Tag: The Voice of Social media

8 Reasons to Start a Facebook Community for Your Business

Promoting your business on Facebook is hard work. The cost-per-click is constantly growing. Organic reach is dramatically decreasing since Facebook has prioritized ‘posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions.’ Considering this, what should a business do?

Facebook can be a powerful and cost-effective channel to promote your business by investing nothing in advertising. The answer is in the runoff: it’s time to create and grow your own Facebook group.

Almost every business owner has already tried to benefit from a Facebook page. And it has turned out that having a business page on Facebook doesn’t necessarily end up with engagement, referral traffic, and closed deals without an advertising budget. Why? First, most businesses don’t know how to engage their prospective clients. Second, a business page on Facebook is often viewed as an advertisement. Rather than manage a business page, switch your focus to building a Facebook group for your business.

Building a Facebook group for your business is a viable way to build a fan community, bring people together, and build a great marketing platform at the same time. Facebook groups allow you to be helpful and relatable to your prospective clients as well as understand their goals and partner with them to overcome challenges.

Learn more about your target audience

Use your Facebook group as a focus group for your target audience. While members are expecting to get useful information from the community, you can also collect valuable insights from them. For instance, built-in Facebook functionality called Facebook Insights provides details about your community members and their activity.

Also, your Facebook community members’ discussions, comments, and feedback will help you discover what your community needs from you. It’s a handy and easy-to-adopt way to validate your business ideas.

At Chanty, our fans help us shape our product map. We let our group know about ideas for features or product updates and gather their feedback. Here’s one of regular polls we conduct in the Chanty community on Facebook:

Engage with prospects on a personal level

A Facebook group will humanize your company with the help of social connections, nonbusiness interactions, and friendly communication. Your brand will get an opportunity to show its human side, not just a company logo.

Facebook groups allow you to build rich and human relationships with prospecting clients. Customers don’t want to engage with brands and join the conversation provoked by a business. Facebook groups remove this barrier and gives you the opportunity to be more personal, which builds connection and trust with your company.

Here are a few tips on how to start engaging your Facebook community:

  • Be present in the group on a daily basis
  • Post useful and relevant links (not promotional ones)
  • Ask group members to contribute or give feedback
  • Organize contests and promotions
  • Offer incentives for activity

Receive organic testimonials

Testimonials are a part of a wider concept called social proof, which is a way to show your prospects that others have already found your products or services to be of high value. Testimonials prove that your business is trustworthy, featuring those who have purchased from you and had a positive experience.

There are a few ways you can benefit from testimonials:

  • Testimonials build trust around your business
  • Testimonials impact sales
  • Testimonials increase website traffic
  • Testimonials ensure a higher conversion rate on your website (sign-ups, downloads, etc.)

How can you use your Facebook community to gather and feature testimonials? If your fans aren’t already posting their own testimonials, gently ask some of your customers to post a positive experience in the group. Or when you’re promoting an offer, reach out to existing clients and ask them to write positive feedback about your offer.

build trust around your company by providing value

Without credibility, your Facebook group won’t be highly engaged; you won’t drive attention to your offers and your polls won’t receive feedback. There’s a simple rule: to build trust, you must provide value and serve your followers.

Share first-hand experience, hold question-and-answer sessions, create exclusive content for your group, and provide the community with valuable and entertaining information. Your Facebook community is not an advertising platform. Instead, it’s a place for you to explain, motivate, inspire, and teach.

Gain hot leads with one post

When the group members are warmed up with valuable content and meaningful interactions, pin a post to the top or roll out an announcement. Your Facebook group will give you a highly targeted audience to which you can present your offer. However, try not to be overly spammy and make sure that your proposal provides value to your group members. Here’s an example of regular offers in one private Facebook group. As you can see, this post has brought a few hot leads to the group owners.

Generate networking opportunities

Your Facebook group will unite your potential clients, existing clients, fan base, and even potential business partners. Your Facebook group can turn into a platform where you and your potential business partners can solidify relationships that otherwise may not have occurred.

As seen here, this Facebook group devoted to SaaS marketing allows a group member to find almost 30 business opportunities in the blink of an eye. That means anyone can simply click the green JOIN GROUP button and dive deeply in the world of valuable collaboration and partnership.

Get in front of your prospects and clients every day

An increasing number of people are searching on Facebook to find products and services to solve their challenges. 1.73 billion users are visiting the social networking site on a daily basis. As a result, Facebook makes it easy for prospects to find you and join your Facebook community.

What can you do to appear in your fans’ feeds more often and get even more exposure? Here’s a list of tested-and-tried activities:

  • If you host a webinar, list your events, and invite people in your group.
  • Share your company’s blog posts in your group if the content is highly relevant and valuable..
  • Ask your group members to share your content IF it is highly relevant and valuable.
  • Stream live video with Facebook Live. The intimacy of live video creates the sense for the group members that they are getting a behind-the-scenes peek and creates emotional bonds between you and your fans.
  • Avoid link-dropping and direct advertising. Make sure to provide context to any sales message.

Offer an excellent service hub to your clients

In your Facebook group, support clients when they complain about your business. Be transparent and share updates when you’re working through issues. Answer quickly and candidly to questions, so that your customers know that you are there for them.

Overall, Facebook business pages are hard to grow organically, but you have the opportunity to grow a Facebook group by focusing on engagement and communication, not on direct advertising. While a Facebook community is not a small task take lots of your time and energy too. But in the long run, Facebook groups enhance your relationships with the target audience and expand your business growth.

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

The post 8 Reasons to Start a Facebook Community for Your Business appeared first on Social Media Week.


Evolving Video Consumption Patterns: What Your Brand Needs to Know

In 2010 the ubiquity of smartphones was at its all-time peak followed by an influx in user-generated content (UGC). Today, mobile video is at an inflection point where premium video content is dubbed a social currency — especially by the likes of Millenials and Gen Z. In fact, according to a new report from Snapchat in partnership with the National Research Group, global mobile viewership is on the rise 6 percent year-over-year (YoY).

With mobile content that allows Millenials and Gen Z to stay informed and initiate conversations about what they’re engaging with, these experiences continue to find significance for their convenience and, most importantly, their role to allow younger demographics to be key contributors to cultural conversations as opposed to passive observers.

Here’s a breakdown of the report’s main findings:

Mobile is the main event

Per the report’s findings, mobile has officially secured the top spot for where we spend our time. Specifically, between 2014 and 2020 screen time on smartphones has multiplied by more than 1.5x — that’s an increase from 2.5 hours per day to 4 hours and 18 minutes. Of this, 47 minutes, or 20 percent, of time is allocated towards video viewing.

How does this stack up to traditional TV viewing? Despite added TV time for Gen Z and Millennial consumers while isolating at home, younger generations are still prioritizing mobile video. This is supported by a comparison between TV and mobile viewership in just the last two years which shows that mobile lagged behind TV by two minutes until recently, where it now leads it by a whopping 29 minutes. This growth is undoubtedly led by younger consumers, 73 percent of which claim they watch more video on their smartphones than they did just a year ago — up from 65 percent.

The big takeaway here to note? Premium mobile video is shaping a new viewing standard of storytelling. This is underscored in mobile’s dominance over desktop viewership as seen in spikes on OTT, gaming consoles, and other connected devices. In 2020 alone, we’re experiencing a 40 percent increase in daily engagement across both short-form and long-form content.

Key elements of engaging mobile video content

Snapchat outlines three fundamental principles to bear in mind to ensure you’re providing an effective mobile experience: personal connection, share-worthiness, and relatability. When combined, it leaves viewers feeling informed, better connected, and motivated to express themselves and participate in the dialogue.

Aside from the physical vertical video creating a sense of intimacy and being immersed, successful mobile content has emotional through-line to the story it’s sharing. They contain characters or narratives that feel relevant and open the window of opportunity to discover and share their own experiences as part of a larger, meaningful community. According to Snapchat’s findings, 3 in 4 Gen Z and Millennial consumers associate short-form premium mobile video with moving characters/personalities, and storylines that give them a sense of excitement, adventure, or suspense.

Whether in the form of a tutorial being used to overcome a specific obstacle or a simple but quirky video good for a laugh, mobile experiences are choices that are intentional and of the moment. This hyper-relevance ultimately drives hyper-connection as it becomes fuel for navigating day-to-day life.

Short-form as a social currency

Perhaps the biggest takeaway laid out in this report is the fact that yes, short form as a format is convenient and more easily accessible — but its intrinsic value goes beyond entertainment. Particularly in the context of the global pandemic, the social currency afforded by mobile video has enabled Gen Z and Millenials to cope by helping them practice personal growth and wellness (77%), stay connected to family and friends who they can’t see face-to-face (76%), and staying informed (59%).

No matter the length, people will share things that represent them, and that enables them to grow and thrive. With mobile video continuing to serve a range of needs every day from practicing mindfulness to mastering a new skill, Snapchat anticipates the number of viewers to grow to 2.72 billion by 2023. The connection and self-expression viewers seek in mobile video experiences will become even more central in the future and met by expansion in areas including AR delivering next-level social participation and immersion.

