Category: Social Media Advice

The Voice of Social Media Episode on the Mike Armstrong Podcast – #TheVoiceofSocialMedia

Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: #TheVoiceofSocialMedia Increase Your Social Media Engagement with other people’s content 💪🙌😎🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿🇬🇧🌍 #SMM–SMM-eg916q

#TheVoiceofSocialMedia Increase Your Social Media Engagement with other people’s content 💪🙌😎🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿🇬🇧🌍🎙 – Another The Voice of Social Media Episode where #TheVoiceofSocialMedia & #KingofMarketing Mike Armstrong talks about the importance of liking and engaging with other people’s social content in order to help them out and have the favour returned so that you can have your marketing and messages go much further 👑🎙 #SocialMedia #MikeArmstrong #YouCanDoIt #PositivityPodcast #Motivation #MotivationalPodcast #Entrepreneurship #PersonalDevelopmentPodcast #SalesPodcast #MarketingPodcast 😎 #Sales #Marketing #PersonalDevelopment #WOLFofWALES #WOW 🐺🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 #WOWPodcast #SalesTraining #LifeCoaching #BusinessTraining from #MikeArmstrong Teaching people how to achieve their goals and dreams via various motivation, education and personal development teachings! #MikeArmstrongSalesTraining #MikeArmstrongMarketingTraining #MikeArmstrongBusinessTraining #MikeArmstrongEntrepreneurTraining #MikeArmstrongTraining #MATraining on his #YouCanDoItPodcast – #MikeArmstrongPodcast / #MikeArmstrongPodcasts – Rapid Business Growth, Personal Development and Sales & Marketing Training & Advice From #MikeArmstrong on the #YouCanDoItPodcast #YCDI #YCDIPodcast featuring the #Awesome Mike Armstrong #AwesomeArmstrong – #Motivation #Motivated #Motivational #MotivationalPodcast – #10x #20x #Infinityx  #BusinessGrowth #RapidBusinessGrowth #PersonalGrowth #PersonalDevelopment 🚀😎 – #MikeArmstrongYouCanDoItPodcast – More About Mike;  Mike is “The Awesome Mike Armstrong” – A #Philanthropic #Entrepreneur who loves to help people. He’s also an Author, Speaker, Mentor, Coach, Blogger, Vlogger & Podcaster who lives to help people especially; Struggling Business Owners and Entrepreneurs who need a lift and those suffering with Mental Health issues #MentalHealth #MentalWellbeing #MentalHealthSupport. Mike has spent years cultivating an awesome global network, and is currently building an #AwesomeArmy of similarly minded #Philanthropist #Entrepreneurs and is happy to share the contacts and the love with those who are deserving. If that’s you please get in touch with Mike. Mike Armstrong of Mike Armstrong Ltd | MA Group | MA Consultancy | MA Web | MA Training | Marketing Wales / WelshBiz | Tourism Wales | Things To Do In | MA News | MAN Media | MA Property | Mike Armstrong News & Mike Armstrong’s You Can Do It Podcast.

Mike’s areas of Interest and Expertise include Welsh Business News & Events, UK Business News & Events, Global Business News & Events, Business Advice & Personal Development, Rapid Business Growth, Happiness, Success, Goal Achieving, Knowledge Sharing, Elite Performance, as well as Sales & Marketing Mentoring, Coaching, Training and Services inc. Sales & Marketing Strategy & Services, Social Media Strategy & Services, SEO Strategy & Services, Content Marketing Strategy & Services, Ecommerce Strategy & Services, Business Growth Strategy & Services and Property Maintenance, Property Management and Property Development Joint Ventures (JV’s) – All aimed at Biz Owners, Entrepreneurs, Speakers, Coaches, Startups, Networkers, Global Networks and people in need of help, support, love and a pick me up etc.

MA Website – #MikeArmstrong

MA News Site –




MA Podcast –


#YouCanDoItPodcast #WOLFofWALES #WOWPodcast

Co. Websites – #MAConsultancy  #WelshBiz

Search & connect with Mike Armstrong in any social media as well as MA Consultancy & WelshBiz!

Also pls join one or all of my Cardiff Businesses, Welsh Businesses, UK Businesses, Global Businesses, Global Networkers, Entrepreneur Zone, Wolf of Wales Fans, Mental Health Support Group, or Mike Armstrong Podcast Fans – Groups on FB 👍😎 or the #AwesomeArmy if you want to get involved and join the team!

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See

Listen to or watch Entrepreneur chats and more on the Mike Armstrong Podcast or the Mike Armstrong You Tube Channel #MikeArmstrong

Check out my podcast, Mike Armstrong’s Podcast – Mike’s You Can Do It Podcast – MikeArmstrongPodcasts by #MikeArmstrong , on Anchor!

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See

Why Transparent Email Stopped Working For Us and What We Do Instead

Why Transparent Email Stopped Working For Us and What We Do Instead

When I joined Buffer and opened my new Buffer email account for the first time, the email count read 200.  I was momentarily stunned.
That was way more emails than I’d ever had in one place before.

Usually, when you set up an email account at a new workplace, your inbox is empty at first – people don’t yet have your email address and you aren’t on a bunch of email lists. I was planning on those few days or weeks of email bliss, where your inbox is nearly always zero.

I had known about Buffer’s value of transparency at work and about our practice of email transparency, but what I hadn’t realized was that sometimes the benefit of transparency can become a burden. That’s what was happening with transparent email.

Here’s why transparent email stopped working for us, and what we switched to instead.

Why transparent email wasn’t working for us anymore

Six years ago now, we shared a blog post detailing the exact workflows we used for transparent email. At the time, we wrote:

Our value of transparency extends all the way to the inbox. Every email is public within the team. Every bit of communication gets shared. Everyone knows everything. There are no secrets.

The idea is a sound one, and transparent email did solve a challenge for us. A lot of communication was happening via email, and we wanted everyone to be able to see emails transparently. Having specific email lists that we cc’ed or bcc’ed (click on that link above for more on that system) was a much more efficient way to work than to add each teammate individually.

So what stopped working?

We grew to a larger team size

The purpose of transparent email was to see conversations happening across any team and have all of the context you needed. It worked well for us when Buffer was a team of fewer than 30 people, but around and past that time, it started to get a little bit out of control. By the time we reached a team of over 80, transparent email was no longer easy to keep up with purely because of the volume.

If you look at it from a relationships standpoint, the formula for possible relationships means that at 80 people there were 3,160 possible relationships. Of course, every individual wasn’t always speaking with every other person at the company, but still, that’s a huge number of possible relationships to be communicating via email.

It put the burden of staying informed on the individual

Receiving several hundred emails in a week was a huge burden for teammates. They needed to leverage email to stay informed, maintain a system, and figuring out which conversations were relevant, and we placed that burden on individual teammates, rather than making a change at an organizational level. Teammates became responsible for keeping track of all internal conversations, while at the same time email was still a place for external conversations to come in as well and it was a lot to juggle.

On top of that, the feeling that I had opening my Buffer email for the first time happened to a lot of new teammates, and that wasn’t a great experience.

Filters didn’t always work

The best solution to that level of email was to create lots of filters to sort and organize all internal conversations based on the internal email address that was being cc’ed.

Having so many filters set up sometimes meant that people would miss out on emails that mentioned them, which isn’t a great result, but we spent a lot of time and energy trying to make these filters work with transparent email.

We created several detailed internal best practices documents filled with different systems for setting up filters and managing email. Our CEO, Joel Gascoigne, even outlined a project for an internal email tool, he wrote:

Email at Buffer is a little like the Wild West. With transparent email, the number of emails we individually receive as a 30 person team could be 5 or 10x the amount someone in a normal 30 person team would receive.

So we built an internal tool for email called Buffmail.

The result of all of this work was more work. Teammates needed to spend more time setting up filters and tweaking them when new teams were created or projects were kicked off. In the end, the issue wasn’t that we weren’t doing transparent email properly, it was that we had outgrown this system and needed to look for a new one.

Our new system for transparent internal communication

In the words of our Director of People, Courtney Seiter, we needed a tool to help us have “calm, deliberate and timezone-inclusive conversation and decision-making at Buffer.”

In addition to decision making, we wanted a space for work-related announcements and discussion in the form of longer, asynchronous conversations.

Our solution: Threads

We’ve mentioned Threads before as it’s a staple in our asynchronous communication. Threads makes it easy to have text-based conversations across the company and clearly mark decisions when they are made. It also works well with Slack; new Threads can be cross-posted to a linked Slack channel, which is a nice benefit.

Why Threads works for us

Threads is a much less overwhelming way for 90 people to communicate. It’s easy to skim a Space (that’s the Threads name for a specific area) to see if there’s any conversation you want to drop into, and there’s also a helpful button to mark something as follow up.

It’s also less likely that someone will miss a Thread that mentions them because of Threads’ notification system. Threads helps take the burden of staying informed off of the individual. If someone needs to be looped in, it’s easy to tag them, and if someone wants to skim a space, they can do so without getting alerted to every conversation.

How we set Threads up

In Threads, there are different “Spaces,” and anyone in that Space will see all of the Threads (discussions) created there.

We’ve set up Threads to have Spaces that everyone should be a part of, and other, optional Spaces depending on a teammate’s team and location.
Here’s how we’ve set up our Spaces:

Team Spaces

Any space that starts with “Buffer-” is intended for all teammates to permanently join with notifications on. For us, these spaces are:

  • Announcements: For team-wide announcements
  • Inclusion: To discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Joel’s Memos: For thoughts from our CEO
  • Recognition & Praise: For celebrating and recognizing teammates
  • Retreat: For retreat info
  • Time-off: For vacation plans and time off
  • Town-Hall: An asynchronous space for town-hall questions for our CEO and leadership team
  • Updates: For area updates

Area Spaces

Each Area has its own Space with the naming convention Area-AreaName, e.g. Area-Marketing. These Spaces are intended only for those who work daily in that area to join. Teammates can view any Area Space anytime but we ask that they view only and not join any area they don’t work in directly. We do periodic cleanups to help stick to this guideline.

Project Spaces

We have a small number of Project Spaces with the naming convention: Proj-ProjectName, e.g. Proj-Pricing. These are for projects that touch many different teams and have a finite end date.

Geographic Spaces

We have several geography-related Spaces, e.g. Geo-UK and Geo-Canada, for discussion about the Buffer teammate experience specific to those countries.

Help Spaces

We have two help Spaces, Help-People and Help-Tools. Help-People is for questions or help around things like benefits, moving, and other life changes. Help-Tools is for when a teammate needs help with any of the tools we use at Buffer.

When we make new Spaces

To avoid having too many Spaces, we currently default to trying to write a Thread in the best-fitting Space before creating a new Space. If after that is given a try it still feels like this topic needs a new Space, then we’ll create it.

We’ve been using Threads for over a year now and are still feeling like it was very much the right decision and choice to move away from transparent email. If you liked this blog post, check out this post where we talk about asynchronous communication and why it’s so important for remote work.

Business Coaching from Mike Armstrong #MATraining #MANews

If you are in need of Business Coaching then please take a look at the business coaching available from Mike Armstrong.

Mike can provide tailored coaching based on your exact requirement but all coaching would include elements from Mike’s 7 Pillars of Success Formula which is called the STREAMS Success Formula #STREAMSSuccessFormula.

This includes having the right Systems, Implementing the use of Technology wherever possible, Relationship Building including building the right team and the right network, understanding Efficiency and how to utilise it, how to consistently and persistently take massive Action including working on the Mental Strength in order to be able to do that long term, as well as strategies, skills and techniques for improving your Marketing and Sales.

MA Training | MA Consultancy | MA News
— Read more about the Business Coaching Wales, UK (or Global via zoom or google meet etc.) that is available from Mike Armstrong on

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See

#TheVoiceofSocialMedia Episode on the Mike Armstrong Podcast Show – #KingofMarketing

Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: #TheVoiceofSocialMedia #KingOfMarketing talking about LinkedIn Pods 🎙& LinkedIn Marketing Strategies–LinkedIn-Marketing-Strategies-eg04so

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See

How Facebook is Looking to Support Democracy in 2020 and Beyond

Amid years of controversy and scrutiny surrounding political content, Facebook is approaching the upcoming 2020 election with a new, multi-faceted approach, what it’s labeling, “another line of defense” against interference and a mechanism to avoid amplifying disinformation. Core to the solution is shifting responsibility to the public at large by equipping them with the details they need to vote and have their voices heard and enabling them to “turn off” political ads they don’t wish to see.

