Tag: Facebook

How Facebook is Looking to Support Democracy in 2020 and Beyond

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

A new voter information hub

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

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

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

Opting out of political ads on Facebook and Instagram

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

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

In the Facebook app,

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

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

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

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

Enhancing transparency around ad spend

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

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

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

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/06/how-facebook-is-looking-to-support-democracy-in-2020-and-beyond/

How Major Platforms are Standing in Solidarity with the Black Community

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

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

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

Twitter #Allyship Overview

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

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

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

LinkedIn Learning: A Pathway to Inclusivity

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

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

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

Pinterest: Elevating Content on Racial Justice

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

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

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

TikTok’s Creator Diversity Council

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

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

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

Leading with Empathy

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

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

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

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

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/06/how-major-platforms-are-standing-in-solidarity-with-the-black-community/

Here’s How Facebook and Pinterest are Making Shoppable Content Easier to Navigate

The number of Pinners who engaged with shoppable product pins has increased nearly half (44%) year-over-year. During a time when browsing the aisles of a favorite store just isn’t possible, the platform has doubled down on its exploration of ways to improve product discovery and customize listings with a focus on facilitating purchase behavior and mimic that IRL storefront look and feel.

Last month, the platform unveiled features allowing users to shop in-stock products inspired by their own Pins. It also introduced a new Shop tab that functions as a personal shopping list. Fast forward to today, Pinterest is making an even bigger push for shoppable content with a new feature, “Shopping Spotlights,” that centers on purchases driven by curations from guest editors, including influencers and publishers.

Shopping Spotlights

In a statement to WWD, Amy Vener, Head of Retail Strategy and Marketing at Pinterest explained the impetus follows an 18-month theme in product development around bridging the gap between people finding inspiration and enabling them to take action. “Putting [Pinterest] users in the hands of these experts based on trends that are timely, and connecting them to the products they can buy, was a key reason why we launched the Shopping Spotlights feature.”

Shopping Spotlights is accessible via a feed of highlighted panels along the top of the “Search” tab. Content is hand-picked by guest experts and fashion leaders including author Elaine Welteroth, fashion blogger Blair Eadie, and interior designer Sarah Sherman Samuel. Per the official announcement, they will soon be joined by top fashion and lifestyle publishing partners Refinery29, Domino, Who What Wear, InStyle, Nylon, and Harper’s Bazaar. Beyond editors’ picks of influential fashion, publisher, and home tastemaker content, users are able to more seamlessly shop curated ideas based on the most relevant Pinterest trends of the moment.

How does it work? Simply tap through on any Spotlight to see themed collections including products linking directly to in-stock pages where you can make your purchase. In some cases you’ll encounter items from brands who are directly contributing to notable causes such as COVID-19 relief. The platform reports that over the past few weeks, searches for “help small businesses” and “support small businesses” have increased by more than 350 percent.

Facebook “Shops”

Similarly to Pinterest, Facebook is making its own moves to enhance its platform for the purpose of bringing people the joy of shopping as well as help businesses in their pivot to e-commerce.

The platform currently has its Marketplace while Instagram offers the capability to buy products featured in posts and ads. Its latest efforts, however, go even further. Called “Shops” the latest update makes it possible for businesses to turn their Facebook and Instagram pages into digital storefronts. Announced via a live stream, CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained that expanded e-commerce is vital to rebuilding the nation’s economy. “We’re seeing a lot of small businesses that never had online businesses get online for the first time,” he said.

Each business can select the products they want to feature and then design the shop to their liking including picking a coverage image and accent colors that showcase their brand. Beyond the brand’s Facebook page and Instagram profile, products will appear in stories or in promoted content.

In-app and Live integrations

As the update develops, Facebook is working towards purchases made directly from a chat within WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct. It also plans to integrate loyalty programs with shops and give users the chance to shop while they engage in a live stream. In this scenario, brands can tag items from their catalogs so they appear at the bottom of their Live.

Finally, Instagram Shop is slated to launch this summer where users can browse items in Instagram Explore. There they can find inspiration from collections from their favorite brands on the @shop account. Later in the year, it plans to add a dedicated shopping tab to its navigation bar.

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The post Here’s How Facebook and Pinterest are Making Shoppable Content Easier to Navigate appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/05/heres-how-facebook-and-pinterest-are-making-shoppable-content-easier-to-navigate/

#TheVoiceofSocialMedia – Facebook takes another large step in to the E-commerce space…

Facebook opens its own Shop window

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/facebook-opens-its-own-shop-window-h2qwqlwwt

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

Why Houseparty and Facebook are Leading the Co-Watching Trend

While in-person events remain paused for the foreseeable future due to COVID-19, connecting via streaming video is the closest replacement we have and is quickly gaining traction. Co-watching adds another element to that engagement and platforms are jumping quickly to be the first to mark their territory in this time.

Here are two recent examples that have recently evolved and are particularly noteworthy:

Houseparty’s Celebrity-Fronted Event Series

In the last week of March alone, Houseparty — the video chat app sensation owned by Fortnite developer Epic Games — raked in 2 million downloads worldwide, compared with around 130,000 the same week a month ago, according to data from App Annie. It currently ranks at number one in the Apple app store in 17 countries including the United Kingdom, Spain, and Italy.

