Category: Marketing News

YouTube Advertising: What Your Brand Needs to Know

In lieu of entertainment sources other than in-person events, COVID-19 pushed more people to social platforms as a way to engage with timely and relevant content. YouTube is no exception. Year over year, watch time on YouTube and YouTube on television screens jumped a whopping 80 percent underscoring the accelerating shift from linear to digital video and over 2 billion people globally are gravitating towards these new experiences.

As we continue to spend the bulk of our time at home, brands are making the most of YouTube’s massive reach and deeply relevant content to build brand awareness, and ultimately, drive results at scale. In response to this trend, the platform is adding some notable elements to help brands and marketers further hone their YouTube ad campaigns, including advanced data insights and new category targeting to help them show up in the right contexts for today’s consumers.

Here’s a peek into the updates and how you can start using them to enhance your efforts.

Advanced contextual targeting with dynamic lineups

A new study from YouTube parent company Google in partnership with Ipsos found that video advertising based on consumer interest and intent has significantly more impact than demo—with a 32 percent higher lift in ad recall and 100 percent higher lift in purchase intent.

To help further its ability to drive mass reach, YouTube is introducing dynamic lineups powered by advanced contextual targeting. Put differently, videos are segmented based on their content, with machine learning systems developed to best determine what each video is about and how to feed it to the right people at the right time. This is based on analysis of key elements spanning video imagery, sound, speech and text.

In addition to targeting broader categories like “home” or “lifestyle” or lifestyle, you can find more nuanced choices such as “home and garden” and “home improvement.” What this boils down to is “better access to customers with unique interests and needs—all with the brand suitability controls that are most important for your business,” explained Debbie Weinstein, Vice President, YouTube and Video Global Solution in the official announcement. More specifically, what this translates into is the ability to routinely engage with the right audience segments who are receptive and responsive and having to spend less to reach them. Sounds like a win-win.

An early adopter of dynamic lineups, Chrissie Hanson, Global Chief Strategy Officer at OMD said, “Using lineups powered by advanced contextual targeting delivers a more relevant and empathetic understanding of audiences. This in turn serves to drive more relevant reach and efficiencies for our customers, as part of a broader program that leverages audiences and other tactics across YouTube.”

Driving efficient reach with Nielsen TV data

Last year YouTube unveiled its integration with Nielsen TV data into its Reach Planner with the goal of helping marketers fuel their awareness strategies on YouTube and get a broader view of critical audience trends. Across 21 commissioned Share Shit studies, results showed that on average, advertisers that shifted just 20 percent of spend from TV to YouTube generated a 25 percent increase to the total campaign reach within their target audience, lowering the cost per reach point by almost 20 percent.

As part of its recent push to allow marketers to lean into the rise in YouTube viewership, the platform is expanding its Nielsen’s Total Ad Ratings for advertisers in the UK and Italy, in addition to the US with initial efforts already showing promising results.

“PepsiCo Beverages turned to YouTube to drive scale and extend the reach of Pepsi’s ‘Gift it Forward’ Holiday campaign. The campaign did not disappoint – YouTube drove new brand buyers during the holiday season to the unique audience we wanted to reach.”

Video reach campaigns are a simpler way to buy efficient reach across ad formats and incrementally reach the right audiences at a more optimal frequency. Marion Carpentier, Omni Business Leader at French men’s wear brand, Jules, explained the company was able to achieve this specifically by combining skippable in-stream ads and bumpers into a single campaign and saw higher lifts in brand awareness (4.9%).

Beyond this, to support marketers looking to plan YouTube with other online video partners YouTube is providing new reach planning options within Display & Video 360 including YouTube, auction, and programmatic deals.

Catering your strategies with success stories and trends

Finally, to support marketers as they navigate a post-COVID era, YouTube is unveiling a new awareness collection within its Advertising Solutions Center spotlighting notable trends and case studies from companies that include PepsiCo, Domino’s, and Jules. The goal behind sharing these stories is to offer a more concrete understanding of YouTube’s product innovations and how they can be built to better meet your awareness objectives.

If the pandemic has proven anything, it’s that YouTube is behaving more like traditional TV with time. Those that understand the nuances of the platform as an alternative, will be able to deliver TV-like promotions with a higher degree of targeting but without derailing from their budget plans.

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The post YouTube Advertising: What Your Brand Needs to Know appeared first on Social Media Week.

How Pinterest is Creating Positive Brand Experiences

The metrics our industry emphasizes, namely “views” or “impressions,” are vaguely defined and intentionally propped up in order to keep advertising prices low. As a result, we face a trend in which our content and campaigns are less correlated to what people want to actually pay attention to and engage with. A brand can generate engagement and interaction by being divisive, and prompting debate and response, and this type of content is often quick and cheap to produce, but will it really help shift the company’s bottom line in the end?

New research from a Pinterest study makes a strong claim that the answer to this question is no — rather negative environments make people less likely to remember, less likely to trust, and less likely purchase from brands. The platform packaged up its findings in a guide to help brands show up in a more positive environment — one that drives impact at every stage of the purchase funnel.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the key findings.

Creating a halo effect

Pinterest’s latest research finds that showing up in a more positive environment online drives impact at virtually every stage of the purchase funnel. Specifically, on the platform you can reach more than 400 million people all over the world in a more positive environment.

“Anger and divisiveness may encourage people to scroll (and troll!). But they don’t get people to buy…Our research shows that positive online environments have a halo effect on the brands that show up there—from awareness and sentiment to trust and purchase,” the company stated.

Over half (60%) of more than 2,000 respondents agree they are more likely to remember brands they encounter online when they feel positive, feel more positive when they are engaging with a brand in a positive environment, trust the brands they see in a positive space, and be more inclined to follow through with a purchase. In short, with positive social media, consumers are more incentivized to try new products and interact in new experiences. Negative spaces, on the opposite side of the spectrum, are draining brand dollars.

A diminishing tolerance for negativity

A particularly stressful and emotional 2020, faced with a global pandemic and election season — people crave positivity more than ever. They want a more inspired internet and this is reflected by an uptick in trending positive searches including, “spread positivity” (up 3x), “positive habits” and “positive mindset” botch of which are up nearly 60 percent.

Consumers are looking to brands to lead the change and it begins with being astutely aware of negative neighboring content and not turning a blind eye to the context in which your business appears. Two in three adults surveyed agree it’s a brand’s responsibility to advertise in safe, positive places and avoid negative content. This includes appearing next to misinformation such as health or election content and implied endorsements in which a brand or ad appears alongside harmful content. Put simply, one of the most important questions your brand can ask itself today is “where are our ads showing up?

Leading with policy and feel-good content

Pinterest argues that a positive platform begins with policy. This gives your brand a place of reference and clarity when making decisions about the types of content to share and promote or not. Some may make the case that ad policies are simply constraints to creativity, but in reality, they can be sources of opportunity to unlock even more positive creative and, in turn, more effective advertising.

In a case study shared as part of the guide, Pinterest pointed to Shapermint who worked with the platform to create ads featuring women of a wide range of body types to take its message of body-positive to the next level. Models were figuratively and literally in a positive light thorough sizing callouts directly on the Pin, clear CTAs to streamline shopping, and bright, warm filters capturing models’ natural ease and confidence. The campaign was a huge success yielding 200M impressions per quarter.

Separately, Pinterest recently worked with the Laughing Cow to promote its revamped brand purpose, packaging, and reformulated recipe. The video blended creative logo placement to subtly drive its message, playful branding and product imagery, and copy that clearly depicted its brand purpose, the light snack that keeps you laughing,” in a memorable and lighthearted tone. The result? The video Pin completion rate was nearly half (47%) more efficient than the food industry benchmark, underscoring the influence of standard video ads that align with positive content.

The need for human-first, experience-driven content imbued with positivity is much more than an argument of morality. This year and beyond, brands that prioritize positive context will see needle-moving results and on top of this, likely save some extra ad dollars in the process. Whether building brand awareness, consumer trust, or driving conversions, it pays to make proactive policy decisions and take a hard look at where your messages are appearing.

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6 Ways to Improve Customer Retention through Social Media

Building brand awareness and acquiring new customers is one of the key objectives of any marketing strategy. However, what many businesses neglect to invest in is customer retention. In the long run, this can prove to be a mistake, both financially and from a branding standpoint.

Simply put, customer retention strategies aim to build loyalty among existing buyers. They prevent them from defecting to competing businesses or ceasing to use your products altogether. The main advantage of customer retention is that it boosts customer lifetime value by consistently providing a high standard of user experience and customer service.

Why is customer retention important?

According to research from 2015, it is six to seven times more expensive to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones. Moreover, it takes an average of 12 positive customer experiences to make up for a single bad one. 

Then again, 72% of buyers will tend to share their positive experiences, while 67% of them are willing to pay extra for a great experience. These numbers are clear indicators that investing in customer retention is worth it on its own. But that’s not all there is to consider.

As e-commerce becomes more widespread and competition increases, it can only be expected for marketing costs to grow as well. With this in mind, businesses should focus their efforts on developing marketing strategies that generate a high ROI. Customer retention through social media can be one practice to help in this regard.

The easiest way to measure customer loyalty and retention is to look at the numbers. You’re going to need to know three factors: 

  • X: how many customers you started with 
  • Y: how many you have now 
  • Z: how many of those are new buyers 

Then, you apply the following formula: (Y-Z)/X x 100 = CRR (customer retention rate)

For example, if you started with 20 customers, had 50 new buyers, and now have a total of 60 customers, your CRR would be 50%. This would mean that 50% of your buyers were lost in the process.

Are you ready to adopt a few easy-to-implement strategies and boost your CRR? If yes, here are six effective ways you can improve customer experience and build brand loyalty.

Practice active listening

The most basic way you can use your social media presence to improve user experience is to listen to what your customers are saying. Social listening is easy to set up with alerts or social listening software. Plus, it offers valuable information regarding your products and services.

Whether you’re getting positive or negative feedback, this type of strategy enables you to identify strengths and weaknesses, and you can build on those experiences in future marketing campaigns. Moreover, you can use active listening strategies to recognize customer pain points (edit button on Twitter, anyone?). This is an excellent way to develop your offer in the future.

Another advantage of social listening is that it lets you reach out to users who may not have shared their negative experiences directly with you. This opens up space for “redemption” and prevents issues from going unanswered and harming your brand’s health.

Analyze user behavior research

In addition to letting you know what your buyers want to see from you, social media also allows you to find out more about the customers themselves. Personalization plays a huge role in UX. And social media might just be the way for you to incorporate it into your marketing strategy.

Engaging with followers lets you learn more about them and their habits. Handy features such as Instagram’s insights and Facebook Analytics let you see information such as audience demographics, active times, and statistics regarding the content you post.

But even more importantly, by taking a deeper dive, you can find out what other brands your followers have liked and how they’re engaging with content. With this information, you can then work on your own marketing strategies and adjust them in a way that will serve your audience better.

Engage in convenient customer service

Customer service is a huge selling point, and, obviously, it influences retention as well. An easy strategy you can adopt is to extend the platforms where your buyers can reach you.

Having an active presence over multiple social media platforms doesn’t just maximize your reach. It gives you the chance to respond to any possible problems in real-time, in a way that requires less effort on your customers’ part. This decreases the chances of growing dissatisfaction, plus it allows you to better manage your brand’s health.

Support accounts, such as this one by Xbox, can also be an excellent way to share quick updates with users regarding technical difficulties or temporary issues.

