Category: Social Media Advice

4-Day Work Weeks: Results From 2020 and Our Plan for 2021

4-Day Work Weeks: Results From 2020 and Our Plan for 2021

In March and April of 2020, work and life as we knew it was changing. I surveyed our team members (all 84 of whom are spread out across the globe) to understand the best way to help them cope with so many things shifting at once.

I especially wanted to hear from parents about what could help them as many schools were shutting down and partners or spouses were also required to work from home.

The results? Most people wanted more time to get through the new challenges they faced.

As a remote organization, we already offer a lot of flexibility to our employees, and it’s one of the many benefits of remote work. The ideal solution for us at the time was to both lean into flexibility and offer more time at once, which is when we started considering a four-day work week.

The concept of a 4-day work week gained a lot of traction in early 2020 as many companies saw better flexibility and thus happier employees when moving from five eight-hour days to four. Microsoft trialed this in Japan and saw a 40% increase in productivity, and Unilever New Zealand also rolled out 32-hour work weeks.

Given the stress, shutdowns, and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, this was also touted as a helpful way to address childcare, quarantines, and other things.

The combined survey of our teammates and increasing global proof that the four-day work week could be a good solution is what spawned our one-month trial. After that trial, we saw that not only had happiness and stress improved, but productivity hadn’t dipped. We opted for a 6-month trial to validate if this was a sustainable practice, and it was.

Now, we’re continuing four-day work weeks for the foreseeable future. Here’s a look at some of what we’ve learned from surveying our team about the four-day work week over the course of our two trials.

What our internal surveys have told us about a four-day work week

The four-day work week resulted in sustained productivity levels and a better sense of work-life balance. These were the exact results we’d hoped to see, and they helped us challenge the notion that we need to work the typical ‘nine-to-five,’ five days a week. It’s worth noting that though we’ve seen sustained productivity levels, we’ve been gauging that based on teammate feedback and not company-wide goals, that is changing in 2021.

As we looked back on the impact of working a company-wide four-day work week in most of 2020, we decided to push forward with this model into 2021, with a few clarifications and exceptions. Here’s how we evaluated our six-month pilot program and why we decided to continue operating on a four-day work week.

Starting in May of 2020, I measured the following:

  • output based on area deadlines and goals
  • teammate’s individual autonomy
  • stress levels
  • general work happiness

Here’s a bit more about how each of those measurements has gone.

Our output during a four-day work week

In our May trial, we saw that teammates felt overwhelmingly as productive or more productive on a four-day work week as they did on a five-day work week. That was only the one-month trial, so it could be easy to ignore, but we saw the pattern emerge in our six-month trial. Nearly 34 percent felt more productive than when we had a five-day work week, nearly 60 percent felt equally as productive, and less than seven percent felt less productive.

4-Day Work Weeks: Results From 2020 and Our Plan for 2021

While teammates reported feeling more productive, I also spoke with managers. I rounded up the data from our managers around team output to help establish if the data matched the teammate’s feelings and what my recommendation would be for going into 2021.

For our Engineering teams, the number of total coding days went down. However, we saw significant increases in output. Our Engineering Manager, Ivana, shared: “Weekly coding days went from 3.4 to 2.7 for product teams, and from 3.2 to 2.9 for Mobile and Infrastructure, while the productive impact increased significantly for product teams and doubled for Infrastructure and Mobile!”

Many of the managers I spoke with echoed Ivana’s feelings of seeing an increase in output.

The exception to these results in productivity was our customer advocacy team. We had a harder time maintaining productivity levels, which was to be expected because this role is unique in its unpredictability of volume.

Anecdotally, our advocates still cited feeling they were about 85 to 90 percent as productive as they had been during five-day weeks outside of the customer inbox, i.e., on other projects. However, customers did wait a bit longer to receive an initial reply to their emails.

As was mentioned earlier, we were asking teammates and managers to gauge overall productivity and not measuring it for ourselves based on company-wide goals. That is changing in 2021 as we’ve set down more specific company goals, so we will be able to see how well we achieve our goals each quarter, and it will be another key measure of the success of the four-day work week.

Individual autonomy

Reported autonomy and flexibility in May of 2020 was at 4.3 out of 5, with 5 being “total autonomy.” This increased to 4.7 by the end of our six-month pilot:

4-Day Work Weeks: Results From 2020 and Our Plan for 2021

Reiterating that our teammates have control over their schedule has been a key goal of the four-day workweek.

Stress levels

Our stress levels in May 2020 (when we first launched the experiment) was 3.3 out of 5, with 5 being high stress. Reported stress dipped down to 2.7 at our June survey, and then only slightly up to 2.9 at our October survey.

4-Day Work Weeks: Results From 2020 and Our Plan for 2021

General work happiness

Our overall happiness trend for the entire company stayed consistent, and given the volatility of the events of 2020, I felt this was a good trend.

4-Day Work Weeks: Results From 2020 and Our Plan for 2021

Our exact quarterly numbers were:

  • Jan: 4.1/5
  • April: 3.8/5
  • July: 3.8/5
  • Sept: 3.7/5

How we’re continuing the 4-day work week into 2021

Given that the data was primarily positive for a four-day work week, we’ve decided to continue this practice into 2021. Throughout the year, I’ll continue to keep an eye on productivity and team engagement through our quarterly surveys to ensure that the four-day work week is ultimately helping Buffer’s business needs.

Our guidelines for our four-day work week in 2021:

We adjusted a few things based on our experience in 2020. Here’s what I sent to our team about our guidelines for the four-day work week:

We’ll continue with:

  • No meetings or expectation of communicating on Slack on Fridays.
  • Fridays as a default day off for most areas.
  • Customer Advocates’ workweeks will look different due to the nature of the role. More communication will follow on schedules and expectations.
  • Further defining weekly output expectations at the area and department level.
  • Clarifying performance standings. Teammates who are not meeting their objectives may choose or be asked to work 5 days.
  • Evaluating this schedule at least quarterly on the basis of overall team productivity, hitting OKRs, teammate stress levels and feeling ownership of your work schedule.

We will continue to reiterate that while this is a special benefit, we as a company must meet our collective deadlines. Some work weeks might need that Friday as an overflow work day to finish up what we’ve committed to do. Everyone is still expected to get their work done.

While as a company we originally adjusted deadlines to factor in the four-day work week and the unique situation of the pandemic, we’ve since moved forward with establishing ambitious goals for the coming year and recognize that this will likely push the limits of the way we’ve been operating in a four-day work week and force us to keep adapting to this new way of work. Personally, I know every teammate at Buffer is capable and up to the challenge.

Because our Customer Advocates don’t have as much project-based work as other roles, we have specific targets to meet:

Customer Advocacy 4DWW Strategy 2021

Goal: Successfully work four-day workweeks as a team whilst delivering an above the bar customer service experience customers rave about.

Measurement: Team members are expected to achieve their ticket targets each week (number of tickets replied to based on level + personal commitment/goal agreed upon with lead) as well as average 2.8 ACE score on tickets and/or team members working outside of the inbox will be expected to complete projects, hit deadlines, and achieve key results.

We’ll continue to craft and iterate on ways to both serve our customers well and provide flexible work weeks to our teammates.

Looking ahead

I will continue with periodic surveys around team productivity, personal stress levels, autonomy, and happiness. Buffer is also diving back into using OKRs as a tool to track our productivity and progression, which will give us another measuring stick to use in the overall evaluation of our four-day work weeks.

We aren’t sure that we’ll continue with the four-day work weeks forever, but for now, we’re going to stick with it as long as we are still able to hit our ambitious goals.

Want to keep talking about the four-day work week? Reach out on Twitter and use the hashtag #BufferCommunity. 😊

How Social Platforms Are Supporting a Growing Community of Digital Advertisers

This year social media will play perhaps the largest role in client marketing and advertising ever. To succeed, marketers need a clear understanding of how consumer behavior on social media has changed, which platforms they’re now turning to, and feel confident they have the tools and resources to remain agile to address the changing digital landscape and the rising creator movement.

Facebook and TikTok recently shared announcements in this vein focusing on new partnerships and product updates. Here, we break them down and how they stand to help brands excel in 2021 and beyond.

Paving a Future of Digital Growth, Brand Safety and Innovative Campaigns

In TikTok’s official blog sharing the news, its newest partnership with WPP will provide clients of the company with “unique access and capabilities” on the platform. More specifically, the holding company will receive early access to advertising products that TikTok is developing including API integrations and next-generation formats including augmented reality offerings.

The news comes roughly a month after WPP shared its five-year growth plan highlight its commitment to expand further into the “high-growth areas” of commerce, experience and technology. These areas currently make up 25% of its business, however WPP wants them to represent as much as 40 percent by 2025. How does it plan to get there? At he time WPP pointed to digital as the key driver it would emphasize—as opposed to traditional—advertising.

WPP’s media buying arm, GroupM will play an important role in the partnership with regards to brand safety. The company will work closely with TikTok to establish a process for adhering to the GARM Brand Safety and Suitability Framework, thoroughly assess integrations with third-party verification vendors, and develop meaningful first-party inclusion and exclusion controls. More broadly, the companies will also conduct market-leading research to guide brands on best practices and arm them with data-informed strategies for driving audience engagement and opportunities to innovate.

Deeper Insights, Diverse Voices, and Early Access

“More and more brands all over the world are experiencing the impact TikTok has to create moments that not only shape culture but also drive business value,” shared Blake Chandlee, VP of Global Business Solutions at TikTok. “We both share a common goal: to drive amazing campaigns for our clients that resonate with our growing audience in a way that is authentic, inspires creativity and brings joy,” he continued.

So, what steps are the two taking in the partnership to achieve this mission?

Primarily, TikTok outlines that it will work with the app’s “creator community” to facilitate exclusive opportunities on behalf of WPP’s clients. In addition, WPP’s teams will have “access to customized trainings and certification programs conducted by the TikTok team to ensure they are providing best-in-class strategies to clients.”

To facilitate diversity and create exclusive opportunities for collaboration with select advertisers, WPP will be the Lead Agency Development Partner to new creator-focused APIs, “which will incorporate WPP’s market leading brand safety methodology while leveraging unique brand and marketer data signals.”

Advertiser Topic Exclusion Controls in the News Feed

While TikTok is leaning in on content development, other platforms are focusing on product developments dedicated to privacy and safety.

Facebook, for instance, in a new push announced its test of advanced advertiser topic exclusion controls, which will enable businesses to stop their ads appearing next to certain topics in the News Feed, based on their brand suitability preferences.

This type of process would help the platform more accurately and effectively define the ad would be presented on the platform, particularly in the News Feed. “A children’s toy company may want to avoid content related to a new crime show, so they could select the ‘Crime and Tragedy’ topic,” the announcement explained.

For anyone keeping tabs, Facebook currently offers exclusions for ‘news’, ‘politics’, ‘gaming’, and ‘religious and spiritual’ content for video campaigns. Given its latest test relates to a much more specific set of categories and the variability and personalization that comprise the News Feed, this effort will likely require some time to get right. “This product development as well as testing and learning in News Feed will take much of the year,” the company stated.

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How TikTok and Shopify are Maximizing E-Commerce Revenue Options

Over the past several years the way we shop has changed dramatically. As social platforms evolve into the new-age shopping malls, a trend largely fueled by the pandemic, consumers will continue to prioritize relationships with brands based on the online experience they provide every step of the way.

In this spirit, in October 2020, TikTok and Shopify announced a global partnership geared to help more than one million merchants reach highly engaged audiences and drive sales by tapping into TikTok’s global scale. Today, they announced new tools and integrations to expand revenue options for retailers and enhanced brand-consumer experiences.

Faster, more efficient, and secure payments

In 2020 Shopify’s Shop Pay helped buyers complete more than 137 million orders in 2020, and by the end of the year, had facilitated nearly $20 billion in cumulative gross merchandise value (GMV) since its launch in 2017.

To help facilitate even greater usage, the company is teaming up with Facebook so retailers selling with Shops on Instagram and Facebook can leverage the tool. In case you’re unfamiliar, Shop Pay functions akin to Amazon’s One-Click purchase product. In this case, users will have the ability to save their email address, credit card, and shipping and billing information in the app so that they can complete their transactions faster and more efficiently whether they are browsing through Facebook or Instagram.

“Through our continued work with Facebook, we’re excited to combine the best in commerce with the power of community, extending the benefits of Shop Pay to even more people buying and selling with Shops on Instagram and Facebook,” Shopify wrote in the official announcement. The article also noted that checkout on Shop Pay is 70 percent faster than a typical checkout, while it also sees a 1.72x higher conversion rate.

Convenient order tracking and sustainable shopping options

According to a recent Twitter report on customer care, seventy-eight percent of retail brand handles that excel at customer support take ownership of customer problems in order to build trust. A significant piece of this involves personalized customer support such as a convenient way to trace and manage the tracking of orders.

“With 430+ million orders tracked over 450 billion miles, our global order tracking service enables consumers to track all of their important purchases, receive updates, and manage orders,” shared Shopify.

Aside from ease and convenience, people are embracing social commerce for the greater quantity of options available that align with what matters most to them. For a large portion of consumers, shopping sustainably is a top priority with making these decisions. Per Shopify, over half (53%) report that they prefer green or sustainable products, which is why Shop Pay offsets 100 percent of the delivery emissions for every order.