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

The post Evolving Video Consumption Patterns: What Your Brand Needs to Know appeared first on Social Media Week.


Will Triller Dethrone TikTok?

Since 2018, TikTok has been the talk of the neighborhood. It’s the new kid on the block that brands and influencers alike are attracted to in order to stay ahead and connect more innovatively with one another. In just a few short years, the app’s evolved into the hub of internet sensations including Lil Nas X, Charli D’Amelio, Addison Rae, and dance trends like “The Renegade,” “Say So,” and the #DistanceDance.

This past April the app surpassed 2 billion downloads on both the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store. Recently, however, TikTok has dominated the news including threats to have it banned in the US — its fate now uncertain unless an American company, like Microsoft, acquires it.

Amidst the uncertainty, competitors are looking for windows of opportunity including video-sharing app Triller. Read on to learn more about the basics of this app, why it’s experiencing a moment in the digital space, and what’s next.

Triller at a glance

Triller, first introduced in 2015, was dubbed as “an entertainment platform built for creators.” Similarly to TikTok, Triller is built for short-form, flawless video content that can be shared in seconds and created for trending challenges, music videos, and other viral clips. A key perk that differentiates it from TikTok? Triller auto-edits your takes into a single flawless clip. As stated in the official app store description “You do you, Triller does the rest.”

Outside of its auto-editing algorithm, you can customize content with over 100 filters, text, drawings and emojis, access the top music tracks from your personal music library, and directly share your content across your other platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, a simple text message or email, or store it in your camera roll and decide how you want to use it later. Another useful element especially in an age of social distancing — you can collaborate with friends in a group video.

So just how popular is Triller? As of early July, it garnered 50 million monthly active users, but more recently, the app soared to the top spot in every category in the app store across 50 countries, including the United States, Australia, and Italy. According to an official announcement, Triller now boasts more than 250 million downloads worldwide — a 20x increase.

Who’s on Triller?

Millions have made Triller videos to date including Chance the Rapper, Justin Bieber, Rae Sremmurd, Rita Ora, and Kevin Hart. Marshmello, Skip Marley, Juicy J, Martin Garrix, Millie Bobby Brown, Brad Paisley, Blac Chyna and Mike Tyson are also known for their presence on the platform while others, including rappers Snoop Dogg and Lil Wayne, are leading investors in the company.

This summer, a few of Triller’s most notable creators with a combined following of nearly 50 million, Josh Richards, Noah Beck, Griffin Johson and Anothy Reeves, revealed they’d be leaving TikTok and onboarding with Triller. As part of the deal, they will be advisers and equity shareholders in the company.

What’s next?

TikTok isn’t counting itself out just yet. On August 7th at 8:30pm ET, The Weeknd will take to the platform, in the form of a digital avatar, to perform his fourth studio album “After Hours” during a virtual concert. In what TikTok is referring to its “first-ever in-app cross reality experience,” the event will be livestreamed on the company’s official account (@tiktok).

With the future of TikTok unknown, other platforms are wasting no time trying to get a competitive edge. Triller itself unveiled new filters, camera tools, and the acquisition of Hallogen, a go-live app slated to introduce a monetization feature in the near-time. Snapchat shared it would be rolling out a TikTok-like music feature this fall. Finally, last month Instagram officially confirmed that its competitor app, Reels, will launch this summer.

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

The post Will Triller Dethrone TikTok? appeared first on Social Media Week.


Announcing the First Batch of Original Programs for SMW+

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

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

Also launching this week:

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

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

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

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

The post Announcing the First Batch of Original Programs for SMW+ appeared first on Social Media Week.


When We Need to Move Quickly We Work in Task Forces. Here’s How We Set Them Up

When We Need to Move Quickly We Work in Task Forces. Here’s How We Set Them Up

Making and communicating decisions across an organization can be a challenge anytime. Making decisions during a pandemic is a whole new level of challenge.

When the impact of COVID-19 started to grow, we at Buffer, like many others, needed to move as quickly as possible, gather a lot of information, and make big decisions that would ultimately impact our team, our customers, and our business.

This presented a unique challenge. A lot of the decisions spanned the entire company and needed to be discussed at the leadership level, but we didn’t need every member of our leadership team to be involved in every decision.

We decided to combine two frameworks that have worked for us in the past – task forces and the Decision Maker model – to create a setup that would allow us to respond quickly and efficiently. Here’s more about how we used task forces to respond to COVID-19 within our team, and how we plan to continue to use them as necessary.

Buffer’s unique history with task forces

We first introduced the concept of task forces within Buffer at the same time that we began experimenting with how we structured our team. In 2015, we wrote this in one of our investor updates:

Perhaps one of the biggest changes that we have made in the last month is moving away from having long-term, static teams within the company. Instead we have shorter-term, more fluid task forces which are formed for a specific purpose and then disband once that task is completed.

At the time, task forces were fluid and democratic. Anyone could propose one, and teammates chose the task forces they joined. Instead of teams working together forever,  groups worked together until they completed the project and then disbanded.

It was an interesting model and fun experiment, but ultimately this version of task forces didn’t feel as efficient as having longer-term teams work together consistently. When teams work together long-term, they develop their own habits, shorthand, and friendships that facilitate efficient work. So we moved away from the task forces model.

The Decision Maker model

Based on the book The Decision Maker by Dennis Bakke, the decision-maker framework helps teams get more decisions right through leaning on the collective knowledge, experience, and wisdom of a variety of teammates.

In a decision-maker culture:

  • The leader chooses someone to make a key decision
  • The decision-maker seeks advice (often, including from the leader) to gather information
  • The final decision is made not by the leader, but by the chosen decision-maker.

In practice, the decision-maker model looks like:

  1. Being explicit by asking “Who is the decision-maker?” or declaring “I’m owning this” with projects or responsibilities; or
  2. Explicitly designating a decision-maker within an area or on cross-functional projects.

We’ve used the decision-maker model both formally and informally at Buffer over the years and have been happy with the results. This model helps us clarify and communicate about how decisions happen.

Grappling with COVID-19 through task forces

When COVID-19 began impacting our team and company, a lot of the work related to reacting to the pandemic initially fell to our People team. The first big question was whether we would move forward with our annual company retreat.

We ended up postponing our scheduled retreat four months before we were expected to hold it, which was a big decision that involved multiple conversations between our people team, our CEO, and the rest of our leadership team.

As the COVID-19 impact continued to grow, we realized we would have many more moments where we needed to move quickly and make big decisions. Some of our customers weren’t going to be able to pay their bills, and teammates would understandably feel distracted and anxious.

This was the moment when we decided to reinstate the task forces model. We’re a nine-person leadership team, and it didn’t make sense to have the whole leadership team and the entire People team in every conversation. We decided to form temporary task forces which looked like this:

Business and finance task force

This task force watched accounting and finance metrics to make sure that there were no surprises, and weighed in on every significant decision that could impact Buffer financially.


Customer task force

This task force focused on supporting our customers through the pandemic.


Teammates task force

This task force centered around how best to support our Buffer teammates.


Our CEO was a member of all three task forces, which was helpful for unblocking the task forces and making quick decisions – though adding that many additional meetings a week to his calendar wasn’t like a sustainable model for the long term!

The whole leadership team also held twice weekly stand-ups. These provided a space for each task force to report its work to the rest of the team and an opportunity to collaborate or discuss.

The results of our first task forces

The results of this framework were largely positive, with a few successes we’re particularly proud of:

  • The customer task force released our customer relief fund when many customers weren’t able to pay their bills.
  • The teammate task force kicked off the 4-day work week experiment; and
  • The business task force developed a new dashboard of leading and lagging indicators to keep an eye on all things finance.

These task forces ran from mid-March to mid-June, after which we decided to pause the twice weekly stand-ups while we discuss next steps. As the pandemic response has evolved, we no longer need to react quite as quickly, and we’re currently disbanding or adapting each of the task forces.

What we’ll do differently next time

The task force framework and decision-maker model allowed us to spin up teams quickly to respond to rapidly-changing world events. It’s a model we’d like to keep using as needed.

We plan on using this specific task force model in the future for any major crisis, event, or other moment that deeply impacts our customers, the team, and/or the business.

Next time, we might also not necessarily keep our task forces exclusive to leadership; crisis response often requires collaboration across the whole team!

Overall, this is a relatively simple and easy-to-replicate model that has helped us move through an unprecedented time. If you want to read more about our COVID-19 response, all of the team communication that we sent is listed here.


How Social Media is Driving the Accessibility of Meditation

Having to practice social distancing can make people feel isolated and lonely, which can fuel spikes in stress and anxiety levels. However, these actions are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19. With easy and accessible ways to cope with stress, you, your loved ones, and your community can become stronger and prevail on the other side.

Social platforms continue to offer ways to practice mindfulness amidst the uncertainty — a welcomed digital respite for many. Here’s a look at some of the latest efforts building on this trend.

Snapchat’s ‘Headspace Minis’

Back in June, at its 2020 Partner Summit, Snapchat previewed ‘Snapchat Minis’, micro-versions of full apps built within the Snapchat itself. This opportunity essentially allows developers to engage within the platform directly rather than prompt users externally to download their own apps.