Alternatively, you can take a look at this example by Ultimate Meal Plans. They have created a dedicated Facebook group for their customers. Their users can directly ask questions from coaches and fellow service users. This way, they’re sharing experiences and receiving continuous support on their weight loss journey.

community building for customer retention


Provide helpful and educational content

Orienting your efforts towards giving customers more bang for their buck is one of the best retention strategies out there.

It is for this reason that some brands choose to create educational content to share with their followers. It’s an effective way of calling attention to the value you offer. Moreover, it can be made into a continuous way to support buyers by sharing tips and tricks or new ways to use your products.

And because it’s so good at encouraging engagement, social media might just be the right place to launch this type of content.

You can look to Under Armour for inspiration. The brand’s Instagram posts include a host of at-home workouts created by collaborators. The great thing is that their followers don’t have to go searching for these posts. Instead, they organically appear on their social media feeds.

Instagram for customer retention


Utilize user-generated content

In addition to professionally produced content, you can also choose to share posts created by your users. Because user-generated content is created by influencers and regular people, it’s more likely to affect purchasing decisions. But, perhaps even more importantly, it gives you the chance to engage with your existing users and reward their loyalty.

An easy way to implement this strategy would be to create a hashtag.

For example, mattress company Zoma created the #SleepToWin hashtag. Through it, the company encourages both professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts to share their experiences using the product. In the end, this results not just in a higher engagement rate, but also easy-to-acquire social proof they can use on their website.

instagram customer engagement and retention


Share special offers

Last but not least, don’t underestimate the impact of pricing on sales. Especially when it’s paired with a pleasant shopping experience.

While new customers may be reluctant to give your products and services a try, those who have already bought from you will be far less likely to switch if you offer the added incentive of a reduced price. The simple reason behind this is that these users are already familiar with your products. And with social media, you can use this familiarity to gain an added edge over your competition.

So, if you already have a loyal base of customers who follow you on a host of platforms, don’t forget to let them know of any discounts, special offers, or giveaways. In the end, it might just be the thing that increases their lifetime value.

Customer retention doesn’t require a huge investment, yet provides excellent returns. When combined with your social media marketing strategy, it can yield even better results at a lower cost. While you can use any of the six strategies we’ve discussed here, it’s important to make sure that you do it in a way that reflects your brand’s core values. Pay attention to your tone, try to create helpful content, and, of course, place emphasis on customer experience. You’ll have a formula for success that will work for years to come.

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3 Ways Facebook is Supporting Mental Health

2020 has been ripe with change, uncertainty, and endless efforts to manage the uncertain outcomes of our decisions as best we can. Beyond the fear of contracting the virus are the new realities of working from home, virtual schooling, and lack of physical interaction with colleagues, family, and friends. While mask-wearing, frequent handwashing and social distancing have become the norm as a way of avoiding physical illness, ongoing worry and stress continue to exacerbate mental health challenges.

For the one in five who already have mental health conditions – or the one in two who are at risk of developing them – this issue is an important one, arguably as crucial as physical safety. Organizations and platforms continue to show their dedication to this growing issue in a variety of updates. Most recently, as part of this year’s WWorld Suicide Prevention Day, Facebook announced the rollout of several new mental health support updates. Specifically, the platform is introducing new parameters on self-harm related content, utilizing mobile messaging to offer expert support in real-time, and promoting digital literacy on the topic of suicide prevention.

New parameters around self-harm related content

In a recent survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than half (53%) of adults in the U.S. reported their mental health has been negatively impacted due to the coronavirus, up from 32 percent in March. Specifically, respondents reported difficulty sleeping (36%) or eating (32%), increases in alcohol consumption or substance abuse (12%) and worsening chronic conditions (12%) due to increased stress and anxiety.

A separate report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, conducted this past June, found that one in four young adults between 18 and 24 said they considered suicide in the 30 days prior to the study citing the pandemic as the leading factor. This topic involves a delicate balance by the part of platforms and poses new questions and obstacles that must be carefully considered, specifically what constitutes “harmful” and where to draw the line between what is in violation of platform guidelines or not.

Last year Instagram expanded its ban on images of self-harm and now Facebook is looking to expand upon its already-existing rules regarding self-harm related content. While some content may not technically be in violation of the rules, the platform is working closely with experts to implement restrictions on content including “depressing quotes or memes” to protect those particularly vulnerable during these times. This is a difficult line to walk however, as for some who may not feel comfortable sharing their struggles, quotes or memes may be a useful coping mechanism.

Chat as a vehicle for crisis support

The proliferation of mobile messaging offers brands and platforms a number of opportunities to connect with communities in unprecedented ways.

Recent data from eMarketer shows that in 2020 there are around 2.7 billion mobile phone messaging app users worldwide, and this number is projected to grow to 3.1 billion by 2023. For context, this equates to roughly 40 percent of the global population. During an age of social distancing, the time is now to turn to this trend as an integral way to share resources, insights, and foster connection. In this vein, as part of its recent push to support mental health Facebook is introducing a new, real-time assistance option via Messenger chat.

“Getting people help in real-time is especially important when they are in distress. In the coming months, we’ll make it easier for people to talk in real-time with trained crisis and mental health support volunteers over Messenger,” the company shared in its News blog.

With 1.3 billion people using Messenger to date and with plans officially underway to merge WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger into a single app, this could be a seamless and non-intrusive way for those seeking help to get access to the resources they need.

Wellness guides and digital literacy resources

In May Instagram announced its ‘Guides’ options for profiles, enabling users to more easily discover content including tips on how to look after your well-being, maintaining connection with others or managing anxiety or grief from their favorite creators and brands.

Building on this, Facebook is launching localized guides offering targeted ways to support those who are struggling. The company pointed to The Suicide Prevention of India’s guide, which emphasizes fostering social connectedness, Mentally Aware Nigeria’s guide catered to having safe conversations about suicide, and Samaritans HK of Hong Kong guide to simple but effective ways to check on your friends and loved ones as examples it seeks to emulate.

Beyond wellness guides, Facebook is doubling down on digital literacy by incorporating Orygen’s #chatsafe guidelines to its Safety Center — the primary aim of the move being to help educators better navigate mental health conversations with their students. In addition, Facebook unveiled its ‘Get Digital’ digital citizenship and wellbeing program featuring a microsite of courses spanning key themes of connection, empowerment, and engagement.

In tandem with the new program, Facebook will host a series of live events throughout this month September tackling a variety of key concerns in the midst of an abnormal academic year — the first of which will leverage insights from the JED Foundation to address mental health.

Mental health has been a prominent and recurring topic in recent months but one worth keeping at the front of our messaging and stories. As marketers, we play an instrumental role in helping remove the stigma and making the practice of digital empathy more mainstream. Creating shared understanding and experiences in an age of social distancing has its challenges, but there are also tremendous opportunities for how can we use the power of technology to address these issues.

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How to Use Video Marketing to Promote a Cause

Do you have a cause about which you are passionate, but your efforts have not returned the results you had hoped? Unfortunately, social media and blogging can only take you so far.

As a non-profit, or as someone concerned with a cause, funding is limited. So you might think that video marketing is beyond your capabilities, or maybe even too much trouble. However, producing video content is possible

The Power of Video Content

If we want to really see how valuable video marketing is, we should look at some statistics:

  • Blogspot reports that video marketing is being hailed as very important to 92% of marketers. Compare that to the 2015 figure, where only 78% said the same thing. This shows that the market for video content has really expanded.
  • Wordstream released some incredible figures. Among them, more than 50% of all video content is viewed on mobile devices. Of those videos viewed, Virtuets claims that 92% of those viewers share video content regularly.
  • MarketingCharts has predicted that by 2021, the average person will spend 100 minutes per day watching video content.
  • According to Youtube stats, 73% of American adults are consistent users of YouTube which is far more than Facebook, with 69% and Instagram with 37%

As you can see, video marketing is powerful and it is worth creating video content. You may still worry that it is too expensive or too difficult. Luckily, neither have to be the case!

Here are some common misconceptions about video marketing and how to get started.

Misconception #1: Video Marketing Requires Expensive Tools

Video marketing doesn’t require you to go out and buy expensive, fancy equipment before you get started. In fact, you may already have what you need right beside you. Smartphones have become incredible replacements for expensive cameras and can capture anything just as well as most digital camera models. You may want to get a tripod to keep it steady, which is fairly inexpensive.

Editing doesn’t have to be a hassle either. Tools like Renderforest are full video makers with a low subscription price and will help you along the way.

Hosting platforms like Vimeo have on-site video editing tools. If you don’t want to do it yourself, Fiverr has a large number of experienced video editors who you can pay to help you out for a much lower price than you would expect.

The point is, you have options that can fit your budget.

Misconception #2: I’m not Skilled enough to Make Videos About My Cause

Maybe you feel a little leery because you have never made a video before. Everyone feels this way when they first start doing video marketing. But you have a secret weapon up your sleeve: your passion for your cause. You are dedicated to seeing your message reach as far as possible, to spread that awareness.

This gives you an eye that you might not know you have. All you have to do is show others what is important to you. Let them see the subject directly, and show them, not just tell them. The results will be incredible.

If you need a quick tip to get started, create a video with many faces in it. It has been scientifically proven, that people relate better to content when they see faces in them. There is something about seeing a human face that gets the neurons in our brain excited and highly active when perceiving it Since most non-profits talk to people’s emotions and ampathy, this tactic perfectly applies to a non-profit video strategy.

Keeping an eye on your competitors or peers and monitoring what they are doing in terms video marketing is another good way to come up with content ideas.

Misconception #3: Getting Started With Video Marketing is too difficult

This is the best one of all. While it seems overwhelming, all it takes to start is a subject that you want to record. What would be most effective at telling the story of your cause? Every video should start out with this question, because you are going to be answering it every time you pick up your camera.

Next, you need to ask yourself what style you are looking for. Are you going to sit in front of the camera and talk? A live shoot? A storytime style video with clips, footage, voice-over and music? You are in control and so you will be deciding what your audience needs to see most and how.

Let’s look at a couple examples to help give you an idea of what has been effective in other non-profit campaigns:

High Jump Providing Tuition-Free School Programs For Middle Schoolers

High Jump is a non-profit that creates educational programs meant to help seventh and eighth grade students increase their knowledge in multiple categories, such as art and science. This video campaign netted them $215,000 donations from viewers.

LifeBuoy On A Mission To Save Children Around The World

Lifebuoy launched a campaign that followed Sangrah, an expecting mother. The purpose was to illustrate their efforts to help with prenatal and postnatal care. Their mission is to help children live to the age of five, which 6 million children per year never reach.

Handwashing was the primary focus on this particular experiment, which can help to strengthen the health of the fetus, as well as the mother. The video is incredibly well made and tells a story that makes you really care about the subject of the film.

Do you see how each of these videos uses a different storytelling style that still gets the message across? They also appealed to the emotional response of the viewer. Each was touching in its own way, but they both target different emotions. You should be asking yourself what emotion each video you create is trying to convey.

To get you started, here are a few helpful resources:

Misconception #4: Picking Metrics to monitor is too confusing

How do you know if your video is successful? For most companies, it would be based on views and conversions.

It is a little more complicated for non-profits and will depend on what you deem most important. Is it based on number of donations? If so, how many donations? Is it important for them to click through to your site? What social media activity are you looking to generate? You choose the metrics, so you control what defines a successful video marketing campaign.

