Digital Marketing insights. Instagram Filters: How Fran's 'Guess The Country' filter went viral.
hi there for those of you that don’t know me my name is Beth Morris and I teach digital marketing at the University of Chester I’d like to share with you today a recent chatter that I had with Fran Shollo now Fran is a designer and a developer of Instagram filters Fran’s first game filter gasps the country achieved over three hundred thousand users within its first three days of release and that was only a few weeks ago it now has well over 1 million users what’s really interesting and inspiring about Fran’s story is that until lockdown although she was really passionate about marketing and digital marketing she’d never coded she was an absolute beginner and within the course of the last few weeks she’s got to the stage where she has one very successful filter and a second one that’s growing in popularity another thing that really inspired me was that even though I am a digital marketer I can sometimes shy away from coding it does sometimes intimidate me and I think quite a few people do feel the same way so what was really heartening was that Fran really explained how accessible coding is and how you can achieve great success with a little bit of knowledge and a lot of perseverance Fran still very much sees herself as a beginner in this area but as we see through the course the interview what she’s learnt and achieved in such a short space of time is it IVA will bite anybody if you put your mind to it Fran is also a graduate of the University of Chester as one of our alumni she studied with us at undergraduate level studying business and she’s recently graduated with an MSC in marketing management I hope that you really enjoy this interview if you’d like to get in contact with me then please feel free to do so my email address is beep Morris at Chester AC UK or if you’re finding this on social media please do feel free to leave some comments or questions in the comment section below thank you and enjoy oh hi there friend thank you so much for joining us today I’ve given a little introduction to what we’re going to talk about this afternoon and but I thought it might be quite good if you were just to sort of briefly introduce yourself what you do what you’re up to and sort of how you found yourself creating these filters Thank You Beth so much for this and so my name is Brad it’s short for Francesca and I’m a recent graduate on marketing management master science and due to the lockdown I found myself to be a bit busy outside for the moment I think that the market is going to work a high demand of digital marketers and the importance of it it’s quite high on say and I’ve always been keen on playing games and watching cartoons all my life so I always wanted to know the behind the scenes this was like the perfect timing to do so so that’s that’s how it all started outside so so your filters the Instagram filters that you’ve created are it’s very much gamification as you say it’s about having fun and it’s having entertain you know that entertainment value so you’ve got the the name the country or the gas the country which I’ve had to go out we’ll have a look at that later it’s my mixed attempts to guess the country by the capital and the other one I I know that you you you’ve done is the British sign language yeah I haven’t I haven’t promoted much that one just because I’ve targeted that group that was actually wanting to learn and they were like the beginner so I haven’t kind of gone much like how to promote it but yeah yeah those are the two ones that I’ve could have published so and I started with a filter on quarantine and kind of five things to guess because this is not my very first filter I was kind of experiencing what was it like and I was a beginner at this I didn’t know how to go about it I’m scared of coding I was like I’m not good at that how definitely not something that it’s me so I thought I’ll give it a go I’ll try it’s fun and I I started coding with with the very first one guessed the country just because I thought nobody was doing something similar about the country everybody was doing something about the capital so I thought that’s kind of switched it up let’s find another way to go about it yeah
excellent so so filters in general then so so what sort of sparked your attention to actually go alike or is that you saw one you thought I really like what they’ve done around I’m getting really quite hooked on these filters myself you know what I could do I could do a good job of this what was it that really thought made you think you know what forget use everybody else’s I’m gonna build my own what prompted that uh I think it was the right timing everybody was there on Instagram snapchat Facebook you name it so everybody was out there playing games everybody was downloading things from Amazon I bought a Nintendo switch everything was going towards technology more than ever so everything was on high demand so I thought it’s the perfect time for me to try and develop something myself which can turn out to be a game that can bring people in brilliant so the the guest the country so you thought there’s winner filters there with sort of named the capital of these countries so you thought you’d switch it up and actually go you know what let’s let’s think backwards and let’s actually name the capital and see which country it relates to I’d like to say how’d it go it’s a really fun game it’s it’s it’s really it’s quite addictive um but it’s really educational as well you know in terms of well I’ll show you the video I’ve been learning so let’s just see if I can share my screen okay we’ll do this okay so can you see this yes perfect oh my god I love it let’s go this is my attempt at guess the country Cyprus yeah that was a hard one for me yeah that was that was it there was there was another one there was another one that M Lichtenstein’s capital o yes and you know what I had a bow I got it got it wrong the first time came up again uh I couldn’t quite remember I was just about to say they came up and then the third time I completely forgotten but I now know it’s something that was really really good fun and yeah I can see people playing that though you know for a long time yeah so when you develop that then did you use any particular software or did you have to teach yourself like complicated coding how did that work so I started using snapchat and snapchat offers you a studio where you can create things so I downloaded that I did not know about it I googled everything how is this work was this function I was very scared I thought it will be way complicated I will just stop halfway through I’ll annoy myself Oh struggle but I think that me wanting it’s so bad pushed me through that I I really wanted to do something because it was fun it was cool and I say okay you know what Fran you’re gonna sick and you’re gonna learn it and I start from zero I I didn’t know it’s all about it I started from zero I downloaded a snapchat creating lens a studio and first I mean looking at that whole new brand program I was like wait what numbers code design oh my goodness me everything has to start from scratch so I watched a lot of videos because the software comes with a lot of learning tools and tutorials and so I followed that through every day 24 hours front of my computer screen but no I’m glad I did I’m glad and then I started downloading Adobe Photoshop because I had to design every single thing but I was brand new at that sooo I was I didn’t know how to use it like as a professional right because every image has to be PNG so transparent every design has to be with with no background