Establishing more direct connection between creators and monetization opportunities

TikTok made its foray into the e-commerce world with integrations with Shopify and Walmart late in 2020. Today, the platform’s looking to take its efforts even further with several new tools to facilitate more e-commerce opportunity and maximize its revenue options. according to a new report from The Financial Times the platform briefed advertisers on three new forthcoming updates coming soon to the app. These include:

  • A tool that lets its most popular users share links to products and automatically earn commission on any sales
  • The ability for brands to showcase catalogs of their products on the platform
  • “Livestreamed” shopping, a mobile phone version of television shopping channels, where users can buy goods with a few taps after seeing them showcased by TikTok stars

The push around presentation and experience enhancements is a smart and welcomed one according to several statements shared with FT.
“The product and the content has not matured into a place where sophisticated advertisers really want to commit,” one ad agency executive said. With added features to help simplify listings and formalize commission processes as well as those to deliver on an in-app showcase, this could be the nudge some advertisers are waiting for in order to pull the trigger.

“Culturally, TikTok is well placed for livestreamed commerce to capture the dissolving distinction between content and commerce because it doesn’t feel as polished as other platforms,” added Jack Smyth, Creative Technology officer at WPP’s Mindshare.

While the platform faced a tumultuous and uncertain 2020, one thing is clear – in order to keep its biggest creators, it needs to ensure that they can generate similar income to what they’d be able to on other, more established and lucrative platforms.

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Shareholder Update: Q4, 2020 — 2020 Results and What’s Ahead

Shareholder Update: Q4, 2020 — 2020 Results and What's Ahead

Note: This is the quarterly update sent to Buffer shareholders, with a bit of added information for context. We share these updates transparently as a part of our default to transparency value. See all of our revenue on our public revenue dashboard and see all of our reports and updates here.

We’ve emerged from a challenging year, one that proved our resilience and gave us a renewed sense of optimism heading into 2021.

We spent much of the final quarter of 2020 leaning into the inspiration we gained from the adaptability and strength of our customer’s stories. We observed countless companies shift quickly to remote work, an evolution of work that we always thought would someday come. We reflected deeply on our purpose, questioning how we’d show up for our customers to help them expand their positive impact and grow their brands and businesses over the next decade. We invited the company’s first Chief Product Officer to join Buffer’s Executive team and we committed to refining the company’s purpose, vision, and mission. We established strong company-level OKRs, and set ambitious goals for 2021 and beyond.

For another reflection on 2020, check out this review of Buffer’s 2020 in Numbers.

With January just behind us, we’re already realizing the exponential impact of optimism, resilience, and a cohesive leadership team in service of the entire team’s execution of shared, ambitious goals. We’re moving quicker and raising our bar in support of small businesses. We’ve re-committed to being bold, increasing the value of the essential tools we offer, while maintaining our strong foundation of Buffer values and integrity.

This year already feels so different.  

We’ve just launched Buffer’s new engagement tool as the newest feature in our full stack of brand building tools and in response, saw the highest number of daily trial starts we’ve seen in awhile.

Along with Buffer’s engagement tool, we’re focused on adding value for customers, improving accessibility, and providing more opportunities for active engagement by leaps and bounds. We’re also hiring several roles this year.

We’re looking forward to what’s ahead in 2021.  Let’s take a look at our financial results for Q3 and end of year outlook.  

Financial results from Q4 2020

Q4 2020:

  • Total operating income: $400,471
  • EBITDA margin: 7.69%
  • MRR: $1,760,653

2020 end of year:

  • Net Revenue: $21,080,452
  • 2.30% YoY revenue growth
  • Operating Income: $3,318,234
  • EBITDA Margin: 15.74%
  • MRR: $1,760,653 (down slightly from end of Q3 MRR $1,761,962)
  • ARR: $21,127,836
  • ARR Growth Rate: -4.8%
Shareholder Update: Q4, 2020 — 2020 Results and What's Ahead


Shareholder Update: Q4, 2020 — 2020 Results and What's Ahead
Shareholder Update: Q4, 2020 — 2020 Results and What's Ahead
Shareholder Update: Q4, 2020 — 2020 Results and What's Ahead

What else would you like to see?

This is the update that goes to Buffer shareholders, but I’d also love to hear from you. Are there other metrics or financials that you’d like to see from us? We’re working on building and delivering a new level of transparency this year and I’d love to hear what you’re most interested in, send me a tweet with your thoughts.

Announcing Our Initial #SMWNYC 2021 Agenda!

Our preliminary agenda for the thirteenth edition of Social Media Week New York (May 4-7, 2021) is live, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to share it with you!

Featuring insight from professionals with Snap, TikTok, Peloton, LEGO and many more, consider this your first look at our curated lineup of speakers and sessions dedicated to unlocking the power of “Reinvention,” our 2021 global theme.

Secure Your Pass Today and Save Up to $360!

Building meaningful connections, brands and businesses in an era of disruption

Love it or Leave it: How Red Antler Builds Brands that Matter

What does it actually mean to be a disruptor in our industry today? Why are great ideas. a massive social following, or better prices no longer differenatiors for success? In this session, Emily Heyward Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Red Antler, will present a new image of brand, the role it plays in driving social media strategy, and the principles today will create obsession in 2021 and beyond.

The Great Reset: Building Meaningful Connections in a Disjointed Media Landscape

About half of U.S. adults (53%) say they get news from social media “often” or “sometimes,” and this use is spread out across a number of different sites, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey conducted Aug. 31-Sept. 7, 2020. In this session hear from Nadja Bellan-White, Global Chief Marketing Officer at VICE Media will unpack how to navigate social media’s evolving role in the news cycle and modern journalism, what the future holds for media brands, and how marketers can prepare.

The Reinvention of You: How to Grow in an Age of Data-Driven Storytelling

We live today in a date-driven age with many marketing functions being augmented and often replaced by algorithms and automation. To succeed, we need to prioritize what we add to the machine. This is what will actually add value to us, our companies, and to society. Otherwise, we risk losing the plot by forgetting the human, the culture, and the storytelling. Hear from Rishad Tobaccowala, author of Restoring the Soul of Business and former Chief Growth Officer at Publicis as he tackles this theme through the lens of the four P’s: perspective, provocation. point of view, and plan of action.

Navigating the creator economy, the AR revolution and the rise of TikTok

Newcomers Versus Incumbents: Defining Success on TikTok in 2021 and Beyond

TikTok was the most downloaded app of 2020 and is on track to surpass 1.2 billion active users this year. What do newcomers need to know as they establish and how can established brands continue to grow their audiences? Why will TikTok’s rise in entertainment only the beginning of a long-term journey? Join Nick Tran, Global Head of Marketing as he explores these answers and more.

The Augmented Reality Revolution: A Guided Tour by Snap

Snapchat’s daily active users topped 265 million in Q4 2020, an increase of 47 million, or 22%, year-over-year. Guided by Snap’s Chief Business Officer Jeremi Gorman, join this session to explore the inspiring, immersive world of AR, from the voices of experts. Experience a 360-degree view of the opportunity, the technology, the business, and the big future ahead learn how we as marketers can prepare not only for the emerging technologies but the global shifts that are paving a path for a world of immersive, digital experiences?

The Future of the Creator Economy is Measured in Minutes

More than 50 million people now considered “creators.” How does personalization scale in a crowded landscape and how can this shape our social media marketing mix? Join Cameo’s Chief Executive Officer, Steven Galanis, in a fireside chat as he shares how the platform is capitalizing on this community, how it fits into entertainers’ business and brand strategy, how co-creation is altering the fabric of the creator economy, and how minutes can translate to long-term value.

Academies: Empathy, Agility and Creativity Re-Invented

How Facebook is Building an Empathetic Future through AR/VR

Keeping empathy and consumer value top of mind in an “always-on” augmented world laden with emerging technologies is more important than ever. How can marketers best find a balance in a mixed reality future? Join Instagram‘s Global Creative Lead of Augmented Reality Elizabeth Valleau for a deep dive into what‘s new, what’s next and how to keep our empathy muscles in top shape.

How LEGO Maintains Creative Inspiration in a World of Digital Reinvention

With digital channels in a constant state of flux – with the rise of new platforms like TikTok and new communities like Clubhouse — how can brands organize their creative thoughts and inspirations so they are not lost and can be actioned? In this session, James Gregson, Digital Creative Director for LEGO, offers helpful tips and tricks for staying creatively curious, the sources of his creative inspiration and how he goes about gaining inspiration from all areas of the web.

Empathy and Agility: Leading with a Digital Marketing Mindset

2020 proved that if brands can address their customers’ needs in ways that meet their expectations with speed, then they will have earned their customers’ business going forward. In this session, hear from Tatiana Urriaga, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Peloton as she shares valuable tips for empowering your team to navigate change, the role of digital marketing in enhancing your company’s ability to remain nimble, and more.

Adapting to Change at Scale with Google Social Lab

To cut through the noise and respond to societal issues and shifting consumer behaviors and interests in real-time, flexibility and relevance are table stakes. In this session, Head of the Social Lab at Google, Santi Pochat, unpacks the mental models and strategies required for active listening that will deliver insights that inform encompassing solutions in both the short and long-term.

Why Livestreaming is the Future of Shopping in America

Livestream shopping has taken China by storm and its growth shows no signs of slowing. U.S. brands are joining the phenomenon in a bid to woo consumers through unparalled experiences including engaging video elements, creators, and limited product drops. In this session, hear from NTWRK President Moksha Fitzgibbons for fresh insights into where the trend is heading and how to leverage consumer trend to deliver a successful, digitally-driven business model. 

How it Started, How it’s Going: Social Creativity Reinvented for the “New Normal”

The meaning of social creativity changed drastically over the past year forcing brands to ideate, iterate, and test their organic content and branded content — but where do brands and businesses turn to next? What defines successful creative in today’s environment? Join David Levin and David Schneider, founders of top UK social agency That Lot, for an actionable dialogue around post-2020 social creative and the techniques you need to prioritize.

Reinventing Data: From Spreadsheet to Edge-of-Your-Seat Page Turner

Think there is no connection between the methods of a detective from the 1800’s and your next data-driven digital marketing campaign? Think again. In this Academy session, Holland Martini, Chief Insights Officer and Maria Vorovich, Chief Strategy Officer at GOODQUES explore the reinvention of data through the lens of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes to show that big data can be sexy and fun and it isn’t all cumbersome and tedious.

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How To Drive Traffic From TikTok In 2021

The importance of social media is increasing significantly. Brand storytelling is evolving, influencers experience a sharp rise into fame, and social media campaigns are becoming the main traffic source of many companies.

In this piece, we’ll talk about a specific and very platform, TikTok, and walk through the various ways for how to drive traffic from it. Let’s get to it.

Driving Organic Traffic

Organic traffic is the best, free way to drive traffic from TikTok. Haf (50%) of the users are under the age of 34. What is also interesting is that around 50% of the users are in the $75k+ household income bracket.

Complete your Bio

On TikTok, clicks can come only from the links shared in your bio. That is, you can not put links in the description of the video and lead people to your site from a particular video on your profile. What you will see in most cases is a reference to another channel, or saying that you can learn more if you go through the link in the bio.

It is important to stay coherent and upkeep the visitor’s expectations. If there is no possibility to line up your TikTok profile and your page so they reflect a similar line of content, consider using a landing page builder and create a sub-page that would make sure that you do not lose the traffic that you are getting from TikTok.

Increase Engagement: Videos and Sound

TikTok promotes videos that have higher engagement. Views, shares, comments, likes – are all interactions that count towards that score.

TikTok is full of creators. Some have great skills, some have great looks and some are just purely interesting. Take Bella Poarch for example, who made a hypnotizing head-bobbing video that garnered over half a billion vews.

The point is, you just have to consider your audience/client’s avatar, adjust your account strategy accordingly, and start creating content.

You can outsource content creation to sites like Fiverr and Upwork. On these two sites, you can get everything that you might need, even the complete TikTok videos.

Continuing on the video of Bella Poarch, you can also create sounds to increase your visibility on TikTok.

Videos that are using music (and that is all of them) will have a link in the description of the song and the author of the music. You can create your music trends and leverage this to your advantage to grow your audience.

Choose Good Posting Times

Post when your audience is not only awake but is actually active on TikTok.

If you post and your audience reacts immediately (posting in good times) your engagement rate will become higher and spread on the TikTok platform faster than if you post at bad times and your content receive reactions only several hours later.

Organize Contests and Giveaways

One strategy that is becoming mainstream due to how well it falls into the who social media marketing context are influencer giveaways. Why? They have good virality potential and aren’t intrusive.

You announce, for instance, a prize, a product, trial, free consultation, a free lesson on online course platforms, a t-shirt, free use of your product or service for a limited time, whatever seems fitting for your audience and in order to compete for the prize, the audience has to do an action — such as follow you or share the video.

Getting Paid Traffic: TikTok Ads

We discussed primarily organic options, now let’s talk about paid ones. The advantages are obvious – you get instant traffic without any need to build a follower base or thing about the content.

The main advantage of paid ads is that you get instant results. Also, you can precisely specify your audience and expected end result. What is the goal that you are after? We presume that is not just getting a visitor on your site and then seeing them leave. You want a conversion or at least a lead if you already have your email marketing services in place.

