the new 'How Old Do I Look?' app around the office.

You may have already seen an array of orange-bordered selfies with gender and age signals popping up all over your social media feeds. Where has this latest viral trend come from? At the Build developer conference in San Francisco, Microsoft showed off a website that claimed to be able to guess your age and gender from a single picture.

How-old.net was born from a test of Microsoft’s face recognition API. You upload a photo to the site, and wait nervously while it analyses the image. From that image, it uses Microsoft’s facial recognition technology to pick out the faces, and then determines the sex and age of the subject based on algorithms.

How accurate is it?

Hmm.. we tested it out - see for yourself how old our phones think we are (we've left the most amusing 'til last)

Mark L
Mark L

Apparently growing older doesn't mean growing up for Declan


The only one that was accurate (Happy 30th for next Tuesday, Craigo!)


We know we call him Digital Grandad, but we didn't think Hux was THAT old...


And it's raised all sorts of questions about what Rob really is?


Have you tried it out? Share your 'how old' selfies with us on Twitter @LambCMC

Feeling the Valentine Love - are you engaging?

You can hardly have missed the fact that it is Valentine's Day this weekend. For the business world, February the 14th perhaps bears no special significance, however it offers a reminder to consider the strength of the relationships you have or are trying to build.

In one regard perhaps there is a similarity as both are increasingly becoming played out online. In both cases there will always be those whose interest in you is purely superficial. Although this provides a good boost, it is those connections which provide a more in-depth mutual interest and long-term benefit that we ultimately value most.

I talked last year about the difference between ambassadors and fans in the business world, which can be compared to the meaningful relationships and casual friendships we enjoy in our personal lives. Ambassadors are what we strive for; the clients, partners and peers we have proper relationships with and who are truly deserving of a bunch of red roses and a mix tape. As you can imagine though, like life, it takes an investment in time and effort to turn fans into ambassadors.

In the world of digital communications the key to success lay in consistent messaging, it being relevant and the timing of when you say it. Applied well, it will ensure that a client or prospect is likely to be moved to want to engage, share and remember it. Like life, achieving this is rarely a happy accident though and you need a well thought through strategy.

Do this well and you can afford to embrace the warm fuzzy feeling that this time of year can bring on, safe in the knowledge that the relationships you have developed will continue to get stronger and more likely to convert into something deep and meaningful for your business.

So, as we say… feel the love ❤

Happy Valentine's

photo credit: Engagement ring

Could WhatsApp take over from Facebook? Could Twitter take over from WhatsApp?

Battle of the social media messaging tools as Twitter launches group DMs

Were you a victim of the Facebook and Instagram outage this morning? Both sites, along with other related apps, were down for around an hour, which sent the social media world into panic.

One of the features users would have been missing out on during this time is Facebook Messenger, which allows both one-on-one and group conversations between Facebookers. In the mean time, Twitter was one of the remaining social media channels still live and kicking and has now added a function to directly compete with Facebook Messenger...

Facebook is one of the two main platforms used for group conversations, the other being WhatsApp which last week launched a browser/desktop version.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp is one of the most popular instant messaging apps globally. It claims to have 700 million monthly active users sending more than 30 billion messages every day. According to Expanded Ramblings, Facebook Messenger has 200 million users.

While many users still benefit from the group messaging tool on Facebook Messenger, it's clear that WhatsApp (which also offers a group messaging feature) is currently the more popular choice for instant messaging.

But is Twitter trying to overtake WhatsApp? And is it possible?

Twitter has finally added group direct messages (DMs) to its service. If you use the service as a way to privately communicate with friends, family, brands or even the odd random celebrity, you will soon be able to communicate with more than one person (or brand) at a time.

Rolling out over the next few days to all users, the group DM feature will allow users to add multiple contacts to a group chat. You can start a group chat with any of your followers, but those individuals don’t have to follow each other to participate in your chat.

You’ll receive a notification when you’ve been added to a group direct message discussion. Watch Twitter's group DM launch video here:

Will you be using group DMs? Let us know what you think of Twitter's new tool in the comments.