A new voter information hub

“Voting is voice. It’s the single most powerful expression of democracy, the best way to hold our leaders accountable and how we address many of the issues our country is grappling with….but accountability only works if we can see what those seeking our votes are saying, even if we viscerally dislike what they say,” Zuckerberg said in a recent op-ed for USA Today. Put simply, rather than remove misinformation, the emphasis will be on lifting voter participation.

To achieve this the platform is unveiling a Voter Information Hub modeled off of the COVID-19 information center launched earlier this spring. At a high-level, it will provide essential guidance to U.S. voters including how to register to vote, request a mail-in or absentee ballot, and, most importantly, when to vote, where to vote, and whether there are ID requirements. The info center will also supply local alerts from election officials outlining any adjustments to voting methods in light of the pandemic.

With this push, Facebook’s goal is to register 4 million voters using Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger — double what it estimates it helped people register in 2016 and 2018. Further, the platform expects more than 160 million to see this authoritative information between July and November according to Naomi Gleit, Facebook’s Vice President of Product Management and Social Impact.

Opting out of political ads on Facebook and Instagram

Back in January Facebook introduced more options to limit how a user could be targeted by political advertisers by opting-out of Custom Audience targeting. Alternatively, if an advertiser had used a list to exclude them, they could make themselves eligible to see the ads. Looking ahead, Facebook is taking an even bigger step in this direction by enabling people to opt-out of political ads entirely.

Specifically, “all social issues, electoral or political ads from candidates, Super PACs or other organizations that have the “Paid for by” political disclaimer on them.” The same options will also be available on Instagram. There are two ways to turn off political ads — either through each platform’s ad settings or directly for any political or social issue ad that pops on your feed.

In the Facebook app,

  1. Tap the “Menu” button then navigate to your settings (three horizontal lines in the bottom right corner)
  2. Next, tap “Ad Preferences” then “Ad Topics”
  3. In the pop-up menu, select “see fewer ads about this topic

In the Instagram app, the process is similar and beings by:

  1. Pressing the “Menu” button within your main profile (three horizontal lines in the upper right corner)
  2. Under “Settings,” select “Ads” then “Topic Preferences
  3. Finally, tap “Social Issues, Elections or Politics,” and then “Save

To opt-out directly through a political ad, find any post marked as “Paid by” a political campaign, candidate, or group, then “Confirmed Organization.” For Instagram, this will show in a button labeled “Paid for by.” A pop-up message will then appear allowing you to select to see fewer ads that are similar.

Enhancing transparency around ad spend

Another key part of Facebook’s latest initiative is bringing greater transparency around advertising spend. In this vein, the company is introducing a new update to its Ad Library whereby the amount of ad spending can be traced for US House and Senate races as well as Presidential candidates. In addition, a custom tracker will compare the spending of advertisers running political or issue ads allowing voters to gather a breakdown as to the finances behind the different messages they’re being served.

Collectively, this is a significant step for the platform — one that will continue to evolve as the weeks and months go on and that will be interesting to observe as people take political content into their own hands through these manual options.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

The post How Facebook is Looking to Support Democracy in 2020 and Beyond appeared first on Social Media Week.

How Twitter is Creating a More Human Experience Through Audio

If in this period of social distancing you’ve grown tired of typing, Twitter has some good news. In a new update, you can record your voice and share that audio as a tweet to your followers. A perk? These can also be listened to as you multi-task such as checking email or working on a document — comparable to a micro podcast.

For those keeping tabs, this isn’t Twitter’s first foray into the audio space. In 2018 it launched audio-only live streams in its native platform as well as Periscope and just last month, its design team shared a mock-up of audio tweet display options that they called “Hear and Now.”

Adding a human touch to conversations

“Over the years, photos, videos, gifs, and extra characters have allowed you to add your own flair and personality to your conversations. But sometimes 280 characters aren’t enough and some conversational nuances are lost in translation,” explained Maya Patterson, Staff Product Designer, and Rémy Bourgoin, Senior Software Engineer in the blog announcement. Put simply, sometimes you just want to say what you have to say versus trying to get the tone exactly right in a written out tweet. There’s a lot that can go unsaid or uninterpreted via text, so the platform’s goal with the newest offering is to bring a more human experience to conversations.

Adding 140-second audio clips to tweets

To start, ensure you have the latest version of Twitter installed on your iPhone then open the app. If you’re included in the platform’s beta group, you’ll be able to see a purple wavelength icon next to your camera icon when you begin a new tweet. Once you select the wavelength icon, you’ll then be able to tap a red microphone icon — over a photo of your profile picture — where you can begin to record your voice. Each audio tweet can last up to 140 seconds — or two minutes, 20 seconds. If you exceed the time limit, the app will create a new recording, stringing together a thread of voice tweets.

When you’re finished, hit “Done” in the top right corner. For some added flair, add any contextual words, photos, or GIFs before sending out your tweet to your timeline. To listen to your tweet or someone else’s, just tap the image in your timeline. The audio will appear like an embedded video with a start and pause option with your profile image as the visual. If you’re using an iPhone, the video will be displayed in a new window so you can listen while you scroll through other tweets. The process, as described in the official announcement, really is not all that different from tweeting with text.

A couple of caveats to note: audio tweets will keep playing in the background if you happen to switch to another app and you can’t include audio tweets in replies or retweets with a comment — only original tweets.

Moerdation hurdles

In a recent tweet thread in conversation with accessibility advocates, Twitter software engineer Andrew Hayward revealed the company doesn’t have a team dedicated to accessibility, instead they rely on employees who volunteer their time above and beyond their usual duties. A separate spokesperson for the platform, in a statement to The Verge reiterated that the concerns are heard and that Twitter is committed to building out its advocacy resources across all products including a more stringent accessibility review and establishing a more “more dedicated group” to focus on the problem.

“We missed around voice Tweets, and we are committed to doing better — making this feature more accessible and also all features in the future. We’re constantly reviewing both the functionality of our products and the internal processes that inform them; we’ll share progress in this area.” the company shared. With the influx of audio content online driven by podcasting, this won’t be the last time accessibility comes to the forefront of decisions and it’s critical that they listen to their audiences with empathy so they can ensure an equitable and meaningful experience for all.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

The post How Twitter is Creating a More Human Experience Through Audio appeared first on Social Media Week.

Why Your Brand Can No Longer Ignore TikTok

TikTok may be the biggest social media winner of COVID-19 lockdowns. Even though its audience skews exceptionally young (e.g., 60 percent of users are between 16 and 24), it’s hard to have missed a viral video on the music-infused, short-form video platform formerly known as in the past few months. 

Now with more than 800 million active users, the viral platform is moving beyond short dance videos reminiscent of the now-defunct Vine and into a broad category of influencers covering everything from cooking to digital learning

TikTok may have a significant climb to reach the pantheon of Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube, which account for more than six billion active users between them. However, the platform relies on something that can’t be measured by conventional metrics —virality and popularity among young people. 

It’s the cool new social media platform on the block — something that can no longer be ignored in the media world. 

A distinct algorithm

One of the defining characteristics of TikTok is that it relies on a unique algorithm that presents content in a different way than most social media platforms. The algorithm subtly displays content based on user preferences with what Jesse Hirsh, an established social media researcher, calls an “incredible” signal to noise ratio.

The power is in the details, where TikTok’s algorithm has some oddly compelling byproducts that encourage users to post content. For example, content from people that a user follows is divested from the main feed of viral content. Influencers don’t necessarily have to cater to their audiences when posting a video for it to go viral — an area where it differentiates itself from apps like Instagram

But what is most interesting is how common it is for new users to achieve impressive engagement numbers from the outset with a simple 10-second video. 

Reasons for this have been described as the “slow burn” of the algorithm where videos with poor engagement numbers went on to garner thousands or millions of views days or weeks later rather than being shuttered to the content attic. Compounding views can also catapult a random video to users’ “For You” page that is based on user preferences, regardless of their follower list. Consequently, videos rely less on hashtags and can aggregate views over extended periods without an established follower base. 

Since the videos are also only several seconds long, more content is churned throughout the platform at a higher clip. Compared to platforms like YouTube, which rely on longer engagement times, TikTok users can go viral much easier than other networks. And that’s precisely what ambitious teenagers are looking for. It’s also why 83 percent of users have posted a video — a telling metric. 

Its popularity is exploding

Facebook’s moat of social media apps dominates the entire landscape. Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger are four of the most actively downloaded non-gaming apps in the world. But guess who is poised to surpass them in downloads? That’s right: TikTok. 

For context, TikTok ranked seventh in “The 10 Most Downloaded Apps of The 2010s” list from CNET. It finished ahead of both Twitter and YouTube, despite launching in 2016. Twitter launched in 2006 and YouTube in 2005.

When network effects are everything in social media, the notion that TikTok outpaced two social media behemoths in just under four years of going live is fairly amazing. 

Leveraging digital marketing strategies often encompasses projecting a future landscape of media, influencers, and clever marketing tactics. There’s a compelling opportunity for media agencies to tap into TikTok’s snowballing growth right now. 

Many people in older generations, even Millennials compared to their Gen Z counterparts, are entirely unaware of TikTok’s power or popularity. They blithely dismiss the platform as a venue for silly videos of teenagers and kids, but it’s much different now. 

One of the most intriguing changes induced by COVID-19 was the transition of TikTok away from mostly dance videos and Vine-like content. It caters to social movements, professional engagement with audiences of people looking to learn something during the quarantine, and even subtle political critiques. And that’s where it has capitalized on a unique method of capturing people’s attention. 

A unique market for capturing people’s attention

TikTok stands distinguished among its social media competitors. It may not be the digital forum for serious (and often toxic) debate like Twitter, which is now becoming a huge force in academia. And it may not be the ideal communication medium for real-time chats with friends like WhatsApp, which now comes included with a payment feature.  

But it is addicting, just in its own way. Zoom calls with funny backgrounds became pretty dull during the doldrums of quarantine. Twitter is more fascinating than Zoom but is often mired in toxic political discourse. And Instagram isn’t nearly as entertaining when everyone is locked inside and not exploring the world. Enter TikTok. 

Imagine a bartender out of a job, who decides to furnish drink-mixing tips to followers during quarantine, as many bartenders actually did. What’s the best platform to capture people’s attention: one where the algorithm displays short-form viral videos of newcomers persistently or YouTube? Or invite people to a Zoom call, which random people will likely not join? 

What about someone who wants to mix music with fun cooking videos while everyone decides whether or not to order out or prepare the same meal again the next night? That’s what TikTok personalities like The Pasta Queen did. Exploding in popularity during quarantine, doubling her followers in the last three weeks alone, Nadia’s (The Pasta Queen) goofy Italian cooking videos have raked in views in recent months. Originally from Rome and now living in the US, The Pasta Queen is a microcosm for a class of new personalities emerging on TikTok that have smashed the viral, short-form style of TikTok with educational tips you’d find on some shelved YouTube video.

It’s an interesting dynamic, and also represents the global appeal of TikTok, which is widely popular not just in the US but also in India and China, which together, account for the bulk of its users. Expect creative professionals to gravitate towards TikTok in coming months, and away from more restrictive platforms like YouTube, which even saw the departure of podcast king Joe Rogan recently. 

Creativity is where the clicks are

Piggybacking on the notion that TikTok is a black hole for young, ambitious personalities and professionals, its growing list of influencers may become the most dynamic in the social media space. More diverse influencers bring more diverse audiences and more advertising dollars. And It’s not just the users who gravitate to creative platforms (and the advertising dollars that follow them). 

Content creators who want more flexibility to impress the up-and-coming Gen Z horde, which will soon be the largest consumer generation in the world, are pursuing TikTok aspirations. Social commerce is an unstoppable trend, and if you want to brand like Supreme, you need to appeal to Gen Z. With the promise of going viral for your first video, why would an aspiring influencer not at least give TikTok a try? After all, leading influencers on TikTok haul in some eye-popping revenue

As a media professional, marketing aficionado, or advertising specialist, TikTok may currently fly under the radar of most conventional branding campaigns despite its surging popularity. Maybe due to a mix of its Tencent origins, pointed Congressional criticism, or young-skewed audience; it doesn’t matter anymore. TikTok has come out of the lockdowns as the dark horse platform to usurp the coveted circle of Facebook’s app hegemony. It’s now the king of creative social media content.  

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

The post Why Your Brand Can No Longer Ignore TikTok appeared first on Social Media Week.

Buffer Is Moving to a 4-Day Workweek for the Rest of 2020

Buffer Is Moving to a 4-Day Workweek for the Rest of 2020

In May, our entire team experimented with a 4-day workweek. The intention of this experiment was to help us all manage the stress and changes to routine caused by living through a global pandemic.

We initially rolled out the 4-day work week experiment for only one month, with the main goal of reducing teammates’ stress. Happily, both survey results and anecdotal stories tell us that this was a success.

