Tag: COVID-19

Adam Thomas’ six-year-old son raised £13,000 for charity after Captain Sir Tom Moore inspired him to walk 10k

PROUD dad Adam Thomas has revealed his six-year-old son raised £13,000 for charity after Captain Sir Tom Moore inspired him to walk 10k. The former …

Adam Thomas’ six-year-old son raised £13,000 for charity after Captain Sir Tom Moore inspired him to walk 10k

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

How Facebook is Helping Brands Adapt for the Mindful Consumer

2020 has been a challenge — particularly when it comes to mental health. From online fitness classes to recipe inspiration and DIY projects — consumers have a renewed sense of appreciation for the simpler things in life as they carve out new mindful habits. While this has become apparent, what this will ultimately spell out for the industry is still up for discussion.

Facebook recently embarked on a report to uncover some of the trends that will have a lasting impact on health and well-being and what they mean for brands as they prepare their strategies ahead of 2021.

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

Self-care as an essential ritual

During a time where widespread working-from-home arrangements have blurred the boundaries between work and leisure, wellness routines and creative pursuits have become instrumental in carving out “me” time. For consumers, this is regarded as essential for relaxation and as a means of entertainment in lieu of regular social events.

Per the report findings, over half (58%) U.S. consumers who have worked on a craft or DIY project for the first time as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic say this is an activity they could see themselves continuing to do for years to come. Further, 80 percent of Americans intend to regularly practice self-care post-pandemic.

What is the moral here for brands? Self-care is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Consumers are more likely to engage in mindful purchases with a treat yourself mentality as opposed to impulsive ones and crave opportunities to create small moments of serenity day-to-day. In turn, there is a tremendous opportunity for brands to step in and reshape their narratives in ways that empower the consumer to establish their own health-building habits.

Altruism and purpose

Seventy percent of survey respondents reported they are now more aware that human activity threatens the climate than they were before the outbreak of COVID-19. Roughly the same percentage (71%) of consumers say they’d lose trust in a brand forever should it be seen placing profit over people.

Beyond helping people care for themselves, it is table stakes for today’s brands to take a stand on social and environmental issues and consumers will be quick to flag when they don’t or an attempt is disingenuous. In this vein, customers want to be thought of as humans, not consumers, and have their values and interests reflected in the companies they support. More than ever, they want the affirmation their purchasing power is being used to create positive change.

The prioritization of brands to display human qualities including empathy, compassion, and kindness is not only one consumers look to in a brand’s external communications, but also across their organization. As an example, 55 percent of U.S. consumers find it important that a brand offers medical and paid sick leave benefits to all employees. In other major markets like the U.K., this figure is even higher at 75 percent.

Social listening and empathetic experiences

As the report refers to it, “future-proofing” is on the rise with consumers tackling tough, longer-term decisions amidst the uncertainty of COVID-19. This ranges from career choices to saving or relocating, and even lifestyle specifics such as diets. More specifically, 75 percent of global consumers plan to eat and drink healthier as a result of the pandemic.

In addition to self-care, this year peace of mind has largely been derived from planning and brands can continue to play an instrumental role in this regard as consumers seek safety and stability. Experiences are varied so this can present obstacles by way of not being able to lean back on a one-size-fits-all strategy. To overcome this, brands must lead with adaptability, practice regular social listening to ensure alignment with values and needs of consumers, and reflect this effort through empathetic messaging.

COVID-19 has not only sharpened the individual level of mindfulness but what it means to be collectively well as a society. Consumers expect brands to step up, be active listeners, and assume responsibility for their communities as definitions of care and wellness evolve. As the brand-consumer relationship faces growing complexity, marketers should focus on several basic questions as their guidepost including who are you marketing to, how can you appropriately target them, and how has their mindset shifted?

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The post How Facebook is Helping Brands Adapt for the Mindful Consumer appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/11/how-facebook-is-helping-brands-adapt-for-the-mindful-consumer/

Welsh Business News – Welsh Government to support small businesses with innovative ideas #WelshBiz

The Welsh Government is making funding available to support businesses with innovative products and services that will help communities and the public sector adapt to the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), which can offer up to £50,000 to promising projects able to start in January 2021 and complete by the end of March, will also be important for schemes that can support the public sector after the EU Transition period.

The focus will be on creating better lives closer to home, by delivering against three key objectives that support the Welsh Government’s Economic Action Plan. These are to:

Build Back Green – enabling businesses and communities to adapt to the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19 with a focus on a healthier, cleaner and more sustainable Wales. We are looking for solutions that enable people to continue to work closer to home, considering accessibility and safety whilst maintaining a sense of community and connection.
Create sustainability and security in supply chains – supporting place-based and needs-led driven business supply chains to secure jobs for the future and to safeguard against further supply chain disruptions so that communities have access to healthy food sources.
Support mental and physical wellbeing for all generations – developing new products and services to address mental health, improve access to care, and support the resilience of communities throughout the pandemic and beyond.
Solutions could include ways to use emerging digital and smart technology to support the mental wellbeing of people within communities; reduce the impact of emissions on health; tackle the impacts of food poverty; or reduce unemployment and the need to commute.

