Tag: Covid

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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The post How Facebook is Normalizing Virtual Social Interaction appeared first on Social Media Week.


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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The post Facebook’s Newest Consumer Trends: What Your Brand Needs to Know appeared first on Social Media Week.


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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The post How TikTok is Keeping its Community Harm-Free and Positive appeared first on Social Media Week.


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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The post How to Maximize Impact on Social Media During COVID-19 appeared first on Social Media Week.


£1.5 billion pledged to rescue museums, galleries and theatres

After campaigning that has intensified over the past few weeks, the Government has announced a £1.57 billion rescue package for culture, arts and …

£1.5 billion pledged to rescue museums, galleries and theatres

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

#BritishBusinessNews – It’s about time but now the Economy is starting to take priority – #PositiveCoronavirusNewd

Coronavirus lockdown: now it’s the economy, stupid


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