Tag: The Voice of Social media

5 Best Practices for Twitter Video Marketing

Contrary to what many might think, Twitter is actually a gold mine for video marketing. There has been a 95 percent increase in daily video views on Twitter over the past 18 months. Likewise, there has been an 85 percent year-over-year increase in watch time on Twitter. More so, you are losing out if your Twitter marketing strategy does not include videos. Why? Apparently, tweets with videos attract 10x more engagements than tweets without.

What it takes for effective video marketing is understanding its peculiarities and adapting your strategy appropriately. The following points highlight the best practices for video marketing on Twitter.

Consider your Target Audience

This obvious first step determines everything about the video including how effective it is going to be.

Twitter is about starting and joining conversations. Your video strategy must address the needs of your audience else it won’t fly. Two questions you must ask before making your video are:

  • Needs. What is my audience concerned about?
  • Trends. What is my audience talking about?

Any video that is not relevant in at least one of those respects is dead on arrival. Therefore, before the questions above, you must also ask yourself, ‘who is my audience?’

Only when these factors are clear can you make a video that will appeal to people the right way.

Keep Videos Short and Direct

You need to communicate your message as soon as possible. Passing a message within the first 3 seconds can impact overall breakthrough metrics by 13%. Also, Twitter recommends keeping messages below 15 seconds to maximize branding impact.

This video by Debonairs Pizza exemplifies this. The 10-second video passes a simple message which is ‘dessert for every pizza’. The message was displayed for exactly three seconds and was followed by different pizza pictures and a persistent chocolate dessert. With such succinctness, no viewer is left in doubt of the message of the video.

Include Product and People

Your video should feature both your product and the people using your product. Don’t ignore the importance of emotions in advertising and the role that displaying a human connection to the product plays. Don’t leave your audience clueless; help them to connect the dots. According to Twitter, videos that show a positive human interaction or human desire for a product record a 40% increase in the overall response.

This Budweiser Zero ad does a good job of this. In the video, soccer goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe stops shots with one hand while holding a can of Budweiser Zero in the other, obviously having fun at it.

Use Visual Cues

Every element in the video should reinforce the message you are trying to pass across. Hence, even the tiniest details must be products of deliberate choice. More so, display aspects such as color, typography, graphics, etc. are not tiny details.

Display your logo or branding element as early as possible in the video. In addition, displaying your brand for more than half of the video could result in a 25% increase in brand recall and a 21 percent increase in message recall.

This video marketing Google Safe Browsing opens and closes with the Google logo, such that, no viewer can be left unclear of which brand.

To determine if your video has an effective visual display, try playing it without sounds. If a third-party cannot understand the message in a video without the sounds, then you need to up your visual game.

Consider this video by Slack. It displays a recreation of the usual office talk with Slack channels. And without a sound (even without the accompanying text), anyone can understand the message.

Keep Tweet Copy Concise

A 280-character limit for tweet copy accompanies the 280-second limit for videos. However, you need to pick which to emphasize. And if you are sharing a video, there is no need for a lengthy piece. The tweet copy should only be used to call the viewer’s attention to the video or to call the viewer to take an action.

If the video can’t say all that you want to explain, then the tweet copy should only contain a short and precise call-to-action, such as below:

The tweet precisely states what the video is about and also includes a call-to-action for viewers to read more about the product.

Finally, If videos haven’t featured in your Twitter marketing strategy in the past, then it is time to make a change. And when making videos, always aim for impact. That is why you must set clear metrics ahead to measure the effectiveness of your efforts.

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How Zoom’s New Spin Off Platform is Catering to the Virtual Event Trend

It’s no secret Zoom has come into its own over the course of 2020 — evolving from a niche enterprise solution to a frequently used verb and video conferencing app integral to carrying out our day to day lives both personal and professional.

For context, the app surged from 10 million daily active users in December 2019, to 200 million in March 2020. Further, at one point earlier this year, Zoom reached more than 300 million daily call participants. This growth is nothing short of remarkable and the platform is pushing to continue its lockdown success in some big ways. Specifically, new event discovery and monetization features, which will enable paid Zoom users to create and host ticketed online events.

Here’s a breakdown of what’s new.

Introducing OnZoom

A primary goal of many marketers and businesses in these uncertain times is simplifying how virtual events are delivered and engaging new audiences in ways that combat technology fatigue. Enter OnZoom.

OnZoom, as described in the official announcement, is a “a one-of-a-kind online events platform and marketplace that supports – and salutes – the creativity, perseverance, and innovation that enabled so many people to adapt their in-person events to virtual or hybrid experiences.” More specifically, the platform supports one-time events or event series with up to 100 or 1,000 attendees ranging from classes, concerts, stand-up, and more. Essentially, anything you could use Zoom for initially with the major difference now being the ability to earn money from the events and have them be easily searchable via a public directory.

Hosts can use OnZoom to list and sell tickets and share and promote their events via email and social media. Organizers will need a paid Zoom account in addition to a business Paypal account to manage ticket transactions though the company noted other payment options aren’t off the table and could be introduced at a later time with the broader global roll out slated for 2021. For nonprofits, Zoom teamed up with Pledgeling to allow for the ability to receive donations by attendees.

Third-party integration with Zapps

From a more practical standpoint, Zoom announced the integration of third-party apps directly into calls hosted on the platform so that users can save precious time and headaches from toggling to numerous tabs for the apps they use for their work including Slack, Asana, Atlassian, DropBox and SurveyMonkey. Rather, all of the core tools you use to communicate and stay organized are centralized under what the company has named ‘Zapps.’ At launch there are over 25 partners supporting the integration.

“Zapps help surface all the applications you need to be productive and enable the free flow of information between teams before, during, and after the meeting,” the company shared. “Think of Zapps as an app store right where you need it most — in a Zoom meeting, chat, webinar, phone call, and even your contacts directory.”

Zapps will be available through the main taskbar during Zoom calls where each individual app can be launched as a screen share. Similarly to Apple’s App store, you can browse and select the various apps you want integrated into your Zoom account and based on your customization, these will be displayed under “My Zapps” for easy access in your meetings.

Embracing change and preparing for a future of hybrid work

We are experiencing a massive acceleration of digital transformation. Whether we like it or not the world has made a quick adoption to a new way of living with technology being front and center of our unique pivots. Through education and reinvention we can take a beat, ask the hard questions, and open the door to new opportunities that advance our careers and businesses in profound ways. The outcome of this evolution remains to be seen, but one thing remains clear: there is much more value to gain from embracing the moment through innovation and creativity that supports this paradigm shift than fearing it.

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How Google is Helping Marketers Navigate Shifting Shopping Behaviors

The 2020 holiday season will undoubtedly look a little different this year, but one thing that is unchanged: it is still a time of peak demand and a critical time to connect with consumers. With just under 70 days until Christmas, brands are scaling their efforts as best they can and learning along the way as they reinvent and maximize opportunities.

In support of this, Google launched a 27-page guide on evolving shopping patterns and how to prepare for them including some case studies brands can emulate in their own approach. Here’s an overview of some of the key trends extracted from the findings.

Extended period of shopping and deal-hunting

COVID-19 has led to an increase in shoppers looking for value in terms of quality and price. More specifically, 62 percent of U.S, shoppers are planning to start holiday shopping earlier this year to avoid missing out on items. “This means retailers will need to rethink the usual timelines for Cyber Monday and Cyber Week to help shoppers already looking for special offers and deals this October,” says Google. In short, it isn’t only about peak days anymore.

A growing number of people are recognizing the efficiency and other benefits of ordering online. While deal-seeking certainly isn’t a new concept, the emphasis on value and quality are higher than ever as people turn to their devices to research, browse, and purchase. In fact, searches for “best affordable” are up 60 percent year-over-year and just under half (46%) expect brands to offer discounts.

The takeaway to note from these shifts in behavior: Maximize the exposure of your sales and holiday deals. The report points to a case study from handbag company Dagne Dover who delivered 4X return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) over two months using Google Smart shopping campaigns.

Preparing for a surge in first-time online shoppers

A whopping 69 percent of U.S. shoppers are planning to shop online for the holidays more than they have in previous years. Further, over 50 percent of surveyed US shoppers tried a new shopping service for the first time this year and more than one in ten surveyed reported trying a new shopping app for the first time.

“Due to this overall trend toward online shopping this year, retailers will need to be ready to offer helpful, frictionless shopping experiences for more first-time online shoppers,” the report states. This is critical as stores shift to mere transaction points while the majority of the decision making happens online whether the item will be picked up in store, at the curb, or delivered to someone’s home.

Simplicity, streamlined, and speed are key terms in this vein to keep in mind. Accuracy is another important element where ensuring relevant search terms and fully complete online listings are a make or break in the eye’s of today’s shoppers. If you’re in need of fresh ways to enhance your online shopping experience, Google suggests checking out Grow My Store and testing your mobile site speed with Test My Site. Petco, for example, upped investment in Search, Shopping, and local inventory ads and saw a 100 percent lift in their e-commerce business, along with a 10x increase in new e-commerce customers.

The purpose-driven consumer

With more choices around brands and products than ever before, people are taking a beat and identifying ways to use their purchasing power for good. 2020 has been a testament to the various ways consumers can align their purchase decisions with companies with shared values and support local causes that are important to them.

Roughly half (46%) of surveyed U.S. shoppers “make a deliberate effort to shop at businesses that align with my values.” What’s more — 66 percent of U.S. consumers who plan to shop this holiday season said they will shop more at local small businesses. During an age of social distancing, consumers crave a sense of community and preserving local shops and cafes is one way to maintain a sense of normalcy and empowerment amid the uncertainty. Just since last year searches for “support local businesses” grew by over 20,000 percent.

Google also notes that many shoppers are trying new brands for the first time. Specifically, over 70 percent of viewers say YouTube makes them more aware of new brands. Sportswear brand Ariat took these insights and launched YouTube TrueView in-stream ads and increased investment in Shopping ads to help drive online sales and engagement with its customers in new ways. The result? A 700 percent lift in sales year-over-year and a 300 percent boost in online conversions year-over-year.