Scooby-Doo solves the mystery of the perfect social media strategy

As Social Media Week comes to a close, it's clear that more companies than ever are paying considerable attention to their social media strategies. Particularly in the B2B space, concerns range from social being exclusively for younger generations to theories that a presence could provoke negativity rather than positivity, and nervousness surrounds the early adoption of creative approaches. This means producing an effective social media strategy is not always straight-forward.

Earlier in the week, we referenced The OC in a post about the importance of using social channels to protect your brand's reputation and to nurture relationships with ambassadors. Now we're merging a childhood passion, Scooby-Doo, with our grown-up passion of social media marketing.

Before considering reputation management and relationship nurturing techniques, tone of voice and an overall social media strategy must be agreed upon. Due to the new and creative nature of social, the options are endless and a variety of social media action plans are constantly being created, some successful and others less so.

But what makes a social media strategy work? According to Social Media Examiner, the burning question for the vast majority (91%) of marketers is, “What social tactics work best?” Some of the most common ones can be personified via the gang of Mystery Inc:

What do Scooby-Doo characters know about social media?

Velma - monitoring and measuring

Velma is a highly-intelligent young woman with various obscure interests, ranging from sophisticated sciences to ancient Viking writing. Consequently, Velma is usually the brains behind figuring out the mystery, with the (often unintentional) help of the others.

1 LAMB - Velma 2

Velma represents a pragmatic and structured social media marketing strategy. She would analyse each platform and her competitors' activity, create an editorial calendar for what and when each piece of content will be; produce detailed reporting to measure performance and provide a basis for future strategies. Her geeky nature would ensure every post has a purpose, entering her into the elite 37% of marketers who can measure their social activity by conducting it correctly.

Taking a structured and logical approach to a social strategy is important. Knowing why, when and how to implement your activity is vital, as is confidence in knowing who to target and how to measure success. However, like Velma, this academic and regimented approach will only get you so far in solving the mystery of social media...

Daphne - flexibility, adaptability, resourcefulness

Daphne is the enthusiastic one, always following her intuition and surprising the rest of the gang with her development from damsel in distress to a stronger and more independent, self-defence heroine. She occasionally helps the others capture villains by using some random accessories in her purse.

1 LAMB - Daphne

What does this teach us about our social media strategies? That the ability to be resourceful with the tools you possess, to adapt to events occurring around you, and to constantly build on areas in which you can improve are all key to success with the fast-paced, public nature of social media where activity should be timely, accurate and innovative.

These elements, together with a passion and enthusiasm for the social media journey you are embarking on, are a great basis for rich content generation as well as the frequency and tone of posts. However, these alone would make for a weak and structureless plan, with the included risk or irrelevancy and mistargeting.

Fred - focusing on followers and current trends

Fred is a loveable character, despite his aura of vanity and self-involvement. He is often seen taking the lead on solving mysteries.

Obsessed with his image, Fred's Instagram and Facebook would be full of selfies with hashtags - we imagine #FitFreddie would feature heavily - and his Twitter feed would be an abundance of Tweets about himself. He would be the first to jump on bandwagons of trends such as the #ALSIceBucketChallenge and, being the popular guy he is, would be constantly focused on engaging with and growing his follower base.

1 LAMB - Freddie

While posting about yourself 100% of the time is a no-no, Freddie-style posts are a valuable addition to a company's social activity. Businesses are, at the end of the day, using social platforms to promote themselves. Direct self-promotion should be limited, but we recommend showing off your brand and services in around one third of your posts. Images and videos enhance the engagement with a post. Twitter research shows that videos boost Retweets by 28% and photos generate a 35% increase.

Freddie would be fixated on his quantity of followers, but in the B2B sphere we recommend switching this focus to quality, with the objective to attract relevant followers. Using current trends is also a great way to maximise the benefits from social channels while exhibiting your brand's personality, but only when you can make it relevant to your business and your target market.

So, while it should be toned down, Freddie's social media strategy is also an integral component to the overall approach.