Seeking to expand its service in a new direction, Houseparty recently unveiled a new feature enabling the co-watching live video with friends. “In the House,” an experiential event series launched last week and featured over 40 celebrities including Alicia Keys, Derek Hough, Dua Lipa, John Legend, Katy Perry, Snoop Dogg, Cam Newton, Gabi Butler, and more.

“This is not just another virtual music festival — this weekend’s lineup is a curation of shared experiences: cooking demos, comedy shows, fitness secrets, dance parties, sing-a-longs and more,” Houseparty spokesperson Kimberly Baumgarten shared in a statement to TechCrunch. “This content will be additive to the Houseparty video chat experience for our users.”

Houseparty owner Epic Games recently hosted some 12.3 million people in a major live-stream concert event, with Travis Scott performing a concert within Fortnite so the move made a lot of sense and, to no surprise, is being viewed as the first of many live co-watching experiences still to come.

While co-watching isn’t a new concept in and of itself, in terms of use cases it’s a nascent category that may open the window for brands seeking to connect with younger audiences in a space that isn’t already saturated with consumers and competition. What differentiates Houseparty’s effort is that it’s delivering planned and scheduled experiences — allowing users to coordinate in the moments that matter instead of leaving it up to chance. Other players, however, are willing to take this risk.

Facebook: Messenger Rooms

Last month Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined a new option allowing people to set up virtual catch-ups with one another. Fast forward a week ago, and the platform globally rolled out Messenger Rooms, its newest group video chat service, supporting video calls with up to 50 participants with no time limits on call length.

Messenger Rooms is a drop-in video chat, so when a person using the feature creates a room, Facebook will alert other members via a new section in the news feed or push a notification to certain friends. Unlike its competitors like Zoom, it seeks to differentiate itself by not requiring users to pre-schedule these sessions upfront. For now, users can kick off a call from Messenger or the Facebook app and send out invites to users, even ones that don’t have a Facebook account.

The Future of Co-Watching: A Multi-Platform Offering

As Facebook alluded to initially, the offering will also be available from inside direct messages within Instagram, WhatsApp, and on Portal to officially make Rooms a company-wide endeavor. Separately, last month Instagram announced its own co-watching of feed photo and videos. With these pushes, more marketers may be open to streaming across multiple platforms at once on more than one device in an effort to better determine where they’re receiving the highest engagement.

From extensions to Netflix Party or Twitch “Watch Parties,” co-watching is an activity that continues to fill a critical role in fostering meaningful community relationships during this uncertain time. Looking ahead, and from a brand standpoint, it could open the door to establishing long-term relationships at scale that otherwise wouldn’t have presented themselves. As the saying goes, “every cloud has a silver lining.”

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The post Why Houseparty and Facebook are Leading the Co-Watching Trend appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/05/why-houseparty-and-facebook-are-leading-the-co-watching-trend/

How Facebook is Controlling the Spread of Misinformation Ahead of the 2020 Election

Approaching 3 billion monthly active users across its platforms, Facebook has swiftly earned the title of lead provider of news and information for the majority of the global population. Now more than ever managing this impact is critical as we navigate the uncertainty of COVID-19 and prepare for a future for life after the pandemic.

For some additional context, last year Facebook alluded to an Oversight Board project this past January, in direct response to calls for increased action from the company on potentially dangerous or harmful content following the November election Several months later, the first members of the Board have been announced, which will help the platform make decisions on what content should be allowed, what content should be taken down, and most importantly, why.

“These decisions often are not easy to make – most judgments do not have obvious, or uncontroversial, outcomes and yet many of them have significant implications for free expression,” wrote Nick Clegg, VP of Global Affairs and Communications in the official announcement.

The process

Selecting this group began with a global consultation process of workshops and roundtables that brought together more than 650 people in 88 different countries. Ultimately, the conversations resulted in:

  • The unveiling of a final charter, outlining the structure, scope, and authority of the board
  • Setting up the Oversight Board Trust to safeguard members’ ability to make independent decisions and recommendations
  • Publication of the Board’s bylaws
  • The hiring of the Board’s director
  • The launch of a recommendations portal where the Board can accept nominations and applications from those interesting in becoming a member

With these formalities discussed and established, the actual selection process was initiated and a shortlist of 20 members was released.

Meet the board

Facebook helped kick off the member selection process by choosing four co-chairs, who worked alongside the platform to select the additional 16 members recently announced. Membership selection will continue in this way until the board has selected up to 40 members, at which point it alone will take responsibility for the selection of members in the future. An important criterion for the long-term success of the board is onboarding members who bring different perspectives and expertise to the table. This is essential in making holistic and informed decisions looking ahead.

This list of 20 individuals include lawyers, journalists, human rights advocates, and academics with insights into religious freedom, content moderation, digital rights, internet censorship, civil rights, and more. The announcement also shared that the members have lived in over 27 countries and speak at least 29 languages. “We expect them to make some decisions that we, at Facebook, will not always agree with – but that’s the point: they are truly autonomous in their exercise of independent judgment,” Clegg added.