This isn’t to say all shoppers are testing the waters — some will prefer what’s already familiar to them. Regardless if you’re engaging with new or repeat customers, actionable formats will be differentiators this holiday season. To best prepare, embrace these tough questions including what do we stand for and how do we leverage social media appropriately to serve our customers and community. Your consumers will reciprocate the mindfulness and authenticity with loyalty and trust.

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5 Reasons to Enter the 25th Annual Webby Awards

Social Media Week is a proud partner of the 25th Annual Webby Awards, the most prestigious international award honoring Internet excellence.

If you’re making creative work for social media platforms, The Webby Awards is the perfect opportunity to showcase your projects to the world. Whether you’ve made social media projects or experiences in response to COVID-19, new social video series, or experimental social ad campaigns, this anniversary season of The Webby Awards is the perfect place.

Here are 5 reasons you should enter the competition, and take advantage of the best pricing before their early deadline on Friday, October 30th.

Mark Your Spot in History

Since 1997, The Webbys has honored the breadth of the Internet. With Winners ranging from early Web icons, to viral sensations, to digital powerhouses, Webby Winners represent the best of the best. You can claim your space alongside past winners like Glossier (Founder Emily Weiss pictured above), Instagram, The New York Times, The Try Guys, Peloton, Nike, Netflix, MoMA, Wieden + Kennedy, and more.

Stand Out Amongst Your Peers

In today’s digital landscape, it has become hard to stand out. Winning a Webby Award sets you apart from your peers, both as a member of a team and as an individual creator. A Webby signals to your industry that you are the creative to work with, and you deliver high-quality digital work.

Have Your Work Seen by the Best

All entries in The Webby Awards are reviewed by a community of the most prolific digital artists, creatives, innovators, and leaders. Your work will be reviewed by their judging body The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS). Judges include: Kevin Systrom, Co-Founder, Instagram; Tiffany Rolfe, EVP, Chief Creative Officer US, R/GA; Rick Gomez, EVP, Chief Marketing & Digital Officer, Target; David Droga, Creative Chairman & Founder, Droga5; Linda Boff, CMO, GE; and dream hampton, Filmmaker.

Attract New Partners and Clients

A Webby Award proves that you’re the best of the Internet, and shows people around the world that your team is the one to work with. Over 80% of past Webby Winners report that their win helped drive new business.

Be Awarded in New Categories

This anniversary season of The Webbys has new categories to adapt to the changing nature of the Internet. New categories include expanded Social honors for Interview/Talk Show, Best Editing, Best Influencer, and Performance & Dance. Additional categories include a new suites of Virtual & Remote categories for innovation across virtual events.

The Webby Awards Early Entry Deadline is Friday, October 30th. Work is accepted across Websites and Mobile Sites; Video; Advertising, Media & PR; Social; Podcasts; Games and new this year Apps and Software and Virtual & Remote. Don’t miss your chance to showcase your best work!

Enter today at www.webbyawards.com

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5 Best Practices for Finding the Right Influencer for Your Brand

Think you can get away without dipping into the world of influencer marketing? Think ahain. According to The State of Influencer Marketing 2020: Benchmark Report, which surveyed 4,000 brands, marketing agencies, and industry professionals, earned media value, which is publicity that comes from promotions, not paid advertising, is $5.78 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing.

That means while ROI is notoriously difficult to track when it comes to influencer marketing, the publicity gained from influencer marketing is nearly six times as much as is spent. While direct sales may be difficult to track for some companies, it seems that exposure is exponentially increased thanks to influencer marketing.

Here are the best practices to keep in mind when you’re searching for the right influencer for your brand.

Select the Most Important Platform

Choosing the platforms where you want influencer marketing to have an impact isn’t as cut and dry as you may think. On the one hand, the platform where your business is already performing well is a great place to capitalize on that popularity and help it grow via an influencer campaign. On the other hand, a platform where you don’t have a strong presence but where an influencer who’s a great match for your brand and does have a strong presence is also beneficial because you can break into a platform you’ve been wanting to add to your strategy.

You may want to focus on one type of platform over another, or you could try to do both at the same time, assuming the influencer you choose has a solid following on both platforms. What’s most important is that you choose influencers who are doing their best work on the platforms you’ve decided are most important for your business. More on selecting the right platform next.

Approximately 90% of influencer campaigns include Instagram, so whether you only want to promote your business on Instagram or it’s part of a larger campaign, Instagram should absolutely be included. This is especially true if your customer base is under the age of 35 since the largest concentration of Instagram users are ages 25 to 34, followed by 18 to 24.

Make Sure the Influencer Is Relevant to Your Brand

There’s a lot more to think about than just the influencer’s Instagram following and the average age of their fans. Even if they’re in the exact same niche as you are, their content and messaging have to be consistent with or complementary to your brand, too. If the aesthetics or voice of the influencer’s content is way off compared to your own branding, you’re not going to reach the right audience, no matter how engaged their following is. And you could even harm, or at least muddle, your own reputation, too. 

A good way to find the influencers who are relevant to your brand is to discover which ones are already talking about you. Influencers are experts at knowing their audience and what will connect with them, and if they’re interested in what you sell, chances are they know it’ll be a great match for their audience.

Select Influencers According to Your Budget

When it comes to influencers, you should care more about the quality of their following than the number of followers they have. But, in general, a smaller influencer is going to charge less than a larger-scale influencer. If your budget is meager when starting out, aim for a micro-influencer with a dedicated fan base. What you don’t want to do is try to talk to well-known and well-established influencers into accepting a lower rate than they deserve. You could ruin your relationship with an influencer who you’d love to work with in the future when you have a bigger budget to dedicate to the campaign.

Search the Old Fashioned Way

While you can Google something like “top influencers in organic cooking,” you may be disappointed with the results. Lists of top influencers are often repetitive, only featuring the same ones, and you’ll miss out on a bunch of influencers you don’t even know exist. Instead, go about your search the old fashioned way. If you’re on Instagram, for example, search by hashtag. If you use #ad or #sponsored to search, you can skim the results to see if any post looks like it matches your brand’s industry and look. This process may take a while, but it’ll be worth it, and you’ll come across a lot of high-performing smaller influencers who you’d never know about otherwise.

Spot a Fake Influencer Before You Get Too Far

Many influencers are in it for the money they’re paid, and it’s clear why just about anyone would love that opportunity, even without working for it. Fake influencers quickly gather a massive following by buying followers and engagement, which can make their accounts look popular, even if it’s all smoke and mirrors. There are a few strategies you can use to determine if an influencer is the real deal or not, but the most telling one will be their engagement ratio. If they have a ton of followers and their posts have a bunch of likes, but nobody is actually commenting on their posts in a meaningful way, it could be that all of those “fans” are actually bots.

Narrowing down your list of influencers is just one step toward getting a compelling influencer campaign up and running. You also have to pitch the influencer to encourage them to work with you, and then you have to figure out how they work with clients, what type of campaign you want to run, how to track the effectiveness of it, etc. All in all, though, it will be worth it, and with more businesses planning to increase their budget for influencer marketing, you’ll not just only reach more members of your core customer base, but you’ll also compete with others in your industry.

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How YouTube is Creating More Direct Shopping Options for Video

According to Google, over half (55%) of shoppers use online videos while shopping in-store. In addition, 50 percent of shoppers say online videos help them decide the specific brand or product to buy. What’s even more, Bloomberg Intelligence predicts the e-commerce retail market, excluding China, could reach a whopping $2.8 trillion by 2025. While the pandemic continues to accelerate online shopping and the digital transformation of many businesses, platforms and brands are preparing for the future.

After adding a merchandise ‘shelf’ for product tie-ins last year which helped creators display branded products beneath clips and unveiling ‘merch alerts’ for live-streams earlier this year as well as AR try-ons for makeup tutorials and various ad-driven tools, YouTube is upping its game.

Here’s a peek at the latest and what it means for marketers and our industry as we look ahead.

Creating a catalog of items for YouTube shoppers

Per Bloomberg, YouTube is introducing a process in which creators will have the ability to tag specific products mentioned or worn in their content directly in their videos to spur more direct shopping on the actual platform itself as opposed to driving viewers elsewhere. More specifically, viewers can simply tap on any product they see in a clip for more details.

This is not officially rolled out yet, rather still in the beta phase with a limited number of channels though a Google spokesperson also revealed YouTube is testing integration with Shopify as part of this push.

More opportunities to reach consumers online

On a recent earnings call, Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai emphasized that the video-sharing giant’s overwhelming amount of tutorials and unboxing videos are an untapped shopping opportunity where products are touted on screen. The pandemic may have taken a hit at marketing budgets but these simple opportunities in the e-commerce space are proving to be inexpensive and highly effective as people use more of their free time browsing their devices and not in physical brick and mortar stores.

For creators, this opens the door to greater creative freedom to include more products in their content. Separately, for brands, a shift towards integrated product listings for video is a meaningful opportunity to engage with creators and learn more about the values and interests of younger demographics, but also engage with emerging storytelling formats that resonate. Finally, for YouTube parent company Google this represents a chance to glean more insight into its consumer base to enhance its advertising efforts over time.

Influencer-led consumer habits

Recent research from Takumi found that in the last six months roughly a quarter of 16-44-year-olds (27%) have been influenced to purchase a product or service by YouTube creators, followed by 24 percent on Instagram and 15 percent on TikTok. Further, consumers prefer the legacy platforms such as YouTube more (28%) than those on newer platforms such as Instagram (22%) and TikTok (15%).

“Influencer marketing in 2020 will continue to push boundaries, innovate and become a trusted awareness, engagement and sales attribution approach for brands,” shared CEO Mary Keane Dawson. “Brands who can entertain and educate through influencers will capture the hearts, minds, and wallets of consumers versus traditional media.” The key takeaway to note: there is a clear correlation between trust developed over time and increased purchasing and this applies to all platforms and age groups.

Regardless of which platforms you’re utilizing to fuel your e-commerce initiatives the time is now to be platform agnostic and arm yourself with the insights of influencers who know how to engage across each in the most meaningful and successful ways.

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How Facebook is Championing Black-Owned Businesses Through a Season of Support

In June Facebook announced its commitment of $200 million to support Black-owned businesses, Black creators and non-profits supporting Black communities. This was part of an even loftier goal of investing over $1 billion with diverse suppliers in the U.S. by the end of 2021. This past summer, Facebook introduced “Black Business August,” a month-long series of education and business growth content featuring training, programming, and business spotlights.