The first Snapchat Mini to go live? The “Headspace Mini” featuring a mindfulness and meditation tool. In an interesting take on the practice of meditation, typically done solo, the app is looking to use this opportunity to encourage friends to engage in the activity together — stripping it of the fear and discomfort that can sometimes present itself when trying something new. As an added perk – you don’t have to separately install the Headspace app nor be a Headspace subscriber to take advantage.

To access the Mini, toggle to your chat and click on the rocket icon towards the bottom of your screen. This will trigger a Headspace session within the app that the person you’re chatting with can also access. Once they join, you can choose from up to six bite-size meditations ranging from three to four minutes in length to participate in including “Just Breathe,” “Get Out of a Funk,” “Kick the Panic,” “Be Nice to You,” “Pressure to Succeed,” and “Me Time.” All of the sessions are narrated by Hedspace’s co-founder Andy Puddicombe and emphasize the basics of being mindful: abstaining from passing judgment, staying in tune with how you’re feeling, and coming back to your breath.

The chat function is accessible throughout the sessions, but using it will temporarily pause the meditation. There is also a Bitmoji presence in which you will have a friendly avatar in the bottom corner reminding you in the process that you’re not alone.

Share your experiences

Also within the Minis, Snapchat is bringing visual communication to the forefront with fun and interactive “vice check?” and “Snaphow your feel” stickers. Aligned with the mission of a recent campaign by Holler and Ad Council, the goal is to reach a younger demographic and normalize these often complex and difficult conversations.

For meditations specifically, users have the option to share a meditation directly in a Snap via a clickable filter overlaying a selfie. Again, the mission is to facilitate a seamless and shareable experience that makes these practices and dialogues feel more natural. For people who may opt to do a meditation solo, they can simply search for Headspace Minis in the search bar or within the Here for You portal — Snapchat’s hub for mental health education and resources.

Calm x HBO Max: Guided Imageries

Headspace isn’t the only meditation in the game looking to forge meaningful partnerships with platforms or brands. HBO Max recently revealed its effort to build upon its collaboration with the Calm app and the creators of Nutopia in the form of a 10-part series called “A World of Calm” Each half-hour episode will be narrated by A-list stars – including Mahershala Ali, Idris Elba, Oscar Isaac, Nicole Kidman, Zoë Kravitz, Lucy Liu, Cillian Murphy, and Keanu Reeves.

“We are delighted to bring the magic behind our audio Sleep Stories to the screen for the first time. These experiences are visual Valium and will help people relax and unwind during these stressful times,” shared Calm Co-Founder and Co-CEO Michael Acton Smith.

Building on Calm’s Sleep Stories, these guided imageries are targeted to enhance how you feel through tranquil music, soothing narratives, and stunning visuals provided by the producers of National Geographic’s One Strange Rock documentary series.

“..This series has been entirely created during quarantine using Nutopia’s worldwide network of award-winning cinematographers and filmmakers. We hope this series of serene stories will bring a sense of much needed calm to audiences,” added Nutopia’s CEO and Founder Jane Root.

As more platforms utilize their communities, partners and technologies to prioritize mental health, we as marketers have a greater ability to play an integral role in de-stigmatizing mental health. In particular, by demonstrating that with a little bit of a practice, we can all be more empathetic listeners even without face-to-face contact.

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

The post How Social Media is Driving the Accessibility of Meditation appeared first on Social Media Week.


How TikTok’s Creator Fund is Empowering its Community

Over the past few years, short-form video app TikTok has become the central hub for the young, ambitious creators of the world. Attracting major record labels, Hollywood talent agencies, and luxury fashion brands, faces like Charli and Dixie D’Amelio and Addison Rae have ushered into the mainstream due largely in part to their TikTok fame. Fast forward to today, under a new CEO, former Disney executive Kevin Mayer, the platform is looking to help more leading creators in its community earn a living from their innovative content.

The TikTok Creator Fund

Distinct from its competitor YouTube, TikTok doesn’t offer a commission from ad dollars. Rather, its model has mimicked that of Instagram’s in the sense that it offered monetization for live streams and creators are allowed to run sponsored videos on their channels, but there was no direct and ongoing monetization program in place. Until now.

In its first official decision to pay its creators directly, the social app is unveiling a 200M “Creator Fund,” that will be officially open to U.S. creators next month. To be eligible, users must be 18 years or older (sorry, Charli), meet a “baseline for followers” and post content in line with the app’s Community Guidelines. Grants will be distributed over the coming year, during which TikTok says the fund will continue to grow. As of now, details are sparse as to how many creators will receive funding, how frequent payments will be made or how much creators can expect to earn.

“Through the TikTok Creator Fund, our creators will be able to realize additional earnings that reflect the time, care, and dedication they put into creatively connecting with an audience that’s inspired by their ideas,” Vanessa Pappas, General Manager of TikTok US, said in the official announcement.

An ongoing push towards monetization

For those keeping tabs, this isn’t the first time TikTok has explored ways to financially support creators on the platform. The ByteDance-owned company also allows donations to be collected from viewers during livestreams. It also introduced a $50 millionCreative Learning Fund” to more than 1,000 teachers who have been financially impacted by the global pandemic. Finally, TikTok’s “Creator Marketplace” facilitates the collaboration between brands and creators on paid campaigns that aim to drive awareness and attract new customers.

“In a relatively short time, TikTok has grown to become a source of income and opportunity for creators and their families – and we couldn’t be more encouraged by their success. As our community continues to flourish, we’re committed to fostering even more ways for our creators to earn livelihoods by inspiring joy and creativity,” Pappas added.

Fostering creator loyalty

While we’ve watched the D’Amelio sisters sign with United Talent Agency and Addison partner up with WME, it’s clear creators won’t stay on TikTok forever. Nonetheless, the platform is eager to keep them around for as long as possible. If creators are incentivized both by the passion for what they are sharing and are financially supported for their time and effort, they will be driven to post often, which ultimately builds the platform.

What is the takeaway here? Regardless of whether this plan will ultimately pan out for TikTok,if there isn’t a real, meaningful way for top creator support themselves, they will look elsewhere for opportunity. Other platforms taking this to heart include Facebook-owned Instagram, which released IGTV ads and badges for Live. In these uncertain times, this is more true than ever and in order for platforms to survive, they must take this moment to reflect and focus on those that ground the entirety of their business.

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

The post How TikTok’s Creator Fund is Empowering its Community appeared first on Social Media Week.


How to Integrate Cause Marketing for Your Brand

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

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

What is Cause Marketing?

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

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

What are the benefits of Cause Marketing?

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

How can I Integrate Cause Marketing into my Plan?

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

1. Find Your Story

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

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

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

    2. Identify your Customer Base

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

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

    3. Engage Your Consumers on Social Media

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

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

    Can Cause Marketing Make a Difference?

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

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

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


    Announcing the Launch of SMW+!

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

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

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

    Meet Our Presenters

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

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

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

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

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

    Why SMW+?

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

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

    Activating Your Free Trial

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

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

    The post Announcing the Launch of SMW+! appeared first on Social Media Week.


    The Evolution of Product at Buffer and the Next Step: We’re Hiring a VP of Product

    The Evolution of Product at Buffer and the Next Step: We’re Hiring a VP of Product

    We’ve been building Buffer for coming up to ten years now. We’re currently a 90-person fully remote team with over 70,000 paying customers and $20M in annual revenue. We’re proud to be a leader in the space of social media management, and to operate long-term as an independent and profitable business.

    As a company, we’ve rallied around serving small businesses. We’re also passionate about challenging suboptimal approaches to how work happens and how employees are treated. Our current 4-day workweek experiment is an example of that.

    An important philosophy of our journey has been having the freedom to build our product and workplace the way we’d like to. In 2018, we took an important action to maintain this freedom by spending $3.3 million buying out our main VC investors.

    After a great decade with many accomplishments and interesting challenges, we’re looking for an experienced and driven product executive to partner with me as CEO to shape the future of Buffer.

    Before I get into why we’re hiring a VP of Product, I want to share a history of product at Buffer, how our team is set up, and our most recent revenue metrics as these are all aspects of Buffer that I know a product leader will have questions around.

    A history of product at Buffer

    I launched the first (truly an MVP) version of Buffer in late 2010. In the beginning, Buffer started as a solution to my own problemaround consistently sharing content on social media. Ithen put the idea through a customer discovery and validation process to ensure it was a problem others had, too.We launched with a freemium model and were fortunate to welcome the first paying customer on day three. We then added some focused marketing, and over the course of the first year gained thousands of active users of the product. Initially a lot of our product direction came from those customers, listening to their problems and devising unique solutions.

    In 2012, it was time to focus slightly more. We narrowed in on bloggers, individuals, and small business owners. We set down our first true product vision, which was to be the sharing standard for the web. We made big progress on this vision, becoming the first social media management solution to create a sharing button and completing integrations with countless news reading apps.

    During this time, our acquisition and growth strategy was our freemium model. Ultimately we started to realize that this strategy would only truly work if we became a mainstream product used by millions. As we integrated more widely, the signups we gained from those partnerships led to much lower freemium conversion rates. As a result, by 2014, our growth started to plateau and we felt we reached the upper limits of how successful Buffer could become with this approach.

