With our team still monitoring the Instagram Slideshow situation, it seemed like a good time to share a “what could have been” from our own dev diary.
We originally created Waaffle to make things easier for digital agencies, in-house marketers and individuals (think bloggers and solopreneurs) with an active social media life. This meant offering a platform for running competitions, setting up live event feeds, and tracking campaign performance, as well as providing a simple “one stop shop” for handling content over time.
So, cue last year’s APIcalypse…
The Great Instagram Update of 2016
Back in 2016, Instagram rolled out changes to its API that essentially limited the types of content users could pull into their websites, unless they had gone through the manual review process for more access permissions.
This meant if you had a big roster of client websites, you’d have your work cut out for you, updating the feed for each individual site pulling pictures from the Instagram platform. And if you happened to miss the cut-off date, you’d suddenly find yourself with a big roster of site no longer showing fresh content. Or, in some cases, not showing any content at all.
So, yeah, you can see where we’re going with this: Mea culpa. We missed the cut-off.
Faster for devs, better for the bottom line
Eventually, we got all our sites onto the already-approved Waaffle platform.
It took a little over half a day to get 15 sites up to speed. Had we set them up with Waaffle originally, we would have had those code changes and testing sorted in, well… actually, they would have just worked.
A service we use ourselves
Fast forward to 2017. Instagram’s Slideshow updates proved to us the time-saving value of Waaffle in the ever changing landscape of social media. With just a few lines of code, we prevented errors from showing up on all of our sites, and on those of our users as well.
We don’t just make Waaffle for other people. We make it for ourselves too.
And with social media penetration and engagement rising every year (and so much social activity in our side hustles), it’s great to have a single platform that can handle the administrivia (like grabbing, formatting and presenting data) on our behalf.
But don’t just take our word for it.
Why not try it yourself? Start a free trial today.
1 Mar 2017
23 Feb 2017
- Making sure Instagram Slideshows don’t cause errors.
- Minor fixes.
25 Jan 2017
24 Jan 2017
- Improved feed settings page UI.
- New blacklisting filters for campaign feeds.
- Improvements campaign analytics.
It’s not you, it’s us… and them.
Earlier this week, Instagram launched their sweet new carousel feature, giving their users the ability to share up to 10 photos and videos in a single post. They’ve yet to pass this down the line, meaning developers like us can tell there might be carousel content available, but we can’t access any of it — not even to verify it’s what we’re looking at.
For now, Waaffle ignores any carousel posts it comes across, but once the content becomes verifiable and accessible, we’ll add it to your feeds as soon as we can.
Stay tuned. We’ll keep you posted!
Most of the time, you can add @usernames to your feed filter with ease. Other times, you fail. Don’t worry. It’s not your fault.
This doesn’t happen often, but here are the most common reasons why adding a @username might fail, and what you can do about them.
Adding a @username that doesn’t exist
Trying to add a non-existent account is an easy mistake to make. Make sure you’ve entered the @username correctly, remembering the person you’re trying to follow may have different usernames across Instagram and Twitter.
Adding a @username you don’t have access to
As a content aggregation platform, Waaffle relies on the privacy structure and content permissions of the social networks it connects to. Your social media account, which you authenticated for your campaign, may not be authorised to follow the person you’re adding to your filter.
Ensure your own account already follows the @username on the relevant social media platform, or head to your Campaign Settings and switch to an account that does. Remember: though you can view private and protected posts in the Monitor section of your campaign dashboard, you won’t be able to publish them through Waaffle.
One of our original intentions for Waaffle was displaying live social media content in public spaces. In most cases, the built-in hashtag search on social media platforms won’t cut it. You’d get way too much duplication if your audience cross-posts on all their accounts. Plus there’s no way to filter inappropriate, illicit and irrelevant content.
So we gave Waaffle enough flexibility and the features to easily set up live social media displays at conferences and events. Say you’ve secured your big screen and an internet connection at your venue. What comes next?
Let’s look at how you can use Waaffle to set up your social media wall.
Setting up your campaign
First, set up a campaign and add feeds to follow your desired content on Twitter and Instagram. Your feeds might include the event hashtags, along with relevant event and organiser accounts.
Within minutes, you should see fresh content in the Monitor section of your campaign dashboard.
Sharing and curating content
The Publish section gives you the option of whether to auto-publish new posts (share by default) or manually select individual items for your wall (withhold by default).
In either case, the content you share with your audience can be curated on a post-by-post basis from the Monitor section of your campaign dashboard.
Presenting your social media wall
Waaffle gives you three ways to publish and present your social media wall, each offering different levels of control and customisation.
A Public Waaffle Board is the easiest way to get up and running quickly. Just enable the board, customise your header and background colour, then load the board URL in a web browser configured to automatically refresh every few minutes.