Today, and with the holiday season not too far around the corner, the platform is taking its efforts even further to ensure as many SMBs survive through year end as possible. Here’s a recap of some of the latest efforts.

Introducing the ‘Season of Support’

The ‘Season of Support’ is a three-month-long initiative centered around free resources, education and training to help businesses navigate this uncertain time all over the world.

“Black-owned businesses have been hit especially hard by the pandemic, closing at twice the rate of other small businesses. But we know that millions of people want to help. More than 3.5 million people on Facebook in the U.S. have joined new groups created to support Black-owned businesses since March,” shared Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook Chief Operating Officer in the official announcement.

The primary goal is to drive momentum leading up to November 27th also known as Black Friday — a critical marker of the kickoff of the holiday season and signifier of the overall trends and indicators that will play out heading into December. While much is up in the air, one thing is clear and has been for several months — more people will shop online than ever.

#BuyBlack Friday Campaign

Facebook tapped the U.S. Black Chambers, an influential network of Black entrepreneurs, to help drive people to #BuyBlack over the holidays in a number of ways including dedicated events and assistance offerings on Facebook’s ‘Lift Black Voices Hub’ and on the Facebook App Facebook Page.

Included in this is a new #BuyBlack Friday Show that will take place live every Friday beginning October 30th to November 27th. Each episode will feature businesses, musical artists, and entertainers such as stand-up comedian and New York Times best-selling writer and actress, Phoebe Robinson.

One example of a prominent voice slated to share their story during the series is Elle Jae Essentials, founded by La’Asia Johnson in 2017 and based in Flint, Michigan. When she lost over 70 percent of her revenue due to the global pandemic, Johnson got creative. She turned to virtual events on Facebook and Instagram and started groups like ‘The Garden’ to stay connected with her loyal fans and promote her beauty line — something born out of her battle with Chron’s disease beginning at age 14 due to a skin reaction from her favorite skincare products.

Additionally, the platform is unveiling a #BuyBlack Friday Gift Guide, a curated selection of products from Black-owned businesses spanning beauty, fashion and home, and Businesses Nearby, a tool aimed to improve the discovery of local stores self-designated as Black-owned.

Emotional Health Resource Center

As much as financial security is top of mind as we look to the end of the year, so is mental health. An important trend exacerbated by COVID-19 is the use of technology to innovate in the ways we facilitate these difficult conversations and bring together the necessary resources to eliminate the stigmas surrounding mental health issues.

In a separate push, Facebook is teaming up with leading experts and authorities on these topics like The Aspen Institute, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Kids Help Phone and It’s OK to Talk across several new updates. Primarily, the platform is introducing a talk show on Facebook Watch in the coming weeks featuring Award-Winning Actress Taraji P. Henson and Tracie Jade Jenkins, Executive Director of Henson’s Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation. The two will tackle a number of key mental health topics — particularly those faced by the Black community.

Elsewhere, Facebook is hosting a Digital Stress Management Guide on WhatsApp in partnership with the World Health Organization, publishing Mental Well-Being Guides on Instagram, and adding a sticker pack on Messenger to help normalize conversations around mental health. Finally, users can get crisis support via Messenger through support from the Crisis Text Line.

As people continue to navigate their own personal circumstances from managing financial stress, to coping with loss and grief, to taking care of overall emotional health, having a large-scale platform to seek guidance and support is essential. By showcasing personal stories of adversity and integrating expert advice and resources across core features, technology can be a powerful tool in finding comfort and addressing these issues head-on.

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How Linkedin is Creating More Personalized and Authentic Professional Networks

Year-over-year LinkedIn has seen a 50 percent increase in the amount of content shared on its platform. Today, at 706 million members worldwide, the company is taking a hard look at its community and the needs presented by this prescient moment in our industry. Through a redesign and several new features, including its own version of Stories, the platform is eager to help marketers stay informed, connected, and reskill themselves to meet the continued demands of the virtual workforce.

Here’s how LinkedIn is building on its mission to serve as a platform for discovering unexpected opportunities.

Personalized and streamlined search experiences

Search is a vital element to the LinkedIn experience and the platform reports it has experienced a 15 percent increase in global searches over the last six months as people browse job opportunities, explore online learning courses, and engage in virtual events.

From adding new filters to organizing search results by criteria including people, jobs, groups, courses, companies, posts, and events, the platform is incorporating more of its functions into search matches for improved discovery and accurate results. In short, a blended search experience. Personalization is also top of mind, catered to displaying results from your connections more often.

Paired with a holistic search experience are several physical redesign changes to the platform including a warmer color palette with blue and green accents and illustrations that showcase people with different abilities, diverse backgrounds and ethnicities, and a wide range of jobs and industries. “Our site redesign comes at a crucial tipping point, as we see record numbers of members turning to the platform to share their stories, get support, and help others,” shared CEO Ryan Roslansky.

Introducing Stories

In the same vein of providing a more human way to connect, LinkedIn also introduced a widely anticipated feature: Stories. Similarly to what we’re accustomed to seeing on other platforms, LinkedIn Stories are full-screen posts including images, video, or text, available for 24 hours, and can be responded to via a private message. To help spark creativity there are two unique features to Linkedin Stories including “Question of the Day” and localized stickers.

“No, Stories aren’t new in the industry, but we took the time to understand how this format fits in the professional context that defines everything we do and what happens on LinkedIn,” stated Roslansky.

During a time where we must rely on platforms and tools like Zoom to stay connected, finding opportunities is a challenge and conveying our personal brand without face-to-face interaction can feel daunting. These more casual ways to learn, inspire, and connect are a nod to the need to humanize work culture and the prioritization of community and conversations in the marketing space. For marketers and brands particularly, they can utilize the Stories feature to share insights on timely breaking news or company announcements, walk through a product demo, recruit employees, or help others master new skills in quick, snackable posts.

Messaging

The amount of private messages sent between LinkedIn members has more than quadrupled over the past five years. Compared to last year alone, the platform saw a 25 percent increase in messages sent.

Beyond making it easier to sift through and edit your InMail messages, LinkedIn is bringing more opportunities for new ways to connect in these intimate spaces. This includes emoji reactions and the ability to switch the conversation from chat to-face-to-face through Microsoft Teams, BlueJeans, or Zoom with the tap of an icon.

A whopping 92 percent of the online population uses emojis daily and in recent months Zoom has become synonymous with virtual meetings boasting more than 300 million daily meeting participants. Whether we feel indifferent about these new mediums of communicating or not, they’re here to stay and undoubtedly ingrained in our modern practices and habits. They’ve shown us ways to express ourselves better, be a genuine support for someone in need, and fill the gap when words simply don’t cut it.

There has never been a more critical time to build instant trust, put a face to your brand, and have personal interactions at scale. By giving marketers a sense of freedom to share their lives and their daily activities more authentically, the human experience of building a brand and establishing a professional network can be shared even during a pandemic.

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The post How Linkedin is Creating More Personalized and Authentic Professional Networks appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/10/how-linkedin-is-creating-more-personalized-and-authentic-professional-networks/

Instagram’s 10th Birthday: Evolving through Culture and Community

In celebration of its 10th birthday, Instagram unveiled several updates over the past few days centered on video, messaging and e-commerce, three major topics top of mind for many brands and creators as of late.

Here’s a breakdown of what’s new:

Reels: Longer clips and improved editing

In August Instagram introduced its TikTok competitor, Reels, giving users the ability to add AR effects from Instagram’s gallery to their videos and record videos hands-free via a timer function. When published, Reels are added to a new tab on the user profile and also posted to the main Instagram feed. Reels are also searchable in the Explore tab in the new Reels section.

In a short period of time since its launch, the platform has onboarded a number of top creators to Reels including Doug the Pug and Prince William and Kate. To build on this momentum, Instagram is responding to feedback from the past few weeks including giving Reels users the ability to create longer videos (up to 30 seconds versus the original 15), extend the timer by 10 seconds when they record, and use tools for trimming and deleting clips to simplify the editing process.

“Culture is the collection of stories we tell, and we believe everyone has something worth saying. But it’s often young people and creators who spark those conversations. They set the trends; they signal what’s next,” shared Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram. Mosseri also hinted that we could see tabs for Reels in the coming months. Speed is critical for earning and maintaining attention and if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that it is tablestakes for marketers to create for the vertical space and be more open to learning from creators versus simply mimicking the advertising space.

Combining Facebook Messaging with Instagram Direct

One in three people claim that it is difficult to remember where to find a certain conversation thread. Facebook wants to alleviate this confusion by bringing all of its messaging components into a single platform beginning with integrating Messenger and Instagram Direct. Those using Messenger can now cross-share messaging to Instagram without needing to download another app and can also control where they receive messages and calls, such as in your chats or message requests.

“People are communicating in private spaces now more than ever. More than a billion people already use Messenger as a place to share, hang out and express themselves with family and friends,” said Mosseri in the official announcement. Simple, intimate ways to engage will continue to dominate more of our industry’s services and products around these ideas. Messaging apps, for example, have outgrown social networks as the connective tools of choice. What does this mean for marketers? We must continue to rethink our audience relationships in a shifting environment where users favor experiences over products.

E-commerce on IGTV, Stories, Live and Reels

Shopping has become a larger part of the Instagram experience over the past few years — particularly now as consumers complete more purchases online due to COVID-19’s acceleration of e-commerce. To double down on the growth of this trend, users can now view products and make purchases across IGTV, Instagram Live, and Stories with the ability to do the same on Reels coming soon, according to TechCrunch.

The push to allow creators to directly monetize their user base on Instagram, while also giving brands a way to sell merchandise to their fans, not native, however. In 2018, Instagram Explore expanded through its Shopping tab, followed by Stories incorporating Tags into the content. Last year, Checkout was announced giving users a direct way to pay for items directly in the app. Most recently, this past summer the dedicated Shop hub got a major redesign encouraging even more browsing and discovery of brands, creators, and products.

From information sharing to entertainment, socializing, shopping, networking, and mindless scrolling, Instagram has come a long way. By 2030 even more can happen — and it is likely going to involve more emphasis on commerce, innovative ways to organize content, and streamlined processes for connecting with brands.