so that people can actually enjoy right it needs to be the image of it has to come across very professional so I wanted that so I start I started designing every single thing that comes up on the filter I it on a paper and I thought this is how I wanted to look like this is the color and then I put things together on Adobe and then I started coding on this that chart studio mm-hmm so is the snapchat studio accessible to everybody is it is it open source is it free yeah yeah well you need to subscribe in order to upgrade yourself but it’s a minimum cost and I’m sure it won’t be harmed anyone I think if you want to upgrade and have like new features really but you can do like easy things and learn yourself but like with even the free free version also there’s there’s three features and you can still successfully create a filter using those three features stick that’s great and then obviously you taught yourself how to use Photoshop as well at the same time to bring the two together so it’s it’s a lot trial in error isn’t it and a lot of going out and finding particular tutorials and you know as you know as a practitioner it isn’t always about having to know everything all at once and a lot of the time it’s actually knowing virtually nothing when you start and making sure that you engages with the right materials and actually you make use of the networks that you have as well and perhaps people recommending things which which helps you to source that information that you need to actually bring it all together so the actual coding itself then was that was that straightforward is it a particular language or did they help you with the like building blocks to code and they do have both version because it comes for beginners but also for advanced people and perhaps me being a beginner didn’t put much pressure and responsibility on my shoulders because I was you know if I fail it’s fine I’m going to learn if it doesn’t work it’s fine I’m going to learn so like there was my mindset all the time and the software comes with a particular language there you have to kind of go through and learn it sometimes my heart sometimes you have to learn things as you go but it also helps you with different tutorials and blocks that you can kind of follow through and you can learn from that until you want to build your own design and your own animation and your effects I’m like I would do with my filter so that’s brilliant so you’ve almost got like a template one to follow until you’ve got confidence and you comfortable with the features and the functionality and then it’s it’s a case of let’s go and let’s let’s do anything like me I’d probably go I don’t want to do that I just want to go off and do for a good while until actually work to get it right so it’s it’s it’s this learning by doing this that’s really really important so so what for you was maybe the light bulb moment or the particular moment in which you put together where you thought don’t it this works this is fantastic because there any particular moment was just like yeah yeah I remember it was 4:00 a.m. the morning yeah and he was the 300 time I was trying to do it right because he was hard to put the timing together and then to make one animation go away and then bring the other animation come up yeah so once you guess the country sorry the capital wants to guess the capital the capital needs to come up with even that timing so I was struggling to get thing together I’m struggling to build that one and it was 4 a.m. in the morning I was testing myself I had the filter and under screen I was like oh my god it does work I was proud of that thing yeah it’s a great feeling isn’t it and I hope after that after after you’ve sort of like bounced around the room and self-rated she got some sleep yes lockdown Amino working patterns are all really different aren’t they and and sometimes when you are sort of like hooked on something and going I will get
it right I will get it right sometimes the time does just fly by doesn’t it and maybe sometimes it’s a case of you know perhaps if you know under usual circumstances we had work to get up for or you know we’re in a house for the people he might actually again you know what go to bed but yeah it does happen the same thing to me so so you’ve got you’ve got you guess the the country you’ve got this filter you know good to go so how do you go about launching it then on on Instagram sort of getting into that gallery of filters what’s that process like so it’s a software links you automatically to the social media platform there you’d want to publish it it gives you opportunity to publish it rather snapchat Instagram or Facebook now I thought I’m going to publish it on Instagram because I as the Instagram as a more promoting platform and people actually use them in an easier way that they do on I don’t know snapchat or Facebook because on Instagram you can publish it on your story whereas on snapchat you usually use the filters to have it one-to-one with people yeah and I wanted people to actually see them so that other people can can use it and you will kind of catch on that way so I went for Instagram brilliant and I know that you know from reading your blog which we’ll put a link to the guys to have a read of is that tic toc was a really influential platform for you and it really helps sort of catapult this this you know this this filter into you know into go viral basically you’ve got well I think work on when you posted your your blog 300,000 and now it has reached 1 million so congratulations thank you thank you so much and I’m not I’m not gonna like ticked up was I’m grateful to take talk that exists because there’s such a good resource to have an earphone to to publish it and to promote it I’m not like the CEO as we say of tick tock I don’t have anything on tick tock 500 and that doesn’t make me like somebody that stands out but I have a couple of my videos that have gone viral and have a lot of thousands of views which makes the tick tock engines to to kind of promote my videos constantly just because some of those videos have already gone viral and it’s just silly videos of me trying the Mentos and cola that’s what people actually like on tips and sometimes you have to follow to to then promote your real content so if that’s the thing why not