Minister for Economy, Transport, and North Wales, Ken Skates, said: “The coronavirus pandemic is the biggest public health emergency this country has ever faced. We need people with expertise, entrepreneurship and innovative thinking to work with us and help deliver sustainable solutions to the challenges it poses to the long term wellbeing of our communities and economy.

“I am incredibly proud of the ingenuity and sense of community Wales has demonstrated in dealing with the impacts of coronavirus virus, but there is much more to be done as we continue to adapt to the ever changing landscape in which we live and work.

“The Small Business Research Initiative provides important funding for firms to link with the public sector and deliver important solutions to specific challenges. I encourage those with an interest to get involved.”

Lynda Jones, SBRI Centre of Excellence manager, said: “COVID 19 has affected us all, and for this challenge we are seeking innovations that will help support long term health and wellbeing whilst supporting communities and the economy.

“Successful applicants will have the unique opportunity to collaborate and work closely with a team of experts from the relevant sectors to help develop their solutions.”

The Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) has a total of £250,000 available to offer successful projects.

Businesses have until 12pm on November 27, 2020 to submit their ideas.

For more information, e-mail: SBRI.COE@wales.nhs.uk

For more information and to submit a project for consideration, visit: sdi.click/betterlives
— Read on www.wales247.co.uk/welsh-government-to-support-small-businesses-with-innovative-ideas/

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Welsh Business News – Over 5,500 businesses apply for Welsh Government’s £100m Economic Resilience Fund in two days | North Wales Chronicle

THE first-come-first-serve business grants of the Welsh Government’s £100million Economic Resilience Fund has been fully subscribed with more than 5,500 businesses applying for support in just two days.

Demand from businesses of all sizes across Wales has been received since the latest round of the ERF Development Grants which opened to applications on Wednesday, October 28.

Businesses can still however benefit from the £200m available from the third phase of the fund.

The £100m business grants are part of the £300m made available in the third stage of the ERF by the Welsh Government to support businesses continuing to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic. £20m of this is ring-fenced for tourism and hospitality businesses.

The Welsh Government said applications will now be processed as quickly as possible and it expects to start getting support out to businesses from mid-November.

Businesses can still benefit from the £200m available from the third phase.

Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses that are required to close and which occupy a property with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £51,000 will be eligible for a share of the £200m funding and all businesses eligible for Small Business rate relief will also receive support. Businesses have to register and update their details via Business Wales or their Local Authority to receive financial support.

Eligible firms that do not qualify for business rates linked grants are able to apply for awards of up to £2,000 from a £25m discretionary fund via their local authority.

Economy minister Ken Skates said: “The importance of the Economic Resilience Fund to Welsh businesses is evident in the sheer number of applications that have been received. We know that businesses have been preparing for this for some time, ever since the eligibility checker opened earlier this month.

“We know this is an incredibly difficult and challenging time for companies. We will work hard to get this much needed funding out of the door and into the bank accounts of businesses that need it as quickly as we can.
— Read on www.northwaleschronicle.co.uk/news/18834258.5-500-businesses-apply-welsh-governments-100m-economic-resilience-fund-two-days/

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

How has the Covid-19 pandemic changed cycling in Dublin City? – Weekly News & Analysis

Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, people have looked for alternative methods of travelling to avoid busy public transport. Eibhin Kavanagh investigates how the pandemic is affecting cycling in the city.

Is cycling in Dublin City safe? Photo by Eibhin Kavanagh
With our movements once again restricted, people in Ireland are limited to travelling within 5km of their homes. Walking and cycling have become a more popular means of exercising as a result of gyms closing and sporting events being cancelled.

In the last ten years, Dublin has seen an increase in the number of people cycling. A number of bike share schemes have become well established. However, 2020 has seen an exponential increase in cyclists, which Dublin City has had to accommodate. This change, due to social distancing restrictions, means more space is required for both pedestrians and cyclists to make their way around the  city.  

Councillor Michael Pidgeon talked to The City about the recent changes related to cycling in Dublin City.

“In some ways I think the people are ahead of where the city is,” Pidgeon said. “We know that outside of peak hours there are now more people cycling than there were at this time of the year last year; there’s been a huge increase.”

Dublin City Council projected  a 200% increase of cyclists in Dublin City from 2019 to 2020.This would be an increase from 13,131 to 39,000.

  2019 Figures Likely Future Change Potential Future Figures
All Public Transport 116,287 80% Capacity Reduction 30,000
Car 57,985 Approx. 30% reduction 41,000
Taxi 2,661 Assume 30% reduction 1,900
Walk 24,691 Target 100% increase 50,000
Cycle 13,131 Target 200% increase 39,000
Goods 983 No change 1,000
Motorcycles 1,485 No change 1,485
Total (persons) 217,223   164,385
Source: Dublin City Council 
Source: Dublin City Council 

The Canal Cordon Count was analysed by Dublin City Council to determine where the greatest demand for walking and cycling was recorded. The table below shows the number of people crossing the canal cordon (both directions) during the morning peak period from 7am to 10am in November 2019.

Source: Dublin City Council 
From 1997 to 2019, the number of cyclists crossing this cordon heading into the city centre between 7 am and 10 am increased by 133%, from 5,628 to 13,125.