Making decisions

The Board will govern appeals through a content management system tied to Facebook’s own platforms. Due to the volume, they’ll handpick which content moderation cases are in need of the most attention and then gather as a group to make the final decision around whether the content will be allowed to stay up or if it will be removed. As more members are onboarded, the platform hopes to expand its scope so more cases can be handled. Regarding reporting, the board will publish transparency reports annually and monitor what Facebook has done with its recommendations to adapt its approach by applying the feedback.

The future of content moderation

“It’s one thing to complain about content moderation and challenges involved, it’s another thing to actually do something about it,” said Jamal Greene, co-chair of the board in a recent statement. While content moderation issues have existed since the dawn of social media, Facebook is taking the reins to lead the solution in an innovative way through a first-of-its-kind initiative.

Unarguably the biggest area the Board will face in the coming months is that of political advertising.

“It is our ambition and goal that Facebook not decide elections, not be a force for one point of view over another, but the same rules will apply to people of left, right and center,” said Michael McConnell, another co-chair of the board.

Whether this effort will serve as a springboard for similar approaches to content governance in the online sphere remains to be unseen but it is a step in a positive direction in a world where With consumer behavior dramatically changing due to COVID-19 it is likely this will not only be “nice to have” but necessary as digital content evolves and communities engage in new conversations.

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The post How Facebook is Controlling the Spread of Misinformation Ahead of the 2020 Election appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/05/how-facebook-is-controlling-the-spread-of-misinformation-ahead-of-the-2020-election/

4 Ways COVID-19 is Fueling Subcommunities

Small groups are the fastest-growing areas of online communication and COVID-19 continues to shine light on the notion that users, while still enjoying big global experiences like DNice DJ sets on Instagram, want to connect privately in the digital equivalent of the living room.

Here, let’s take a deeper dive into some of the latest efforts in this regard and how platforms and brands are using social media to develop subcommunities for consumers eager for community during this time of crisis.

Peloton Profile Tags

In a nod to the ever-popular hashtag, Peloton rolled out ‘Profile Tags’ to bring its community closer together in niche groups.

With the update, users have the option to create their own tags or browse trending tangs and connect with others who share the mutual interests and have them listed on their user profiles. More specifically, in the Peloton app, tap the “+” button. You can follow up to 10 tags at a time and select one as your primary “leaderboard tag” to appear alongside your name on the leaderboard during each ride.

A key benefit of this effort is that riders can filter these in-class leader boards by tag. For some, entering a class of thousands of other people can be overwhelming. WIth tags, engaging with others makes the experience less daunting, more intimate, and most importantly, more authentic. With these shared interests, the brand hopes those with similar fitness goals can help motivate one another to reach their fitness goals and live out their passions during these difficult times.

Without their usual gym access, many people are eager to not only maintain their physical health but the social aspects that come with group fitness. Tag-based communities are a nice substitute when we’re unable to replace face-to-face interactions.

Reddit’s Rollout of ‘Start Chatting’

After seeing an increase in chat activity in its app during the COVID-19 lockdowns, Reddit unveiled its ‘Start Chatting’ option within subreddits allowing users to initiate small group video chats of up to five at a time.

“Whether it’s about topics related to COVID-19, local news, or just their favorite games and hobbies, people all around the world are looking for others to talk to.” The platform reiterated that even in testing conversation-oriented communities have a wide variety of use cases in these extraordinary times ranging from simply connecting with new people, discussing the latest cliffhangers of our favorite TV shows and finding another person to stream with while we play Animal Crossing on Twitch.

As depicted above the above image, when you browse a subreddit, you’ll have the option to tap on the ‘Start Chatting’ button to initiate a group chat. You’ll then be connected by Reddit’s system to a group of “like-minded users looking for deeper engagements on subjects relevant to a community.”

Facebook Video Tools & Messenger Rooms

In an announcement made via Facebook Live stream, CEO Mark Zuckerberg laid out several a range of new video tools across Facebook’s family of apps in response to the heightened demand and evolving use cases of video and group conversations during the global pandemic.

Perhaps the biggest announcement shared during the livestream, however, is Messenger rooms. Made available across all of Facebook apps, these Rooms will allow a new option for people to set up virtual catch ups with one another. A big priority is not needing to schedule these sessions upfront. Rather, start a Room at any time, and an active listing of all Rooms that you can join will be displayed at the top of your Facebook News Feed.

Catering to a notion of, ‘neat, serendipitous, spontaneous interaction’ is the goal. There are no time limits and up to 50 people can join a Room at a time. Currently in beta mode, a broader rollout can be expected in the coming weeks. While you can’t create a Room for your Facebook Pages at this time, Room invites can be shared via URL across all of Facebook’s apps and accessible even to those without a Facebook account.

Clubhouse

Created by Paul Davison and Rohan Seth, Clubhouse is a new social app dominating the quarantine buzz.

At a glance, engagement occurs by spontaneously jumping into voice chat rooms. The Clubhouse platform hosts multiple audio-only chat rooms at a time, and allows users to freely jump in and out of the conversations as a speaker or a listener. High-energy rooms draw bigger groups while slower ones tend to have the highest cases of “hoppers,” but lend to more intimate conversation. Put simply, the premise is to connect with those you follow in low pressure, casual conversations and gain exposure to a wide variety of smaller chat circles.

