Tag: The Voice of Social media

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

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

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

Shopping Spotlights

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

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

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

Facebook “Shops”

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

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

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

In-app and Live integrations

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

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

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How ViacomCBS Pivoted to Air Culturally Conscious Campaigns During the Kids Choice Awards

The COVID-19 crisis has caused a mass shuffle in TV advertising that’s required brand marketers to sidestep their current ad campaigns to make room for culturally sensitive content with updated messaging. When it was announced in April that the KCAs would air in early May, Velocity quickly approached the show’s sponsors with strategies to update their campaigns, where necessary, enabling the brands to continue to support the show and promote their messages.

“Everything about this year’s Kids’ Choice Awards was focused on providing an entertaining experience for kids and families in the comfort of their own homes, from the homes of all their favorite celebrities and heroes. It was much more intimate, since we were adhering to social distancing guidelines, but also lighthearted and relatable for our fans,” says April McKenzie, Vice President of Activation at Velocity. “Our advertisers wanted to ensure their campaigns provided maximum impact while aligning with the current reality. We worked swiftly to reimagine the content and adjust any creative developed for the original live show that was planned for March.”

ViacomCBS x MilkPEP

Among the partners who updated their campaigns were Mattel Barbie and Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP). George Sholley, Vice President of Production at Velocity, shared, “Working with each brand, we were able to edit some of the shots or add in new pieces of content to ensure the creative reflected the current global situation while maintaining their core messages.”

“We’re nimble by nature,” adds Lisa Bull, another VP of Activation at Velocity. “For Barbie and MilkPEP specifically, we needed to adjust the creative to reflect the current environment for our audience. Together, with our partners, we were able to move quickly to deliver amazing creative with timely messages.”

MilkPEP worked with Velocity to create a custom campaign that included 2-minute and 30-second cuts. Filmed in February, they featured Olympic-hopeful skateboarder Bryce Wettstein performing choreographed tricks and dance moves with kid-dancers and professional BMX riders at a skate park. Velocity re-cut the original spots, weaving together a series of single-person shots to replace the group scenes. The final moments of the ad encouraged viewers, “Wherever you are, whatever you do…milk it.”

“Less than a month ago, you wouldn’t have to think twice about creating and airing an ad that showed kids skateboarding together and having fun. But, times have clearly changed,” explains Justin Kovics, VP and Group Creative Director at Velocity. “We had to ensure the message our partners wanted to express wasn’t tone deaf in the current climate of social distancing, especially because kids are a huge part of the Kids’ Choice Awards’ audience.”

“We are grateful for our partnership with Nickelodeon and agency Campbell Ewald,” said MilkPEP CEO Yin Woon Rani. “We were impressed with how quickly we could make changes to the spot to reflect social distancing and represent a positive example of how to reflect that behavior to this important audience.”

DJ Livia and Mattel’s Barbie

Prior to COVID-19, the in-house branded content studio created custom content for Mattel Barbie®. The initial creative centered on a young girl, showcasing her talents, and featured a group of kids dancing together to a performance by 13-year-old DJ Livia. Given that schools are currently closed and social distancing measures are in place, the content had the potential to be confusing or alarming to kids. So, Velocity used remote capture to record a message from DJ Livia in which she explained that the footage was shot previously and encouraged her fans to stay indoors.

“We’re using music to remind girls that they can be anything,” DJ Livia says in the video. She then went on to remind fans that “play is never canceled.”

“We were really able to lean in and leverage the power of DJ Livia as an influencer and a real girl realizing her passion, to send a positive message to audiences tuning into the awards show, while also making sure the brand’s original message didn’t get lost,” says Jared Elliott, VP and Group Creative Director at Velocity.

According to Mattel, the updated creative enabled the brand to reinforce its message at a critical time. “The Barbie brand believes in play, even during these difficult times,” says Aimee London, Senior Director of Marketing at Mattel. “Working with DJ Livia to pivot our approach by celebrating at home, allowed us to show girls they can be anything, while also celebrating imagination and social connection.”

Continuing the digital pivot

Nickelodeon’s 33rd Annual Kids’ Choice Awards was vastly different from any previous show. It represented a radical shift from a traditional awards ceremony filmed in front of kids, families, and celebrities alike, to one that was produced remotely with virtual celebrity cameos and at-home musical performances. In another mark of nimble production, it featured commercial creativity that reflected the current state of the world.

As brands continue to adjust to the “new normal” caused by COVID-19, Velocity continues to find creative ways to adapt and connect with audiences—even when they can’t be in the same room together. From remote production capabilities, to crafting relevant and meaningful content on the fly, the creative team continues to bring brand ideas into being.

“The shop is not closed by any stretch of the imagination,” says Sholley. “We are able to make things happen remotely, and we are especially well-equipped for this moment.”

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Why Reddit is Launching a Community-Driven Advertising School

With the sudden shift away from the classroom in many parts of the globe, billions are learning from home and left wondering whether the adoption of online learning will continue to persist post-pandemic. Platforms are rising to the occasion and offering resources and tools amidst the unknown future of the education market including Reddit.

In the spirit of helping those impacted boost their job skills, which could also help to facilitate more connections within the professional community, the platform is targeting younger demographics via a new online advertising school program titled, “r/Advertising School.”

A community-driven learning opportunity

Kicking off on June 1st and taking place weekly, classes of up to 50 students will gather with a teacher — director level or above — specializing in their area of expertise. The program encompasses a range of creative disciplines in the advertising space including art direction, copywriting, production, media planning, brand building, digital/social.

Each class will consist of a half-hour of lecture with actionable takeaways and 15 minutes of discussion. Following this, the instructor will issue an assignment to the group. Students who complete the assignment can submit it for review and solicit feedback and insights into their work from others in a collaborative style.

Following the sessions, video conferences will immediately be posted on Reddit at r/Advertising, so any community member will be able to participate. Community members can ask questions or inquire about the assignment and additional resources throughout the week as a follow-up.

The spearheads

The concept behind R/advertising was conceived by Joe Federer, Reddit’s former head of brand strategy, Goodby Silverstein and Partners’ Dan Greener, Neha Guria and Edward King, and Shannon Smith, a freelance art director.

Per Ad Age, Greener and Federer had been inspired after connecting at a Reddit workshop and conversations on the advertising subreddit. Federer currently moderates the r/Advertising community and recently hosted several community happy hours during which he and Greener noticed an uptick in interest in those looking to engage and learn more about advertising opportunities. “We thought it would be cool to formalize these—bring in a few pros way smarter than we are to educate the community and beyond. And then with COVID, people started losing their jobs and internship, and we thought now would be the best time to provide this sort of free resource to a community already struggling to get back on its feet,” said Greener.

Ultimately, the goal is to get students to hear perspectives from practitioners from agencies and leading companies including Gooby, Grey, Apple, Truth and Consequences, and production company Tool. From there, it is the hope they’ll be more informed before dedicating time and financial resources to portfolio school. “Maybe we could get students who wouldn’t have ordinarily considered a career in advertising into the game—or help folks who are struggling to get a leg up,” Greener added.

The future of online learning

From presentation skills to critical and creative thinking to personal branding, now more digital literacy is imperative, and added skills of digital technologies are not only needed but required in this “new normal.” With this, embracing the communication and marketing tools at your disposal are key as the definition of “marketable skills” continues to evolve. As an example, digital certification is a booming trend with Facebook’s Blueprint, Twitter Flight School, Hubspot Academy, Hootsuite, and Pinterest Academy leading in the space.

While the future of the marketing and advertising industry remains unknown, and many universities around the country celebrate graduations and new chapters for young professionals, these are the platforms lending a hand to prepare them. As they navigate emerging expectations, being able to respond and adapt quickly will be key and these educational resources will provide the practices and tip needed to advance their careers in fundamentally positive ways.

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

Facebook opens its own Shop window


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

Why Houseparty and Facebook are Leading the Co-Watching Trend

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

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

Houseparty’s Celebrity-Fronted Event Series

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

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

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

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

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

Facebook: Messenger Rooms

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

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

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

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

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

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How ViacomCBS’ Velocity Found Opportunity in Remote Production

Creative studios are used to navigating challenges—like tight timelines, limited budgets, or in a very specific case—how do we make this witch character float?—when producing content for partners. We love a creative challenge. We like the chance to be scrappy. We relish the chance to use our creative muscles to, quite simply, make it work. And despite the unprecedented limitations caused by the coronavirus, we are doing just that.

