Category: Marketing News

6 LinkedIn Courses to Boost Mindfulness and Productivity

In these extraordinary times, building your self-care toolbox is equally if not more important than boosting your skills for working remotely and maintaining productivity.

The boundaries between work life and personal life are more blurred than ever and the loss of our most basic avenues for stress relief and recharging including fitness classes, churches or other places of worship, and coffee shops present their own unique challenges to the situation we face.

Managing Mental Health and Reducing Stress

As we look to navigate this new normal, LinkedIn turned to its task force specializing in mental health to create six courses professionals can use to build mindfulness and manage stress.

At a high-level, these will offer insights into increasing your focus, helping you remain grounded amidst the change and ambiguity, manage emotional triggers, and get ‘unstuck’ when you’re feeling overwhelmed. They’ll also help you better understand the impact of a mindful physical workspace and the actionable steps you can take to create one if you haven’t.

Finally, offerings will share tips for building your energy reserves so even when practicing social distancing, you can still have meaningful relationships with your colleagues, friends, and family.

Let’s break these down a bit more.

Shifting out of ‘flight or fight’ mode

Understanding the importance of mindfulness especially during times of uncertainty is imperative in keeping our nervous systems in check and training our brains to healthy manage those moments of ‘flight or flight’ activity.

The first of LinkedIn’s mindfulness courses, ‘Mindfulness Practices’ takes a close look at the benefits and power of this skill to fundamentally change the course of your work and personal lives. Across several expert-led guided exercises, you can expect to evolve your mind to better respond to stressors in a variety of ways. More specifically, by growing your emotional intelligence, boosting your confidence, finding resiliency in the face of failure, and improving your focus and creativity even when change and uncertainty are serving as distractions.

Staying focused and grounded

Staying connected and focused without being physically present can be challenging, but there are a number of ways to ensure your time is spent wisely and your meetings are as successful and collaborative than those taking place in the conference rooms. A few practices highlighted in the ‘The Mindful Workday’ session worth noting include using daily breaks positively so you come back to your desk recharged and knowing when to unplug so you have time each day to check in with yourself.

Lastly, ‘Mindful Meditations for Work and Life’ aims to help people incorporate practical and easy approaches to meditation including visualization, adapting body language, and breathing exercises. The audio course led by Scott Shute, Head of the Mindfulness and Compassion program at LinkedIn, will also unpack the meaning of brain-body connection and insights for making whatever practices feel best for your stick so they can be part of your regular routine.

Getting unstuck and managing overwhelming thoughts

Managing Stress for Positive Change’ challenges the agenda that stress is purely negative and can only detract from quality work. Led by Heidi Hanna, PhD, define stress in concrete terms and tips for assessing and adjusting it so it can be used constructively. She’ll also offer ways managers and members of the C-suite can create an environment and communication style that limits stressors in the workplace and keeps efforts focused on the bigger picture during challenging times.

In a separate course led by Heidi titled ‘How to Manage Feeling Overwhelmed,’ learn the best practices for helping your brain disrupt your stress circuits and cultivate calm and positive energy that will put you on the path to resolution and that the obstacles that once felt unmanageable feel manageable again. By training your brain to get unstuck in these moments you can feel more in control and prepared the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Balance is a key term when it comes to stress management. One of the primary reasons people struggle in this area is because often the warning signs of imbalance aren’t as obvious. ‘Balancing Work and Life’ led by author and business coach Dave Crenshaw grapples with this question and more, including how we can keep balance once it is established. A big takeaway? It is possible to juggle it all — work, family, a social life — with proper time management and prioritization.

In addition to these courses, LinkedIn also unveiled over 16 additional lessons that target how to boost your productivity when working remotely, build relationships when you’re not face-to-face, use virtual meeting tools (Microsoft Teams, Skype, BlueJeans, Cisco Webex and Zoom), and more.

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What Is Social Listening and Why Your Brand Should Be Using It

Social listening is a tactic that became commonplace among marketers during the past couple of years. As soon as social listening tools started monitoring social media networks and crawling billions of websites in minutes, brands jumped on the opportunity to gather the data on their customers. However, just as any trendy tactic, social listening is often not used to its full potential.

In this post, I’ll go through the ways you can use social listening and get the most out of the method.

But let’s start with the definition.


Social (media) listening and social (media) monitoring are the terms used interchangeably in most articles. They describe the process of gathering mentions of a given keyword(s) (brand name, person, product, industry) on social media, and, sometimes, also on news sites, blogs, forums, and the web.

Some authors distinguish between social media monitoring and social media listening, pointing out that the former means responding to mentions individually, while the latter means analyzing big data – the online presence of the keywords you’re interested in – and working proactively with social media rather than just responding to what’s already there.

Most media hasn’t caught up with the alleged difference between the two terms, so we will use them interchangeably and assume each meaning depending on the context. And the context starts with your goals.


Social media listening can do a lot. It reveals your customers and your potential customers, conversations that involve your brand and your industry, every post that links (or should link) to your website.

Social listening is both about individual people on Twitter that praise your book to their friends and big faceless data that demonstrates what kind of sentiment is expressed about your book all over the world and in all of the languages. So first, you’ll need a set of priorities. Otherwise, you might get too overwhelmed and confused to make an informed decision about what to use your new shiny social listening tool for. Here are the possibilities:

1. Perfecting customer care

More and more people address brands on social networks and expect them to reply quickly. Social listening makes sure you receive all these mentions (including the ones without the handle) from chosen social media platforms on one dashboard (or via email) in real time. Customer service is one of the most common applications for social listening.

2. Assessing brand reputation

Knowing your brand’s online reputation and assessing how it changes in reaction to your efforts (such as marketing campaigns, publications, product launches, etc) is another goal that companies are usually after. Social listening tools take all mentions and create a visual representation of the overall brand sentiment and its fluctuations. This, in turn, helps marketers with another important subgoal – spotting and preventing social media crises.

3. Market research

Social listening can reveal who your target audience really is and where they hang out. Social listening tools break down your brand’s (or other keyword’s) mentions by location, online resource, and language.

Some also analyze demographics and psychographics of the authors.

4. Competitor research

Social media monitoring isn’t always about monitoring your brand, your product, and your CEO (if they are a public person). Sometimes, it’s about doing that for your competition and learning their strengths and weaknesses.

5. Product research

Unlike with the questionnaires, people give honest feedback about all kinds of products online. Social listening can help with product research and development by uncovering what people are saying about your product and your competitors’ products.

6. Social selling and raising brand awareness

Finding conversations online about your industry and finding people that are actively looking for a product or service like yours online are two other goals that social listening completes.

7. Influencer marketing

Social listening identifies influencers and brand advocates in your niche.

8. Link building

By finding unlinked mentions to your brand, product, or pieces of content and discovering niche blogs, social listening tools discover potential link-building opportunities.

So that’s it. Although there might be more uses for social listening, these are the main ones.

Now you’ve got to identify a couple of goals you’re most eager to pursue. For small brands, it’s often perfecting their customer service (something that makes it possible for them to be better at than their larger competitors), social selling (something that big brands often neglect), and market research – getting to know the most about the customers.

For large brands, it’s usually about brand reputation, assessing the effect of their marketing campaigns and PR events, product research, and competitor research.

To find out how to get started with your first campaign, jump to this article.

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Why Pinterest’s Verified Merchant Program Will Help You Reach New Audiences

For years Pinterest has served as a popular source of inspiration and creativity. As we continue to navigate through the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19, and people around the globe continue to practice social distancing, even more are turning to the platform as a primary destination for shopping and discovery.

More specifically, over the past two weeks, Pinterest observed a significant uptick in the interest of areas spanning home, self-care, and kid-friendly food and activities. Keywords being used the most include “home organization” (+43%), “spa day at home” (+19%), makeup tutorial for beginners (+180%), and “kid-friendly recipes” (+64%)

In response to the increase in traffic and what the company is referring to as an “unprecedented change in modern retail,” Pinterest is offering retailers the opportunity to reach their audiences in the places where they’re most interested to shop.


