Tag: Social Media Week

Watch New Content Series “The Business of Empathy” Exclusively for SMW+

Since we launched SMW+ in August we’ve dropped 20+ original shows on the platform, hosted by some of the smartest people in the industry spanning brands, platforms, and agencies. Today, we’re excited to announce a new series in partnership with Facebook and The 404 titled, “The Business of Empathy.”

Across three different conversations, the series, hosted by Michael Ventura, author of Applied Empathy, will take a close look at how we can practice empathy for ourselves, for others, and based on what is happening in the world around us and why this is key for business. The insights shared from leaders at Salesforce, Pfizer, Getty Images, and more will help us understand each other more meaningfully and the opportunities we have to use empathy as a vehicle for innovation, education, and connection in a radically shifting environment.

How can you authentically build empathy for someone who might be experiencing something that you never experienced? How can your own strengths and weaknesses inform your ability to empathize with your team and organization as a whole? These questions and more will be unpacked across the three episodes dropping on the platform in the coming weeks and months.

In the meantime, check out the official trailer for the first season below and stay tuned for more updates on when the series launches!

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Debuting an Upgraded SMW+ Platform Experience

We’re excited to announce the launch of the new and upgraded version of the SMW+, a streaming service for marketers who are looking to level-up and connect with the smartest marketers in the world. Check out what’s new to the platform!

Fresh New Discover Experience

Never miss an episode by watching all of our series via on-demand replay. On our new site, each piece of content is organized into a show so you can find what is most relevant to you.

New Shows and Episodes Designed to Help You Advance in Your Career

Today at 12pm ET: Breakthrough with CEO of United Sodas
Host Toby Daniels will be joined by Marisa Zupan, CEO of United Sodas, a brand new DTC company staking its territory in the beverage category. Tune in to learn how the Brooklyn-based startup aims to reinvent the soda category as a better-for-you option —without losing the fun factor and the soda experience people crave and love.

Today at 1:30pm ET: Write Better: Email Marketing
Up your email writing game with Twitter’s Global Creative Lead Joe Wadlington. In the second episode of his series, he’ll teach you how to use your own inbox and other newsletters for email inspiration, how to establish trust with your readers, and offer tips for nailing your subject lines every time.

Today at 3pm ET: Branding in the Age of Black Lives Matter Ep. 1: “Navigating in #BlackLivesMatter”
Consumers expect companies to speak out against racial oppression and use their dollars and platforms to create change. A new series hosted by Black Enterprise’s Selena Hill will explore the best practices and strategies to engage with Black Americans in the age of Black Lives Matter. During her first episode, she’ll be joined by Detavio Samuels, COO and Co-Head of REVOLT TV, for a conversation around how to utilize social listening, the advice of experts, and purposeful strategy to make informed decisions around the movement.

Tomorrow at 11am ET: Future State: “Today is the Future, Tomorrow is the Past”
“If you want to get a look at the future, take a look around. We are living in it.” In the fourth episode of the Future State, Salesforce’s Mathew Sweezey will explain why consumers are currently living in a state much more akin to the year 2025 and beyond beginning with how we buy and connect.

Tomorrow at 3pm ET: The Comments Section: Unique, Unfiltered Commentary On What’s Trending
Get your weekly dose of troll with Grey Group’s Amanda, Asad and Kenny. This week’s “spark” igniting the conversation: Travis Scott’s collaboration with McDonalds. With this release they capitalized on not only pushing memes into this cultural conversation but drove buzz around his upcoming album.

Thursday at 12pm ET: TIL (Today I Learned) How to Be a Better Brand Storyteller
On this week’s episode, Public.com’s Katie Perry will talk to Brittany Slattery, SVP of Marketing and Communications for OpenAP, a marketing technology company that is modernizing how brands approach TV. Brittany will talk about how to evolve your brand story while still retaining what’s core to your brand’s history and/or mission, and more!

Thursday at 3pm ET: Unfiltered: Real Talk With Smart Marketers
Unfiltered brings together smart people to have radically candid conversations about the world of marketing, social media and emerging technology. This week, host Toby Daniels will be joined by three stellar marketers: David Schneider, Creative Director at That Lot; Nathalie Nahai, Author & International Speaker at The Web Psychologist; and Marcus Foley, Co-Founder at Tommy.

Exclusive Slack Networking Community

SMW+ subscribers can interact with like-minded marketers to discuss the latest trends, get help with challenges they face and goals they want to meet.

There’s still time to take advantage of a free 30-day subscription with exclusive first-access to SMW+. Memberships start as low as $39 per month. For more details including team packages visit https://smw.plus.

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Social Media Week London 2020 is Cancelled

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

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

Claim your free 30-day trial to SMW+

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

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

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

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Empower Your Cause Marketing with Influencers

How effective is influencer marketing? Just by its nature alone, we can assume the answer is “very.” Major brands spend millions a year to get influencers on their side to promote their products. Non-profits and movements have also found mainstream support thanks to the visibility from influencers and celebrities standing behind their values.

Admittedly, this industry has taken a hit in 2020. Many influencers who were once paid to engage in the community, travel and create content outside of the home are losing contracts due to their inability to meet that end of the bargain. It has led some to wonder if the era of influencer marketing could be dying in the face of a changing economic landscape due to the pandemic.

At the end of 2019 and into the beginning of the year, many believed that influencer marketing budgets and campaigns would be skyrocketing, not declining. What was once relevant has taken a sharp turn and we are forced to look not at numbers but at anecdotal evidence.

This kind of data is still valuable. Using COVID as an example, you can see that the outpouring of support for hospitals, people’s campaigns, homeless shelters and more has grown across the globe, even as many have faced economic hardships themselves. Why? It is due to the kindness we share with one another in times of trouble. But it could also be in part to influencers who are using their muscles to share these messages and bring in donations where they are needed most.

Utilize Influencer Marketing For Your Own Cause

According to a Cone Cause Evolution Survey, 87% of the participants who were asked said they were not only willing but would absolutely switch to another brand if they found out they were supporting a cause in which the customer believed. This shows that the desire to support causes through brand awareness is already there — your job is to get the message out.

Here is where influencers come in. An influencer already has a strong audience that is loyal to them as their own brand. They enjoy their content and have largely stuck with them even as formats have changed to meet the demands of quarantine. The first part of the process is already done for you: visibility.

In fact, influencers are becoming a real marketing powerhouse across an array of industries including cosmetics and beauty, fashion, education and nonprofits. Influencers can drive traffic and exposure to just about any project, even if it is brand new and has no traffic of its own.