Bringing production in-house

At Velocity, ViacomCBS’s in-house marketing and creative content studio, we needed to adapt to a new way of working to deliver for our clients. We set up our entire creative and production teams —staffed with writers, editors, directors, producers, motion designers, and art directors – to work remotely. We got creative, finding ways to produce spots that could be in-market immediately, some in less than 24 hours. We operationalized a new shooting process, edited existing work to ensure it’s appropriate to the current cultural climate, and in some cases, cast our families in spots. We also gave advertisers the opportunity to amplify a powerful message in our portfolio-wide PSA campaigns.

We started to explore options for remote capture and self-capture on Day 1, looking at everything from drop kits, Zoom, iPhones, and remote editing tools, to test creative concepts and produce new spots. After a series of tests and proof-of-concept shoots, we launched a remote capture playbook with best practices for talent and producers. This ensures that our entire team, our talent, and our clients are up-to-speed on all the ways we can create and distribute content remotely. It also empowers everyone to be a producer; I used the playbook myself to capture footage in my house from a shot-list created by one of our in-house directors.

Adjusting In-Market Messages

In the first few weeks of the pandemic, we both created new work for clients and did fast edits of clients’ existing spots as an immediate solution for marketers who would otherwise have no choice but to go dark.

For example, one of our clients had a spot currently in rotation that suddenly felt tone-deaf to consumers’ reality. Within a day, our internal team created a new one for them using custom motion graphics and voice-over. The solution enabled the brand to get something back in-market and gave them some flexibility as they work with their external agency to produce a new commercial campaign.

Prior to COVID-19, we created custom content for Mattel’s Barbie for the 2020 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards, which featured a group of kids dancing together. Given that schools are currently closed and social distancing measures are in place, the content could feel confusing or alarming to kids, so to address this, we shot via-remote capture, our talent from the safety of her home, letting viewers know that this was shot previously. Another piece of custom content we made for the KCA’s, in partnership with MILK PEP, featured kids in a skate park and to re-adjust, we did a quick re-edit to show separation between the kids.


Another way we helped advertisers pivot commercial messaging that had suddenly become inappropriate or irrelevant was to work them into our #AloneTogether and #KidsTogether PSA campaign. Clients had the option to run our existing #AloneTogether PSA, or work with us to create customizable versions that could align closer with their brand positioning while also sharing a positive message of support for consumers. On Nickelodeon, we created a series of #KidsTogether PSAs (and used our own kids for the voiceovers).

These spots made it possible for brands to stay in-market in a relevant and meaningful way, while also providing an avenue to use their commercial time to amplify a positive message.

Perfecting Social Campaigns and Remote Capture

To support the #DistanceDance, a social distancing initiative targeting Gen Z created by Proctor & Gamble in partnership with TikTok phenom Charli D’Amelio, we activated our linear, digital, and social content to drive mass awareness and fan engagement for the dance challenge across the ViacomCBS portfolio.

During #KidsTogether: The Nickelodeon Town Hall special that aired on the network and YouTube at the end of March, D’Amelio gave host Kristen Bell a #DistanceDance tutorial and encouraged families to dance, share, and spread the message.  Additionally, our networks rallied fan participation by leveraging talent with massive social reach;  creating original #DistanceDance videos on MTV’s Wild ‘N Out with Justina Valentine, Paramount Network’s Lip Sync BattleVH1’s RuPaul’s Drag Race, and others. The ViacomCBS campaign garnered more than 2M impressions on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter, and 10 billion views on TikTok.

For our client Modelo, Velocity worked with the team at The Daily Show to spotlight the brand’s support of First Responders First. The Daily Social Distancing Show with Trevor Noah has been a leading voice in late night during the Coronavirus pandemic, so it was a natural fit to explore integrating feel-good stories from our advertising partners who are equally invested in helping people through this crisis. In the April 30th episode of the show, Trevor encouraged viewers to celebrate the upcoming Cinco de Mayo holiday by raising a glass to all the health care workers on the front line. Courtesy of Modelo, for every toast posted on social media with the hashtag #CincUp, the company will donate $1 to First Responders First, up to $500,000.

For MTV, we engaged our network of talented dancers to self-shoot a sequence we directed and then edited together to make a spot that rivals anything done via traditional production.

Overall, the last weeks have given us a chance to spotlight our capabilities and find new ones. It’s made us realize what’s possible when it comes to delivering for clients and consumers. We’ve found ways to work together and work quickly even when we can’t all be in a room together. If you told me a writers’ room could be just as fruitful (and hilarious) without being in an actual writers’ room, I wouldn’t have believed you. And I would have been wrong.

Beth Trentacoste is Senior Vice President and Head of Creative & Production at Viacom Velocity, a full-service in-house creative advertising and branded content studio.

Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash.

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How Warfare Tactics Can Help Personalize Your Virtual Recruitment Efforts

The U.S. Army has been recruiting for a long time with its legacy systems, but today they acknowledge that this is a new world and strategies must shift. Their traditional approaches include walking in the mall, cold calls, billboards but they are now focused on two-way conversations and listening more, using social media to do so. It’s important to make sure that their recruits are given the information that’s right for them, and as they are now 100% virtual they are finding that they’re better at targeting conversations than ever before.

During #SMWONE last week, the U.S Army Recruiting Command’s marketing team — including Shauna Clark and Xeriqua Garfinkel — and an enterprise consultant at Digimind joined forces to outline the strategies they’re using to recruit and how you can apply it to your brand.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Preparation and not forcing your agenda will foster authenticity and deeper understanding of your audience
  • Social listening is key to blending messages and creating loyalty
  • The battlefield is always changing so it’s important to adapt.

Understanding what is key to your audience

With Digimind,the global leader in AI-Powered social listening platforms and market intelligence software, they understand the pivot that needs to take place. With everything revolving around COVID-19, it’s important that their team turns out dashboard solutions, outreach programs, and ways to best connect to COVD-19 information from a customer perspective.

Digimind’s platform has given the U.S Army the ability to slice and dice the information out there and help them recruit. In terms of specific adjustments as a result of COVID-19, there’s best practices now put in place around COVID-19 needs, and a new product that is a dashboard-solution only. The team is being reactive to help clients connect to this new normal in any way possible, as Tony Calega of Digimind explained.

How the U.S Army is using data and applying it to their overall strategy and tactics

Shauna says they use The Art of War by Sun Tzu to explain the reasoning behind why they are successful, using the strategies outlined in that book in their day to day work.

  • A wise general makes a point of foraging on the enemy: embrace your fan’s content. Recruiters can create their own content so their voice can be heard and allow their virtual community to engage
  • Let the object be victory, not lengthy campaigns: build your strategy with intention. Know where you want to go first so that you are managing your time well, and you have a measurable deliverable and the benchmarks in place to get you there.
  • Know the enemy and know thyself: understand your target market by using resources to understand what triggers a users response and use a social listening tool to dig down to a user’s sentiment.
  • The first to the battlefield is fresh, the second will be harried and exhausted: it’s important to be prepared first. Readiness and understanding the market is important so you can pivot without having to play too much catch-up.
  • Impose your will on the enemy and do not let you enemy’s will be imposed on you: Have a concrete plan and use a platform that you’re already familiar with.
  • Water shapes its course according to nature’s ground as does a soldier working out his victory in relation to the foe he faces: adapt your tactics to your platform. Don’t force your agenda and have a two-way conversation and don’t treat every social media account the same.
  • Gongs and drums banners and flags are a means to focus on a particular point: conversations are easier to listen to when their intention is focused on a single point.
  • The enemy may not be coming but be ready if he does: social listening plays a key role in understanding your target audience, and the influencers of your target audience.
  • Rapidity is the essence of war: stay current and respond to trends or market changes. It’s important to adapt without losing your strategy.

Adapt, adapt, adapt

The most important tip? The battlefield always changes and it’s important to adapt. It’s also important to use social media as a listening tool to inform your strategies and know where to go next.