Although the app is still invite-only and in the development stages, early users tout it as the next Twitter or Snapchat.audio-based network.

Groups are a means of encountering new ideas and people within platforms that form around the causes they are passionate about. They are a source for community-building now more than ever and will continue to allow for a deeper connection with our audiences through understanding and shared experience.

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

The post 4 Ways COVID-19 is Fueling Subcommunities appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/05/4-ways-covid-19-is-fueling-subcommunities/

4 Ways COVID-19 is Fueling Subcommunities

Small groups are the fastest-growing areas of online communication and COVID-19 continues to shine light on the notion that users, while still enjoying big global experiences like DNice DJ sets on Instagram, want to connect privately in the digital equivalent of the living room.

Here, let’s take a deeper dive into some of the latest efforts in this regard and how platforms and brands are using social media to develop subcommunities for consumers eager for community during this time of crisis.

Peloton Profile Tags

In a nod to the ever-popular hashtag, Peloton rolled out ‘Profile Tags’ to bring its community closer together in niche groups.

With the update, users have the option to create their own tags or browse trending tangs and connect with others who share the mutual interests and have them listed on their user profiles. More specifically, in the Peloton app, tap the “+” button. You can follow up to 10 tags at a time and select one as your primary “leaderboard tag” to appear alongside your name on the leaderboard during each ride.

A key benefit of this effort is that riders can filter these in-class leader boards by tag. For some, entering a class of thousands of other people can be overwhelming. WIth tags, engaging with others makes the experience less daunting, more intimate, and most importantly, more authentic. With these shared interests, the brand hopes those with similar fitness goals can help motivate one another to reach their fitness goals and live out their passions during these difficult times.

Without their usual gym access, many people are eager to not only maintain their physical health but the social aspects that come with group fitness. Tag-based communities are a nice substitute when we’re unable to replace face-to-face interactions.

Reddit’s Rollout of ‘Start Chatting’

After seeing an increase in chat activity in its app during the COVID-19 lockdowns, Reddit unveiled its ‘Start Chatting’ option within subreddits allowing users to initiate small group video chats of up to five at a time.

“Whether it’s about topics related to COVID-19, local news, or just their favorite games and hobbies, people all around the world are looking for others to talk to.” The platform reiterated that even in testing conversation-oriented communities have a wide variety of use cases in these extraordinary times ranging from simply connecting with new people, discussing the latest cliffhangers of our favorite TV shows and finding another person to stream with while we play Animal Crossing on Twitch.

As depicted above the above image, when you browse a subreddit, you’ll have the option to tap on the ‘Start Chatting’ button to initiate a group chat. You’ll then be connected by Reddit’s system to a group of “like-minded users looking for deeper engagements on subjects relevant to a community.”

Facebook Video Tools & Messenger Rooms

In an announcement made via Facebook Live stream, CEO Mark Zuckerberg laid out several a range of new video tools across Facebook’s family of apps in response to the heightened demand and evolving use cases of video and group conversations during the global pandemic.

Perhaps the biggest announcement shared during the livestream, however, is Messenger rooms. Made available across all of Facebook apps, these Rooms will allow a new option for people to set up virtual catch ups with one another. A big priority is not needing to schedule these sessions upfront. Rather, start a Room at any time, and an active listing of all Rooms that you can join will be displayed at the top of your Facebook News Feed.

Catering to a notion of, ‘neat, serendipitous, spontaneous interaction’ is the goal. There are no time limits and up to 50 people can join a Room at a time. Currently in beta mode, a broader rollout can be expected in the coming weeks. While you can’t create a Room for your Facebook Pages at this time, Room invites can be shared via URL across all of Facebook’s apps and accessible even to those without a Facebook account.

Clubhouse

Created by Paul Davison and Rohan Seth, Clubhouse is a new social app dominating the quarantine buzz.

At a glance, engagement occurs by spontaneously jumping into voice chat rooms. The Clubhouse platform hosts multiple audio-only chat rooms at a time, and allows users to freely jump in and out of the conversations as a speaker or a listener. High-energy rooms draw bigger groups while slower ones tend to have the highest cases of “hoppers,” but lend to more intimate conversation. Put simply, the premise is to connect with those you follow in low pressure, casual conversations and gain exposure to a wide variety of smaller chat circles.

Although the app is still invite-only and in the development stages, early users tout it as the next Twitter or Snapchat.audio-based network.

Groups are a means of encountering new ideas and people within platforms that form around the causes they are passionate about. They are a source for community-building now more than ever and will continue to allow for a deeper connection with our audiences through understanding and shared experience.

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

The post 4 Ways COVID-19 is Fueling Subcommunities appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/05/4-ways-covid-19-is-fueling-subcommunities/

How Facebook is Enhancing Online Community Engagement During COVID-19

More than ever being part of a community is integral to navigating uncertainty. We continue to face unprecedented challenges and look to communities to uplift us and bring us closer together as we weather the storm. That’s why late last month Facebook announced its Community Connect: Navigating COVID-19 to help equip its community leaders with the tools and practices for success.