The Verified Merchant Program is officially open to all U.S. businesses but was introduced with a select group of retailers including Quay Australia, Ruggable, Filson, Coyuchi, and Lotuff Leather who were manually vetted against Pinterest’s criteria for high-quality customer service experiences.

Aside from earning a fancy blue checkmark on their profiles, verified merchants have the capability to connect their catalog directly to the platform triggering a ‘Shop’ tab, through which they can amplify all of their shoppable products in one convenient spot. In addition, these products will be displayed within dedicated shopping experiences like when users are browsing related products.

From a measurement standpoint, merchants will gain early access to Pinterest’s new Conversion Insights tool that encompasses both organic and paid conversion sights enabling you to measure the impact of your brand across site visits, checkouts, and sales over multiple attribution windows.

With background into the program laid out, the next question becomes, ‘how do I get my brand verified?’

  • To begin, upload your product feed to Catalogs. This is the quickest way to get your products on to the platform and generate Product Pins which will tell users key information such as price, availability, a brief description as to what the product is,
  • Next, install the Pinterest tag. An important benefit of tags is that they help streamline the tracking process regarding actions coming from potential customers. If you don’t wish to use Pinterest’s tag, you can opt to use a compatible tag manager.
  • Meet Pinterest’s Merchant Guidelines. At a high-level, these requirements emphasize accuracy, transparency, and high-level details usable for both Pinners and customer service providers.


While each brand should do their due diligence of accessing the fit and viability of the program against their specific goals, there seems to be reasonable pay-off across the board. Pinterest receives more accurate, informative Pins, brands get a boost in exposure, and users can engage with personalized and targeted experiences compatible with their interests and needs as they quarantine.

“As consumers shift their spending to online channels, brands should inspire Pinners and create a shopping experience that feels more like ‘real life,’ bringing a sense of normalcy and delight to challenging times,” Pinterest reiterated in its blog. With the length of ‘stay at home’ orders still up in the air, this shift will continue to grow the longer we’re confined.

For more information on the program including how to apply, you can check out this page. Pinterest’s Head of Global Retail Strategy, Amy Vener, will also lead a global webinar next Tuesday, April 7 (2pm ET) with special guests to unpack insights surrounding the evolution of retail we’re currently experiencing.

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8 of the Most Important HTML Tags for SEO

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How Platforms are Helping Brands and Users Navigate COVID-19

COVID-19 has undoubtedly become the dominant focus of our day-to-day lives. Keeping pace with the data, insights, and behavioral shifts can feel dizzying and cumbersome. Several major platforms have stepped up to play fundamental roles in helping marketers and people at various levels navigate through the uncertainty and changes we currently face and will continue to face after the pandemic is behind us.

Let’s break down what these efforts look like in action:


It’s no secret that as the COVID-19 pandemic expands, we face a circulation of various misinformation campaigns including rumored government decisions and ‘cures.’ Messaging apps are playing a key tool in spreading these amongst users.

In response to this trend, Facebook is spearheading new ways to stem the flow of messaging misinformation. One way it’s addressing this is through its instant messaging platform WhatsApp, which is testing a feature that would allow users to search for additional context on a message they encounter via a Google search prompt in-stream. WhatsApp also introduced a WHO chatbot, offering yet another stream to access critical information paired with a COVID-19 research hub.

Separately, Facebook, on its own platform, has taken numerous steps throughout the past few weeks that include:

  • Embedding informational prompts to relevant search queries to guide users to trustworthy information about COVID-19
  • Expanding access to local alerts so specific communities can stay in touch about what is going on around them
  • Providing free ad credits for organizations looking to deliver critical virus-related information and data tracking tools so users can keep tabs on evolving stories
  • Introducing a new set of learning resources for kids and parents to help them safely navigate the internet in addition to a set of tips for remote workers
  • Allocating over $100 million in funding to small businesses, fact-checkers, and local newsrooms


Instagram is banking on the positive coming out of COVID-19 and an era of social distancing by offering ways to take an otherwise isolating and passive experience and transforming it into one that is more social and active.

Specifically, the platform launched “Co-Watching,” which allows users to on a video chat or group video browse through feed posts either Liked or Saved by an individual, or one that Instagram suggests. The goal is to give users the opportunity to have more meaningful conversations about what they’re encountering, incentivize them to use video calls more regularly, and spend more time in the app.

This release is one of several responses by the part of Instagram, including a dedicated Story spotlighting posts from your network that are using the “Stay Home” sticker and all of their quarantine activities. Additional stickers that have surfaced on the app include ones reminding of proper handwashing and keeping a six-foot distance from others if you have to be outside, and donation stickers so users across the world can give back.


To support its audience in a time of need, Snapchat is stepping up through a diverse set of efforts. The platform rolled out several creative tools so people can creatively share information from the WHO with friends and family including Bitmoji stickers with common-sense health tips and a worldwide AR filter with tips for staying safe. Users can also visit the WHO and CDC’s official accounts for updates and browse custom content from the organizations.

Taking the information-sharing a step further, the platform announced an addition to its “Discover” tab: “Coronavirus: The Latest,” where access to high-quality news and information can be easily accessed. More generally, Snapchat is working with over three dozen content partners to provide reliable information.

COVID-19 also prompted Snapchat to speed up the debut of its “Here for You” feature, which went live in February and appears when a user conducts searches for topics related to anxiety, depression, stress, grief, suicidal thoughts, and bullying. A new section was added to incorporate content from the Ad Council, CDC, Crisis Text Line and WHO on anxiety related to the coronavirus.


TikTok is using COVID-19 to identify meaningful opportunities to emphasize its growth and demonstrate its ability to serve as a connective tool for its community. In this vein, it announced a content partnership with the WHO. As part of the collaboration, the platform unveiled a comprehensive COVID-19 resource hub that can be accessed through the “Discover” tab in the app. It also appears amongst the top results when someone enters search criteria pertaining to the virus.

Additionally, on the dedicated page with videos related to the subject, the platform is adding links to serve as a reminder to only rely on credible sources for trustworthy information. The WHO is also using its own verified TikTok account to engage with younger audiences.

Beyond content, TikTok is supporting the WHO financially by donating $10 million to its Solidarity Response Fund used to help get supplies to those on the frontline. “In this time of global distress and concern about the impact of Covid-19, we’ve been inspired by people in towns and cities everywhere whose fundamental humanity is shining through when we need it most,” shared TikTok President Alex Zhu.


During the first month COVID-19 emerged, more than 15 million tweets were sent across Twitter mentioning the virus. The platform has since acted swiftly in ensuring fact-checked and authoritative content was discoverable above the noise and false claims by reawakening its profile verification.

Twitter is also increasing its use of machine learning and automation to take a wide range of actions on “potentially abusive and manipulative content.” This includes detecting spread of false stats and other information, accounts being used to deny or advise against following official advice and promoting treatments or cures that have not been proven. At the same time, the company is being careful to strike an appropriate balance between applying AI as a tool and the role of the human review in these special cases.

BuzzFeed News recently reported that the news media could see an impact “worse than the 2008 financial crisis, which saw newspapers experience a 19 percent decline in revenue.” To support the sector in the absence of some of the smaller, local companies that fuel these publications, Twitter announced a $1 million funding program to be split between The Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Women’s Media Foundation.


Pinterest is doubling down on its effort to combat misinformation by removing inaccurate information and guiding its users to authentic insights through custom search results.

When searching for information about COVID-19, users are directed to a curated Pinterest page from the World Health Organization (WHO) detailing timely and useful details around how to protect yourself, friends, and family from getting sick. This includes hand-washing best practices, when to use a nose or face mask, and more.

In a statement to The Verge, Pinterest said the custom search results is a way to “connect Pinners with facts and myth-bust what’s not true with authoritative information from the [World Health Organization].” The platform also urges users and brands to follow the WHO’s account as a frictionless way to stay updated while they post and engage with others.