The large takeaway: these strategies are applicable to any business and any market that is trying to navigate how they should approach social media. more specifically, how they should approach social listening and a general process for gathering and gaining different insights. Themes of rapidity, flexibility, having intention in your strategy, being prepared are all prescient, relevant, and timely considering where we are today but can undoubtedly be melded to fit the future.

“As long as we are agile and can stay focused on what our overall strategy will be, that’s where we see our success,” Garfinkel said.

Beyond agility, Clark articulated the power of social listening. “Our target market is a very small group. We go after a certain age group, some college, no college, you name it — and we use social media and social listening to blend our message and create loyalty not only in our market and also in influencers. It’s really about understanding what works best and who is there, who is present, and how they’re responding and using that information to inform decisions on where you go next.”

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

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How Neuroscience Can Improve Social Media Efforts and Build Fandoms

In a world of digital chaos, cultivating fandom is a method strong brands have used to grow their reach through pure love. There’s a neurological support network that humans identify with, and fandom is at the core of its connectivity.

During #SMWONE, Fanocracy‘s David Meerman Scott and Talkwalker‘s Todd Grossman discussed our collective hunger for relationships and the fandom that fosters it. Increasingly tech tired and bot weary, people long for human connection. Nothing brings people together closer than mutual enjoyment.

David is an author best known for The New Rules of Marketing and PR, a perennial seller for over a decade, as well as other bestsellers including Fanocracy, Real-Time Marketing & PR and Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead.

Todd is CEO Americas at Talkwalker, a conversation intelligence company. Talkwalker delivers social insights that help brands build growth. Their breakthrough AI technology was developed exclusively in-house to offer the best and most flexible video, image, text, and speech analytics across any media type.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Fandom drives buying decisions
  • Neurologically speaking, people feel safest in a tribe of likeminded individuals
  • Building a fandom is the practice of created shared emotions

Fandom is shared emotions

Fandom is essentially the shared emotional experience and “everyone has the opportunity to build a fanbase,” said Meerman Scott Take Haggerty Insurance for example—they insure classic cars, with the owners being a fairly passionate group. Haggerty has cultivated its customer base into fans by creating a proprietary social network and through its Youtube channel, currently with more than 500,000 subscribers. “Haggerty Insurance has one of the biggest fandoms,” because “they’ve created a human experience from the mundane.”

Fandom drives buying decisions, and when people find their tribe they create a positive bond between the emotional experience of the tribe and the company providing those connections.

Let the fans take over

When you create an experience for your customers, through video, marketing, or IRL efforts, it pays to let go. “Once you put it out there it no longer belongs to you,” says David. Some brands embrace a curative method, which means forcing a strict set of terms to subscribe to. Think of Adobe’s prescriptive language reminding us that ‘Photoshop is not a verb, it’s a product name.’ Other brands prefer a transformative method, which means allowing the fans to do as they please with your product, by making videos and memes, embracing it as their own. Think of the Roomba videos of product owner’s pets riding around the house.

Give more than you have to

One way to promote fandom is to give generously and without expectations. Creating a roadblock (like requiring registration before downloading assets) breeds an adversarial environment. When things are given freely it promotes a feeling of reciprocity that can be very rewarding. Look no further than the Hubspot method of giving away all of their educational materials and simultaneously building a huge fanbase.

Take the Grateful Dead approach to recordings of their live shows: when other bands prohibited it, they welcomed it. In turn, they’ve created a fandom that’s still going strong decades later.

Passion is infectious and creates community

Brands that literally and figuratively exist as the sticker on someone’s laptop have staying power that is driven by that community. It isn’t impossible to foster that real human connection virtually, it just takes a few tweaks. David’s hack for making personal experiences from afar? Tighten the crop on your video. Seeing someone’s face close up created the feeling of actually being in close proximity and mimics the emotional experiences of being together in real life.

From a content or messaging standpoint, now more than ever it is crucial to rehumanize your language when reaching out to your audience. Meerman Scott has done a full-blown deep dive into what he calls the Gobbledygook of corporate PR language. In a study of each press release sent out during a 12-month period, he identified innovative, unique, and world-class as the most often repeated words. “If you have to announce that you are any of those things, are you really?” he asked.

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How Consumer Faith and Social Media Saved Lives: The Story of the #DistanceDance Campaign

If you think TikTok dances are just another form of social media posturing, think again.

During #SMWONE the companies behind the viral #DistanceDance campaign shared the story behind the success and the major learning lessons from the experience. Primarily, how consumer faith in brands and social media have the powerful ability, and responsibility, to directly make a positive impact. The fundraising campaign, which launched late March, is still turning heads all over the world due to the incredible social media following of TikToker Charli D’Amelio who took to the platform with an important mission: save lives by encouraging people to adhere to government and health official regulations to stay home.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Brand propose is not marketing
  • The days of slapping #spon on content is over
  • Don’t negate the power of implicit trust and intuition

The 96-Hour Hustle

The campaign started with a string of phone calls on a Friday night, the first from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine to Procter & Gamble CEO David Taylor with a problem: the state’s younger demographics weren’t practicing social distancing. DeWine was eager to see how the CPG giant could help spread the word about the importance of staying at home to flatten the curve and stop the spread of COVID-19.

Taylor then called P&G chief brand officer Marc Pritchard, who reached out to Debby Reiner, president of global brands at longtime agency partner Grey and the ideas began. Within 24 hours after that, the Grey team, including Gold, came up with the #DistanceDance concept and partnered with TikTok to get D’Amelio signed on. The following morning P&G called Grey with the formal pitch and that rest was Internet history.

Within four days, by the following Tuesday evening, Grey and Tiktok had tapped D’Amelio to create the video. To date, the video has earned the top title of most-watched video on the platform and the most viewed challenge. The challenge has attracted 15 billion views while the video itself has garnered over 191 million views and over 2 billion impressions. As far as original videos are concerned, more than 4 million have been made by celebrities such as Jason Derulo, Ne-Yo, Migos, Ashley Tisdale, and many more.

Picking a platform and influencer

Kenny Gold, Director of Social Media at Grey explained that when Pritchard reached out for help, they needed to navigate to fundamental obstacles. First, find a platform with inventory that could deliver the message in a new way that was right for this audience. And second was time, because every day mattered and Grey and P&G knew time was of the essence. Partnering with TikTok and Charli helped us solve both.

Barbara Jones, Founder and CEO, Outshine Talent, articulated this notion of a true collaboration by explaining, “Charlie and her family really understood the importance of this message from the beginning. They walked the walk and they knew this was important. Because she has such an impact on her fans and her audience…she really had the mentality of having fun and had confidence could spread positivity and do good with this. She was all in.”

TikTok‘s Lauren Birnbaum added, “This was the first branded PSA activation that TikTok funded from a media perspective. We felt so strongly about the cause and that our platform could take this message to the masses with a huge impact.”

The confluence of reach, speed agility

When asked about the nuances of how they worked together and how success would be measured, Gold, Jones, and Birnbaum were unanimous in that it was agility and having trust behind their shared goal of spreading this important message. TikTok delivered the ease of production and serving as the largest megaphone.

“We needed it to be a place of extreme reach and we needed it to be a place that would be breakthrough in the truest sense of the term. If it was anywhere else, we wouldn’t have cut through as deeply. It was the right medium, right time, and the right level of production. Then we asked, who has the voice of Gen Z in her mouth? That’s Charlie. It was truly lightning in a bottle.”

Jones added, “I think for TikTok specifically too, it is a benefit to the platform to not overthink the creative; not to dot the I’s and cross T’s that you may think you have to do for others. The beauty with TikTok is its natural ease. Sometimes when you have big brands and agencies and long lead time it can hurt you.

“At TikTok we say we love to run and in this case, we were sprinting as fast as we could,” echoed Birnbaum.

With the notion of one team, one dream when asked about how success was measured the group collectively shared that reach and awareness were most critical as their overarching goal was to get a specific and unifying message out to the intended audience.