    Since our product was most valued by and most active among small business customers, we leaned into that and launched Buffer for Business with new pricing plans tiered up to $500/mo. We succeeded in finding a new wave of growth, and the journey cemented our intuition that Buffer wouldn’t find success as a consumer product. This brought a level of focus that was refreshing, and pushed us to add more power to the product. We aimed to do this while still maintaining the simplicity our customers had grown to love Buffer for.

    In 2015, we explored  a team structure with no managers, and this played directly into our approach to product. With more autonomy on our team, we let our product strategy take a truly organic direction.  During our period of no managers, we launched several new products. This included a “Buffer labs” exploration where we produced Pablo, our image creation product, as well as Daily, a swipe left or right approach to adding suggested content to your social media queue. Finally, the Pablo team shifted to launch Rocket, our first foray into the ads space. Daily and Rocket were ultimately sunset, and we learned a lot from each of them.

    In early 2016, we acquired Respondly, a social customer service and engagement product which we relaunched as Buffer Reply. This was our most significant bet and investment to date and took us into the customer service industry for the first time. Customer service had always been a large focus for us as a company, and we were excited to be able to offer a product to help others in this space, too. At the time, the networks were making a big bet on social media becoming a significant channel for customer service. Customer service ultimately did not grow along the path we predicted, and the need for a fully fledged product here was mostly limited to Enterprise scale, which was too mismatched with our existing customer-base and knowledge in the team. We grew Reply from $4k to $70k in MRR, and chose to sunset the product earlier this year.

    In the process of becoming a two product organization, we saw an opportunity to separate out social analytics from our main product focused on social media publishing and content planning. We leaned into this multi-product strategy and built our third product, Analyze. This separation gave us a better focus on the separate customer jobs and we have been able to grow this into a very successful product. Analyze currently generates over $1.5m in ARR.

    By the second half of 2018, we had grown to $18m in ARR and over 75,000 paying customers. Still being a small team, we started to feel stretched thin, and we increasingly found product prioritization and pace to be challenges. I partnered with our head of research to run a process to determine a singular type of customer for us to focus our efforts around. We arrived at Direct to Consumer (DTC) brands as a type of customer who has built their business on top of social media and has innovated the most with social media marketing and customer engagement. This newly defined Target Customer for Buffer brought us a lot of focus, but at times felt like an over correction and came at a cost to product improvements for our existing customers, who are small businesses of all types.

    Something that became clear over a few years, and during our customer research process to arrive at DTC brands as a customer persona to focus on, was that the the world of social media had become increasing visual. To address this shift, we spent most of 2018 and 2019 building out new functionality focused on Instagram. In addition to this work to expand our product offerings, we underwent a significant rebuild project for our main product, Publish. Rebuilds are never fun, but with this now complete we are able to move significantly faster and deliver a much improved user experience.

    That brings us to 2020. Our current focus is to become a brand-building platform for small businesses, with DTC brands as one of our primary customer personas. This year, it became clear that the multi-product approach was creating friction for customers, so we are working to adjust our pricing and overall experience towards a single solution. We’re in the midst of launching Engage, a social engagement product for small businesses that came out of our experiences growing Reply. Engage will be bundled as part of existing pricing tiers, at various levels of functionality.

    I’m looking forward to this next chapter of Buffer, and to a future where we can become a comprehensive toolkit for small businesses to build their brand, grow, and create great relationships with their customers. We see a path to 100,000 paying customers and beyond, with many opportunities to solve more problems for that audience.

    How our product team is set up

    We’re primarily structured around the customer jobs we are focused on: Publish, Analyze and Engage. We also have two “shared services” teams focused on authentication, billing and onboarding (Core) and our iOS and Android apps (Mobile). Most teams have a Product Manager, Product Designer and somewhere between two and seven engineers depending on the needs of that product area.

    The VP of Product we bring on board will manage Product and Design, and initially have six direct reports (four PMs, Head of Design and Partnerships Manager).

    The Evolution of Product at Buffer and the Next Step: We’re Hiring a VP of Product

    Our current financial metrics

    We’ve been profitable since 2016 and in 2018 we chose to leverage that profitability to buy out a portion of our investors in order to retain control over Buffer’s path. We reached $10 million in ARR in May 2016, and $20 million ARR in March 2019.

    Here are our most recent revenue and product metrics from June 2020:

    MRR: $1,704,768
    ARR: $20,457,216Customers: 69,596
    ARPU: $24.50 Customer Churn: 4.76%Net
    MRR Churn: 3.95%
    LTV: $515

    Revenue: $1,679,591
    Operating Income: $235,375
    EBITDA margin: 14.01%

    We have a dedicated revenue dashboard (a work in progress!) where you can see revenue over time. Here’s what that looks like:

    The Evolution of Product at Buffer and the Next Step: We’re Hiring a VP of Product

    The COVID-19 impact

    Many businesses have been impacted by COVID-19, including us. Buffer is in a strong financial position, we’ve thankfully had no impact on jobs and have remained solidly profitable. The shareholder update we sent in April shares a complete picture of our approach in the midst of the pandemic.

    One thing I talked about in that update is that sometimes the best thing we can do for our small business customers isn’t immediately profitable for Buffer – including our COVID-19 support programs for customers with financial challenges. I have no doubt that we’re doing the right thing by focusing on people first. One of my business philosophies is that if we take care of our teammates and our customers as best we possibly can now, we will succeed in the long term.

    This graph of our MRR in 2020 shows the impact we’ve seen on revenue:

    The Evolution of Product at Buffer and the Next Step: We’re Hiring a VP of Product

    Though we have experienced some anticipated decline, we are happy to see that it has started to climb again and as I mentioned, Buffer has pulled through in a strong financial position. We’ve spent the last few years building up to our current financial security, which means we can weather extreme levels of uncertainty. We’re fortunate and grateful to be in this position, and are proud of our financial diligence.

    We’re hiring a VP of Product

    At this point in the journey of Buffer, I’m excited to bring on board a VP of Product.

    Before I share more of the reasons we came to this decision, I want to share a key area of weakness up front. While we’ve made great strides over the past few years, and we have a majority female leadership team, our current leadership team lacks diversity.

    There’s no doubt that as a result we lack key perspectives and have unconscious biases as a company. It’s a priority for us to change this dynamic and include within our leadership team backgrounds that have been typically underrepresented in tech. This will serve our customers and our team more fully than we have been able to so far.

    Since we don’t grow our leadership team often, this is a rare opportunity for us. In addition to looking for a talented product leader, we also want this teammate to bring a new perspective to our leadership team and culture. Making sure we speak to a slate of diverse candidates is critical as we look for our VP of Product.

    Below are a few reasons I came to the decision to look for a product leader:

    Being a product-minded CEO can become a weakness

    As a product-minded CEO, my journey has followed from my innate energy and passion for product development. An engineer by background, I shifted to product development early in our journey, and found a lot of enjoyment in crafting the experience for customers, which I believe has played a large role in where we are today.

    Unfortunately, what can happen with a product-CEO, is that product can go from being the strongest area of the company to one of the weakest. At a certain point, product must scale up and become operationalized, and those strengths must become part of how the overall team functions. I believe in recent years we’ve seen some deterioration of product where other areas such as engineering have grown stronger, due to my desire to hold on and shape product more than is appropriate for the size have grown to.

    I’ve recognized that I need to take a different approach to fulfill the vision and goals I have, in order to keep the product as a core strength of ours. It needs to happen through someone else, rather than through me alone.

    I’m looking to bring more balance to all areas of Buffer

    I believe for a company to thrive, all areas in a company need to work in harmony and that my role as CEO is set down vision and support all areas.

    Over the past few years, I’ve been very focused on product, which has caused an imbalance in how much I’ve been involved in other areas of the company. This is to the detriment of our customers, team, and all stakeholders.

    By inviting this functional leader to our leadership team, it will mean I can be more equally balanced across all areas of Buffer. We will be able to push forward, and I can work more closely with leaders to set vision and strategy, across all areas in tandem.

    Therefore, bringing on an experienced VP of Product will help us level up as a product organization. We will be able to introduce more streamlined processes, and by having a person dedicated to this area solely, we will improve the way product interacts with other related and interdependent areas, such as engineering, marketing, and advocacy.

    We’re looking for outside perspective

    For this role, I am making the choice to bring in someone from the outside instead of considering someone growing from within the company. This is new for us, and I’m excited for the opportunity for growth we have with a fresh perspective on the executive team.

    In our journey so far, we have overwhelmingly had leaders grow from individual contributor roles into senior leaders. I believe that it’s beneficial to have a majority of leaders grow from within the company as there is a clear alignment of our values, empathy towards team members, and a sense of loyalty towards our mission.

    With that said, having 100% of leaders grow from within creates a lack of diversity in our mindset and approach. Without outside experience, we will have knowledge gaps as a leadership team, and can become set in our ways. The VP of Product role is an excellent opportunity for us to find someone with some extensive outside experience.

    A key thing we will be focused on in our hiring process is that a person’s external experience is compatible and additive to Buffer’s approach and values.