This approach has resulted in a significantly lower volume of pandemic-tied posts compared to other major platforms and spurred creative ideas from Pinners. Pins are showcasing products like COVID-19 notebooks for journaling about your experience, while a “coronavirus vibes” board is dedicated to ways to relax and use this time to practice self-care.

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Social Media Report

A little trust, a little love, and a lot of convenience…

From digital detoxing and data security to the demand for fast and personalized experiences, new forces are changing the rules of customer engagement. 

But amid all these changes, there are timeless customer needs that won’t be changing anytime soon. 

In this ebook, you’ll discover three keys to customer engagement that you can use to build a lasting marketing strategy.

What You’ll Learn

  • What today’s customers expect from your brand on social
  • The 3 C’s of customer engagement
  • How real brands are putting these principles into practice

See Report Below…

Rest of the 2020 Social Media Report Slides.

For more Facebook News, or Social Media please click the links.

Please also see our The Voice of Social Media Blog & Entrepreneur Zone Blog

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Why Facebook is Bringing Brand Loyalty Programs In-App

Amidst the changes COVID-19 has introduced, a primary one being the practice of social distancing, brands are more eager than ever to provide a better link between offline and online activity. Consumers with no choice but to shop online are now purely engaging with brands on platforms elevating the importance of digital interactions across marketing efforts.

According to Marketing Land, Facebook is testing a new program that connects a person’s existing brand loyalty membership with their Facebook profile. For context, in 2017 the company rolled out a “Rewards” option allowing users to apply a personalized QR code at participating stores to take advantage of discounts and rewards linked back to their profiles.

This new update, however, mark’s the company’s first true loyalty-driven advertising product advancing on the same concept, but bringing into the picture additional data sources and heightened targeting capacity.


At the core of the update is creating a frictionless experience for delivering personalized information including points and rewards to customers who have already shopped a particular brand. In this particular example, Sephora users can link their accounts for specialized discounts on makeup products plus bonus points for syncing.

Once connected, members will be able to track the status of their brand loyalty account via Facebook, while they’ll also be able to earn points for their on-platform activity, get member discounts on purchases, and have any points for online shopping linked back to their customer ID. From the brand perspective, this represents a window of opportunity to re-engage with past customers and incentive repeat purchases. It also enables improved ad targeting based on prior offline and in-person purchases through dynamic, personalized ads and organic promotions as well as member-exclusive events.

Making Ephemerality and Encryption a New Norm

Trust between brands and consumers has grown in power and continues to be a leading differentiator when looking to rise above the noise. As we all adjust to this new normal and more people are looking to shop online in order to comply with social distance rules, knowing who has access to our information is as imperative as ever before.

Facebook is acknowledging this by requiring users to consent to the platform’s data policy prior to linking their account. Facebook also encourages brands who are planning to be a part of this program once it opens up globally, revisit their own policies in an effort to ensure the data passing through the platform fully complies with their own privacy regulations.

More broadly, the move aligns directly with its recent shift to deliver end-to-end encryption across all of its messaging platforms. WhatsApp and Instagram are currently in the test phase of disappearing messages. Ideally, this unification will allow the platform to enable simplified cross-platform communication via messages. In-stream ads on IGTV videos are also in the works as part of this overarching push to a more personalized, intimate social media environment.

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How to Get Started with Your First Social Listening Campaign

Social listening isn’t a manual job. To get the most out of social listening (more on that in the previous article about social listening), you’ve got to choose the right tool.

Choosing a tool is all about balancing out your budget and the features you need (and what isn’t). The internet flourishes with the lists of “best social media monitoring tools”, so there won’t be a problem choosing the one most suitable for your brand.

Most tools (and all paid tools) will have a detailed step-by-step guide that teaches you how to do the monitoring. But as the whole process is quite simple, I’ll give you the gist right here.


Depending on your goals, you’ll have to choose the keywords you wish to monitor.

If your goals are customer care, brand reputation, or product research, you will have to monitor brand names and, optionally, product names.

Brand names include:

  • The name of your brand (e.g., Audi)
  • The social media profiles of the name (e.g., @AudiOfficial)
  • Any common abbreviations and misspellings of your brand

You might also want to search for your product category, but that depends on the category. For example, it makes sense to search for iPhone if you’re Apple, but makes no sense to search for “oranges” if you’re Whole Foods.

If your goal is competitor research, you should monitor your competitors’ brand names and possibly, their product names. The list of keywords is the same as it is for your brand.

If you’re interested in market research, you can monitor your industry (e.g., “product feedback tools, product feedback app, product assessment app”; “vegan cafes, vegan restaurants”, “vegan food”) as well as your brand name and your competitors’ brand names.

With regards to social selling, the task becomes more complicated. Your goal is to find not only conversations that include your industry, but also people looking for your product specifically. Or maybe even just the latter.

For that, you need a tool with the Boolean search option – a manual keyword search that allows for unlimited keyword flexibility – and a list of phrases that people use when searching for a product, such as “can anyone recommend”, “does anyone know”, “looking/searching for a”, etc. These word combinations together with the product description will get you the results you’re looking for. Another list of phrases that you can include will be about your competitors. Search for your competitors’ brands together with word combinations such as “alternative to”, “better than”, “disappointed with” and see what happens.

For influencer marketing, you’ll need a tool that finds influencers for you. Your keywords will be your brand name (to find brand advocates) and industry keywords (to find industry influencers). A few leading tools you should have on radar include Followerwonk, specifically dedicated to Twitter and influencers on the platform, Klear, a more broad option helping you find influencers across Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and blogs, and BuzzSumo, which can help you double down on your efforts around finding influencers and content creation.

Finally, for link building, you’ll need a tool that has a Boolean search option and allows you to find unlinked mentions as well as search for blogs. Here, you’ll need to limit your search to blogs and forums (meaning, you’ll have to exclude social networks) and monitor your brand name and your industry keywords with the setting that excludes linked mentions.

Work with the results

Getting the results is just half the job. Once you have your mentions feed, your graphs, and your influencer lists, what do you do?

If your goal is customer care, you’ll end up looking through mentions one by one and replying to the ones that require a response. In most tools, you can filter them by sentiment and deal with the negative mentions first. You can also sort them by the number of the author’s followers and deal with the most influential authors first.

To simplify your work with mentions, you can assign them to different groups and sometimes to different team members.

Analytics is here to show you the big picture.

If we’re talking about your brand, first, you’ll inevitably see the level of its popularity online. You’ll see how that level changes in response to your efforts (e.g., campaigns, product launches) and in response to external stimuli (e.g., season). You’ll see how the buzz around your brand is different in various locations and languages (if applicable), and which social networks your audience prefers. This might be, and should be, reflected in your future marketing plans.

Then, you’ll move to the sentiment analysis and you’ll get a more detailed picture: not just that the buzz exists, but what kind of buzz. What’s the brand’s reputation, how it changes across different social media platforms and different news outlets, blogs, forums; how it changes in reaction to all the same things mentioned above.

Demographic and user behavior data will show you where the mentions are coming from: both in terms of geographical location and the web location.

Monitoring specific keywords will also show you topics that are used alongside your keywords. This way, you’ll know what your brand (product, personal name) is associated with online.

If you’re doing competitor research, you’ll also see a whole range of analysis going on there: your brand’s share of voice and how your brand compares to your competitors’ on all kinds of factors.

As talked about before, different tools contain different analytics features. The ones described above are the features that can be found in mid-tier tools and enterprise-level tools. It’s worth noting that the best enterprise tools will have an even bigger range of what you can do with the data.

Like any part of your marketing workflow, social listening is bound to be adjusted and changed according to your changing goals over time. However, at every point of your company’s growth, social listening is much needed, whether it’s about just finding your audience or making sure they stay loyal to your brand.

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What Marketers Need to Know About LinkedIn’s New Conversation Ads

Today, mobile messaging apps are used more than three hours per day by over 2.5 billion users (35 percent) across the world. This number is expected to grow to nearly 40 percent by 2023.