One of the most universal metric monitoring tactics is to keep an eye on conversions a particular traffic source is generating. Finteza is a perfect tool for that because it allows you to easily narrow down your reports to a particular traffic source and measure incoming conversions:

Image by Joseph Mucira from Pixabay

Consumers are itching to support non-profits that promote causes close to their hearts, so your small investment in video marketing will pay off. Make sure to your story and decide on how you’re going to measure the success, and you will gain more support for your cause.

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How Google’s ‘Fundo’ is Reimagining the World of Virtual Events

With COVID-19 restrictions still in place around the world, the need for virtual events is more apparent than ever. Numerous platforms have stepped up in an effort to fill the void with a variety of features from Facebook’s paid online events and Instagram’s announcement of monetization in IGTV to LinkedIn’s introduction of virtual events into pages. One thing is clear from this flurry of updates — these options are here to stay and will likely be utilized long after the pandemic is behind us.

Today, Google is getting involved and providing more tools in this space through an expanded launch of its Fundo virtual events platform aimed to help creators and brands seamlessly schedule and host events through simplified organization and promotional tools.

Creating meaningful experiences online

Originally developed in 2018 by Google’s Area 120 incubator, Fundo began as a tool to allow YouTube creators a way to organize host paid, ticketed virtual meet-and-greet events. Following a beta launch last summer for several hundred testers including fitness instructors, business and lifestyle consultants, Fundo is now available for anyone to use and can be leveraged for a variety of cases including workout and cooking classes and workshops.

“Over the past year, many parts of life had to move online and become virtual. While we didn’t build Fundo specifically because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the mission of creating meaningful experiences online is even more important today,” shared John Gregg, General Manager at Fundo in the official announcement.

The one-on-one focus is an important way for creators to host an intimate event with a single individual or small group while workshops are an important feature during a time when small businesses including are facing substantial obstacles. Outside of presenting more ways to spread the word and share content, the option adds greater flexibility in which creators can schedule an event in advance, or let fans request a time and have the option to bring in co-hosts or special guests.


“In 2020, a lot of things are online,” Gregg said in a separate statement to Variety. “We’re not exclusive for YouTube creators. We think it provides value to any kind of creator… There are lots of different ways it can be used.”

Taking the complexity out of virtual events

A primary goal of Fundo is to take the headache out of hosting a virtual event, especially when you’re dealing with a ticketed experience. Through a single end-to-end platform, creators and businesses can schedule their event, manage sign-up and payment processes, communicate details about the livestream, and more.

There are no apps for external software necessary for Fundo: Event hosts and their guests access everything on the site through a special-purpose video-chat system separate from YouTube. A fan favorite feature? The built-in “photo booth” feature, in which each attendee gets a photo with a creator-customized frame.

Hosts are in control of the price to sign up and any discounts and whether they want a given event to be free, though Google takes a 20 percent cut of revenue generated per Gregg. Furthermore, some creators using YouTube Channel Memberships are able to offer Fundo Meet & Greets exclusively to channel members as a premium perk. To help fuel cross-channel promotion, Fundo users are able to create an account including their other social media profile details, as well as a personalized URL for easier access.

Safety and discoverability

Fans are able to find events happening on Fundo through the home page, or through links that their creators share. Once they’ve chosen an event iall they simply have to do is answer a few basic questions, and complete a ticket purchase. Fundo manages everything else including generating the event link and sending reminders leading up to the event. The platform also provides technical support if it is needed.

While Fundo prides itself on putting creators in control of their event, safety is also a top priority. To support in this regard, Fundo checks every event guest’s ticket and monitors for reporting and flagging of potentially harmful or abusive content

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Debuting an Upgraded SMW+ Platform Experience

We’re excited to announce the launch of the new and upgraded version of the SMW+, a streaming service for marketers who are looking to level-up and connect with the smartest marketers in the world. Check out what’s new to the platform!

Fresh New Discover Experience

Never miss an episode by watching all of our series via on-demand replay. On our new site, each piece of content is organized into a show so you can find what is most relevant to you.

New Shows and Episodes Designed to Help You Advance in Your Career

Today at 12pm ET: Breakthrough with CEO of United Sodas
Host Toby Daniels will be joined by Marisa Zupan, CEO of United Sodas, a brand new DTC company staking its territory in the beverage category. Tune in to learn how the Brooklyn-based startup aims to reinvent the soda category as a better-for-you option —without losing the fun factor and the soda experience people crave and love.

Today at 1:30pm ET: Write Better: Email Marketing
Up your email writing game with Twitter’s Global Creative Lead Joe Wadlington. In the second episode of his series, he’ll teach you how to use your own inbox and other newsletters for email inspiration, how to establish trust with your readers, and offer tips for nailing your subject lines every time.

Today at 3pm ET: Branding in the Age of Black Lives Matter Ep. 1: “Navigating in #BlackLivesMatter”
Consumers expect companies to speak out against racial oppression and use their dollars and platforms to create change. A new series hosted by Black Enterprise’s Selena Hill will explore the best practices and strategies to engage with Black Americans in the age of Black Lives Matter. During her first episode, she’ll be joined by Detavio Samuels, COO and Co-Head of REVOLT TV, for a conversation around how to utilize social listening, the advice of experts, and purposeful strategy to make informed decisions around the movement.

Tomorrow at 11am ET: Future State: “Today is the Future, Tomorrow is the Past”
“If you want to get a look at the future, take a look around. We are living in it.” In the fourth episode of the Future State, Salesforce’s Mathew Sweezey will explain why consumers are currently living in a state much more akin to the year 2025 and beyond beginning with how we buy and connect.

Tomorrow at 3pm ET: The Comments Section: Unique, Unfiltered Commentary On What’s Trending
Get your weekly dose of troll with Grey Group’s Amanda, Asad and Kenny. This week’s “spark” igniting the conversation: Travis Scott’s collaboration with McDonalds. With this release they capitalized on not only pushing memes into this cultural conversation but drove buzz around his upcoming album.

Thursday at 12pm ET: TIL (Today I Learned) How to Be a Better Brand Storyteller
On this week’s episode,’s Katie Perry will talk to Brittany Slattery, SVP of Marketing and Communications for OpenAP, a marketing technology company that is modernizing how brands approach TV. Brittany will talk about how to evolve your brand story while still retaining what’s core to your brand’s history and/or mission, and more!

Thursday at 3pm ET: Unfiltered: Real Talk With Smart Marketers
Unfiltered brings together smart people to have radically candid conversations about the world of marketing, social media and emerging technology. This week, host Toby Daniels will be joined by three stellar marketers: David Schneider, Creative Director at That Lot; Nathalie Nahai, Author & International Speaker at The Web Psychologist; and Marcus Foley, Co-Founder at Tommy.

Exclusive Slack Networking Community

SMW+ subscribers can interact with like-minded marketers to discuss the latest trends, get help with challenges they face and goals they want to meet.

There’s still time to take advantage of a free 30-day subscription with exclusive first-access to SMW+. Memberships start as low as $39 per month. For more details including team packages visit

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What You Need to Know About TikTok and Teespring’s Partnership

A few weeks ago TikTok launched a $200 million creator fund with a goal of helping more leading creators in its community sustain themselves financially solely through TikTok. Fast forward to today, creators will soon be able to sell merchandise they design and create directly to fans via the app itself thanks to a new integration in partnership with realtor commerce platform Teespring.

This isn’t TikTok’s first foray into e-commerce, however. Last year it tested social commerce links in videos and piloted an advertising format with a call-to-action button that links marketers to social influencers. More recently, it introduced its ‘Small Gestures’ digital gift-giving program as a gentle reminder to practice digital empathy and not overlook the power of a small act, especially in these uncertain times.

A move towards non-apparel

As TikTok accelerates its e-commerce plans it wants to make clear its community will be at the center of its decisions and efforts.

“We believe, based on the current trend, that non-apparel items will be outselling apparel by this time next year,” Teespring CEO Chris Lamontagne told The Verge. “Layering in really smart commerce opportunities is key, so it could be physical merchandise or it could be something more digital…we as a collective need to think about creators in this way where they’ve got super engaged fans who love them — there’s already this connection.”

According to the official press release, creators will have a choice from over 180 different products in addition to having the opportunity to create bespoke products uniquely catered to their personal brand. Think beyond your typical t-shirt and hoodie and more along the lines of Skateboard decks and smartphone covers for instance.

Roughly 7,000 TikTok creators in total are part of the initial program though details surrounding which creators will be eligible to participate is still being hashed out. Another outstanding question — how will the products appear in the videos themselves? While details are still worked out the platform knows one thing: it wants to ensure a full shop functionality to make things as streamlined and simple as possible.

Tapping into underrated features

Amidst all of the conversation and social chatter around what TikTok’s future has in store, including the possible $30 billion price tag being discussed, former CEO of Vine, Rus Yusupov, used the opportunity to give TikTok some of his own advice in a CNN op-ed reflecting on the learning lessons garnered from his experience in the short-form video space.

“TikTok hasn’t stopped innovating. They’ve made bold moves we should have made. Specifically, its algorithm-driven distribution model is extremely accurate and effectively surfaces new personalized content. And allowing creators to monetize their content through live streaming is an underreported, underrated feature, and is key to their success.” In short, where he feels Vine failed is in not fully embracing new challenges and opportunities to experiment. It is one thing to become popular very quickly, but another to sustain yourself by constantly pushing the boundaries.

The growing role of exclusive merchandise

During an age of social distancing, e-commerce and exclusive merchandise continue to surge in popularity. Artists and creators enjoy leaning into digital experiences like shopping as a way to connect with their fans, gather feedback, and get creative in ways they haven’t before and are using various platforms to achieve these ends.

Earlier this summer YouTube dropped a feature that lets users include a virtual “shelf” underneath their videos displaying their merch. In June, Instagram opened up its own commerce platform for creators. Finally, late last month, TikTok took this trend a level further by hosting its first shoppable livestream in collaboration with Ntwrk — a home shopping network targeting Generation Z — and artist Joshua Vides. These are just a few of many examples.

With current findings showing that e-commerce is now five years forward due to the global pandemic, there is no shortage of white spaces to consider. The brands that will ultimately stand out above the crowd, however, will be those that can hit a sweet spot of premium content and experiences driven by gaming, shopping, and other means of engagement that feel fresh and accessible.

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How Facebook is Normalizing Virtual Social Interaction

This year the virtual reality market is estimated at $6.1 billion and is expected to reach a whopping $20.9 billion by 2025.

While many social platforms have taken note of the trend, Facebook has cemented itself as one of the leaders for building technology in the space including VR headsets and spearheading the trend that is virtual social reality. The company made a big splash when it launched Oculus in 2014 and have since expanded on this growth through releasing a variety of headshots including the Oculus Rift and the standalone set Oculus Quest.

During OC6 in September 2019, Facebook introduced Facebook Horizon — a “social experience where you can explore, play and create in extraordinary ways.” Users were invited to join a beta group until recently when the platform decided to expedite the process of having people on the waitlist actually test the experience.

Promoting gameplay and world building

During a time where “Zoom fatigue” is a common saying and Zoom calls and drive-by birthday parties are the norm, people crave a new type of social interaction — one that isn’t passive but active in the ability to feel immersed and collaborate with others through representation, play, and worldbuilding.

One of the many features of Horizon is being able to engage in games like mini golf, escape rooms, and paintball. Another notable emphasis is on world-building. What does this mean for brands and marketers? A new way to interact with and engage audiences. For example, they’d have the option to build a world for consumers to participate in a scavenger hunt that leads them to discount codes for free items. More generally, they could have the option to shoot ads directly within Horizon and use the avatars of fans as extras — giving them a first-hand look and direct involvement in the product they’d buy.