Shaggy - adding personality and not being consumed by the fear of potential mistakes

1 Lamb - Shaggy

Ridiculed by the others for being 'useless', Shaggy always attempts to solve mysteries in his own, amusingly unique ways. While there is usually some sort of disaster along the way, Shaggy's methods often somehow lead to a successful diagnosis.

From Shaggy, we learn that it's okay to try out new methods and let your personality shine through to set you apart from your competitors. In B2B sectors, the content available will not always be the most exciting. The challenge is to find your own, individual ways for your brand to present this content in a way that stands out and sparks engagement.

In social media as well as in Scooby-Doo, mistakes are sometimes made. While this can be unnerving, the worst that can happen is you will provide yourself with an opportunity to gain respect through your recovery, just as Greggs did in the recent Google search information issue. Contrastingly, when Shaggy messes up, he's potentially letting a terrifying ghost loose to haunt innocent victims, so repercussions of mistakes could always be worse than yours!

Scooby - utilising your main character/asset

Scooby-Doo is, of course, the main protagonist. Scooby-Doo is a unique dog who is able to speak English. In a potentially controversial analogy, we pronounce that Scooby is similar to the CEO of a company (a comparison we're sure Hanna-Barbera never thought they'd hear).

1 LAMB - Scooby

Scooby is the centrepiece of the group, but when it comes to the crucial moment of solving a mystery, or adopting a social media strategy, he becomes afraid. Nervous and unsure of what to do in this uncomfortable situation, he looks to the others for guidance (and Scooby Snacks).

While the team could easily solve crimes without Scooby, the result would be nowhere near the same. Scooby provides entertainment, as well as the occasional, albeit accidental, valuable insight. This translates to corporate social media strategy too. Sure, your company could develop and deploy a strategy without input from your senior people, but would it lack vital pieces of content and insights? Yes. Would it miss valuable opportunities to be seen by important and relevant people in the market? Definitely.

No doubt some are highly tech-savvy, but many of those in senior roles are often wary at the first mention of social media. Only 28% of Fortune 500 company CEOs are on LinkedIn, 7% on Facebook and 5.6% on Twitter. By ignoring social media, CEOs risk missing out on important conversations, crisis management opportunities and the opportunity to extend their brand's reach to their extensive network of valuable and relevant contacts.

One of the tasks we regularly find ourselves addressing is how to get buy-in from senior staff or unsure employees. We offer companies a 'Scooby Snack' in the form of social media introduction and training sessions, using our expertise and experience to reassure them along the way.

All aboard the Mystery Machine!

mysterymachine1Each of these characters individually represents great social media strategy qualities but, in order to optimise the effectiveness of a strategy, a combination of all of the above should be included in your plan.

First, you must accept that mistakes and negativity can occur. However, this can happen whether you choose to have a presence or not. Being present, actively listening, and knowing how to respond will give you the power to quickly turn any problem into a positive.

Reflecting your brand's unique personality with carefully-planned content and analysis of performance is a must, along with the application of popular trends to communicate your message, utilisation of available tools, news and ideas, and input from senior levels.

Applying a balance of Velma, Daphne, Fred, Shaggy and Scooby into your plan will form the perfect, integrated mix of the necessary components of a successful social media marketing strategy.

So with the help of these meddling kids, for once, you just might get away with it...


For our advice on how to be more like the gang, get in touch: info@lambinthecity.com or Tweet us @Lambinthecity


SCOOBY-DOO and all related characters and elements are trademarks of © Hanna-Barbera

Happy Social Media Week!

You could be missing more than just great talks if you weren't aware of Social Media Week…  It is Social Media Week this week. If you knew that, great. If you are attending one of the free or paid for events, even better. But, if you are in a marketing role and this is news to you then consider this a wake up call.