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The post Instagram’s 10th Birthday: Evolving through Culture and Community appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/10/instagrams-10th-birthday-evolving-through-culture-and-community/

4 Smart Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Social Media Ad Budget

The cost of Facebook ads has increased by 90 percent year-over-year. Twitter is already more expensive than Facebook. And, Instagram is fast catching up. What can we do as marketers to survive in such a hyper-competitive environment? You’ll need to learn to make the most of your marketing budget moving forward.

Here are four tips to help you get the best bang for your marketing buck.

Focus on Improving Your Quality Score

Each ad platform has a quality score that dictates your cost per click or cost per impression. Facebook refers to this as the Relevance Score, while Twitter calls it the Quality Adjusted Bid. Formalities aside, the biggest thing to note is that a higher quality score means the platform is going to show your ads to more people. Conversely, a lower quality score means you will have to pay more. The quality score is determined by engagement. So, the more your target audience clicks on, likes, and shares your advertised content, the lower you pay.

Previously, it was the norm to rapidly test out different creatives and then promote the winners. But, doing so now can be extremely expensive and ineffective. Fortunately, you can figure out which content has the highest chance of good engagement without even running an ad campaign.

Your website, for instance, is a gold mine of creative ideas perfect for your social media marketing campaign. Here’s an awesome way to find your top-performing content using Google Analytics and a spreadsheet.

(Image Source)

Your best content attracted engagement for a reason. It clicked with your target audience. Use this creative to come up with fresh ad ideas. For example, each subheading in an article can be turned into a sponsored post with a bit of work. Start with organic posts first. See which posts perform the best, then sponsor them across the ad-network. By the time you hit play on your ad campaign, you’ll already have most of the hard work done.

Use Your Audience’s Insider-Speak to Stand Out

Creatives that deliver the most value will always attract more engagement. But, you can take it even further. As social creatures, we tend to belong to cliques and groups with specific lingo. This insider-speak serves as an “Identify Friend or Foe” test, which separates the group members from the outsiders. Suffice to say, using your audience’s insider-jargon will help you break the ice and establish an instant rapport with them.

For example, Millennials and Gen Zers are more likely to use chat acronyms on social media. You can strategically insert abbreviations into your sponsored content to get it to resonate with them. Even images are awesome places to use them! Check out this US Marine Corps ad for a marathon.

(Image Source)

The ad is targeted to millennials and Gen Z since it starts with an acronym they likely know.

The same principle can be applied to virtually any demographic or audience group, be it baby boomers, coders, or artists. (Even social media professionals have their own jargon!)

Create Your Own Graphic

There’re plenty of stock photos and graphics online, which can certainly take one huge step off your checklist. The problem is, everyone’s doing it. Using stock photos or graphics comes with three deal-breaking disadvantages.

Primarily, your audience may have already seen it, so it won’t have the first-impressions effect. Second, it comes across as lazy and unoriginal. Finally, it will never completely match your content unless you write it around the picture, which is self-defeating.

There are some cases where stock photos may work, but their utility is very limited. Instead, spend some time taking your photos or creating graphics that complement your post perfectly. You will have more freedom and will be able to better express your ideas. The images don’t have to be Picasso grade either.  Any basic design or photo that gets the idea across will do for the most part. For example, check out this graphic from Manly Wellness:

(Image Source)

Notice that this image doesn’t illustrate the point – frequency of contact as much as it supports it. It may seem counterintuitive, but images don’t always need to be central to your social media strategy. They can play a supporting role while letting the text do most of the heavy lifting. Images and custom graphics can be used to capture your audience’s attention before they start reading the text, and eventually, clicking the ad.

Use Videos as Sponsored Posts

If a picture speaks a thousand words, then a video speaks a million. The power of video is undeniable. For example, LinkedIn users are 20 times more likely to share a video than any other post. And with YouTube now being the second-largest search engine, you would not want to miss out on creating video ads.

While your chosen video depends on your marketing goals and KPIs, the following types are good places to start:

  • Behind the scenes videos
  • Live videos
  • How-to videos
  • User-created videos
  • Informational videos

Even so, it’s worth noting that videos don’t perform that well just because they are videos. It’s high-quality video content that accounts for most of the “video effectiveness stats” that populate the internet. And those certainly require some investment. That being said, it’s best to have a combination of different types and quality videos in your social media mix.

That’s exactly what Freshbooks does on their #imakealiving campaign. They amplified the power of video in social media through sponsored partnerships with successful entrepreneurs.

(Image Source)

These videos are submitted by the entrepreneurs themselves, therefore the production and quality vary.

It’s generally a good idea to make videos that directly represent your brand and/or product as professional as possible. But, more affordable, Go-Pro type instant and user-generated videos can be used for social proof and building credibility.

The bottom line? Running a social media ad campaign doesn’t need to cost you a lot. Most end up turning expensive solely because it takes so much rinse and repeat to find the winning creative copy, graphic, color combo. Once that truth is established, your ads can start paying for themselves. The idea to reduce your ad spend is to do as much of the research before while keeping your ads looking spectacular.

Use any other methods that have helped you get better results out of your social media marketing? Feel free to leave a comment below and let us know!

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The post 4 Smart Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Social Media Ad Budget appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/10/4-smart-ways-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-social-media-ad-budget/

How HIKI Shifted Their Social Media Marketing Launch Strategy During COVID-19

How HIKI Shifted Their Social Media Marketing Launch Strategy During COVID-19

HIKI, a newly launched genderless full body sweat brand, was set to reveal their DTC brand in March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing. Despite the pandemic, HIKI decided to push forward with the launch by shifting its social media marketing launch strategy to suit the times we were living in. But how did they manage to do so?

Read on for a behind-the-scenes look at how HIKI shifted their social media marketing strategy for a COVID-19 era and how they leaned on their community to co-create their products. You’ll hear directly from Tinah Ogalo, Social Media Coordinator at HIKI, and you’ll learn:

  • Where to find inspiration for creating social media content for a Gen-Z/millennial audience
  • How to leverage your community to inform your marketing strategy (and to create TikTok content)
  • How to plan for a successful new brand or product launch on social media
  • How to stay up to date on social media trends and updates
How HIKI Shifted Their Social Media Marketing Launch Strategy During COVID-19

This post is part of the #BufferBrandSpotlight, a Buffer Social Media series that shines a spotlight on the people that are helping build remarkable brands through social media, community building, content creation, and brand storytelling.

This series was born on Instagram stories, which means you can watch the original interview in our Highlights found on our @buffer Instagram profile.


Who are you?

Hi, I’m Tina w/ an H. I’m the social media coordinator for arfa, a new consumer goods brand house specialising in personal care products. We co-create every product with real people from all over the country (we call them the arfa Collective) because we believe people should have a say in what they put on their bodies. And in return, we make them stakeholders in the business and give them 5% of profits. We currently have two brands that we launched this summer: HIKI, a genderless full body sweat line, and State Of, a skincare and beauty line for menopausal women.

How HIKI Shifted Their Social Media Marketing Launch Strategy During COVID-19

Where do you find inspiration for HIKI’s social media content?

Our HIKI audience is predominantly Gen-Z / millennials, so I look to platforms and topics that those demos are currently responding to most, like pop culture, TikTok, Giphy, and my Instagram explore page. I also am so inspired by our community’s posts about HIKI. They created the brand with us and they’re so invested in its success, so when they post content to their socials about our products, I am always re-posting or coming up with creative ways to showcase their content.

Our HIKI audience is predominantly Gen-Z /millennials, so I look to platforms and topics that those demos are currently responding to most.

View this post on Instagram

Two things we love: Our Anti-Chafe Stick and @theogermaine 😍

A post shared by HIKI (@hiki_foranybody) on

One example was the ‘Put a Finger Down’ challenge on TikTok. We saw that this was a great way to engage with our community so we created our own version to show them and others that sweating is totally normal. We had our Collective members, Noelle and Gabe participate in the challenge. Fun Fact – that’s our UX Designer, Ian’s, voice. We thought a British accent would be a nice added touch LOL.

How does managing HIKI’s social media account and community look like on a day-to-day basis?

Every morning I check to see what posts I’ve got lined up for the day, and then I go through all of our notifications that I may have missed from the night before. For the rest of the day, I’m working on the content calendar that’s two weeks out, searching for the latest trends, leveraging audience insights, making creative briefs for assets I want to incorporate into the feed, and working closely with our designers to create custom content for each platform.

HIKI was launched in March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing. How did HIKI shift its marketing launch strategy to suit the times we were living in?

I joined in June, so I wasn’t at arfa for the initial launch, but the team did an amazing job. They had all of these plans for launch, then when COVID hit, people’s lives and priorities shifted of course, as a business ours did as well. It felt counter-intuitive to what we were trying to build – products and brands that put people first – to launch for-profit as though the world hadn’t changed. We also realized sourcing supplies was a big problem for a lot of folks, so we decided to instead give away all of the products we had ready to sell and ship to healthcare personnel, essential workers, and first responders—we ended up giving away 20,000 products, and I am so proud of that.

It felt counter-intuitive to what we were trying to build – products and brands that put people first – to launch for-profit as though the world hadn’t changed.

It also helped us a lot when we officially launched for sale in July, because we had about 300 reviews on the site and had already gotten some amazing feedback from customers that I could use on social. Beyond that, we really leaned on our Collective, the people from all over the country we built the brand with, and micro and nano influencers to get as much vibrant and fun content as possible to push on our organic and paid channels to spread awareness. And it worked! The response to our branding on social accounts has been overwhelmingly positive.

What marketing/social media advice do you have for brands that are pre-launch?

Launches are always hectic (but so fun!), so it’s important to do as much heavy lifting beforehand so you can sit back on launch day and enjoy the show. Build up your asset arsenal so you have lots of social content to choose from in the first few weeks, gift 50-100 influencers in the 20K-100K range to generate buzz, partner with like-minded brands on social giveaways to build up your email list, and do lots of research on relevant hashtags. And definitely have at least a two-week plan so then you can breathe.

Build up your asset arsenal so you have lots of social content to choose from in the first few weeks, gift 50-100 influencers in the 20K-100K range to generate buzz, partner with like-minded brands on social giveaways to build up your email list.

How do you leverage HIKI’s community to inform your marketing strategy?