The number of cyclists remained between  4,000 and 6,000 between 1997 and 2010 before increasing by approximately 15% year on year until 2015 when the increase slowed up until 2017.  There was a small decrease in 2018,  but cycling numbers increased by 7.3% in 2018 and 2019. 

Source: Dublin City Council 
According to research conducted by the Road Safety Authority, 4 in 5 cyclists are injured on urban roads. More cyclists are  injured during morning and evening commutes. Of all collisions involving another vehicle – 4 in 5 cyclists are injured by cars. 1,056 cyclists were injured in collisions in 2018.

In Dublin, the number of cyclist deaths since 1997 has remained relatively low with a slight increase in 2017, according to figures collected by the Road Safety Authority.

Image Source- Irish Cycle.com
Dublin has over 120 miles of cycle routes. While changes have been ongoing to improve cycling infrastructure in the city, especially since lockdown in the spring, the demand is high for safe and accessible cycling.

“It felt like at the start of the pandemic there was a real understanding that we needed to take more space for cycling to encourage more people to do it, but it feels like that momentum has dropped a bit,” said Pidgeon. “So, I think that we need to get that going again.

“In terms of infrastructure, I think the big changes we have seen are some of the temporary measures along the quays, particularly along the northside quays.”

Some of the Cycle Safety interventions introduced since April include the installation of Nassau Street contra-flow cycle track from Clare Street to Dawson Street, the partial installation of key sections of the Interim Liffey Cycle route, removal of on-street car parking from Inns Quay and Ormond Quay, and a section of work from Church Street to Ha’penny Bridge, according to Dublin City Council.

Dublin City Council also discussed other plans to ensure safe cycling in the city, including the reduction of the number of traffic lanes to accommodate protected cycling facilities on both sides of the road, while maintaining a balance for other required services. While there have been major changes made within Dublin City Centre to ensure safe cycling, other parts of the city have yet to see changes that will make cycling accessible and safe.

“One of the things is to start looking at the urban villages, so instead of just focusing on the very core city centre, you would be looking at areas like Inchicore, Rialto, Stoneybatter, Phibsborough, Rathmines,” Pidgeon said in relation to making cycling consistent for everyone.

“What we seen in the pandemic is that people are happy enough to stay within a few kilometers of where they live, so we shouldn’t just be designing a cycle lane with a view that will just take office workers from the suburbs to the city centre, because that’s not what the demand is right now. That’s important, we should definitely do that, but it will have to also be about making sure that local routes around your home are safe.

“There’s still a lot to do, but equally I’d like to say that cycling in Dublin City is safe. There’s a perception of danger that I don’t think is entirely there. There’s a lot the city needs to do to feel a lot safer and be safer with segregated lanes, but if anyone’s considering it, I’d say just ask a friend who does cycle regularly and they can show you some good routes give you some tips and you’ll be up and running in no time.”
— Read on thecity.ie/2020/11/04/how-has-the-covid-19-pandemic-changed-cycling-in-dublin-city/

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

How LinkedIn is Combining Paid and Organic Tools to Boost Virtual Events

In May Linkedin debuted Virtual Events to help smooth the transition to virtual events. Since then, more than 200,000 events have been hosted on the platform, reaching nearly 10 million digital attendees. Seven months of this “new normal,” however, there is still a lot to navigate and new questions and virtual surrounding hybrid and virtual events continue to surface.

To improve its Events options even further, LinkedIn solicited feedback about the offering and identified several key areas of improvement. More specifically, the company is introducing new discovery features, promotion options, and data capture processes.

Here’s a high-level overview of the updates and how you can bring them into your strategy for your next event.

Driving organic discovery

First off, LinkedIn is enhancing organic discovery through personalized recommendations in the “My Network” tab and weekly Event email digests. “So far, we’ve seen a +40% increase in event attendees from recommendations found in the ‘My Network’ tab,” the company shared.

Separately, when you post an event from your business Page, LinkedIn will automatically notify your followers who are most likely to attend based on various criteria, including their interests. In an age of information overload, hyper-targeted and relevant messages are critical to rise above the noise and earn attention. Ideally, these efforts will help reduce the clutter in this regard and limit potential spam.

Capturing leads

As part of the feedback, Linkedin also heard from businesses that they’d like more streamlined options for tracking attendees and gathering important data on those who have registered their interest in their event. In response, the platform is introducing registration forms for events where details including names and details can be captured.

A bonus? These lists are downloadable directly from your event page and used to send personalized notes including thank you emails. In addition, you can bring these into your CRM or share it with your sales teams to build your outreach lists over time.

Promoting and retargeting events

Per Linkedin, Page followers who are exposed to your organic content are 61 percent more likely to convert on your paid ad. What does this really mean in the grand scheme of your strategy planning? Successful promotion involves a mixed media strategy.

To help boost the reach of organic posts around events, the company is rolling out “Sponsored Content Single Image Ads.” Per LinkedIn’s Head of Product, Ajay Datta, these will be particularly effective in engaging executives, decision-makers, and other hard-to-reach audiences. In addition, when included with an Event URL, these ads can be a straightforward way to trace how it performs against new, specified metrics, such as the total number of registrants, as well as views and clicks on the ad that resulted in a registration. To continue the conversation with prior event registrants, simply create a custom target audience in Campaign Manager based on those who have RSVPed to any of your LinkedIn Events.