Setting up a tracking pixel and spending a part of your budget to test what works – is what will ultimately bring more results than just burning your money and hoping that something sticks.


Sure, you can go to the ads manager and buy your ads there – or you can go directly to any TikTok influencer account and ask for shoutout prices. Why?

Because you target your audience even better and you can get your cost per conversion lower than on the ads platform. It is no wonder that many affiliate websites, online stores and drop-shippers are doing exactly that.

Here is Addison Rae promoting the American Eagle account through a shoutout. Her content is more geared towards younger audiences, mostly female — so hip clothing, accessories, and similar topics work well.

In comparison to Instagram, working with TikTok influencers may be a bit difficult, because both accounts have to follow each other to send DM.

This is usually solved by email in their bio, link to their Insta or Youtube profile. Collect the contacts, and outreach to them (to keep everything in check, you would probably have to use an outreach automation service or check how to send mass email in Gmail – depending on the volume of recipients of course).

In the top examples, we were showing some of the biggest accounts on TikTok, there a price for a shoutout is very individual but expect five figures at least. It would not be wise to spend such a big budget on an untested territory so what you want to look for are micro-influencers and small theme accounts, there you can get shoutouts for $25-$100.

The common denominator and main takeaway for everything related to digital marketing of course remains testing and to stay consistent. We hope that this guide and the tips that are included in it will help you to look for the strategy that will work for your account, and you will be growing along with TikTok!

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3 Trends Disrupting Mobile in 2021

The world changed drastically in 2020 and several of these shifts are here to stay including the uptick in mobile usage. With people staying home, mobile devices became the cement, the go-to tool for managing our day-to-day lives. Transforming nearly every vertical in the industry in the process, from how we entertain ourselves to how we plan and organize our finances and everything in between, our world is increasingly defined by mobile.

To help marketers navigate the landscape and identify opportunities to succeed in mobile in 2021 and beyond, App Annie unveiled the latest State of Mobile report. The findings provide an important overview of the key mobile app trends and shifts over the past year and what they mean for the future including:

  • In 2020, mobile accounted for $143 billion in consumer spend, 3.5 trillion hours spent, and 218 billion downloads. Overall, adoption boomed advancing two to three years in a span of 12 months.
  • Mobile gaming is estimated to surpass $120 billion in consumer spend in 2021 — capturing 1.5x of the market compared to all other gaming platforms combined.
  • Mobile surpassed live TV for time spent in 2020 at 4 hours per day vs. 3.7 hours. With this, mobile ad placements are on the rise (95% YoY) with this type of ad spend currently on track to exceed $290 billion in 2021.

Now let’s unpack some of the underpinning themes around mobile to keep top of mind as we begin to execute the new year’s strategies.

Empowering the everyday trader and democratizing investment

Per the report, time spent in finance apps during 2020 was up nearly half (45%) worldwide outside of China in 2020 YoY. Despite a tumultuous economic year, mobile was the common thread across the spectrum of fiscal management including research, decision-making, evaluation and purchase or investment. It is the mechanism for participation and not only building wealth, but more importantly, establishing financial literacy.

Currently, the fundamentals of personal finance and investing are not typically taught in schools, in some cases delaying when people decide to actively begin investing. Looking ahead to 2021, investment apps are stepping up, fulfilling an important knowledge void for novice investors, and making investing more approachable and empowering.

Gaming and streaming: the new influencer marketing frontier

According to App Annie, “The average American watched 3.7 hours of live TV a day, whereas they spent 4.0 hours on their mobile device in H2 2020.” Further, 40 percent more hours were streamed on mobile in 2020.

With more eyeballs favoring mobile, marketers thought long and hard about their ad placements and their tactics. Specifically, 2020 saw $240 billion in mobile ad spend. This figure is expected to grow to $290 billion in 2021 fueled by celebrity collaborations, an approach 2020 proved effective in cutting through the noise driving 2.7x downloads.

It isn’t only about churning out mobile ads but taking into consideration the unique demographic opportunities mobile offers across age groups. In support of this, the data showed that in the U.S. Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X/ Baby Boomers spent 16 percent, 18 percent, and 30 percent more time YoY, respectively, in their most-used apps.

Unsurprisingly, casual gaming and entertainment apps including Twitch, TikTok and ROBLOX dominated app downloads amongst Gen Zers as brands got innovative and used these spaces as the new frontier for their influencer efforts during the pandemic. The report supported this theme further stating that mobile gaming is anticipated to surpass $120 billion in consumer spend in 2021 while TikTok is expected to reach 1.2 billion active users this year.

The future of social commerce and live shopping

Rather than delaying brands’ long-term strategies, the pandemic served as an accelerant for e-commerce, ensuring that three-year business growth plans became reality in just six months. In 2021, it is anticipated these bold moves will continue.

As evolving consumers habits fuel new channels for discovery and purchases, brands and retailers must rise to the occasion and position themselves to connect with these growing, engaged, and purchase-ready audiences. Live shopping is one of the spaces to watch, the report noting that social commerce and live shopping present a $2 trillion market globally by 2024.

With many people are more accustomed to buying online, many won’t go back to their pre-COVID habits, even when they’re able, which is a plus for many platforms, notably Pinterest and Instagram according to App Annie data which found global downloads of Instagram and Pinterest worldwide grew 50 percent and 20 percent YoY, respectively.

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How to Gain New Customers and Reduce the Cost of Acquisition

We all hope that we can get new customers on the fly with as little spend as possible. Unfortunately, such optimism is rarely rewarded.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) has been (rightly) called the startup killer. New entrepreneurs often have an unfounded optimism in whatever they’re offering. In doing so, they end up greatly underestimating how expensive getting a customer can be. 

Those that have been in business know that acquiring a new customer can cost seven times more than selling to an existing one. And, depending on the industry, it can cost you between $7 to $395 to get a new client. 

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Sounds discouraging, right? 

Indeed, customer acquisition is hard. But, the real devil’s in the details here. Much of what we know here comes from statistics that average out much of the results. 

In other words, there are plenty of companies that are just doing customer acquisition wrong. So, here are a few ways you can decrease your CAC while increasing client satisfaction.

Follow a Customer Onboarding Process

Your sales and marketing might be misaligned. Your customer success team might end up dumping all the info on them at once. Or, you may not have a repeatable process in the first place. 

There’s just too much that can go wrong with client onboarding which can drive up your acquisition cost.

Building a better customer onboarding workflow will help you reduce customer acquisition costs and increase retention. Think of how you can help your customers get the best out of your product. 

A good onboarding process should include —


  • An easy account registration process.
  • A succinct, but well written welcome message.
  • Reminders for clients who haven’t logged in a while.
  • A step-by-step guide to product setup.
  • Educational material to help clients leverage your product as effectively as possible.
  • Milestones for each task completed by the client in the onboarding process.
  • Robust after-sales support.


You can even consider creating customized solutions for clients if need be. Your onboarding workflow should make sure your client never has to sit and wonder what to do next. 

Don’t Forget Email

In their quest to become social media stars, many brands end up ignoring email to no end. Big mistake. Unlike the clunky clutter of a social media feed, the inbox is deeply personal.

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Says Brian Greenberg, CEO of True Blue Life Insurance, “The power of email is that it goes directly into a consumer’s inbox. Then it stays there. Most people don’t delete things out of their inbox, so if they need to pull up a thread you’ve had together or want to find your latest offer, all they have to do is search their inbox real quick. I’ve had people contact me at True Blue Life Insurance using a seven-month-old email.”

Some ways you can use email for customer acquisition — 


  • Use the reciprocity principle. Offer your prospects something free in return for their email.
  • Try cold emailing. A good cold email is a personal message and solves a problem.
  • Send follow-up messages after your first ones. 
  • Don’t spam, though. Really, don’t.


The popularity of email continues to grow, so, consider adding them to your marketing arsenal. If you’re strapped for time, then you can use a service like Designmodo that offers tested, high converting email templates.

Send gifts

Gifts have an advantage over other promotional methods — they forge a deeper emotional connection. And customers with such a connection with a brand have a 306% higher LTV than those that don’t. 

Most marketers today stick to electronic gift items. Redeemable coupons, gift cards, feature upgrades, etc are all popular giftable items. 

For example,, a new Fintech service for helping parents invest in their children’s future adds $15 to every new account opened. This is a great strategy for new SaaS companies. 

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That said, don’t write-off the humble old direct mail gifts just yet. Nothing can quite beat a direct mail gift item. They’re memorable and are more visible than their digital peers. 

Use Chatbots

No one page on your website can answer all of your prospect’s questions. And, most of them don’t have the time to find what they are looking for anyway. 

This is where Chatbots can really come in handy. Now, they can’t replace a human and have had us lol with their answers at times. But, chatbots have come a long way today. 

They can answer most general questions and can even direct users to desired resources. They also don’t take breaks and are present 24/7. 

Their acceptance rate is also climbing. For example, twice as many consumers were willing to engage with a chatbot in 2019 than in 2018. Likewise, 74% of users actually prefer to use chatbots to find answers to simple questions.

They have also been used very successfully. JoyOrganics uses a highly customized chatbot that not only offers chat but has links to FAQs right in the chatbox itself. 

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Go local

Unfortunately, many companies mistakenly think customer acquisition through the internet is all about going big. The world’s their oyster, after all. 

But, don’t forget about your local market space either. The people in your immediate vicinity can relate to your product better than those living half a world away. 

Besides, local SEO is better suited to small businesses such as restaurants, dry cleaners, home repair, etc. 

Local SEO helps slash your customer acquisition costs in a few ways. Firstly, having an office in a city helps your clients see your presence upfront. Secondly, you can forge better relationships with people you actually meet. Your local following can also help you build a better brand (think KFC). 

Customer acquisition gets hard and expensive when you’re more concerned with the sale than with helping customers. All the methods described above work best when used to forward as much benefit as possible. 

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How YouTube is Expanding into Short-Form Video Territory with ‘Clips’

Move over, Twitch. YouTube is testing the ability for viewers and creators to make clips of longer videos, allowing for the sharing of short, bit-sized clips of a video. Sound familiar?
The feature is currently “in testing” with a small group of channels while YouTube gathers feedback.

“We’ve heard a lot of feedback from creators and viewers who have wanted an easy way to capture short segments of content and share moments from videos or streams,” the company shared in an official YouTube blog post announcing the feature. “We’re excited to begin our testing of a clipping feature on YouTube starting today with a small group of creators while we start gathering feedback.”

We’re breaking down at how it all works, key differences between clips on Twitch, and more.

How it works

Until today, viewers had to rely on the watch page URL of videos and live streams. In this case, it was only possible to start a video at a specific time by adding specific parameters. With the introduction of Clips, however, users can share a portion of their content or a live stream – a length of 5 to 6 seconds per their own attribution. Both Creators and signed in viewers can create Clips through a new URL.

These clips will play on a loop directly and will live on the original video’s watch page. Put differently, a clip is a timestamp link to the original video. Because the clip will be played on the original video and loop repeatedly, the viewer’s browser is not directed elsewhere. This is a key differentiator from Twitch’s take on the feature, which creates a new video from a clip.

Here’s a breakdown of the process:

  • Start watching an eligible video on YouTube and click the clip icon that looks like aa pair of scissors
  • Designate the portion the video you’d like to clip. You can increase (maximum of 60 seconds) or decrease (minimum of 5 seconds) the length of your selection by dragging the slider.
  • Give the clip a title (max 140 characters).
  • Click the “Share Clip” button that will trigger different options to publish the content.

To share from a social network, select the platform icon of your choice including Facebook or Twitter. If you’re sharing it to a personal or company website, click the “Embed” button to generate a code you can use for a landing page.

If you’re sharing it via an email, select the email icon using the default email software on your computer. Alternatively, you can click the “Copy” button to create a shareable link to the video you can paste in elsewhere including in the body of an email message.

Community response

So, what’s the verdict? Most who have voiced their opinions on the news expressed enthusiasm for the chance to share quick, interesting moments from their YouTube videos and help spread the word about smaller channels amongst the community.
“This is a really great new tool especially for streamers. It will definitely help people be able to share their favorite creators in an easy-to-use manner,” read one comment.

Others used the opportunity to share where certain tweaks could be considered when it comes to control over the playback of the content and curbing abuse.

“Twitch allows its streamers to limit the ability the make clips, delete clips that were made, or even turn the feature off to prevent trolls from using the feature to harass, ridicule, or bully streamers. Will similar provisions be made to prevent said abuse from occurring?”

Another deviation from clips on Twitch is that YouTube clips from a channel aren’t publicly listed anywhere. While on Twitch you can find a “popular clips” section, YouTube clips are only listed privately in a user’s account settings, akin to a shareable, personal bookmark.

One comment suggested the ability to add a feature to select which of these private uploads can be shared widely via a playlist. “Maybe you can add it [a clip] so it goes to your channel unlisted or private, then you can check it and add it to a playlist.”

Let’s talk monetization

According to YouTube, ads are eligible to appear on Clips as long as the original video is at least 30 seconds long. While this doesn’t take earning a profit off Clips content completely off the table, it does raise flags for larger channels that often weave in integrated ad-reads to their videos. How this will ultimately shift the reliance on Google’s automatic ad programs versus third-party deals that include ad reads will certainly be a space to watch as the roll-out of the offering continues.