Our Collective wants us to succeed just as much as we do, getting feedback from them is always great because it’s so inspiring. Creating engaging stories such as polls and questions allows us to see what our community likes and doesn’t like. Right now we know that they’re big fans of product shots and memes. They tell us how they incorporate HIKI into their lives and in turn, helps us share with our community different HIKI Hacks.

Creating engaging stories such as polls and questions allows us to see what our community likes and doesn’t like.

How HIKI Shifted Their Social Media Marketing Launch Strategy During COVID-19
HIKI’s Co-ounders with The Collective members

What’s your number one tip for engaging with HIKI’s community?

Be active and listen! Check throughout the day that you’ve answered everyone, pinned tweets, liked comments. Even on the weekends, I check on our page in the morning, midday, and evening. It’s so important to us that our social account feels like a person(because it is! It’s me! :)) and we all are engaging with our feeds regularly, so the same should go for HIKI.

I am always on the platforms, looking at what interesting new brands are doing and what’s trending. (Side note: I LIVE for TikTok trends). I also listen to podcasts and read social media blogs, like Homemade Social, to stay in the know.

What’s your favorite HIKI product and why?

I love all of our children equally, but if I HAD to pick, I’d say the Body Powder because it smells amazing, is talc-free, and rubs into my skin seamlessly. Besides putting some on my lower back to fight my daily back sweat, I also use it as a setting powder.


We hope this interview with Tina w/ an H helps you get started with or double down on your social media efforts. You can follow her journey on Instagram here!

Have any questions for Tinah? Feel free to reply with your questions to the Twitter post below and Tinah or someone from the Buffer team will get to them as soon as possible.

https://buffer.com/resources/hiki-social-media-launch-strategy-covid19/

Navigating the Hidden Psychology of Social Networks

In this wonderful, yet complex world of social media, understanding how we can create better content, deliver more meaningful engagement, and strategize campaigns is an ongoing conversation. It not only involves understanding behaviors and decisions when users are actively engaging on the platforms but deeply understanding the values embedded that compel them to participate in the first place.

In the newly published Hidden Psychology of Social Networks, Joe Federer, former head of Brand Strategy at Reddit uses evolutionary science and psychology to help marketers grasp the ways our ideas and behaviors shift and our sense of self evolves as we use different social platforms. The notion that who we play online is not a full representation of ourselves is a theme Federer unpacks across the three sections of the book.

He starts to tackle this theme in a deep dive of meme culture and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins’ “The Selfish Gene.” Through an elaborate comparison to how genes make up the building blocks of living organisms, Feder explains how memes set the foundation for the broader ideas that make up our society and culture and that few understand meme culture from the inside. He adds, “like any culture, it’s extremely difficult to fool the natives into thinking we’re locals…More often, we compare ourselves to our competitors, and they’re usually no more native to the environment than we are.” Meme culture isn’t for everyone and consumers are quick and easy to decipher when an effort is too forced — but this shouldn’t deter you from testing the waters and seeing where white spaces may exist to deliver value.

Beyond utilizing success stories from campaigns of leading brands including Heinz, Dove, and Ziploc, Federer takes the insights a next level deeper — layering in context from Freud’s models of the Id, Ego, and Superego and how these manifest online through the “ideal self” the “managed self” and the “true self.” In this way, he leaves readers with not only a theoretical groundwork from which to evolve in their careers but with tactical lessons to employ immediately.

Here are a few important takeaways to note:

  • Create with a specific, desired action in mind and be deliberate, efficient, and frictionless in your delivery
  • Be fearless when it comes to adding to the user experience — break out of the advertiser comfort zone
  • The format of your content is just as important as the subject of your content — choose a channel and format that allows people to derive the value of your message directly in their feeds without interruption or distraction
  • Create synergy between right and left brain strategies when possible. In the left brain, for instance, we create representations of ourselves via the Ego and Superego to define ourselves to the world — our offline selves that define us socially. This results in us engaging with radically different kinds of content compared to a network organized around ideas and common interests allowing us to be anonymous
  • The best-in-class campaigns utilize social listening and maximize efficiency by having a clear and specific goal for each component but that also has some bearing on the overall outcome
  • In an age where brands are quickly called out for not acting in accordance with their purpose, transparency isn’t enough. Take the time to carefully establish what this mission is, then find a way to convey this story in a way that consumers can use to help brand themselves across social channels

While Hidden Psychology provides a helpful compass for navigating the current social media landscape, it is also a powerful reminder for marketers to, amidst the trends and shiny new objects, get back to the basics. What does highly successful marketing look like? It takes into account what people value, it interprets why it has value, and then uses that information to create stories that will genuinely be enjoyable and organically spread.

To connect with Joe about the book, check out his Twitter and LinkedIn:

  • @joefederer
  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/joefed/

The post Navigating the Hidden Psychology of Social Networks appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/09/navigating-the-hidden-psychology-of-social-networks/

How Reddit’s Tiered Ads are Promoting Brand Safety

In recent years, privacy has extended beyond the topic of risk management. It is vital to a company’s reputation and a central component of brand building and strategy. More than ever, especially in the wake of these past several months, advertisers are making this a top priority as they navigate critical decisions around which platforms to advertise on and where their campaigns are showing up. Context matters.

From the platform standpoint, addressing these needs is easier said than done. No two advertisers are the same when it comes to their brand message and campaign objectives and platforms that recognize this and respond with flexibility will see the most success. Facebook, for example, recently unveiled new brand safety controls for video advertisers, with topic exclusions, based on machine learning, and ‘publisher allow’ lists for more control campaign displays.

More recently, Reddit announced the expansion of its Ads platform with new tiers allotting for greater control and choices over the type of content brands appear adjacent to and the audiences they reach.

Here’s a peek at what’s new.

Inventory types

In the Expanded Inventory option, brands have access to Reddit’s maximum inventory pool as well as visibility next to the broadest range of content. Per the announcement, this tier will open up to over 20 percent of communities for targeting, resulting in the ability to tap into a significantly greater user base, while still meeting the platform’s content standards already in place.

A next level down, Reddit’s recommended tier, the Standard Inventory option provides “balanced reach and protection” to fit the needs of most advertisers. Ultimately, you’ll have less reach compared to Expanded, but greater protection in regards to where ads are shown. More specifically, the more controversial subreddits are not included.

Finally, Limited Inventory, much like its name alludes, gives brands the least amount of reach but the most optimal brand safety standards. This is due to Reddit’s partnership with Oracle Data Cloud’s Contextual Intelligence to offer third-party verification to ensure extra protection against questionable or harmful content.

“Our contextual intelligence technology provides up-to-the-minute content review and classification across industry-standard brand safety categories to give advertisers greater control over where their campaigns run,” stated Oracle Data Cloud Senior Director of Product Management, Chris Stark.

Moderation protocols

A big question mark with the introduction of these new tiers is what does this mean for the current platform, community and campaign moderation system in place. Primarily, Reddit notes that as always ads are eligible to appear in communities or in hand-curated allow lists. Advertisers will also still be in the driver seat when it comes to enabling or disabling comments on their ads. They’re also able to exclude particular keywords and communities depending on their preferences.

“Brand Safety has become a broader and more ubiquitous issue in recent months, and with good reason. With the sheer volume of content that appears across UGC platforms, it’s understandable that some advertisers desire enhanced control, while others are more comfortable with this environment,” explained Jen Wong, Reddit’s Chief Operating Officer, in the official announcement.

By maintaining these existing protocols with the added new tiers, brands that want maximum engagement will be able to have the reach to ascertain those goals while those seeking to double down on protecting their reputation will also have options to fit their needs.

Protecting a growing community

A recent Pinterest study found that over half (60%) of consumers are more likely to remember brands they encounter online when they feel positive, feel more positive when they are engaging with a brand in a positive environment, trust the brands they see in a positive space, and are more inclined to follow through with a purchase.

With its user base now up to 430 million users and its platform home to over 130,000 active communities and 12 million daily interactions — efforts like these are important for Reddit to continue growing its community. While just how successful this push will be remains to be seen — but one thing is clear: 2020 has exacerbated the need for brands to take a hard look at where their content appears and platforms that fail to address these concerns will have much more difficulty earning a permanent spot in an advertisers’ marketing mix.

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The post How Reddit’s Tiered Ads are Promoting Brand Safety appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/09/how-reddits-tiered-ads-are-promoting-brand-safety/

How Pinterest is Fueling Inspirational Ideas with Story Pins

On the heels of breaking its daily download record and earning a top spot on the App Store rankings due to the release of iOS 14 and flurry of home screen design ideas, Pinterest is taking major steps to connect creators and Pinners around inspirational content.

Following over a year of work, the platform is launching Story Pins in beta and a new creator profile with analytics tools for improved performance tracking. Pinterest is the latest platform to hop on the Stories bandwagon following Snapchat’s lead in 2013 and Facebook and Instagram putting their own twists on the format in 2016. More recently, Twitter introduced “Fleets,” and LinkedIn began testing its own version of Stories earlier this year.

Here’s a breakdown of the latest Pinterest updates and how you can start to build them into your marketing mix.

Turning ideas into Stories

A key difference between Story features on other platforms and Pinterest’s approach to the format is that Pin Stories are very much tilted towards utility, discovery, and inspiration. “Story Pins are designed to show you how people are trying new ideas and new products. That means the features and intent are dramatically different, David Temple, Head of Content, Creator and Homefeed Product said in a statement to reporters.

This new content format blends videos, voiceover and image and text overlay will make it possible to create step-by-step stories, such as tutorials for recipes or DIY projects. Early users of the feature include Coco Bassey, Camille Styles, Shiquita from Unconventional Southern Belle, and Jazmine Ford of Finding Uphoria. An added bonus? Detail pages can be added so materials and ingredients can be revisited later and fuel action on the ideas and tips.

Pin Stories are also not ephemeral, meaning that won’t disappear after a set period of time as is the case on Instagram or Facebook Stories. Much like a standard Pin, Stories can be saved to boards for later use and distributed across the home feed, search results, and relevant tabs including “Today.” Creators will also have the ability to tag their Story Pins or videos with topics or interests which the visual discovery engine can use to match ideas to Pinners who have similar taste.