Influencer marketing and brand purpose dos and don’ts

If you’re going to entrust your brand and its purpose in the voice of someone else and into the community of someone else you have to work together, explained Gold, “it has to be a true, co-creation partnership. The days of slapping #spon on a piece content is over.”

There is a difference between social good marketing and brand purpose, Jones echoed. “Brands and agencies need to get ahead of the curve, actually talk to their creators versus go out to them as sheer amplifiers, pull some little focus groups together, and start crowdsourcing about what really works.”

Birnbaum added that from a branding perspective in more cases than not it’s more efficient and cost-effective to let go of the reins and lean on the creator to convey the message as natively as possible. “Instead of a huge video shoot you can give that credit and autonomy to the talent,” she shared.

On the topic of brand purpose, the group underscored themes of loyalty, genuity, and making mission the boss.

Gold shared, “Brand purpose is only as good as its ability to permeate through times like this. Brand purpose is not marketing. Marketing is the opportunity to live your DNA in a way that resonates with your audience.” P&G is a prime example of a brand on the front lines standing by its mission to get essential products into the hands of those who need it.

Brands need to put the cause above them now more than ever Birnbaum added. You take P&G in this case, their branding and logos were almost absent.”

The group closed summarizing their brand ethos of the campaign in one word. The outcome: “Inspiring, teamwork, blooming, and helpful.”

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Here’s Why Influencers Can Be Considered Part of Your Brand’s Tactical Marketing Team

Influencer marketing captures an opportunity to move outside of pure product push and into communications from a fresh perspective speaking from outside of your brand voice.

During #SMWONE, Takumi‘s Derek Wiggins and m/SIX‘s Keri Drengler shared a vested interest in establishing brand reach through influential means, and joined forces to discuss what companies have to gain—and what to watch out for—in this new-ish arm of marketing. With the right approach, influencer marketing can be used to create, share, attribute, and amplify the right message.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Influencers can be considered part of a company’s tactical marketing team
  • Micro-influencers offer a more bespoke approach to audience messaging
  • Platform use is dependent on customer use and visibility

Drengler is the Managing Director of Digital m/SIX, a media planning and buying agency that specializes in driving commercial and audience growth in today’s data and tech-led media landscape. Wiggins is the US Country Head for Takumi, as well as a public speaker. He is the leading force to driving revenue and developing the Takumi offering to ensure the business remains the market-leading influencer company.

“Influencers are a critical part of the marketing mix,” explained Drengler to kick off the conversation. They meet your audience on their level and where they operate. Picking which creators are a fit for your brand and will help you deliver an authentic message is an entirely different story. Fortunately, she and Wiggins had some advice to share including how to navigate the balance of creativity versus control – that isn’t at the expense of the influencer’s audience.

Choosing the right influencer

In order to amplify your message effectively, you need to project it from the right loudspeaker. Where does your audience consume the majority of their media? Exploring audience platform use can lead you to the right type of influencer. A major medical retailer may not fain much traction with the TikTok crowd. Authenticity counts, a brand is wise to gain an understanding of its positioning and live that message through all of its outlets, even social media influencers. Influencers can be a direct line to your ideal customer and when their position is matched equally a clean partnership is established.

Protecting your brand

Allowing your communication to go through an influencer, essentially a vendor now, does come with its fair share of bumps. Once the posts are out and live, there is no way to contain its audience reach or reaction. The idea of brand safety, mitigating off-topic or harmful conversations, is something to discuss before engaging in the partnership. Influencers know their audience and have a strong, authentic connection, but often aren’t professional marketers. Working with a partner like m/SIX alleviates a bit of the pressure surrounding the hand-off from your digital experts to a handle on Instagram.

“Brands should market when things are good and have to market when things are bad,” relays Keri. Unique circumstances require creative solutions, and influencer marketing is just that. Pairing your brand with the exact people whom you wish to serve is a no-brainer, it’s just a matter of finding the right person.

Test and learn

Before brands embark on a multi-channel approach, go back to basics. What’s the end goal? “Your team doing the cool new dance challenge might align with brand affinity, but not so much with a goal of increased sales,” Keri reminds us. Asking the fundamental question of ‘How can we pair what we do with our customers’ needs will always create a strong campaign.

Reviewing the engagement rates for a specific content type goes far in planning and finetuning a brand’s next steps.

Authentic engagement, regardless of platform, will win every time. Ad Derek reminds us, “influencer marketing is an opportunity to add a tactical member of your marketing team. One who is tuned in to your ideal audience and presents a familiar face in a place they are visiting on the regular.

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Capturing the “Older Cousin” Effect of Influencer Marketing with Outloud Group

Long before we had influencer marketing, we had older siblings and cousins who showed us what we wanted to do, be, and try. They were the original influencers. For Outloud Group’s Bradley Hoos, it was his cousins in particular. We followed them, he says, because they had our trust. And today, successful influencers are the ones who have gained similar trust from their followers.

Trust isn’t the only thing that makes influencers powerful. The other reason that reputable brands partner with these individuals is because they can tell a story. They can tell a story in a compelling and relatable way, particularly as consumers are increasingly wary of being “sold to.” The key to a successful influencer relationship, then, is allowing them the space and the autonomy to tell that story in the way they do best.

During #SMWONE, Hoos elaborated on this subject outlining the major barriers to influencer marketing and best practices for success, ways to better understand and scale your organization’s influencer efforts, and his predictions for the future of influencer measurement and what you can do to prepare.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Influencers don’t need our scripts or guidance on brand voice
  • We all need to be able to do more when it comes to measurement
  • Consider influencer marketing as “the Magic Johnson” of your marketing mix

Static = Safe, Live = Legendary

If we select influencers for their ability to tell an engaging story, Hoos says, then we should allow them to do so in a format that captures that quality. Static posts on Instagram, which were at one time the standard for influencer content, have given way to video content. While this has raised the heart rates of more than a few brands who see the potential loss of control that video could offer, Hoos argues that it’s worth the risk. “We screen for good partnership prospects […] and really get to know them,” and believes that any brand working with an influencer should do the same. After all, their followers have made them valuable to us because of their trust; shouldn’t we offer the same?

Hoos thinks that video-on-demand (such as that in an Instagram video post) is one way of doing this, but there’s considerably more power in letting influencers take their talents to live or streaming video. Case in point: the burgeoning world of esports. No longer a “niche” interest, it’s the place to be for males in Generation Z as well as younger millennials. For reference: the League of Legends final streams garnered more viewers than the NBA Finals, finals of the World Series, or the Stanley Cup Finals. “If you are a brand trying to reach a Gen Z male, this is how and the time is now,” he affirmed.

Full-Funnel Growth for Grubhub

Joining the session via pre-recorded video was Grubhub’s Director of Content Marketing Mandy Cudahy. The challenge for her team as they incorporated influencer marketing into their strategy was finding ways to let them engage prospects all through the funnel. By allowing their chosen influencers to authentically share their “Why Grubhub?” story through the content they shared on Twitch live streams, they reached the lowest cost per click and lowest cost per acquisition the company had ever seen.

Hoos was happy to share this as affirmation for the idea that influencers don’t need our scripts or guidance on brand voice. They’re considerably more powerful as brand advocates, able to use their authentic voices – the voices that their followers know and appreciate about them – to sing the praises of your product or service.

The Meaning – and Magic of Measurement

“It’s 2020 and we all need to be able to do more when it comes to measurement,” Hoos says of the impact that influencer marketing can have on company bottom lines. While he acknowledges that it can be harder to do than more straightforward forms of marketing, he also isn’t naïve about the reach that it can have. Referring to “atrributable” and “unattributable” purchases, he cites a study The Outloud Group conducted that revealed for every attributable purchase driven by an affiliate link or from an influencer post, there were between three and four that were deemed “unattributable,” but actually could be traced back to the influencer’s…well, influence.

For this reason, he sees influencer marketing as “the Magic Johnson” of your marketing mix. Not only is it powerful in its own right, but it makes everyone around it – email marketing, paid social, blog, TV spots, etc. – stronger. And if you have Magic Johnson on your team, why wouldn’t you start him?