The growing usage of video connection

According to Linkedin, 60 percent of members want to use video meetings on LinkedIn for networking. This added layer of human connection while keeping a safe distance amid the current pandemic, is more important than ever and gives an opportunity for people to bring humanity to their conversations and practice digital empathy.

In this vein, LinkedIn announced the full roll-out of its new video meeting options within InMessage. The platform hinted at this update a few weeks back as part of its overall refresh including new colors and visuals. To initiate a video call with another person or group in a thread, click on the video meeting icon and select a provider including Blue Jeans or Zoom, to sign-in or register. LinkedIn isn’t stopping here, either. The company hinted that it is also working on advanced event analytics, a new Events Ad format, and attendee networking options slated for roll out soon.

Let’s face it — B2B events will likely never be the same but rather become a hybrid of the physical and digital. COVID-19 has taught us that we can use technology and re-think the various aspects of in-person events from ticketing and registration to presentations and networking and redesign them in meaningful ways to maximize impact for everyone involved.

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

The post How LinkedIn is Combining Paid and Organic Tools to Boost Virtual Events appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/10/how-linkedin-is-combining-paid-and-organic-tools-to-boost-virtual-events/

‘FutureInns’ local lockdown offer • Introbiz Members News

At Future Inn Cardiff Bay, you can step away from the world, catch your breath and relax. In all this change and uncertainty take your mind off it with a night away from home. Future Inn Cardiff remains open for residents. 

Please see attached a copy of the Cardiff Local Break offer they are doing from now until December subject to availability.

Cardiff Local Break:
 Overnight stay
 Full Welsh breakfast
 3-course dinner in Thomas Restaurant
 OR a Taste of Wales Afternoon Tea
£54.50 per person

To book:

 02920 487111
 reservations.cardiff@futureinns.co.uk
 Select ‘Cardiff Local Break’ when booking online

Find more information on their website: https://www.futureinns.co.uk/special-offers/cardiff-local-break

— Read on introbiz.co.uk/futureinns-local-lockdown-offer/

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

News Bulletin: Economic Resilience Fund – Find out if your business is eligible for support from the third phase

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Industry News

News for the Tourism Industry in Wales

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7 October 2020

Economic Resilience Fund – Find out if your business is eligible for support from the third phase
Businesses across Wales can now find out if they can apply for funding from the third phase of the Economic Resilience Fund (ERF) by visiting the online Eligibility Checker.

Economy Minister Ken Skates announced the new phase of the fund last week which will see an additional £140m being made available to businesses. The eligibility checker will enable businesses to see if they can access the £80m tranche of the fund which will support firms with projects that can help the transition to the economy of tomorrow and will be open to micro businesses, SMEs and large businesses.

Of this, £20m will be ring fenced to support tourism and hospitality businesses  who are facing particular challenges as we enter the winter months.

Micro businesses (employing between 1 and 9 people) will be able to apply for up to £10,000 on the condition they match this with their own investment of at least 10%; For Tourism and Hospitality micro businesses there will be discretion for grant awards of up to 100%;
SMEs (employing between 10 and 249 people) will be able to apply for up to £150,000. Small businesses (up to 50 employees) will be required to match this with their own investment of at least 10% and medium businesses (between 50 and 249 employees) with at least 20% of their own funding; For Tourism and Hospitality SME’s there will be discretion for grant awards of up to 100%;
Large businesses (employing 250+ people) will be able to apply for up to £200,000 on the condition they match this with their own investment of at least 50%.
The Welsh Government is currently working with local authorities and the Welsh Local Government Association on the detail of the Local Lockdown Business Fund that will support businesses impacted by local restrictions. Further details and information on how to access this fund will be published shortly on the Business Wales website. The Local Lockdown Business Fund, worth up to £60m, will provide grants based on the Non-Domestic Rates (NDR) system to businesses who meet eligibility requirements and have been materially impacted by local lockdown. 

Eligible Retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in Wales occupying properties with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £51,000 could access a grant worth £1,500.

A £1,000 grant will be available to eligible businesses that have a rateable value of £12,000 or less.

Economy Minister Ken Skates said: “Welsh Government support has been crucial for businesses throughout Wales in dealing with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Key to this has been our unique Economic Resilience Fund which has already helped protect more than 100,000 jobs.

“Today we are opening the eligibility checker for the next £80m of the fund so businesses can find out if they are likely to benefit. We have deliberately ring-fenced £20m of this money for Tourism and hospitality businesses because we recognise the particular pressures they are under at this challenging time.

“The application process will open during the week of 26th October. We will also be providing further information on how businesses impacted by local lockdowns can access a share of the £60m we have committed for this purpose very soon.”