Next, we want to be targeting those influencers. This is also easier when we are looking at causes versus products because we are narrowing in on something about which the influencer feels strongly. We can assume their audience also falls into that demographic and are more likely to also care about that cause–it may even be why they are following that influencer in the first place.

Approach with The Cause In Mind

Influencers get plenty of offers for campaigns, so you need to stand out. Come out with a strong message about the cause and how you think they would specifically be useful in promoting the message. Let them know what specific characteristics they have that make them uniquely suited to work with you, like their passion, content, or aesthetic.

Share what it is you hope to accomplish and how they can be a part of it. Have a specific task you have in mind for them–don’t just tell them that they will be sharing posts. Remember that influencer marketing is more than just connecting with those influencers. It is about getting them directly involved with a campaign tailored to their talents and their audience.

One tool to help you here is Text Optimizer that allows you to better research context around your target keyword and create a more optimized content and social media strategy when working with an influencer:

Text Optimizer

Don’t Target a Single Influencer

The more channels you have promoting your cause, the better. Lady Gaga managed to raise $35 million for Coronavirus efforts early on in the US stages of the pandemic. It was an amazing feat, but we can’t all get Lady Gaga signed onto a cause, especially when she is already associated with so many top notch brands.

In contrast, YouTuber Vaush managed to raise $19,000 for the Black Lives Matter movement through streaming his Minecraft videos. Mr Beast raised $20 million to plant trees around the world in an effort to correct environmental damage done through deforestation and climate change.

Influencers come in all different sizes of viewership, ability and passions. Can you imagine what having two on your side would do? Three? Thirty? There is no limit to how many influencers you can get on board, particularly for a good cause. It is all about finding the ones who most represent what you are hoping to accomplish.

Have Your Creatives Ready

While most influencers will prefer to create their own assets to be in-line with their styles and aesthetic, having branded content ready is always helpful. Creating your own branded kit and sharing it with influencers is a great idea–include your logo in different dimensions, screenshots or visuals available for reuse, and color palettes. Both Visme and Venngage are good resources.

At the very least, create some visuals featuring your logo and message for influencers and publishers to reuse (and even take offline in the form of branded merchandise) easily. Here are plenty of free templates on Placeit to help you.

Create branded visuals

Whichever social media channels you decide to use, make sure you have your own site set up to promote your cause and consolidate your whole marketing strategy around your site. Make sure to publicize your story and reuse your visuals on your own site to build consistent visibility that doesn’t rely on any single third-party platform.

Cause marketing is tough but the right influencers are able to make a real difference.

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Announcing the First Batch of Original Programs for SMW+

We’re so excited to share the first batch of original shows launching this week for SMW+, our new streaming service for marketers! Featuring insights from professionals at H&M, Public.com, Nestlé USA, and many more, consider this your first look at the curated lineup of presenters and original programming dedicated to helping you level-up and become smarter, more informed, and better connected.

Today, SMW+ kicks off at 12pm ET with “Breakthrough,” a show hosted by Toby Daniels, Founder and Executive Director at SMW, that will take place each week. The show’s focus will be to highlight breakthrough brands, products and services, the leaders behind them, and the stories of creativity, innovation, and failures that lead up to these pivotal moments. The first episode features Orchid Bertelsen, who is the Head of Digital Innovation at Nestlé USA. She’ll explore the moments that have defined her life and career and discuss Chameleon, the direct-to-consumer cold brew coffee brand’s breakthrough moment.

Also launching this week:

👟 Today at 3pm ET: C3: Culture, Consumption & Community
Marcus Collins, Lecturer of Marketing at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, will kick off his show alongside his co-host Olivia Roth. They’ll be joined by Afrikan Caesar for a candid discussion about sneakerhead culture. In particular, they’ll tackle burning questions including what does it mean to be a sneakerhead, what are the most common myths associated with them, and what is the perfect ad for a sneakerhead.

🕰 Tomorrow at 12pm ET: The Marketing Minute
Mario Moreno, Head of Marketing at H&M, will explore the creator movement and how your brand can get involved. Specifically, he’ll point to several effective ways to integrate influencers into your efforts, why they’re so important, and tips for creating a long-term ambassador program. One of the biggest keys to success? Treat influencers as if they’re interviewing for a full-time position at your company.

📱 Thursday at 12pm ET: Today I Learned (“TIL”)
Katie Perry, VP of Marketing at Public.com, will lead an interview including Katie Wall, Creative Agency Partner at Facebook, discussing actionable steps to leverage Stories for your business. In an age of social distancing, Stories are a powerful format for companies big and small especially when it comes to connecting with younger audiences and delivering valuable experiences at scale.

There’s still time to take advantage of a free 30-day subscription with exclusive first-access to SMW+. Memberships start as low as $39 per month. For more details including team packages visit https://smw.plus.

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How to Integrate Cause Marketing for Your Brand

Cause marketing isn’t just a nice thing to do for the world — it’s a smart thing to do for your business. If you’ve been thinking about cause marketing as a soft campaign that serious companies don’t invest in, think again.

Cause marketing has direct effects on your income, stability, and growth. In fact, cause marketing may be a misnomer. The strategies utilized for effective cause marketing are integrated throughout a business, not just in the marketing department.

What is Cause Marketing?

The simplest definition of cause marketing is this: a program designed by a business or an organization to do something good for the community, world, environment, or other cause. However, it might be more helpful to define cause marketing by what it is not:

  • It is not philanthropy. Among the most common misconceptions about cause marketing is that it is as simple as a business giving money to a good cause in an act of altruism. In fact, cause marketing is much more complicated than that, and it is far from solely motivated by altruism.
  • It is not a campaign. Cause marketing is not a single campaign designed to draw attention for a week or a season. It is integral to a company’s business plan.
  • It is not a dedication for general charity. Effective cause marketing chooses a very specific cause that is in line with something that the business is related to. It makes a logical connection between the business and the cause.

What are the benefits of Cause Marketing?

  • Create shareable content. If you want your consumers to care about and share your content, you have to earn the right to share it. A cause marketing campaign is a powerful way to market a meaningful cause and your business simultaneously.
  • Meet younger consumer expectations. 81% of millennials expect the companies they support to make contributions to charity.
  • Grow consumer trust. When consumers believe that a brand is strongly aligned with a purpose, they are over four times more likely to trust them.
  • Increase earnings. Brands that consumers believe are making the world a better place have had their wallet share multiply by 9.
  • Attract consumers. Two-thirds of consumers want brands to take a stand on political and social issues. Being one of those brands makes you more likely to attract 2/3 of the consumer base.