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Tips for Staying Brand-Safe During a Pandemic

With the COVID-19 pandemic, tons of influencers and brands are trying to “influence for good.” In last week’s #SMWONE session, CreatorIQ’s COO, Tim Sovay was joined by Lena Renzina who manages talent partnerships at Ad Council to discuss how to reevaluate brand safety policies during this unprecedented time and how content creators can mindfully manage their channels and influence.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Influencers are leading impact-oriented campaigns
  • Creators have a responsibility with the platforms they have to share positivity and keep people informed
  • The key to brand safety is vetting and testing

Overall, creators have been using their influence for good

“Creators today are delivering millions of posts to their audiences around their interest and involvement in COVID-19,” Sovay states. Specifically, the content and campaigns being pushed out during this time show that there’s a shift from “broader pandemic content to more cause and impact-oriented campaigns,” especially with topics that are centered around thanking heroes and staying at home, plus supporting small businesses. In fact, overall engagement on influencer has surpassed 4.6 billion, and Sovay says this is because of the efforts of influencers, brands, government agencies, and efforts from AdCouncil to rally around this important cause and get people to engage.

Mobilizing the industry for good

During this time, Renzina’s team at AdCouncil had to rally their clients to quickly respond to the crisis and push out messages around critical news. They focused on five issue areas: social distancing messages, hygiene such as washing hands, stay at home orders, mental health, and parenting. The team wanted to hit different markets yet still push out the “general messaging that the public needed to hear, in a quick time period” Renzina points out.

With their talent partners, Renzina really wanted to make sure that the influencers were using their voices for good around the issues that each influencer was most passionate about. Sharing critical and time-sensitive information needed to be fully vetted so that their platforms don’t seem outdated or fake, and should continue to be vetted on an ongoing basis.

The challenges to ‘create’ during this time

Now more than ever “creators have a responsibility with the platform they have, ” Renzina points out, and it’s important that they send out the right message. Her tips during the session included always finding the source before influencers post anything (so making sure the source is credible and they double-check the info) and gut-checking a post with a friend or team before sharing it widely. She also warns that influencers should not shy away from sharing resources at this time that might be helpful to their audience. While influencers are trying to strike a balance between staying positive yet away of what’s going on globally, it’s important to remember that good information should be shared so that it can possibly help others during this time.

How to stay brand-safe

Savoy notes that some areas brands can takeaway are:

  • While individual companies guidelines and risk tolerances are unique, brands and legal teams should think to adjust guidelines for COVID-19 content. This is an entirely new subject matter, so content needs to be revisited for both “subject and tone”.
  • As these are fast evolving topics, content that might be brand-safe today can be super risky tomorrow, so staying nimble and adaptable is key too
  • To respond to some of these challenges, Creator IQ can screen influencers for brand safety keywords so that brands remain careful in who they choose to partner up with

How future and current content creators can stay on top

Vetting talent is really important, according to Ranzina. With so much uncertainty, she shared her screening test “the good, the bad and the ugly” to vet influencers. The good means the creator is uplifting or brand-safe for a specific campaign or organization, the bad can be a red flag like posting something that might be tone-deaf in the past, and the ugly is a deal-breaker that you don’t want to align your brand with. So, it’s important for brands to really look at the content creators channels. Brand safety is especially key during these times.

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Consistency, Not Uniformity: Humanizing the Boeing Brand with Talkwalker

“Our posture needed to change because the world had changed.”

This was the take that Boeing’s Vice President for Global Channel & Content Marketing Georgina Goode took to heart when shifting the company’s communications with the onset of COVID-19. The airline industry has been among the hardest hit as billions of people remain grounded at home. But for Goode, the focus was less about the bottom line and more about the people and relationships impacted by this shift. In conversation with her longtime colleague, Talkwalker CEO for the Americas Todd Grossman, Goode elaborated on the “relevant, relatable, and human” stance that Boeing has maintained, even as a company often considered B2B by category.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Be consistent, not uniform with your messaging
  • Don’t be something you’re not
  • When adapting, especially during a time of crisis, be king to others and yourself

Forget How We “Should Show Up”

In truth, Goode bristles at the classification of B2B, instead preferring to focus on what groups need, not how the brand should show up in their digital communications. “Let’s not try to be something that we’re not,” she shared as her guiding philosophy on crafting communications that can meet the moment we’re in. “When you hone in on needs and expectations, that’s how you stay relevant.”

Highlights of how Boeing has met those needs and expectations include honoring VE Day earlier in the months by sharing archival footage of Boeing aircraft from the 1940s, sharing interactive footage of the 777X aircraft ahead of its introduction to the fleet in 2021, and even creating virtual field trips for those in need of a digital escape for the little ones at home. “For a company that’s 104 years old, we don’t struggle for content,” she shared. And that wide breadth of content has afforded flexibility in how they show up in this moment.

“Consistent, Not Uniform,” and More Guiding Principles

When asked how to manage the many stakeholders that Boeing has as a brand, Goode shared six guiding principles that were helping teams all over the world weather this storm with a sense of stability that other areas of life simply aren’t providing. A key one: “consistent, not uniform.” Using common data processes, technology, and tools are ensuring that no matter whether communications are aimed inward toward other parts of the company, or externally to shareholders and stakeholders, that the message is coming from a common place.

“We have diverse audiences and diverse needs, but we set teams up around stakeholder groups and adapt based on what they need or expect.” This includes how social is used to communicate to Boeing employees; recognizing that the needs of a team in South Carolina or Chicago might differ sharply from those in Arlington in Washington State. And while that messaging is in some ways the same, Goode sees it as “a single narrative, deployed differently based on what people need and how people need to hear it.”

Be Kind. Including To Yourself

Given how technical the nature of Boeing’s work is, it might be surprising to hear the level of humanity Goode is committed to bringing to her work. When asked about how her teams are adapting to these fast-evolving and often stressful circumstances, she shared a list of axioms she found online, including the crucial “this team’s success will not be judged the same way it was when things were normal.” Even as the team evolves its work to meet the current moment, it is not lost on Goode the toll that such evolution might be having on her team members.

“Relationships are at the core of how we build content,” she shared, extending that idea not just to the content being created, but also to the people creating that content. She’s committed to connectivity with her team, and to the idea that those check-ins are about more than just business. The kindness that she’s committed to infusing into her work, is a kindness that she extends to her team – and asked the session attendees to extend to themselves. “We’re more connected now than ever before, but it can still feel lonely,” she admitted as she encouraged viewers to mix in a few memes with their still-important (but not the most important) memos that are flying around our inboxes at record speed.

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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.

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These 4 Companies are Humanizing Business Content for the Mainstream

The Internet has democratized business just as it has nearly every other industry. The way people consume business news is changing thanks to disruptors like Morning Brew and an ever-growing pool of content creators like Bullish, which specifically focuses on the financial markets.

And what about traditional business education? Studies show that MBA admissions were already down across the board pre-COVID 19—and remote learning is primed to surge as people increasingly question the high price-tags of IRL higher ed. That’s a big advantage for online education startups like Section4, which is on the mission to democratize access to business strategy training.

During the #SMWONE panel “Business, But Make It Human,” creators from Morning Brew, Section4, and Bullish joined Public.com’s marketing lead Katie Perry for a candid conversation about how new media and education companies are translating business-speak for mainstream audiences. Public is an investing app that puts a social layer on the stock market, allowing investors to easily share the “why” behind their trades and exchange ideas in the comments and in dedicated group chats.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Authenticity is the name of the game
  • New formats like video and audio increasingly helping
  • Humanize business content for the mainstream

Business goes mainstream

While traditional business outlets like the Wall Street Journal still play an important role in the way people learn about happenings in the financial markets, new players are playing an important role when it comes to analyzing this information for younger audiences who prefer to get their news from people who act like they do.

Kinsey Grant should know. She cut her teeth working as a traditional business news reporter before joining the Morning Brew as Business Editor and host of the Brew’s popular “Business Casual” podcast, which you can check out on Apple and Spotify.

“We are our core reader and listener. A lot of the people who are creating content for Morning Brew are the kinds of people we would target with that content,” Grant said. “I know my audience well because I am part of that audience.”

On the podcast, Grant sits down with executives and entrepreneurs—recent guests include Mark Cuban, Arianna Huffington, and Chamath Palihapitiya—to give listeners an inside track into how today’s business leaders think.