Stay up to date with tourism industry news
We are committed to providing the support and assurance the business community needs during these unprecedented difficult times and have issued several Coronavirus (COVID-19) related bulletins which can be found on the Tourism Industry Coronavirus (COVID-19) Bulletins page. 
— Read on content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKWALES/bulletins/2a36832

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Donald Trump and Melania test POSITIVE for COVID

Donald Trump and Melania test POSITIVE for COVID
— Read on www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8796793/amp/Hope-Hicks-tested-positive-coronavirus-traveling-Trump-Air-Force-One.html

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

YouTube Advertising: What Your Brand Needs to Know

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

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

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

Advanced contextual targeting with dynamic lineups

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

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

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

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

Driving efficient reach with Nielsen TV data

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

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

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

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

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

Catering your strategies with success stories and trends

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

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

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

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

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/09/youtube-advertising-what-your-brand-needs-to-know/

How Pinterest is Creating Positive Brand Experiences

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

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

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

Creating a halo effect

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

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

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

A diminishing tolerance for negativity

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

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

Leading with policy and feel-good content

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

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

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

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

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Amanda Holden sparks uproar for ‘breaking’ social distancing rules on Britain’s Got Talent

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video Amanda Holden has left a handful of …

Amanda Holden sparks uproar for ‘breaking’ social distancing rules on Britain’s Got Talent

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Benefits and public sector wages ‘could be frozen’ to pay for coronavirus crisis

Rishi Sunak could freeze benefits and public sector wages to pay for the coronavirus crisis (Picture: Getty Images/Rex)Rishi Sunak is reportedly …

Benefits and public sector wages ‘could be frozen’ to pay for coronavirus crisis

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

3 Ways Facebook is Supporting Mental Health

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

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

New parameters around self-harm related content

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

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

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

Chat as a vehicle for crisis support

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

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

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

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

Wellness guides and digital literacy resources

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

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

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

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

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

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How Facebook is Normalizing Virtual Social Interaction

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

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

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

Promoting gameplay and world building

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

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

Capitalizing on the growing role of social VR

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

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

Prioritizing safety and privacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Global shifts shaping the future

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

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

A safer shopping experience

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

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

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

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

Embracing the practice of mindfulness

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

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

‘Glocal’ communities

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

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

Permanent changes

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

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How TikTok is Keeping its Community Harm-Free and Positive

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

Countering the spread of hate

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

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

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

Enhancing cultural awareness and transparency

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

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

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

“A ubiquitous part of American life”

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

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

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

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

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How to Maximize Impact on Social Media During COVID-19

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

The Importance of a Social Media Manager

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

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

Growing a Business on Social Media

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

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

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

Leading with Empathy and Sensitivity

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

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

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

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

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Social Media Week London 2020 is Cancelled

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

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

Claim your free 30-day trial to SMW+

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

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

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

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How Facebook is Helping SMBs Engage New Audiences

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

The growing role of broadcasts

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

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

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

A frictionless, in-stream process

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

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

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

No fees for a year

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

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

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

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Some UK Business Podcasts for 2020 & 2021

Some UK Business Podcasts to listen too in 2020 and beyond…

1. The Small Business Sessions

Launched in 2005, Enterprise Nation has grown into a membership community of more than 75,000 SME founders and leaders. The Xero-sponsored Small Business Sessions is a “weekly podcast sharing the stories behind Britain’s brilliant small companies”. Almost 70 half-hour episodes are available, with a general theme of how to start and grow a small business. Recent topics include alternative finance, blogging for business, Making Tax Digital and choosing the right accountant. A wide range of start-ups and small-business leaders also share the secrets of their success.     

2 Conversations of Inspiration

Conversations of Inspiration is a weekly podcast by Notonthehighstreet founder Holly Tucker, who chats to some of the UK’s most successful founders and entrepreneurs. They often have fascinating stories to tell when recounting how and why they started their business, while offering sound advice to those who want to follow in their footsteps. Previous guests include Karan Bilimoria (Cobra Beer), Mark Constantine (Lush), Sahar Hashemi (Coffee Republic) and Richard Reed (Innocent Drinks).   

3 FT Start-up Stories

Although no new ones have been made since August 2018, you can still listen to 54 episodes, to hear author and Financial Times journalist, Jonathan Moules, speak to the most bona fide start-up experts of all – those who’ve been there and done it. They share their knowledge and experiences, which can help you to learn much about the challenges (financial and otherwise) people face when trying to start and launch a new business.

4 Secret Leaders

Almost 50 episodes are available of a podcast described as “a collection of contrasting, irreverent interviews with the high-flying CEOs and forward-thinking founders of some of the most successful businesses in the UK and US”. These include Martha Lane Fox (Lastminute.com), Nick Wheeler (Charles Tyrwhitt), Jo Malone, Nick Jenkins (Moonpig), David Buttress (Just Eat) and Karen Jones (Café Rouge).

5 How I Built This with Guy Raz

Guy Raz is a US-based journalist and radio host, described by The New York Times as “one of the most popular podcasters in history”. His podcasts are reported to have a combined monthly audience of 19.2m downloads. In these National Public Radio podcasts, Raz “dives into the stories behind some of the world’s best known companies”, weaving “a narrative journey about innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists – and the movements they built.”