Meeting people where they spend their time, at the right moment and on the right platforms is equally important as the creative itself. Messaging allows brands to connect with people at multiple touchpoints across the customer experience. This is especially critical for those in the B2B space where buying cycles steer longer and multiple stakeholders are involved in purchasing decisions. These one-on-one interactions are integral to establishing trustworthy relationships and loyalty.


In this spirit, LinkedIn is introducing Conversation Ads, an extension of its Messaging Ads, to deliver a more personal way to interact with marketers. Specifically, Conversation Ads feature a “choose your own path” experience allowing for full-funnel campaigns with customized calls to action spanning product education, webinar signs, and ebook downloads.

Brands can directly add CTA buttons into their Sponsored InMails — or “Message Ads,” as the company now refers to them. By including a variety of options, brands can serve more personalized content catered to the customers’ unique position in the purchase journey translating onto higher-quality engagement.


To begin, start with a clear sense of your campaign objective. Are you more interested in driving website visits or lead generation? If answering this presents a challenge, look broader at the larger goals of your business to identify which is a better fit. Once you’ve decided on the objective, you’ll gain access to detailed click and demographic reporting specific to the advertisement type.

Conversation ads can also be paired with features such as Lead Gen Forms and Conversion tracking making it more efficient to turn conversations into conversions. They’re designed for real-time engagement. Put another way, messages won’t be sent unless the prospect is active on LinkedIn and “in the right mindset.”

Objectives aside, when growing an audience for messaging and designing creative conversations don’t overlook who you’re attempting to connect with at the end of the day: humans. They want to be known, respected, and part of meaningful moments.


Job search marketplace Hired was one of the companies selected for beta testing of the new offering and reported positive results. Specifically, the company pointed to a 5x higher clickthrough rate driven by the simple pivot to allowing customres to choose their own path based on the most relevant CTA to them.

“The level of engagement is pretty wild when you’re able to provide multiple opportunities to click,” said Chase Gladden, Hired’s Growth Marketing Manager.

LinkedIn reports that messages sent on its platform have quadrupled over the last five years. Given this, the update not only makes sense for the platform in catering to this messaging growth, but in the broader context of a fundamental industry shift towards more personal, one-on-one conversations.

The relevancy of personalized messaging

Now more than ever conversations count with regards to top-of-mind awareness. Brands that are anticipating different friction points are better equipped to drive people to make genuine purchasing decisions more quickly. As advertisers battle to cover more digital ground amidst COVID-19, having an easy way to deliver a customized experience for each user is critical and can propel them into years of growth long after the pandemic is behind us.

For more insights, the platform has curated a list of tips and practices on how to create a successful Conversation Ad campaign here. LinkedIn is also running a webinar focusing on the new option and its benefits next month (April 9) titled, “Messaging Strategies for the Modern Marketer: Turning Conversations into Conversions.” Beyond the new ad offering, the session will cover top messaging market trends the industry is experiencing today and how customers are using messaging as part of their larger LinkedIn marketing strategies.

If you attend and are ready to get started, you can browse this collection of templates to help you formulate your overall campaign.

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Brands’ Coronavirus-Themed Emails Are Seriously Getting On People’s Nerves

Image via Shutterstock

The novel coronavirus has impacted the lives of people around the world, and companies have been propelled to close down amid the uncertain time. However, there are also brands that have been trying to keep in touch with their customers via email, inadvertently resulting in a surge of COVID-19-related messages in consumers’ inboxes.

Internet users are sharing these coronavirus-centered emails on social media for a number of reasons. One of it is to question how these companies got a hold of their personal email addresses in the first place.

“If I get one more ‘COVID-19 Update’ email from brands I subscribed to when I was 12, I’m gonna snap,” a user declared, on the verge of a digital breakdown.

Another user directed the attention to “all the communications people out there,” as they are the ones working on these crafted messages to consumers as an attempt to manage panic and uncertainty while trying to help “CEOs/leaders sound good.”

My health and safety is the top priority of so many brands I never even knew had my personal email address.

— Christopher Doyle (@chrisdoyle) March 14, 2020

*opens freezer*
*note falls out*

“We here at Totino’s Pizza Rolls know you’ve been wondering about our response to COVID-19”

— social distance warrior (@IAmSpilly) March 17, 2020

> Delete email accounts
> Sell house, live in woods
> Find bottle in river
> Has note inside

“Our brand’s COVID-19 response and pledge to our customers…”

— Joshua Self-QuaRayntine (@joshuaray) March 13, 2020

As I get email 29,283 with a business/brand’s #COVID19 update, I want to take a moment to give a shout out to all the communications people out there, writing and rewriting notices, managing panic/uncertainty, as well as helping CEOs/leaders sound good.
Keep on keeping on 👊🏻

— Lauren Herschel (@LaurenHerschel) March 20, 2020

All these weird COVID-19 update emails from brands have been a great tool for unsubscribing to email lists I didn’t even know I signed up for

— Bennett Richardson (@bennettrich) March 19, 2020

If I get one more “COVID19 Update” email from brands I subscribed to when I was 12 im gonna snap

— abbas ammar (@abbasammar10) March 17, 2020

COVID-19 brand emails forcing me to really grapple with my past self

— Madison Malone Kircher (@4evrmalone) March 16, 2020

[via Slate, cover image via Shutterstock]

Nike Recruits Everyone To ‘Play For The World’ In Clever Self-Isolation Campaign

Image via Nike

Sports juggernaut Nike takes on the coronavirus outbreak by advocating self-isolation in its latest ad campaign. The print, conceived by independent ad agency Wieden + Kenny Portland, was unveiled on Nike’s social media platforms over the weekend.

The creative strives to increase safety by getting people to stay indoors to prevent contagions. “If you ever dreamed of playing for millions around the world, now is your chance,” the note reads.

“Play inside, play for the world,” says the advert’s tagline, encouraging fans to represent the globe in a match against the novel coronavirus.

The ad was also shared on the social media platforms of Nike ambassadors, such as Serena Williams, Michael Jordan, Cristiano Ronaldo and Tiger Woods.

It coincides with the announcement of the premium Nike Training Club app now being free to download. The app offers workout plans, training programs, expert tips, and guided fitness routines.

Now more than ever, we are one team. #playinside #playfortheworld

— Nike (@Nike) March 21, 2020

Now more than ever, we are one family. #JUMPMAN #playinside

— Jordan (@Jumpman23) March 21, 2020

If you ever dreamed of playing for millions around the world, now is your chance. Play inside, play for the world.#staysafe #playinside #playfortheworld

— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) March 21, 2020

View this post on Instagram

Now more than ever, we are one team.⠀ #playinside #playfortheworld

A post shared by nike (@nike) on Mar 21, 2020 at 7:00am PDT

[via Muse by CLIO, cover image via CREDIT]

Here’s How Facebook is Supporting Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it uncertainty and unprecedented changes to the very fabric of our lives and our businesses. It has particularly hit small companies hard, some being forced to close for public safety, while others are suffering blows to their revenue figures. The longer the crisis goes on, the harder it is to support the livelihoods of their owners and employees.

Many platforms including Snapchat, Twitter, and TikTok, are identifying opportunities to step up to provide financial support as well as curb misinformation, ensure the public has accurate information on how to stay healthy and safe, and offer tips for embracing and leveraging new remote workforce. Facebook, too, is pitching in recently announcing a $100 million grants program to assist 30,000 SMBs, in 30 nations, supporting the communities in which Facebook and its teams operate.


“We’ve listened to small businesses to understand how we can best help them. We’ve heard loud and clear that financial support could enable them to keep the lights on and pay people who can’t come to work. People across the globe are stepping up, rising to the enormous challenge in front of us. We want to do our part too,” shared Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.

As far as who is eligible, that is still being determined, however, the platform has curated a page where SMB owners can sign up for more details as to when applications will be live. Beyond advertising efforts, there are several examples of how companies can use these grants spanning operational costs, rent fees, and employee wages.