Her interviews also tend to give listeners a rare glimpse into these leaders’ humanity. In a recent interview with Palihapitiya, she gets the VC to disclose his daily routine, which includes striving for 10,000 steps a day by pacing around his home during calls.

Brian Hanly, CEO and Founder of Bullish, says he started the media company after realizing that there was a gap in the market for people who are “curious” about the public markets. His company focuses on enlightening its audience through unique formats, like mini-documentaries and even a satirical series that links astrology to personal finance.

“We’re focusing a lot on video storytelling,” he said. For example, Bullish just launched a series called, Trendline, which tells the stories behind public companies in straightforward and conversational language.

Time to reimagine the MBA?

With universities wrapping the year early and the 2020 fall semester called into question, the debate around the rising costs of higher-ed has accelerated in recent weeks. Regarding advanced business degrees like MBAs in particular, Section4’s head of creative product Jerllin Cheng says that a myriad of factors play a role, but cost is the big one.

“The MBA is not dying,” she said. “There are very few people who get an MBA and think, ‘I got nothing out of that.’ But what you do hear people say is, ‘That cost so much money.’”

Section4 is an online education venture built around the insights of Scott Galloway, the outspoken entrepreneur and NYU professor who recently inked a deal with VICE for a new business show designed for millennials.

Cheng says that the primary format for Section4’s curriculum is video, and its focus is on training professionals with tools needed to solve business problems in the modern era. It’s not designed to replace the MBA, she said. Rather, it’s a tool for bringing this level of thinking to a wider audience.

“If you take our courses, it’s okay if you don’t know what EBITDA means,” she said. “We try to make sure there’s a safe community where it’s okay to ask. We don’t need you to know the terms. We’re really trying to teach you how to think and give you the tools to get to the insights yourself.”

When leaders tweet

It would be difficult to have a conversation about the humanization of business without broaching the topic of CEOs who now, thanks to social media, can share their thoughts with the world in real-time.

Some recent examples of this: Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky’s heartfelt memo to employees regarding layoffs and Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield’s illuminating tweet-storm about how COVID-19 was impacting his company. And then there’s Elon Musk, who has never been shy to showcase his personality and opinions on social media.

“What we’re seeing pan out is a true 21st-century leader. It’s not only about shareholder value and returns, but also employees,” Hanly said. “What is happening at a lot of companies is a lot of indecision, so I respect the directness of leaders like Elon.”

Grant added that consistency plays a role when it comes to whether a CEO humanizing themselves is seen as negative or positive. And for leaders navigating a crisis, there are few things more important than transparency and communication.

“Now, more than ever, the CEO as someone who is willing to be open about their own experiences is more valuable than ever,” she said.

The big takeaway: Whether you’re a brand marketing to a new generation of consumers, a media outlet informing and entertaining them, or an education platform training them, authenticity is the name of the game.

Want to start investing alongside friends and experts? Use this link to download Public’s free investing app and get started with a free slice of stock. Valid for U.S. residents 18+. See Public.com/disclosures.

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Live from Living Rooms, Live from Los Angeles: How iHeartMedia Pivoted to Virtual Events

Among the core values that iHeartMedia aims to address with their programming are connection, community, and experiences. So seeing a tweet from a virtual prom attendee, gushing over the fact that she got added to a new group chat at the end of the night, had to make their Los Angeles Digital Programming Director Michelle Lin feel good.

“[We’re trying to] make it so we don’t miss out in the community to celebrate,” Lin said, as she talked about the massive task of rethinking events and engagement in the wake of COVID-19. Alongside Netbase Quid’s Robyn Lindars, Lin shared with #SMWONE attendees what it’s looked like to reimagine the role of radio stations in the community, in a digital space.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Don’t go dark because you can’t figure out a way to connect.
  • Amplifying key information is key to forging online communities
  • Dats is important to adapting thoughtfully and responsibly

Data-Driven Adaptation

In Los Angeles, which recently extended its shelter-in-place orders to late summer, Lin has had to focus her team’s digital work to address four goals:

  • Providing news, entertainment, discussion and interaction daily;
  • Demonstrating sensitivity toward their audience and providing comfort;
  • Filling voids that have presented themselves in the wake of the pandemic; and
  • Creating consistent and sponsorable content that drives engagement.

These are tall orders to achieve, all while transitioning a team that was accustomed to in-person engagement and collaboration to working from home, but it was a challenge that Lin’s former life as a biologist equipped her for. “Whether it’s biology or entertainment, data is important.” Armed with the data that NetbaseQuid’s Brand Pulse provided, she was able to adapt thoughtfully.

From Chaos to Community Building

Lin cited a comparison of frequently used terms from iHeart LA’s target audience, and pointed out a clear shift from fear and chaos, to one of adaptation and community. The tone and scale of programming, she said, were heavily informed by how people were posting online. “This,” she said, referring to the lockdown and its impact on daily life, “is becoming normal in a way. This has become our life, until it’s not.” With that in mind, outreach went from amplifying key information to finding ways for listeners to gather online. Their guiding question: what is the need, and how can we fill it?

They filled it with virtual interviews to replace the frequent in-studio interviews that would take place under normal circumstances, created happy hours and game nights to meet listeners where they’re quickly learning to gather, and used existing talent to craft branded DJ mixes on Instagram a la DJ DNice. Manageable successes in these arenas paved the way for big wins in programming efforts to follow.

Live in Your Living Room: The Concert for America and Virtual Prom

On April 6th, FOX broadcast of iHeart Radio’s Living Room Concerts for America, one of the first efforts to create nationwide live programming – and has built up the confidence for countless other offerings from other networks. Lim’s team played a part in bringing this event to life, not only to replace the normally in-person iHeart Awards, but also as a heartfelt opportunity to generate giving to Feeding America and the First Responders Children’s Fund. The success of this event drove them to seek opportunities for similar event programming on a local level.

The result? 102.7’s KIIS Virtual Prom, held under #KIISVirtualProm and featuring appearances from Dillon Francis, Joe Jonas, Lewis Capaldi, and host Ryan Seacrest. The metrics from this event were encouraging: over 2000 social posts, nearly 34,000 engagements, and 212 million potential impressions. The highly positive reception for the event is giving Lim and her team hope that later efforts, including a forthcoming event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Pride, will yield an engaged and appreciative audience.

Both Lim and Lindars are encouraged by what has come from paying close attention to these insights. And both insist that these sorts of virtual events, while at times intimidating, are worth trying. “The worst thing would be to not do any kind of virtual event,” Lim shared. “Don’t go dark because you can’t figure out a way to connect. Just try.” As we learned in the session from the KIIS prom tweet showing a connection made in an otherwise lonely time, you never know who might gain something invaluable from your effort.

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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.

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Why Killer Creative and a Purposeful Strategy are Integral to Your COVID-19 Strategy

Though it may feel like everything has been put on pause due to COVID-19, the fact that we need to share stories hasn’t. Now more than ever we have an incredible opportunity as marketers to capture the elements of life today and deliver timely experiences to our audiences. The world is different, however, so naturally how we visualize our realities must also shift which can present barriers when taking up creative arms and finding ways to innovate.

During #SMWONE Social Chain‘s Oliver Yonchev brought attendees through three key principles: relevant storytelling, self-aware brands, and speed needed in order to turn away from the standard of business as usual and prepare for the future.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Theories aren’t facts
  • The case for purposeful content and creativity is a strong one
  • Great storytelling hinges on being self-aware, timely delivery, and relevancy

What does this process of adapting actually look like? According to Yonchev, it’s time to close the yearbook and turn away from those old theories of having to post ‘x’ amount of posts daily or weekly and return to what truly matters in marketing: creative ideas that are productive and positive for the benefit of humanity. If we follow those old theories in an evolving landscape, with increased choice and this ‘always on’ mentality, also known as business as usua, will lead to content overload that can cause distraction and deter innovation in meaningful moments.

