Our pearls of wisdom.

Open oyster shell with a pearl inside

Our pearls of wisdom.

As those of you who are already on our mailing list will know, a common feature in our newsletter is our pearl of wisdom – tips and hints that we like to share with you every month.

Well, we also thought you might like to see a full list of pearls, so you can catch-up on the ones you missed. Also, subscribe for our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss any in the future.


February 2018.

According to a new survey released by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, only 44% of charities have heard of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), the new data protection law which comes into force later this year (25th May).

To help charities prepare a number of new guides and training has been release this month, including:

And the best bit is they’re all free!


January 2018.

It’s new year, which means a lot of people are reflecting on what’s been good or bad about 2017, and making plans for 2018. For a lot of people, this includes setting new year’s resolutions (between 26% and 63% of British people set new year’s resolutions). A common resolution set by people living in the UK is to volunteer for a charity or do more in their local community. So our tip this month is to think about how you can use the new year spirit to build support for your organsiation’s work.

To get started thinking about new year’s resolutions, you might want to have a look at #newyear2018 and  #NewYearsResolution.

Are you setting any new year’s resolutions, either for yourself or your organisation? If so, we’d love to hear them! Get in touch by replying to this email, or on Facebook or Twitter.


December 2017.

Hubspot recently did some research on which social media sites make us feel worst after using them (of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube). Looking at the results, all of them are making us pretty unhappy – 16% of people in the UK ‘feel awful’ after browsing social media – but Facebook came out top (with 43% of people in the UK naming it as the social media site that makes them feel worst).

This may all sound very dismal, but in presenting their findings Hubspot also argue that this presents an opportunity for digital comms professionals to address this. Maybe we – as people who run pages or accounts on social media for our organisations – can help make the experience less disheartening for our audiences by being more positive!

And maybe you can make your own experience more positive too, by following the non-profit experts who tweet great advice listed in this WildApricot blog. And if all else fails, have a look at this – 30 of the Funniest Tweets About Social Media We’ve Ever Seen. You’ve got to laugh, eh! 😊


November 2017.

Recently, we’ve noticed a lot of people asking for tips and advice on live-streaming video. So, here are my top five:

  1. Make sure you’ve got a good wifi connection – you don’t want your video cutting off part-way through.
  2. Get a tripod – save yourself arm ache from having to hold the camera still, and save your audience motion-sickness from the camera moving too much.
  3. Test your sound – this is often overlooked, but poor sound quality can really ruin a live-stream.
  4. Yes, live-streaming is new and interesting, but that doesn’t mean that your stream can be dull – whatever it is you’re live-streaming still needs to be interesting for people to want to watch.
  5. Set a reminder to turn off your live-stream so you don’t pull a Mark Ruffalo (who accidentally live-streamed the first ten minutes of the new Thor film at the premiere!)


October 2017.

Fake news is big news, and everyone’s trying to get better at recognising it. Ofcom’s Communications Market Report found that 44% of people think it isn’t easy to recognise if an online image or video is real or truthful. And recent research by the University of Warwick, found that around one third of fake images went undetected by participants.

So, here’s some tips on how to spot a fake viral video:
1. Ask yourself if what you’re seeing is a real phenomenon, is this something that actually happens?
2. Go to the first source and see if they seem legit
3. Look out for brands – some fake videos are actually subtle ads
4. Check the tape for inconsistencies or blurry areas where something might have been cut out

There is loads more in the full article from the Verge, we definitely recommend a read. And, have a look at this article too, on the six sure signs that a photograph has been retouched.


September 2017.

62% of people say they post images and videos online. A lot of the time when people talk about images shared online they highlight selfies, memes, and ‘food porn’, but the most commonly shared kind of image was actually holiday pictures. Here’s the full list in order:

  • Holiday pictures (24% share these kinds of pictures)
  • Pets and animals (20%)
  • Landscape and buildings (20%)
  • Funny images (19%)
  • Pictures of yourself (16%)
  • Of friends (15%)
  • Of family (14%)
  • Sunrises/Sunsets/Weather (13%)
  • Food and drink (13%)

Source: Ofcom (3rd August 2017) Communications Market Report


August 2017.

As you may know, this month we’ve been running our online campaigning training Kickstart Your Online Campaign. One of the things we cover is branding, and there are a couple of tools that we talk about that are so good we wanted to share them with you!

Coolors is a free random colour scheme generator, and you can see alternative shades, adjust the hue, saturation, and brightness, select colours from an image, and much more. Plus it gives you the RGB, hex code, CMYK and others.