“We want to be deliberate and thoughtful with the growth that we have here, to ensure that the tone for the content and the community remains positive,” Temple added. In other words, creating a space in which you can be inspired but inspire others in meaningful and actionable ways through content.

Creator profiles

As part of the push, Pinterest is also introducing creator profiles — making the platform a more seamless option for sharing creator content directly as opposed to distributing it once its shared elsewhere.

A big emphasis with the profiles is interaction between Pinners and creators. Specifically, a new display format and updated contact options make it easy to stay connected. Pinterest also unveiled a range of positive reactions like “Great idea,” “Love,” “Wow,” and “Thanks” to provide feedback to creators via a Message or Contact card. This is a subtle but significant update that nods to the current environment — one in which digital empathy is more important than ever and it is harder to express how we feel in the absence of face-to-face interactions.

Maximizing engagement and measuring reach

Finally, in order to ensure creators and brands can easily track how their audiences are responding to this format, Pinterest is revealing an engagement tab, where users can solicit and respond to feedback, and an updated Analytics hub outlining the performance of their Pin Story content. Impressions and engagement are two core metrics, but the re-designed dashboard will also provide a sense into how categories and interests are shifting over time and which audiences are engaging with the most.

With its community growing, searches up 50 percent year-over-year and board creates up 40 percent year over year as of this past July, it makes a lot of sense for Pinterest to want to lean into the Stories format to help people better connect amidst the current global pandemic. It also represents an opportunity for Pinterest to learn more about its community, align with trends and behaviors, and identify the white spaces that exist to drive creativity.

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The post How Pinterest is Fueling Inspirational Ideas with Story Pins appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/09/how-pinterest-is-fueling-inspirational-ideas-with-story-pins/

7 Reasons To Invest In Video Content In 2020

Video content can combine information and entertainment more easily than ever before. The challenges in creating video content that seemed insurmountable less than a dozen years ago have been overcome with developments in technology. The following are seven reasons to invest in video content in 2020.

Make percentages work for you

As of this writing fully two-thirds of employees are working remotely for a portion of the week. 44% are working from home five days a week. The jump in percentages is approximately 17% greater than the numbers pre-pandemic. 

The pandemic has shifted the way people think about work. A majority appreciate gaining the time and money normally spent on travel to and from a shared office work site. The leap in the numbers of remote workers has led to changes in the way a company develops a marketing strategy. Online commerce is secured by content and the content that gains customers quickest is in video form. 

For example, if you’re producing content for a property management company, you might consider shooting videos about your new virtual tour tools to attract customers in a visual manner. 

Optimize Employee Training

Video content saves money. Comprehensive training programs for new hires or re-training are costly. Space, snacks, meals, beverages, and speakers or trainers for even a moderately sized group can cost thousands of dollars and take days to accomplish. 

The return on investment (ROI) for training videos is significant and in many cases, the videos can be used, with slight modifications, many times over. As a training tool, you can incorporate visual, aural, verbal, and logical learning styles. You can build in capabilities to monitor the individual achievements of trainees.

To increase the absorption of information, video training can be interactive with the addition of quizzes, multiple-choice questions, and review options. The incorporation of various activities throughout a training video will help employees retain more information.

Enhance Short-form Content

Marketing technologies have come a long way from Burma Shave signs, but the premise remains the same — capture someone’s attention. The growth of media technologies has proven that the world is a small place. Our connectivity has increased but our attention spans have decreased from an average 12 seconds to a mere eight. 

This is a small amount of time to work in. Video content is perhaps the most engaging method to convey a product or idea to another person. Over 500 million hours of video are watched daily on YouTube alone. Before you choose the type of video content you will produce, decide what your goal is. 

Short-form video content is a way to capture the viewer’s attention quickly. In the space of 15-60 seconds, you can engage the viewer and provide information about where more material, in longer form, can be attained. Think of it like snapping your fingers to get a kid’s attention.

Improve Long-form Content

The speed at which short-form video works to engage a viewer, raise brand awareness, and encourage further exploration is well documented by the marketing industry. Long-form content allows you to become more fully engaged with your target market. 

A four-to-ten-minute video gives you time to explain your brand, history, company intentions and generally allows the viewer a more intimate narrative. Long-form video content can be interviews, how-to videos, educational videos, demonstrations, and documentaries. 

The platform on which you choose to share long-form video content should be considered with your target audience in mind. You do not have to choose between short or long-form video content; for a comprehensive marketing strategy, consider using both.

Repurpose Written Content

Turn your written content into video content and the percentage of what the viewer remembers increases to 80% as opposed to the 20% remembered after reading. The staggering difference in these numbers is clearly a good reason to commit to video content as a marketing strategy. Do not burn all of your pencils yet. 

Quality video content begins with a well-written script. Research competitors and decide what you will be adding to the conversation in your industry. Write an outline of the key items or ideas you want to convey. Keep them in a chronological order and then flesh out the points with a combination of information and anecdotes or reflections.

The goal is to connect the viewer to you or your company on a more personal level — to engage on a human scale. If you are doing a live broadcast or interview, make an outline to allow the conversation to flow naturally and to keep it on point. 

Reach the right person

Just like Microsoft’s mail merge program allows you to create a document and personalize it for each recipient, there are platforms like Data Creative that allow you to create personalized videos. The ability to target specific individuals, companies, or groups helps assure that you reach those you intended to share information with. By sending video content through an email system you can track your marketing campaign and utilize the data to further refine your video content.

Find Your Brand Purpose

The purpose of a successful marketing campaign using video content is the same as any other strategy, to become the market leader in your industry. Well over two million searches a day can make content difficult to optimize, let alone stand out as unique. Investing time and money in video content will bring your customers to you, help them feel you value them, and increase awareness of your brand. 

A marketing campaign crafted with well-planned video content will help your search engine optimization (SEO) move to the top of the list in organic searches. As Neil Patel says, “If you ever need to hide a dead body, you should place it on the second page of Google search results.”

Optimize, experiment, use collected data, and adapt, and you will have a marketing program that can set you above others in your industry.

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YouTube Advertising: What Your Brand Needs to Know

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

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

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

Advanced contextual targeting with dynamic lineups

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

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

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

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

Driving efficient reach with Nielsen TV data

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

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

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

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

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

Catering your strategies with success stories and trends

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

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

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How Pinterest is Creating Positive Brand Experiences

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

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

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

Creating a halo effect

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

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

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

A diminishing tolerance for negativity

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

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

Leading with policy and feel-good content

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

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

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

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

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6 Ways to Improve Customer Retention through Social Media

Building brand awareness and acquiring new customers is one of the key objectives of any marketing strategy. However, what many businesses neglect to invest in is customer retention. In the long run, this can prove to be a mistake, both financially and from a branding standpoint.

Simply put, customer retention strategies aim to build loyalty among existing buyers. They prevent them from defecting to competing businesses or ceasing to use your products altogether. The main advantage of customer retention is that it boosts customer lifetime value by consistently providing a high standard of user experience and customer service.

Why is customer retention important?

According to research from 2015, it is six to seven times more expensive to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones. Moreover, it takes an average of 12 positive customer experiences to make up for a single bad one. 

Then again, 72% of buyers will tend to share their positive experiences, while 67% of them are willing to pay extra for a great experience. These numbers are clear indicators that investing in customer retention is worth it on its own. But that’s not all there is to consider.

As e-commerce becomes more widespread and competition increases, it can only be expected for marketing costs to grow as well. With this in mind, businesses should focus their efforts on developing marketing strategies that generate a high ROI. Customer retention through social media can be one practice to help in this regard.

The easiest way to measure customer loyalty and retention is to look at the numbers. You’re going to need to know three factors: 

  • X: how many customers you started with 
  • Y: how many you have now 
  • Z: how many of those are new buyers 

Then, you apply the following formula: (Y-Z)/X x 100 = CRR (customer retention rate)

For example, if you started with 20 customers, had 50 new buyers, and now have a total of 60 customers, your CRR would be 50%. This would mean that 50% of your buyers were lost in the process.

Are you ready to adopt a few easy-to-implement strategies and boost your CRR? If yes, here are six effective ways you can improve customer experience and build brand loyalty.

Practice active listening

The most basic way you can use your social media presence to improve user experience is to listen to what your customers are saying. Social listening is easy to set up with alerts or social listening software. Plus, it offers valuable information regarding your products and services.

Whether you’re getting positive or negative feedback, this type of strategy enables you to identify strengths and weaknesses, and you can build on those experiences in future marketing campaigns. Moreover, you can use active listening strategies to recognize customer pain points (edit button on Twitter, anyone?). This is an excellent way to develop your offer in the future.

Another advantage of social listening is that it lets you reach out to users who may not have shared their negative experiences directly with you. This opens up space for “redemption” and prevents issues from going unanswered and harming your brand’s health.

Analyze user behavior research

In addition to letting you know what your buyers want to see from you, social media also allows you to find out more about the customers themselves. Personalization plays a huge role in UX. And social media might just be the way for you to incorporate it into your marketing strategy.

Engaging with followers lets you learn more about them and their habits. Handy features such as Instagram’s insights and Facebook Analytics let you see information such as audience demographics, active times, and statistics regarding the content you post.

But even more importantly, by taking a deeper dive, you can find out what other brands your followers have liked and how they’re engaging with content. With this information, you can then work on your own marketing strategies and adjust them in a way that will serve your audience better.

Engage in convenient customer service

Customer service is a huge selling point, and, obviously, it influences retention as well. An easy strategy you can adopt is to extend the platforms where your buyers can reach you.

Having an active presence over multiple social media platforms doesn’t just maximize your reach. It gives you the chance to respond to any possible problems in real-time, in a way that requires less effort on your customers’ part. This decreases the chances of growing dissatisfaction, plus it allows you to better manage your brand’s health.

Support accounts, such as this one by Xbox, can also be an excellent way to share quick updates with users regarding technical difficulties or temporary issues.

Alternatively, you can take a look at this example by Ultimate Meal Plans. They have created a dedicated Facebook group for their customers. Their users can directly ask questions from coaches and fellow service users. This way, they’re sharing experiences and receiving continuous support on their weight loss journey.

community building for customer retention

source: ultimatemealplans.com

Provide helpful and educational content

Orienting your efforts towards giving customers more bang for their buck is one of the best retention strategies out there.