Everyone loves a good story

For starters, great storytelling strives from going deeper and by bringing in that depth. How to create depth when it comes to social content? Social marketers, look out your windows and understand what is happening in the world! Look for cultural moments, emotional sentiments, and distribution methods. Oliver continues to say that “indifference is where marketing goes to die.” We need to think outside the box by bringing in those known truths of our culture and turn them into something beautiful. Does, #NoFilterNoFuture sound familiar? If not, check it out, Social Chain partnered with Brita and opened up eyes by turning one conversation into a mass movement.

“The best campaigns understand culture and lean on creativity. Our work for Brita did both.” Specifically, Yonchev referred to the #NoFilterNoFuture, a breakthrough social media campaign aimed at encouraging people to take action to reduce single-use plastic waste, while driving awareness and purchase intent for Brita’s Filtering Water Bottles.

The larger point to remember from this example: take the current pandemic of COVOID-19, use it, and create something positive.

Know yourself

As social marketers, we need to understand how we are perceived by others, and how we see ourselves. Only then can we convey a session of relevancy and purpose behind what we communicate. “The gearing of algorithms have made social media a game of outrage, and attention-seeking. It’s for this reason that brands need to know when they should speak, and more importantly when they shouldn’t,” he shared.

Yonchev continued to give sight on being careful of wrongly assuming. Know where you stand within your followers, and think before you post of how your brand or business is perceived. We do not need to create a double standard without realizing. A good best practice to pocket when you’re uncertain if something you share will have negative repercussions: take the time to fully understand what your brand sounds like and convey this in a way that has a human touch that is easily decipherable. This may take slightly different formats as you navigate between channels, but generally, this will be helpful rule of thumb to apply across each.

First-Mover Advantage

When it comes to speed, always remember the first-mover advantage notion. Stay on top of your game, and run forward, not backward. Yonchev emphasizes that “relevance moves quickly, and brands brave enough to act fast, stay relevant.” But when staying relevant we need to keep quality in mind, it’s important to be mindful of the speed at which brands are relaying messages. If your brand uses multiple social media platforms keep up with them, listen to your following, and take in feedback. Have quick responsiveness regardless of your brand’s reputation from the past.

At the end of the day, you just need to remember Yonchev’s famous lines, that “theories are not facts,” and “business as usual is a theory.”

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Here’s Where Influencers Belong in Your COVID-19 Marketing Strategy

In a pandemic that seems to suck the productivity and optimism out of the country, there are some individuals and some companies that are seeing creativity in ways that may be here to last. Two of those individuals — Harvey Schwartz, SVP Talent, ViacomCBS — and Miki Rai, a registered nurse with 1.2 million followers on Tik Tok sat down during #SMWONE to discuss how they’ve managed to navigate these difficult times.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Influencers offering a sense of positivity and normlacy are winning
  • Choosing trusted partners ise essential, especially for healthcare influencers
  • Be true to what you preach or don’t bother

Miki Rai didn’t follow the path of  your typical “influencer.”  She was born in Japan, moved to the U.S. when she was three years old and decided she wanted to choose a life-changing profession as a nurse when she was in high school. She was a natural, always had a love for posting videos, and when she was in nursing school she would post what she was learning. But who knew sharing a photo of her and a few friends in scrubs out front of a hospital at 6AM before their shift would go viral.

How does a nurse — or any non-celebrity — manage to build 1.2 million TikTok followers? Schwartz has an idea. “Influence has always been kind of a buy product of someone delivering and entertaining a useful connection to an audience whether it is a musician delivering an emotional performance, a yoga instructor teaching spirituality, a nurse tik-toking,” he said. During a pandemic that has serious global implications, the typical ways for building good content have to shift.

COVID-19 changes to the world

This has been an unprecedented time in history where no one is sure what the future holds, and days are blending together. Influencers are unknowingly finding organic opportunities to connect with their followers without a roadmap. On the other hand, followers are looking to influencers for a sense of positivity and normalcy.

Miki Rai couldn’t be a better example of this type of influencer. Rai’s reputation went from 0-100 on all of her social media platforms. By posting content that seemed so simple to her, her engagement levels went through the roof, and she’s so pivotal and useful to a growing list of followers on every channel during the pandemic. Even her handwashing videos are getting close to 15,000 likes on Instagram, all while it not being her main channel. Connecting her knowledge of nursing to social media during a crucial time, was the perfect recipe for her fame.

Choosing Trusted Brand Partners is Essential for Healthcare Influencers

Every content creator, ambassador, brand, and/or sponsor are all trying to figure out the right way to tell stories. Being a licensed professional, Rai is already held to a higher standard. Specifically, she cannot promote unhealthy habits because it would be a recipe for disaster for one’s health and essentially a double standard. In terms of content Rai believes, “when working with healthcare professionals it’s important that when choosing a brand/sponsorships to be careful of brands putting words in your mouth.” In other words, content creators need to stay true to their personal goals when agreeing to partnerships and be sure not to lose control of their own brand.

Practice what you preach

Being open and honest builds trust. Brands need to remember that if they are not true to what they preach, they are going to lose trust from their consumers. This works both ways for the influencer as well.

If the brand doesn’t match the influencer’s mission statement, influencers should not partner with brands. Influencers should not risk losing their credibility for just any brand/partnership opportunity. It is not worth losing your followers to distrust.

“When every content creator starts out, it is really important to outline what your mission is,” explains Rai. From the very beginning, before the coronavirus pandemic, her mission was to educate/inform. Post coronavirus, her goal is still the same. Harvey went on to ask if there would ever be a ‘fork in the road’, splitting two lanes one becoming a full-time influencer and the other continuing to be a telemedicine nurse. All in all, Rai explained that she would never give up nursing, this is her main priority no matter where social media takes her.

“Influence is an undercurrent and is deep-rooted in our culture, in the last 10 years it has been amplified by our social feeds,” said Harvey Schwartz.

The big takeaway: People want relatable exchanges so they can connect on a different level. Sometimes all they need is a light-hearted distraction that speaks the truth through entertaining content during these difficult times. While this pandemic reaches new places, it’s equally as important for credible influencers with significant audiences to make useful information go viral.

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

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

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

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

The process

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

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

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

Meet the board

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

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

Making decisions

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

The future of content moderation

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

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

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

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

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How Google is Helping Marketers Understand Rising Consumer Interests During COVID-19

At the beginning of COVID-19, we saw an initial rush on sanitizers and toilet paper but this was only the beginning when it came to the major retail changes that would result from this domino effect.

With billions around the world forced to quarantine for the past few months, consumer activity has adapted even further — spikes in virtual education, upticks in sales of jigsaw puzzles, bread makers, hair care products as people take their self-care from the salons to their home. As we look ahead and see enforcements around social distancing ease, it’s become more apparent that while we may regain some semblance of normalcy, any patterns that held pre-COVID-19 are highly unlikely to remain unchanged.

Gathering deeper consumer insights

It’s impossible to know how exactly consumer behavior will evolve with the exception we can expect to need to adjust our strategies according to the shifts. Google is looking to make this transition for brands easier with a new “Rising Retail Categories” tool via Think with Google. In the official announcement the company explained that businesses are grasping onto whatever resources they can to gain insight to make decisions on the fly from Google Trends, social listening, surveys, and their own data but the efforts lack structure and concrete guidance.

“If they don’t know what to look for, there isn’t an easy way to understand which product categories are gaining in popularity, and might pose an opportunity.” Pallavi Naresh, Product Manager explained. Google’s move comes at a time several leading platforms are looking to support retailers including Pinterest, which recently launched an updated business community to facilitate a connection between business owners.

How it works

While you may wonder how this tool differs from the already-existing Google Trends, the new offering was designed to emphasize product searches gaining the most traction. This can fluctuate day to day or even on a monthly basis depending on the region and the government advice that applies to the specific location.

With the new tool, you can filter the data by category and country — U.S., U.K., and Australia to start — and time frame — weekly, monthly, or yearly. Once you’re in a designated category you can get even more granular and learn what people are searching for within that space. For instance, searches for “volleyball nets” have grown by 60 percent in the past week and under that, “crossnets” are of particular interest.

Taking a step back and reflecting on the month of April, swimming pools, golf bag accessories, and trampolines took the leading spots as the most searched products in the U.S. Only time will tell how this may shift into the summer months and again come the fall.