Capitalizing on the growing role of social VR

As the pandemic has shaped society primarily in how we socialize, the importance of social VR apps like Horizon have never been more timely or important for people looking for a single place to gather with friends and get creative. For some context — a new Statista survey found that almost 30 percent (29.7) of U.S. social media users engaged with social media apps 1 to 2 additional hours per day during quarantine. Separately, eMarketer recently found that 51 percent of U.S. adults are using social media at higher rates due to the pandemic.

“Imagine a place where a brand can invite their brand ambassadors to try out a product without hopping on an airplane? A place a brand can launch a press release without writing a press release but actually being there and sharing the news with a community of journalists in social VR. There are so many opportunities for brands and content creators. I can’t wait to see what happens next,” shared early beta Horizon content creator and social media consultant, Navah Berg in a statement to Forbes.

Prioritizing safety and privacy

Converging the virtual and physical worlds comes with its fair share of opportunities in how we connect and collaborate, but it also comes with risks Facebook has a responsibility to manage, specifically around privacy and safety.

Facebook is taking measures to get ahead of these issues by incorporating a personal “Safe Zone,” in which Horizon users can mute, block or report people and content around you. “We know it’s difficult to record a painful incident while it’s happening, which is why your Oculus headset will capture the last few minutes of your experience in Horizon on a rolling basis. When you submit a report, you can include this captured information as evidence of what happened,” Facebook explained.

No matter your stance on VR and its use cases, developments like these are worth keeping tabs on from the perspective that the future of communication are undoubtedly headed in this direction. We are approaching an inflection point in which technologies will only continue to push the boundaries of social media marketing and redefine the words “communication” and “presence.”

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7 Instagram Marketing Strategies That Will Increase Your Sales

As more and more companies depend on social media to boost their reach and grow their audience, having a strategy in place is what matters most. You cannot simply hop on when you feel like it and post what you want. You need to understand who your audience is and how to sell to them in the right way.

Here are a fews reasons why social media can benefit your business:

  • It is a great way to build brand recognition.
  • You can connect with your audience and start conversations with them online.
  • Social media can help you learn more about your ideal customer through online engagement.
  • It is a cost-effective way to grow your brand reach.
  • You can also subtly market your product.

Once you realize the importance of social media, you can begin to explore various strategies that will make optimal use of your time and help your company make more money in the long run.

Be subtle with your marketing

According to Statista, the 18-24-year-old age group is the largest demographic in reference to the user base on Instagram.

Gen Z is going to be your target audience with Instagram and it is imperative that you realize that the age-old marketing techniques aren’t going to work with them. 69% of Gen Z said they find online ads disruptive so your aim should be to focus on non-invasive marketing techniques.

A good example is Apple’s ‘Shot on an iPhone’ campaign on Instagram where they post pictures that have been shot using an iPhone:


This simple strategy allows Apple to form relationships with their audience by using their pictures taken on their iPhone and is also a much less invasive marketing technique than others.

Invest in micro-influencer marketing

Do not be afraid to invest in micro-influencer marketing. This is an affordable and non-invasive way to grow your brand on Instagram.

A great example of a company that does this is GymShark.

Gymshark was founded by Ben Francis when he was only 19 years old and has grown to be a popular eCommerce fitness brand. The success of the brand is largely thanks to the emphasis it puts on micro-influencer marketing.

Essentially what Gymshark does is reach out to fitness influencers on Instagram with large followings asking if they would be interested in partnering with the brand. These influencers will then create sponsored posts for Gymshark that will help them reach a whole new audience- the influencer’s audience to be specific.

In some cases, influencers will even add a link to Gymshark’s online store within their bio.

This marketing strategy works so well is because it is reaching your ideal audience without a heavy lift on your end.

For a Facebook ad, you have to trust that an algorithm will put your ad in front of the right people. However, influencer marketing makes sure you are reaching the right people. In the case of Gymshark, that means people who are interested in fitness.

Another great part about this strategy is that it is not as annoying to the viewer. You are not pushing an ad in front of their face that they will probably scroll by. Instead, it is much more subtle. The influencer’s followers who want to know what they are doing and wearing anyway will see your product authentically showcased within their posts.

Use Instagram tools

A good way to grow your Instagram platform is to use tools that can give you a more ‘behind the scenes’ look at what is going on.

Tools can help you focus on your analytics and past posts. This way you will be able to figure out what is working for your brand and what posts do well for you. You can also use tools for scheduling, following the right people, creating a strategy, editing images, etc.

A few tools that you should consider:

  • Grum: Having a schedule for posting is important if you want to appear professional to your audience. You cannot simply post at random with no strategy in mind. Grum helps you schedule out posts in advance so that you can get all of your social media work done in one day.
  • Owlmetrics: Looking at the data is always a good way to understand what is working for you and what you could be doing better. Owlmetrics shows you real-time analytics such as follower gender, like history, follower geo-distribution, and more.
  • Brand Mentions: BrandMentions is a social media tracker that allows you to monitor your brand and your competitors on multiple social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
  • Zyro: This free logo maker from Zyro is a great way to create an awesome logo for your brand that you can use below every image you post on Instagram and maybe even for your profile picture if you like. Zyro is 100% free, has tons of templates, and is extremely customizable.
  • Ampfluence: Ampfluence is the best Instagram marketing agency to use if you want to see solid growth for your account. They do this by creating a customized strategy that will help you reach your target audience and grow your followers.

Let Instagram amplify your content

The end goal of your Instagram strategy should be to focus on an omnichannel approach.

For example, if you have already created written content for your blog or recorded an episode for your podcast, you can use that to create micro pieces which you can then use on other channels (posts, IG slides, IGTV videos, etc.) to get more out of your already existing content. Use IG as an amplifier.

This can even be done with the courses that you create for your audience. You can give your audience a sneak peek of a premium course by creating well thought out Instagram posts or even IGTV videos.

I always say: You have two companies – a media company and your ‘real business’ (in that exact order). The sooner you understand and accept that the sooner you will succeed with your Instagram marketing and business.

Utilize IGTV

IGTV is a relatively new feature on Instagram that lets you post longer videos with no ads (as of now at least). Also, since it is a new feature Instagram is pushing IGTV content in the feed.

Creating an IGTV channel on your Instagram is like having a mini YouTube account connected to your Instagram. You can use it to showcase DIY videos, tutorials, create a series, etc.

IGTV lets you create more episodic content that can be centered around one theme in particular. This can be really engaging for your viewers and they will come back for more.

The Budget Mom (personal finance) is a good example of a brand that takes advantage of IGTV:

Promote engagement by hosting giveaways and contests

A great way to get your audience to engage with your brand is to host giveaways and contests. It is one of the more affordable Instagram marketing strategies and is pretty easy to implement.

You can do this by following a few steps:

  • Figure out your end goal: What do you want out of this? More brand awareness, more followers, or more likes?
  • Decide on a giveaway prize
  • Create an awesome post description and hashtag to go along with your giveaway announcement
  • Decide on eligibility criteria for participants
  • Read Instagram’s rules regarding giveaways
  • Figure out how you are going to promote your giveaway: This could be by paying for ads, investing in influencer marketing, or relying on your own audience to spread the word.
  • Decide on the length of your giveaway: You need to set a time limit. Do you want your giveaway to last for a few days or a few months? When will you announce the winners? Ideally the bigger the prize, the longer you can convince people to wait.
  • Launch and promote your giveaway

A giveaway can be a great way to not only grow your brand but also learn more about your audience. New brands, in particular, see great success with this strategy.

Share user-generated content

A lot of brands make the mistake of only focusing on creating their own content instead of trying to get users to participate in the creation process. The focus should be on getting users to love your brand as much as you do.

Aerie, an activewear brand, does an awesome job of this. They constantly post user-generated content of women who wear their apparel.

This works wonders for a couple of reasons:

  • It helps your audience relate to your brand more because they are seeing people just like them using your brand and loving it.
  • If you share a picture that was posted by someone who loves your brand, it is likely that they will become even more passionate about your products and there is nothing better than referral traffic.
  • People who would love to be featured on your page are even more likely to post images wearing your clothes/ using your product/etc.

Creating a social media strategy for your small business is one of the core components of your digital marketing efforts. It is important to keep in mind that your strategy should align with your goals and should be tailored to your business.

It will take time to figure out exactly who your audience is and the best way to reach them but hopefully, these 7 ideas gave you a place to start.

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TAKUMI X: A New Influencer Marketing Division With a Creator-First Approach

Nearly half (44%) of consumers in the UK, U.S., and Germany agree that current branded content is boring and uninspiring. Consumers want fresh content in their feeds now more than ever while stuck at home. That said, churning out effective, needle-moving campaigns during uncertain times and in a fast-paced environment is a challenge in and of itself.

In response, Takumi, the world’s leading influencer marketing business, unveiled TAKUMI X: a new creative division with a creator-led approach to influencer marketing. Putting its own spin on the current brand/creator relationship, TAKUMI X places the focus squarely on creators, enabling them direct access to brands.

In tandem, Takumi also announced the appointment of Jim Meadows — an experienced strategist with 10 years’ experience in social media and branded content — as Chief Strategy Officer. Meadows will leverage his prior experiences at brands including Redbull, Virgin Media, and British Red Cross to spearhead the efforts in growing TAKUMI X into six global markets by year-end.

TAKUMI X: Paving the future of branded content

TAKUMI X aims to facilitate a new approach to the relationship between creators and brands; with creators bringing their own insights and expertise into the process from the very beginning.

“Time and time again, we’ve seen that the most culturally relevant marketing content today is conceived and developed by creators… These are the people who are driving culture, setting the agenda, capturing the zeitgeist and creating virality that brands struggle to achieve alone,” said Mary Keane-Dawson, Group CEO of Takumi. “We are excited to facilitate deeper collaborations than ever before and offer clients unprecedented access to the first-hand insights and creative reserves of leading talent.”

Put simply, it all boils down to social listening and not simply operating from a set-it-and-forget-it approach. Ultimately, creators have the intel marketers need to stay ahead of current and emerging trends and tell the story in a tone and through a medium that will deliver results.

Bridging the gap between brands and consumer audiences

Takumi recently published a white paper that unpacked the idea that influencers, above all else, value creative control followed by a clear brief from which to operate. Unlike the traditional structure, TAKUMI X acknowledges the evolving role of the creator. As they continue to become more sophisticated, they’re more equipped to tackle more of the campaign development including fleshing out the creative briefs. With this effort, Takumi positions creators as executive creative directors and producers in their own right, who have a deep understanding of the cultural landscape and how the gap between brands and consumers can be meaningfully filled with authentic storytelling.

Equipping the next generation of culturally credible brands

With a better understanding of the mission and vision behind TAKUMI X — the question then becomes what specific services can marketers expect to see in order to amplify their efforts? Here’s a quick rundown:

Talent discovery: Connect with a diverse pool of emerging creative talent and niche creators suitable for a targeted campaign.

Creative-led direction: Work side-by-side with creators in the early stages of campaign development and establish a streamlined approach across the full briefing process.

Culture insights: Gain first-hand insights on the trends, interests, and values impacting how audiences think, behave and feel.

Branded entertainment and creator content: Establish multi-channel strategies for sharing organic, creator-led stories that stick and are culturally relevant.

Amplification: Predict, measure and amplify ROI for maximum content optimization.

TAKUMI X is currently available in the UK with the U.S. and other territories rolling out in the coming weeks according to the company’s official announcement.