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How Twitter is Supporting a Community of Thought Leaders and Fact-Checkers

According to the PEW Research Center, about four-in-ten (40%) Americans got their news from Facebook — and these numbers only continue to grow. With this, fact-checking groups and organizations continue to gain popularity all over the world and remain on the upswing as the line between opinion articles and credible sources have grown increasingly blurry over the last decade.

A community-approach to combating misinformation

In a new push to help address problem, Twitter introduced Birdwatch, a U.S.-only pilot of a community-driven approach to tackling misinformation on the platform.

“We apply labels and add context to tweets, but we don’t want to limit efforts to circumstances where something breaks our rules or receives widespread public attention. We also want to broaden the range of voices that are part of tackling this problem, and we believe a community-driven approach can help,” Vice President of Product Keith Coleman explained in the official announcement blog post.

How it works and creating transparency

Per the announcement, participants in Birdwatch will identify what they believe to be misleading information in tweets and write notes that provide informative context. These notes will only be visible on the Birdwatch site during the initial phase of the pilot, and other participants will be able to rate the helpfulness of those notes.

Coleman also clarified that once the beta phase is complete, the ultimate goal is to make notes visible directly on Tweets for the global Twitter audience, “when there is consensus from a broad and diverse set of contributors.” For now, the priority remains on building out Birdwatch and gaining confidence that the context it produces is helpful and appropriate.

In the meantime, Twitter is implementing proactive steps to ensure transparency in Birdwatch including:

  • Making all data contributed to Birdwatch publicly available and downloadable in TSV files.
  • Publishing code publicly in the Birdwatch Guide as the platform develops the algorithms behind the scenes.
  • The initial ranking system can be found here.

“We know there are a number of challenges toward building a community-driven system like this — from making it resistant to manipulation attempts to ensuring it isn’t dominated by a simple majority or biased based on its distribution of contributors. Coleman wrote. While at times it may be “messy,” the platform has confidence in this approach to curb a common problem plaguing social media landscape for marketers and users alike.

Collaborating with Revue to support thought leadership

In a separate update, Twitter is making moves to support thought leadership throughout the platform through its acquisition of Revue, a service that helps anyone create and get paid for their newsletters.

“Writers and long-form content curators are a valuable part of the conversation and it’s critical we offer new ways for them to create and share their content, and importantly, help them grow and better connect with their audience,” stated Mike Park, Twitter’s VP of Publish Products.

For now, Revue will remain a standalone service, per the announcement, with the goal of its team to help Twitter users stay informed around their interest and favorite thought leaders while also introducing new ways for writers to monetize their audience whether established at a publication, an external, personal website, on Twitter or elsewhere.

While many writers turn to other sources to publish longer content, beyond the 280-character limit, Twitter hopes this will be a solution that helps them create and share their content and be a better home for them and their audiences.

“We’re imagining a lot of ways to do this, from allowing people to sign up for newsletters from their favorite follows on Twitter, to new settings for writers to host conversations with their subscribers,” added Park.

Feature image courtesy of Digital Information World.

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5 Insights to Chart Your Brand’s Path to Digital Growth in 2021

As marketers, it’s easy to find comfort in our respective lanes and fall back on data that validates our assumptions about what will work or not. 2020 proved that in order to be a leader, you must find opportunities to be a challenger. The best way to do this is by constantly bursting your own bubble and keeping an open mind.

A new report by Hootsuite, in partnership with We Are Social, offers a comprehensive look at the state of the internet, mobile devices, social media, ecommerce, and more. Featuring data from over 220 countries and territories, plus detailed regional reports and quarterly updates, there is no better tool for digital planning insights this year.

Get your free copy of Hootsuite’s Digital 2021 Report!


You can download the full report here, but below is a peek at some of the high-level insights and themes shared throughout the nearly 300-page report.

Worldwide social media use: at a glance

Digital 2021 shows that there are now 4.66 billion people around the world using the internet, as of January 2021, up by 316 million (7.3 percent) compared to this time last year. This is close to 60 percent of the world’s population.

In terms of time spent, the average internet user spends nearly 7 hours per day using the internet, a nine percent increase compared to last year. Per week this is equivalent to two full days out of a seven-day window.

Why do you need to know? Hootsuite CEO Tom Keiser explains. “Providing the global perspective on demographics and usage patterns on these platforms helps our customers focus their digital strategies and connect with their audience in the most relevant and authentic way,” he said.

Misconceptions around multi-channel

Looking to the world of social media, Facebook remains the world’s most used platform, followed by YouTube and WhatsApp. But the burning question has become: how do you decide where to be and when to show up?

Despite common misconceptions, a multichannel strategy does not need to include every single platform to work. In fact, 98% of the users of any given social network also use at least one other social platform.

That means you don’t have to be everywhere to reach your audience. Rather, you can focus on one or two platforms and still reach the right audience.

Don’t overlook the silver surfers

As Hootsuite’s report reveals, baby boomers are the fastest-growing segment on several of the top social platforms’ audiences. The report showed that users over the age of 50 are growing more quickly than any other age group on Facebook and Snapchat.

Where are the younger demographics flocking? Gaming and streaming platforms. More than 90 percent of Gen Z internet users say they play games, compared to 67 percent of those aged 55 to 64.

Ecommerce trends and new search behaviors

A whopping 77 percent of internet users aged 16 to 64 now say that they buy something online each month, with food and personal care the fastest-growing consumer ecommerce category. This shift is shaping search behavior in profound and fundamental ways.

Specifically, close to half (45 percent) of global internet users now say they turn to social when researching products or services. This figure is even higher among Gen Z users, who report that they’re more likely to search for brands on social than via search engines.

“Increasingly, consumers connect with brands in the same way they do with their friends and family members, via social and messaging apps,” added Keiser.

To be a leader, think like a challenger brand

2020, particularly at the onset of the pandemic, proved that the analysis of conversations on social media as they unfold in real-time pays dividends. The ability to use these to unearth creativity and pivot in response to evolving behaviors and trends will remain a key competitive advantage during a time when public opinion is susceptible to fluctuating regularly.

Look no further than the story of a 90-year old cranberry juice company, Ocean Spray, and how it quickly became a disruptor when a viral TikTok took the social scene by storm. The moral to apply in 2021: challenge your preconceived notions and rethink your tried and true strategies.

The brands that will win this year and beyond are the ones that dare to step outside of their comfort zones and capitalize on new growth opportunities in spaces they may not have thought to look. The future does not fit in the containers of the past and the sooner we come to realize this, the more effectively we will be in finding paths to success.

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How Pinterest is Expanding its Product Promotion and AR Capabilities

In its recent State of Mobile report, App Annie found that global downloads of Instagram and Pinterest worldwide grew 50 percent and 20 percent YoY, respectively.

With the acceleration of e-commerce poised to continue, platforms are doubling their efforts in the space with good reason. This was further supported by Shopify’s annual “The Future of E-Commerce report covering key global trends in the space.

One key finding from Shopify’s insights: At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, 10 years of ecommerce growth happened in just 90 days. In addition, its important marketers note that it’s not just Gen Z and millennials fueling this shift—older shoppers also moved online during this period.

Just how many people shopped online? Per a separate global survey across 11 markets hosted by Shopify, 84 percent of consumers shopped online during the pandemic and 150 million people became first-time e-commerce buyers. Looking ahead, Shopify projects e-commerce as a percentage of total global retail sales will also continue to grow over the next five years.

An opportunity to new experiences and meaningful consumer connections

What this ultimately means for brands is the opportunity to create new experiences and foster more meaningful connections with consumers. At the same time, this will also represent a headwind for digital marketers and brands as the landscape becomes more crowded and competitive. In response, platforms are leveraging emerging technologies to bring together the best of online and in-person shopping experiences and help brands in their efforts to cut through the noise. Most recently, Pinterest enhancing capability around accessing and comparing products with the expansion of its AR ‘Try On’ tools.

New AR ‘Try-On’ Tools for Eyeshadow

Last year the company rolled out lipstick Try on Pins with selected brands and now its AR overlays apply to eye makeup. Powered by Lens, users can access new, shoppable eyeshadow Pins highlighting products from brands including Lancome, YSL, Urban Decay, and NYX Cosmetics.

“Millions of people come to Pinterest every month to search for beauty ideas and inspiration. This is our latest step in bringing together the worlds of visual search and shopping as people come to Pinterest to shop early in their decision-making process, ready to discover new brands and products,” the company shared in the official announcement.

The eyeshadow try-on can be used in conjunction with the already-existing lipstick tools. In an effort to prioritize accessibility and inclusivity, the eyeshadow shades are integrated across a variety of skin tones, as is the case with the lipstick options. As users test different eyeshadow colors, the platform will identify Pins based on your preferences, helping to streamline the process of trying on an in-stock shade and making a purchase.

Developments in object detection and enhanced AR functionality into our smartphone cameras paired with catalog uploads not only creates additional engagement and interaction options, but also allows for improved product promotion, tying into another key update from Pinterest.

Expanded product tagging

In October 2020, Pinterest introduced updates to its product tagging functionality that would allow merchants to tag their own scene images with exact products. The company Is now widening this beta phase to incorporate more advertisers and, in the coming months, creators through expanded product tagging. Per Pinterest, Pinners are 70 percent more likely to show shopping intent on products tagged in scene images than on standalone Product Pins.

“The future of shopping will rely on online shopping experiences that are similar to that of in-store and complement that joy we find in browsing, seeing curated collections, and trying on products until we find what’s best for us.”

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How TikTok is Supporting Creators and Fostering New Talent

With TikTok expected to reach 1.2 billion active users this year, the app is wasting no time executing efforts to foster new talent and double down on its efforts to help its community of creators thrive. This includes helping talent find innovative ways to connect with their audience and cultivate best practices to bring their videos to the next level.

Here’s a quick overview as to how the company aims to make good on this mission.

The Black Lives Matter movement and algorithmic bias

In 2020, particularly in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, platforms including TikTok were confronted directly on issues of bias and content suppression. Reports of videos being taken down, muted or hidden from followers as a result of their support of the movement surfaced in addition to instances where community guidelines were unfairly applied.

Many began to demonstrate a commitment to showing support for Black creators with action via dedicated programs. In August, for example, Facebook introduced a Black creatives program and committed $25 million to Black creators on Facebook and Instagram. Earlier this month, YouTube rolled out its multi-year commitment to support Black creators with its #YouTubeBlack Voices fund.

Introducing the TikTok for black creatives incubator program

In a new push, TikTok announced TikTok for Black Creatives incubator program to invest in Black creatives and music artists on the app. The initiative follows on the heels of the platform’s focus on Blackout Tuesday and the #ShopBlack campaign to boost Black-owned businesses this past fall. The company also launched a new online hub to provide Black business owners with support and education in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This program is intended to identify, support, and elevate the next generation of culture-driving Black creators and artists by giving them the often-hidden tools and opportunities that can help them transform their creativity into successful careers,” shared Kudzi Chikumbu, Director of Creator Community at TikTok in a statement to TIME Magazine.

The three-month program, per the official announcement, will give 100 Black creators and music artists the opportunity to have their voices amplified by participating in town halls with Black entrepreneurs and celebrities in addition to community-building forums and educational events with TikTok executives.

Simplifying the process to becoming a creator

More broadly, TikTok hopes to make 2021 a year where anyone’s aspirations to create can be achieved without pressure or complexity.

“While becoming a creator is as simple as tapping a few buttons, thriving as a creator takes time, dedication, and some education. With the different tools, analytics, effects, and creative ideas to balance on a TikTok account, making a strategy for creating content can be daunting,” the company shared.

The platform’s solution? A one-stop-shop education hub for all the basics across six key categories such as:

  • Getting Started on TikTok
  • TikTok Creation Essentials
  • TikTok Foundations for Success
  • TikTok Content Strategy
  • Community Guidelines and Safety
  • Getting Paid to Create

Each category offers video tutorials with insights to add to your TikTok toolkit and addresses important questions around establishing a presence on the app and how to get paid to create. The resources aren’t only for beginners. “For avid or even expert TikTok creators, the Creator Portal will also feature articles that help interpret community trends, dive deeper into the use of sound and music, and spotlight creative effects, helping to inspire and diversify content creation,” the announcement added.

In tandem, TikTok created the @creatorportal account, which will showcase faces from the video creation platform’s community including @coachmichelle, @flossybaby, @lgndfrvr, @siennamae—and share videos on how to join them.

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Announcing Our First Wave of Speakers for #SMWNYC 2021

We are thrilled to announce the first round of leaders who will bring our 2021 theme, “Reinvention,” to life this May (4-7).

Throughout their sessions, you’ll gain actionable insights into the different ways we can use this year to come together as an industry and reinvent the systems of social media marketing, a process that starts by collectively recognizing what isn’t working and addressing the tough questions such as how we can act with tact and empathy in uncertain times.

Now part of Adweek’s family of brands, we’re confident this will be one of our biggest, most insightul events to date.

Register your interest today so you don’t miss out any agenda updates in the coming weeks! Passes go on sale Thursday, February 11th at 9am ET.

Platform leaders


Steven Galanis

Steven Galanis

Founder & CEO, Cameo

Steven is the co-founder and CEO of Cameo, a marketplace where fans can book personalized video shoutouts from their favorite athletes, entertainers, and influencers. Since 2016, the platform raised more than $1 million for a wide range of charities through its Cameo Cares program and just last year topped Fast Company’s list of the “World’s Most Innovative Social Media Companies.” Cameo was also named one of the “World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies.”