Roughly 200 million people are now members of “very meaningful groups” on Facebook. For many, these communities are the most important part of their social network experience with the number of users participating in Groups now exceeding 1.4 billion. Admit the current global pandemic, the relevance and importance of groups continues to grow with millions flocking to support groups to lend a hand, keep informed of the latest updates, and stay connected with family and friends.

On the heels of this shift and following its April event, Facebook is further supporting marketers as they seek to effectively manage their communities and establish relationships between community leaders. More specifically, the platform is unveiling a slew of educational courses aimed to provide guidance and pointers for those looking to make the most of their Facebook groups. Each will also include special guests (CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself made an appearance at the first Community Connect event) and product announcements relevant to facilitating group engagement including how to avoid the spread of misinformation and use the latest resources and tools to communicate more effectively.

Enhancing Online Community Management During COVID-19 Era

Each month will feature a different theme with workshops and guest speakers to lead the discussion. Here are a few highlights of the next five months:

May: “Community Foundations” will help managers return to the basics for setting up and maintaining a thriving community.

June: “Growth in Your Community” will outline ways to promote your community, manage growth and get the right people involved in your group.

July: “Engaging Your Community” will offer tips for getting your members to interact regularly and best practices for sharing productively including what to post and when.

August: “Managing Conflict” will take a deeper look at how to productively manage points of tension in your group and productively problem-solve solutions.

September: “Hosting Events” wetting your community together online and off.

“It’s times like this when strong communities are needed most….Even if not organizing directly around coronavirus yourself, your groups have provided an escape for people or a sounding board for people who need support and comfort during this time,” said Zuckerberg in a statement to TechCrunch as he reflected on the inaugural virtual event. In other words, in these trying times sometimes providing the space for people to be heard is an impactful solution in itself.

Regardless of our physical separation, we have never been more connected to each other than we are right now. We’re abandoning division, embracing empathetic instincts, and using social media to instill new value exchanges between brands and consumers. Leadership is taking a collaborative twist where learning from one another and being agile is integral to long-lasting relationships.

Check out the sessions from Facebook’s first Community Connect event here and stay up to date on coming education sessions here.

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The post How Facebook is Enhancing Online Community Engagement During COVID-19 appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/05/how-facebook-is-enhancing-online-community-engagement-during-covid-19/

How Facebook is Driving Digital Empathy During COVID-19

As we continue to stay indoors and practice social distancing, social platforms including Facebook have seen a significant increase in usage across the globe. According to The Verge, total messaging on the platform has increased by 50 percent and video calling has doubled in some markets.

“Much of the increased traffic is happening on our messaging services, but we’ve also seen more people using our feed and stories products to get updates from their family and friends,” the company shared in a recent blog post.

Building off of these behaviors, the company is expanding its reactions package with a “Care” reaction featuring an emoji face hugging a heart for the native Facebook app, and a purple pulsing heart for Messenger. The latter will appear alongside the familiar “thumbs up,” the standard heart, and the laughing, shock, sadness, and anger emojis. You can see the new heart by pressing on an existing reaction to change it, or by creating a new reaction to a chat.

EXPANDED “CARE” REACTIONS

What began in testing late last month, the impetus behind these new reactions was simple: facilitating more ways to empathize and sympathize with one another. Helping people show their support is an important way to help normalize this challenging and uncertain situation, a critical element in dealing with the numerous emotions stemming from COVID-19.

“This idea of a hug reaction came back consistently as one of the emotions and feelings that were missing from Reactions, so that’s something that was always on our minds. And with the crisis that we’re going through right now, there’s no doubt that people need more compassion, more support.”

Here’s a visual of what the updates look like in action:

Aside from helping its users stay positive and productive in their relationships during this time, the platform is hopeful these new reactions will shed light into how people are using them, the value they attribute to them, and whether these types of reactions are most useful in the moment or more evergreen. Based on this information, the platform will make decisions around whether they remain live after COVID-19 and if subsequent reactions will take the same approach in response to future crises.

WHATSAPP & WHO STICKER PACKS

Designed to help people accurately reflect how they’re feeling and stay connected while complying with quarantine mandates, Facebook-owned WhatsApp is deepening its partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) introduced a sticker pack, called “Together At Home,” aimed to convey the moments and emotions that people are going through each day.

The stickers are currently offered to the platform’s 2 billion+ users in 10 languages including Arabic, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish.

Shown above, the stickers are aimed to not only help you check in on friends and family but remind them to wash their hands, maintain proper distance, stay active, and celebrate the medical heroes on the front lines.

Beyond this update, the platform is currently testing group video and audio call with up to eight users, a 2x increase from the four the platform supports currently which would position it to compete with the likes of Houseparty and Zoom as people are eager to stay connected despite being apart.

Facebook has introduced a wide body of work throughout the pandemic such as providing grants to small businesses, supporting public health initiatives to get important messages out and combating misinformation through dedicated hubs and search capabilities allowing users to verify the accuracy of what they’re seeing. While these updates around reactions and stickers may seem minor in comparison, there’s no denying the significance of platforms being tuned into the kind of empathy the world needs at this moment.