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Facebook’s Newest Consumer Trends: What Your Brand Needs to Know

As small and mid-size businesses continue to face challenges amidst COVID-19, platforms including Facebook, recognize their key role in helping people find new ways to support these companies, stay informed, and stay connected. Finding that nearly half (45%) of small businesses may not return in the next three months, Facebook recently created the Support Small Business Hub, debuted a Support Small Business sticker that users can seamlessly integrate into their Stories, and introduced the #SupportSmallBusiness hashtag to encourage people to shout out their favorites.

Fast forward to today, Facebook kicked off a new national television and digital campaign that aims to share small business stories of navigating the pandemic and how the platform’s various tools can help them find the balance between addressing the uncertainties of today while identifying the opportunities of tomorrow. In this vein it’s also breaking down give global macro-trends marketers should keep top of mind as they shape their strategies.

Global shifts shaping the future

The shift to doing business online is more urgent than ever. People are coming together to support causes they believe in — but what are the specific values and shifts businesses should keep top of mind? The ways we live, work, shop and connect continue to evolve, unleashing behaviors with staying power and Facebook set out to unearth those with signs of staying power in a batch of new research.

“We’ve analyzed Facebook data, commissioned surveys and third-party research. We looked at the acceleration of existing trends alongside the emergence of new ones. And we’ve identified five global macro-shifts shaping the future, now,” the platform explained. From shopping to connectivity to perceptions of community and mindfulness, here are the leading changes and what they may mean for marketers as we look ahead.

A safer shopping experience

Price and convenience may have dominated the buyer’s decision-making process, but according to Facebook safety may take the top spot when it comes to purchases.

Seventy-one percent of people now say safety is key when deciding where to shop. This sentiment is transcending borders whereby globally only half (50%) of shoppers reporting they’re eager to return to physical stores. In addition, 40 percent surveyed globally plan to upkeep their online shopping habits post-pandemic.

These notions are permeating online conversations as Facebook saw a 6x increase in dialogues relating to contactless shopping and living in the past few months since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Stats aside, what the research really depicts is the fact that as more and more people experiment with new tactics like buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS), or go fully online with their shopping, brands need to consistently communicate how they’re keeping their consumers safe and have an easy-to-follow, friendly mobile shopping experience start to end.

Embracing the practice of mindfulness

Beyond shopping, people have adjusted to new ways of living, working, learning and parenting.
While this can come with some headaches and challenges, it also is a welcomed opportunity to spend more time with family and friends. What is filling the added time back in our schedules? Practicing mindfulness and wellness through meditation apps, the livestreaming of yoga and other workout classes, classes and #quarantinebaking.

These activities are not only allowing people to balance their work and home life but are a welcomed distractions that are opening the doors to creativity, Even in times of stillness or isolation we can find ways to be creative, and starting can be as simple as physically putting down our phones so we have the ability to dedicate the time to what truly makes us inspired and happy and that we’re genuinely feeling.

‘Glocal’ communities

The pandemic continues to drive an uptick in people expressing a sense of local connection online. With people still uncertain when their favorite local businesses would be able to open their doors again, if ever, Facebook saw, in the period of February to May 2020, clicks on searches for local businesses increase by 23 percent and local groups on Facebook grow by 3.3x.

Outside of their own neighborhoods, however, people are simultaneously reawakened to the idea that they’re a global citizen who is bound together with the rest of the world by a common event. Since January 2020, people have donated over $100 million to COVID-19 related fundraisers across Facebook and Instagram and feel 1.26x more concerned about the pandemic on a global scale than in their own country.

Permanent changes

Half (50%) of people globally say being able to message with a business instills a greater sense of connection. Further, 40 percent of holiday shoppers say they are more likely to consider purchasing from a business they can message. These are just some of the permanent changes we can expect to see as we look ahead. Driven largely by Gen Z, now encompassing 41 percent of the population, we can also expect younger audiences to prefer using online learning platforms, watching more online videos, using messaging services frequently, and devoting more time towards hobbies.

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How TikTok is Keeping its Community Harm-Free and Positive

In recent months TikTok has spearheaded a broad effort to instill an image of itself as a place of pure positivity and inspiration — one deeply rooted in American culture and users can express themselves in a toxic-free environment. More specifically, TikTok articulated its stance on hate speech and eliminating hate and dropped an ad campaign depicting the impact of its community.

Countering the spread of hate

“In what can feel like an increasingly divisive world, one of the areas we’re especially intent on improving is our policies and actions towards hateful content and behavior. Our goal is to eliminate hate on TikTok,” shared TikTok’s Head of Safety, Eric Han in a recent blog post.

In the update, the platform shared that since the beginning of 2020, it has removed over 380,000 videos violating its hate speech policy. In addition, TikTok banned more than 1,300 accounts for hateful content or behavior and removed 64,000 offensive pieces of content from the app. While the company admits these stats don’t reflect a perfect success rate — taking responsibility is an important action needed for long-term success. During a time when relationships are heavily reliant on smartphones and other devices, urging authenticity and embracing digital empathy has never been more critical for a platform’s survival. For TikTok, this is especially true as its fate in the U.S. remains unclear.

So how exactly does TikTok help prevent the spread of hateful content? Primarily it employs a strict zero-tolerance stance on “organized hate groups and those associated with them,” including accounts associated with white supremacy or nationalism, male supremacy, antisemitism, and other hate-based ideologies. To regulate this, the platform uses a variety of methods including re-directing people who search for offensive material to its guidelines and rules. The motive behind this is plain and simple — education around how to think before we post online and hone our digital empathy skills.

Enhancing cultural awareness and transparency

TikTok also notes that its evolving its policies in line with regional and inter-community usage. An ongoing learning curve for its Safety team, TikTok understands that not all slurs are used in a negative context. Conversely, they can be used as a term of empowerment. In this way, the platform is looking to improve how it defines this line and the distinctions that enable it to decipher when it has been crossed or not. In short, the app is looking to better read the room as its community continues to grow and identify new ways it can support a safe, respectful and diverse environment for all of its users.

Incorporating the evolution of expression into its policies does not stop with its own moderation teams, however. To effectively grasp nuanced content like cultural appropriation and slurs, TikTok is turning to experts within its broader Content Advisory Council and external civil society organizations.

“Our platform is the daily destination for millions of people to express themselves creatively, enjoy entertaining content, and engage with a diverse global community that transcends borders.” With this in mind, TikTok launched an information hub and dedicated Twitter account, @tiktok_comms, to ‘serve as a source of truth’ is counter to the various rumors around the app and deliver updates about the company in real-time.

“A ubiquitous part of American life”

TikTok may be a household name for its personal and quirky videos, but the platform is using this unprecedented time in our industry to remind everyone that these single moments of authentic creativity can cascade into much more.

Countering some of the negative perceptions and events surrounding the app as of late, TikTok released a new ad campaign designed to depict its community’s power in spreading positivity. Specifically, by spreading joy and bringing people together, while also launching careers, driving support for causes and educating the masses.

“We’re only halfway through the year, but the impact of the TikTok community on every facet of culture – arts, food, beauty, fashion, film – is undeniable….We’re celebrating you, our TikTok community, for making TikTok a ubiquitous part of everyday American life,” the platform said of the campaign.

From launching the D’Amelio sisters’ careers to reimagining learning with snackable science TikToks posted by Bill Nye himself to The Weeknd rallying more than two million users for a virtual concert benefiting the Equal Justice Initiative, it’s more clear than ever that one trend inspires another and there is true power in sharing our stories, talents, and passions.

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How to Maximize Impact on Social Media During COVID-19

In the aftermath of COVID-19, what has changed for social media managers? How can social media managers best approach their work to keep building their clients’ and employer’s online presence and brands?

The Importance of a Social Media Manager

Social media managers occupy an essential role as promoters of brands and organizations. Their core responsibility is to engage with the target market, grow follower numbers, and expand a brand’s online presence. All over the world, lockdowns are necessitating social isolation, leading to more time connected to digital media. Figures from Facebook, for example, indicated massive rises in the use of their platform during lockdowns. 

As people are spending more time online and demanding more online content, social media managers have an opportunity to capture the attention of these prospective leads and engage with them. Although the shift to a more serious, somber time means standard messaging approaches might no longer be relevant, social media managers can still work to engage effectively and sympathetically with the target audience. 

Growing a Business on Social Media

The post-COVID world holds many uncertainties for social, so social media managers will need to stay flexible and responsive to tailor their approaches. Consider how your employer or client’s messaging comes across during a time when consumers are feeling uncertain and vulnerable. Review the format, timing, and channels of your messaging in the context of the current cultural climate. 

During a crisis, you might be able to best improve engagement and grow your audience, and hence the business, by adopting an empathetic and open tone. Excessively sales-focused or promotional messaging could backfire during these times. Your organization will still want to maintain regular, frequent social media messaging while staying alert to changes so you can tailor your messages as things change. For example, if stricter or looser restrictions impact how your goods or services are delivered, make sure your customers know about it. As an example, fast food giants like McDonald’s and Domino’s have promoted their contactless delivery processes. Focus on driving conversations, expanding the community, and sharing to keep growing your business. 

Another useful strategy for growing your online audience during this time is to encourage appointment viewing habits through episodic content. With people spending more time on digital platforms, social media managers can encourage repeat views and regular connections by running a series of content. For example, you can post COVID-related information posts every day at a given time and remind your audience to check back the same time the next day. You can simultaneously run other content series related to how to use your products or services. These can take the form of live videos, recorded videos, podcasts, articles, newsletters, or any other format you prefer. Be inspiring, educational, or entertaining, but always deliver value. 

Leading with Empathy and Sensitivity

While physical isolation can lead to more time spent on social channels, businesses will likely gain loyalty by not coming across as opportunistic. Again, constant pure-sales messaging could make the brand appear to be tone-deaf and out of touch. Instead, adopt an authentic, helpful approach to support your social media audience. 

For example, Dettol’s TikTok handwashing challenge led to billions of views while communicating a practical message in an upbeat manner. As you refine your messaging, take into account your community might be feeling anxious and vulnerable as they face new challenges in their lives. 

Explore ways to be helpful even if it doesn’t involve buying your products or services. For example, you could share a message offering to donate a percentage of proceeds to food banks or to provide free services or goods to nonprofit organizations that are helping the community during the pandemic. By demonstrating the brand genuinely cares and is doing its part to help out, social media managers can build trust among consumers. 

Even during stressful, turbulent times like the present pandemic, social media managers can drive engagement and business growth by a unified, consistent message. Focus on quality messaging relevant to the customer’s pain points. Track performance and adjust your content from day to day in accordance with analytics as well as how COVID is continuing to shape the world. Given how changeable the post-COVID world is, brands and their social media managers will likely do best by staying agile and prepared to adjust their social media strategy as new challenges and opportunities arise.

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Social Media Week London 2020 is Cancelled

In light of COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to officially cancel our Social Media Week London conference, originally scheduled for 21-22 October. Our aim is to return in 2021 when it is safe to host in-person events.

As a team, it is our mission to continue to use this moment to explore new whitespaces and opportunities in the hope that we can help our loyal community members, like you, exercise their minds and become the best versions of themselves. Enter SMW+ — our new live streaming service for marketers who are looking to level up in their careers.

Claim your free 30-day trial to SMW+

Over the past few weeks, we have launched 10 exclusive and original content series led by some of the world’s greatest thought leaders, innovators and marketing practitioners:

We’re inviting you to start your 30-day free trial today to see what SMW+ has to offer including even more shows launching soon featuring Google’s Raashi Rosenberger, Reddit’s Will Cady, Weber Shandwick’s Randa Stephan, Nestle USA’s Orchid Bertelsen, and many more!