It is for this reason that some brands choose to create educational content to share with their followers. It’s an effective way of calling attention to the value you offer. Moreover, it can be made into a continuous way to support buyers by sharing tips and tricks or new ways to use your products.

And because it’s so good at encouraging engagement, social media might just be the right place to launch this type of content.

You can look to Under Armour for inspiration. The brand’s Instagram posts include a host of at-home workouts created by collaborators. The great thing is that their followers don’t have to go searching for these posts. Instead, they organically appear on their social media feeds.

Instagram for customer retention

source: instagram.com

Utilize user-generated content

In addition to professionally produced content, you can also choose to share posts created by your users. Because user-generated content is created by influencers and regular people, it’s more likely to affect purchasing decisions. But, perhaps even more importantly, it gives you the chance to engage with your existing users and reward their loyalty.

An easy way to implement this strategy would be to create a hashtag.

For example, mattress company Zoma created the #SleepToWin hashtag. Through it, the company encourages both professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts to share their experiences using the product. In the end, this results not just in a higher engagement rate, but also easy-to-acquire social proof they can use on their website.

instagram customer engagement and retention

source: instagram.com

Share special offers

Last but not least, don’t underestimate the impact of pricing on sales. Especially when it’s paired with a pleasant shopping experience.

While new customers may be reluctant to give your products and services a try, those who have already bought from you will be far less likely to switch if you offer the added incentive of a reduced price. The simple reason behind this is that these users are already familiar with your products. And with social media, you can use this familiarity to gain an added edge over your competition.

So, if you already have a loyal base of customers who follow you on a host of platforms, don’t forget to let them know of any discounts, special offers, or giveaways. In the end, it might just be the thing that increases their lifetime value.

Customer retention doesn’t require a huge investment, yet provides excellent returns. When combined with your social media marketing strategy, it can yield even better results at a lower cost. While you can use any of the six strategies we’ve discussed here, it’s important to make sure that you do it in a way that reflects your brand’s core values. Pay attention to your tone, try to create helpful content, and, of course, place emphasis on customer experience. You’ll have a formula for success that will work for years to come.

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3 Ways Facebook is Supporting Mental Health

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

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

New parameters around self-harm related content

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

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

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

Chat as a vehicle for crisis support

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

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

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

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

Wellness guides and digital literacy resources

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

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

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

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

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

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How to Use Video Marketing to Promote a Cause

Do you have a cause about which you are passionate, but your efforts have not returned the results you had hoped? Unfortunately, social media and blogging can only take you so far.

As a non-profit, or as someone concerned with a cause, funding is limited. So you might think that video marketing is beyond your capabilities, or maybe even too much trouble. However, producing video content is possible

The Power of Video Content

If we want to really see how valuable video marketing is, we should look at some statistics:

  • Blogspot reports that video marketing is being hailed as very important to 92% of marketers. Compare that to the 2015 figure, where only 78% said the same thing. This shows that the market for video content has really expanded.
  • Wordstream released some incredible figures. Among them, more than 50% of all video content is viewed on mobile devices. Of those videos viewed, Virtuets claims that 92% of those viewers share video content regularly.
  • MarketingCharts has predicted that by 2021, the average person will spend 100 minutes per day watching video content.
  • According to Youtube stats, 73% of American adults are consistent users of YouTube which is far more than Facebook, with 69% and Instagram with 37%

As you can see, video marketing is powerful and it is worth creating video content. You may still worry that it is too expensive or too difficult. Luckily, neither have to be the case!

Here are some common misconceptions about video marketing and how to get started.

Misconception #1: Video Marketing Requires Expensive Tools

Video marketing doesn’t require you to go out and buy expensive, fancy equipment before you get started. In fact, you may already have what you need right beside you. Smartphones have become incredible replacements for expensive cameras and can capture anything just as well as most digital camera models. You may want to get a tripod to keep it steady, which is fairly inexpensive.

Editing doesn’t have to be a hassle either. Tools like Renderforest are full video makers with a low subscription price and will help you along the way.

Hosting platforms like Vimeo have on-site video editing tools. If you don’t want to do it yourself, Fiverr has a large number of experienced video editors who you can pay to help you out for a much lower price than you would expect.

The point is, you have options that can fit your budget.

Misconception #2: I’m not Skilled enough to Make Videos About My Cause

Maybe you feel a little leery because you have never made a video before. Everyone feels this way when they first start doing video marketing. But you have a secret weapon up your sleeve: your passion for your cause. You are dedicated to seeing your message reach as far as possible, to spread that awareness.

This gives you an eye that you might not know you have. All you have to do is show others what is important to you. Let them see the subject directly, and show them, not just tell them. The results will be incredible.

If you need a quick tip to get started, create a video with many faces in it. It has been scientifically proven, that people relate better to content when they see faces in them. There is something about seeing a human face that gets the neurons in our brain excited and highly active when perceiving it Since most non-profits talk to people’s emotions and ampathy, this tactic perfectly applies to a non-profit video strategy.

Keeping an eye on your competitors or peers and monitoring what they are doing in terms video marketing is another good way to come up with content ideas.

Misconception #3: Getting Started With Video Marketing is too difficult

This is the best one of all. While it seems overwhelming, all it takes to start is a subject that you want to record. What would be most effective at telling the story of your cause? Every video should start out with this question, because you are going to be answering it every time you pick up your camera.

Next, you need to ask yourself what style you are looking for. Are you going to sit in front of the camera and talk? A live shoot? A storytime style video with clips, footage, voice-over and music? You are in control and so you will be deciding what your audience needs to see most and how.

Let’s look at a couple examples to help give you an idea of what has been effective in other non-profit campaigns:

High Jump Providing Tuition-Free School Programs For Middle Schoolers

High Jump is a non-profit that creates educational programs meant to help seventh and eighth grade students increase their knowledge in multiple categories, such as art and science. This video campaign netted them $215,000 donations from viewers.

LifeBuoy On A Mission To Save Children Around The World

Lifebuoy launched a campaign that followed Sangrah, an expecting mother. The purpose was to illustrate their efforts to help with prenatal and postnatal care. Their mission is to help children live to the age of five, which 6 million children per year never reach.

Handwashing was the primary focus on this particular experiment, which can help to strengthen the health of the fetus, as well as the mother. The video is incredibly well made and tells a story that makes you really care about the subject of the film.

Do you see how each of these videos uses a different storytelling style that still gets the message across? They also appealed to the emotional response of the viewer. Each was touching in its own way, but they both target different emotions. You should be asking yourself what emotion each video you create is trying to convey.

To get you started, here are a few helpful resources:

Misconception #4: Picking Metrics to monitor is too confusing

How do you know if your video is successful? For most companies, it would be based on views and conversions.

It is a little more complicated for non-profits and will depend on what you deem most important. Is it based on number of donations? If so, how many donations? Is it important for them to click through to your site? What social media activity are you looking to generate? You choose the metrics, so you control what defines a successful video marketing campaign.

One of the most universal metric monitoring tactics is to keep an eye on conversions a particular traffic source is generating. Finteza is a perfect tool for that because it allows you to easily narrow down your reports to a particular traffic source and measure incoming conversions:

Image by Joseph Mucira from Pixabay

Consumers are itching to support non-profits that promote causes close to their hearts, so your small investment in video marketing will pay off. Make sure to your story and decide on how you’re going to measure the success, and you will gain more support for your cause.

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The post How to Use Video Marketing to Promote a Cause appeared first on Social Media Week.

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How Google’s ‘Fundo’ is Reimagining the World of Virtual Events

With COVID-19 restrictions still in place around the world, the need for virtual events is more apparent than ever. Numerous platforms have stepped up in an effort to fill the void with a variety of features from Facebook’s paid online events and Instagram’s announcement of monetization in IGTV to LinkedIn’s introduction of virtual events into pages. One thing is clear from this flurry of updates — these options are here to stay and will likely be utilized long after the pandemic is behind us.

Today, Google is getting involved and providing more tools in this space through an expanded launch of its Fundo virtual events platform aimed to help creators and brands seamlessly schedule and host events through simplified organization and promotional tools.

Creating meaningful experiences online

Originally developed in 2018 by Google’s Area 120 incubator, Fundo began as a tool to allow YouTube creators a way to organize host paid, ticketed virtual meet-and-greet events. Following a beta launch last summer for several hundred testers including fitness instructors, business and lifestyle consultants, Fundo is now available for anyone to use and can be leveraged for a variety of cases including workout and cooking classes and workshops.

“Over the past year, many parts of life had to move online and become virtual. While we didn’t build Fundo specifically because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the mission of creating meaningful experiences online is even more important today,” shared John Gregg, General Manager at Fundo in the official announcement.

The one-on-one focus is an important way for creators to host an intimate event with a single individual or small group while workshops are an important feature during a time when small businesses including are facing substantial obstacles. Outside of presenting more ways to spread the word and share content, the option adds greater flexibility in which creators can schedule an event in advance, or let fans request a time and have the option to bring in co-hosts or special guests.


Source

“In 2020, a lot of things are online,” Gregg said in a separate statement to Variety. “We’re not exclusive for YouTube creators. We think it provides value to any kind of creator… There are lots of different ways it can be used.”

Taking the complexity out of virtual events

A primary goal of Fundo is to take the headache out of hosting a virtual event, especially when you’re dealing with a ticketed experience. Through a single end-to-end platform, creators and businesses can schedule their event, manage sign-up and payment processes, communicate details about the livestream, and more.

There are no apps for external software necessary for Fundo: Event hosts and their guests access everything on the site through a special-purpose video-chat system separate from YouTube. A fan favorite feature? The built-in “photo booth” feature, in which each attendee gets a photo with a creator-customized frame.

Hosts are in control of the price to sign up and any discounts and whether they want a given event to be free, though Google takes a 20 percent cut of revenue generated per Gregg. Furthermore, some creators using YouTube Channel Memberships are able to offer Fundo Meet & Greets exclusively to channel members as a premium perk. To help fuel cross-channel promotion, Fundo users are able to create an account including their other social media profile details, as well as a personalized URL for easier access.