And, even better, if you’re concerned about readability, have a look at Color Safe – a free online tool that can help you pick accessible colour schemes, based on web accessibility guidelines.


July 2017.

You may have seen that recently Twitter has been updated, and one of the changes is that profile pictures have changed from a square to a circle (it’s part of a generally more rounded look, e.g. buttons and boxes have round edges now too). The ideal image size for a Twitter profile picture hasn’t changed, but a lot of people have found that their profile pictures aren’t displaying properly now because the edges are cutting off. So we decided it might be helpful if we made a template you can use to see what an image would look like on the new round Twitter. Just put it over the top of the image you want to use and see how it looks.

You can find more on this and download the template here.


June 2017.
Given the news that Twitter is introducing more emojis, we thought now would be a good time to mention Emojipedia which lists the names for all emoji (never again do you need to wonder what an emoji means!). But did you know a number of emoji also have alternative meanings. For example:
  • the seemingly innocent glass of milk 🥛 and frog 🐸 have been tainted by the alt right
  • A significant number are euphemistically used to refer to sex e.g. 🍆🌮, a fact which Durex used to great effect in a recent social media campaign
  • The upside down smiley 🙃 is usually used to indicate sarcasm, but it can also mean so much more


May 2017.

Given the blog this month was about email inbox management we thought we’d stay on that theme, but focusing on average email reading times, which have reportedly increased by 7% between 2011 and 2016. The average time spent reading an email is now 11.1 seconds. This suggests a move from skim reading or glancing at an email, to actually reading it more closely. You can read more about this here, including 7 tips for optimising your emails for short attention spans.


April 2017.

The new Charity Digital Skills Report, launched this month, sets out 7 key things every charity should consider before starting on digital transformation:

  1. Define what it means to you
  2. Are your leaders up for it?
  3. Check what skills you have inhouse
  4. Take your time to get the right building blocks in place
  5. Culture, culture, culture
  6. Imagine your charity’s future
  7. Tell a great story


March 2017.

For some time now videos on Facebook have been playing automatically (but without sound) when you scroll over them. Which is why in our training we always recommend people add subtitles to their videos, that way people can still be drawn in, even without sound. BUT Facebook just announced that their videos will now autoplay with sound (although, it is still worth bearing in mind that it can be turned off, and sound won’t play on mobile if the phone is on silent). Will this change affect how you do video on social media?


February 2017.

The demographics of users is different for every social media site. To take gender as one example, 47% of Facebook users are male and 53% female, 53% of Twitter users are male and 47% female.  You can find the gender split of your own followers on the ‘People’ tab of your Facebook Page Insights, or the ‘Audiences’ tab of Twitter Analytics.

Source: ONS (Aug 2016) Social Media in the UK


January 2017.

Did you know that around a third of people in the UK set new year’s resolutions, and one of the most common resolutions is to volunteer for a charity? Think about how you can use the new year spirit to build support for your organsiations work. To get you started, have a look at #newyear2017 and  #NewYearsResolution.


December 2016.

In this month’s blog, we take a guess that next year we’ll be taking a lot more about 360 video and VR. After all, in September this year, Facebook introduced the ability to upload 360 videos to the platform. These kinds of videos are best viewed up close in a VR headset, but they’re very expensive, right? Well, no actually, you can get a very simple VR viewer from Google for less than £20. It’s not perfect of course (you can read a review here), but it’s a great place to start. But, if you do have a bit more budget, you could also have a look at this list of the best VR headsets to buy this year. And once you’ve got your headset, have a look at this.


November 2016.

The 2016 Lloyds UK Business Digital Index has been published and *drumroll*, the proportion of charities lacking basic digital skills has gone down! This years’ report found 49% of charities lack basic digital skills, compared to 58% last year.

This is good news for a number of reasons, not least because the report also found that charities that are more digitally mature are 28% more likely to report an increase in funding.

You can download the report here.


October 2016.

The five most commonly used social media sites are…

  1. Facebook (used by approx 58% of adults in the UK)
  2. YouTube (51%)
  3. Twitter (22%)
  4. Instagram (16%)
  5. LinkedIn (14%)

Source: DCMS (April 2016) Taking Part focus on: social media (pdf)


September 2016.

When you design marketing materials where do you get your pictures from? If you’re just searching the internet and using any images, you could be breaking the law! Fear not, there are sites where you can get images that you can use without having to pay.

Here’s a few to get you started:


August 2016.

Did you know that tweets with photos get 313% more engagement than tweets without, and Facebook posts with photos get 2.3 times more engagement.

So, if you’re looking to increase engagements, think about how you could make use of images.

Open laptop displaying Fancy Guppy's January 2018 social media calendar.
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