After examining survey data and anecdotal feedback and chatting with the team, we’ve decided to conduct a long-term pilot of the 4-day workweek through the end of the year. Here’s more on how we came to that decision and our next steps.

The results from our 4-day workweek experiment

Our main goal with this experiment was to help the team manage stress and changes to their routine caused by COVID-19. To measure whether this effort was successful, we polled the team at the beginning and end of the month and asked about their autonomy, stress level, and overall work happiness.

Here are the results from our team surveys showing differences between early May and late May:

  • We saw higher autonomy: 4.3 → 4.5
  • We saw lower stress levels: 3.3 → 2.7
  • We saw higher work happiness: 3.9 → 4.2

*These numbers are all out of 5.

These results are only part of the picture. We also asked teammates for written feedback and anecdotal stories about their experience. We received lots of both that supported these results. One teammate shared that they felt this experiment was helping them feel focused:

This last month has been incredible when it comes to finding more time to look after myself. I feel a lot more productive when it comes to the work I do and the creeping feeling of burnout towards the end of the week has gone completely. If anything I find myself more focused than I’ve ever been.

And another shared feelings of motivation and more collaboration:

General sense is that everyone has been feeling more motivated, energised and excited about the work we’re doing. We’ve also had more “ad-hoc improvements” with folx jumping in to add more monitoring, refactoring and improving our services. There was also more cross-team collaboration and more async activity on Threads and Slack.

It wasn’t completely smooth for all teammates, of course. We also heard a few challenges:

Since the biggest confusion to me was trying to remember/juggle who was off when, it would be great if we could decide on a particular day that we all take off.

Another challenge was around holidays (more on that below):

Due to a lot of public holidays during May, it meant that week to week it would often change as to who was taking what day off.  Folx appreciated having some flexibility in what day to take off, but it did result in a lot of deviations from the planned Wednesday off.

Because the 4-day workweek experiment was designed to give temporary relief to teammates during an especially hard time, we did not set goals around productivity or results during the one-month trial. In fact, we expected a tangible drop in productivity due to reduced hours.

So we were happily surprised when many teammates shared that they felt their weekly productivity was not all that different, and that their quality of work was higher due to increased rest and extra focus.

The one unique case here was our Customer Advocacy team. Because their style of work is heavily based on responding to customer queries, they may be an exception to the idea that fewer hours could result in similar productivity. Our VP of Customer Advocacy is leading separate discussions with this team around productivity and wellbeing in a 4-day model to see how they can make this shift work longer-term.

Why we decided on a 6-month pilot

Based on the results of the trial, we decided to start a more thorough pilot of a 4-day work week that focuses not just on teammate well-being but also on Buffer’s long-term success.

As a company we have a history of bold experiments, like being 100% distributed, having transparent salaries, and trying self-management. When testing out these new and bold ideas, we ask ourselves whether we are able to set and reach ambitious goals, deliver a high-quality experience for customers, grow our revenue, and make our mark on the world.

Some of those big experiments, like transparent salaries and remote work, have been a success because the answer to those questions was a resounding yes. For others, like self-management, the answer was no, and so we pivoted away from the experiment.

We’d like to seriously consider moving to a 4-day work week long term, so shifting to a 6-month pilot gives our team enough time to truly adapt to the concept so we can get more data on how this impacts team productivity and well-being in the long-term.

Next steps for this pilot

In order to truly evaluate whether a 4-day work week can be a success long-term, we need to measure productivity as well as individual well-being. Teammate well-being was our end goal for May. Whether that continues, and equally importantly, whether it translates into customer and company results, will be an exciting hypothesis to test.

We’re also keen to iterate on our current format and develop a more consistent approach. For the past six weeks, the 4-day concept has been implemented differently across teams and even individuals. Some teams took Wednesdays off and some took Fridays or Mondays off. This was fine for a short time, but in this longer experiment will likely feel a bit chaotic. We’ll be asking our teammates to help us define what a reduced-hours workweek looks like across a distributed team.

We also still have several elements to figure out.

  • In our initial iteration of the experiment, we didn’t account well for holidays. We eventually decided that if a holiday already makes it a 4-day workweek, then the rest of that week can be considered a normal week. We’ve since heard that this could be disruptive for teammates. Some teams had Wednesdays off but if there was a holiday on a Monday they had a Monday off instead. We aren’t sure yet what our solution will be to this long term, and it’s something we’re keen to figure out.
  • We also need to figure out how a 4-day workweek can be a success for our Customer Advocacy team. As much of their work revolves around interacting with customers and resolving tickets, taking additional days off has impacted both their productivity and the volume in our customer service inboxes.

We have an all-hands meeting at the end of this month where we’ll host breakout sessions asking teammates to help brainstorm how we can make the 4-day work week successful long-term, with a particular lens for what the Advocacy team is experiencing.

This is just the beginning of a fun new journey for us. We’re excited to share what’s next and what we learn as we test the boundaries of how work happens.

How to Market Your Business During Times of Uncertainty

Content marketing is driven by the needs of rising above the noise, fueling engagement, and creating affinity and loyalty around your mission. This has never been more true and with consumer focus changing more frequently due to recent events, understanding what your business should be communicating and how is harder than ever.

To offer some support in this regard, LinkedIn has published a new guide that outlines a range of key points related to a changing environment, including how brands have found success in other moments of crisis. Here are some of the larger themes as well as insights into evolving conversation topics taking hold as of late.

Reevaluate: go back to the “why”

Above all brands need to re-assess their content approach, and what they’re aiming to achieve.
“Just because your products and solutions might see a drop in demand, that doesn’t mean your audience has dropped their expectations of you as a brand — they’ve just changed,” the guide explains. In this vein, going back to your core business mission will help you identify and justify expectations and how you can best meet them. A best practice as you do this is to be consistent with the conversations you engage with — demonstrate you are eager to listen and address concerns and questions along the journey. From these insights, you can navigate questions, big or small, such as whether your ads will still resonate or whether you need to devise a new campaign that uproots your strategy.

Avoid the ‘hard sell’ ad; lean into empathy

The guide also underscores the importance of not overlooking humility when trying to interact with your audience during this time. This may go without saying but in some cases is easily swept aside when looking to chase the next big shiny object. When faced with hardship, and in an age of social distancing, people expect self-awareness, generosity and agility. What this entails is going beyond the hard-sell tactics or vanity messages that emphasize content performance and instead, leaning more on the underlying message. To achieve this, start with integrating a few simple features into your ads as your guidepost:

  • Established brand characters
  • Repeated or familiar scenarios
  • Ads set in the past
  • Ads celebrating human connections and showing self-awareness
  • Ads with strong connection to place and community

The big takeaway: Take a beat and dedicate quality time to brand awareness and trust. This will continue to pay-off as the world adjusts over the coming months and years ahead while also allowing you to prepare for unanticipated road bumps along the way.

How the Conversation Has Shifted

Overall message volume seeing significant upticks, and will most likely continue to do so in the coming weeks. But, what’s even more interesting is how the conversation within those messages has changed. Holler recently dug into certain topics that are relevant in the current moment and some interesting trends were revealed.

On its own app itself, it’s seen spikes of 26 percent since early March as people experiment with creative ways to stay connected whether Zoom, FaceTime or group messaging chats. Chat around words like “healthy” “home” and “family” in addition to more empathetic topics such as “thinking of you” and “safe” are used increasingly. In just a two-week span the word “bored” grew 127.6 percent while “thinking of you” is experiencing a 35.52 percent share rate. Aside from empathy, humor is at the forefront of interactions with a separate report finding that 73 percent use humor to help loved ones overcome difficulties, and 82 percent use it as a means to cope with the current state of the world.

Concern, care, levity, and support are themes that translate into visuals that help people meaningfully stay connected even when afar and alleviate stress and anxiety. Beyond this, visual communications and messaging have also played an increasing role in driving social impact. In the context of the Black Lives Matter movement, a dedicated sticker launched earlier this month now has been shared more than 76,000 times, and is the top sticker shared on Venmo.

Listening to the trends in conversations during this time and what your consumers need will continue to be integral long after the pandemic. By applying these insights to your approach, your brand can become a more valuable contributor to the conversation.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

The post How to Market Your Business During Times of Uncertainty appeared first on Social Media Week.

5 Free Tools to Grow Your Small Business

Change is all around us and an overarching goal in our industry is to find the silver lining in the context of the uncertain. This especially holds for smaller businesses — chances are you are looking to the platform and other digital tools to manage and market your business. By focusing on the basics, you can not only stay true to your goals and the reasons behind why you exist, but you can also dedicate more energy and efforts towards staying inspired, innovating, and growth.

Here are five free tools you should consider to help you achieve your objectives:

Vimeo Create

Marketers are turning to alternative ways to stay connected in an age of social distancing, including video, yet small business owners and entrepreneurs don’t have the tools, time or budgets to make videos at the volume and quality needed to compete. New tools allow businesses to focus on creative insight and communicate meaningfully at scale and eases some of the challenges presented by the modern video format.

With Vimeo Create, available on desktop and as an app, businesses can create videos in minutes by tapping into pre-made, professionally curated video templates customizable to their specific needs and millions of stock photos, videos, and royalty-free music. They can also opt to roll up their sleeves further by starting from scratch integrating their own video footage shot from a mobile device. After the video is finalized, marketers can automatically tailor the content for each of their social channels including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Vimeo is expanding on its goal to level the playing field of video creation through a new campaign: Get Business Moving. From now until July 17 Vimeo is offering free three-month subscriptions to users who register through the Vimeo Create mobile app. This includes unlimited access to all Create video templates, millions of stock images and videos, custom branding tools, distribution, and analytics to promote your business during this challenging time. As part of this launch, Vimeo is also releasing new Create templates and debuting an educational guide on how to get back up and running.


Since its launch in 2012, Canva has found steady growth for its consistent delivery on a mission to enable the whole world to design. With Canva, you can create everything from invites and posters to website ads and landing pages. A big use case for the platform is its slideshow-maker Presentations, which now lets users edit slide decks on mobile devices and easily optimize them for smaller screens, embed them with video, social posts, and other visuals, and push them live with shareable URLs.

As of 2019 Canva was valued at $3.2 billion and boasts over 20 million users, including over 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies, across 190 countries. Collectively, the community is responsible for more than 1 million presentations created each week and it hasn’t shown signs of growth during COVID-19. In response to the pandemic, Canva released a feature allowing users access to a library of easily editable Zoom background templates. With this, people can bring a little fun to the table when they can’t be in a conference room with their colleagues paired with a touch of personalization, allowing people to either use designer-made backgrounds or their own designs.

Separately, with the launch of Facebook “Shops,” Canva introduced a collection of optimized design templates for free in addition to a range of resources tailored to support small businesses across a variety of industries including retail and restaurant who are especially confronted with hardship. Finally, FedEx and Cava announced a partnership centered around a digital design-to-print marketplace for struggling businesses to create the professionally printed materials needed to get back to business


Unsplash entered the scene in 2013 as a Tumblr blog and since evolved into one of the leading stock photo libraries. Currently, over 10 billion Unsplash images are seen every month with an average single photo featured on the site garnering more views than the front page of The New York Times. They also have more image downloads a month than Shutterstock, Getty Images, and Adobe Stock combined and more contributors than Wikipedia.

To participate, you can simply upload an image to the site and artificial intelligence will analyze the image and add keywords and then promote it across Unsplash feeds and under relevant searches. What’s especially unique is that reach doesn’t require massive amounts of personal data hyper-targeting — the photo’s utility and message put them in front of the right audience. Unsplash is not restricted to any geographic region allowing principles of diversity, inspiration, connection, and sharing to dominate its community in lieu of strict copyright and legal red tape.

Beyond PowerPoints and business plans, images are increasingly being used to tell stories in today’s world when we either fortunately or unfortunately, are dependent on the screen to understand human stories during this global pandemic. In this vein, Unsplash recently leveraged its platform and distribution power to create a coronavirus response library for the UN, which served as a visual Public Service Announcement system for the cause.

You can learn more about Unsplash in this recap of a session featuring its CEO Mikael CEO that took place during #SMWONE.

HubSpot CRM

Customer relationship management is essential to any and every business but solutions are not one-size-fits-all and finding the right mix for your marketing stack can be daunting. If you’re unsure where to start or if you’re a smaller business tight on resources, HubSpot CRM is a solid contender for its intuitive interface, flexibility, and widespread set of features to meet a variety of needs across email tracking and notifications prospect tracking, meeting, and scheduling.