Looking ahead: the use cases

“Having information on the fastest-growing product categories from Google can have a big impact on multiple areas of marketing, particularly at the geographic level as states reopen at different paces,” Jim Leichenko, Director of Marketing and Media at Kantar, shared in a statement to Adweek.

In this effort, Google previewed data with a variety of businesses before an official rollout and saw several creative ideas ensue from having access to these evolving trends.

In one example, a cookware company noticed “flour” was a growing category in the U.S. so it teamed up with a well-known local chef to create content about recipes that incorporate the ingredient. In another, a jewelry and accessories company noted a growing interest in products falling under the “free weights” category. The team then made the decision to work with fitness influencers to promote their products authentically.

Finally, an apparel company with a “fast and flexible” production model is applying the information to inspire new product line ideas and inform what products are featured on its homepage throughout the pandemic. Aside from brand new product ideas, these insights can also enable product offering pivots where the product itself doesn’t change; just the angle in which it’s presented.

The future will be turbulent and as we move forward the “one size fits all” and “set it and forget” mentalities will unarguably do more harm than good. Having communities and the insights to propel us forward will be critical as we look to navigate whatever the “new normal” in a post-COVID age ultimately looks like.

You can check out Google’s ‘Rising retail Categories’ full listing here.

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How Collectively, AdCouncil and DBA Are Adapting Influencer Strategies During COVID-19

Like many industries, advertising is still trying to find its footing during these unprecedented times. But one thing’s for sure: brands, agencies, creators, and media companies all need to be shifting their strategies and working together to get through this.

In a recent webinar hosted by CreatorIQ, the influencer marketing platform brought together Reesa Lake, Partner & EVP at Digital Brand Architects (DBA); Lina Renzina, Talent Relations & Partnerships Manager at Ad Council; and Natalie Silverstein, VP of Brand & Culture at Collectively, to create an open forum for collaboration and understand how they are adapting their influencer strategies during this time. So many people are working hard to spread positivity using the power of digital influence. Now more than ever, CreatorIQ and its partners are focused on bringing the influencer marketing community together.

Here are the key highlights:

  • How current events are affecting the industry, partnerships, and creator content
  • What brands and agencies can do to keep business humming while pushing the industry forward
  • How creators are helping with social good initiatives

Forging ahead: creators and social good initiatives

Ad Council kicked off the webinar by assessing active campaigns and incorporating messaging that acknowledged the current state of the world. For example: “We have a campaign with Feeding America. We’ve included messages around food insecurity during this time,” Renzina explained. “Other messages are probably not going to resonate with talent’s audiences as they would if they were directly tied to the crisis ”

She continued, “Our goal is to educate talent about how to speak responsibly to their audiences about sensitive issues. Whether it’s suicide prevention or COVID-19, we want to make sure they’re talking about it with their audiences in the right and most responsible way.”

DBA’s Reesa Lake added to this emphasizing the importance of community: “We immediately set up strategy calls with all of the talent that we manage, and the first conversation was really around, how are you addressing your community? How are you having this conversation?”

Creating bonds and fueling engagement

Lake expressed that maintaining open lines of communication between the brand and the influencer is always important, but can make all the difference in crucial content decisions in times of crisis. That kind of communication can result in an authentic bond between brand and consumer, driven by the influencer.

Collectively’s Natalie Silverstein touched on the fact that all eyes are on social media, which means increased viewership for influencers, and presents a space for creativity and different types of content without barriers to entry. Silverstein also spoke to increased engagement: “Instagram story view rate is up 33% month over month, and the Instagram feed’s organic audience reach is also up 30%, which is a good indicator of just how much content people are consuming.”

This sort of increased engagement and reach presents a prime opportunity for influencers to play an integral role in news dissemination. And this power of influence is why the World Health Organization has partnered with creators to help spread awareness.

For more insights on mitigating risk and ensuring brand safety during COVID-19, tune into Social Media Week’s panel with CreatorIQ and AdCouncil tommorrow, Wednesday, May 13, at 12:00pm EDT.

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How Social Listening Powers FOX’s Programming and Beyond

When you work for a global entertainment brand, there’s more to look out for than when a star says or does something bad. With that said, it definitely does come up from time to time.

“We do have to protect the brand if a star does something stupid,” admitted FOX’s Associate Director of Social Analytics David Sager. But, as he dove into during his #SMWONE session with Talkwalker’s Regional Manager for the West Coast Nate Bonsignore, his time spent monitoring social dives far deeper than that…and has a far greater impact on the brand overall.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Tweets, posts, and memes that you think are dominating the conversation, don’t always reflect reality
  • Don’t overlook the impact of “unstructured data”
  • Be open to experimenting and playing around when communities need it most

Protect: In Which FOX News Learns, “It’s Not All About You”

A telling lesson about our perception of social media emerged during the session, as Sager and Bonsignore conducted a poll: what was the most retweeted tweet of summer 2019, about? Given the opportunity to select between politics, music, and sports, the audience overwhelmingly chose politics. In actuality, the topic was music – the band, BTS. But it confirmed an assumption that many of us make: the frequency with which we see topics elevated in the media, doesn’t always reflect their actual prevalence in societal conversation.

This was a lesson that Sager shared with FOX’s news division, after concerns arose that Twitter was swimming in negative mentions about the network. The truth? The first mention of FOX News didn’t enter a list of most retweeted tweets until after entry 5000. “I had to stop scrolling,” Sager admitted. The lesson for marketers? Tweets, posts, and memes that you think are dominating the conversation, don’t always reflect reality. And more to the point, the degree of protecting you may think you need to do for your brand isn’t as high as you might think.

Measure: Monitoring the Massive Rise of The Masked Singer

One can only imagine the fun that comes from getting to track the chatter around, and success of, shows like LegoMasters and The Masked Singer. When it comes to the latter, Sager said, it can be fascinating to watch the aftermath of a celebrity reveal. “It’s always cool to measure how they make the reveal,” he shared, “and to watch what impact it has on the show.” This data has the potential to impact programming down the road; watching the data about how celebrities reveal their presence on the show, along with data about how fans make guesses and who else they’re fans of, could dictate who shows up on the show next—or even what shows enter development in the years to come.

In this conversation, the panelists also brought up a metric that is proving difficult to measure: the spread and impact of what Bonsignore called “unstructured data” like memes and other media not conveyed with text (think videos, podcasts, etc.). The Masked Singer yields a great deal of chatter online, but it has also given rise to a number of memes…which are difficult to measure with the same accuracy. “When something is memeable, the text [data] doesn’t always bear that out,” Sager noted.

Promote: Charting the Contributors, for FOX Sports and Beyond

Speaking of data that doesn’t always make it to the decision-making table, Sager also mentioned how he has widened the scope of where to look for impactful data. His team works with a social media ecosystem that charts the genesis of data from platforms like Reddit, Tumblr, 4chan, and Discord; through its amplification stage on a platform like Twitter; and finally its entry into mainstream consciousness on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Of Redditors in particular, Sager notes, “These are the really smart first wave people on the internet, and they’re self-segmented into communities.” What they’re identifying as popular early on—take 2017’s “dress” controversy or 2019’s “Yanny/Laurel” debate—eventually enters pop culture forcefully.

Sager’s used this ecosystem model in conjunction with FOX Sports as a way to identify talent that would succeed on the network, in one example of a framework that Bonsignore encourages organizations to use when grounding their decision making. The framework for FOX Sports included looking at prospective guests and their presence on Reddit and Twitter; both their audience reach (number of followers) and engagement (how people interacted with their content) were considered. “A healthy audience balances the two,” Sager pointed out, also noting that a good presence on Reddit could mean stronger numbers on Twitter (and, per the ecosystem, later on Facebook and Instagram) could help them find a guest that would resonate with audiences.

As Bonsignore mentioned as he opened the session, “the digital voice of the customer, the consumer, [and even] of trolls, [can] play out in organizations like FOX.” Sager highlighted a number of different ways in which the digital voice is more than just noise; to the contrary, when thoughtful and attentive social listening is taken seriously, it can reveal valuable data that highlights immediate steps to take to improve the work you do.

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The post How Social Listening Powers FOX’s Programming and Beyond appeared first on Social Media Week.