6 The Diary Of A CEO by Steven Bartlett

“A few years ago I was a broke, university dropout, living in one of the worst parts of the country, with nothing but a laptop and a dream,” remembers Bartlett. “Fast forward a few years, [and now] I’m the 26-year-old CEO of one of the UK’s fastest-growing companies. My world is intense, sometimes crazy, always challenging and unpredictable.” His Manchester-based global social media marketing agency, Social Chain, now turns £146m, has 500 staff and 80m followers.

7 She Means Business

Presented by Carrie Green, author of She Means Business and founder of the Female Entrepreneur Association (“An international hub for female entrepreneurs to get inspired and empowered”), the She Means Business podcast “brings together incredible stories of female entrepreneurs from around the world who are following their hearts, building the business of their dreams and creating the success and abundance they desire.” Now up to 45 episodes, Green also shares her own insight, after building two successful businesses with “no money, no business knowledge, but lots of ambition and determination.”

References:

8. The Mike Armstrong You Can Do It Podcast

Presented by UK Entrepreneur Mike Armstrong / Awesome Armstrong, the You Can Do It Podcast is a motivation and positivity podcast which provides education and personal development for up and coming Entrepreneurs.

• Download the latest episodes at https://anchor.fm/mike-armstrong9

9. Fire in the Belly Podcast

Presented by Mighty Pete Lonton, the Fire in the Belly Podcast offers Entrepreneur Life Stories and Boardroom Talks from Entrepreneurs from around the World.

• Download the latest episodes online at – https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cub21ueWNvbnRlbnQuY29tL2QvcGxheWxpc3QvNTg3M2FiZjEtODI5Mi00ZmE5LTk5ZDctYTU4ZDAwZTk3YmU1LzIzOThmN2M1LWZhOTEtNDBlMi1hNzhjLWFiNWEwMGY3MzgzYi83ODM2M2VhYS1iMGJkLTRmMTUtOTMzNC1hYjVhMDBmODA1NTEvcG9kY2FzdC5yc3M?sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjl6JbEppTrAhVCeRoKHSXUDgMQ4aUDegQIARAC&hl=en-GB

1 https://www.ofcom.org.uk/about-ofcom/latest/features-and-news/rise-of-podcasts
2 https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-small-business-sessions/id1106905156
3 https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/conversations-of-inspiration/id1434529830
4 https://holly.co/podcast/
5 https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/ft-start-up-stories/id1049828816
6 https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/secret-lives-of-leaders/id1229438369?mt=2
7 https://www.secretleaders.com/
8 https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/id1150510297?mt=2
9 https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-diary-of-a-ceo-by-steven-bartlett/id1291423644
10 https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/she-means-business-with-carrie-green/id1486272435?ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

#MorningMotivation About incremental steps to help you out of lockdown or shielding…

Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: #MorningMotivation about taking incremental steps towards your goals. Motivation by #MikeArmstrong💪 https://anchor.fm/mike-armstrong9/episodes/MorningMotivation-about-taking-incremental-steps-towards-your-goals–Motivation-by-MikeArmstrong-eh7chi

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

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

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

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Instagram is Making it Easier to Kickstart your Small Business

With eCommerce sales rising amid the COVID-19 lockdown, platforms are working every angle to make their interface friendly to brands and businesses looking to build a digital presence in the absence of a traditional brick-and-mortar experience. Leading in the space is Instagram and its parent company Facebook.

Specifically, Instagram has recently introduced a number of ways it’s committing to achieve this underlined by themes of discovery, monetization, and driving conversations around specific products and services.

Making Content Discoverable via the “Shops Tab”

Originally introduced in May as part of a larger announcement of Facebook and Instagram Shops, more users can now expect to see the new “Shop” tab within their bottom navigation bar. At a high-level, users who use the tab will be driven to the current shopping experience in the app which consists of a list of postings with Shopping Tags attached. They can filter by specific categories, including Beauty, Clothing & Accessories, Home, and Travel, much the same way they’re able to via Instagram Explore. Ultimately, additional purchase options will be added as parent company Facebook onboards more companies and introduces more selling options.

Per TechCrunch, the new tab will be indicated with a “Shop” icon that will replace the heart icon (Activity) in the app’s main navigation though the Activity feed will still be available either by toggling to an icon in the top right corner, beside the icon of a ‘Direct’ paper plane, or by going to their profile and tapping the heart icon. For more general insights into set up a Facebook shop, check out this new Blueprint education course the platform recently unveiled.

Maximizing Your IGTV Efforts

Earlier this Spring Instagram shared several key changes to its IGTV app including an important cross-promotional update whereby the first 15 seconds of the video will play with the rest of the content available via a ‘swipe up’ link, as opposed to a freeze-frame from the clip. In addition to this, the platform introduced a broader overhaul of the IGTV display options within the Discover tab. The intent was primarily to highlight top creators but, more importantly, allow users to have more specific control over what they see as opposed to limiting search options solely based on content they’ve already engaged with.

In this vein of ‘control,’ more recently Instagram introduced additional options allowing creators and brands to edit the preview images and thumbnails of their IGTV videos that are displayed in the feed. The app is also unveiling capability for IGTV creators to cross-post to Facebook Watch, serving to increase the exposure of their uploads. With the roll-out of IGTV monetization including ads and Bages through which users can donate to their favorite broadcasters, this is a significant incentivizing factor for companies looking to double down on e-commerce efforts amidst the global pandemic and boost their digital presence.