Specifically, free CRM features offered by HubSpot include a built-in activity stream with notifications delivered immediately after a lead opens an email, clicks on a link, or downloads an important document, a real-time email metrics including open rates and click-through rates, a library of email templates designed for every step of your customer’s journey and the option to create your own, and storage of up to 1 million contact and company records using their email addresses, inbox, or form submissions.

With business growth comes the need to organize critical information and a CRM is an essential tool in informing both long-term strategies and on-the-fly decisions — a balance marketers are grappling with now more than ever.


Information overload is not a new term yet we continue to be plagued by its effects, uncertain which sources to trust and not having the time to trace down the insights we need across a multitude of sources.

Feedly is an app with the goal of sharing information and connecting marketers with the topics they’re most passionate about without the hassle and headaches. Across Twitter feeds, research journals, business and tech publications, YouTube channels, leading newspapers, or niche publications, the app leverages AI to organize information so you can skim by topic and extract the headlines you need to advance your career whether just by following the latest updates or developing a new skill or area of expertise.

Along the educational vein, major platforms are stepping up in recent months to offer courses and resources catered to what is going on in the world including LinkedIn, Facebook, Reddit, and Snapchat. These cover top-of-mind topics such as productivity and mindfulness and ways to boost your advertising efforts.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

The post 5 Free Tools to Grow Your Small Business appeared first on Social Media Week.

How to Tell a Captivating Brand Story

Using storytelling as a tool for brands to engage consumers is not a new concept and it usually doesn’t take much convincing to get brand executives on board. After all, stories are how our brains make sense of the world. They’re how we relate to each other, how we create meaning from our own experiences, and how we humanize brands to create a more personal experience for consumers.

If you want to incorporate more captivating storytelling into your brand messaging this year, the tools below are a great place to start.

Focus on your purpose, not your product

Founders are often shocked to hear that the products they’ve worked so hard to perfect should not actually be front and center of their brand story. As hard as it is to hear, your product is not your story. Rather, your story lies in your purpose – your reason for existing at all. Your products are just part of your toolset to help you get there.

Nike is a great example of this concept in action. Nike’s mission is to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world (and if you have a body, you’re an athlete). With this mission as the driver of their ad campaigns and social content, they share stories like this and this, which have little to do with their products and everything to do with their purpose.

It’s difficult to tell emotional stories about products and much easier to elicit emotion from a mission. By telling stories that speak to their mission of inspiring the athletes in all of us, Nike creates an emotional connection to their brand that engages consumers and creates space for them to sell pretty much anything, as long as it feeds this mission. Nike could release a pair of shoelaces that support this brand purpose tomorrow and we’d all undoubtedly flock to the stores to purchase them, not because we believe that shoelaces are imperative to strong athletic performance, but because we believe that Nike supports us as athletes.

Name the hero (and the villain)

Your customers are the heroes of your story, so make that known by naming the villain they’re up against. It could be global warming, or toxic makeup, or the patriarchy. Whatever problem your brand hopes to solve, it must be front and center in your story.

Not sure who to villainize in your story? Think back to your purpose. What are you protecting your customers against? What behaviors does your brand attempt to change with its existence? The enemy does not need to be your competitor. It can simply be the problem your brand aims to solve through its products, mission and messaging.

Think of your brand as a guide or mentor of sorts, steering your customers (the heroes) along the path toward their goal. Your products are part of the toolkit to help defend against the villain.

Dove does a great job of positioning the brand as a mentor on their mission toward eradicating low self esteem among girls and women worldwide. Over and over again, they tackle the villain of low self esteem through creative campaigns that portray its perils, often due to unrealistic societal expectations and dangerous stories we tell ourselves or have been told through media and pop culture. They portray their consumers as the heroes of their own stories, with Dove acting as a guide to help these heroes get to where they’re going (in this case, the other side of the self esteem scale).

Share mishaps and misadventures

A captivating story arc is just that – an arc, not a straight line. As such, it must include some trials along the way in order to keep things interesting. Not only that, but these experiences build trust between brands and consumers. Sharing vulnerable stories humanizes your brand and creates a sense of shared experience.

I love to look to Rachel Hollis as an example of this in action. Rachel Hollis is a brand in her own right, and her purpose is to support personal and professional growth for individuals who crave it. She backs this brand purpose by sharing captivating stories of her own success and the details of how she came to be where she is today.

However, she’s not afraid to share micro-moments of failure or setbacks with her audience as a means of humanizing her brand and keeping her audience engaged with a relatable story. She’s shared the ebbs and flows of her success in two of her NYT bestsellers and often takes to Instagram to highlight some of her more vulnerable moments, like this one and this one.

Don’t feel pressured to create a fairytale ending

Finally, I’ll leave you with what I think is one of the most important ingredients for successful storytelling. We’ve been trained to view a story as incomplete if it doesn’t include a happy ending where the villain is slain and the mission is accomplished. Let go of this pressure to share your story inclusive of a neatly packaged ending and embrace where you are right now on the journey, whether it’s celebrating a win or in the throes of a battle. A mission-driven brand launch usually signifies the beginning of a captivating story, not the end, and if you’re true to your brand from day one, you’ll undoubtedly build a loyal consumer base that lifts you up through rough patches.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

The post How to Tell a Captivating Brand Story appeared first on Social Media Week.

Social Media Analytics in Uncertain Times: Maintaining Agility and Brand Affinity

An important goal of brands especially at this moment in time is staying consistently informed, in real-time, in order to adapt quickly to changes. In a special #SMWONE session dedicated to this topic, panelists from NetBase Quid, Walt Disney Television, Nutrisystem, ITC Limited, and Match Marketing explored why trend analysis and baseline metrics are crucial to being agile in uncertain times.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Always start with a question: what are you trying to find out?
  • Don’t overlook Reddit, blogs and other forums for information
  • Don’t be afraid to take a look at the messaging you have already out there

How sentiment analysis can boost efficiency

Regarding one of his clients Scotties Facial Tissues, SVP of Strategy at Match Marketing, George Conboy, stated, “There’s a lot of emotion around facial tissues right now. NetBase Quid’s insights allow us to explore the emotions of the business for our client and connect with audiences more meaningfully.” Before there was more concern around the functionality of such paper products like weight and given the recent state of the world, there’s been a huge shift away from things in weight in tissues to an emphasis on emotion allowing Match to change the direction of its marketing.

In a similar vein but for a separate client, OZO, Match has been able to connect more effectively with people who express interest in experimenting with plant-based meats as they resort to cooking and dining in more often and look for healthy alternatives while being stuck at home. “The adoption curve has accelerated. We can talk to people a little further along the path so it’s more triggering behaviors versus education where we would have been a couple of months ago.”

The role of social data in shaping broader strategies

Nutrisystem’s Social Customer Care Manager, Ryan Baker, described how the importance of social listening is key for the company to keep a finger on the pulse around how people are feeling and see what they are discussing and ensure their message is appropriate. This is key as the company not only competes in the weight loss category but the meal delivery space as well.

“Sentiment analysis is big for us. We’re tracking that across Nutrisystem and South Beach Diet, which we also own. We can compare this data monthly, quarterly even yearly to confirm certain findings.” ITC’s Nand Poddar also echoed the role sentiment analysis plays for his business “NetBase Quid’s social conversations allow us to measure the sentiment of social posts around consumer anxieties and help us better understand consumer emotions and trends.”

Walt Disney Television’s Libba Peromsik, on the other hand, shared that for Disney social listening can get you insights faster which can be integral in guiding strategy and tactics. For instance, using these insights to choose the new bachelor for the hit show. “With NetBase Quid’s social listening tools we have our own instantaneous focus group with quick answers to questions around our TV Shows,” she shared.

Identifying real-time marketing opportunities and planning ahead

Aside from sentiment analysis and staying ahead of the competition, social media data can play a pivotal role in maintaining flexibility in campaign timing — helping you pivot messages as needed to keep it personalized and authentic and inform critical business decisions in real-time.

“For my industry especially people post as they watch, so I can match social conversations minute by minute to what is happening on-air and pinpoint what is the driving most-desired or least-desired reactions and leverage that for future marketing efforts,” said Peromsik. In some cases, a decision needs to be made immediately and social is the best way to get that feedback. “There could be backlash about a casting announcement and something controversial about their past that came up or maybe they tweeted something and we can use social to understand the impact of the backlash and gauge whether it’s a small but vocal group driving the conversation or is it something bigger to address.”

For Baker, Conboy, and Poddar, social listening will be core to their strategies in learning more about what the lasting behavioral change will be post-COVID. “If there’s a negative impetus for change it tends to not be permanent,” said Conboy. For Baker and Poddar there’s a growing curiosity as to whether there will be a drop in grocery delivery and where the trend of eating in the home versus dining out will ultimately net out.

“Social listening has opened up to me the importance of areas such as Reddit. If you go down the rabbit hole enough you can find a lot of marketing opportunities there, added Baker.

As a few parting insights, Baker and Conboy shared, “Don’t be afraid to take a look at the messaging you have. You may be doing everything perfectly and appropriately.” Further, start with a question. What are you trying to find out? This may evolve as you go deeper but as a guidepost, this question is a solid place to start as you use social listening.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

The post Social Media Analytics in Uncertain Times: Maintaining Agility and Brand Affinity appeared first on Social Media Week.

How Major Platforms are Standing in Solidarity with the Black Community

For roughly 10 days Americans have gathered to protest the issues of systemic racism, violence, and brutality that our POC communities have suffered at the hands of the authorities. Protests have erupted in virtually every American state, in small towns and major cities alike, and even overseas in Europe and New Zealand.

Social media platforms have also taken action spanning financial support to organizations fighting against racial inequality and promoting education so we can create a pathway towards better education and understanding of how we can support the cause with empathy.

Here’s what we’ve seen from each of the major companies:

Twitter #Allyship Overview

Beyond updating its main profile to reflect its support for the protests, Twitter is also leveraging its #StartSmall initiative to allocate several grants to support organizations designed to address racial inequality. This includes Colin Kaepernick‘s “Know Your Rights Camp” aimed to advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, and mass-mobilization.

Most importantly, the platform shared its top insights around how people can improve how they respond to racial inequality in a new guide for allyship. In order to respond, people first need to “understand the historical and structural contexts that have led to racism and discrimination…At Twitter, our principles of allyship are simple: Learn, Ask, Show up, and Speak up,” Marium R. Qureshi and Jade Williams explained in a recent blog post. By this definition, allyship is not about who you are but a commitment to be authentic and consistent in your education around these critical topics.

When you ask questions of friends and colleagues, do so empathetically and avoid coming from a place of disbelief. A couple of example questions following these best practices include “If you have the time/energy, do you feel comfortable sharing your experience with me?” and This week is heavy. How are you feeling/coping?” As far as speaking up and showing up, consider donating to organizations fighting for racial justice and police reform to help further the cause and exercise your voice and right to vote. Conduct a self-audit of whose in your circle and who you interact with online.

LinkedIn Learning: A Pathway to Inclusivity

We must invest our time to become better informed and develop a deeper understanding and awareness that will allow us to properly empathize with black communities who are suffering. This is key in gaining true perspective on the current movement, and the more people are educated, the better equipped we’ll be to enact effective, long-term change.

In this vein, LinkedIn has released several free courses within a “Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging for All” track, covering key topics spanning unconscious bias, addressing culturally sensitive issues, how to hire and retain diverse talent, and more. “Investing in our own learning to understand and confront bias, communicate about topics of difference, and create change can help us individually contribute to building a better workplace and society,” said Hari Srinivasan, Vice President of Product for LinkedIn Learning.

Beyond this, the platform also acknowledges that being a strong ally begins with listening, so it is utilizing its social channels to share stories that amplify perspectives from the Black community. Pathways to better understand are integral to success and LinkedIn is positioned well to bring the awareness needed at the moment via its widespread access to professional and educational insights that can help underscore gaps needing to be addressed.

Pinterest: Elevating Content on Racial Justice

Pinterest is taking a broad approach to its efforts starting with its platform and internal team and extending to external audiences directly supporting the movement.

More specifically, within the app content on racial justice is being elevated as a means to help people stay informed. This includes tips for assessing and adjusting your own mentality and how to approach younger children on the subject. There will also be content guiding users to organizations to support and various resources to learn more about the history of systemic racism in the country. Generally, the platform is committed to growing the diversity of content on the platform and avoiding distraction from serving as a hub to support and learn. In this regard, the platform is not serving ads on Black Lives Matter results.

The company is also donating 25,000 shares of stock to “organizations committed to racial justice and promoting tolerance” and investing $250,000 to help rebuild local businesses damaged in the protests. It is also providing $750,000 in paid media to organizations that support racial justice.

TikTok’s Creator Diversity Council

June is Black Music Month and to celebrate TikTok announced it will offer dedicated programming to celebrate Black artists on the platform who “bring new music, shape culture, and help build the community.”