How can I Integrate Cause Marketing into my Plan?

If you would like to take advantage of cause marketing, here are some steps to integrate cause marketing into your business model:

1. Find Your Story

We make sense of the world through stories. Brands are quickly realizing the value of integrating storytelling into their marketing campaigns. If you want your cause marketing to pay off, it must be integral to your story.

  • Example: TOMS Shoes: Integrating story and cause
  • TOMS founded their company on the principle of giving a shoe to a child who needed one for every shoe that they sold, called “One for One.” They effectively created a compelling connection between wearing TOMS shoes and providing shoes for somebody who needs them.

    This story was integrated throughout their business model from the beginning. The cost of the shoe that was given away was built into the cost of the one that was sold. This has allowed TOMS to grow without having to alter their campaign.

    2. Identify your Customer Base

    For your cause marketing campaign to be successful, you need to know your customer base. Not every cause will be as meaningful to every consumer, so you will want to choose a cause that is both in line with your business identity and the values of your customer base.

  • Example: Chobani: Understanding your market
  • Chobani made a connection with American values by showing a commitment to military families and Veterans with their Operation Homefront program. They are intimately tied to this not-for-profit with a presence in every state of Continental America. They’ve raised $1 million for America’s military families through their campaign. Military marking on some of their yogurt shows their commitment to this campaign.

    3. Engage Your Consumers on Social Media

    A good cause marketing campaign sells itself through organic marketing on social media. People like to share news about things that matter to them and show off how they’re supporting a cause that matters.

  • Example: Starbucks Red: Engage consumers with a cause
  • Starbucks created a visible way for consumers to share support for the cause and for Starbucks by proxy. Their Red Campaign utilizes red cups and other products that stand for a contribution to supporting the fight against AIDS in Africa. Starbucks is connected to Africa because so many of their coffee beans come from this area. Consumers share pictures on social media of the Starbucks Red Cups, which allows the Red Campaign to generate organic marketing on social media throughout their consumer base.

    Can Cause Marketing Make a Difference?

    Cause marketing is a powerful way to make a difference for your business and for the world. Marketing isn’t just a way to get your business ahead — it can make a real difference in the world in ways you may not expect. If you want your business to grow, commit to developing a company that will make a difference in the world as it grows.

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    The post How to Integrate Cause Marketing for Your Brand appeared first on Social Media Week.


    Announcing the Launch of SMW+!

    Crowdcentric Media, who owns and operates Social Media Week, is announcing the launch of SMW+, a live and on-demand video streaming service for marketers that aims to help marketers advance their careers and brands.

    SMW+ will provide live programming led by some of the world’s greatest thought leaders, innovators, and marketing practitioners with the goal of helping marketers, like you, advance in your careers, achieve your goals, and become the smartest and most connected professional in the room.

    At launch, we’re thrilled to work with a lineup of incredible presenters with programs that include content that will be organized according to what’s new, what’s popular, and by categories which can be filtered to create a customized experience. The SMW+ recommendation engine will also serve members content based on the sessions they have participated in previously.

    Meet Our Presenters

    Members will have access to programs and sessions led by Orchid Bertelsen, Head of Digital Innovation at Nestlé who will unpack ways to spot opportunities and drive innovative change from within organizations in “The Intrapreneurial Mindset,” and Joe Wadlington, Global Creative Lead at Twitter who will teach you how to be a better and more creative short-form copywriter. Sabena Gupta from Alexa at Amazon will lead a session centered on purposeful and values-based marketing and how organizations can create meaningful intention today and beyond. Also, Randa Stephan, Head of Brand at Weber Shandwick will headline a Media IQ program to help business leaders navigate the disruptive forces impacting media, culture, and technology.

    Ben Shaw, Chief Strategy Officer of BBH LA and his team will share the latest trends coming out of their Lab, Raashi Rosenberger, who is on the Brand Marketing team for Consumer Apps at Google will host a program that blends neuroscience with storytelling, and Mario Moreno, the Head of Marketing at H&M will host a series that takes you on a journey of discovery with regards to how they work with creators and influencers.

    The SMW+ platform is proud to launch with an incredible array of leading experts including Kenny Gold, Head of Social for Grey who will host the show “The Comments Section,” which will address the latest industry news and emerging trends through a debate-style format, Will Cady, Reddit’s Head of Brand will host a series on the how to find your purpose through community and Selena Hill from Black Enterprise will lead SMW+ members through a process to understand how the Black Lives Matter movement is not a moment for marketing — it’s a moment for change. Katie Perry, VP of Marketing at Public.com, will host TIL (“Today I Learned“) a weekly series digging into the nitty-gritty of marketing tactics that will teach you how to up your game with just a few actionable tips.

    Programs will be rolled out over the coming weeks and months and will also feature a content series hosted by Dan Gardner, the CEO of Code and Theory who will host “Decoded,” a show that looks at five industry sectors and unpacks the ways they are being disrupted by the current moment we’re experiencing. In “You Know What I MeanMarcus Collins, Lecturer of Marketing at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business will set out to tackle some of the latest trends and unpack their meaning through the lens of folks with their finger of the pulse of culture—college students. Sub Rosa CEO and Founder Michael Ventura will lead a series titled, “Contextualized” that will utilize proprietary technology, Empath, to help us understand the unique stories hiding below the surface in social media today. “Beats, Bytes and Brands” hosted by Nue Agency’s Jesse Kirshbaum will dive into the music vertical exploring why this aspect of culture is vital for brands and marketers today.

    Finally, SMW+ is also excited to host a series with Mathew Sweezey, the author of The Context Marketing Revolution and Head of Insights at Salesforce, which will look at the near and not too distant future trends affecting consumer behavior, marketing strategy, and media.

    Why SMW+?

    “The accelerated shift to remote learning and networking has unlocked a new opportunity for us to deliver on our promise of arming marketers with the tools and education they need to progress in their careers,” said Toby Daniels, CEO of Crowdcentric. “SMW+ expands on Social Media Week’s conference format in a way that offers greater flexibility and a wider range of content for our community.”

    “We’re proud to be part of the launch of SMW+ and to share learnings from our global Media Genius work,” said Chief Innovation Officer at Weber Shandwick, Chris Perry. “We’re experiencing a media reset moment — one characterized by new formats, sources, and cultural icons, and accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Bettering our collective understanding of the shifting landscape has never been more important.”

    Activating Your Free Trial

    SMW+ will be available to subscribers and enterprise members, with live programming officially launching on August 4th. The benefits of becoming a subscriber include access to live programming, the on-demand library, and the opportunity to connect with thousands of other digital marketers. Subscriptions start as low as $39 per month.