    More about this role

    For this role, I’m seeking a partner in product strategy and execution. Since product is at the heart of Buffer, this is one of the most important roles and one which will make decisions impacting all other areas.

    We’re looking for a product leader with deep product management and design fundamentals and expertise, as well as strong people management experience and stakeholder collaboration. I’m aiming to find someone that can both tap into the insights that I have to offer and stand strong and push back when they believe I shouldn’t be involved.

    It will be helpful for a potential VP of Product to have experience in a smaller company environment, and ideally has led a product team through significant growth, for example growing a SaaS product from $10m to $50m or more.

    The other key difference with Buffer is that we’re focused on SMB, with a large number of paying customers and free users, and we have no sales team. This changes the type of work involved at the product leadership level, and this will be something the right person is energized by.

    The new VP of Product will have the opportunity to craft a unique strategy to help us serve customers, differentiate Buffer, and see great growth over the next 5 to 10 years.

    Joining Buffer at the leadership level is a rare opportunity. We’re a highly customer-focused team and are squarely on a path of long-term sustainability, and this is the first time we’ll be bringing someone from the outside to our executive team.

    I’m looking forward to meeting people who are up for this challenge.

    Please reach out through this job posting to apply and someone from our hiring team will be in touch with next steps.

    If you want to recommend someone who you think would be great for this role, please fill out this form.

    More about Buffer’s journey

    If you’d like to learn more about Buffer’s journey over the years, here are a few podcast episodes where I’ve talked about starting Buffer, fundraising, transparency, and profitability.


    How Holler and Ad Council are Supporting Mental Health Dialogues

    2020 has been a particularly tough year for mental wellness and online conversations. Now more than ever we know a simple “how are you doing?” goes a long way, but starting a candid conversation about mental health is not easy for everyone. In light of the past few months, Holler and Ad Council teamed up to pursue opportunities targeted towards making online conversations more fluid, authentic, and supportive.

    Seize the Awkward

    Specifically, the two teamed up with the JED Foundation and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for the launch of the Seize the Awkward campaign. The mission of the project is an important one: to bring light to the important but often uncomfortable mental health check-ins with loved ones and, above all, offer a solution to make these conversations as comfortable and normal as possible: conversational content. A core component of the push includes a new sticker pack that helps friends and family check-in with each other about mental health during times of crisis and uncertainty.

    As part of the campaign and to celebrate World Emoji Day this past Friday, Holler and Ad Council introduced Goldie & Mo — a new messaging sticker pack to help people stay connected through more expressive, empathetic digital conversations. Goldie & Mo are best friends who are committed to opening up to one another and supporting each other through their ups and downs but, like many of us, have trouble sometimes broaching the topic of mental health and knowing how to start an open dialogue. With people texting nonstop, Goldie & Mo are here to lead the way and help people find the right words across messaging platforms.

    “Digital communication is evolving to help us express ourselves better, allowing us to be a genuine support for someone in need. Visual content, like messaging stickers, can fill in the gap when words alone are not enough. Along with the AdCouncil and Natalia Seth, we’re excited to launch Goldie & Mo to help people start a conversation and use visuals when they’re not sure what words to say.”

    Branding yourself as empathetic

    As part of the campaign, the organizations are collaborating with Gen Z artist and influencer Natalia Seth and creating new phone cases with a charitable component.

    Seth’s designs are being made into shoppable phone cases on caseable.com, so that people can brand themselves as an available and empathetic listener directly on their device. Proceeds from the phone cases will go to the JED Foundation and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in direct support of their continued work in prioritizing mental health, solidarity, and peer-to-peer support.

    “As young people everywhere grapple with continued uncertainty, checking in on their friends’ mental health is more important than ever,” said Heidi Arthur, Chief Campaign Development Officer at the Ad Council. In collaboration with Holler, we’re excited to encourage them to do so in such a dynamic way across chat messaging apps, iMessage, and more.”

    Expanding emoji utility

    A whopping 92 percent of the online population uses emojis daily and platforms including Google have reported a 40 percent uptick in emoji use during quarantine. Whether we feel indifferent about them or not, they’re here to say and undoubtedly ingrained in our modern communication practices and habits.

    In this vein, on World Emoji Day Apple, Google and Facebook also released a series of updates to their own emoji lineups. Facebook leaned in on the animation while Google emphasized diversity. For iOS14 Apple unveiled mask and headwear options to its MeMoji characters.

    As marketers it is crucial we find opportunities to normalize these often difficult conversations and leverage our platforms to make them easier to navigate. Conversations are increasingly digital, but that doesn’t mean they inevitably will be stripped of emotion and meaning. With efforts like these, we can progress in how we practice empathy online and enhance our relationships both digitally and in-person.

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

    The post How Holler and Ad Council are Supporting Mental Health Dialogues appeared first on Social Media Week.


    How Snapchat is Helping Brands Build Deeper Relationships

    With more people spending time online in an era of social distancing, the competition amongst platforms is fiercer than ever. Each is eager to capitalize on opportunities to be more accessible, more open, and more appealing to a broader range of users and brands.

    Snapchat is no exception and of late is making a big push to onboard more brands. Dubbed “Brand Profiles,” 30 companies, including Ben & Jerrys, Universal Pictures, and Headspace, are supporting a test of a new update that brings all of Snapchat’s core technology and features into one consolidated space. In turn, marketers can expect a more seamless experience for interacting and dishing promotional tie-ins.

    Main components of a Brand Profile

    Through new AR lenses, brands have the ability to save and showcase Lenses on their profile allowing them to get the most out of their AR experiences. These will be discoverable through Snapchat Search and Lens Explorer. While Snapchat has prioritized ephemeral content since its inception, over the years it’s come to recognize why some permanence can be helpful especially for marketers. In this vein, Highlights will enable businesses to reuse posts uploaded to their Public Snaps including Stories, photos, and videos. As the platform explained, “this is the best way for Snapchatters who aren’t familiar with a brand to get to know who they are.”

    Image courtesy of Snapchat

    On brand profiles themselves, a Public Story can drive the relationship-building to a new level but offering a new vantage point from which to understand the day-to-day of a brand. In short, a behind-the-scenes look that more and more users find relatable, unique, and exciting. Lastly, profiles will include an optional Native Store experience allowing companies to showcase products directly in the app powered by Shopify.

    “With 229 million Snapchatters using the app daily, this real estate for our partners is especially important in a world where our millennial and Gen Z audiences can be hard to reach and build deep, authentic relationships with on many platforms,” the company stated in the official announcement.

    Supporting brand growth and audience development

    In the backend, Brand Profiles will also come equipped with a helpful suite of tools to foster internal collaboration and analytics reports including audience demographics and interest to better inform their strategies and content development.

    “Brand Profiles bring brands a permanent home on Snapchat, unlocking new avenues for customer discovery and engagement,” said Carolina Arguelles, Snapchat’s global product marketing manager, in a statement to AdWeek. “We’re also offering brands insights into their subscribers through our online Business Manager, which will help partners learn about their customers and forge evermore meaningful connections with the Snapchat community.”

    For their typical organic social efforts, the majority of today’s brands leverage the same type of account as the average user. With the option to create a designated Brand Profile, there is a new opportunity to learn more about consumer behaviors and trends — this is especially crucial when navigating a predominantly younger audience of millennials and Gen Z. As many experts reflecting on the update commented, this slight shift away from ephemerality could be the key helping brands kickstart a powerful learning journey whereby they allow users to opt-in to the ads and content they want to see and engage in a way that respects their time and attention.

    Snap Focus

    Brand Profiles isn’t the only push Snapchat has made lately in terms of opening its platform to be more business-friendly. Earlier this Summer the company introduced “Snap Focus” geared towards Snapless brands who before committing to something like a Brand Profile, for instance, will want a more general understanding of ad management best practices.

    Akin to Twitter’s “Flight School” and Facebook’s “Blueprint” courses, Snap Focus is set up to provide a tactical understanding of how to navigate the app. This includes broader overviews into The Snapchat Generation and the platform’s Ad Manager in addition to specifics around how to measure and optimize campaigns and elements to successful creative. For more on Snap Focus and other ad tools to incorporate into your approach, you can check out the Snap Focus platform here.

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

    The post How Snapchat is Helping Brands Build Deeper Relationships appeared first on Social Media Week.


    A Brand’s Guide to Unsplash: How to Unlock the Next Big Visual Marketing Channel

    A Brand's Guide to Unsplash: How to Unlock the Next Big Visual Marketing Channel

    Remarkable brands are more than a logo.

    They are a collection of images and feelings and connections. (Often experienced through social media.)

    Take Nike for instance. When you think of Nike, you likely see movement, you feel momentum. You associate Nike with getting things done. This feeling is reinforced by all their imagery and of course by the iconic swoosh logo.

    With Skittles, you likely see rainbows, bright colors, and excitement. These are hallmarks of their commercials and their ads.

    We associate brands with images and feelings because – as neuroscience researchers have found – our brains love to stitch thoughts together. One thought always brings other thoughts, especially if those thoughts are recalled at the same time over and over. That’s why seeing a brand in a certain context, again and again, trains our minds to think of that brand whenever we randomly see those things in real life.