Jeremi Gorman

Jeremi Gorman

Chief Business Officer, Snap

Jeremi is the Chief Business Officer at Snap Inc. where she spearheads global sales, agency partnerships, business and customer operations, platform integrity, and creative strategy. Since joining the company in 2018, she’s helped transform Snapchat into the go-to platform for Generation Z, using her expertise in sales and advertising to redefine the app’s purpose and push the boundaries for digital experiences without sacrificing the privacy of its users. Prior to Snap, Jeremi oversaw business intelligence and analytics, and the international expansion of Amazon’s advertising business and served various business roles at Yahoo, Variety Magazine, and


Nick Tran

Nick Tran

Head of Global Marketing, TikTok

Nick is TikTok’s first Head of Global Marketing where leads all aspects of TikTok’s B2C global marketing efforts, including brand strategy, media and advertising, social media, and co-marketing partnerships, campaigns and activations. His first TikTok’s first global marketing campaign, “It Starts on TikTok,” celebrates the global TikTok community for transforming unique and creative content into memorable cultural moments. Before joining TikTok, Nick was VP, Head of Brand and Culture Marketing at Hulu where he helped reinvent the brand and worked on memorable campaigns like “Better Ruins Everything” and “Hulu Has Live Sports.” In 2020, Nick was included in Fortune’s 40 under 40 as well as AdAge’s 40 under 40 list.


Elizabeth Vallea

Elizabeth Valleau

Global Creative Lead, Augmented Reality, Facebook

Elizabeth is an award-winning creative technologist and entrepreneur who currently serves as Global Creative Lead at Facebook with a focus on AR for the Instagram app. Her previous roles include Experiential Creative Lead at Grey NY, ECD at Trollback, and the founder of the Digital Experience department at R/GA NY. Her work with the United Nations, Nike, Unilever, the BBC, and Al Jazeera received some of advertising and design’s highest awards, including Clio’s, Webby’s, Pencil’s, and Lions, where the Nike Fuel Band was a Grand Prix-winner.


Santi Pochat

Santi Pochat

Head of Social Lab, Google

Santi is the Head of Social Lab at Google where he helps the organization develop, measure and deploy best-in-class activations in social across the company. Prior to that, he served as EVP at Edelman where he led teams for companies like Unilever, Campbells, Facebook and the Samsung business in the US, work earned nine Cannes Lions, an Effie, and the first-ever Tribeca Film Festival “Tribeca X Award.”


Modern brands and media properties


Nadja Bellan-White

Nadja Bellan-White

Global Chief Marketing Officer, VICE Media

Nadja is the Global Chief Marketing Officer at VICE Media Group, a newly-created global position, aimed to unify VICE Media Group’s portfolio and teams across marketing, branding, and communications internationally under one pillar. A champion of diversity and inclusion in the media industry, she previously served as Executive Partner for Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide and created Ogilvy/WPP Roots, an organization dedicated to driving cultural diversity and inclusion across Europe.


James Gregson

James Gregson

Digital Creative Director, LEGO

James is the Digital Creative Director for The Americas where he oversees a team of digital content strategists, creative designers, producers and video editors. His love for both the creative and analytical sides of marketing translates into over a decade of senior leadership expertise and a comprehensive understanding of the evolving digital and social media landscape. In his previous roles, he utilized a combination of technical understanding and conceptual creativity to create effective, measurable programs for clients and brands such as New Balance, Atari, and Mercedes-Benz.


Tatiana Urriaga

Tatiana Urriaga

Senior Manager, Global Product Marketing, Peloton Interactive

Tatiana is an award-winning marketer with experience building brands with measurable results in the digital space. Currently a Senior Manager of Product Marketing at Peloton, she leads digital advertising efforts on the Bike business. Prior to Peloton, Tatiana worked at digital media companies VaynerMedia, Havas WW, and 360i, on iconic Global brands such as AB InBev, Frito Lay, Ben & Jerry’s, and more.


Thought leaders


Rishad Tobaccowala

Rishad Tobaccowala

Former Chief Growth Officer at Publicis, author of Restoring the Soul of Business

Rishad is an author, marketing guru, and former Chief Growth Officer at Publicis leveraging a 38-year career. His best-selling book, Restoring the Soul of Business: Staying Human in the Age of Data focuses on helping people think, feel and see differently about how to grow their companies, their teams and themselves in transformative times. BusinessWeek refers to him as one of the top business leaders for his pioneering innovation and TIME listed him as a top-five marketing innovator globally.


Emily Heyward

Emily Heyward

Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer at Red Antler, author of Obsessed: Building a Brand People Love

Emily is the Co-founder and Chief Brand Officer at Red Antler, the leading brand company for startups and new ventures. In her role she drives purposeful, strategic visions for an assortment of companies ranging from startups to big names including Casper, Allbirds, Betterment, and Prose. She is frequently interviewed for her insights around brand strategy with quotes appearing in Forbes, Bloomberg, Inc., Fast Company, and Adweek. Her first book, Obsessed: Building a Brand People Love from Day One, was published in June 2020.


David Levin

David Levin

Creative Director, That Lot

David is a pioneer of social tone of voice and creative social content with That Lot, one of the top social media agencies in the UK that he co-founded in 2013. David has been the force behind a number of award-winning, massively-engaged accounts/platforms for clients such as Amazon, Microsoft, eBay, Spotify and National Geographic.


David Schneider

David Schneider

Creative Director, That Lot

Another co-founder of That Lot (alongside a third David), David Schneider is a writer, director and social media powerhouse with over half a million followers on Twitter. His award-winning credits span social, TV, film and advertising ranging from Cannes Lion nominations for the HSBC Deep Fake social campaign to Bafta nominations for his latest film, The Death Of Stalin. He recently directed on HBO’s new sitcom Avenue 5.



The post Announcing Our First Wave of Speakers for #SMWNYC 2021 appeared first on Social Media Week.

Introducing a Better Way to Engage With Your Instagram Audience

Introducing a Better Way to Engage With Your Instagram Audience

What if I told you engaging with your customers on Instagram can double or triple your revenue?

That’s exactly what happened to Southern Elegance Candle Co. as its founder and CEO D’Shawn Russell told us:

“Our social media makes us a lot of money… We went from doing maybe $20,000-30,000 a month just posting pretty images to well over a $100,000 a month now simply by engaging people more.”

Russel and Southern Elegance Candle Co aren’t alone. Brands like Glossier (which attributes 70% of its growth to owned, earned, peer-to-peer, or organic channels), MadHappy, and Sass & Belle, focus on responding to almost every customer on Instagram.

So it can be incredibly powerful to focus on engagement. But how do you actually stay on top of every comment?

After working and testing with thousands of customers, we have developed a solution that is truly focused on enabling you to build better relationships and a stronger brand on Instagram.

We are excited to share it’s available to all Buffer customers today!

(If you are not a Buffer customer yet, you can get started at just $15 per month.)

Introducing Instagram engagement in Buffer

Every time an Instagram comment goes unanswered, an opportunity to create a lifelong customer is lost.

The problem?

Staying on top of these interactions is really hard.

Notifications from Instagram quickly disappear and important comments slip through the cracks. And we get why — no one has the time to hang out on Instagram 24/7. Your time is precious, and we’re here to help you win it back.

With this latest addition, you’ll be able to reply to more comments, stay on top of important interactions, and turn your followers into fans. All from the comfort of your Buffer dashboard.

Introducing a Better Way to Engage With Your Instagram Audience

Never miss a comment

It’s really easy to miss new comments among the likes, follows, and mention notifications on Instagram. For most small business owners and marketers, this means checking Instagram regularly to keep a close eye on important comments.

We have experienced this ourselves with our own Instagram account and have heard the same from many customers. And that’s why our engagement features are built specifically to help you stay on top of all your comments.

There are all the benefits of community building and engagement but it’s also a huge time saver for me. I can’t tell you how helpful it has been.

Introducing a Better Way to Engage With Your Instagram Audience

Right at the top, you can immediately see how many unanswered comments you have. The familiar grid view make it super easy and quick for you to jump to the respective Instagram posts to respond to a comment.

You can quickly reply to as many comments as possible, and if there’s a comment that doesn’t need a respose you can easily dismiss it by clicking on the checkmark beside the comment, and it will be considered as “answered”.

Course creator and artist Tamer Ghoneim shared with us, “it’s really important to me to try to reply to every comment but finding them was impossible, notifications expire, and I just didn’t have a good way to manage comments on Instagram. I can’t begin to tell you how happy I was when saw the engagement features in Buffer. I literally spent hours if not days looking for something like this. There are all the benefits of community building and engagement but it’s also a huge time saver for me. I can’t tell you how helpful it has been.”

Prioritize important conversations

Notifications in Instagram are shown in a reverse-chronological order. So for most people you’ll see the latest notifications first and likely work your way through in the order they are displayed.

But the latest notification might not be the most important or urgent one to respond to. There could be a comment about a major issue with an order or a comment from an influencer asking about your products—hidden somehow in the middle of all your notifications. These are the comments you might want to prioritize.

With Buffer, you can do just that. We use a mix of filtering and machine learning to identify three types of comments that you might want to check out first:

  1. Negative comments
  2. Comments about an order
  3. Comments with a question
Introducing a Better Way to Engage With Your Instagram Audience

Posts with one or more of these comment types will have a label so that you can spot it right away. No more scrolling and searching. Just click on the post and jump right over to answer the comment.

“We use the Engage tool on a daily basis to ensure we never miss a comment or question from our community. I really like how it flags out comments that may be an issue or that is potentially an important question that we may have missed,” said Stephanie Kaluza, the social media manager of Sass & Belle.

The fastest way to engage on Instagram

Time is one of the most important assets for small businesses. There are always so many things to do and so little time. We want to help small business owners and marketers take back their time so that they can work on other parts of their business and also contribute back to their communities.

First, being able to reply to comments on a laptop and desktop allows you to get through the comments much faster than doing so on a mobile app—without compromising on the quality and thoughtfulness of the response.

“It is difficult to stay on top of Instagram, especially since as a full-time marketer, I’m on a laptop/desktop most of the time and IG is so mobile device oriented. You can’t do everything on the platform from a desktop. Bravo for Buffer’s ingenuity!” Beverly McLean, CTC, Director of Social Media at Covington Travel told us.

Second, there are hotkeys to help speed up your engagement:

  • Use the Up and Down arrow keys to navigate your comments
  • Hit CTRL + D to dismiss comments
  • Hit ENTER to send a reply (and you’ll automatically be brought to the next comment)
Introducing a Better Way to Engage With Your Instagram Audience

Finally, sometimes you might just want to respond with a quick emoji (especially when responding to an emoji comment). Buffer studies the emojis you use most often and suggests them to you when you are responding to a comment.

Build a lifetime audience

For many years, businesses have simply focused on publishing lots and lots of content. The ones that have been able to build a community of loyal following are those that understand our human instinct to connect and socialize.

While many businesses are not being super responsive on social media, this is an easy way to stand out from the crowd, impress your fans, and build a relationship.

If you have a Buffer (Publish) subscription, this has been added to your account for free! Simply click “Engagement” in the upper-left corner to start engaging your fans on Instagram—right within Buffer.

Otherwise, we would love for you to try Buffer for free for 14 days.  


Do I have to pay extra for this feature?

Nope. If you have a Buffer (Publish) subscription, this has been added to your subscription for free. If you are not a Buffer customer yet, you can get started here at just $15/month.

Can I use this for Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn?

We are working on integrating with Facebook right now, so that you’ll be able to reply to comments on your Facebook Page. We do not have a timeline for Twitter and LinkedIn yet.

Does this work for all Instagram profiles?

This only works for Instagram business profiles. If you are using an Instagram personal profile for your business, you could consider converting to a business profile to take advantage of this feature (and our publishing and analytics features).

Selling on Social 101: How Blume Markets and Sells to a Gen Z Audience

Selling on Social 101: How Blume Markets and Sells to a Gen Z Audience

As the buying power of Gen Z grows, marketers at businesses of all sizes are searching for novel ways to connect with this audience and build lasting customer relationships.

It’ll come as no surprise that social media platforms are of the best ways to connect with this generation — which includes today’s teenagers and those in their early 20’s. But marketing to Gen Zers means much more than simply posting pretty pictures and memes.

So what does it take to stand out and connect with this valuable audience in 2021?

One brand that has mastered the art of marketing to Gen Z is Blume, a fast-growing skin, body, and period care brand on a mission to break boundaries and smash taboos.

In this interview, you’ll hear directly from Janice Cheng, Brand and Community Manager at Blume, and you’ll learn:

  • How to build a brand that connects with Gen Z
  • How to market and sell on social media
  • The key to understanding Gen Z’s preferences on social media
  • Successful strategies to use when marketing to Gen Z
Selling on Social 101: How Blume Markets and Sells to a Gen Z Audience

This post is part of the #BufferBrandSpotlight, a Buffer Social Media series that shines a spotlight on the people that are helping build remarkable brands through social media, community building, content creation, and brand storytelling.

This series was born on Instagram stories, which means you can watch the original interview in our Highlights found on our @buffer Instagram profile.

Tell us more about you! What’s Blume all about and what’s your role there?