Aside from the financial burdens, many are facing, Facebook’s exploring a range of other options to help businesses navigate the COVID-19 outbreak including a dedicated Business Resource Hub. Here SMBs can find tips for managing their business from home, downloadable content packages with best practices and insights, and a self-assessment to track progress. The Hub also includes links to official information about COVID-19 to help their customers stay informed.


Sandberg teased additional efforts in the works to help give organizations in need a boost including a virtual training program that can engage businesses all over the world. The company has also started work on a set of Blueprint materials, an e-learning program focusing on remote work and management of remote teams.

“Teams across our company are working every day to help businesses. We’re looking at additional ways to host virtual training – and will have more to share in the coming weeks – and we’re finding more ways to help people connect and learn to use technology through Blueprint, our free e-learning training program,” said Sandberg.

In addition to this, Facebook also shared its new partnership with the Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the Local Media Association. Together, they will provide $1 million in grants to local news organizations which are covering COVID-19 in the US and Canada in need of resources to cover the pandemic and deliver relevant updates.

In this unfamiliar and unsettling environment, the capacity for technology to unite has never been stronger. We face a different type of normal than what we’re used to and the platforms and brands that are putting humans at the center of their strategies today will be making an investment that pays dividends long after the challenges are behind us.

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The post Here’s How Facebook is Supporting Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 appeared first on Social Media Week.

Introducing #SMWONE: A Virtual Conference Series

We are experiencing an extraordinary moment in history. COVID-19 has changed the fabric of our lives, potentially forever, and today I am here to provide you with an update of how we are navigating things at Social Media Week.

The past two weeks have been a dizzying experience, however I am very fortunate to be part of an incredible community of over 200 conference, tradeshow and event organizing CEOs around the world. I have personally watched as their businesses have been decimated by having to either cancel or postpone their events, some small, some very large. The impact has been and will continue to be devastating.

Being Transparent about our Process

As we have tried to navigate through the past few weeks ourselves and as the scale and impact of what was happening has become more of a reality, we have attempted to provide regular updates, offering as much transparency as possible while consulting with attendees, partners, sponsors and our venues to figure out what to do about our May conference in New York and June conference in LA.

As we considered every imaginable option and possible scenario, my team and I have worked night and day to ensure that whatever decision we ultimately made, we would do so with the best interests of our most important stakeholders in mind: our attendees, sponsors, speakers and content partners.

Last Friday and over the past weekend, New York Governor Cuomo and Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti put in place temporary bans to stop public gatherings of large volumes of people (in NY the rule was set to 500+). This week, we’ve seen an even more strict set of rules put in place that reduce these numbers even further. NY has partnered with New Jersey and Connecticut to ban gatherings of 50 or more and Los Angeles has mandated that gatherings of this same size be cancelled or postponed.

Pivoting to #SMWONE in 2020

It is because of this decision and with no end date in sight that we have made the very difficult, but also very exciting decision to pivot our New York and LA conferences to one single virtual experience that we are calling #SMWONE. #SMWONE will be a first of its kind conferences series that delivers live content, talks, panel sessions and workshops, together with on-demand content, product demos, attendee hangouts and networking experiences that span a 4-week period.

When we first announced our theme for this year, HUMAN.X, it was because we had a deep conviction in the ability of technology to unite people—not divide them—and help businesses put humanity at the center of their strategies.

In these uncertain times, our belief in the capacity of technology to bring us together has never been stronger. #SMWONE is a new concept that embodies this idea at its core.

Rather than postpone our events, which was proving to be an almost impossible option for us, we feel there is a meaningful opportunity in this moment to prove the theory that technology holds the keys when it comes to helping businesses better engage with people and bridging divides to foster a sense of global community.

#SMWONE: A Virtual Conference Series, will kick off on May 5 and include a significantly enhanced set of program elements, including:

  • 150 sessions including live talks, panels, interviews and workshops
  • Access to over 300 speakers through live chat and facilitated Q&A sessions
  • Ability to schedule meetings and engage with technology vendors in live chat rooms
  • Network and connect in live chat conversations with other attendees
  • Watch sessions live, on-demand with ability to download and share content
  • Downloadable reports, session recaps and speaker presentations

Looking Ahead and Welcoming Changes

Ever since we hosted our first conference in 2009 we have embraced the tools and technologies that enable us to create a hybrid experience that encompasses both in-person and digital experiences. We have led this charge as a digital and social first conference for more than a decade and will continue to do the same with our latest iteration, #SMWONE.

If you are already registered to attend either SMW New York or SMW LA, or if you are a speaker, content partner or sponsor you will likely have a ton of questions and we are full prepared to respond to each of them and engage with each of you over the coming weeks to reassure you that #SMWONE and future SMW conferences are going to be even bigger, better and more connected experiences than ever before.

If you are not registered for either conference or if you are interested in exploring sponsorship opportunities, please register your interest in learning more here.

We are so excited to come together with our community, and welcome new participants in the conversation, at our revamped event in May including our local city organizers. Stay tuned for updates here, along with more details in our FAQ. We welcome your feedback, questions, comments, and suggestions at

The post Introducing #SMWONE: A Virtual Conference Series appeared first on Social Media Week.

Introducing #SMWONE: A Virtual Conference Series

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The latest Social Media News From Social Media Today…

Social Media Today

Editor’s Choice

Best of Social Media Today

From Our Library

View all resources

Upcoming Events

What We’re Reading

Discover More

Mike Armstrong Media

Mike Armstrong Media

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See

The latest Social Media News From Social Media Today…

Social Media Today

Editor’s Choice

Best of Social Media Today

From Our Library

View all resources

Upcoming Events

What We’re Reading

Discover More

Mike Armstrong Media

Mike Armstrong Media

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See

The Premier League has decided to postpone all matches until the 3rd of April due to Coronavirus

Premier League News from the Guardian:

Following a Friday morning meeting between all 20 clubs. “It was unanimously decided to suspend the Premier League with the intention of returning on 4 April, subject to medical advice and conditions at the time,” reads a statement.

The Premier League’s chief executive, Richard Masters, describes this is an “unprecedented sitaution” and adds: “Above all, we wish Mikel Arteta and Callum Hudson-Odoi speedy recoveries, and everyone else affected by Covid-19. In this unprecedented situation, we are working closely with our clubs, Government, The FA and EFL and can reassure everyone the health and welfare of players, staff and supporters are our priority.

Despite the challenges, it is the Premier League’s aim to reschedule the displaced fixtures, including those played by academy sides, when it is safe to do so. In this fast-moving environment, further updates will be provided when appropriate.”

Find out more and keep an eye on any updates here.

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See

Here’s How Reddit’s Technology and New Partnership are Supporting Mental Health

Today’s teens spend nearly seven and a half hours on their phones each day per a recent report by Common Sense Media, a non-profit dedicated to promoting safe technology and media use for children. Those in the tween category (ages 8 to 12) don’t fall far behind in comparison spending roughly four hours and 45 minutes daily.

As these stats have evolved, there has been a lot of research and discussion around the correlation between this screen time and the mental health and wellbeing of younger demographics. While some argue the linkage is clear and direct, others push back and advocate the connection is more nuanced — that it is about the quality of use that determines whether the relationship to the platforms is healthy and productive or if it’s simply a distraction from larger issues and there isn’t enough adequate mental health services at their disposal.

Younger users are becoming increasingly aware of the negative implications of their social media use and are turning to the platforms to help them take the steps to mitigate these appropriately.


A growing number of platforms including Snapchat and Pinterest are innovating around opportunities to meet their users where they are and connect them with the communities and tools they can take offline. Reddit is yet another example recently unveiling a slew of suicide prevention tools created in partnership with the Crisis Text Line. Specifically, the update includes a feature that allows Redditors to report those who are encountered and felt to be at risk.

Users can flag someone through reporting a comment or piece of content or by using a button on the individual’s user profile. To report directly from a post, simply select the option that reads, “Someone is considering suicide or serious self-harm.” Alternatively, if you’re on the person’s profile, tap the prompt that says “get them help and support.” A note: if you’re accessing Reddit from your computer on a web browser this will fall under the “more options” section.