We appreciate each and every one of you who has embarked on this journey with us and we cannot wait to see you in-person very soon. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for some announcements and key updates about our 2021 programs.

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How Facebook is Helping SMBs Engage New Audiences

A few months ago, Facebook announced a $100M grant program in support of SMBs. Shortly after it introduced Facebook Shops to help them sell online. Today, the social media giant is building on these efforts by introducing a new product to monetize classes and online events dubbed plain and simply, ‘Paid Online Events.’ At launch, the option will be available in 20 countries for Pages that meet its partner monetization policies.

The growing role of broadcasts

In June, Facebook saw live broadcasts from Pages double compared to the same time last year, largely driven by a spike in broadcasts since March and the outbreak of COVID-19.

In response to this trend, the platform is putting additional resources towards allowing businesses and creators to monetize the events they’ve had to pivot to digital. More specifically, through a new update business owners now have the ability to create the event, set the price, promote the event, collect the payment, and host the event itself all from one place.

“With social distancing mandates still in place, many businesses and creators are bringing their events and services online to connect with existing customers and reach new ones,” explained Head of Facebook App Fidji Simo. “People are also relying on live video and interactive experiences more when they can’t come together physically.” With much of the country still grappling with closures of music venues, event spaces, and other venues for public gatherings, the app seeks to fill a significant void for SMBs and other marketers in need of alternative revenue options.

A frictionless, in-stream process

What’s important to note that the offering meets the end-to-end needs of a local business spanning marketing, payment, and live video. They create drive engagement via organic or paid advertisements and can subsequently create custom audiences from event or class attendees. For paid online events, event hosts will receive payouts once per month after they cross a minimum threshold balance of $100.

So how does payment actually work? The new option will enable businesses and creators to charge directly on Facebook for access to their online events. Depicted by the snapshot below, users will tap on the ‘Purchase Access’ button and immediately be taken through the in-stream payment process, which is facilitated by their in-app settings.

In testing, events with early users included talks, trivia, podcast recordings, boxing matches, cooking classes, meet-and-greets, and fitness classes. Meanwhile, Facebook also revealed tests of the ability to host smaller, more interactive gatherings in Messenger Rooms. The company also hinted that it would soon offer brands and creators the option to tag products from their Facebook Shop or catalog before going live. Those products will be shown at the bottom of the video so people can easily tap to learn more and purchase.

No fees for a year

Facebook has promised to not collect any fees for paid online events for at least the next year. Further, transactions completed on the web, and on Android in countries where the platform has rolled out Facebook Pay, SMBs and creators will keep 100% of the revenues they generate from paid online events. While Google agreed to waive the fees for Android devices, Apple decided to stick with its normal 30 percent commission for the App Store creating a point of tension as Facebook looks to unite the technology space in supporting businesses during this uncertain time.

According to Simo, Apple was also presented the option of using Facebook Pay so the platform could absorb the added costs but this was also declined. “Unfortunately, they dismissed both our requests and SMBs will only be paid 70 percent of their hard-earned revenue.”

Whether the rollout of paid events will transform into a long-term, viable business solution remains to be seen but in the present, it offers relief during a time many businesses continue to take a hit as a result of the pandemic. It’s also a win for Facebook — primarily by allowing it to showcase its live-streaming and video capabilities.

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How Pinterest is Embracing Inclusivity and Video Content

More than ever, people, especially younger demographics are looking to places like Pinterest to be inspired. They want to be represented and find inspiration that directly ties into their passions and primary interests. This has only been exacerbated by the global pandemic in addition to the industry seeing a massive shift towards video consumption and creation.

Here are a few ways Pinterest is doubling down on these trends and taking advantage of the whitespaces presented by COVID-19 to better connect with its audience and deliver meaningful experiences.

Embracing inclusivity and diversity

At the start of the pandemic, Pinterest reported a spike in shopping activity on the platform by nearly half (44%). Shortly after Pinterest launched new features including curated shopping lists from pinned boards, a Shop Similar algorithm, and shoppable style guides. To build on its most popular category, the platform decided to upgrade its skin tone feature launched initially in 2018, and open it to more countries including the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

“No one should have to work extra hard to uncover personalized ideas, and all should feel welcome. A more diverse Pinterest is a more useful, positive, and powerful one.” said the company’s Annie Ta in an official statement. Ta also revealed that the app launched skin tone ranges because nearly 60 percent of searches involving “skin” included a specific tone, such as dark, olive, or pale.

Ultimately, with this move, Pinterest is demonstrating that it understands its users can’t feel inspired if they don’t feel represented. Powered by machine vision, the feature is aimed to make it easier to find relevant content specifically by offering searches including “grey hair on dark skin women,” “blonde hair color ideas for fair skin blue eyes,” and “soft natural makeup for Black women“ to deliver unique and hyper-refined results for every person.

Streamlining video pin creation

According to Pinterest data, video views on the platform have increased more than 3x in 2020 over the same period in 2019, while Pinners are also 2.6x more likely to make a purchase after viewing brand video content on the platform.

In response to the uptick in video creation, Pinterest is partnering with Vimeo in an effort to enable Pinners access to the newly launched Vimeo Create platform. By joining forces, users can upload their videos directly to Pinterest and more easily streamline their efforts. Launched in February, Vimeo Create allows brands and marketers to pick from pre-made, professionally curated video templates customizable to their specific needs or start a new video from scratch, integrating their own video footage. After the video is finalized, they can automatically tailor the content for each of their social channels in distinct versions depending on the format and aspect ratios needed: square, vertical, or horizontal.

“Designed for video newbies and experienced editors alike, Vimeo Create is built to help small businesses and scrappy creators craft video ads and social media content that drives engagement and builds brand buy-in, even if you’ve never made a video before. And now, you can seamlessly publish videos you make directly to Pinterest, no downloading or middleman required,” explained Vimeo’s Aubrey Page.

Maximize your Pinterest videos

To kick start your Pinterest video efforts — pocket these five key tips from Vimeo:

  • Ensure your information is fresh and spell out the details in your copy. Get in a DIY mindset to make it engaging and interactive as possible.
  • Brevity is key for maximizing impact and boosting shareability– the ideal Pinterest video length is between 6 and 15 seconds.
  • Be sure your clips are explained with captions and other visuals. Most will tune in with their sound off.
  • Carefully consider your thumbnail. This is the first piece people will see and it needs to be attention-grabbing, highlight your brand, and depict your aesthetic point of view.
  • Don’t overlook the power of prominent branding. Place your brand name as early as possible and leverage titles and descriptions to get this across and let people know where they can find more exciting video content.

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Empower Your Cause Marketing with Influencers

How effective is influencer marketing? Just by its nature alone, we can assume the answer is “very.” Major brands spend millions a year to get influencers on their side to promote their products. Non-profits and movements have also found mainstream support thanks to the visibility from influencers and celebrities standing behind their values.

Admittedly, this industry has taken a hit in 2020. Many influencers who were once paid to engage in the community, travel and create content outside of the home are losing contracts due to their inability to meet that end of the bargain. It has led some to wonder if the era of influencer marketing could be dying in the face of a changing economic landscape due to the pandemic.

At the end of 2019 and into the beginning of the year, many believed that influencer marketing budgets and campaigns would be skyrocketing, not declining. What was once relevant has taken a sharp turn and we are forced to look not at numbers but at anecdotal evidence.

This kind of data is still valuable. Using COVID as an example, you can see that the outpouring of support for hospitals, people’s campaigns, homeless shelters and more has grown across the globe, even as many have faced economic hardships themselves. Why? It is due to the kindness we share with one another in times of trouble. But it could also be in part to influencers who are using their muscles to share these messages and bring in donations where they are needed most.

Utilize Influencer Marketing For Your Own Cause

According to a Cone Cause Evolution Survey, 87% of the participants who were asked said they were not only willing but would absolutely switch to another brand if they found out they were supporting a cause in which the customer believed. This shows that the desire to support causes through brand awareness is already there — your job is to get the message out.

Here is where influencers come in. An influencer already has a strong audience that is loyal to them as their own brand. They enjoy their content and have largely stuck with them even as formats have changed to meet the demands of quarantine. The first part of the process is already done for you: visibility.

In fact, influencers are becoming a real marketing powerhouse across an array of industries including cosmetics and beauty, fashion, education and nonprofits. Influencers can drive traffic and exposure to just about any project, even if it is brand new and has no traffic of its own.

Next, we want to be targeting those influencers. This is also easier when we are looking at causes versus products because we are narrowing in on something about which the influencer feels strongly. We can assume their audience also falls into that demographic and are more likely to also care about that cause–it may even be why they are following that influencer in the first place.

Approach with The Cause In Mind

Influencers get plenty of offers for campaigns, so you need to stand out. Come out with a strong message about the cause and how you think they would specifically be useful in promoting the message. Let them know what specific characteristics they have that make them uniquely suited to work with you, like their passion, content, or aesthetic.

Share what it is you hope to accomplish and how they can be a part of it. Have a specific task you have in mind for them–don’t just tell them that they will be sharing posts. Remember that influencer marketing is more than just connecting with those influencers. It is about getting them directly involved with a campaign tailored to their talents and their audience.

One tool to help you here is Text Optimizer that allows you to better research context around your target keyword and create a more optimized content and social media strategy when working with an influencer:

Text Optimizer

Don’t Target a Single Influencer

The more channels you have promoting your cause, the better. Lady Gaga managed to raise $35 million for Coronavirus efforts early on in the US stages of the pandemic. It was an amazing feat, but we can’t all get Lady Gaga signed onto a cause, especially when she is already associated with so many top notch brands.

In contrast, YouTuber Vaush managed to raise $19,000 for the Black Lives Matter movement through streaming his Minecraft videos. Mr Beast raised $20 million to plant trees around the world in an effort to correct environmental damage done through deforestation and climate change.

Influencers come in all different sizes of viewership, ability and passions. Can you imagine what having two on your side would do? Three? Thirty? There is no limit to how many influencers you can get on board, particularly for a good cause. It is all about finding the ones who most represent what you are hoping to accomplish.

Have Your Creatives Ready

While most influencers will prefer to create their own assets to be in-line with their styles and aesthetic, having branded content ready is always helpful. Creating your own branded kit and sharing it with influencers is a great idea–include your logo in different dimensions, screenshots or visuals available for reuse, and color palettes. Both Visme and Venngage are good resources.

At the very least, create some visuals featuring your logo and message for influencers and publishers to reuse (and even take offline in the form of branded merchandise) easily. Here are plenty of free templates on Placeit to help you.

Create branded visuals

Whichever social media channels you decide to use, make sure you have your own site set up to promote your cause and consolidate your whole marketing strategy around your site. Make sure to publicize your story and reuse your visuals on your own site to build consistent visibility that doesn’t rely on any single third-party platform.

Cause marketing is tough but the right influencers are able to make a real difference.

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Why TikTok and Snapchat are Priortizing In-App Voter Awareness

During the 2018 midterm elections, Snapchat registered more than 450,000 voters through its app. Of that group, 50 percent of those went on to cast ballots. Fast forward to today, the platform is announcing a slew of new tools and features to help prepare young people to vote in November.

For context, of its 100 million U.S. users, 80 percent are 18 or older and between 300,000 and 500,000 Snapchat users turn 18 every month. In addition, the company recently obtained data from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (“CIRCLE”), which showed that two-thirds of voters age 18 to 21 with some college experience received important resources and information about voter registration from their universities.