My name is Janice and I’m based in Vancouver! I’m the Brand Manager at Blume—a fast-growing skin, body, and period care brand on a mission to break boundaries and smash taboos. I joined the team back in June 2019 as the 3rd hire and EA to our founders Taran & Bunny. Now, I’ve been in this Brand role for almost 9 months.

Selling on Social 101: How Blume Markets and Sells to a Gen Z Audience

Why do you think your Gen Z audience connects with your brand?

Gen Zers are conscious (smart) consumers and the most connected generation ever. Growing up with social media, they want transparency, community, and look for brands that align with their values. I think Blume checks off all those boxes in a really genuine way! Since day one, we’ve been more than just our products. Blume is breaking stigma by having conversations about extremely normal, yet still taboo topics, like acne, puberty, periods, and sex ed. As I’m sure most of us know, these are “issues” that carry well into adulthood, so a lot of our audience are millennials as well.

Gen Zers are conscious (smart) consumers and the most connected generation ever. Growing up with social media, they want transparency, community, and look for brands that align with their values.

We’re also a brand that cares. We launched the, Future World Shapers Award (created for Gen Z change-makers), and generally produce engaging and shareable content. More importantly, we prioritize using our platform to amplify the voices of our community and speak up on issues important to us; this includes climate change, the Black Lives Matter movement, and even our pandemic response. Our audience teaches us a lot, and more than anything, they’re our friends! This is all translated through our brand voice cohesively across all channels.

Tell us about a recent social media campaign. What made it so successful?

We’re only about 2.5 years old but one of my fave moments was our in-house Blume Celebrates Skin campaign (a campaign focused on being confident in our own skin is undefined and unrestricted by our physical appearances or the bumps and blemishes on our skin). We were only about five people then (half of our team now) and it was so much fun because it came from our hearts. Quickly and organically, it grabbed the attention of Allure and Daily Mail UK. Sometimes metrics are tricky with these kinds of campaigns. Say someone comes across this campaign and finds new strength and bravery in their natural skin. Although can’t quantify feelings, the reviews and customer testimonials are invaluable to our team.

Selling on Social 101: How Blume Markets and Sells to a Gen Z Audience
Instagram post found here.

BUT! Meltdown (our best-selling acne treatment) continues to be our top community favorite and campaigns like Celebrate Skin reinforce that. Ultimately, our social media goal is to increase engagement, and this campaign accomplished that for us. We’re about to have some of our biggest campaigns this new year! So stay tuned.

Where do you find inspiration for Blume’s social media content?

Recently, a lot on TikTok (obviously), community pages like Girlboss, and also meme pages. We have an #inspo Slack channel where we share things we see on our feeds and Explore pages and what’s circulating in our own friend’s groups! Pro tip: start an #inspo channel whether just for yourself or with your team.

How does Blume leverage user-generated content to connect with its Gen Z audience?

Community is core to all we do. Beyond our products, for us, it’s about adding value to Gen Z, and user-generated content (UGC) is a huge part of that. Using UGC is more impactful than using traditional models or lifestyle images because UGC is by actual people in our community—reflecting a range of real skin. It’s the best way to relate to this audience!

Using UGC is more impactful than using traditional models or lifestyle images because UGC is by actual people in our community—reflecting a range of real skin.

Also, Gen Zers are so creative because producing content is second nature to them so partnerships together are so fun. I love looking through our tagged posts every week and seeing people embrace their shelfies and natural skin. We give them full creative freedom! So rather than believing what we have to say about our products, you should believe our community through UGC, their captions, reviews, and experiences.

Selling on Social 101: How Blume Markets and Sells to a Gen Z Audience
Instagram post found here.

How does Blume embed UGC, customer testimonials, and reviews across all its marketing channels?

We have an incredible tiny team of two that keeps the rest of the team, especially marketing, up to date with all inquiries, trends, and themes of the week. For example, our Meltdown before & after shave has always been highly effective for us because a photo equals a thousand words.

In skincare, especially clean beauty care, it’s really important for us to spotlight the effectiveness of the product and how our products actually work. We’ll use before/after photos and other UGC in ads, Instagram story features, and email newsletters. With permission, of course.

On a regular week, we try to post UGC and/or testimonials about 3-4x on our social media channels.

In skincare, especially clean beauty care, it’s really important for us to spotlight the effectiveness of the product and how our products actually work.

What are Blume’s most successful social platforms for selling and why?

Definitely Instagram—still cracking the code for TikTok. Ultimately, Gen Zers are the trendsetters and determine what’s next. Something can come and go overnight so we have to be quick to pivot, adapt and execute. We can plan all we want but our best performing posts often tend to be non-product focused ones. If we had a Meltdown post planned on a day where the world actually needs more empathy and love, we’ll swap it for a journal prompt post or check-in.

What advice do you have for brands that want to start selling on social media?

Make a list of brands that you love and dig deep into the “why.” For Blume, the core criterion for selling on social is based on value; we focus our marketing on educational content about our products and brand, community building through UGC campaigns and partnerships, and aesthetic shareable graphics.

Also, GET. ON. TIKTOK. Whether to start your brand page or just to get in touch with Gen Z culture, it’s worthwhile I promise you. Here are three easy things you can start right away: write copy like a human (not a robot), have fun with emojis, and start following people to bring eyes to your page!

Selling on Social 101: How Blume Markets and Sells to a Gen Z Audience
Fllow Blume on TikTok here.

For Blume, the core criterion for selling on social is based on value; we focus our marketing on educational content about our products and brand, community building through UGC campaigns and partnerships, and aesthetic shareable graphics.

Personally, I follow Gen Z brands that I admire, read lots of Glossy and Beauty Independent, and ask our awesome Influencer, Lead Eman, for the 411 on what’s cool and what’s not. I also used to scroll TikTok for 4 hours a day (lol) for simultaneous entertainment and market research.

What’s your favorite Blume product and why?

I’d like to say Meltdown because that’s everyone’s #1 and I’ve had a lot of stress acne through 2020, BUT my runner-up is definitely Hug Me, our natural deodorant. Random fact: the probiotics, our secret ingredient, has adapted to my body so well I hardly need deodorant anymore. It’s also unscented so I recommend it to EVERYONE. I might be biased but these two are also my faves because their names are so fun to play with when copywriting. 👋

Thanks for Bluming with us, Buffer friends! ❤️

We hope this interview with Janice helps you get started with or double down on your social media efforts. You can follow Blume on Instagram here!

Have any questions for Janice? Feel free to reply with your questions to the Twitter post below and Janice or someone from the Buffer team will get to them as soon as possible.

How Twitter is Expanding its Reach in Audio

In June 2020, Twitter introduced audio tweets where you can record your voice and share that audio as a tweet to your followers. A perk? These can also be listened to while you multi-task across other day-to-day activities including checking email or working on a document — comparable to a micro podcast. There’s a lot that can go unsaid or uninterpreted via text, so the platform’s goal with the offering is to bring a more human experience to conversations.

Following this, the company announced in December its own audio-based social networking product and Clubhouse rival, Spaces, was heading into beta phase. This opened the door for users to chat in real-time using voice instead of text, as they do today. The product remains in beta while the platform works out technical issues and bugs with the feature, but also the more complex issues that arise from hosting live audio, including moderation.

Fast forward to today, Twitter announced its acquisition of community-focused podcast app, Breaker. Here’s a breakdown of the latest.

What is Breaker?

Since its inception in 2016, Breaker’s mission centered around influencing the perception of audio and disrupting the norms of podcasts as audio feeds and podcast apps as productivity tools. Instead, Breaker painted a picture of podcast apps as an experience around which a community could be established. More specifically, Breaker users have the ability to like and comment on their favorite episodes, discover new podcasts that align with their passions, following friends with similar interests and taste, and share their favorite shows to their other social media platforms to spark conversation.

Creating the future of audio

Breaker co-founder Leah Culver took to Twitter sharing her eagerneses to help create the future of audio through and build out Twitter Spaces while CEO Erik Berlin emphasized his vision to help the industry redefine and reimagine traditional podcasts.

“We’re truly passionate about audio communication and we’re inspired by the ways Twitter is facilitating public conversations for people around the world,” shared Berlin in the official announcement. In his own Medium post, he shared, “We’re now inspired to go even further in re-imagining how we communicate with each other, beyond the scope of traditional podcasts.”

In a separate thread, Twitter engineering lead Michael Montano, reiterated his excitement to leverage Berlin and Culver’s backgrounds to help “improve the health of public conversation on our service.” He added, “both Erik and Leah have founded and sold startups previously and will bring an entrepreneurial spirit to our engineering organization.”

According to TechCrunch, Berlin was previously the founder and CTO at social advertising company 140 Proof — which sold to Acuity — while Culver previously founded Pownce and Grove and co-authored web technologies OAuth and oEmbed.

“As an entrepreneur she’s been out front, testing ideas on several waves of online conversation and publishing. Pownce and Convore were exciting and in many ways ahead of their times,” said Montao of Culver’s efforts to push for more open standards over the past several years.

Podcasting: the new tech battleground

With the ebbs and flows of tech, there seems to be areas that receive targeted traction. Podcasting is that space today. Look no further than the giants Amazon, Google, Apple and Spotify.

Amazon’s $300 million acquisition of Wondery, Sirius bought Stitcher for $300 million, not to mention Spotify’s purchases of Anchor, Gimlet, Parcast, Megaphone, and The Joe Rogan experience — one of the most popular shows on the scene to date. Unakin to these deals, however, Twitter’s play is unique in that its sale doesn’t center on strictly podcasts themselves and the content, rather Breaker’s sale is made up of staff and technology with the larger objective of cementing Spaces as a viable offering for marketers and users.

Feature image credit via Breaker.

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The post How Twitter is Expanding its Reach in Audio appeared first on Social Media Week.

How YouTube is Supporting Black Creators and Artists

Last summer admist the Black Lives Matter Movement and protests in support of George Floyd, YouTube announced the launch of a multi-year $100 million fund dedicated to amplifying and developing the voices of Black creators and artists and their stories. More specifically, the fund has supported programs such as 2 Chainz’ “Money Maker Fund” series highlighting HBCU entrepreneurs and Masego’s “Studying Abroad” livestreamed concert series.

Today, the platform is using capital for that effort to create a global grant program for Black creators.

“The painful events of this year have reminded us of the importance of human connection and the need to continue to strengthen human rights around the world. In the midst of uncertainty, creators continue to share stories that might not otherwise be heard while also building online communities,” YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki wrote in a blog post detailing the decision and reflecting on 2020.

The #YouTubeBlack Voices Class of 2021

Per Billboard, the program is kicking off with an inaugural class of 132 individuals spanning musicians and lifestyle vloggers including Kelly Stamps and Jabril Ashe, also known as Jabrils, who share educational videos centered around the emerging gaming, technology, and AI spaces.

The musicians named to the group include Brent Faiyaz, BRS Kash, Fireboy DML, Jean Dawson, Jensen McRae, Jerome Farah, Joy Oladokun, KennyHoopla, Mariah the Scientist, MC Carol, Miiesha, Myke Towers, Péricles, Rael, Rexx Life Raj, Sauti Sol, serpentwithfeet, Sho Madjozi, Tkay Maidza, Urias and Yung Baby Tate.

Each grant recipient will be provided an undisclosed funding amount to be used in support of their channels, and can encompass needs such as editing, lighting or other equipment to amplify and enhance the quality of their content. YouTube will also offer additional resources such as workshops, training and networking opportunities to boost skills and fuel meaning collaborations. “We are not only supporting them in the moment, but this is seed funding that will help them to thrive on the platform long-term,” he added.

Hailing from across the United States, Kenya, Brazil, Australia, South Africa and Nigeria, the cohort was selected in part based on their past participation in #YouTubeBlack, a campaign and event series promoting Black creators launched in 2016.

Paving a future for change

“These creators and artists have been doing this work already and are known by their communities, but we’re really excited to invest in them, and we believe that they can and will become household names with this support, shared Malik Ducard, YouTube Vice President of Partners on the #YouTubeBlack community.

In today’s landscape, influencers are themselves a media channel. The budgets put against them shouldn’t just be production-driven but rather emphasize a broader commitment to diverse and authentic stories driven by co-communication and co-creation. For YouTube, this effort is not only beneficial in ensuring these creators have their voices heard, but in allowing the platform to stay true to its goals and values and its commitment to its community.

“This is not a flash-in-the pan Instagram moment. This is about keeping the drum beat of change alive, and in the DNA of our organization,” added Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s Global Head of Music, reiterating the confidence in the ability of this group to lead and find long-term success through raw passion, creativity, and an entrepreneurial spirit. “Our expectation is that these artists are going to be significant and important voices and make music even more enjoyable.”

The future of brand-artist collaborations

For brands partnering with music artists – the takeaway here is that social listening requires responsiveness, flexibility, and mindfulness when it comes to integrating culture. People want to be heard, not sold to, and efforts should extend offline. This is only achieved through a full understanding of a new age of partnerships – one where brands have a bigger role to play in artist’s lives and artists are crossing the threshold to become true digital marketers monetizing the whole self.

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The post How YouTube is Supporting Black Creators and Artists appeared first on Social Media Week.

How to Win Social Media Conversions After The Holiday Rush

If only the world of marketing came with a little respite once in a while. As a chaotic, tumultuous holiday season packed with desperate brainstorming sessions for new holiday slogans, themed ads and special offers draw to a close, marketers find themselves tasked with campaigning their way through the new year lulls. 