    Our perception of any brand is constantly being reinforced by the images we see … which is why visual marketing is one of the most powerful marketing tools out there.

    And it’s why Unsplash is fast becoming a go-to place for brands to be.

    In this article, we’ll dive into the Unsplash strategies working today and how you can make the most of this “blue ocean” channel. Keep reading to find out how to build and shift brand perception using visual marketing and Unsplash.

    Let’s dive in.

    The Real Power of Visual Marketing

    There have been numerous studies showing the power of visual marketing for building brand recognition and awareness. We know that content with images is generally more engaging, gets shared more on social media and attracts more attention.

    The visual component of most marketing strategies is usually aimed at commanding attention, stimulating curiosity, and prompting immediate action.

    Yet, this visual marketing strategy that focuses on immediate gains is very limited. The real power of visual marketing is in creating branded associations and controlling customers’ perceptions of the brand.

    As we know, human beings are highly visual, as multiple studies confirm. Consider these two numbers showing how much our brain relies on visualizations:

    When we think, most of us picture things. We remember colors, shapes, and symbols. This is where the real power of visual marketing lies – building connections between what you think and feel and what you experience with a brand on social, web, etc.

    How brands are using Unsplash as a new visual marketing channel

    Unsplash is one of the best places to find free images … and one of the largest: it is used more than Getty, Shutterstock, and Adobe Stock combined.

    Social media and marketing teams around the world use Unsplash for beautiful, free imagery.

    But brands are finding a home – and real traction – through Unsplash also.

    This has happened through organic posting and through paid advertising with Unsplash for Brands. Let’s talk about more about how organic and paid work with Unsplash.

    Organic posting on Unsplash

    As you might have seen, many brands are uploading their own curated photos to Unsplash, contributing great, free photography to the Unsplash system.

    These photos, for instance, are by Sticker Mule.

    A Brand's Guide to Unsplash: How to Unlock the Next Big Visual Marketing Channel

    It’s completely free to upload these photos. The greatest part is that you’re giving back to the community and delivering value to photo-seekers. For your brand, you’re also reaping huuuuge benefits.

    This photo from Sticker Mule …

    A Brand's Guide to Unsplash: How to Unlock the Next Big Visual Marketing Channel

    It’s been viewed more than 13 million times!

    A Brand's Guide to Unsplash: How to Unlock the Next Big Visual Marketing Channel

    Overall, the Sticker Mule account has 74 million views on just 15 total photos.

    Sticker Mule is just one of many examples of brands doing unique, creative work on Unsplash and seeing huge results.

    The furniture company Inside Weather has a very on-brand collection of images, featuring furniture pics that line up beautifully with the brand style on their website.

    A Brand's Guide to Unsplash: How to Unlock the Next Big Visual Marketing Channel

    Brands like Sticker Mule and Inside Weather have a concise collection of photos to choose from (25 or fewer). And then there are brands like Morning Brew (a business newsletter) and The New York Public Library that have hundreds of photos on Unsplash.

    A Brand's Guide to Unsplash: How to Unlock the Next Big Visual Marketing Channel

    For additional inspiration, here’s a list of some brands and institutions doing great things on Unsplash:

    Unlike numerous other advertising solutions out there, Unsplash offers a non-interruptive, unintrusive experience: Customers who are seeing branded images don’t have to interrupt their current browsing journeys, while publishers don’t have to compromise on their content quality.

    Unsplash Advertising works in three steps:

    • Upload and publish your branded images to Unsplash
    • Align photos with important and relevant search terms
    • Syndicate the images to publishers and creators who use Unsplash to find creative photos that can be used for free in their content and social media channels

    Sponsored images appear in the top-left of the homepage and search results. The photographer’s name and avatar show up by default (rather than showing up when you hover over the picture). When you do hover, a small “sponsored” label appears on the image.

    A Brand's Guide to Unsplash: How to Unlock the Next Big Visual Marketing Channel

    Does Unsplash advertising work?

    Unsplash advertising program is currently by invite only (you can apply here) but earlier case studies have shown tremendous success, so there’s definitely a huge potential here:

    A Brand's Guide to Unsplash: How to Unlock the Next Big Visual Marketing Channel
    Case studies from Square, Google Chromebook and Boxed Water. See their examples below.

    Aggregate results across these early advertiser case studies show Unsplash to be more effective at elevating how people feel about a brand – more effective than even digital, TV, and Instagram campaigns.

    A Brand's Guide to Unsplash: How to Unlock the Next Big Visual Marketing Channel

    Create Visual Content that Captures Your Brand Goals without Being Promotional

    This is a fundamental step to creating an effective visual marketing:

    • Your images need to feature your product the way you want it to be perceived
    • At the same time, make sure your images are non-promotional and creative enough for publishers and social media users to want to use them on their sites and social media feeds

    In other words, when crafting your visual marketing strategy, ask yourself the following questions:

    • Do my images capture my brand’s goals?
    • Are they good enough for people to want to use them?

    The key focus here is in building organic imagery around the brand through providing branded visual content that is worth using.

    To create high-quality branded photography, brands can choose to

    • Upload their own pictures
    • Work with creative photographers from the Unsplash community

    A Few Examples of Unsplash-Hosted Campaigns

    Boxed Water was interested in promoting the awareness of plastic bottle alternatives. It is know that plastic is the major pollutant of the environment, Boxed Water has focused on how sustainable their product is, as opposed to commonly used plastic bottles.

    In order to build the perception of that contrast, most of their branded photography is outdoors featuring people in a perfect harmony with nature:

    A Brand's Guide to Unsplash: How to Unlock the Next Big Visual Marketing Channel
    Through branded photography Boxed Water showcases what plastic bottles lack: Sustainability, forest- and ocean-friendliness, pollution-free

    Another Unsplash advertiser – Google Chromebook – was willing to become known as a creativity- and travel-friendly solution that is being used by younger generations, so they worked with Unsplash photographers to create pictures reflecting that perception:

    A Brand's Guide to Unsplash: How to Unlock the Next Big Visual Marketing Channel
    Chromebooks featured here are shown as creativity- and travel-related options for younger users. 

    Another example is Square employing visual marketing to shift the audience perception from a very narrow concept of a mobile credit card reader to a broader one of a full-stack financial and merchant service provider.

    The goal behind their campaign was to broaden the perception of the brand and capture the attention of small business owners who were not aware of the various business management and growth tools Square had.

    Unsplash photographers were tasked to create pictures which would associate Square with business, entrepreneurs, payments, and stores:

    A Brand's Guide to Unsplash: How to Unlock the Next Big Visual Marketing Channel
    Square’s Unsplash photos feature the product in the wild, being used by small business owners and patrons

    Notice how subtle the brand’s presence is in all the pictures, yet how hard it is to miss.

    Tips for Creating Powerful Branded Photography on Unsplash

    Unsplash has a detailed guide on how to create photography that gets noticed and used through the Unsplash platform, and all of those tips apply for brands, too:

    • Avoid being promotional or self-centered (don’t just post product pictures or selfies)
    • Pictures should be of high resolution with the minimum size requirement of 5 megapixels and 2500 by 2000 pixels (for a landscape picture)
    • Photos should be clear, creative, and original
    • Don’t use watermarks. Your brand identity needs to be a natural and subtle part of the context of the photo, not overlaid on it.

    Tip #1: Post your photos around upcoming dates

    When creating your branded photography, it is always a good idea to think of upcoming holidays, seasons, or notable dates. Timing your content strategy right is always effective (here’s a quick guide on doing that right).

    Note: When planning a seasonal campaign on Unsplash, time everything carefully to upload photos at least one month prior to the holiday or the start of the season, as this when content creators start planning their articles too.

    Tip #2: Align photos with important and relevant search terms

    While the quality of the actual photography is fundamental to success, you also want those pictures to be discoverable.

    Don’t forget that the real beauty of using the Unsplash platform is that it is used by content creators and social media influencers, and you want your branded photos to be found by them.

    Unlike other visual advertising solutions (Instagram, for example), with Unsplash you won’t have to set your audience targeting: Your visual content and relevance settings define its visibility in a most organic way.

    In other words, this step is where you are able to define who is able to discover your branded images and how wide your audience is going to be.

    Tip #3: Use a lot of tags to get your pictures discovered by users & publishers

    Unsplash does use automated tagging to help photos  be discovered but you need to also manually tag your images to ensure multi-purpose discoverability of your branded photos.

    Here are some tips for properly tagging your branded photos:

    • List the objects within your photo (for example, “snow”, “water”, etc.)
    • Add symbolic and metaphorical tags that reflect what the photo is evoking. These should describe the mood and the atmosphere behind the picture (for example, “motivation”, “nature”, “solitude”)
    • Include tags for content creators to be able to find and use your pictures within their articles (for example, “work at home”, “hobby”, “marketing”, “sustainability”, etc.)
    • When possible, list trending hashtags. Unsplash helpfully offers a “trending search” section that shows which words have been typed into the Unsplash search box recently. It is also a good idea to keep an eye on that section and add tags to older photos when they are relevant to a current hot trend.