The platform is also doubling down on technology and strategies around addressing potentially harmful content and creating a more user-friendly appeals process. Along these lines, TikTok plans to develop a creator diversity council to lead impact-driven programs led by the voices driving culture, creativity, and conversations necessary in making an even bigger impact on the problem.

Outside of its team and community, TikTok is donating $3 million from its “Community Relief Fund” to non-profits that help the Black community and an additional $1 million toward fighting racial injustice and inequality that we are witnessing in this country. Also in the music space, YouTube is financially stepping up by offering $1 million to organizations seeking to address injustice.

Leading with Empathy

Finally, the leaders behind Snapchat, Reddit, Facebook, and Instagram have all taken a personal approach to their response leading with emotion-driven memos.

Facebook is committing $10 million to racial injustice and lifting Black voices in addition to partnering with civil rights advisors in its efforts. Along with Instagram, it has also switched all profiles to black and white colors in support of recent events. Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri uploaded a personal IGTV response on his own profile underscoring his eagerness and drive to channel frustration, hurt, and anger into positive change.

Similarly, Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel in his own statement called for the creation of an American commission to address racial injustice, and comprehensive tax reform as the way forward. Taking even more drastic measures, Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian has resigned from his position urging the board to replace him with a Black candidate and will use future gains on his Reddit stock to serve the black community, beginning with a $1 million donation to Kaepernick’s ‘Know Your Rights’ initiative.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

The post How Major Platforms are Standing in Solidarity with the Black Community appeared first on Social Media Week.

Please check out and subscribe to the Mike Armstrong YouTube Channel – #MikeArmstrong

Enjoy Business & Life Coaching Videos as well as Sales, Marketing, Blogging, Podcasting, Networking and Entrepreneurship videos from Mike Armstrong and other Entrepreneurs, Motivators and Personal Development Coaches and Mentors on the Mike Armstrong YouRube Channel #MikeArmstrong #MikeArmstrongVideos #MikeArmstrongYouTube — view and subscribe on

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See

How Data Science and Predictive Modeling Can Scale Your Influencer Efforts

In an industry where there are many points of friction for influencer marketers and algorithms, artificial intelligence, and machine learning solutions seem to penetrate every sector and business category, how can businesses establish strategies to scale ROI? How can they scale the identification of their creator partners? How can they increase confidence in content?

During #SMWONE, CreatorIQ’s Head of Customer Success, Brooke Hennon joined by Bhavin Desai, VP of Product Strategy, addressed these questions breaking down how the platform is using advanced data science to create intuitive influencer marketing solutions. Through a holistic, outcomes-based recommendation engine, CreatorIQ is combining multiple data science models spanning influencer identification, content attribution prediction, and audience targeting.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Any person with a social presence can be an influencer
  • To scale the reach and frequency of your campaigns, lean on lookalike audience-powered media
  • To scale the reach and frequency of your campaigns, lean on lookalike audience-powered media

Finding the best creators for your campaigns

A common paint point amongst marketers if finding the right influencers to partner with. The vast majority put a significant amount of time against searching for more influencers that match the aspirational collaborations or already in-flight relationships and desire efficiency. According to Hennon and Desai, right now this process is an art form without guidance and data science is a key solution to helping it become less subjective and more efficient so desired results can be achieved.

“We’re leaving millions of data points across performance, creator approvals, brand affinity, and industry alignment to build a recommendation engine trained to identify the best creators for any campaign.” By constantly evaluating performance data, additional creators can be added on-demand to the engineer based on current high-performing creators. This system can also be leveraged by lookalike creators but specific to a certain demographic (e.g. I want 10 more influencers like this but based in London for this next campaign). Beyond location, gender and interests are other elements that can be used to help identify best fit creators. This can all be combined with the core campaign and brand goals to help identify the best fit creators for any campaign.

“As influencer marketing grows, it needs to scale to go to toe-to-toe with other marketing methods. We have to do it more efficiently,” said Hennon. This starts with finding and collaborating with the right influencers with strong performing content that aligns with your brand.

Increase content confidence with content attribute prediction

Once you’ve honed your identification strategy, the second step focuses on scaling content performance. When thinking of content direction to use to brief influencers, marketers often use little science and, again, rely on subjectivity much like when they set out to look for influencers at the onset of a campaign. To address this, CreatorIQ leverages several approaches to identify and drive the delivery of high-performing content.

“What resonates on TikTok is very different from what resonates on Facebook,” Desai claimed. To remove some of the guesswork, the company is leaning into visual insights to build data science models focused on the identification and recommendation of high-performing content. This is in partnership with some of the leading virtual recognition engines like Google Vision to analyze tens of millions of pieces of content. From this information, custom models are built that can correlate to specific visual and performance attributes detected within the content and provide recommendations around what has the highest likelihood to perform well. This is particularly informative when devising paid campaigns.

A key takeaway: content attribution prediction is not only useful in driving content confidence in the present but can be a useful mechanism to future-proofing briefs in additional campaigns. Frequently influencer marketers lack the bandwidth to build data-driven briefs and this is a solution that takes the headache out of this equation.

“Another key outcome of the visual insights model is the ability to leverage data from the content to not just recommendation campaign content but also deliver refined creator requirements to drive the creation of high-performing content,” explained Desai.

Scaling audience targeting and reach

Marketers want to maximize the reach of the influencers’ best performing content — beyond the fans and followers of partner influencers There are several variables to consider in the influencer space from content to people to different audiences and knowing which levers to pull is a recurring problem. How can there be a more elegant and effective way to amplify content?

CreatorIQ is addressing this question heads on with a model that leverages influencer data like demographics, organic and paid performance to drive the creation of lookalike audience seed segments that are used as inputs to social platform audience targeting

“We have seen significant improvements in conversion data when compared to standalone audience targeting available within the platforms directly, for example, Facebook’s Ads Manager,” Desai explained. What this boils down to is brands having the ability to take a subset of influencers correlated with high performance within a designated campaign and then identify additional lookalike influencers based on those performing well. These can be leveraged to create a “seed segment” that drives lookalike audience targeting. The immediate result to note: improvements on ad spend.

“Any person with a social presence can be an influencer,” said Hennon closing out the session. Build your army of brand ambassadors by recruiting employees or super fans of your product.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

The post How Data Science and Predictive Modeling Can Scale Your Influencer Efforts appeared first on Social Media Week.

How the Coronavirus is Changing the State of the U.S. Consumer

Real-time market insights platform Suzy conducted two studies between April 24th through the 29th on the state of the U.S. consumer during COVID-19. The first was conducted from the 24th to the 26th with a sample of 750 participants while the second was conducted from the 26th through the 29th with a sample of 1,000 participants. During #SMWONE, CEO Matt Britton broke down the key insights stemming from the research.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • The behaviors exhibited behind closed doors today, will become the new real-world habits of tomorrow
  • Brands that pivot to become helping” or “ingredient” brands are the ones most likely to succeed after the pandemic is behind us
  • DIY is a form of catharsis for consumers during these difficult times

The formation of long-term habits

According to a 2009 study by Phillipa Lally, it takes 66 days for a person to develop a habit. At this point of the pandemic, we’re well into this window of time where consumers are adopting everyday activities that will likely last long beyond the pandemic and disrupt how we speak to and connect with consumers.

This isn’t to say every single decision being made during quarantine has this impact, but there are several key areas where behaviors exhibited today will become the new-world habits of tomorrow. These encompass at-home cooking and self-care, remote learning and working from home, and this notion of having more time on our hands that are fundamentally impacting today’s businesses.

DIY as a form of catharsis

A major theme of the COVID-19 pandemic is consumers being left to their own devices and being forced to adopt new habits where they’re taking more activities into their own hands that they once outsourced to others. Leading in this space is cooking followed by chores, laundry, baking, self-care, home repair, pet care, and sewing. Seventy-five percent of consumers believe they are now more skilled in the kitchen and over 50 percent believe they will continue to cook more after the crisis. In the beauty sector, 54 percent report they’re conducting at-home self-care or beauty treatments to replace spas.

Britton believes the food and beverage industry is the industry that will be impacted most on a long-term basis in addition to travel and hospitality as a close second. In the next five to 10 years, however, we can expect them to return to a state of normalcy but the caveat is that the companies in these spaces will have to make substantial business decisions that involve reshaping their go-to-market strategies. More specifically, this will involve selling your brand as an “ingredient” or “helping” brand, acknowledging that now your product or service can solve the pain points of DIY. L’Oreal partnering with Eva Longorio for an ad shot from her house where she used a product to dye her own hair and Mattel Playroom’s campaign “Play is Never Cancelled” are prime examples.

Time is money

More than half, (54%) of Americans are worried about finances as a result of COVID-19, which comes as no surprise. With mounting layoffs occurring and unemployment rates that could reach up to 20 percent, consumers are finding ways to reframe their routines within the confines of evolving budgetary parameters to prioritize how and where they spend. And we’re even looking ahead to the forthcoming holiday season. Thirty-nine percent state they plan to spend less on gifts for the holidays in December 2020 than they did in 2019.

If Americans are spending less money, what are they doing? They’re re-evaluating how they’re spending more time. They have less money but they have more time and this will be spent cooking at home (60%), engaging in at-home fitness activity (39%), and educating themselves via outlets like YouTube.

“In a new world of ingredient brands, DIY, where consumers have more time – YouTube has to be a place where brands place because consumers are living there. Brands need to invest in the right amount of content to educate their consumers and give them the tips and tools they need to really engage and embrace in this new DIY lifestyle.”

Redefining what it means to be social

Whether you’re considering a middle school student navigating how to interact with teachers and peers over Zoom or a salesperson trying to sell a new service or tool and create an emotional connection with potential customers without face-to-face interaction, one thing is clear: the entire world has had to redefine what it means to be social and interact.

From Zoom happy hours to birthday parties and weddings, the recurring question becomes what part of this reality is good enough? Put differently, COVID-19 has awakened us to the idea that certain businesses can operate at optimal levels virtually. From this critical examination, we can arrive at innovative conclusions that challenge our previously held assumptions and that improve our livelihoods in ways we couldn’t previously have imagined.

Online learning, for instance, has grown in popularity where resources like Skillshare and Coursera are enabling people to take this time to learn more and prepare themselves in ways that will set them up for success post-COVID. Online fitness is another key area, where influencers and personal trainers are using their at-home studios to offer online training sessions that many find are more effective as training in-person.

Due to emerging platforms like TikTok, Squad and Houseparty, and existing apps including Instagram, the virtual experience economy is booming. Artists like DJ DNice amongst numerous influencers and celebrities are tapping into these outlets to drive a deeper point of connection and more loyal fandoms that will stick around following the pandemic in the absence of mass gatherings. In this vein, gaming is also experiencing widespread success with Fortnite, Twitch, and even Microsoft’s Minecraft offer that common point of connection that is harder to come by in the absence of enginga with someone in real life.

Old habits: from not to hot

Thanks to COVID-19, more traditional habits that once dominated culture are now seeing a revival and are being used in tandem with emerging technologies., Per Britton, to stay connected users are primarily relying on physical phone calls (57%) followed by Facebook (55%), Whatsapp (36%), Instagram (34%), Facetime (26%), Skype (21%), and Zoom (19%).

A major concern over the past few months is whether colleges and universities will return. “The notion of the four year college may still exist, but what consumers seek to learn coming out of the pandemic may fundamentally change,” Britton explained. When assessing the 20 skills most in demand today, they are very trade and skill-based including items such as cloud computing, SEO, UX design, and video production, all of which aren’t traditionally taught in a liberal arts environment.

The major takeaway: the technology companies are where the jobs are, where GDP is expanding and this is not likely to change. For this reason, it’s unlikely students not want to incur debt for a system that doesn’t prepare them to succeed in this capacity. This is supported by research findings that state since COVID people are more likely to pay for online education in the future (69%).

Education aside, engaging with neighbors is making a comeback, in addition to crosswords, puzzles, and old-school games like Nintendo Switch, Sony Playstations and XBoxes. Mobile has been king for years in media conversations but since the outbreak of COVID-19, 64 percent said computer laptops and tablets have been integral to their day-to-day lives.

“Anyone can come up with a campaign, but brands today really need to ask themselves how they’re going to make decisions that will impact the fabric and DNA of the business,” Britton shared in one of his final thoughts during Q&A.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

The post How the Coronavirus is Changing the State of the U.S. Consumer appeared first on Social Media Week.

How to Prepare Your Brand for the Not So Distant Future: 2.22.22

Where will the world be on February 2, 2022? What can we expect the business landscape to look like? What brands will see success and which ones won’t? What will be important to consumers?