While the transitional months from winter into spring are typically quiet for many businesses spanning retail and eCommerce, more companies are assembling marketing campaigns in order to win customers and maximise profits during the spending downturns of January, February and March. 

Retail Sales

(Image: Statista)

As we can see from the chart above, drops in retail sales from the build-up to the festive season into the new year can amount to a 30% fall in purchases among consumers. The chart, which has plotted out the recent history of retail sales in the United Kingdom, shows that while spending has steadily increased, peaks in spending around Christmas time have been consistent until 2020. 

The arrival of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, however, pointed to a significant disruptive influence in retail sales online in the UK. With more citizens facing more time spent indoors while social distancing and isolating away from the pandemic, it appears that more online shoppers chose to spend their money on goods and services.

With the pandemic culminating in a widespread shift towards workers transitioning away from office commutes and towards working-from-home (WFH) and the continued prevalence of the COVID-19 pandemic around much of the world, marketers may be facing a fresh opportunity to create successful marketing campaigns during this traditionally slow period for sales. 

Realizing The Greater Roles of Social Media in the WFH Landscape

The rise of WFH looks as though it’s here to stay, and this could carry significant ramifications for the world of marketing – especially as social media campaigns continue to gain traction among marketers aiming to generate greater brand awareness and loyalty alongside advertising campaigns. 

Social Media Usage

(Image: Marketing Charts)

According to the metrics above, social media usage in the US was set to accelerate significantly in the wake of COVID. With more citizens across the world unable to interact with friends and family in person, social media usage became more prevalent. With one social network, TikTok, experiencing a huge increase in users. 

Social Media During Covid-19

(Image: Marketing Charts)

The height of the pandemic saw more marketers take to tapping into the potential of this huge new network of active social media users. In fact, as much as 84.2% of CMOs looked to use social media to build brand awareness online, while customer retention and acquisition both ranked high. 

While businesses can certainly tap into social media for continued campaigning following the conclusion of the festive season, one of the most significant drawbacks of this time of year amounts to how best marketers can utilize their social media campaigns to draw in new and returning customers. 

With this in mind, let’s explore some of the key ways in which CMOs are looking to keep things fresh when it comes to content in the new year: 

Champion Community Interactions

There are few better ways of entering the new year successfully than to work towards championing community-driven content. By opening your business up to its community, you can not only share their content but also build a significant level of brand loyalty and awareness online. It’s even possible to build a space for dedicated users to interact with each other and share their experiences and ideas using platforms like Mighty Networks or Zapnito

Kristen Baker, a marketing manager at HubSpot explained that “in today’s highly digital and connected society, it’s funny to think people can still feel disconnected from others. This goes for personal relationships as well as business relationships – specifically between brands and their customers as well as brands and their employees. So, what is it that has people feeling a disconnect to others and the companies they do business with? It’s a lack of community.”

One key example of an organisation building a huge cross-platform community through marketing can be found on Netflix. When the company teamed up with content marketing agency, Mustache, the result amounted to a series of new social media accounts using the @NetflixIsAJoke handle to post funny videos, memes and other forms of content. 

The campaign prompted a vibrant community across a range of platforms and generated around 3.5 million new followers for Netflix in the process. 

By spending the quieter months following the festive period working on building a community and engaging more with your social media followers, you could not only establish more brand loyalty but build a deeper understanding of who your customers are and the sort of content they would like to see. You could even invite them to create content on your behalf and share the best entries in return for a prize. 

As marketing budgets tighten following the holiday season, user-generated content can pay dividends in keeping your social media followers engaged and continually clicking on your brand for updates. This, in turn, can lead to a healthy boost to website traffic, conversions, and much more engagement later on when new promotions kick-off. 

Work on More Organic Promotions

There are many reasons why the new year is a good time to start interacting more with your customers. In the age of WFH, it’s likely that they’ll have more time to spend on social media, and in those long drawn out winter months, they may actually crave some interaction with people – even if that ‘someone’ actually turns out to be a brand. 

You can help to foster a sense of loyalty by introducing a more evergreen promotion in the form of a loyalty scheme. As a new year arrives, customers may be looking for new challenges, and a loyalty or referral program could be perfect for keeping them engaged in those early months. 

There are plenty of ways in which you can introduce a loyalty program specific to your business. The classic approach made popular by both coffee shops and bookshops is a stamp card where every purchase equals a stamp. After a pre-determined number of stamps, the customer can receive a free product or service – or a freebie. 

If your business is more heavily dependent on service subscriptions, then it’s possible to run a referral program where customers get discounts for referring friends. You could also introduce tiered loyalty schemes where customers can move through tiers based on the purchases they make. The higher the tier they’re in, the greater the discounts. 

Naturally, these more organic and evergreen promotions encourage customers to convert more often, knowing that they’ll be rewarded for their loyalty. At a time that’s traditionally much more tranquil following the frantic festive season, loyalty rewards can bring a significant boost to conversions. 

Promote Self Improvement

The rise of the pandemic has led to a widespread increase in self-improvement measures. Whether it’s eating healthily, regular exercise or mindfulness, it seems that these trends are likely to continue in the age of WFH. 

This could be a significant opportunity for social media marketers who are looking to increase brand loyalty in the new year. Your social media marketing efforts can resonate with consumers more by promoting self-improvement. 

Be sure to generate trust in your brand by sharing your expertise, creating tutorials to share across social media (these can be video-based or textual), or even creating online courses central to your content. 

These approaches can add value to your business on social media, and followers will feel emboldened in following you and taking on the information that you share. 

The notion of self-improvement can be a significant tool for businesses to use in their marketing campaigns in January and February, where New Year’s resolutions remain fresh in the minds of consumers online. Position your online self-improvement materials on your social media accounts as a means of offering your followers the opportunity to learn through your company’s expertise. 

This social media marketing approach can be created as a freebie or as a paid service, but as long as it demonstrates value to your customers, it’s an effective way of resonating with their mindsets following on from the festive period. This boost in loyalty and awareness among your social media follower will lead to more click-throughs on to your landing page and subsequently more conversions from users who were content with your self-improvement content. 

Content Trial and Error

Of course, it’s vital at this time of year to continually monitor the performance of your campaigns. Raw metrics are likely to show drops in the number of conversions being made with your company, so it’s important to look elsewhere for key indicators surrounding how your campaigns are taking shape. 

By running links to your website’s landing pages from social media, you can actively review each step of your sales funnel through dedicated analytics engines like Google Analytics and Finteza. Both platforms are capable of providing rich insights into the causes of page and cart abandonment and various bouncebacks. 

Google Analytics

(Image: EasyAutoTagging)

At a time of year where consumer spending is largely frantic, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your funnels are kept squeaky clean and free of any potential sticking points for non-committal visitors. 

Be sure to regularly monitor your social media links and posts, and always compare and contrast your performance by looking into the various impressions you’re getting and the click-through rate that they’re generating. 

It may even be worth setting up different landing pages for each social media platform so you can better identify the best-optimised campaign for each network. 

As the frantic festive period and the huge marketing pushes of companies become a memory, it can be much more difficult to generate campaigns that can see similar levels of traction. In markets with a little less consumer spending power, the process of trial and error can really pay dividends in spotting newly emerging trends and capitalizing on them.

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The post How to Win Social Media Conversions After The Holiday Rush appeared first on Social Media Week.

Crafting a Support Network as a Founder and CEO

Crafting a Support Network as a Founder and CEO

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Sometime in late 2018, the concept of having a support network clicked for me. This was the year that I started working with Mandy, my second Executive Assistant. Caryn, who I worked with in that capacity for around a year and a half, had transitioned to lead Finance. The gap without this type of support helped me to reflect on the most ideal setup.

The journey to a support network

The first time around that I worked with an Executive Assistant, I had the thought that they could help me by taking on a lot of tasks I had been doing myself. And this is true in many ways. The second time around, I realized that the ultimate way an EA can help me to scale is to be a key partner in creating a support network around myself.

Rather than having my EA take on my tax filings, the best thing they can do is help me to find three people I can meet to decide on a great financial advisor to work with long-term. And this approach can be taken in many areas, and can be done yourself, without an EA. I now believe that the best way to reach your potential in life, is to form a support network for yourself and cultivate it over time.

In some ways, even thinking about getting this type of support feels like a privilege, and it is. At the same time, I believe thinking in this way should be something for everyone, at least in some form. We’ve all had mentors and people who have supported us in various ways, we’ve had parents or grandparents play that role. And for specific needs, we have people we can turn to: we have a dentist and a GP. We just may not have thought about this as a support network we cultivate and intentionally craft. And as a key example of one aspect of a support network, I’d argue, most of us should have a therapist.

Dedicated vs natural support

Friends and a partner are great pieces of your support network, too. But there’s a risk to over-reliance on those people to support you in tough times. It can take a toll on them, and it may line up with a tough time for them too.

In that sense, having naturally existing relationships as your only support can be risky and put you in a more vulnerable spot. Personally, I found that having a therapist I met with regularly helped me to process and work through some of my challenges and thereby have those challenges better formed and be in a more healthy place to discuss them in a different way with my partner.

This doesn’t mean to hold back from sharing challenges with a partner or friends, and often I do. In general, you communicate more regularly with your partner and friends than you meet with a therapist, so it’s likely that you’d share with them first. However, knowing that you’ll meet with your therapist in a few days helps to relieve some of the stress you feel and the urgency to find a solution. And when you do speak with your therapist, you have an opportunity to approach the challenge from a different perspective.

Relying on your co-founder for everything

I’ve found that having a co-founder also makes it easy to avoid getting more dedicated support such as a therapist or a coach. When you have a co-founder, it’s easy to rely on them for all of these support functions. This is a wonderful aspect of having a co-founder, they can be your best supporter. It’s also easy to build this reliance, because your co-founder is likely someone you speak with more than anyone else, perhaps even a spouse.

Not having a coach in the final year or two of working with my co-founder is something I consider a mistake. As we both became more burned out, and our vision for the company and natural choices of approach diverged, we couldn’t be the ones to help each other with those specific challenges. While I think the outcome to part ways was always going to be the right one, having a coach would likely have made the journey to that result smoother.

A key risk with over-reliance on natural relationships for support, is that they are not necessarily the best people to help you. They won’t be the best therapist, or the best coach, or the best financial advisor you could get. Additionally, these relationships are two-way streets. You can’t take too much otherwise it will feel one-sided and imbalanced.

Types of support to consider

Here are some of the types of support I’ve put in place for myself in the past couple of years:

  • Therapist
  • Coach
  • Executive Assistant
  • Financial Advisor / CPA
  • Peer founder / CEO group
  • Surfing and kite-surfing instructors
  • House cleaning

Other types of support I’m considering putting in place in coming years:

  • Personal trainer
  • Language tutor

In general, instructors and tutors fall into an overall category of being taught, which is something I’ve increasingly been leaning into. For my last few surf vacations, mainly due to Jess’ suggestion / request, I’ve had lessons almost every day. And there’s no doubt that I progressed faster than alone.

Of course, for most of us, cost is a key factor here. It is worth, however, establishing some of these relationships even if you do not set up regular sessions, even if you only have a one-off session.

As an example, I worked closely with a therapist for around two years. Since mid-2019, I’ve not met regularly with my therapist and have used some of the tools she introduced me to. However, I know that if I ever have a specific issue, or want to have regular sessions again for a few months, I can reach out to her. Having that existing relationship makes the barrier much lower for the future.

There are a couple of other benefits in getting professional support. Firstly, they will have their own network of other people who can help. For example, my financial advisor is connected to a group of people specialized in various different aspects, and was able to connect me with an attorney to help set up a trust. Secondly, if you set up regular sessions it will add a layer of accountability for yourself in that area, be it having your finances more in order or studying a language.

Start sooner than you think

If you’re an individual, it may feel like overkill to get some of this type of help in place. However, many of these elements of support are most effective as preventative measures, rather than necessary measures. It’s best to get them in place before a crisis, as the people you connect with can be ready and have relevant context, or even help you avoid the crisis in the first place.

And as a founder / CEO, I personally wish I had started to work on my personal support network much sooner. If you have a growing organization, don’t wait too long. As a founder, you generally get everything off the ground yourself and play every role. This can gear you up to have a mindset of solving everything yourself. But, if your company is starting to grow, if you’re starting to hire people, I’d recommend building your support network now. It will help you scale more smoothly, will make the journey feel calmer, and will equip you better for issues that will inevitably arise.

Welcoming Maria Thomas as Buffer’s Chief Product Officer

Welcoming Maria Thomas as Buffer’s Chief Product Officer

In July, we shared that we were looking for a product leader to help us take Buffer forward in our next phase. After speaking to an incredible group of talented folks in product, I’m happy to share that Maria Thomas has joined us as our new Chief Product Officer.

Welcoming Maria Thomas as Buffer’s Chief Product Officer

We’re now a 10-year old company, and in the past year, I’ve done a lot of reflection on the purpose of the company and how we can set ourselves up to reach our potential and have the most impact. Buffer’s mission is to provide essential tools to help small businesses get off the ground and grow.

Maria brings with her a breadth of experience working in SaaS and working with small businesses. Her most recent roles have been as the VP of Product at Bitly for the past two years and Insightly for the prior three and a half years. These are both SaaS companies that served small businesses and navigated the ups and downs of all that comes with that segment, including having a large free user base. Maria also spent seven years building products for SMBs at Intuit.