    SMW+ will be available for a free month-long trial beginning on Aug. 4. Subscriptions start at $39 per month. To learn more and request an invite, visit smw.plus and follow @smwplus on Twitter and Instagram.

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

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

    Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

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

    How sentiment analysis can boost efficiency

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

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

    The role of social data in shaping broader strategies

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

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

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

    Identifying real-time marketing opportunities and planning ahead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

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

    The formation of long-term habits

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

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

    DIY as a form of catharsis

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

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

    Time is money

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

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

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

    Redefining what it means to be social

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

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

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

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

    Old habits: from not to hot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

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

    Living: the “accordion effect”

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

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

    Buying: consumers want variety

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

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

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

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

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

    The growing role of influencers

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

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

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

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

    Brands as “ingredient” or “helping” brands

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

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

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

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

    Entertainment: redefining fun

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

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

    Work and travel: a slow return

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

    Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

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

    The key drivers of live viewing

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Formatting rules

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

    Effective mechanics

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

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

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

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

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    Navigating COVID-19 Dissonance: Shaping Disruptions into Creative Fuel

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

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

    Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

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

    Constraints can release rather than inhibit creativity

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

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

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

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

    Bending, breaking, and blending

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

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

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

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

    Lean into your passions in order to adapt

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

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

    The big takeaway: even in times of stillness or isolation we can find ways to be creative, and starting can be as simple as physically putting down our phones so we have the ability to dedicate the time to what truly makes us inspired and happy and that we’re genuinely feeling.

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

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

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

    Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

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

    The stress and burnout epidemic

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

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

    The impact of Thrive Wallet

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

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


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

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

    Coping with stress

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

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

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

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

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

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    How Brands Can Lean into Levity in Messaging

    People want to express humor, even during times of crisis, and welcome brands that give them tools to help express positivity both online and in messaging. In partnership with Suzy and Holler, SMW took a closer look at this topic through a survey conducted of 500 U.S. adults, which explores how their behavior has evolved during COVID-19 and how brands can play a role in fueling positivity in conversations.

    Additional pieces of Holler’s proprietary messaging data were explored, including research into Twitter behaviors by sentiment and emotion, led by the company’s data science team during March and April. This information was aggregated to reveal top sentiments being expressed on social media during the pandemic. Further insights around Holler’s content usage and share rates were also extracted for the purposes of this report.

    The Impact of Humor

    Ninety-four percent of respondents reported using humor the same or more than they were prior to the pandemic. Of this group, 73 percent claim using humor to help loved ones overcome difficulties, and 82 percent report it serving as a useful way to cope with the current state of the world. The big takeaway with these figures: Humor helps people relate to one another and diffuse negative situations by alleviating stress and anxiety.

    Another key finding in the study showed that happiness is the most widely expressed emotion in messaging, even as our country faces an unprecedented pandemic. The term happy is up more than half (59%) at the end of April compared to the end of March. When comparing late April to February, happy chat is still up 50 percent. When observing trends of social media platforms like Twitter throughout the months of March and April, the emotion expressed the most was happiness — accounting for 37 percent of all tweets over other sentiments including anger, fear, and sadness.

    Humorous Content Fuels Positive Digital Conversations

    Holler’s 2020 State of Messaging Report states that in messaging, 73 percent of people find they are their most authentic selves. It really isn’t surprising, therefore, that this is also where people are sharing the most humorous content. Broken down, text messaging took the lead in this space (60%) followed by Facebook Messenger (56%). During an age of social distancing, many people (53%) are also sharing humor the old-fashioned way, during phone calls.

    The Opportunity for Brands

    What does this all mean for brands? Shying away from humor during uncertain times can do more harm than good. Seventy-percent of people say they would share branded content they thought was funny or cool, with that sentiment skewing even higher at 84 percent in the 18 to 24 age group. In addition, 78 percent report funny ads make them feel happiness or excitement.

    What the numbers depict is that brands should lean on levity to connect with people in a meaningful, non-offensive way within messaging. People will continue to use humor in many different ways, both to combat negative emotions and inspire positivity, and it is up to brands to join the conversation and participate in ways that will fuel positivity through humor.

    For more insights on the power of humor and levity during a time of crisis, access the full report here.

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    The post How Brands Can Lean into Levity in Messaging appeared first on Social Media Week.


    Using Data to Make the Most of Social Media Conversations in an Uncertain Time

    “What is my role? is the one question that every brand should ask before they make their next social movement.”

    Henk Campher, VP of Corporate Marketing at Hootsuite, is passionate about connection. Henk heads Hootsuite’s global marketing strategy, with the goal of driving brand awareness and market leadership. He is fairly fresh to the role, and he brings 20 years of experience storytelling for some of the most reputable brands around the world, crafting compelling stories that change behavior. Brand awareness and leadership part and parcel to a brand’s integrity, and there are plenty of examples of the method perfected.

    During #SMWONE, he discussed how we might reimagine the use of social media in an uncertain world.

    Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

    • By year’s end, half of the world will be online
    • Two-thirds of consumers identify as ‘beleif-driven’
    • Social media isn’t just using a megaphone, it’s 1-on-1 conversations

    For individuals, a smaller circle often means economic survival. It’s tightknit efforts with like-minded family and friends all combining their work to contribute toward a greater good. For business, an ever-widening circle of customers means economic survival. So how can these two groups coexist in a natural, unforced, and symbiotic way? Social media.

    It’s an overused saying, but it is still the truth: We’re more connected now than ever. By the end of 2020, we’ll find half of the entire world on social media—this is more than just a moment, this is the new normal.

    As brands seek to join the social media conversation, they must remain true to their audience and true to themselves by asking What is my role? Like State Farm, are they a good neighbor? Or are they more like Gym Shark and a daily coach? Perhaps a cheeky friend to grab a beer with, like Burger King? Before all else, establishing a brand’s role in the conversation keeps it flowing smoothly. If you want to enter the larger conversation, you must do it authentically.

    Getting involved in the bigger conversations

    The real talk is happening on social media, in public forums and in DMs. Having a voice in that conversation powerful for a brand. It’s a matter of being aware that the conversation is happening, realizing what matters to customers, and staying in the moment. A fine-tuned brand identity will create the blueprint for exactly how and when to comment on any given situation—if at all.

    Creating experiences to remember

    Maya Angelou said it best: people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Social media engagement is an opportunity to create a memory of a shared experience that will resonate. There’s a growing sentiment that consumers want to hear from people just like them. A modern brand might add in communication from fellow buyers or even employees. One on one private chats lend to the overall emotional experience of being connected, and “emotion impacts loyalty more than anything else,” Henk adds.