All of these are important questions that are top of mind for marketers and will continue to be in the months and years ahead. During #SMWONE Suzy CEO Matt Britton tapped into up to the minute research from his team to play the role of futurist and paint a broad picture of the world we will be living in on the other side of COVID-19.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Consumers want variety; not quantity when it comes to their purchases
  • Secondary and tertiary cities are on the path to become the new “hot spots”
  • People are ultimately more fascinating than brands and influencers will be behind the brands that take off

Living: the “accordion effect”

According to Britton, the global pandemic will result in an “accordion effect” in which people will gravitate away from the big cities like New York or San Francisco. Meanwhile, secondary and tertiary cities like Columbus, Ohio, Denver, Colorado, and Denton, Texas are on the path to become the new “hot spots.” “Suburban sprawl simply is not that appealing to the millennial generation,” he added.

What are the tangential effects of this transition? Appreciation is these lower-tiered markets and home prices in areas like New York or San Francisco leveling off. With this, we may see a trickle-down effect whereby there is a resurgence in automobile purchases. This potential increase in demand for consumers buying cars, however, could result in reduced demand in the long-term, for ride-sharing companies like Lyft and Uber preferred for their ubiquity.

Buying: consumers want variety

Consumers want variety; not quantity when it comes to apparel. One may assume this would open the window of opportunity for retailers but in a down market, this isn’t the case. Britton elaborated with several examples including J.Crew recently filing for bankruptcy and Gap claiming some of its stories will never reopen.

“These companies surely lean too heavily into a brick and mortar layout and did not pivot nearly fast enough to an e-commerce model,” Britton explained.

He pointed to Rent the Runway (RTR) and Ipsy, recently announcing it surpassed $5M in revenue, as prime examples of business models that will continue to be sustainable because the trends of consumers wearing garments less and less or wanting the convenience of beauty products sent to their home is not going to reverse.

Another important retail trend: companies will increasingly look to take over control of their own consumer experience. Nike, for instance, pulled its products off of Amazon this past November. This also holds for the CPG space. In a world of Amazon Prime, companies including Million Dollar Shave Clubface increased pressure to establish a more scalable e-commerce strategy.

“If I’m the CPGs, I’m trying to form a coalition where there are prime benefits where Costco, with traditional CPGs, can compete against Amazon, and maybe P&G one day will make the same decision that Nike made,” explained Britton.

The growing role of influencers

Surfacing headlines are posing the common question: could the coronavirus kill the influencer culture? Per Britton, “influencer culture is just begging and it is here to stay.”

Something Navy fashion blogger cracked a deal with Nordstrom and started to sell her own clothing. In this wavelength, he also mentioned Danielle Berstein who with her “We Wore What” blog is building a bigger audience through socially responsible posts across content and supporting small businesses with her efforts. IN turn, she’s seeing tremendous success via launching new products with numerous retailers.

“People are ultimately more fascinating than brands and influencers will be behind the brands that take off.”

Look no further than the TV space for prime examples of this idea, specifically the story of Oprah Winfrey’s rise to fame as she became a brand in her own right. The same trend will likely take form within the fashion space, per Britton. Influential people who have the right audiences and are built from the ground up will be able to create sustainable, digitally-native businesses that evolve into the new Gaps and the new Nordstroms of the future.

Brands as “ingredient” or “helping” brands

Years ago Home Depot coined the tagline “You can do it. We can help.” As consumers realize they can no longer rely on the services that they once did in a pre-crisis environment, they are now resorting to their own devices. 43 percent of dog owners, for instance, claim they will switch to DIY grooming.

Mattel Playroom, as another example, is using this time to encourage families and children to come up with their own toys in its “Play is Never Cancelled” — this concept of taking what you bought from us and make it bigger and better. Finally, Eva Longoria shocked the Internet when she took to dying her own hair in a L’Oreal ad she filmed herself from her house.

Whether these new habits actually take hold post-COVID, there is a powerful meaning behind brands taking an uncertain time and empowering consumers by giving them the raw ingredients to push forward — a role Britton referred to as “helping brands.”

This is also the case for the food and beverage industry as food preparation has come back into the home. Seventy-five percent of consumers believe they’re more skilled in the kitchen now and over 50 percent believe they will continue to cook more after the crisis. “This will create a substantial shift where these companies who have relied on their packaging and merchandise for years now have to reinvent themselves in a world where their products will be bought digitally, and more consumers are cooking at home on a regular basis,” said Britton.

Entertainment: redefining fun

In the absence of live events, platforms like TikTok and Houseparty are allowing the ability for brands and influencers to collaborate in meaningful and compelling ways. Houseparty specifically saw 17.2M total downloads in March with users carrying out virtual dinner parties, celebrating birthdays, and playing trivia and Pictionary to pass the time at home.

Gaming is also taking off with users engaging with one another on Animal Crossing esports and newcomer apps like Squad. In terms of music, platforms Fortnite and Instagram have become central and taken over the role of “concert venue.” Travis Scott did an entire performance in the form of an avatar on the Fortnite platform that drew in over 12M concurrent viewers. DJs too are using this moment of time to redefine their personal brands, DJ DNice rising to the top for his daily quarantine sets performed on Instagram that draw celebrities like Jennifer Lopez to the crowd.

Work and travel: a slow return

Britton believes travel will come back in full force much like the hospitality space, but it won’t be immediate. As companies struggle with budget cuts and want to avoid the liability of returning to work at the office too quickly, many are taking it upon themselves to postpone major events and issue work from home mandates into 2021.

Similarly to dining out, however, there is an inherent desire to travel and it will return. What is likely to be more apparent in the near future is people opting to travel by car when they’re not as ready to jump on a plane right away. Enter the C2C models of businesses like Airbnb who, despite recently laying off thousands of employees, have a likelihood of finding success for cash strapped homeowners looking for more income and individuals who want quick getaways that are safer than returning to air travel.

Regarding the future of the workplace, businesses are taking serious consideration that not every person across every department needs to be working from the office in order to collaborate and giving employees flexibility as to where they live can boost morale. In short, Britton believes companies will reevaluate their spaces.


While many workers thrive from home, students are struggling to prosper in a remote learning environment, according to Britton.

For younger generations, school is a place for building friendships, escaping from the house, learning responsibility, and seeing their friends and building core communication and interpersonal skills. 54 percent of parents with students engaged in a remote learning situation due to COVID-19 say it’s a daily struggle to support career and parenting during the day per recent findings from Suzy.

When assessing the 20 skills most in demand today, they are very trade and skill-based including items such as cloud computing, SEO, UX design, and video production, all of which aren’t traditionally taught in a liberal arts environment. The major takeaway: the technology companies are where the jobs are, where GDP is expanding and this is not likely to change. For this reason, it’s unlikely students not want to incur debt for a system that doesn’t prepare them to succeed in this capacity. “There are so many skills in demand that aren’t skills where you’re a jack of all trade or a master of none. I expect us to see a reverberation of demand for skills-based learning and skills-based schools versus generalist schools,” said Britton.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

The post How to Prepare Your Brand for the Not So Distant Future: 2.22.22 appeared first on Social Media Week.

Humanity, Trust and Communication: The Keys to Balancing Creativity and Data

Collaboration between data and creative experts requires early and clear communication. For marketers, this entails exploring beyond the traditional industry disconnect between data and creative. A sound strategy is often the bridge between the two disciplines, but early data integration future proofs a creative success for brands.

During #SMWONE Grey‘s Justine Armour, Beth Rolfs, and Kenny Gold were joined by Twitter’s Tom Chirico to explore the challenges and proven solutions to a successful partnership of the two disciplines for insight-driven creative and why this balance, now more than ever, is integral in driving meaningful engagement.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Bigger doesn’t always equal better
  • Balanced communication and trust lead to work that impacts culture
  • Data needs humanity now more than ever

Insights are Breadcrumbs of Human Behavior

“An insight is built from observable human truth — and it uncovers the why,” shared Rolfs. This “why” can carry many different meanings depending on the context — but it’s a why that offers audiences that information that makes them have the special realization moments of “I feel that deep down,” or “why didn’t I think of it that way?”

Chirco, in agreement, offered an example of where insights truly served as the breadcrumbs of behavior when Twitter partnered with Disney to launch the new Frozen II trailer resulting in a live event that streamed for 24 hours where people could watch at any point and tweet along with fellow Frozen fans as well as the cast and creative directors behind the film. “In this instance, data gave us these really interesting nuggets of behavior and layering these on conversations and in real-talk, with parents, we realized we were onto something.”

The underlying power of data partnering with creativity is being able to break category norms, connect with new audiences, and gain a foundational knowledge that translates into a powerful cultural dialogue. This applied in this case study and also applies when you’re building creativity off of purchasing behavior explained Gold pointing to Grey’’s work with Gillette in the “We Believe” campaign.

Debunking the Rivalry

All of the panelists agreed that the conjured up image of a magic versus logic battlefield simply wasn’t accurate and there are no winners. Both Gold and Rolfs reiterated that the work is stronger when done in collaboration and there is a recognition that they are chasing the same dream. “As a data person, there’s a tendency for me to get too in the numbers. Creatives have taught me to focus on the audience you’re presenting to on a deeper level.”

Chirco described his merged team that merges both data and creative functions into one line of reporting in a “hand-in-hand” Batman and Robin fashion. “In real-time, we’re tweaking their ideation and research fluidly in early rounds and there is an implicit trust between both groups in this process.”

Echoing the notion of fluidity, Gold added, “Creating amazing campaigns is like a symphony…Every movement in every song is different…Our ability to understand when to move together and give the space to breathe is when we make the best music.”

Humanized Data Brings the Spark

What makes data interesting? When it humanizes the story. This doesn’t always necessitate using the data that has the most volume. “Bigger isn’t always better. The data that has the most volume is often the most obvious and therefore not the most useful,” explained Rolfs. Rather, the smaller data points and conversations on the surface are more impactful.

“Data helps you understand that social media is nuanced and the creativity you build needs to be nuanced to land better once it’s out in the world and reach people in the right way,” added Gold. In short, data allows you to pick the right channel at the right moments. With this said, there needs to be balanced communication and implicit trust between the creative and data parties in order to navigate this journey.

Chirco offered the analogy of data as putty, serving as the mold that forms the creative instincts. Alone, it simply won’t come up with the idea but serves as the critical foundation that gives shape to the campaign and keeps it whole. Armour added to this reiterating data’s role as inspiration, the spark, as opposed to a mandate. When this happens, the work feels too scientific and lacks room for the spontaneity that will allow the message to cut through the clutter.

The Evolution of Data and Creativity: Post-COVID

When reflecting on the current state of marketing and what a post-COVID world would look like in respect to balancing data and creativity, the group was unanimous that more than ever data needs to be grounded in humanity.

“Data needs to have that counterbalance of humanity and creativity to help it fit the times we’re dealing with. If we just go out there with the gut emotional feeling you’re going to get what you’re seeing is a lot of montages.”

Rolfs agreed underscoring marketers should look to the fringes for more meaningful information and put the challenge on unearthing consumer behaviors “Behavior is our richest territory. Right now culture feels a bit muted, but so many interesting new behaviors evolving outside of everyone just staying home and connecting with our family. It’s bigger than the obvious message and immediate data.”

A key takeaway from these points: As we look ahead, it’s incumbent on marketers, especially creatives, to think outside of the box to use data to create not re-create.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

The post Humanity, Trust and Communication: The Keys to Balancing Creativity and Data appeared first on Social Media Week.

How to Build a Multi-Layered Influencer Strategy with Empathy

Over the last few months, millions of influencers have openly shared their experiences related to COVID-19 — good and bad. Marketers must also take this moment to reflect and find ways to bring empathy as they look to meet each of their partners where they are by asking questions and leverage digital platforms to communicate in more timely and authentic ways. During #SMWONE CreatorIQ’s Director of Partnerships, Jenny Risch was joined by Jennifer Powell, CEO and Founder of JP Inc. and influencer guest, Mary Lawless Lee, to explore this topic in depth and hear their expert insights as to what’s working or not and why.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Being creative can be as simple as resetting at the ground level
  • Don’t overlook the power of the gentle touch of outreach
  • Influencers are as cognizant of their voice in the market right now as you are as a brand

Choosing a partner

Different influencers are likely to be impacted by this crisis in different ways — Rish stressed — so take this time to truly get to know the various types of influencers and how their goals may be shifting. For instance, mega and macro-influencers make a majority of their income from being an influencer. With this in mind, coming to them with an upfront agreement mapping our several months or more of work is essential to create a trusted long-term relationship. Looking at a micro-influencer, on the other hand, that likely treats this work as a side hustle, would more likely be interested in hearing about discounts, product exchanges, and other promotions to maintain work with brands.