When a user is flagged, the platform will send a private message including details to access mental health resources and a suggestion to text the phrase ‘CHAT’ to the number for the Crisis Text Line, 741741. They will then be connected to a trained counselor with whom they can text for as long as they need to have someone to actively empathize with them and help them get to the root of their thoughts and feelings.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is leveraging artificial intelligence from Reddit and Twitter to improve the forecasting of suicide rates. Its current figures, according to a spokesperson, are currently delayed up to two years, negatively influencing policy updates the allocation of resources. This is a significant problem given suicide rates have surged 40 percent in less than two decades.

Without the most up-to-date numbers, the agency can’t properly respond and improve how it’s directing its efforts so it’s relying on platforms to help whittle down publicly available data and address the question: how can signals from various real-time sources be leveraged in order to offset this one to two-year lag?

A helpful source has been reports that break down keyword use across platforms related to suicide. When combined with other CDC data including crisis text and call lines and previous suicide rates from the National Vital Statistics program, newer algorithms can be trained to forecast the actual rate.

“We can now estimate these rates of suicide up to a year in advance of when death records become available,” said Munmun de Choudhury, a professor at Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing who is working with the CDC on this project, in a statement to Recode. What does this say for future projections? Data collected until December 2019 can be employed to predict the suicide rate for every week of 2021. She added that the initial phase of the research had an error rate of less than 1 percent.

Social media can be a force for deeper and more empathetic human connection. But, as brands and platforms, we need to put our creative energy behind the programs, partnerships, and technology at our disposal if we are to make a dent in the problem. We have a moral obligation to ensure we’re creating safe and meaningful spaces in which today’s youth can interact and grow and understand the importance of empathy as a foundational skill.

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The post Here’s How Reddit’s Technology and New Partnership are Supporting Mental Health appeared first on Social Media Week.

How Measurement Is Driving Influencer Marketing’s Maturation

At one time, influencer marketing consisted of finding the most prominent celebrity a brand could afford, striking a deal with them to post about your product, garnering a bunch of views, and calling it a day (or campaign). But the industry is undoubtedly growing up, especially as it pertains to measurement.

The days of leveraging influencer marketing purely as a brand awareness tool are over. One big reason for this is the maturation of the measurement and optimization capabilities of social media ad platforms. Now with platforms providing more granular reporting metrics, attribution data, and specific ad placements, we are able to customize paid media campaigns for our clients based on their campaign objective, opening the door to the next-generation of more meaningful measurement within the industry.

Influencer marketing has not only transcended the days of brand awareness, but advertisers are now investing large chunks of their budgets into Influencer marketing alongside their traditional search, social, and display campaigns.

The Emerging Metrics Driving ROI

There comes a time when the luster wears off the bright shiny object in the room, and marketers are forced to go under the hood. In the case of influencer marketing, advertisers now expect (and demand) proof of real ROI for each campaign. The metrics emerging as initial indicators of ROI include cost per acquisition, revenue per customer, Life-Time Value (LTV), click-to-websites, total interactions, and cost-per-view.

One of the best ways to show this is through paid media distribution behind the influencer content, which guarantees that we are reaching the client’s target audience consisting of specific demographics, psychographics, and other first and third-party data sets. This targeting capability paired with creator channel authentication enables detailed campaign reporting, that measure specific outcomes tied to the campaign objective. And with brands, agencies, and marketers having a deeper understanding of what KPIs they want to transact on, it helps them create and curate their campaigns accordingly.

The Next Step: Proving Sales Lift

Social platforms have made some significant advancements when it comes to campaign reporting capabilities. We are now able to optimize the media buy in real-time for Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) customers when they are able to pass conversion and LTV data back to our media team. But for CPG clients measuring the campaign’s ROI for offline sales, it requires the layering of additional data sets to truly understand sales lift. One way the influencer marketing industry is doing this is through match market tests, which have already emerged as a necessary demand for CPG brands when engaging with creators.

Match market testing is a process that helps identify the real impact of advertising on sales by controlling the other variables that impact sales for a brand, category, or market. Brands typically execute this by running a campaign nationally, while picking a controlled set of sister cities. In one city you run the campaign, and in one city you don’t. Then you compare the data after a certain amount of time and see if there is a sales lift, which essentially results in a geo-targeted based A/B test.

Influencer marketing is on an undeniable path to maturation, transcending the traditional norms, and asserting itself as a viable marketing channel. In addition to sales lift for industries like CPG, influencers are also being leveraged to drive app-downloads and subscriptions for DTC brands effectively. So, when it comes to influencer marketing, if you can prove your campaign sells the product, you’re winning.

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The post How Measurement Is Driving Influencer Marketing’s Maturation appeared first on Social Media Week.

How to Launch Your Brand into TikTok Stardom

To date, TikTok has been downloaded more than 1.5 billion times and boasts a user base of over 500 million globally. In 2019, it was the second most-downloaded social app.

It is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in the world paving the future for an alternative version of online sharing: short-form mobile video. For brands specifically, TikTok represents a window of opportunity; the ability to showcase a different side of a brand while increasing visibility to an entirely new audience.

Here, we’re distilling down how to navigate the app’s Creator Marketplace and sharing important insights from a report on the tips and benchmarks you should pocket to improve your strategies.

Read on to learn:

  • Why brands are using TikTok as a source for their influencer marketing campaigns
  • How to use updates to the Creator Marketplace to track the success of your efforts and impact over time
  • What are the practices, tips and benchmarks that should be top of mind as you craft your campaigns

Expanding the Creator Marketplace

More creators and brands are flocking to the ByteDance-owned app as the hub of their influencer campaigns and turning towards the invite-only Creator Marketplace, as a valuable and important tool for locating relevant users for partnerships based on focus topics, location and reach. To boost its use, the platform is introducing additional analytics options for brands to avail.

Through the update, brands will be privy to real-time data including views, engagements, engagement rate, and audience breakdown (by top markets, gender, age-range, and device). What this means is a more granular and seamless way to track the success of their campaigns and impact over time. They’ll be able to address important questions such as is this type of content driving brand awareness and gauge whether it is relevant to the audience they’re sharing it with compared to their target market.

With consistent campaign reporting at their fingertips, brands can efficiently analyze their tactics, tweak their strategies, uncover trends and best practices, and manage performance benchmarks more successfully, all critical to long-term success especially in the unchartered waters of a new platform.

In the vein of strategies and benchmarks, TikTok partnered with Conviva, a leading intelligence platform geared towards optimized streaming media, to publish an ultimate TikTok strategies and benchmark guide.

Here’s a run-down of the most important insights:

Staying relevant: music, hashtags and trends


@nbaontntShaq wasn’t expecting this! Wait for it… 😱😂 ##funny ##fyp ##tiktokchallenge♬ original sound – nbaontnt

On TikTok, users can search for videos based on a soundtrack, so choose these sparingly and use them strategically. By the same token, when adding hashtags avoid resorting only to the most commonly used words and phrases such as #ForYouPage (also #ForYou and #fyp). This will only defeat the purpose of putting your brand above the noise. Instead, aim to use niche hashtags.

You also don’t want to be heavy-handed and drop an exhaustive list of hashtags to your post. The main reason for this is that it will up your post’s real estate unnecessarily. Think quality over quantity. Select only the hashtags that will resonate with your video the most and contribute to its reception.

Trends are a dominant force on TikTok, but as is the case with the rest of the information we see on social media and the Internet, these come and go at the drop of a hat. If you’re remaking a popular video, find a way to put your brand’s unique twist on it to make it yours.

Benny the Bull, mascot of the Chicago Bulls, uploaded a slow down tutorial of how to do a popular viral dance called #TheReplay instead of simply recreating the dance. NBAonTNT recreated a popular TikTok challenge with its hosts, which ultimately ended with an egg exploding on Shaq’s head. The Washington Capitals elected their mascot to decorate an office in an effort to join the conversation in a holiday-themed viral trend.