Every marketing team in every industry needs to be actively monitoring social media, even if they are not themselves proactive in social channels. This is because your customers, whoever that might include, use social media and have the potential to post about you. It is not just for protection though that you should pay attention. Opportunities can occur via social media. I gain something new almost everyday from someone in my network. It might just be a good pub fact or an unexpected smile at a great photo that snaps me out of a grump, but it just as easily might be a new business lead or some insight that helps me be better at my job.

That's why Social Media Week should not be passing you by. Just search for #SMW14 or #SMWLDN on Twitter and you will pick out something helpful, I'm sure.

I want to share a recent example to reinforce my point, and I do have a point I promise.

We started working with a niche broker recently to generate content and distribute it across Twitter and LinkedIn. While researching and developing the strategy for them, we discovered that a Tweet had been published about them back in 2010 saying how great they were. This Tweet went unnoticed for four years until we ran a simple search on the platform for brand mentions.

Now, it has obviously not caused any harm to their brand having this post floating around the World Wide Web, but there were a number of opportunities missed because this wasn't picked up.

1. Make them feel special - if someone compliments you, it is courteous to return the sentiment. When Ryan in the OC told Marisa he loved her and she replied with "Um, thanks" how do you think that made him feel? Rubbish, that's what! (Yes I did just reference the OC...is that bad?!) So our client missed out on the chance to appreciate their customer's comments and further strengthen their relationship.

2. Share the love - a public thumbs up can be retweeted and shared so other customers and prospects can see it. It can also be sent around employees to show they are doing a good job. Any extra benefit was lost by this tweet not being picked up.

3. Ambassadors are hard to come by - to have a customer actively praise you is rare, especially for a financial services brand. Therefore, you need to grasp these moments with both hands and shout it from the rooftops. Many of your 'fans' on social media are passive. Once you find an ambassador, it is essential that they are nurtured to maintain the relationship. A recommendation from them costs nothing. Advertising, marketing, PR and sales activity, however, definitely cost more than nothing.

Yesterday, I attended Five Ways to Drive Social Value Across the Customer Journey, a Social Media Week event run by Rob Blackie, Director of Social at OgilvyOne. I found it reassuring that much of Rob's content confirmed the theories and processes that my team and I already apply on a daily basis. However, this notion of the fan to ambassador ratio within followers was something that got me thinking. With 22% of fans being ambassadors and 55% of ambassadors not even following your social media, the time to start thinking about the importance of these relationships is now.

So my point is...if you work in marketing, you simply have to be more active on social media even if you do not want to post content. Become one of the +300 million active LinkedIn users,  +270 million monthly active Twitter users and +200 million Instagram users. That’s quite a lot of people…they must be onto something! It is only by taking more of an active interest in social media that you will get more comfortable with the channels, spot opportunities and protect the reputation of your brand.

If you have totally missed Social Media Week, don't worry - every week is social media week for us and we'd be happy to meet up for a coffee to talk about how your business could make use of the various channels.

Does anyone actually read your tweets?

Twitter has just released its Twitter analytics dashboard to all users (as long as you've had an account for at least 14 days) and we love it! Unlike some more complicated and in-depth analytics tools, Twitter's dashboard is very basic and easy to use.

Log in to your Twitter account and go to:


A dashboard will then display the "performance" of your recent tweets.

Because the Twitter timeline moves so fast with constant updates and interactions, it's often said that a tweet has a "life" of just a few minutes and hardly anyone sees it unless you're lucky enough to get retweeted by a celeb or influential tweeter.

With Twitter Analytics, you can now find out how far the lifespan of your tweet has actually reached.

The dashboard shows you how many impressions your tweets have earned over the last 28 days, including a breakdown per tweet of impressions (how many times users saw the tweet), engagement (how many times a user has interacted with the tweet) and the engagement rate (engagement divided by impressions).

If you want a high level of engagement on Twitter, here's what you have to do:

Find out the real reasons that your followers find you interesting. If you start to notice a pattern in the types of tweets that spark a lot of engagement compared to those that don't, adjust the content you share accordingly.

Here's Twitter's official guide on how it works.

For further advice or info on social media analytics, get in touch: @LambintheCity or 020 7264 7880

photo credit: opensourceway