    Here’s what was trending in July:

    A Brand's Guide to Unsplash: How to Unlock the Next Big Visual Marketing Channel

    To add tags to your photos:

    • Upload your picture and publish it
    • Go to your profile and hover over the picture
    • Select “Edit” and click to the “Tags” tab
    • Add your tags one by one:
    A Brand's Guide to Unsplash: How to Unlock the Next Big Visual Marketing Channel

    When I am stuck and cannot come up with more tags, I use semantic analysis to identify related concepts, brands and places. Here are semantically-related results for [skyscraper], for example:

    A Brand's Guide to Unsplash: How to Unlock the Next Big Visual Marketing Channel

    Additionally, here’s the list of popular topics and keywords that are searched on Unsplash, so pick those that make the most sense:

    A Brand's Guide to Unsplash: How to Unlock the Next Big Visual Marketing Channel

    Tip #4: Don’t forget to add captions

    While tags drive visibility inside the Unsplash platform, captions will help expand your content reach even further.

    Unsplash images are very well indexed in Google, and rank well in Google Images which is an important visual discoverability tool used by many content creators.

    Thanks to its domain authority and high-quality of photographic content, Unsplash ranks incredibly well in Google, so hosting your branded visual content on the platform will also improve your brand’s organic visibility in both Google Images and generic Google search:

    A Brand's Guide to Unsplash: How to Unlock the Next Big Visual Marketing Channel
    Unsplash can bring your branded photos on top of Google for more exposure

    Unsplash uses machine learning and image recognition technologies to handle much of its content search engine friendliness. For example, when you upload a photo of a seagull to the platform, it will automatically be named “Free Bird Image”.

    So whether you apply any additional efforts or not, once you upload your branded photos to Unsplash, they will start ranking in Google quite well.

    Yet, adding more text around the picture will be helpful in generating even more organic presence for your branded pictures. That being said, always add a descriptive 1-3-sentence caption to increase its odds of getting found in both Unsplash and Google.

    Tip #5: Add the location information

    Finally, if your picture features a certain location, do add it. Location settings make your photos discoverable for location-based search queries. For example, when someone is searching for “NYC”, your picture labeled there will show up in search results.

    A Brand's Guide to Unsplash: How to Unlock the Next Big Visual Marketing Channel

    Tip #6: Syndicate the branded images to publishers

    Once your branded pictures are uploaded and tagged, they will now be findable through Unsplash search results, just as regular pictures would, but labeled as “sponsored”:

    A Brand's Guide to Unsplash: How to Unlock the Next Big Visual Marketing Channel

    Unsplash has a huge community of photographers and content creators utilizing the platform to find free images for their articles, videos, and infographics.

    A Brand's Guide to Unsplash: How to Unlock the Next Big Visual Marketing Channel

    But the platform reach doesn’t stop there. By offering the free API for developers to use, Unsplash allows its users’ photos to be integrated into a variety of content management platforms and graphic design solutions, including:

    Imagine your visual message to be integrated into all or any of those platforms.

    The potential reach includes some best-known publications and media outlets including Buzzfeed and Medium, to name the few.

    This means your branded creative photography will be unstoppable bringing your products in front of audiences across the web. Here are just a few headlines organically placing Unsplash advertisers in a highly relevant context on incredibly popular publications:

    A Brand's Guide to Unsplash: How to Unlock the Next Big Visual Marketing Channel

    (Notice the relevant context here: It is all about starting a new business angle that puts the brand’s product in front of the target audience, i.e. those that are looking to start a new business.)


    Visual marketing plays a major role in influencing and swaying customers’ perceptions of the brand, and I find it pretty exciting that we finally get a visual marketing solution allowing brands to impact buyers’ buying decisions without forcing their branded imaginary on either customers or publishers.

    It’s one of those innovations that promotes creativity and offers something for everyone. As Luke Chesser, Cofounder of Unsplash, put it:

    Brands get impact, contributors get paid opportunities, and creators get more images to create openly with. It’s a win-win-win.


    Instagram is Making it Easier to Kickstart your Small Business

    With eCommerce sales rising amid the COVID-19 lockdown, platforms are working every angle to make their interface friendly to brands and businesses looking to build a digital presence in the absence of a traditional brick-and-mortar experience. Leading in the space is Instagram and its parent company Facebook.

    Specifically, Instagram has recently introduced a number of ways it’s committing to achieve this underlined by themes of discovery, monetization, and driving conversations around specific products and services.

    Making Content Discoverable via the “Shops Tab”

    Originally introduced in May as part of a larger announcement of Facebook and Instagram Shops, more users can now expect to see the new “Shop” tab within their bottom navigation bar. At a high-level, users who use the tab will be driven to the current shopping experience in the app which consists of a list of postings with Shopping Tags attached. They can filter by specific categories, including Beauty, Clothing & Accessories, Home, and Travel, much the same way they’re able to via Instagram Explore. Ultimately, additional purchase options will be added as parent company Facebook onboards more companies and introduces more selling options.

    Per TechCrunch, the new tab will be indicated with a “Shop” icon that will replace the heart icon (Activity) in the app’s main navigation though the Activity feed will still be available either by toggling to an icon in the top right corner, beside the icon of a ‘Direct’ paper plane, or by going to their profile and tapping the heart icon. For more general insights into set up a Facebook shop, check out this new Blueprint education course the platform recently unveiled.

    Maximizing Your IGTV Efforts

    Earlier this Spring Instagram shared several key changes to its IGTV app including an important cross-promotional update whereby the first 15 seconds of the video will play with the rest of the content available via a ‘swipe up’ link, as opposed to a freeze-frame from the clip. In addition to this, the platform introduced a broader overhaul of the IGTV display options within the Discover tab. The intent was primarily to highlight top creators but, more importantly, allow users to have more specific control over what they see as opposed to limiting search options solely based on content they’ve already engaged with.

    In this vein of ‘control,’ more recently Instagram introduced additional options allowing creators and brands to edit the preview images and thumbnails of their IGTV videos that are displayed in the feed. The app is also unveiling capability for IGTV creators to cross-post to Facebook Watch, serving to increase the exposure of their uploads. With the roll-out of IGTV monetization including ads and Bages through which users can donate to their favorite broadcasters, this is a significant incentivizing factor for companies looking to double down on e-commerce efforts amidst the global pandemic and boost their digital presence.

    Put differently, marketers want a reason to put resources against yet another digital app. With further options to generate income from IGTV, they’ll naturally find more reasons to make it a consistent focus. For context into just how much live-stream viewership has increased in recent months, Instagram reported a 70 percent uptick between February and March alone.

    Pinning Post Comments

    Following a test in May, Instagram is announcing that users can now pin up to three comments within a comment thread. To do this, swipe to the left and tap on the icon resembling a thumbtack. Each of the three posts you designate to pin will appear underneath your photo with a “Pinned” label beneath.

    Per Instagram’s VP of Product Vishal Shah, the option is designed to enable brands and users to control the tone of conversations. “By highlighting positive comments, you can better manage the tone of the conversation,” he shared on Twitter. From an e-commerce standpoint, this stands to be a useful way for those building their e-commerce presence to promote great reviews of their product and learn more about new purchasing behaviors by boosting relevant questions and feedback.

    Though still up for debate, many experts in space anticipate that such trends will hold beyond the pandemic. Why? As more consumers experiment with online buying options and recognize the convenience and efficiencies of shopping from the comfort of their home, they won’t go back. This will ultimately exacerbate the current growth in e-commerce. Pivoting, in this case, is not necessarily only about a change in direction, but much more directly correlated with moving the needle of a business.

    The post Instagram is Making it Easier to Kickstart your Small Business appeared first on Social Media Week.


    How LinkedIn is Supporting COVID-19 Unemployment

    COVID-19 has drastically altered the global economy causing disruption at unprecedented speed and scale. Essential to creating a prosperous post-pandemic world is inclusivity and enhancing digital literacy through easier access to resources and tools to build skillsets in remote settings.

    Many platforms have made efforts to promote education during this time. Most recently, LinkedIn is looking to help current job seekers in a number of ways from learning and applying for jobs to building their professional networks when in-person contact isn’t possible.

    “By giving free access to the skills and training that job seekers need to get jobs, we hope to do our part and help connect job seekers around the globe to new opportunities,” said CEO Ryan Roslansky in the official announcement

    Here’s a break down of the platform’s newest efforts and how to take advatange of them for your own development and business growth.

    Fostering skills for in-demand jobs

    Drawing on insights from its own community — 690M members, 50M companies, and 11M job listings — and a new interactive tool dubbed the “Economic Graph,” LinkedIn is shedding light into the rapidly changing economy, global hiring patterns, and in-demand jobs and skills to help those unemployed as a result of the global pandemic.

    From this, LinkedIn created a shortlist of the 10 most critical jobs in today’s COVID economy. These directly informed the launch of the 10 LinkedIn Learning Paths program in partnership with Github and Microsoft who are providing advanced course material in technically advanced areas including the developer space. For each of the 10 paths, individuals will have free access to content from the LinkedIn Learning library through the end of March 2021 led by industry experts. Upon completion, they will receive a certificate that can be shared on their profile.