Posting regimen: frequency, etiquette and more

The “Effects” tab is a great way to get inspiration spruce up your posts. The most popular effect is the ‘Green Screen’ effect where you can place people in front of any background of your choosing or post screenshots or pictures in the middle of a TikTok without the need for a third-party editing app.

According to the report, the quantity of uploads has a direct impact on the speed of account growth. The NBA’s account is a good example. It is currently the most followed account in sports and has posted 2700+ videos. That said, you should still aim for quality when it comes to your commenting behavior and how you draft descriptions.

An effective video caption will describe what the viewer is about to see and encourage them to reply. When you are replying, be mindful that comments are ranked in the order of likes received. Posting on a highly-lied comment will be a good way to secure attention, but in some instances can discourage others from engaging or interacting.

Key benchmark highlights

The report examined more than 300 brand accounts from January to February of 2020 to determine the leading accounts across various sports and media industries. Results pointed to several key themes including:

  • When analyzing the 20 fastest-growing accounts, volume was a substantial differentiator. The fastest-growing accounts posted on average 3 videos per day during this month.
  • Publishers in the TV and sports media space are seeing the biggest gains for their commitment to posting consistent, quality videos. Nickelodeon and AFVoffiical, for example, each posted over 1,280 videos as of February 2020.
  • There is a direct correlation between total followers and average views per video. Gaining followers is an essential ingredient to success.

As traditional advertising methods continue to become obstinate in accessing harder-to-reach demographics, brands need to push the envelope and get creative when it comes to the content they create. TikTok offers a unique, light-hearted environment to achieve this where companies can tap into the culture and lifestyle of their fans.

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The post How to Launch Your Brand into TikTok Stardom appeared first on Social Media Week.

Battling coronavirus-misinformation in the age of social media…

Public health professionals trying to provide the nation with facts about the spread of coronavirus are battling a wave of misinformation, as they wrestle with the first major British health crisis of the smartphone era.

Officials are providing regular updates to the media on the spread of the infection, but at the same time half-truths about the best way to treat the illness are already going viral on WhatsApp and other messaging services.

Some are suggesting dubious herbal remedies, while one viral message – which claims to be advice from an uncle who is a Chinese doctor – mixes standard best practice with unverified claims about how best to kill the germs.

While the inherently private nature of WhatsApp makes it hard to track the spread of such material or judge how many people are reading it, some of the posts seen by the Guardian use the standard language of internet chain letters and urge people to forward the advice to friends and family – circumventing the official health communications in the same manner that has allowed anti-vaccination movements to flourish online.

Prof David Harper, a former chief scientist at the Department of Health, said the UK’s established communications strategy for a public health crisis is to have a trusted medical figure rather than a politician deliver regular updates to the public.

He said this approach worked well during the 2009 influenza pandemic: “It was decided early on that the designated person would be very visible even if there was very little to say. If no one is saying anything then it becomes a cause of concern. It’s much better to be visible and be seen by the public, even if it’s just to repeat what’s been said or say there’s not been much change.”

For more on this article or other news please follow the link.

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Why LinkedIn is Bringing Ephemeral Marketing into the Business World

Our industry faces an entire generation growing up with Stories as a preferred way of forging digital relationships. They’re more private, comfortable, foster a greater sense of trust and loyalty, and above all ephemeral stories live for a moment in time versus in the feed forever.

They first appeared on Snapchat with Facebook and Instagram following suit shortly after, and they caught fire for their ability to deliver in a lighter, more fun way to share without it having to be carefully filtered and attached to your profile for the long haul.

LinkedIn’s Journey into Ephemeral Marketing

What might this content look like in a professional context? Can this exist in the business world? LinkedIn is determined to find the answers as it continues to see the volume of conversations on the platform increase. From features to Newsletters, Live Video, Trending News, and Reactions, the platform is now turning to the Stories bandwagon.

The company currently sees a 25 percent year-over-year increase in engagement spanning sharing job updates, business reports, collaborating to share creative strategies, and bringing a community together to remember the loss of a basketball player whose life and career inspired generations of fans.

“Last year, we started asking ourselves what Stories might look like in a professional context…I’m excited to see how Stories will bring creativity and authenticity to the ways that members share more of their work life, so that they can build and nurture the relationships necessary to become more productive and successful,” said Pete Davies, LinkedIn’s Head of Content Products in the official announcement. Specifically, he pointed to the full-screen format as ideal for sharing “key moments from work events” and sharing the digestible “tips and tricks that help us work smarter.”

Preparing for a Stories-Driven Future

According to Business Insider, 66 percent of U.S. creative and digital decision-makers plan to invest in Stories this year, and only 62 percent expect to channel their dollars into News Feed advertising. What does this really mean? The Stories are no longer a novelty and their effectiveness will be an important consideration in 2020 and many years ahead.

Let’s take a look at some overarching creative best practices you can use whether you’re new to the scene or looking to take your existing strategy to new heights.

Stay true to your brand

One of the biggest draws to Stories is the authentic peek behind the curtain it gives to your audience. With this in mind, a general rule of thumb to pocket should be to design your creative around your ad’s objective. For example, if it’s tied to a brand objective, emphasize the human element. If it’s more focused on conversion, spell out the important benefits of your product or service.

If there’s uncertainty around the specific objective, look to your brand’s mission as a guidepost. Start with important brand elements and see where connections can be made to how the specific ad can be tied back to the overall purpose.

Aim for a blend of visuals, text and sound

Case studies have found 83 percent of videos using stickers helped express key messages about the brand or product whereby another study using static creatives showed there is an 87 percent chance ads without stickers deliver better conversion results than with stickers. The bottom line? The best strategy when considering visuals in your Story is to ask yourself if it feels like it belongs in the environment or if it simply makes the message feel more like an ad and takes away from it being relatable.

Similarly, sound and text overlays can feel inconsistent and take attention away from your core messages. Use these only when they feel aligned with the ad’s objective and not if it feels disingenuous or distracting from the call to action you’re looking to convey to your audience.

Keep attention with vertical designs and speed

Stories are consumed much faster compared to other existing mediums. To cater to this, a top tip is to craft your ad to grab attention from the first frame and use speed to keep their attention through the end of the ad. A couple of ways to achieve this include using multiple scenes that are short and digestible. If a scene consists of static imagery, consider adding motion to add some liveliness.

When experimenting with videos and asset design, studies have shown that organically shot videos on mobile are effective when it comes to ad recall and intent while professionally crafted content often drives more brand awareness. If you’re designing yourself, feel free to repurpose content as desired but above all, the full- screen vertical design will be the most natural fit for the Stories medium.

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The post Why LinkedIn is Bringing Ephemeral Marketing into the Business World appeared first on Social Media Week.

How to Incorporate Data Into Your Bottom Line Strategy

The web is the world’s largest data repository. It’s expected to house roughly 40 zettabytes by 2020, making it the number one source for generating valuable information. As a result, businesses are leveraging data that’s hidden in plain sight to increase their bottom line. 

One particular strategy that’s helping companies capitalize on information is web data integration (WDI), a process that aggregates and normalizes data to make it more digestible through intuitive reporting and visuals. It relies on a similar concept as traditional web scraping, but is much more sophisticated and places an emphasis on quality control. 

This data includes everything from social media posts and product reviews, to email receipts and satellite images. Businesses can use it to gain detailed insights, make better business decisions, and improve operations, saving both time and money. Here’s what you need to know.

Reduce client churn

“Customer churn is the percentage of customers that stopped using your company’s product or service during a certain time frame,” explains marketing expert Swetha Amaresan. “You can calculate churn rate by dividing the number of customers you lost during that time period – say a quarter – by the number of customers you had at the beginning of that time period.”

Failing to keep client churn in check can be detrimental to the success and longevity of your business, so make minimizing churn a top priority – it will help you get the most from your client base and keep it profitable. 

Start by taking advantage of tools that can help reduce churn. For example, customer success software Planhat serves as a “customer data hub” to help businesses learn more about their clients, predict churn, and identify upselling opportunities while they’re hot. And when customers are at risk of churn, they’re “flagged with sales reps” so they can take action and try to remedy the situation.