    Going deeper with data

    Henk advises against being “like the awful guy at the party who only talks about himself” as a brand. Social media is a tool for connection that goes both ways. The best communicators are good listeners. Advanced analytics, like those offered by Hootsuite, make brands smarter and faster than their competition who isn’t listening. Through social listening, you can ask the important questions: How well is this brand loved? What are competitors talking about? Is our customer happy? This emotional data deepen efforts to foster authentic and valuable communications.

    Henk mentions Bimbo as an example of a successful social listening stand out. In the U.S, Bimbo launched a special edition of its Gansito in a red velvet flavor. Bimbo had never considered doing something similar in Mexico, as the much-loved cake had not changed its original recipe since its creation in 1957. Word had got out in Mexico that the U.S had a special edition of the Gansito and the Mexican consumers were furious that the product wasn’t available locally. ‘Gansito Red Velvet’ became a viral trending topic across the whole of Mexico.

    Bimbo brought the limited edition product to Mexico and experienced immediate double-digit percentage sales increases. Listening is a powerful tool.

    Beginning a conversation with open ears and a strong sense of brand creates an environment conducive to authentic dialogue. Analyzing communications develops messaging even further. Social media is a powerful tool for growth and research, but at its heart, it’s still a means for connection.

    There’s still time to register for #SMWONE at smwone.com. Save 20% throughout the rest of the month!

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    The post Using Data to Make the Most of Social Media Conversations in an Uncertain Time appeared first on Social Media Week.


    Lessons in Focus, Free Space, and Fighter Planes with Falcon.io

    You know that the people attending a session got what they needed when they refer to it as “the best support group” in the chat. And Falcon.io Senior Strategist Casper Vahlgren definitely understands why some support might be needed for those doing this work. “We have an enormous amount of data available to us, which can be exhausting and overwhelming.”

    In “Using Benchmarking to Inform Your Social Strategy,” during #SMWONE Vahlgren paired his considerable knowledge with actionable advice and suggested exercises to lower the depth of the pool that many feel as though they’re drowning in.

    Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

    • Seek out the space where very few seem to be
    • Don’t overlook the learnings from unsuccessful campaigns
    • Focus on the markets where sales are outpaced by the size of the current audience

    Positioning Where There’s Potential

    For many who design social strategy, the prospect of determining how best to use budget can seem fraught. External parties always want to weigh in, and even when the decisions are left to us, it’s not always easy to figure out what to do. Vahlgren offered a metrics-based and thoughtful way to decide: benchmarking as a guide to what markets have potential, versus those which might be saturated or dead ends for your brand.

    Vahlgren recommended looking at the three market states alongside each other and focusing energy and budget on markets where the potential audience and sales are outpaced by the size of the current audience. It is there that you have room to grow, he points out, and it is there where you should invest your time and money accordingly. This isn’t always going to yield the sprawling multi-channel campaigns that competitors may be putting up, but it will be the best and most efficient use of your time.

    Working Within the White Space

    There was a consistent theme of economy in Vahlgren’s talk; another example came when he answered the question of how to use benchmarking as a tool to stand out in your industry. His answer? Working within the whitespace. By that, he means plotting the results of your benchmarking data on an axis-based visual map. Do your competitors lean toward an achievable use of their product or service, or an aspirational one? Does their content come from a place of observation (we make your life easy), or of perspiration (we make it easy for you to work hard)? And crucially, what place on the map is free and clear?

    To stand out, Vahlgren posited, you should seek out the space where very few seem to be and go there. Position your brand in a way that deviates from the more heavily trafficked places of the map. Differentiate your tone, your visual signatures, and your content themes. Once you’re authentically there, the customers who didn’t see themselves in your competitors’ approach, can see themselves in – and with – you.

    Beward of Bias

    Vahlgren cautioned the audience at the beginning that there would be some cursing, and delivered on that promise with his final exploratory question of the talk: “how do I not f*** this up?” His answer: beware of biases that you may bring to the data.

    As an example, he shared charts of WWII fighter planes that returned to the airfields, shot up but ultimately still flyable. These planes were studied heavily to determine where to add additional armor to make them safer for future missions…until someone pointed out a neglected argument: shouldn’t we also think about the planes that didn’t make it back? The lesson: while we tend to focus our learning and future actions on the successes that benchmarking surface, there’s as much or more to be learned from the campaigns that don’t go well. But no matter where we choose to pull our lessons from, Vahlgren encourages asking why…a lot. “Once you’ve asked ‘why?’ five times, you’ve probably found the right answer. Keep asking why.”

    While Vahlgren poses a number of questions in his session, this one may be the most important one for social media strategists to ask as they embark upon their benchmarking efforts. With a solid, unbiased, and well-informed “why?” in mind, chat boxes shared by these professionals will hopefully go from places with calls for support, to ones with stories of success.

    There’s still time to register for #SMWONE at smwone.com. Save 20% throughout the rest of the month!

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    The post Lessons in Focus, Free Space, and Fighter Planes with Falcon.io appeared first on Social Media Week.


    Announcing the Department for International Trade as a Partner of #SMWONE

    In these extraordinary times, the power of technology to bring us together has never been more vital. Our decision last month to pivot our NYC and LA events to #SMWONE embodies this notion at its core.

    About #SMWONE

    This year’s event, taking place May 5-28th, would not be possible without our sponsors, including the UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT), who are supporting several mission companies specializing in creative and technology services including Epic, FlashPack, Good-Loop, PingPong Digital, Planable, Sparkol, The Bot Platform, Tommy, and WIREWAX.

    In addition to our 300+ mainstage speakers, our sponsors, affiliates, and partners will play a key role as we seek to chart a new course for the future of our industry, by providing critically important insights as to what is happening right now, what our roles need to be, and how we can leverage the tools of social media to support those who have been impacted the most by the current crisis.

    About DIT

    As a specialized government department, DIT is responsible for:

    • Promoting British trade and investment globally
    • Increasing demand for British products and services
    • Attracting foreign direct investment to the UK economy
    • Bringing together policy, promotion, and financial expertise to break down barriers to trade and investment and help businesses succeed

    For more information on how DIT can help you, reach out to Daniel.halpin@mobile.trade.gov.uk. To check out the full list of sponsors and the #SMWONE agenda, visit smwone.com.