exactly it’s all about fun isn’t it that platform it’s about fun it’s about sharing it’s about having a laugh really isn’t it on that platform and you know you you wrote in your blog and you know a very sort of wise and important sentence which was about it’s not about you having a million followers it’s about you know one person reaching one person who does have that sort of influence so so I take it that some of your stuff was picked up by you know maybe people with who were quite influential or some very large followings and that really helped catapult it to so because I was I published my filter on Instagram it gives me only me the developer the the opportunity to see who has actually access and share so I could see everybody using it I was like oh my god I was having chills and good sponsor oh my god is that is that Hugh so thank you so much many of them were loggers celebrities in different countries I didn’t even know that were from Russia and some summary sorry about that so some of them were like vloggers in different countries and vloggers in different countries means they’ve got like 300k followers or 1 and followers some of them were journalists a Spanish honest with who I did not know at all but he happens to be very famous I didn’t even know him but he promoted that without him wanting to promote it was just because it was fun and everybody else kind of followed and that’s how he became like viral I think
and that’s brilliant I don’t think you know for something there’s something to go viral you’re absolutely right you know we go back to the start of our conversation it’s about timing you know the time was right because you know as we’re in very strange times and obviously it’s a position none of us really want to be in you know this lock down position and but it’s it’s where things are to keep ourselves safe but we have that the sort of increased use of technology we have sort of new patterns of activity and maybe we’re needing a bit more entertainment so so that’s sort of timing and you to pick up on that timing and thinking well you know what I need to be entertained let’s let’s just entertain people you having not necessarily saying having more time on your hands but you know more opportunity to sort of do things in an environment where you’re not having to go out to you know to meet people not having to go to the shops and things like that so so it’s that sort of timing but also this sort of need for education as well which you know there’s this people at home parents at home homeschooling how how’d you educate your children you know and they’re sort of fun games and these fun things that are coming up you know really quite handy for people which I know you’ve you’ve not promoted you your British sign language your BSL well too heavily yet but again this sort of feeds into this you know well it’s a really good piece of you know for social good I think it’s excellent for that it got more people interested you know a fun way in which to learn so you know this this is a real opportunity here you know for for things to really take off and I suppose that that leads me to you know what does the future hold for and then what’s next for you well I think like I’m kind of shifting from marketing to diss their marketing and I I’m not gonna lie I do love coding a lot now I was so scared about it and now I just find myself to be quiet passionate and I love the result that he has and just because I’m so passionate about it perhaps I might continue this thing but I don’t want to overwhelm myself with it because it’s um as you said it’s about that perfect timing I am aware that if I would have published this filter perhaps in a different circumstance right it wouldn’t have the same exact success as he got so it’s always about the right game the timing and all those marketing speeches that dress up the whole product out there but I’m thinking to turn this opportunity into a more as in an investment for my future mm-hm I know at the moment you have to gain an amount of users to get like money out of your filters which I have but in order to develop it to a different stage you need to find a company and you sell that product to another company and I’m trying to do that with my with my current filters excellent and I think you’ve got a great chance of doing that because you’ve you know you’re building up those networks you’re getting that exposure and it’s great to hear that you are now a you know a lover of coding you know starting up some you’ve been quite scared of it because I mean we’ve talked outside of this interview haven’t we about about coding and so a little bit of misconception perhaps and a little bit of anxiety around doing something that involves coding because and I will I will admit this myself I dabble I do a little bit of coding and I can recognize some scripts I I understand what languages are you know encoding I don’t necessarily understand all of the languages but I am learning like you you know I am learning to do these things and I’m really fortunate to work with well as well you know who I learn a lot from on the coding side of things but I think you have you’ve proven to yourself and hopefully you’ve proven to our audience today that would be the little bit of trial and error perseverance having fun with it you know really seeing it as a as an opportunity rather than a you know a chore to learn these things that you can really develop some fantastic things as a beginner so what the future holds is as you become more advanced this is really really exciting and you know I’d love to see what happens next because because I
think there’s some great stuff gonna come out of this thank you so much yeah at the moment I’m just trying to make more people aware about the BSL British sign language I found not wrong he was approved by the government back in 2000 no in 2003 that he was going to be available for everybody to learn in primary school for all the children so that is that makes this product available not for only mature people though support for kids and it’s an entertainment way to educate as I say coding and education education education yeah get that copyrighted from the great thing about the BSL filter is because of the nature of Instagram and the visual nature of the filters it’s accessible to people who communicate using BSL as well people with hearing impairments so it’s you know it’s it’s gonna be it’s a great package and you know I look forward to seeing that grow so thanks so much for your time today fun it’s been really really interesting hearing from you really inspired by the things that you’re doing and you know keep going with it and and keep in touch I’d love to catch up with you again and we’ll have a chat you know a bit further along the line when you know when you’re world famous for your films thank you so much for having me really I appreciate the opportunity and it was fun to chat with you okay yeah it’s chat with you too Brown okay take care see you soon bye