Increase consumer loyalty

Techniques like data mining and web scraping, which analyze large data sets and identify meaningful patterns, can be instrumental in boosting consumer loyalty. They can be used to fine-tune your pricing strategy, monitor customer sentiment, identify common pain points, and more. By correcting glaring problems and improving the customer experience, increased consumer loyalty naturally follows.

Custom skincare solution provider Proven is one company that successfully leveraged the data hidden in plain sight through web scraping. They analyzed 8 million reviews, 100,000 beauty products, and 4,000 scientific articles to gain detailed insights into customer needs and sentiment to fine-tune their products and customize them for individual customers. As a result, they were able to develop higher-quality products and create a more personalized experience, which led to increased customer loyalty.

This is something you can do, too. It’s just a matter of identifying the right channels to analyze that provide the deepest insights into customer sentiment. If you have a significant social media following and a lot of online reviews, for instance, you could analyze that data to pinpoint potential areas for improvement. 

Discover hidden profit

A recent study by TRUE Global Intelligence found that 55 percent of modern organizations’ data is “dark,” meaning it’s unquantified, untapped, and often unknown. But the companies that are able to effectively tap into it can unlock hidden profits. 

For example, Netflix collects data to provide users with highly-targeted content. Analyzing the shows and movies users have previously viewed – as well as their search history – allows Netflix to create a completely personalized product, where no two customer experiences are the same. In turn, customers stay more engaged, which inevitably results in a larger customer base and bigger profits for Netflix. 

In the case of Facebook

On the flip side, data also has the potential to lead to a loss if mishandled. A prime example is the $5 billion fine that Facebook recently received for violating privacy practices. The world’s largest social network had 2.41 billion monthly active users as of the second quarter of 2019 – and access to an enormous amount of data. 

While the full details are currently unknown, reports indicate that Facebook used data mining that breached its users’ privacy, which highlights how important it is to adhere to rules and regulations regarding data governance. 

We’re living in an era where data is being generated at a record pace. There are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created every single day, and 90 percent of the world’s data was generated within the last two years. 

And businesses are discovering that the most valuable data is the everyday information that’s hidden in plain sight. While individually it may not have much of an impact, it can create a huge competitive advantage when analyzed on a large scale and grow your bottom line.

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Statement Regarding SMW New York and COVID-19

SMW Community,

For the past several months we’ve been hard at work planning the 12th edition of Social Media Week New York. While we are excited for this year’s conference and have never been more proud of the program we are working hard to produce, we are also seriously monitoring the current situation around the COVID-19 outbreak. We have no plans to cancel the conference at this time, but will continue to stay up to date on important developments as our first priority is to the health and wellbeing of our participants.

With just over two months until kickoff, we remain hopeful that the virus can be contained and/or managed prior to the first week of May. In terms of this specific event, we’ve looked closely at where our attendees, speakers, and sponsors will be traveling from where and can confirm there are no large groups attending from high-risk countries.

Our team appreciates your patience as the situation evolves and asks for your continued commitment to Social Media Week. We’re pleased to see that we’re currently tracking ahead of last year in terms of registrations, and we will continue with our relentless efforts to make this an incredibly valuable learning, sharing, and networking experience.

In line with the WHO’s guidelines around planning for mass gatherings in the context of this global health issue, our decision to move forward with the program is based on a thorough risk assessment. This includes taking all recommendations from the New York City government and the CDC seriously and following relevant conferences within our industry for best practice examples. We are also staying in regular communication with our venue, The Sheraton Times Square, and our existing partners.

Beyond our own precautions, we realize many of you are involved in your own company’s response plans and protocols and we offer our well wishes for success in coping with this challenging and unpredictable situation. If your business must adhere to travel bans, we fully respect this and are prepared to offer a number of alternative options to take advantage of such as:

Pass Transfers:

  • You can transfer your pass to a friend or colleague who would receive permission to attend SMW New York 2020.
  • We can apply the pass credit for the same city in 2021, or any one of our other flagship conferences in 2020 (SMW Los Angeles or SMW London)

SMW Insider & Mobile App Networking: If pass transferring is not of interest, your pass provides you access to SMW Insider, where you can watch the livestream of the majority of mainstage sessions, together with over 300 hours talks, panels and interviews from past SMW Flagship events.

Mobile app networking: You can also still download the mobile app to network with fellow SMW delegates where you can connect with like-minded industry peers to complement the content experience provided by SMW Insider. We are excited to announce that we are launching a new attendee app experience in early April that will have enhanced networking features.

As always, please feel free to contact our team directly with any questions you may have at

Thank you so much for your continued support and participation,

– Team SMW


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Why Your Brand Can’t Overlook Messaging as a Business Tool

40 million companies are now active on Facebook Messenger. With user expectations for more personalized, one-on-one interaction that puts them in touch with their favorite brands on the go, the onus on businesses to catch up and pay attention shows no signs of slowing.

The platform recently published a report exploring this embrace of conversational commerce, when consumers and businesses interact through chat with the intent to drive purchase. The travel sector is one example seeing a spike in messaging use, but the insights, including important consequences and valuable opportunities, are important for all companies to note.

Here are a few highlights that help address key questions including why messaging is the new normal and how it can be used to innovate and develop fresh ways to garner attention.

Messaging offers familiarity

Sixty-four percent of people claim they would prefer to message rather than hop on the phone with a business and more than half (60%) say they’re open to receiving personal messages from companies.

Why? Any consumer, particularly travelers, demand flexibility and conversations that feel natural. Being able to send a chat to a business at your own convenience and while on the move checks both of these important boxes. More importantly, messaging apps don’t make you go through the hassle of navigating new interfaces or downloading yet another program that will only clutter us with more notifications but demand more of our mobile phone’s precious storage and battery.

The report pointed to Canadian airline WestJet as a leading example in the space. Its customized bot, Juliet, not only delivers on a combination of familiarity and convenience but helps put a human face to the brand. In turn, WestJet saw a 24 percent life in positive sentiment among travelers and expanded the number of messages that could be responded to by 5X.

Messaging is built for real-time conversations

One of the biggest draws for messaging is that it is fundamentally built to cater to a sense of urgency. Facebook has made clear the strong correlation between responsiveness and business outcome. With the medium being so instantaneous and intimate, it isn’t far fetched timeliness would go hand in hand. The takeaway, simply put, be as prompt as you can in responding and make good on expectations set around the turnaround for responses.

Airline KLM, the report discusses, was one of the early pioneers of Messenger to enhance the flying experience. This spans sharing boarding passes, flight updates, and more all in one simple place. More recently, KLM turned to Facebook-owned WhatsApp to provide real-time confirmation upon booking, gate assignments, and changes to the flight status. Beyond the individual flying, the company has tapped into Messaging to loop in family members or friends about flight arrivals to save the customer a step from having to relay the information themselves.

Messaging fuels personalized, scalable interactions

Ninety-one of consumers say they are more likely to buy from brands that remember who they are and that provide relevant recommendations.

With the evolution of new technologies like AI, AR, and VR, brands can more easily and effectively craft personalized experiences at scale — closing the gap between discovery and action and pushing more success for in-store services and purchases. This is primarily due to messaging allowing brands to connect with people at multiple touchpoints across the customer experience.

While catering to individual preferences and tastes can seem daunting, there are three simple ingredients to incorporate into your approach to set yourself up for success: be direct and succinct, focus on the value-add, and leverage technology to enhance the relationship outside of the 24-hour window.

Users are reaching out more often than not with a targeted need or question. In this vein, keep follow-ups tight and focused and communicate customer value. Make calls to action easy to decipher and give them options for how’d they like to be notified.

For example, messaging tags are ideal for non-promotion but timely updates, one-time notifications, or sponsored messages to share announcements outside the standard messaging window. These will all help play into the human lens notion and allow exchanges to feel more natural and expected and less spammy when hand-picked by the consumer.


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