Driving in-app voter awareness

Despite being interested in participating in elections and exercising the right to do so, college-aged voters are unsure where to find the facts around the process. This is especially an issue in the context of the global pandemic as campuses are forced to operate remotely or limit the number of students on campus.

Here a peek into some of the updates and how they work:

  • Voter Registration: As part of its new series of mini apps announced this Summer during its Partner Summit, Snapchat is introducing a new ‘Voter Registration Mini’ which will enable users to register to vote directly in the app.
  • Voter Guide: Snapchat’s also launching a ‘Voter Guide’ which will provide users with key voting information and resources from official partner organizations covering topics including ballot education, voting by mail, and more.
  • Before You Vote: In partnership with BallotReady, this mini app will provide users with more insight into their voting options ahead of the poll as they finalize their plans
  • Voter Checklist: Also utilized in the 2018 midterms, Snapchat is bringing back the voter checklist, an interactive platform aimed to ensure users are registered and ready for the vote.

Detecting and removing misinformation

Yet another platform with a firm hold on younger demographics, TikTok, is also manifesting its plans ahead of this Fall. It’s focus? Combating misinformation.

“Misinformation, disinformation, and threats to civic engagement are challenges no platform can ignore. By working together as an industry with experts and civil society organizations, we can better protect the civic processes that are so essential to our users,” the platform explained.

At a high level, TikTok is introducing stricter, more specific guidelines around deepfakes and coordinated use of the platform to influence opinion. It’s also expanding its relationships with PolitiFact and Lead Stories to double down on fact-checking and adding an option for users to easily report content or accounts for review that they feel may be sources of misinformation. In the vein of detection processes, TikTok is gathering insights and key information from the Department of Homeland Security’s Countering Foreign Influence Task Force.

As far as political ads are concerned, TikTok is using this opportunity to make it clear they don’t see them as a fit for the general experience they aim to create for its users. “The nature of paid political ads isn’t something we think fits with the experience our users expect on TikTok.”

Looking ahead

According to a new survey from GlobalWebIndex, over half (52%) of 18-24-year-old Snapchatters will be voting for the first time this November. With their specific reach into Gen Z and Millenials, it’s apparent why these resources by the part of TikTok and Snapchat are needed.

In the midst of an abnormal election year, on-the-ground voter engagement can no longer be counted on. These first-time voters would typically be preparing to register on-campus at college after equipping themselves with key information but these options are either limited or off the table. It’s on platforms like TikTok and Snapchat to step in and fill this education void.

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How Facebook is Empowering Black Creators and Businesses

Over the span of the last few months, COVID-19 has flipped the world on its head, but most heavily hit were small businesses — particularly those owned by minority entrepreneurs. Even prior to the COVID19 outbreak, this group, which comprises 37 percent of all US businesses, faced greater challenges in starting, running, and growing their companies according to new data. Despite progress being made in terms of vaccine development and parts of the country continuing to re-open, these hurdles still remain.

Here’s a few ways Facebook is lending its support in offering the resources and tools needed for these businesses to thrive.

Black Business August 

Facebook is looking to celebrate and promote the work of Black business owners and their adversity with “Black Business August,” a month-long series of education and business growth content featuring training, programming, and business spotlights.

“We invite you to join us throughout August as we host virtual events, dive into topics like finance, health and fashion, and share inspiring stories of Black-owned businesses from all over the country,” the company said in an official blog announcement.

Experts to be featured in upcoming sessions include Simileoluwa Adebajo, Head Chef and Owner of San Francisco’s Eko Kitchen, and Omar Kinnebrew, Founder and CEO of Atlanta’s Bespokuture. Key topics include ‘building a thriving community,’ ‘adapting in uncertain times,’ and ‘bridging the opportunity gap.’ Access to capital, networks, and the loyal support of a community are simple but critical elements for business success today as we continue to navigate uncertainty.

Facebook Elevate  

Outside of these webinars, additional programming will be hosted on Facebook Elevate, ‘a community and learning platform for Black businesses and creators,’ centered on themes of ‘health and wellness,’ ‘finance and wealth,’ ‘food and beverage,’ and ‘beauty and fashion.’ Each week various Black business owners and creators will come together to share their journeys and lead activities that put the practices to action. A workout by Ariel Harris Belgrave of Gym Hooky and a cooking session from The Spice Suite are just two examples.

The first two themes are especially top of mind for many. Now more than ever it’s easy to lose sight of work-life balance and the important truth that financial well-being directly impacts our mental and physical health. Mindfulness can deliver the necessary productivity and clarity in responding to financial obstacles and avoid paralyses when it comes to business decisions amidst the unknown.

Empowering the next generation of Black storytellers 

Beyond businesses themselves, Facebook is also looking inward at its own community and the voices being represented. Specifically, the platform is introducing a new $25 million funding program to support black creators. The main objective of the initiative is to improve diversity and conclusion from within by elevating a significant community of storytellers who want to celebrate their communities, amplify their unique narratives, and have a positive impact.

With the heightened consumption of content during quarantine, speed is critical for earning and maintaining attention. Brands are quickly learning that in order to stay ahead and pivot their strategies, they must be open to learning from creators versus simply mimicking the advertising space. In this vein, Facebook is looking to help these storytellers build a diverse and innovative business across its entire family of apps.

“We’re asking up-and-coming Black creators to put their creative talents to the test with our program for Black creators. Our program is intended to amplify Black voices, and is geared towards Black creators aged 18+ with a minimum of 10,000 followers on Facebook or 10,000 followers on Instagram. Creators must reside in the U.S.,” the platform shared.

Through these collective efforts Facebook hopes to make strides in addressing concerns raised by the recent results of a civil rights audit conducted over the last few years with the goal of helping the company improve its overall policies and “strength and advance civil rights” within its community. We can’t only rely on the platforms, however. As marketers it is our responsibility to help ensure these stories cut through the noise and to invest time in order to develop a deeper understanding of the issues and opportunities at play.

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6 Brands Using UGC to Drive Trust and Sales

Gaining customer trust is an uphill task. There are two pressing challenges that you must address when using user-generated content: moderating the types of UGC your customers post and making sure that potential buyers who see this content visit relevant pages on your website.

So, how do you get a handle on this and make sure that your brand’s UGC helps you earn trust and drive sales? You have to make sure that the UGC you use serves a specific purpose. Let’s explore how other brands are doing this through key takeaways from each brand that will inspire you to do the same for your business.

Connect with Potential and Existing Buyers 

Any buyer looking for a sales automation tool will always read through a couple of reviews to see what other buyers say about different tools that are available. Reviews help form a brand perception that determines a buyer’s emotional attitude towards a particular brand.

To nurture this connection, you need to make sure that your UGC inspires trust and surprises at the same time.


Example #1: Reply

Take a look at how Reply used UGC in their reviews:

Photo courtesy of Reply

Numbers never lie and they inspire trust because they’re a reflection of results. Impressive open rates, click-through rates, and sales opportunities from outbound emails come as a surprise to most potential buyers.

Key takeaway: When collecting UGC from your customers, ask for real data that show how your product improved their business.


Example #2: ContactMonkey

In addition to using real data to reflect product results, you should also reaffirm the choices that your potential buyers are making.

4 out of 10 business owners aren’t happy with their cash flow due to the COVID-19  pandemic, which means that they’re bound to be cautious about how they spend their money to avoid going out of business.

Show off your customers and what they think about your product to help reaffirm the choices buyers are making–this will help you earn trust. This is something that ContactMonkey pulls off nicely.

Going beyond results, ContactMonkey shows who their customers are and what they do:

Photo courtesy of ContactMonkey

For a potential user, this is reassuring and there’s a guarantee that they will get value for their money.

Key takeaway: Use UGC to reaffirm to new buyers that they made the right choice. It encourages trust and loyalty leading to recurring payments.


Build a Content Library

Ecommerce purchases done on mobile are expected to grow to 72.9% by 2021 — a scenario that the pandemic will accelerate. Several elements influence a potential customer’s purchase decision on a mobile device, one of them being a library of related content in the business’ niche.


Example #3: Sleep Junkie

Content can be a great asset especially if it helps you answer questions that potential customers are asking on Google.

While it’s easy to assume that there’s nothing much one can explore about sleep, people are actually curious about this topic. And Sleep Junkie has a blog post on the same topic:

Is that what their readers would want to read about? A quick search on Google using the keyword “facts about sleep” confirms this, both in the search results and ‘people also ask’ section. The same trend also appears in the related searches section.

Sleep Junkie has found the content their audience is looking for, so they can double down on the same to push potential buyers to the next stage of the funnel, leading to more sales. Our verdict? Even without customer testimonials, knowing what your potential customers want to read and answering it in your content helps you win their trust.

Key takeaway: Look for content that your audience loves then improve it or produce similar content. It helps you earn their trust because they know you’re listening to them.


Example #4: Buzzsprout

Buzzsprout asking their customers to share the lessons they’ve learned while growing their podcasts. Then, they packed the responses into a blog post on their site. When potential customers read this content, they will be more likely to trust the Buzzsprout product because they’re getting advice from customers, instead of the company itself.

Key takeaway: Send out a survey and ask customers to share their thoughts on a common challenge and how they overcame it using your product. Publish it as a blog post and then promote it to your leads.


Boost Social Media Reach and Growth

2.4 billion Facebook users spend close to one hour on the platform every day. Given that 30% of these users discover new brands on Facebook, using UGC to create a memorable first impression will help you earn their trust.

UGC will allow you to discover what topics your audience cares about, the pain points to focus on, and the objectives you need to address in your ads, campaigns, and landing pages to improve your conversion rates.


Example #5: Cubefunder

On Cubefunder’s landing page, they display customer testimonials, images, and videos. When running paid ads to this page, they should use the same testimonial and image or video to maintain consistency between ads and a landing page.

Photo Courtesy of Cubefunder

Key takeaway: If you’re using UGC to run ads, make sure that your ad copy and landing page align. Also, images and colors should be similar to maintain look and feel.


Example #6: LMNT

The purpose of social media is to connect, but not with a faceless, apathetic brand filled with nothing but ads. Brands on social media should have personality, specifically one that connects with their audience emotionally.

LMNT started a campaign to support the front lines amidst COVID-19. Team LMNT posted a series video of themselves on social media, thanking front-line workers and asking viewers to send an email about front-line workers’ situations in their area. In response, Team LMNT distributed more than 350,000 stick packs to these professionals to show their support.

Not only did the campaign boost brand awareness and converting consumers, but it also developed a deeper connection and a long-lasting impact with consumers and front-line workers alike:

Photo courtesy of LMNT

If you’ve used UGC for your business already, it’s easy to feel like you’ve maxed out its potential to help earn trust and drive sales. However, take notes from these brands and elevate your UGC by using it to connect with potential customers, build a content library, and boost your social media reach and growth.

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8 Reasons to Start a Facebook Community for Your Business

Promoting your business on Facebook is hard work. The cost-per-click is constantly growing. Organic reach is dramatically decreasing since Facebook has prioritized ‘posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions.’ Considering this, what should a business do?

Facebook can be a powerful and cost-effective channel to promote your business by investing nothing in advertising. The answer is in the runoff: it’s time to create and grow your own Facebook group.

Almost every business owner has already tried to benefit from a Facebook page. And it has turned out that having a business page on Facebook doesn’t necessarily end up with engagement, referral traffic, and closed deals without an advertising budget. Why? First, most businesses don’t know how to engage their prospective clients. Second, a business page on Facebook is often viewed as an advertisement. Rather than manage a business page, switch your focus to building a Facebook group for your business.