Put differently, marketers want a reason to put resources against yet another digital app. With further options to generate income from IGTV, they’ll naturally find more reasons to make it a consistent focus. For context into just how much live-stream viewership has increased in recent months, Instagram reported a 70 percent uptick between February and March alone.

Pinning Post Comments

Following a test in May, Instagram is announcing that users can now pin up to three comments within a comment thread. To do this, swipe to the left and tap on the icon resembling a thumbtack. Each of the three posts you designate to pin will appear underneath your photo with a “Pinned” label beneath.

Per Instagram’s VP of Product Vishal Shah, the option is designed to enable brands and users to control the tone of conversations. “By highlighting positive comments, you can better manage the tone of the conversation,” he shared on Twitter. From an e-commerce standpoint, this stands to be a useful way for those building their e-commerce presence to promote great reviews of their product and learn more about new purchasing behaviors by boosting relevant questions and feedback.

Though still up for debate, many experts in space anticipate that such trends will hold beyond the pandemic. Why? As more consumers experiment with online buying options and recognize the convenience and efficiencies of shopping from the comfort of their home, they won’t go back. This will ultimately exacerbate the current growth in e-commerce. Pivoting, in this case, is not necessarily only about a change in direction, but much more directly correlated with moving the needle of a business.

The post Instagram is Making it Easier to Kickstart your Small Business appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/07/instagram-is-making-it-easier-to-kickstart-your-small-business/

How LinkedIn is Supporting COVID-19 Unemployment

COVID-19 has drastically altered the global economy causing disruption at unprecedented speed and scale. Essential to creating a prosperous post-pandemic world is inclusivity and enhancing digital literacy through easier access to resources and tools to build skillsets in remote settings.

Many platforms have made efforts to promote education during this time. Most recently, LinkedIn is looking to help current job seekers in a number of ways from learning and applying for jobs to building their professional networks when in-person contact isn’t possible.

“By giving free access to the skills and training that job seekers need to get jobs, we hope to do our part and help connect job seekers around the globe to new opportunities,” said CEO Ryan Roslansky in the official announcement

Here’s a break down of the platform’s newest efforts and how to take advatange of them for your own development and business growth.

Fostering skills for in-demand jobs

Drawing on insights from its own community — 690M members, 50M companies, and 11M job listings — and a new interactive tool dubbed the “Economic Graph,” LinkedIn is shedding light into the rapidly changing economy, global hiring patterns, and in-demand jobs and skills to help those unemployed as a result of the global pandemic.

From this, LinkedIn created a shortlist of the 10 most critical jobs in today’s COVID economy. These directly informed the launch of the 10 LinkedIn Learning Paths program in partnership with Github and Microsoft who are providing advanced course material in technically advanced areas including the developer space. For each of the 10 paths, individuals will have free access to content from the LinkedIn Learning library through the end of March 2021 led by industry experts. Upon completion, they will receive a certificate that can be shared on their profile.

Aside from skills that are very trade and skill-based, there is also a growing need for knowledge around basic digital literacy, how to collaborate virtually, and actionable ways to create an environment of diversity, inclusion, and belonging for all.

Tools and resources for job search and placement

In addition to better understanding the job market and navigating emerging trends, there is the added layer of understanding how to apply. Since the beginning of the outbreak in March, LinkedIn has seen a 55 percent increase in conversations among connections. Year-over-year the platform has also seen a 60 percent increase in content creation on the platform paving way to new opportunities to increase discovery and connect directly with companies and specific job listings.

A few key ways LinkedIn is leaning in on this trend is through several resources and tools to improve interview performance and receive guidance on resumes or general job seeking best practices. Specifically, to help recruiters easily identify those who are looking for their next opportunity and may be a fit, LinkedIn unveiled an #OpenToWork profile photo frame accessible by clicking on “Me” > Settings & Privacy > Job seeking preferences.

Separately, the platform is looking to make it easier to seek and receive help in the job hunt process by a simple post to the feed that lays out how you can help whether that include making an introduction to someone in your network, offering input on a resume, or general do’s and don’ts for making the journey more seamless and less stressful. To do this:

  1. Start a new post and click the “Offer to Help” option
  2. Select the ways you’d wish to help others in their job hunt or career and click “done.”
  3. Edit your post and determine who you’d like to see it
  4. Hit post and start a conversation

For feedback on your interview technique, LinkedIn is teaming with Microsoft in an AI-driven feature geared to deliver real-time thoughts on your answers and where they can be improved.

New ways to connect with your network

Taking a page from Facebook’s playbook and that of several other major platforms, LinkedIn launched a “Support” reaction for those instances where a generic ‘Like’ or ‘Love’ reaction doesn’t fit the situation, which in these uncertain times, is often the case.

“We’re continuing to roll out new tools that allow our members to give and get help on LinkedIn, because we’re all better when we’re in it together,” said LinkedIn’s Kiran Prasad, VP of Product, on the update. People crave authentic and fluid conversations when they can no longer supplement their digital relationships with in-person encounters.