Safety and discoverability

Fans are able to find events happening on Fundo through the home page, or through links that their creators share. Once they’ve chosen an event iall they simply have to do is answer a few basic questions, and complete a ticket purchase. Fundo manages everything else including generating the event link and sending reminders leading up to the event. The platform also provides technical support if it is needed.

While Fundo prides itself on putting creators in control of their event, safety is also a top priority. To support in this regard, Fundo checks every event guest’s ticket and monitors for reporting and flagging of potentially harmful or abusive content

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The post How Google’s ‘Fundo’ is Reimagining the World of Virtual Events appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/09/how-googles-fundo-is-reimagining-the-world-of-virtual-events/

Debuting an Upgraded SMW+ Platform Experience

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

Fresh New Discover Experience

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exclusive Slack Networking Community

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

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

The post Debuting an Upgraded SMW+ Platform Experience appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/09/debuting-an-upgraded-smw-platform-experience/

What You Need to Know About TikTok and Teespring’s Partnership

A few weeks ago TikTok launched a $200 million creator fund with a goal of helping more leading creators in its community sustain themselves financially solely through TikTok. Fast forward to today, creators will soon be able to sell merchandise they design and create directly to fans via the app itself thanks to a new integration in partnership with realtor commerce platform Teespring.

This isn’t TikTok’s first foray into e-commerce, however. Last year it tested social commerce links in videos and piloted an advertising format with a call-to-action button that links marketers to social influencers. More recently, it introduced its ‘Small Gestures’ digital gift-giving program as a gentle reminder to practice digital empathy and not overlook the power of a small act, especially in these uncertain times.

A move towards non-apparel

As TikTok accelerates its e-commerce plans it wants to make clear its community will be at the center of its decisions and efforts.

“We believe, based on the current trend, that non-apparel items will be outselling apparel by this time next year,” Teespring CEO Chris Lamontagne told The Verge. “Layering in really smart commerce opportunities is key, so it could be physical merchandise or it could be something more digital…we as a collective need to think about creators in this way where they’ve got super engaged fans who love them — there’s already this connection.”

According to the official press release, creators will have a choice from over 180 different products in addition to having the opportunity to create bespoke products uniquely catered to their personal brand. Think beyond your typical t-shirt and hoodie and more along the lines of Skateboard decks and smartphone covers for instance.

Roughly 7,000 TikTok creators in total are part of the initial program though details surrounding which creators will be eligible to participate is still being hashed out. Another outstanding question — how will the products appear in the videos themselves? While details are still worked out the platform knows one thing: it wants to ensure a full shop functionality to make things as streamlined and simple as possible.

Tapping into underrated features

Amidst all of the conversation and social chatter around what TikTok’s future has in store, including the possible $30 billion price tag being discussed, former CEO of Vine, Rus Yusupov, used the opportunity to give TikTok some of his own advice in a CNN op-ed reflecting on the learning lessons garnered from his experience in the short-form video space.

“TikTok hasn’t stopped innovating. They’ve made bold moves we should have made. Specifically, its algorithm-driven distribution model is extremely accurate and effectively surfaces new personalized content. And allowing creators to monetize their content through live streaming is an underreported, underrated feature, and is key to their success.” In short, where he feels Vine failed is in not fully embracing new challenges and opportunities to experiment. It is one thing to become popular very quickly, but another to sustain yourself by constantly pushing the boundaries.

The growing role of exclusive merchandise

During an age of social distancing, e-commerce and exclusive merchandise continue to surge in popularity. Artists and creators enjoy leaning into digital experiences like shopping as a way to connect with their fans, gather feedback, and get creative in ways they haven’t before and are using various platforms to achieve these ends.

Earlier this summer YouTube dropped a feature that lets users include a virtual “shelf” underneath their videos displaying their merch. In June, Instagram opened up its own commerce platform for creators. Finally, late last month, TikTok took this trend a level further by hosting its first shoppable livestream in collaboration with Ntwrk — a home shopping network targeting Generation Z — and artist Joshua Vides. These are just a few of many examples.

With current findings showing that e-commerce is now five years forward due to the global pandemic, there is no shortage of white spaces to consider. The brands that will ultimately stand out above the crowd, however, will be those that can hit a sweet spot of premium content and experiences driven by gaming, shopping, and other means of engagement that feel fresh and accessible.

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The post What You Need to Know About TikTok and Teespring’s Partnership appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/09/what-you-need-to-know-about-tiktok-and-teesprings-partnership/

Introducing boosted post insights: Compare organic and paid results at a glance

Introducing boosted post insights: Compare organic and paid results at a glance

In just three simple steps, you can boost a post on Facebook and Instagram.

  1. Choose a post
  2. Select an audience
  3. Set your budget

That’s how easy it is.

As organic reach on social media continues to fall, businesses have started to invest more in social media advertising. For some businesses, that’s creating ads. For smaller businesses, the easier approach is often to boost Facebook posts or promote Instagram posts. Here’s why this works so well:

By putting some money behind our organic posts, we can get more results from the same amount of work.

(And if you aren’t advertising yet, boosting your Facebook and Instagram posts is a quick way to get started with advertising on those platforms—before you move into more sophisticated advertising.)

But simply throwing $5 here and $10 there isn’t enough. You need to have a strategy behind your boosted posts, and you also need a way to measure your results to ensure you get the most return on your investment.

That’s why today we’re introducing boosted post insights to Buffer.

(If you are paying for the analytics solution in Buffer, you should have this in your account already!)

How to get the best results from boosting posts

Before we get to analyzing your results, here’s a tip for choosing the best posts to boost:

Choose the posts with the highest engagement rate.

Boosting your posts is essentially paying Facebook and Instagram to show your posts to more people, according to what you have specified as the audience.

So you would want to pick the posts that will most likely generate the most engagement (or clicks depending on your goals). Posts with the highest engagement rate are proven posts. They have generated the most engagement, given the number of times people have seen it.

By boosting a post with a high engagement rate, here’s a higher chance that people who see it off the back of your ad spend will also engage with it.

Here’s a quick way to find your most engaging posts in Buffer to boost:

1. Head over to your analytics by clicking on “Analyze” at the top navigation in your Buffer account

Introducing boosted post insights: Compare organic and paid results at a glance

2. Navigate to the “Posts” tab of your desired Facebook Page or Instagram account

Introducing boosted post insights: Compare organic and paid results at a glance

3. Sort your posts in the “Post insights” table by “Eng. Rate”

Introducing boosted post insights: Compare organic and paid results at a glance

The top few posts on the list will be great candidates for boosting. You should, however, bear in mind what you want to achieve with the boosted post and consider whether the organic post suits that purpose. For example, it will be timelier to boost a post that is meant for a marketing campaign during the campaign than after the campaign.

How to optimize your ad spend

You don’t want to just dump your money on boosted posts and forget about it. You should pay attention to the results of your boosted posts and compare the organic and paid results of your boosted posts to see how your investment has fared.

Why? By understanding the difference in your organic and paid results, you can adjust your ad spend according to the results you want to achieve. For instance, as your organic reach grows, you might want to cut back on boosting posts to a baseline so that most of your reach is from organic posts rather than boosted posts. That’s because building a brand solely through paid advertising isn’t sustainable.

With boosted post insights, there are now a few new ways to monitor your results in Buffer. Let’s run through them!

1. Overview performance

The simplest way is to see how boosting your posts has impacted your overall results. When you visit the Overview tab of a Facebook Page or Instagram account with boosted posts, you can immediately see a breakdown of organic vs paid for key metrics such as impressions and reach.

You can hover over the bar to see the exact breakdown between organic and paid.

Introducing boosted post insights: Compare organic and paid results at a glance

2. Metrics growth

The next way is to track how your key metrics, such as impressions, have grown over time, especially with your boosted posts.

Introducing boosted post insights: Compare organic and paid results at a glance

Are your impressions growing because of more organic impressions or paid impressions? Does that align with your strategy?

3. Post insights

The final way, and the most actionable approach, is to compare the organic and paid results of each boosted post in the “Post insights” table.

Introducing boosted post insights: Compare organic and paid results at a glance

You can also click on the image to see more details of the post.

Introducing boosted post insights: Compare organic and paid results at a glance

Here are a few questions you can think about while you look at these data:

  • How are the paid results relative to the amount spent boosting the posts?
  • Are there any boosted posts with exceptional paid results? Was it the media or the copy that might have caused more people to engage with the post? Or was it the audience setting for the boost? (You might also want to consider boosting such posts again if they are still relevant.)
  • Am I getting the results I want? Should I spend more money boosting posts next month?

If you create monthly or weekly reports, you might also want to include these data. You can simply add them to a new or existing report by clicking on the “plus” button in the upper-right corner of the table or chart.

Make better decisions

There are so many different things to do as a small business. You should be able to have your data at your fingertips so that you can make swift, high-quality decisions. By comparing your organic and paid results in Buffer, you can make better decisions on investing your advertising budget and get more results.

If you value the money you spend boosting your Facebook and Instagram posts, you might enjoy our latest improvement. Try Buffer for free for 14 days and let us know what you think.

To learn more, feel free to check out our help article or join us for our upcoming webinar.


Frequently asked questions

Are ads created through Facebook Ads Manager included?

Not at the moment. After you let Buffer access your ad data, you will only see data for your boosted Facebook and Instagram posts in Buffer. If you would like to see data for your ads created through Facebook Ads Manager in Buffer, let us know!

How often are the data in Buffer updated?

The data for your Facebook Pages and Instagram accounts are updated about every six hours. We are working to improve this so that you get the most updated data whenever you visit Buffer. Also, the data you see in Buffer excludes today’s data.

I’m paying for Buffer. Why do I not see this in my Buffer account?

There are two possible reasons. First, you might not be subscribed to our analytics solution. To get boosted post insights and other analytics and reporting features, you’ll need to add this to your Buffer subscription.

Second, if you are already paying for our analytics solution, you might need to grant Buffer permission to access your ad data. You can do so under settings.

For more specific questions about the feature, see our help article.

https://buffer.com/resources/boosted-post-insights/

How Facebook is Normalizing Virtual Social Interaction

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

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

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

Promoting gameplay and world building

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

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

Capitalizing on the growing role of social VR

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

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

Prioritizing safety and privacy

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

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

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

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

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/09/how-facebook-is-normalizing-virtual-social-interaction/