The opportunity to bring on an executive is rare, especially at a company like Buffer, where we have some very loyal and long-tenured people and are striving to create a decades-long sustainable company. There’s much we can learn, however, from someone with experience of where we’re trying to go, and with Maria we have found a great blend of significant experience and expertise we can learn from and an excitement for the unique type of company we are. In particular, Maria and I connected and had great conversations around the freedom and creativity that can come with being unconstrained by VC investment and how that can help us have a more pure focus on the customer, and ultimately more compounding long-term success.

In Maria’s own words:

I am inspired and humbled to join Buffer. You have quite a following in the product management community. Several of my peers revealed that they’d had a long ‘crush on Buffer’ once they learned that I joined you as your CPO. I am thrilled to join a product-led company focused on helping SMBs, a profitable, transparent, sustainable SaaS business, and a majority female executive team.

We’re lucky to benefit from all of Maria’s great experience in product as well as her many years as an executive of similarly sized companies. Maria joined us late last year and has already had a significant impact, helping us to shape our goals and strategy for 2021. I’m confident that within the next few months, customers will start to see the positive and tangible results of her contributions.

How Google is Preparing for Fully Immersive AR Environments

Since its inception, one of the biggest use cases of AR on mobile remains the ability to play with your appearance whether through clothes, accessories, or makeup. Snapchat and Instagram are no stranger to this trend, and now Google is making its mark in the space with its own update.

Specifically, the tech giant tapped ModiFace and Perfect Corp, two companies highly involved in AR beauty technologies, to deliver a feature that gives online shoppers a way to virtually try on makeup without having to deviate from their Search results.

Separately, Google teamed up with Snapchat to put an immersive twist on its ‘Year in Search’ trends overview. Here’s a high-level overview of the latest.

Bringing the benefits of in-store shopping to mobile

Similar to YouTube’s AR feature for makeup try-on launched last year, Google’s latest push utilizes top brands including L’Oréal, Estée Lauder, MAC Cosmetics, Black Opal, and Charlotte Tilbury allowing consumers to try on a variety of makeup products without having to set foot in a store to test the look and feel.

Here’s how it works: When a user searches for a particular lipstick or eyeshadow product such as— “L’Oréal’s Infallible Paints Metallic Eyeshadow,” — they’ll be directed to the virtual try-on shopping experience at the top of their search results. From there, they can browse a library of photos of models representing a range of skin tones to help compare the shades and find the right product for them

“Seventy-three percent of U.S. shoppers are planning to buy online,” said Archana Kannan, Group Product Manager, Shopping and author of the announcement regarding this past holiday season’s expectations. “There are plenty of perks with online shopping, from the convenience of doing it from your couch to the multitude of options right at your fingertips.”

Details aside — the key takeaway here is that more than ever consumers are finding out about products from social media, then clicking through direct links to retailers to make purchases or even transacting directly on social platforms like Facebook or Instagram without leaving the app. A big driver of this shift? Influencers.

Endorsements from experts and enthusiasts

As part of the effort, Google is taking into consideration how consumers ultimately make their decision and a big trend as of late is recommendations from trusted sources like influencers.

In this vein, the company is unveiling recommendations from beauty, apparel and home and garden enthusiasts and experts, including online influencers, when a consumer browses Google Shopping on their phone. For example, hear the latest from professional makeup artist Jonet about makeup looks, or get holiday gift ideas from Homesick Candles.

“Sometimes it’s helpful to get recommendations and see how products work for other people,” explained Kannan. “Once you’ve found a product you love, you’ll be able to easily shop these recommendations.” This feature comes from Shoploop, a product formerly part of Area 120, Google’s in-house incubator.

The ‘Year in Search’ AR experience

The end of the year always seems to be nostalgic and Google and Snapchat are leaning into this in an innovative way. A new Google Lens accessible through Snapchat gives users an interactive walk down memory lane of all the key events of 2020 and noteworthy insights.

For instance, clicking on a photo of a Black Lives Matter protest highlights that compared to the previous year, searches of the term were up five-fold. Further, searches for “protest near me” were made in every state in the country for the first time ever.

“As 2020 comes to an end, Snap and Google have partnered to bring Google’s iconic “Year in Search” story to life with an immersive augmented reality experience. This marks the first time Google’s “Year in Search” has been brought to life in AR, and the campaign’s debut on Snapchat.”

Additionally, Snapchat also reports that for the first time Google will run its “Year in Search” video as ads on the platform.

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The post How Google is Preparing for Fully Immersive AR Environments appeared first on Social Media Week.

Announcing Adweek’s Acquisition of Social Media Week

Since 2009 we’ve made it our mission to help you, our loyal community members, play a pivotal role in an engaged and elevated conversation on the impact of social media on marketing, media and culture.

Today, we are thrilled to continue this mission and share that Social Media Week will become part of Adweek. Toby Daniels, who founded Social Media Week in 2009, will join Adweek as Chief Innovation Officer, while also overseeing the SMW business. “Joining forces with Adweek represents an opportunity to work with a world-class team, accessing a full spectrum of capabilities which will not only help to extend the Social Media Week brand and offering but also help us better serve our community and our partners. We are ecstatic to have found a home and strategic partner in Adweek, a company we have long admired for its first-class journalism and coverage of our industry, its dedication to fostering community and its events and awards, which are the gold standard in our industry”, said Daniels in a statement.

“The SMW acquisition is an important step forward in deepening our connection with these influential and rising marketers,” shared Adweek CEO Jeff Litvack in the official press release, which you can read in full here. “Social media has always been a critical way for brands to reach and interact with their consumers and 2020 has further thrust it into the spotlight.”

“In 2020, the pandemic, the rise of Black Lives Matter, and a socially distanced world reinforced the demand for real-time social engagement and the criticality of social media as a marketing platform,” added Adweek’s Chief Content Officer Lisa Granatstein. “We’re excited to supersize our social media programming with next-level insights and best practices to help our audience continue to capitalize on these seismic consumer and marketing trends.”

SMW entered unchartered territory when we went virtual in 2020. We held our first virtual conference in May with more than 10,000 attendees and 175 hours of content and quickly followed this pivot with the launch of SMW+, a live and on-demand platform for marketers looking to level up their careers, none of which would have been possible without your support.

Under Adweek, we will continue to expand our virtual presence beginning with #SMWNYC, kicking off May 4–7, 2021. The theme of this year’s flagship conference is “Reinvention: Rebuilding the Systems of Social Media Marketing for a Better Future” Plus, we will continue to invest in SMW+ and are eager to share more incredible content, shows, and series and grow the audience over the course of the year.

We look forward to delivering you world-class experiences under our new leadership and the opportunity to share this exciting journey with each and every one of you.

The post Announcing Adweek’s Acquisition of Social Media Week appeared first on Social Media Week.

Announcing Adweek’s Acquisition of Social Media Week

Since 2009 we’ve made it our mission to help you, our loyal community members, play a pivotal role in an engaged and elevated conversation on the impact of social media on marketing, media and culture.

Today, we are thrilled to continue this mission and share that Social Media Week will become part of Adweek. Toby Daniels, who founded Social Media Week in 2009, will join Adweek as Chief Innovation Officer, while also overseeing the SMW business. “Joining forces with Adweek represents an opportunity to work with a world-class team, accessing a full spectrum of capabilities which will not only help to extend the Social Media Week brand and offering but also help us better serve our community and our partners. We are ecstatic to have found a home and strategic partner in Adweek, a company we have long admired for its first-class journalism and coverage of our industry, its dedication to fostering community and its events and awards, which are the gold standard in our industry”, said Daniels in a statement.

“The SMW acquisition is an important step forward in deepening our connection with these influential and rising marketers,” shared Adweek CEO Jeff Litvack in the official press release, which you can read in full here. “Social media has always been a critical way for brands to reach and interact with their consumers and 2020 has further thrust it into the spotlight.”

“In 2020, the pandemic, the rise of Black Lives Matter, and a socially distanced world reinforced the demand for real-time social engagement and the criticality of social media as a marketing platform,” added Adweek’s Chief Content Officer Lisa Granatstein. “We’re excited to supersize our social media programming with next-level insights and best practices to help our audience continue to capitalize on these seismic consumer and marketing trends.”

SMW entered unchartered territory when we went virtual in 2020. We held our first virtual conference in May with more than 10,000 attendees and 175 hours of content and quickly followed this pivot with the launch of SMW+, a live and on-demand platform for marketers looking to level up their careers, none of which would have been possible without your support.

Under Adweek, we will continue to expand our virtual presence beginning with #SMWNYC, kicking off May 4–7, 2021. The theme of this year’s flagship conference is “Reinvention: Rebuilding the Systems of Social Media Marketing for a Better Future” Plus, we will continue to invest in SMW+ and are eager to share more incredible content, shows, and series and grow the audience over the course of the year.

We look forward to delivering you world-class experiences under our new leadership and the opportunity to share this exciting journey with each and every one of you.

The post Announcing Adweek’s Acquisition of Social Media Week appeared first on Social Media Week.

How to Build a Brand Ambassador Network on Instagram

Can you believe Instagram turned 10 in 2020? Boasting 1 billion users, it’s surely not a platform that you have ignored as a marketer or business owner.

However, I see many brands fall short with their Instagram marketing strategy. I don’t want you to be one of those brands so I’ve created this post on how you can boost the effectiveness of your Instagram presence with brand ambassadors to grow more traffic, brand awareness and sales.

Why Does My Brand Need Brand Ambassadors?

Sixty-percent of Instagram users log on daily. That means that your target consumers are interested in what their peers and people they follow post about. Don’t you want some of those daily posts to be about your brand? Brand ambassadors can be influencers or happy consumers. They have the ability to create authentic posts about your brand. After all, consumers are ad blind and they don’t want to hear about your brand from your brand itself. Consumers want to learn about new products and/or services from their peers. Brand ambassadors are considered to be peers.

Where to Find Brand Ambassadors?

There are many ways to identify people who are the perfect fit for your brand ambassador program on Instagram. As I mentioned, brand ambassadors can be influencers or happy consumers. Influencers have a lot of followers on Instagram while happy customers may not have huge a social following, but they can still get your brand in front of hundreds of their friends and family.

Here are a few ways you can go about identifying brand ambassadors to post on Instagram.

  • Identify and activate influencers using a tool like GroupHigh or BuzzSumo
  • Consult with your client services team to identify happy consumers and email them and ask them to post on Instagram and tag your brand
  • Send out an email to your consumers asking them to share their experience with your brand on Instagram

How to Get Ambassadors to Post

Turning someone into a brand ambassador often requires some creativity and a little incentivization. Based on successful brand ambassador programs on Instagram, there are few things we can learn from other brands on how to get consumers to post on Instagram about their experience with your brand.

  • Offer free product for posts
  • Offer different tiers of gift cards for how many likes an ambassador gets on their post
  • Monetarily incentivize ambassadors to post
  • Set up a commission structure for the sales that come in from their Instagram posts
  • Organizing and Scaling Your Brand Ambassador Program

The goal is to get as many brand ambassadors as you can to post. This takes a lot of organization. You can create a Google Sheet to track who is in your program and the links and reach of their posts. You can also keep a running list of all your brand ambassadors in an email marketing tool like MailChimp so you can regularly communicate with them.

However, organizing, scaling, and incentivizing your ambassadors can be a tedious process. Especially when your days are filled with other marketing initiatives. That’s why tools like CrewFire which organizes and allows your to incentivize your ambassadors to post are like a dream come true for marketers.

Creative Ways to Maximize Your Earned Media from Ambassadors

Your brand ambassadors are going to create some amazing earned media for you on Instagram. The images and words they used can be great assets for more than just sales. Here are a few ways that you can reuse your earned Instagram media:

  • Use the images on all of your social channels
  • Utilize their images and quotes from their posts on your homepage
  • Create a category on your website for potential consumers to see all of your earned Instagram content
  • Use their images in your marketing materials

How to Track the Results from Your Brand Ambassador Program

To ensure that your brand ambassador program on Instagram is reaching its fullest potential, you’re going to want to track your earned media. Create a spreadsheet, consult your earned media, and utilize Google Analytics to record how your program is performing.

To be able to track your ambassadors on an individual level, ask them to put your link in their bio on the day that they post about you. Even if they won’t put your link in their bio, you can still track the results of your brand ambassador program on Instagram.

These are the most sensible metrics to track:

  • Impressions (number of followers the ambassador has)
  • The number of likes their posts get
  • The number of Instagram comments an ambassador gets on their posts
  • The number of posts the ambassador posts about your brand
  • Traffic their posts brought to your website (if they put your link in their bio)
  • Sales (if they put your link in their bio)

Key Takeaways

Brand ambassadors are a cost effective and authentic way to earn media for your brand and create brand awareness on Instagram. Consumers want to hear about brands from their peers and not from your brand, so these third-party recommendations are very powerful.
Don’t forget to incentivize your ambassadors to post and remember that a little goes a long way. Usually, your happy consumers just need a little nudge to post about your brand.

Have you worked with ambassadors on Instagram? If so, feel free to reach out on social with your tips and insights!

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The post How to Build a Brand Ambassador Network on Instagram appeared first on Social Media Week.