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    3 Ways COVID-19 is Shaping Consumer Behavior

    In just a matter of weeks, the novel coronavirus introduced radical changes to our way of life — fundamentally reshaping notions of humanity and of our industries. We’ve seen it disrupt the way we work, the way we think, and the way we buy. As the pandemic continues, these patterns will further unfold. While the ultimate impact is still largely unknown, it is important we make strides to begin our understanding as to how we can navigate today and prepare for the future.

    Foursquare, set out to determine some of these transitions. In the most recent report, ‘How COVID-19 Is Influencing Real World Behaviors.’ unpacked some of the data behind what we’re seeing and the impetus driving these shifts. Emerging from the findings are three major themes where behavioral changes fall including shopping habits, travel, and entertainment. Let’s unpack these a bit further against some of the data:


    People turned away from brick and mortar stores well before they were instructed to close and a state of emergency was declared by the government. This was underscored by a sharp decline in mall visits going back to the middle of February. These were down 61 percent nationally per the report from the week ending February 13 to the week ending March 27.

    Quick service restaurants (QSRs) are also reporting less foot traffic — unsurprisingly — for many of the same reasons. On a national scale, visits to casual, sit-down dining places recently dropped over 73 percent while fast-food restaurants reported an 18 percent decline.

    When people are popping in to pick up food, they’re spending fewer than 15 minutes. This applies to 63 percent of visits as recorded in late March compared to mid-February where 57 percent of pick-ups took 15 minutes on average. When it comes to choosing a QSR, most aim to stay closer to home traveling 5 miles or less from their homes. They’re also opting to place their orders upon arrival versus ahead of time.


    The steep fall of visits to QSRs and casual dining spots coincides with more traffic for grocery stores. While urged to practice social distancing, more people are eager to use free time not spent shopping, dining out, visiting friends or family, to put efforts in honing their cooking skills.

    As liquor stories are still deemed ‘essential’ sales shot up 55 percent nationally in the third week of March compared to the same time a year ago, according to Nielsen. This was the same timeframe states including New York were ordered to ‘shelter in place.’ The week ending on March 21 saw a decline, however, indicating most are turning to consume what they’ve already stockpiled.

    Movie theatres and banks are also reporting declining foot traffic with more people streaming shows and films from their homes and conducting their banking online when possible. Nationally, theaters saw a drop of 75 percent from the week ending February 19 to March 27 and banks saw a 13 percent dip as of late March.


    With travel advisories in place across the country, gas stations including Exxon and BP are showing declines of 7 to 8 percent.

    Instead, people are using Zoom to catch up with friends and family. The company has added over 2.22 million monthly active users so far in 2020. For comparison, in 2019 1.99 million users were welcomed, according to new estimates from Berstein. When they’re not video conferencing, they’re finding new fitness routines with visits to gyms down 64 percent as a result of COVID-19 and are eager to stay fit while practicing social distancing.

    A good number are also using this downtime at home to roll up their sleeves and tackle their spring cleaning and household projects. Foursquare reports that trips to well-known hardware stores like The Home Depot and Lowe’s are up 27 percent nationally.

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    #SMWONE Launches Initial Agenda and Speaker Lineup for its Virtual Conference in May

    As Crowdcentric Media, the organizers of Social Media Week, we’re excited to announce the initial lineup for #SMWONE, a worldwide virtual conference taking place May 5-28.

    “At its core, #SMWONE’s mission is to bring the world of media, marketing, and technology together during a time of unprecedented crisis. Our aim will be to chart a new course for the future of our industry, provide relevant and critically important insights as to what is happening right now, what our role needs to be, and how we can help those in our industry who have been most impacted by what is happening.” – Toby Daniels, CEO of Crowdcentric Media and Founder of Social Media Week

    Buy a pass, gift a pass

    As part of our event, we’re launching a Buy-One-Gift-One pass program. For every pass purchased, we’ll gift one to a small business, non-profit, student or professional facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    What’s included?

    📺 All sessions are available to registered attendees live via an interactive experience or OnDemand. The program will feature 300 speakers and over 100 hours of content across 11 tracks.

    👋 Attendees can join session breakouts and video hangouts throughout each day, and network and connect in live chat conversations with over 10,000 registered participants.

    💯 Reports, session recaps, and speaker presentations will be available to download post-event.

    Join the #SMWONE Mission

    Over the course of four weeks, a number of industry experts will come together to help us confront the emerging challenges of today and explore ways to put humanity at the center of our strategies as we look ahead. These include Gary Vaynerchuk, Kristin Patrick, CMO of PepsiCo, Rishad Tobaccowala, Chief Growth Officer at Publicis Groupe, Pam Wasserstein, President of Vox Media, Rishi Magia, Creative Strategist at Instagram, Dara Treseder, CMO of Carbon 3D, and Joe Marchese, CEO of Attention Capital.

    In addition to our mainstage speakers, we’ll be joined by a number of sponsors, affiliates, and partners who will play an integral role in helping us achieve our goal. Here’s what a few of them have shared ahead of May:

    “The world is now a different place, due to COVID-19 and it is our job to help our clients navigate the monumental change we’re experiencing right now. To that extent, we need SMW’s thought leadership more than ever and we are incredibly excited to support the launch of #SMWONE, their virtual conference series.” – Daniel Bennet, Worldwide Chief Innovation Officer, Grey

    “Now, more than ever community must be at the heart of everything we do. Social Media Week has always been an indispensable partner in making this happen off-line. We look forward to working with them on bringing the industry together online in new and exciting ways at a time when we need to build community most.” – Shauna Sweeney, Global Head of Industry Marketing, Facebook

    Browse the current agenda and register for your pass at smwone.com by Friday, April 24th so you can take advantage of our early bird discount and help us give back to businesses and professionals in need.

    The post #SMWONE Launches Initial Agenda and Speaker Lineup for its Virtual Conference in May appeared first on Social Media Week.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    6 LinkedIn Courses to Boost Mindfulness and Productivity

    In these extraordinary times, building your self-care toolbox is equally if not more important than boosting your skills for working remotely and maintaining productivity.

    The boundaries between work life and personal life are more blurred than ever and the loss of our most basic avenues for stress relief and recharging including fitness classes, churches or other places of worship, and coffee shops present their own unique challenges to the situation we face.

    Managing Mental Health and Reducing Stress

    As we look to navigate this new normal, LinkedIn turned to its task force specializing in mental health to create six courses professionals can use to build mindfulness and manage stress.

    At a high-level, these will offer insights into increasing your focus, helping you remain grounded amidst the change and ambiguity, manage emotional triggers, and get ‘unstuck’ when you’re feeling overwhelmed. They’ll also help you better understand the impact of a mindful physical workspace and the actionable steps you can take to create one if you haven’t.