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The post How Facebook is Driving Digital Empathy During COVID-19 appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/04/how-facebook-is-driving-digital-empathy-during-covid-19/

Netflix and Instagram Join Forces to Promote Mental Health with New Weekly Live Series

How do we stay connected during social distancing? How do we manage anxiety and overwhelming thoughts introduced by these uncertain times? What does self care actually mean in the context of a global pandemic?

These are just a few of the questions that Netflix and Instagram are looking to tackle in a new partnership aimed to help their viewers address some of the concerns they may have amid the current health crisis. In a conversational, social-friendly setting, users can voice their struggles with sleeping, anxiety, and self-care, feel heard, and get answers during a time when feeling stuck is commonplace.

Wanna Talk About It?

COVID-19 has upended the lives of younger generations and adults in numerous ways from disrupting major life milestones including graduations, to presenting newfound concerns around financial stability and mental health, relationships, and job security. Navigating our new normal of social distancing and self-quarantining is an obstacle in itself, but added with a reorientation of how we routinely connect and relieve stress, many are in search of alternative sources for sharing what’s on their mind.

Starting today at 4pm PT/7 pm ET, the two are launching a weekly live series titled Wanna Talk About It? Featuring interviews with Netflix talent and mental health experts from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Mental Health America, The Trevor Project, Crisis Text Line and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the episodes will aim to raise awareness and create a safe space for people seeking to address the challenges and questions streaming from these confusing and extraordinary times.

Participating in the effort are stars including Noah Centineo (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before), Joey King (The Kissing Booth), Ross Butler and Aisha Boe (13 Reasons Why), Caleb McLaughlin (Stranger Things), Lana Condor (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before), and Jerry Harris (Cheer). The first episode will include Centineo and Dr. Ken Duckworth, Chief Medical Officer, NAMI, and discuss ways we can practice self-care to stay mentally as well as physically healthy amid the pandemic.

Fueling Empathy & Community

Sixty-five percent of Instagram‘s audience is under 34 years of age, while Netflix is ranked the most popular video channel among teen users, even etching out YouTube in a recent study conducted by Piper Sandler.

With these stats in mind, the collaboration between the streaming and social giants makes a lot of sense, especially when considering Instagram’s latest focus on taking care of its users through experiments to hide total like counts, adding prompts on potentially offensive comments, and its ‘Restrict’ feature allowing usings to control who interacts with them and how.

From Facebook’s ‘Community Help’ update to Snapchat’s early release of ‘Here For You’ to Instagram’s release of a ‘Co-Watching’ feature and tease of allowing multiple participants to join an Instagram Live, platforms are showing a growing interest in helping contribute to positive mental health. In a pivotal moment for the industry, emphasis on creating shared understanding and experiences will continue to rise in importance and wield tremendous power in how younger generations on-ramp to social media.

Wanna Talk About It? will run every Thursday until May 14 on the @Netflix Instagram account.

The post Netflix and Instagram Join Forces to Promote Mental Health with New Weekly Live Series appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/04/netflix-and-instagram-join-forces-to-promote-mental-health-with-new-weekly-live-series/

How Facebook is Using Community Help to Fuel COVID-19 Relief

In 2017 Facebook introduced its Community Help feature providing users with a central source for searching and receiving help during times of crisis including natural and man-made disasters. To further lend its support to COVID-19 relief efforts, the company is expanding the feature marking the first time Community Help will go global and its first use case for a health pandemic.

Prior to an official rollout, Facebook tested Community Help for a select group of U.S. cities. Those included in the test group shared requests for extra medical supplies for local hospitals while others offered free assistance including donating their time to provide meals or leading virtual workouts as people try to reshape their fitness routines while gyms remain closed.

NAVIGATING THE PLATFORM

The Community Help section can be accessed directly, existing as its own destination with the broader release. It is also accessible through the pre-existing COVID-19 Information Center sitting on top of the news feed. Since its release, more than 1 billion users have relied on the Information Center for updates shared by government and health authorities as well as curated content from politicians, journalists, and other public figures.

Posts can be filtered by either those requesting or offering help. A nice perk? You can get as granular as you need. Facebook incorporated specific categories including baby supplies, food, toiletries, business support, or transport. You can also post, comment, or reply to threads either as an individual or a Facebook Group and have the option of replying privately. More specifically, you can set a preferred contact method — either Messenger or WhatsApp — or share the update more broadly with a regular Facebook post to your timeline.

FUELING FUNDRAISERS

As part of the Community Help hub, Facebook is looking to amplify fundraising efforts by matching donations up to $10 million for fundraisers. The company is working with two particular groups — the UNF/WHO COVID-19 Solidarity Fund Facebook Fundraiser and the Combat Coronavirus with the CDC Foundation Facebook Fundraiser. Down the line, Facebook hopes to open this allowing people to seek out and donate to nonprofit fundraisers central to their communities.

HELP MAP VS. COMMUNITY HELP

On the heels of this news, an evolving question becomes how does Facebook’s update stack up with its competition including neighborhood social network Nextdoor?