In an era where social utilities are gaining popularity by their ability to bring people together, and reactions, emojis, GIFs are becoming increasingly habitual, we have the opportunity to bring empathy and shared experiences back to the core of social media. This will not only be a beneficial driver for business, but instrumental in bridging a global society. Conversations are more digital now than ever, but they don’t have to be any less human.

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The post How LinkedIn is Supporting COVID-19 Unemployment appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/07/how-linkedin-is-supporting-covid-19-unemployment/

BBC News Headlines from around the UK

Passenger at Heathrow international arrivals

Life takes another small step back to normality today, as quarantine requirements are dropped for travellers arriving in England, Wales and Northern Ireland from 59 countries and 14 British overseas territories. It means those who have been on holiday in Spain, France, Italy, Belgium and Germany will be exempt from the requirement to isolate for 14 days. A slightly different list of exemptions applies in Scotland, meaning people travelling from both Spain and Serbia will still have to go into quarantine, after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said concerns about the prevalence of Covid-19 persisted. Scotland is also making the use of facemasks compulsory in shops.

However, despite World Health Organization warnings that the pandemic is still accelerating globally, across the UK lockdown restrictions are being eased in light of a declining number of infections. Ministers announced on Thursday that beauty salons in England could reopen from Monday, followed by indoor gyms and swimming pools on 25 July. Open-air concerts and theatre performances in England will also be permitted with “a limited and socially distanced audience” from this weekend.

Children’s playgrounds and community centres in Wales will be able to reopen from 20 July, while Northern Ireland has brought forward the reopening of indoor fitness studios and gyms, along with bingo halls, amusement arcades and cinemas. Scotland has begun to allow people to visit each other indoors and stay overnight, and has set dates for reopening bars and restaurants, hairdressers and barbers, and the tourist industry.

Some 20,000 deaths in care homes have already been directly linked to coronavirus. Now, Dementia UK and the Alzheimer’s Society are warning of a  “hidden catastrophe” among those in residential care, brought on by the “enforced separation” of lockdown. UK government advice – in place since April – to avoid visits in all but exceptional circumstances has caused a deterioration in residents’ mental and physical health, the charities say. They are calling on the health secretary to treat relatives of care home residents with dementia like key workers, by offering them the same access to care homes and coronavirus testing as staff. The Department of Health and Social Care says it will set out further details “shortly” on how it can “carefully and safely” allow visits.

Police stop-and-search tactics are often criticised as being used disproportionately against people from ethnic minorities. Now, the Independent Office for Police Conduct is to review whether officers racially discriminate . The head of the watchdog says it will “establish the trends and patterns which might help drive real change” in England and Wales, where stop-and-search powers are nine times more likely to be used against black people than white counterparts. Earlier this week, the Metropolitan Police apologised to athlete Bianca Williams over a stop-and-search incident. Cases are already being investigated in London, Birmingham and Greater Manchester in which it is alleged police used excessive force, and in some cases Tasers, against black men.

“We’ve always pictured having the big, fat Indian wedding,” say Vishal Panesar and his fiancee Ravika Sabh, almost in unison. Like thousands of couples, Londoners Vishal, 25, and Ravika, 24, had to postpone their wedding after the coronavirus pandemic struck.

It was meant to be a lavish affair with three separate events and 400 guests. But current measures imposed on weddings and gatherings mean the prospects of a big blowout are slim. Vishal and Ravika have cut down their guest list but are still keen to see whether a wedding with more than 30 guests is possible.Read full analysis >

Sheetal Parmar

BBC Asian Network

Composite image featuring Times and Mirror front pages

“You’d better shape up,” says a Grease-inspired Metro, in its report heralding the reopening of England’s gyms and other leisure facilities. The Times echoes the government’s preferred slogan – “work out to help out” – while also reporting the prime minister intends to ban promotions on unhealthy food. Salons, which can reopen from Monday, are the focus of the Daily Telegraph, which says “normality edges closer”. Other papers focus on what the Daily Mirror calls a “jobs hell”, in light of Boots, Burger King and John Lewis saying they would cut staff. The paper says it brings job losses since the coronavirus crisis began to more than 150,000. The Financial Times says the announcements left Chancellor Rishi Sunak under fire, reporting that an influential think tank criticised his £30bn package to avert job losses as “poorly targeted”. Read the review.

Instagram Network to block LGBT ‘conversion therapy’ services

Police Probationary officer charged with neo-Nazi terror offence

Notre Dame Spire will be rebuilt exactly as it was

Oklahoma Court rules half of land to be Native American

Total Fitness chief executive Sophie Lawler

An induction to post-lockdown gyms

3D image of a locust

See a swarm of locusts in your room – in 3D

Danny Trejo

From addict, to armed robber, to movie star

12:00 Funeral cortege of Dame Vera Lynn pauses in her home village of Ditchling, coinciding with a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight flypast.

12:30 Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford to confirm whether conditions have been met to allow reopening of parts of tourism industry from Saturday, and outdoor hospitality and hairdressers from Monday.

1940 The Battle of Britain begins, as German planes attack shipping convoys off the south-east coast of England – explore BBC Archive material from World War Two.

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me