A few basics practices Rish offered to incorporate into your approach:

  • Do reach out with empathy. Ask both existing and prospective partners how they’re doing even if you don’t have the budget to work with them at the moment.
  • Do be open-minded when it comes to your brief — your influencers may have fresh ideas that translate into big opportunities
  • Don’t assume business is usual just because they haven’t posted any pandemic-related content
  • Don’t engage with a partner before understanding their personal and family’s well being.

“Now more than ever influencers are as cognizant of their voice in the market right now as you are as a brand,” said Rish. As a marketer you have the unique opportunity to shape briefs and creative strategies now with your partners based on the experiences influencers are having and the new things they’re trying out from a content standpoint that may resonate and that they can organically bring to life for you.

Establishing trust amidst uncertainty

“The beauty of working with an influencer is that they are their audience’s friend — and that relationship is special and has a lot of trust. As brands reach out and re-engage during this time, trusting that influencer and their leadership to deliver the best message and leaning into what that influencer advises is important,” shared Lee on the topic of what establishing trust looks like today and how to set the right tone for a partnership out of the gate. Powell chimed in adding that constantly having a finger on the pulse of readers has been key for major players like Lee and Danielle Berstein. Specifically, this practice of social listening translates into a key data resource and helps inform constructive feedback when discussing with brands what types of content works and what doesn’t.

This isn’t to say brands shouldn’t be involved in these conversations and the gentle touch of outreach shouldn’t be overlooked especially now. “It’s so important for the brand to get to know the talent whether that turns into a compensated relationship off the bat or just to meet and to hopefully partner down the road…for me that’s always been an important part of what I do especially when considering a mega or macro influencer like Mary.”

Pointing to her own story of transitioning her brick and mortar business online, Lee added that it’s a two-way street. “The name of the game right now is supporting one another and meeting each other in the middle. We reached out to every brand we’ve ever worked with and asked how they could be supported through messaging and content as a whole. Many came back to us with gifting and we were able to take that and support them through stories via stories and posts.”

Resetting at the ground level to fuel creativity

Eighty-five percent of Lee’s readers have been with her for six years or more. Powell articulated that these stats are a direct result of her impact as a brand partner and a healthy community. “Her blog was always a passion project — never a job. From having a baby to opening the store and building a house it’s been an opportunity to bring brands along her life journey and share her experiences at different stages of her life.” This is equally if not more relevant in the context of COVID-19.

“We didn’t realize how many moms we had following us so lately we’re doing a lot more cooking, baby, and fitness content and it brings a smile to my face. I’m excited to take deeper dives into these topics because I genuinely love doing these things,” added Lee.

While not to downplay the crisis, both agreed there’s a silver lining and for Powell and Lee this means using the situation productively to experiment and go back to the beginning of why influencer marketing works and its role in the industry. They plan to continue leveraging new platforms and content approaches across Instagram Lives, TikTok, and LinkedIn to navigate the outcomes of the pandemic today and in the year ahead.

“Have a layered strategy with the inclusion of all of these different levels of influencers,” Powell shared in a final thought.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

The post How to Build a Multi-Layered Influencer Strategy with Empathy appeared first on Social Media Week.

Unpacking the Three Key Drivers of Live Content: FOMO, Technology and Community

Live video has surpassed the novelty phase and is now more than ever shaping how brands interact with their audiences. By tapping into Live, they can engage views in instantaneous, immersive, and authentic ways that other formats simply cannot, especially during an age of social distancing. And marketers are taking note of the trend and scaling in a variety of different ways to get a piece of the action via tools like Instagram Live, LinkedIn Live, Facebook Live, and newcomers including TikTok and Twitch.

During #SMWONE, Social Chain’s Oliver Yonchev explored the evolution of live-streaming and why it should be core to every brand’s approach. “Art may seem dramatic but I believe there are many nuances and many important principles to going live and a lot of things brands should consider,” he shared in his opening remarks.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • FOMO is powerful and can be used in any Live activation
  • Going ‘Live’ and being ‘Live’ are not the same thing
  • Anticipation is the bedfellow of fear

The key drivers of live viewing

“We are a generation of “now” where everything is ‘on-demand’, stated Yonchev. In this world, choice is underpinned by the desire to have the ability to pre-program our lives exactly how we want them and we want algorithms to serve us these things in alignment with how we want them. Enter the meteoric rise of juggernauts such as Netflix, Disney Plus, Apple, and Amazon Prime.

This is supported by stats showing that amongst the top five categories of content typically live-streamed are TV series or episodic content (45%), sports (31%), tutorials or how-to videos (30%), gaming (29%), and videos from friends and family (28%). With this, three core principles naturally evolve when taking a deeper look at these trends regarding what drives live viewing:

  • Fear of missing out (“FOMO”)
  • Technology
  • Community

“Fear, like all emotions, generally drives action. It goes back to the basics of neuroscience,” Yonchev reiterated breaking down the fundamental parts of the brain: the limbic system, the primitive brain, and the neocortex. To reiterate how fear can drive strange or atypical behaviors, he pointed to the story of how Social Chain devised a fake soccer play, Rex Secco, in an effort to make a point around how the agency could make anything the most talked about topic online in a short amount of time. The result? Over 120 million impressions including people falsely claiming they had heard of Secco before.

Regarding the use of technology and all of its variants and fostering community, Yonchev underscored that people simply don’t watch live on social media in the same way they do on traditional Live formats. Further, people have and will continue to be driven by scarcity. “In a time where we are connected like no other time in history, feeling ‘connected’ is at an all time low.”

The big takeaways: Fear of missing out is as powerful as ever and a sentiment you can apply in any Live activation. When approaching Live as a brand, change your story when the room changes and, most importantly, put humanity at the center of your engagement plans.

Formatting rules

With the principles of going Live spelled out, Yonchev then dove into the formats marketers should emphasize as they build their approaches. Going back to an earlier point he stressed, we live in an on-demand culture, so a Live format needs to acknowledge this by allowing people to leave and rejoin a Live and still know what is going on. In a word, this can be achieved with simplicity. Not underestimating the power of anticipation is also critical to success. Ultimately, the fear in FOMO can translate into anticipation which, ultimately, can boost retention. In short, fear is not always negative despite the connotation often attached to the phrase. Finally, leverage the power of virality by creating content that begs for participation whether this is through sharing, commenting, liking or otherwise.

Effective mechanics

Combined with the drivers of Live audiences and formatting best practices, there are several effective mechanics to bear in mind as you craft your Live strategy. These are grounded by three themes of interactivity, anticipation, which Yonchev described as “the bedfellow of fear,” and experience.

Quizzes and games are particularly helpful when trying to showcase products in a way that does not just bombard audiences with details but invites them to participate and learn more about the brand and make more informed decisions. Social Chain partnered with Boohoo for a live quiz show where a new question would be produced every minute for the total of an hour with winners being selected at random. From the viral loop caused by the incoming comments to the anticipation of the next winner announcement, this was a perfect storm for a successful live and the results supported this: Social Chain reached 4.6 billion people and drew 791k total engagements.

“One of the most effective forms of marketing is experience,” said Yonchev. However, experience can be costly and hard to scale but live streaming allows us to overcome these barriers. In another example, Social Chain partnered with Superdry in a digital treasure hunt where when people commented “Treat” and once a certain volume was reached, more clues would be revealed. “What this really did for the brand was take an experiential activity and bring it a whole host of people who couldn’t be there to experience and introduce to them into that part and relationship.” Social Chain has taken this to other levels from controlling live events through the music and pyrotechnics to using World Puppy day to create a “Puppy Catwalk” and launching live-stream shopping for Facebook videos.

“Download Twitch. Go live on LinkedIn. Play on Houseparty,” Yonchev urged as the session concluded.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

The post Unpacking the Three Key Drivers of Live Content: FOMO, Technology and Community appeared first on Social Media Week.

Why Trust and Authenticity are Integral to the Future of Visual Language

In an age of social distancing it’s no secret our feeds and screens have regained new prominence. These are the windows to the world now more than ever and in turn, it is our responsibility as marketers to empower social and digital channels with visual content that is authentic in line with the IRL life that we are closed off to during this pandemic.

During #SMWONE, Grey Digital Strategy Director Asad Shaykh and Unsplash CEO and Co-Founder Mikael Cho came together to explore this topic in-depth — particularly how Unsplash is empowering its community from more realistic depictions of our WFH life to supporting the UN through a visual Public Service Announcement system. They also discussed the future of visual language and how businesses and influencers can arm the world’s storytellers with an image of what is real, at a time when accurate representation is needed most.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • The more people can create the more progress we’ll see
  • Authenticity is key to remain on social
  • Trust and humanity are core to adapting to a growing immersive reality

Giving the UN the Unsplash Effect

A few weeks ago, the United Nations issued a global callout to creatives to submit their best visuals ideas to support the fight against COVID-19. After 17,000 submissions came in, the issue became finding somewhere to get them seen everywhere, quickly.

Unsplash jumped at the opportunity and mobilized by launching a UN account on the platform with the mission of getting the visuals posted there seen by 1 billion people in the span of 30 days. To achieve this, the company set aside featured placements on the company homepage and across relevant searches. All the UN visuals on Unsplash will also be open for use across its 1,820 API partners including Medium, Buzzfeed, Google Slides, Squarespace, Figma, Notion, and Adobe.

“Time and again, we’ve seen that if we can get great visuals in front of creators, they will push the impact of those visuals further than we ever could have imagined,” shared Cho in the official announcement shared on his personal Twitter account. “Our and the UN’s aim is to make sure these visuals are seen by as many people as possible.” In short, Unsplash used its platform and distribution power to become a visual Public Service Announcement system for the UN.

Usefulness: the Key to Authenticity and Trust

Beyond PowerPoints and business plans, images are increasingly being used to tell stories in today’s world when we either fortunately or unfortunately, are dependent on the screen to understand human stories during this global pandemic. When asked how Unsplash’s business has adapted and how the company is looking to maintain trust and authenticity with its visuals — Cho explained that it boils down to usefulness. Specifically, once an image circulates, it takes on its own life and meaning. As people collect images, they take on a representation grounded in human inspiration and interpretation. Currently, there are over 10M user-generated collections on Unsplash.

“Unsplash is not a social network. It’s a place for people to get visuals they can use and find the fundamental building blocks to tell a story on a platform where they already have an audience,” Cho reiterated. For the past few weeks, this has boiled down to truly listening to its community and paying attention to the shifts in the types of content they reflected in the top 20 searches they needed most during these times. Generally speaking, the platform saw a 2,000 percent (2M to 45M) uptick in DIY-centered content. The result was a new, human-curated library — one that played into Unsplash’s lateral and democratic approach to a free market with borderless creativity.

“When people create, they’re trying to make things happen. And the more they can make things happen, that’s how we make progress,” noted Cho. Put differently, Unsplash is not restricted to any geographic region and a large reason why authenticity and diversity ring true and loud through its visuals is due in large part that naturally people will fill gaps when certain content is lacking. Innate trust is bred therefore, as people are able to tell their own visual story through their own perspectives and experiences.

The future of visual branding and the role of visual language

Brands are all around us and having this acknowledged in a visual makes this notion feel more genuine. “As a brand, you may know what your brand goal is — and our job is to say here are the visuals that represent that goal and we’re going to let people create what that looks like.” In turn, you not only help people reach full potential essentially through these integrations but you create an authentic incentive to spread the message far and wide.

The world is becoming increasingly immersive and digital, but the priority should not be to withhold visuals — rather find organic ways to participate and empower audiences in fundamentally positive ways. Cho pointed to TikTok as a platform he finds leading in this space that is focused on rawness over professional quality. This applies to Unsplash as well where people are shooting either with the best camera they have or in other instances their mobile device. The big takeaway: keep humanity at the core of this evolving immersive reality. Doing otherwise is counterproductive and will only detract from a shift to digital experiences being viewed as authentic and welcomed versus content that is distracting and disruptive and that we want to skip or scroll over.

“Authenticity is key to remain on social if you just want to resonate with one person or 100 people if we try to really understand ‘I know how that looks’ or ‘I know I feel like that’ we’ll have done our job as social media custodians,” Shakyh offered as a closing comment.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

The post Why Trust and Authenticity are Integral to the Future of Visual Language appeared first on Social Media Week.

Navigating COVID-19 Dissonance: Shaping Disruptions into Creative Fuel

COVID-19 has presented its fair share of challenges to the global economy on a micro level and the individual’s day-to-day life on a micro-level. The pandemic will unarguably have far-reaching consequences beyond the spread of the disease but many industry leaders are seeking to find the silver lining.