Two weeks ago Nextdoor unveiled its ‘Help Map.’ Similarly to Facebook’s Community Help, the core functionality allows people to list themselves as being able to provide assistance to someone in need. However, Facebook’s hub takes this notion to the next level by giving people the chance to input requests as well as post when they’re looking to help. It also takes into account deeper technology integration as it builds on Facebook’s earlier efforts with Crisis Response, which connected multiple tools in one place.

‘HOW CAN I HELP?’

Following the lead of its parent company, Instagram is also acting on opportunities to make it easier for people to request or offer Help in their communities.

The platform introduced a new sticker question for Stories called ‘How can I help?’ stemming from a Twitter request shared by Musa Tariq, Global Head of Marketing, Airbnb Experiences. Originally, the question sticker on Instagram Stories defaulted to “Ask me a question”, but is now being replaced with the new text in the hopes that it will enable more people to stay connected and support one another in these difficult times.

If you’re looking to use the new sticker yourself you can access it in the app’s Stories section. A second way to access the sticker is by tapping ‘Create’ located at the bottom of the screen once you start a new Stories post. One caveat, however, you’ll have to manually change the text to ‘How can I help’ by tapping on the sticker itself. Once you push your post live, anyone can respond to the question by tapping on the text box and you can choose to post the responses to your Stories feed.

In these uncertain times, we have an opportunity to use social media to engage people in profound and meaningful ways when face-to-face interaction is no longer an option. Platforms have a fundamental role in helping us navigate these situations and find opportunities to help when we can in the moments that matter.

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The post How Facebook is Using Community Help to Fuel COVID-19 Relief appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/04/how-facebook-is-using-community-help-to-fuel-covid-19-relief/

Facebook’s New ‘Community Help’ Lets Neighbors Assist Each Other Amid COVID-19

Image via Facebook

Facebook has unveiled a new feature called ‘Community Help’, which allows US residents to volunteer to get groceries on their neighbors’ behalves, or have someone else within their vicinity to run errands when they are not able to. It also lets users donate to fundraisers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The feature displays posts within a 50-mile radius of the users’ location. The concept is alike social network Nextdoor, which unifies neighbors to help each other out by picking up medical supplies for others, get quick updates on the virus and exchange items including toilet paper and disinfecting agents.

Facebook noticed that people were communicating with each other and asking for help on its platform. Therefore, the new tool was created to bridge those who need assistance and those who wish to offer help.

[via CNN, cover image via Facebook] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/409328/Facebook-s-New-Community-Help-Lets-Neighbors-Assist-Each-Other-Amid-COVID-19/

Facebook Adds New Tools for Facebook Live Amid Rising Demand and Usage

Facebook is rolling out a new set of updates for Facebook Live, with demand for live-stream content rising amid the COVID-19 lockdowns.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/facebook-adds-new-tools-for-facebook-live-amid-rising-demand-and-usage/575060/

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How Platforms are Helping Brands and Users Navigate COVID-19

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

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

FACEBOOK

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

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

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

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

INSTAGRAM

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

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

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

SNAPCHAT

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

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

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

TIKTOK

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

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

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

TWITTER

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

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

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

PINTEREST

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

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

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

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

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The post How Platforms are Helping Brands and Users Navigate COVID-19 appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/03/how-platforms-are-helping-brands-and-users-navigate-covid-19/

Facebook Launches New Messenger COVID-19 Community Hub to Highlight Key Connectivity Tools

Facebook has launched a new coronavirus community hub for Messenger, in order to provide tips on how people can connect via the messaging app amid the COVID-19 lockdowns.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/facebook-launches-new-messenger-covid-19-community-hub-to-highlight-key-con/574980/

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Facebook Releases New Digital Literacy Resources for Kids and Parents, Tips for Supporting Remote Workers

Facebook has launched a new set of learning resources for kids and parents to help them safely navigate the internet, while its also shared a new listing of tips for remote workers. 

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/facebook-releases-new-digital-literacy-resources-for-kids-and-parents-tips/574977/

4 Reasons Why Facebook Ads are Critical for Your Business During COVID-19

Does COVID-19 mean that you shouldn’t advertise on Facebook? If your business is in a position to keep the campaigns going, it could be the key thing that helps keep you afloat.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/4-reasons-why-facebook-ads-are-critical-for-your-business-during-covid-19/574635/

There is no other way to say it, it’s a scary time to be a marketer and/or business owner right now.

With all the uncertainty around how long the COVID-19 pandemic is set to impact virtually every aspect of how we live, it’s hard to decide what’s best for business when it comes to marketing. Should you stop your marketing and advertising initiatives in the midst of the crisis? And if you continue to advertise at this time, how will your message be received by consumers who are also stressed about their own situation? 

In the end, each business and marketer needs to make the best decision for their own unique circumstance in order to ensure their business survives. However, if you are able to continue marketing, even in a scaled-back capacity, it is likely to be beneficial, and could end up being the thing that keeps you afloat through the difficult weeks and months ahead. 

Before we jump into the reasons why Facebook Ads are critical for your business during COVID-19, there is one key consideration to be aware of. While this is still a good time to advertise (you’ll find out why below), you should note that conversions are not likely to roll in as they usually would. In the short term, your campaigns may not generate bottom-line results – however there are other benefits to keeping your awareness campaigns going.