Building a Facebook group for your business is a viable way to build a fan community, bring people together, and build a great marketing platform at the same time. Facebook groups allow you to be helpful and relatable to your prospective clients as well as understand their goals and partner with them to overcome challenges.

Learn more about your target audience

Use your Facebook group as a focus group for your target audience. While members are expecting to get useful information from the community, you can also collect valuable insights from them. For instance, built-in Facebook functionality called Facebook Insights provides details about your community members and their activity.

Also, your Facebook community members’ discussions, comments, and feedback will help you discover what your community needs from you. It’s a handy and easy-to-adopt way to validate your business ideas.

At Chanty, our fans help us shape our product map. We let our group know about ideas for features or product updates and gather their feedback. Here’s one of regular polls we conduct in the Chanty community on Facebook:

Engage with prospects on a personal level

A Facebook group will humanize your company with the help of social connections, nonbusiness interactions, and friendly communication. Your brand will get an opportunity to show its human side, not just a company logo.

Facebook groups allow you to build rich and human relationships with prospecting clients. Customers don’t want to engage with brands and join the conversation provoked by a business. Facebook groups remove this barrier and gives you the opportunity to be more personal, which builds connection and trust with your company.

Here are a few tips on how to start engaging your Facebook community:

  • Be present in the group on a daily basis
  • Post useful and relevant links (not promotional ones)
  • Ask group members to contribute or give feedback
  • Organize contests and promotions
  • Offer incentives for activity

Receive organic testimonials

Testimonials are a part of a wider concept called social proof, which is a way to show your prospects that others have already found your products or services to be of high value. Testimonials prove that your business is trustworthy, featuring those who have purchased from you and had a positive experience.

There are a few ways you can benefit from testimonials:

  • Testimonials build trust around your business
  • Testimonials impact sales
  • Testimonials increase website traffic
  • Testimonials ensure a higher conversion rate on your website (sign-ups, downloads, etc.)

How can you use your Facebook community to gather and feature testimonials? If your fans aren’t already posting their own testimonials, gently ask some of your customers to post a positive experience in the group. Or when you’re promoting an offer, reach out to existing clients and ask them to write positive feedback about your offer.

build trust around your company by providing value

Without credibility, your Facebook group won’t be highly engaged; you won’t drive attention to your offers and your polls won’t receive feedback. There’s a simple rule: to build trust, you must provide value and serve your followers.

Share first-hand experience, hold question-and-answer sessions, create exclusive content for your group, and provide the community with valuable and entertaining information. Your Facebook community is not an advertising platform. Instead, it’s a place for you to explain, motivate, inspire, and teach.

Gain hot leads with one post

When the group members are warmed up with valuable content and meaningful interactions, pin a post to the top or roll out an announcement. Your Facebook group will give you a highly targeted audience to which you can present your offer. However, try not to be overly spammy and make sure that your proposal provides value to your group members. Here’s an example of regular offers in one private Facebook group. As you can see, this post has brought a few hot leads to the group owners.

Generate networking opportunities

Your Facebook group will unite your potential clients, existing clients, fan base, and even potential business partners. Your Facebook group can turn into a platform where you and your potential business partners can solidify relationships that otherwise may not have occurred.

As seen here, this Facebook group devoted to SaaS marketing allows a group member to find almost 30 business opportunities in the blink of an eye. That means anyone can simply click the green JOIN GROUP button and dive deeply in the world of valuable collaboration and partnership.

Get in front of your prospects and clients every day

An increasing number of people are searching on Facebook to find products and services to solve their challenges. 1.73 billion users are visiting the social networking site on a daily basis. As a result, Facebook makes it easy for prospects to find you and join your Facebook community.

What can you do to appear in your fans’ feeds more often and get even more exposure? Here’s a list of tested-and-tried activities:

  • If you host a webinar, list your events, and invite people in your group.
  • Share your company’s blog posts in your group if the content is highly relevant and valuable..
  • Ask your group members to share your content IF it is highly relevant and valuable.
  • Stream live video with Facebook Live. The intimacy of live video creates the sense for the group members that they are getting a behind-the-scenes peek and creates emotional bonds between you and your fans.
  • Avoid link-dropping and direct advertising. Make sure to provide context to any sales message.

Offer an excellent service hub to your clients

In your Facebook group, support clients when they complain about your business. Be transparent and share updates when you’re working through issues. Answer quickly and candidly to questions, so that your customers know that you are there for them.

Overall, Facebook business pages are hard to grow organically, but you have the opportunity to grow a Facebook group by focusing on engagement and communication, not on direct advertising. While a Facebook community is not a small task take lots of your time and energy too. But in the long run, Facebook groups enhance your relationships with the target audience and expand your business growth.

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The post 8 Reasons to Start a Facebook Community for Your Business appeared first on Social Media Week.

Evolving Video Consumption Patterns: What Your Brand Needs to Know

In 2010 the ubiquity of smartphones was at its all-time peak followed by an influx in user-generated content (UGC). Today, mobile video is at an inflection point where premium video content is dubbed a social currency — especially by the likes of Millenials and Gen Z. In fact, according to a new report from Snapchat in partnership with the National Research Group, global mobile viewership is on the rise 6 percent year-over-year (YoY).

With mobile content that allows Millenials and Gen Z to stay informed and initiate conversations about what they’re engaging with, these experiences continue to find significance for their convenience and, most importantly, their role to allow younger demographics to be key contributors to cultural conversations as opposed to passive observers.

Here’s a breakdown of the report’s main findings:

Mobile is the main event

Per the report’s findings, mobile has officially secured the top spot for where we spend our time. Specifically, between 2014 and 2020 screen time on smartphones has multiplied by more than 1.5x — that’s an increase from 2.5 hours per day to 4 hours and 18 minutes. Of this, 47 minutes, or 20 percent, of time is allocated towards video viewing.

How does this stack up to traditional TV viewing? Despite added TV time for Gen Z and Millennial consumers while isolating at home, younger generations are still prioritizing mobile video. This is supported by a comparison between TV and mobile viewership in just the last two years which shows that mobile lagged behind TV by two minutes until recently, where it now leads it by a whopping 29 minutes. This growth is undoubtedly led by younger consumers, 73 percent of which claim they watch more video on their smartphones than they did just a year ago — up from 65 percent.

The big takeaway here to note? Premium mobile video is shaping a new viewing standard of storytelling. This is underscored in mobile’s dominance over desktop viewership as seen in spikes on OTT, gaming consoles, and other connected devices. In 2020 alone, we’re experiencing a 40 percent increase in daily engagement across both short-form and long-form content.

Key elements of engaging mobile video content

Snapchat outlines three fundamental principles to bear in mind to ensure you’re providing an effective mobile experience: personal connection, share-worthiness, and relatability. When combined, it leaves viewers feeling informed, better connected, and motivated to express themselves and participate in the dialogue.

Aside from the physical vertical video creating a sense of intimacy and being immersed, successful mobile content has emotional through-line to the story it’s sharing. They contain characters or narratives that feel relevant and open the window of opportunity to discover and share their own experiences as part of a larger, meaningful community. According to Snapchat’s findings, 3 in 4 Gen Z and Millennial consumers associate short-form premium mobile video with moving characters/personalities, and storylines that give them a sense of excitement, adventure, or suspense.

Whether in the form of a tutorial being used to overcome a specific obstacle or a simple but quirky video good for a laugh, mobile experiences are choices that are intentional and of the moment. This hyper-relevance ultimately drives hyper-connection as it becomes fuel for navigating day-to-day life.

Short-form as a social currency

Perhaps the biggest takeaway laid out in this report is the fact that yes, short form as a format is convenient and more easily accessible — but its intrinsic value goes beyond entertainment. Particularly in the context of the global pandemic, the social currency afforded by mobile video has enabled Gen Z and Millenials to cope by helping them practice personal growth and wellness (77%), stay connected to family and friends who they can’t see face-to-face (76%), and staying informed (59%).

No matter the length, people will share things that represent them, and that enables them to grow and thrive. With mobile video continuing to serve a range of needs every day from practicing mindfulness to mastering a new skill, Snapchat anticipates the number of viewers to grow to 2.72 billion by 2023. The connection and self-expression viewers seek in mobile video experiences will become even more central in the future and met by expansion in areas including AR delivering next-level social participation and immersion.

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Will Triller Dethrone TikTok?

Since 2018, TikTok has been the talk of the neighborhood. It’s the new kid on the block that brands and influencers alike are attracted to in order to stay ahead and connect more innovatively with one another. In just a few short years, the app’s evolved into the hub of internet sensations including Lil Nas X, Charli D’Amelio, Addison Rae, and dance trends like “The Renegade,” “Say So,” and the #DistanceDance.

This past April the app surpassed 2 billion downloads on both the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store. Recently, however, TikTok has dominated the news including threats to have it banned in the US — its fate now uncertain unless an American company, like Microsoft, acquires it.

Amidst the uncertainty, competitors are looking for windows of opportunity including video-sharing app Triller. Read on to learn more about the basics of this app, why it’s experiencing a moment in the digital space, and what’s next.

Triller at a glance

Triller, first introduced in 2015, was dubbed as “an entertainment platform built for creators.” Similarly to TikTok, Triller is built for short-form, flawless video content that can be shared in seconds and created for trending challenges, music videos, and other viral clips. A key perk that differentiates it from TikTok? Triller auto-edits your takes into a single flawless clip. As stated in the official app store description “You do you, Triller does the rest.”

Outside of its auto-editing algorithm, you can customize content with over 100 filters, text, drawings and emojis, access the top music tracks from your personal music library, and directly share your content across your other platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, a simple text message or email, or store it in your camera roll and decide how you want to use it later. Another useful element especially in an age of social distancing — you can collaborate with friends in a group video.

So just how popular is Triller? As of early July, it garnered 50 million monthly active users, but more recently, the app soared to the top spot in every category in the app store across 50 countries, including the United States, Australia, and Italy. According to an official announcement, Triller now boasts more than 250 million downloads worldwide — a 20x increase.

Who’s on Triller?

Millions have made Triller videos to date including Chance the Rapper, Justin Bieber, Rae Sremmurd, Rita Ora, and Kevin Hart. Marshmello, Skip Marley, Juicy J, Martin Garrix, Millie Bobby Brown, Brad Paisley, Blac Chyna and Mike Tyson are also known for their presence on the platform while others, including rappers Snoop Dogg and Lil Wayne, are leading investors in the company.

This summer, a few of Triller’s most notable creators with a combined following of nearly 50 million, Josh Richards, Noah Beck, Griffin Johson and Anothy Reeves, revealed they’d be leaving TikTok and onboarding with Triller. As part of the deal, they will be advisers and equity shareholders in the company.

What’s next?

TikTok isn’t counting itself out just yet. On August 7th at 8:30pm ET, The Weeknd will take to the platform, in the form of a digital avatar, to perform his fourth studio album “After Hours” during a virtual concert. In what TikTok is referring to its “first-ever in-app cross reality experience,” the event will be livestreamed on the company’s official account (@tiktok).

With the future of TikTok unknown, other platforms are wasting no time trying to get a competitive edge. Triller itself unveiled new filters, camera tools, and the acquisition of Hallogen, a go-live app slated to introduce a monetization feature in the near-time. Snapchat shared it would be rolling out a TikTok-like music feature this fall. Finally, last month Instagram officially confirmed that its competitor app, Reels, will launch this summer.

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