    Finally, offerings will share tips for building your energy reserves so even when practicing social distancing, you can still have meaningful relationships with your colleagues, friends, and family.

    Let’s break these down a bit more.

    Shifting out of ‘flight or fight’ mode

    Understanding the importance of mindfulness especially during times of uncertainty is imperative in keeping our nervous systems in check and training our brains to healthy manage those moments of ‘flight or flight’ activity.

    The first of LinkedIn’s mindfulness courses, ‘Mindfulness Practices’ takes a close look at the benefits and power of this skill to fundamentally change the course of your work and personal lives. Across several expert-led guided exercises, you can expect to evolve your mind to better respond to stressors in a variety of ways. More specifically, by growing your emotional intelligence, boosting your confidence, finding resiliency in the face of failure, and improving your focus and creativity even when change and uncertainty are serving as distractions.

    Staying focused and grounded

    Staying connected and focused without being physically present can be challenging, but there are a number of ways to ensure your time is spent wisely and your meetings are as successful and collaborative than those taking place in the conference rooms. A few practices highlighted in the ‘The Mindful Workday’ session worth noting include using daily breaks positively so you come back to your desk recharged and knowing when to unplug so you have time each day to check in with yourself.

    Lastly, ‘Mindful Meditations for Work and Life’ aims to help people incorporate practical and easy approaches to meditation including visualization, adapting body language, and breathing exercises. The audio course led by Scott Shute, Head of the Mindfulness and Compassion program at LinkedIn, will also unpack the meaning of brain-body connection and insights for making whatever practices feel best for your stick so they can be part of your regular routine.

    Getting unstuck and managing overwhelming thoughts

    Managing Stress for Positive Change’ challenges the agenda that stress is purely negative and can only detract from quality work. Led by Heidi Hanna, PhD, define stress in concrete terms and tips for assessing and adjusting it so it can be used constructively. She’ll also offer ways managers and members of the C-suite can create an environment and communication style that limits stressors in the workplace and keeps efforts focused on the bigger picture during challenging times.

    In a separate course led by Heidi titled ‘How to Manage Feeling Overwhelmed,’ learn the best practices for helping your brain disrupt your stress circuits and cultivate calm and positive energy that will put you on the path to resolution and that the obstacles that once felt unmanageable feel manageable again. By training your brain to get unstuck in these moments you can feel more in control and prepared the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed.

    Balance is a key term when it comes to stress management. One of the primary reasons people struggle in this area is because often the warning signs of imbalance aren’t as obvious. ‘Balancing Work and Life’ led by author and business coach Dave Crenshaw grapples with this question and more, including how we can keep balance once it is established. A big takeaway? It is possible to juggle it all — work, family, a social life — with proper time management and prioritization.

    In addition to these courses, LinkedIn also unveiled over 16 additional lessons that target how to boost your productivity when working remotely, build relationships when you’re not face-to-face, use virtual meeting tools (Microsoft Teams, Skype, BlueJeans, Cisco Webex and Zoom), and more.

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    The post 6 LinkedIn Courses to Boost Mindfulness and Productivity appeared first on Social Media Week.


    What Is Social Listening and Why Your Brand Should Be Using It

    Social listening is a tactic that became commonplace among marketers during the past couple of years. As soon as social listening tools started monitoring social media networks and crawling billions of websites in minutes, brands jumped on the opportunity to gather the data on their customers. However, just as any trendy tactic, social listening is often not used to its full potential.

    In this post, I’ll go through the ways you can use social listening and get the most out of the method.

    But let’s start with the definition.


    Social (media) listening and social (media) monitoring are the terms used interchangeably in most articles. They describe the process of gathering mentions of a given keyword(s) (brand name, person, product, industry) on social media, and, sometimes, also on news sites, blogs, forums, and the web.

    Some authors distinguish between social media monitoring and social media listening, pointing out that the former means responding to mentions individually, while the latter means analyzing big data – the online presence of the keywords you’re interested in – and working proactively with social media rather than just responding to what’s already there.

    Most media hasn’t caught up with the alleged difference between the two terms, so we will use them interchangeably and assume each meaning depending on the context. And the context starts with your goals.


    Social media listening can do a lot. It reveals your customers and your potential customers, conversations that involve your brand and your industry, every post that links (or should link) to your website.

    Social listening is both about individual people on Twitter that praise your book to their friends and big faceless data that demonstrates what kind of sentiment is expressed about your book all over the world and in all of the languages. So first, you’ll need a set of priorities. Otherwise, you might get too overwhelmed and confused to make an informed decision about what to use your new shiny social listening tool for. Here are the possibilities:

    1. Perfecting customer care

    More and more people address brands on social networks and expect them to reply quickly. Social listening makes sure you receive all these mentions (including the ones without the handle) from chosen social media platforms on one dashboard (or via email) in real time. Customer service is one of the most common applications for social listening.

    2. Assessing brand reputation

    Knowing your brand’s online reputation and assessing how it changes in reaction to your efforts (such as marketing campaigns, publications, product launches, etc) is another goal that companies are usually after. Social listening tools take all mentions and create a visual representation of the overall brand sentiment and its fluctuations. This, in turn, helps marketers with another important subgoal – spotting and preventing social media crises.

    3. Market research

    Social listening can reveal who your target audience really is and where they hang out. Social listening tools break down your brand’s (or other keyword’s) mentions by location, online resource, and language.

    Some also analyze demographics and psychographics of the authors.

    4. Competitor research

    Social media monitoring isn’t always about monitoring your brand, your product, and your CEO (if they are a public person). Sometimes, it’s about doing that for your competition and learning their strengths and weaknesses.

    5. Product research

    Unlike with the questionnaires, people give honest feedback about all kinds of products online. Social listening can help with product research and development by uncovering what people are saying about your product and your competitors’ products.

    6. Social selling and raising brand awareness

    Finding conversations online about your industry and finding people that are actively looking for a product or service like yours online are two other goals that social listening completes.

    7. Influencer marketing

    Social listening identifies influencers and brand advocates in your niche.

    8. Link building

    By finding unlinked mentions to your brand, product, or pieces of content and discovering niche blogs, social listening tools discover potential link-building opportunities.

    So that’s it. Although there might be more uses for social listening, these are the main ones.

    Now you’ve got to identify a couple of goals you’re most eager to pursue. For small brands, it’s often perfecting their customer service (something that makes it possible for them to be better at than their larger competitors), social selling (something that big brands often neglect), and market research – getting to know the most about the customers.