For more visual control, the Website Widget lets you embed your campaign on any webpage you’ve designed yourself. Once it’s enabled, you can customise the data it contains, then add it to your own branded template.
Finally, the API option supplies campaign content in its raw form via a JSON API, giving you complete control over how and where you publish. Fully customise your design and presentation, integrate interactive and IoT functionality, add a social stream to your event app — the possibilities are endless.
Our latest update introduces a couple of improvements to current features, as well as the ability to blacklist content from your campaign.
Tracking campaign engagement
The Analyse section of your dashboard now offers an engagement graph, tracking the likes/favourites, comments and shares within your Waaffle campaign.
Just select the ‘Engagement’ option to check it out.
UI updates for feed settings
Based on feedback from our users, we’ve give the feed settings page a more streamlined interface and clearer instructions for how to customise a campaign feed.
New feature – exclude content
When you know what you don’t want, you want our new blacklisting feature. The new exclude content option lets you banish specific hashtags and accounts from your campaign feed.
Exclusion filters will apply to all content already collected, all content you publish, and any unarchived analytics data in your campaign.
Our JSON API lets you publish your Waaffle campaign content directly into your app or website.
To use it, you’ll need to enable API access on your campaign (if you haven’t already). Head to the Publish section of your dashboard, then toggle the Developer switch. The API key can be found in the bottom left corner of the page.
Devs, v1.1 sees a heap of new data fields in the response object to give you more granular access to post metadata. The API now accepts plenty of parameters too, so you can request a customised dataset. Get all the details from our API docs.
With millions of holidaymakers generating new content every day, Instagram offers a rich bounty of visual media that tourism websites can harness to promote their destinations.
Personally, we like how Rottnest Island uses ’grams to complement their branded content, offering a more complete picture of the island as a holiday destination.
Storytelling from another angle
Nothing tells the story of a place the way its visitors can. With professional photography and official content, tourism boards can offer a promise of what travellers should expect upon arrival. However, branded information only ever paints a limited picture of what’s to come. Many travellers know from experience that reality can differ from what they see in the brochure.
By contrast, Instagram boasts a wealth of personal storytelling, with images available to use for showing would-be visitors all the diverse ways their fellow wanderlusters can experience a destination.
Like the boardwalk before it’s cleared out for a photoshoot. Or the café meals on an ordinary day. And the sunset from places people are permitted to walk. It’s the view from a million angles, bringing authenticity to branded content.
Adding Instagram to your site with Waaffle
At its most basic, all a Waaffle campaign needs is a single feed following a hashtag. This collects all public photos and videos shared with that tag. To include more content sources, set up your feed to follow additional hashtags or specific Instagram accounts.
The easiest way to embed Instagram content on your site is with our website widget. Just enable it in your campaign’s Publish section, customise the settings, then copy and paste the code into your site’s HTML.
Keeping an eye on the competition is no longer enough. The popularity of social platforms means brands can build a more complete picture of their market and audience, using insights into what people are talking about.
Let’s run through how Waaffle can help, using a hypothetical example.
Breakfast Pictures is a new major movie studio wanting to keep an eye on what their key competitors are up to on social media. Rather than sift through impossibly long feeds across multiple platforms, they create a Waaffle campaign and use feeds to follow the Twitter and Instagram accounts of other studios.
This is the digital equivalent of collecting your competitors’ published advertising to study the way other brands operate in the industry. But why stop there when you can also tune into the conversation around product, brand and cultural activity in your market space?
By using feeds to follow hashtags as well, Breakfast Pictures can see what matters to their audience, what actions their competitors take to address those needs, and how well those actions are received.
In this example, Breakfast Pictures added current movie and film marketing hashtags to keep up with the conversation as it happens.
They’ll also be able to identify brand ambassadors (users who post frequently to brand-related hashtags) and influencers (users whose posts get plenty of reactions), gaining valuable insights into audience preferences and motivations for future marketing efforts.
Listen to your audience and peers with Waaffle. Start your free trial today.
Celebration Homes, an Australian home construction company, runs a campaign inviting customers to share updates on their new homes as they were being built. Customers submit photos hashtagged with #moretocelebrate via Instagram and Twitter, with winning entries featured on the campaign website, More to Celebrate.
Aggregated and curated
Waaffle aggregates the tagged content from both social platforms and collates them into a single stream, letting the Celebration Homes team moderate content and hashtag spam with ease.
The beauty of user-generated content
The More to Celebrate campaign taps into the emotional investment of building a home; the anticipation and excitement of seeing it come together. In doing so, it reflects this positivity back onto the Celebrations Homes brand experience.
At a time where audiences are aware and wary of polished studio shots and heavily photoshopped commercial photography, featuring user-generated content gives a more authentic glimpse into what a brand or service can offer. A campaign like this naturally creates brand advocates simply by giving a voice to people already excited about their customer experience.
Want to run a social media competition of your own? Start your free trial today.