During #SMWONE, Lucy Walker, an award-winning filmmaker and curator of TEDxVenice Beach, and Grey West‘s Alex Morrison and Rodrigo Jatene, and Tiffany Shlain Emmy-nominated filmmaker, speaker, and Webby Awards Founder came together to as they explore how dissonance in our daily experience is leading to an evolution of creativity, invention, and new ways of approaching the world.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Disruptive change can lead to creative discovery
  • Options are not your friends
  • One of the most advantageous qualities of being human is adaptability

Constraints can release rather than inhibit creativity

When sharing each of their personal experiences with encountering constraints, the panel unanimously agreed that more often than not constraints can be liberating versus a disrupting hindrance.

Shlain for instance, took a trip down memory lane to share the story of how the Webbys became known for its five-word acceptance speech and how the idea was conceived. In terms of her filmmaking, she describes having constraints for short films as “liberating.” “I love the challenge of taking a very complicated subject and having to distill it down into a finite amount of time.”

Walker chimed in through a similar lens of her documentary work, “Options are not your friend. The essence of creativity is constraint and getting creative with what you have is what it’s all about.”

In the advertising world, the constraint lies chiefly in the creative brief, Jatene described. “The brief is the ultimate constraint. It puts boundaries on a topic and forces you to channel your creativity in one way and not any other,” he said. “We need to be limited to become limitless.” Put differently, the absence of constraints can be an inhibitor to creativity.

Bending, breaking, and blending

During the conversation, Walker referenced David Eagleman, world-renowned neuroscientist and New York Times bestselling author, and his view that novel experiences are all about laying down your memory. He further dives into this topic in his book, The Runaway Species, co-authored with music composer Anthony Brandt, which explores the brain’s behavior behind human creativity — specifically, a framework driven by the concepts of “bending,” “breaking” and “blending.”

“In the documentary space we are all making ball gowns for the Met Gala out of two bits of garbage, but I choose this. It’s astonishing how you can bring together jigsaw pieces together that shouldn’t fit,” said Walker. Jatene, in his own experience, is known to bend the rules of the advertising brief to explore the various angles within the confines of this very limiting space.

Shlain described her own process with cloud filmmaking and a new project she’s working on — a call and response video about the pandemic where people are asked to record and submit their responses to questions about what they’re most fearful of, the best act of creativity or kindness they’ve seen, and what’s the best to come. She described that the hardest part of this process is the creative blending required in the editing to accurately depict the humanity, fear, hope, and kindness we’re experiencing. “One week I thought I was making one film but then the next week the vibe will be totally different.”

“The classic test of creativity is that idea of how many things you can do with a brick and it really feels like that right now. Your first ideas are probably pretty obvious, but the closer you look and the more you’re paying attention the more you’ll make more exciting discoveries.” At first, there was the novelty of it all but to really cut through the clutter and be creative you have to now, figuratively speaking, use your brick to take a whole, break it apart and assemble something new out of the fragments.

Lean into your passions in order to adapt

“Before the pandemic, we were far away from what mattered in our society and our own lives,” explained Shlain, and what has enabled us to recognize this is having an extended period of time to reset and take a beat to go back to what matters most. She personally has been baking homemade bread with her children while Walker has taken up fermenting making her own natto and yogurt. For the group, these simple passionate activities can pave the path to breakthroughs, “To unlock a door you may need to become a yogurt maker. The history of breakthroughs is littered with people who had weird hobbies that led to great scientific discoveries,” Walker stated.

For Jatene he’s enjoyed designing which was his first love and running which until now he hasn’t had time for. He’s also enjoyed taking up homeschooling with his children and helping apply his creativity to his work to inspire them, put a different lens on what they’re learning, and have schoolwork be fun.

The big takeaway: 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.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

The post Navigating COVID-19 Dissonance: Shaping Disruptions into Creative Fuel appeared first on Social Media Week.

Knowledge and Gratitude: How Simple, Healthy Habits Can Boost Your Financial Well-Being

From founding the Huffington Post and writing 15 books to being named one of the most powerful women in the world by Forbes and ranked among Time Magazine‘s 100 most influential people, Arianna Huffington’s career has no shortage of accomplishments. Most recently, she founded Thrive Global four years ago and this past January led her team in the launch of Thriving Wallet, a new partnership between Thrive and Discover in an effort to redefine the discussion around financial health and help people reframe their relationship with money by building simple, healthy habits.

During #SMWONE, Huffington joined Discover’s Julie Loeger, and Grey’s John Patroulis to dig deeper into the endeavor and why now more than ever it’s important to focus on financial well-being alongside physical, mental and emotional health.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Knowledge is power
  • Gratitude is an amazing antidote to stress
  • Building mental resilience is key to a prosperous post-pandemic world

The stress and burnout epidemic

The global pandemic has revealed fundamental weaknesses in our society, and according to Huffington, one of the biggest is a world where we’re breathlessly and always on and fail to understand the important truth that financial well-being directly impacts our mental and physical health.

This is not a new concept, rather one that has proliferated for years including an increase in chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension, mental health problems including depression and anxiety, and stress and burnout, which the World Health Organization identified as a workplace crisis just last spring. In a time of profound loss, the mental crisis we already face is exacerbated with two-thirds of Americans on average claiming they’ve felt anxious, depressed, lonely or helpless in recent weeks and over half reporting pandemic-induced stress is negatively impacting their sleep, diet, alcohol use, and chronic conditions.

The impact of Thrive Wallet

Ninety-percent of individuals claim financial considerations have an impact on their stress levels. Further, 25 percent wish they could have a fresh start with regards to their finances, even as they claim they’re uncertain where to begin. Enter the solution conceived in Vegas by Loeger and Huffington in Las Vegas a year and a half ago: Thriving Wallet.

Through video, editorial content, and social content consumers can use Thrive Wallet to seek expert advice, hear inspirational personal stories, and gain data-driven insights around building healthier financial habits through Thrive’s signature “Microsteps” and Discover’s tools, resources, and products. Whether understanding the basis of your credit score, your overall financial foundation or gaining tips for building credit or saving for your next experience, Thriving Wallet’s primary goal is to jump-start positive behavior change and reduce stress through simple microsteps.


“There is no better way to get customer loyalty than to add value to their lives,” said Huffington.”Knowledge is power, and it is really important people recognize the connection between general stress and our spending.” The best way to do this? Take the daunting element out of financial advice and allow consumers to build habits that will help them flex this muscle through meaningful content, distributed in a way that’s useful, leveraging a consumer need and that puts actions on the table people can take advantage of in a big way.

For example, setting aside $10 per week to save for something that’s meaningful to you — this small step helps practice mindful, value-driven spending. Scheduling a regular catch-up with a friend is another. For many, a huge obstacle is getting their money worries out of the shadows. Finally, do a simple audit. If you have any loans, log the balance in a tracker to create a sense of ownership over the situation.

Coping with stress

In addressing best practices for coping with stress, Huffington reiterated the theme of awareness as a form of power.

In her first tip, she underscored the necessity for rest. “Sleep is foundational and yet sleep is very hard to come by right now.” During such uncertain times, it can be hard to feel relaxed at night. To help in this regard, she offered the suggestion of powering down your phone and charging it away from your bed to avoid the temptation to scroll at all hours of the night. She also highlighted the benefit of expressing gratitude on a regular basis. “Even in the work circumstances, there is always something you are grateful for — gratitude is an amazing antidote to stress.”

As simple as it may sound, breathing is yet another core stress reliever. “I love reading about Navy seals — when they’re dealing with stressful circumstances they use box breathing, an exercise where you breathe in for four counts, pause for the count of four, and exhale for four counts.”

The big takeaway: to prepare for a post-pandemic world, taking control of our stress is essential to building mental resilience. This resilience will enable us to bring our best, most focused, most productive selves to the forefront of the challenges of a world vastly different from the one we once knew.

As final words of advice, Loeger shared, “continuously leverage curiosity — seek to understand, but don’t stop there; push it to action,” while Huffington encouraged everyone “not just to survive, but thrive.”

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

The post Knowledge and Gratitude: How Simple, Healthy Habits Can Boost Your Financial Well-Being appeared first on Social Media Week.

How Do We Respond?

The death of George Floyd, the issues of systemic racism, violence, and brutality that our POC communities have suffered at the hands of the authorities, together with the protests around the world has been truly horrifying. This week I needed to address what was happening with my team and come up with a plan for how we as a company should respond.

We have POCs on our team and are a core part of our community here in the US and around the world. We’ve led numerous programs that are aimed at supporting D&I initiatives and consider our role in the fight against inequality and injustice to be one of our most important responsibilities, but we don’t always get it right. I don’t always get it right. I know we need to do better.

The first thing I did this week was apologized to my team for not addressing what is happening sooner and more directly. On Monday morning, I tried to write something with the aim of publishing something publicly, but I couldn’t find the right words and became paralyzed by a fear of getting it wrong tonally. This is how many of us feel in the business world, but of course, this is wrong. As many have said, to be silent is to be complicit and that is not who we are. Black Lives Matter. This movement matters. Taking bold action matters. Doing something that feels scary and risky matters.

It is imperative that we use this moment to fight harder than ever before against violence and racism. We must work together as a team and with our community to amplify the voices and stories of the people impacted and affected by what is happening. Now more than ever we need to lead with empathy and support the Black community in this fight for justice.

Yes, we should post messages of support and our willingness to join the fight for equality and justice. Yes, we should identify the ways in which we can use our platform and influence to impact the issue in the biggest way we can. But there is so much more we can and should do.

Here are three areas that we are particularly focused on and I encourage you to do the same. This list is by no means exhaustive, so I am asking you to let me know if you have additional ideas around how we can be more effective and have an even bigger impact on the problem.


It is imperative for us to support those most impacted by the protests, especially those people who have been incarcerated and cannot make bail. You can lend support by making a donation to The National Bail Fund Network, which has a full directory of bail funds by state. ActBlue has also set up a secure donation link that will let you simultaneously send money to up to 37 nationwide bail funds. For every dollar an employee donates, Crowdcentric will match. Rolling Stone also shared a helpful breakdown of suggested causes and campaigns that you can support at this time.

Another area that is of great interest to me personally is funding police reform and ways policies can be adjusted to combat police violence.

The Police Use of Force Project has reviewed the rules governing police use of force in America’s largest city police departments to determine whether they include meaningful protections against police violence. They compared police department use of force policies with police killings data for these police departments to see if there was a relationship between the two. They ultimately found that police departments with policies that place clear restrictions on, when, and how officers use force had significantly fewer killings than those that did not have these restrictions in place.

You can learn more about their approach, analysis, and findings here. Please also take the opportunity to donate to support their work going forward.


Exercising our civic responsibility is, above all, critical to ensuring long-standing solutions that will get at the core of these issues. This begins with voting out officials who do not represent our core values and voting in those that will defend black people’s human rights and end systemic racism and police violence and brutality.

To address the issue we have to change the system. According to a piece President Obama wrote recently, this starts with the elected officials who matter most in reforming police departments and the criminal justice system work at the state and local levels.

“If we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn’t between protest and politics. We have to do both. We have to mobilize to raise awareness, and we have to organize and cast our ballots to make sure that we elect candidates who will act on reform.”

Voting is not just about being registered and about you fulfilling your personal responsibilities, it is essential that we get as many people to vote as possible. We’ve compiled a number of ideas and resources below that will help promote the importance of voting in any future election:

  • Verify you are registered to vote: Visit “Vote Save America” and confirm your voter status. You can check here.
  • Adopt a Battleground State: Just because you don’t live in a battleground state doesn’t mean you can’t have a huge impact on helping voters in those states make their decision and get to the polls on Election Day.
  • Vote by Mail: Vote by mail is one essential way to ensure the 2020 election can go on safely, securely, and on time. Get your absentee ballot here. It takes only two minutes.


I wholeheartedly believe that as a nation we are uneducated around the history and impact of systemic racism in this country and around the world. We must invest our time to become better informed and develop a deeper understanding and awareness that will allow us to properly empathize with black communities who are suffering at the hands of racists and bigots.

As a good place to start, our friends at Tribeca Film Festival put together this fantastic list of films and books that are designed to help us educate ourselves about systemic racism, police brutality, and unconscious bias. We’ve also added a few of our own:

As I said, this is by no means all we can do, but it’s a start and represents a path forward and an opportunity for us to take action, not just now, but for as long as it takes for real change to happen.

We are proud to be in this fight and hope you will join us and other leaders and organizations in our industry and do everything we can to not let this moment go to waste.

Thank you to my team for their support and input into this piece and for holding me accountable in my role as CEO.

The post How Do We Respond? appeared first on Social Media Week.