    For large brands, it’s usually about brand reputation, assessing the effect of their marketing campaigns and PR events, product research, and competitor research.

    To find out how to get started with your first campaign, jump to this article.

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    The post What Is Social Listening and Why Your Brand Should Be Using It appeared first on Social Media Week.


    Why Pinterest’s Verified Merchant Program Will Help You Reach New Audiences

    For years Pinterest has served as a popular source of inspiration and creativity. As we continue to navigate through the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19, and people around the globe continue to practice social distancing, even more are turning to the platform as a primary destination for shopping and discovery.

    More specifically, over the past two weeks, Pinterest observed a significant uptick in the interest of areas spanning home, self-care, and kid-friendly food and activities. Keywords being used the most include “home organization” (+43%), “spa day at home” (+19%), makeup tutorial for beginners (+180%), and “kid-friendly recipes” (+64%)

    In response to the increase in traffic and what the company is referring to as an “unprecedented change in modern retail,” Pinterest is offering retailers the opportunity to reach their audiences in the places where they’re most interested to shop.


    The Verified Merchant Program is officially open to all U.S. businesses but was introduced with a select group of retailers including Quay Australia, Ruggable, Filson, Coyuchi, and Lotuff Leather who were manually vetted against Pinterest’s criteria for high-quality customer service experiences.

    Aside from earning a fancy blue checkmark on their profiles, verified merchants have the capability to connect their catalog directly to the platform triggering a ‘Shop’ tab, through which they can amplify all of their shoppable products in one convenient spot. In addition, these products will be displayed within dedicated shopping experiences like when users are browsing related products.

    From a measurement standpoint, merchants will gain early access to Pinterest’s new Conversion Insights tool that encompasses both organic and paid conversion sights enabling you to measure the impact of your brand across site visits, checkouts, and sales over multiple attribution windows.

    With background into the program laid out, the next question becomes, ‘how do I get my brand verified?’

    • To begin, upload your product feed to Catalogs. This is the quickest way to get your products on to the platform and generate Product Pins which will tell users key information such as price, availability, a brief description as to what the product is,
    • Next, install the Pinterest tag. An important benefit of tags is that they help streamline the tracking process regarding actions coming from potential customers. If you don’t wish to use Pinterest’s tag, you can opt to use a compatible tag manager.
    • Meet Pinterest’s Merchant Guidelines. At a high-level, these requirements emphasize accuracy, transparency, and high-level details usable for both Pinners and customer service providers.


    While each brand should do their due diligence of accessing the fit and viability of the program against their specific goals, there seems to be reasonable pay-off across the board. Pinterest receives more accurate, informative Pins, brands get a boost in exposure, and users can engage with personalized and targeted experiences compatible with their interests and needs as they quarantine.

    “As consumers shift their spending to online channels, brands should inspire Pinners and create a shopping experience that feels more like ‘real life,’ bringing a sense of normalcy and delight to challenging times,” Pinterest reiterated in its blog. With the length of ‘stay at home’ orders still up in the air, this shift will continue to grow the longer we’re confined.

    For more information on the program including how to apply, you can check out this page. Pinterest’s Head of Global Retail Strategy, Amy Vener, will also lead a global webinar next Tuesday, April 7 (2pm ET) with special guests to unpack insights surrounding the evolution of retail we’re currently experiencing.

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    What Marketers Need to Know About LinkedIn’s New Conversation Ads

    Today, mobile messaging apps are used more than three hours per day by over 2.5 billion users (35 percent) across the world. This number is expected to grow to nearly 40 percent by 2023.

    Meeting people where they spend their time, at the right moment and on the right platforms is equally important as the creative itself. Messaging allows brands to connect with people at multiple touchpoints across the customer experience. This is especially critical for those in the B2B space where buying cycles steer longer and multiple stakeholders are involved in purchasing decisions. These one-on-one interactions are integral to establishing trustworthy relationships and loyalty.


    In this spirit, LinkedIn is introducing Conversation Ads, an extension of its Messaging Ads, to deliver a more personal way to interact with marketers. Specifically, Conversation Ads feature a “choose your own path” experience allowing for full-funnel campaigns with customized calls to action spanning product education, webinar signs, and ebook downloads.

    Brands can directly add CTA buttons into their Sponsored InMails — or “Message Ads,” as the company now refers to them. By including a variety of options, brands can serve more personalized content catered to the customers’ unique position in the purchase journey translating onto higher-quality engagement.


    To begin, start with a clear sense of your campaign objective. Are you more interested in driving website visits or lead generation? If answering this presents a challenge, look broader at the larger goals of your business to identify which is a better fit. Once you’ve decided on the objective, you’ll gain access to detailed click and demographic reporting specific to the advertisement type.

    Conversation ads can also be paired with features such as Lead Gen Forms and Conversion tracking making it more efficient to turn conversations into conversions. They’re designed for real-time engagement. Put another way, messages won’t be sent unless the prospect is active on LinkedIn and “in the right mindset.”

    Objectives aside, when growing an audience for messaging and designing creative conversations don’t overlook who you’re attempting to connect with at the end of the day: humans. They want to be known, respected, and part of meaningful moments.


    Job search marketplace Hired was one of the companies selected for beta testing of the new offering and reported positive results. Specifically, the company pointed to a 5x higher clickthrough rate driven by the simple pivot to allowing customres to choose their own path based on the most relevant CTA to them.

    “The level of engagement is pretty wild when you’re able to provide multiple opportunities to click,” said Chase Gladden, Hired’s Growth Marketing Manager.

    LinkedIn reports that messages sent on its platform have quadrupled over the last five years. Given this, the update not only makes sense for the platform in catering to this messaging growth, but in the broader context of a fundamental industry shift towards more personal, one-on-one conversations.

    The relevancy of personalized messaging

    Now more than ever conversations count with regards to top-of-mind awareness. Brands that are anticipating different friction points are better equipped to drive people to make genuine purchasing decisions more quickly. As advertisers battle to cover more digital ground amidst COVID-19, having an easy way to deliver a customized experience for each user is critical and can propel them into years of growth long after the pandemic is behind us.

    For more insights, the platform has curated a list of tips and practices on how to create a successful Conversation Ad campaign here. LinkedIn is also running a webinar focusing on the new option and its benefits next month (April 9) titled, “Messaging Strategies for the Modern Marketer: Turning Conversations into Conversions.” Beyond the new ad offering, the session will cover top messaging market trends the industry is experiencing today and how customers are using messaging as part of their larger LinkedIn marketing strategies.

    If you attend and are ready to get started, you can browse this collection of templates to help you formulate your overall campaign.

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