1. Digital attention is at an all-time high

With most businesses closed, and most people staying at home in order to reduce the potential spread of the virus, social media usage is surging.

Since people aren’t going out to bars or engaging in outdoor activities, they’re turning to Facebook and Instagram much more than normal – which means that the amount of available impressions is also on the increase, and the capacity for your ads to reach your target audience is equally on the rise. This will lead to lower overall operating costs for your campaigns.

We wouldn’t necessarily recommend the testing of any new initiatives during this time, however those who can afford to keep their campaigns running for the next 30, 60 or 90 days will be doing so in a more favorable market for attention.

2. Many of your competitors are pausing their campaigns

Whenever there’s a disruption to “business as usual”, the first reaction that many businesses have is to pause their ad campaigns, with a view to restarting them again once the situation dies down. And that is exactly why you should keep your Facebook Ads going (if you can afford to) during this particular crisis.

With your competitors likely out of the running, your shared customer base will be ripe for the taking. And again, with competition for the same audience lower, you’ll inevitably see lower operating costs (CPC, CPMs) as well, thus making your spend even more impactful.

Analysts are predicting that Facebook’s ad revenue, based on the current situation, will decline by 19% for the year, or around $15.7 billion in total. That’s a lot of potential competition that won’t be your ad auctions.

3. Brand awareness is a low-cost objective 

Since conversions are likely to slow down due, understandably, to larger concerns occupying people’s thoughts, it could also be a good idea to shift to a lower-cost objective, like Brand Awareness, with your Facebook Ads.

Brand Awareness ads are geared towards generating as many impressions as possible among your target audience in the hopes of generating greater brand recall. Facebook measures this by asking those who were served the ad if they remember seeing it two days after being served. This can be seen as a double-dip, because if they don’t remember it, they’ll be reminded through this process. 

These campaigns typically generate results for a few cents, and are great at keeping brand awareness high. If you need to scale back budgets, and believe that awareness is more business-critical than conversion at this stage, this is the way to go.

4. You have the opportunity to serve people now, and win business later

While there are some key business reasons why you would want to keep your Facebook Ad campaigns active during a time like this, it’s important to also consider how your brand will be perceived by its audience as a result. Given this, we highly recommend that brands consider changing their messaging or offers in order to serve people, as opposed to hard selling at this stage.

Changing your approach just a little in the short term can help you win the trust and admiration of consumers in the longer view. You can do this by offering discounts, freebies in the future, or even complimentary access to premium services.

We shouldn’t kid ourselves into thinking that advertising isn’t about making money, however we should definitely be sensitive about how we do it. Offering helpful, thoughtful service, and/or increased value and utility in a time of need won’t be forgotten when the crisis passes.

We wish you well in weathering this time of uncertainty and anxiety. It’s challenging for everyone – and for marketers, maintaining the balance between business need and issue-sensitivity will remain a difficult balancing act.

Consider the situation your audience is facing, what they need, and where your business can help, and you can build thoughtful, respectful campaigns and offers that will also go a long way towards helping your business make it through the crisis. 

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Facebook’s Testing New Tools to Combat COVID-19 Misinformation on WhatsApp and Messenger

With various COVID-19 misinformation campaigns gaining traction in messaging apps, Facebook is working to stem the spread with tests of several new features. 

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/facebooks-testing-new-tools-to-combat-covid-19-misinformation-on-whatsapp/574710/

Facebook Announces Free Assistance for Health Agencies Looking to Use Messenger to Communicate COVID-19 Info

Facebook will provide free services to health organizations in order to help them use Messenger to scale their response to the COVID-19 crisis.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/facebook-announces-free-assistance-for-health-agencies-looking-to-use-messe/574699/

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

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

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

FACEBOOK’S $100 MILLION AID PROGRAM

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

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

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

VIRTUAL training AND EMBRACING A REMOTE WORKFORCE

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

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

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

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

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

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/03/heres-how-facebook-is-supporting-small-businesses-impacted-by-covid-19/

Facebook Will Provide Staff With $1000 Bonus and Eliminate Performance Reviews Amid COVID-19 Concerns

Facebook is looking to provide assistance for its staff and local communities amid the COVID-19 outbreak with a one-off bonus payment and additional benefits.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/facebook-will-provide-staff-with-1000-bonus-and-eliminate-performance-revi/574328/

Facebook Launches New, Million-Dollar Grant Programs to Support Fact-Checkers and Local Newsrooms

Facebook is launching two new grant programs to help better ensure the flow of accurate, relevant information amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/facebook-launches-new-million-dollar-grant-programs-to-support-fact-checke/574325/

Facebook Creates $100 Million Grant Program to Assist Small Businesses Dealing With COVID-19 Impact

Facebook has announced a new $100 million grant program to assist small businesses dealing with the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/facebook-creates-100-million-grant-program-to-assist-small-businesses-deal/574323/

Facebook Launches New Business Resource Hub for Organizations Impacted by Coronavirus

Facebook has launched a new business hub to help organizations impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/facebook-launches-new-business-resource-hub-for-organizations-impacted-by-c/573862/