    Aside from skills that are very trade and skill-based, there is also a growing need for knowledge around basic digital literacy, how to collaborate virtually, and actionable ways to create an environment of diversity, inclusion, and belonging for all.

    Tools and resources for job search and placement

    In addition to better understanding the job market and navigating emerging trends, there is the added layer of understanding how to apply. Since the beginning of the outbreak in March, LinkedIn has seen a 55 percent increase in conversations among connections. Year-over-year the platform has also seen a 60 percent increase in content creation on the platform paving way to new opportunities to increase discovery and connect directly with companies and specific job listings.

    A few key ways LinkedIn is leaning in on this trend is through several resources and tools to improve interview performance and receive guidance on resumes or general job seeking best practices. Specifically, to help recruiters easily identify those who are looking for their next opportunity and may be a fit, LinkedIn unveiled an #OpenToWork profile photo frame accessible by clicking on “Me” > Settings & Privacy > Job seeking preferences.

    Separately, the platform is looking to make it easier to seek and receive help in the job hunt process by a simple post to the feed that lays out how you can help whether that include making an introduction to someone in your network, offering input on a resume, or general do’s and don’ts for making the journey more seamless and less stressful. To do this:

    1. Start a new post and click the “Offer to Help” option
    2. Select the ways you’d wish to help others in their job hunt or career and click “done.”
    3. Edit your post and determine who you’d like to see it
    4. Hit post and start a conversation

    For feedback on your interview technique, LinkedIn is teaming with Microsoft in an AI-driven feature geared to deliver real-time thoughts on your answers and where they can be improved.

    New ways to connect with your network

    Taking a page from Facebook’s playbook and that of several other major platforms, LinkedIn launched a “Support” reaction for those instances where a generic ‘Like’ or ‘Love’ reaction doesn’t fit the situation, which in these uncertain times, is often the case.

    “We’re continuing to roll out new tools that allow our members to give and get help on LinkedIn, because we’re all better when we’re in it together,” said LinkedIn’s Kiran Prasad, VP of Product, on the update. People crave authentic and fluid conversations when they can no longer supplement their digital relationships with in-person encounters.

    In an era where social utilities are gaining popularity by their ability to bring people together, and reactions, emojis, GIFs are becoming increasingly habitual, we have the opportunity to bring empathy and shared experiences back to the core of social media. This will not only be a beneficial driver for business, but instrumental in bridging a global society. Conversations are more digital now than ever, but they don’t have to be any less human.

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

    The post How LinkedIn is Supporting COVID-19 Unemployment appeared first on Social Media Week.


    How Viacom and Burt’s Bees are Embracing Remote Production

    COVID-19 has upended the entire advertising industry from causing the Upfronts to either be canceled or go digital to pushing back production and leaving fall programming in jeopardy. And even with the world slowly starting to open back up, brands, agencies, and networks continue to ask themselves: how do you create premium content in a stay-at-home environment?

    When you break it down, it all starts with the ability and willingness to adapt. For example, ViacomCBS Shopper Marketing recently partnered with creative commerce agency TPN Retail to highlight the extensive Burt’s Bees Renewal skincare line. But right when the campaign was about to get underway, stay-at-home advisories started sweeping the country.

    With the campaign centered around Burt’s Bees’ product expansion – including a full skincare line as well as makeup products like blush, eye shadow, lip gloss, and of course, lip balm – we began searching for solutions. And we quickly realized that premium ad campaigns can not only be powered via virtual content, but exceed all expectations while providing a unique take that transcends traditional norms.

    Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how we embraced remote production:

    Embracing Virtual Content Creation

    VCBS decided to enlist country music singer and OneTree Hill star Jana Kramer, to create a multi-faceted content campaign that would highlight the skincare line from Burt’s Bees, and its retail partnership and “Self-Care Saturday” program with Walmart. The campaign was originally supposed to be done in Nashville at Kramer’s house, but instead, the shoot was done entirely over Zoom.

    “I wasn’t really sure what to expect when we decided to move forward with an entirely remote approach for producing the campaign,” said Mille Alderman, Brand Manager Shopper Marketing at Burt’s Bees. “But the fact that we have been collaborating with Jana Kramer and ViacomCBS for three years helped create a solid foundation for the campaign, and is a true testament to the importance of developing long-term relationships with partners.”

    To execute this, VCBS started by shipping equipment like a ring light and stabilizer to Kramer to give her all the necessary gear to turn out premium content. Then the production team set up a Virtual Set and Virtual Video Village through Zoom ‘breakout rooms’, which enabled everyone involved to watch the live production. This gives brands, agencies, and talent the ability to review and approve everything from lighting, sound, cuts, and more, mimicking what it is like on set during a premium shoot.

    Additionally, VCBS set Kramer up on a cloud-based platform where she could upload content, and professional photographers gave her husband – who in this case, was the stand-in photographer – real-time feedback on lighting and other factors to ensure high-quality assets. The production and creative teams then went over content with the brand and talent in real-time, even having them watch some of the capture to ensure they were comfortable with outcome and brand consistency.

    “We were all really amazed with how it felt like we were actually there – we got to see in real-time what the set looked like and how it would come across in video and photo,” said Alderman. “And Jana and the ViacomCBS team did a great job of making sure feedback from the teams was heard and incorporated, with a focus on inclusivity every step of the way.”

    Digital Distribution With A Purpose

    All in all, the effort spawned more than 20 pieces of premium content for the Summer, Spring, Fall, and Winter season, purposely crafted to showcase and highlight Burt’s Bees retail partnership with Walmart. The content will be leveraged on a variety of platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, CMT social promotion, and Walmart.com, with all assets and social promotion driving to the retailer. The assets will also be leveraged within IG stories, which will incorporate “swipe up to buy” features within the platform, enabling shoppers to purchase on Walmart.com.

    While COVID continues to hit the advertising industry, it’s up to us to adapt to the current situation and seek out new solutions. Just because the “normal way” is no longer possible, doesn’t mean we have to become complacent. In fact, it might very well mean that there is a whole new world of possibilities on the horizon. But the only way to discover them is by stepping outside the norm and embracing the unknown.

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

    The post How Viacom and Burt’s Bees are Embracing Remote Production appeared first on Social Media Week.


    Business Advice for Entrepreneurs via the Mike Armstrong Podcast #MikeArmstrong

    Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: Awesome Entrepreneur Tips & Advice Compilation from #MikeArmstrong & other Entrepreneur Speakers💪😎🙌🎙 https://anchor.fm/mike-armstrong9/episodes/Awesome-Entrepreneur-Tips–Advice-Compilation-from-MikeArmstrong–other-Entrepreneur-Speakers-egk0vf

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

    How to Pre-Launch on Instagram: The Inside Story of Jot Coffee’s Social Media Strategy

    How to Pre-Launch on Instagram: The Inside Story of Jot Coffee’s Social Media Strategy

    Launched in April 2020, Jot Coffee, a newly launched DTC (direct-to-consumer) coffee brand, has quickly picked up steam as the new at-home coffee brand that delivers an exceptionally delicious experience, both in-person and digitally. But how did they manage to generate so much interest and excitement for their launch?

    Read on for a behind-the-scenes look at how Jot built excitement for its launch on Instagram and how to create a community from day one. You’ll hear directly from Jackie Modena, Director of Community at Jot, and you’ll learn:

    • Where to find inspiration for creating on-brand social media content
    • How to plan for a successful new brand or product launch on Instagram
    • How to generate pre-launch interest, UGC (user-generated content), and followers
    • How to engage with your brand’s community in a timely manner
    • How to stay up to date on social media trends and updates
    How to Pre-Launch on Instagram: The Inside Story of Jot Coffee’s Social Media Strategy

    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 also have the ability to watch the original interview in our Highlights found on our @buffer Instagram profile.

    Who are you?

    Hi, I’m Jackie Modena! I’m with Jot, a newly launched DTC company that makes a first-of-its-kind 20x concentrated Ultra Coffee from fair trade, organic beans. All it takes is one tablespoon of our Ultra Coffee to create delicious, café-quality drinks at home, like iced lattes, americanos, and cappuccinos. We have a small but mighty (and highly caffeinated) team based out of Boulder, CO.

    I’m Jot’s Director of Community, where I oversee the strategic direction of our social media, develop content, engage with and grow our community, manage influencer partnerships, and work closely with PR, performance marketing and customer service.

    How to Pre-Launch on Instagram: The Inside Story of Jot Coffee’s Social Media Strategy

    I’ve previously held in-house marketing and social media roles at other national CPG companies like Ripple Foods and ICONIC Protein, and prior to that, worked for a boutique PR agency that specialized in servicing natural & organic CPG food, beverage and lifestyle brands.

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

    When we first started out with our social channels, we developed a set of creative guidelines to help inform the types of content, visual direction and aesthetic that we wanted to create.

    We were also fortunate to launch with some amazing GIF, video and still content from an early creative shoot organized by our branding agency, Red Antler. Those assets really helped to set the foundation for the tone and visual direction of our social media. From there, it was easy to find content partners and curated content that fit our aesthetic. For inspiration, I follow relevant Instagram hashtags that either tie directly to our brand or to an aesthetic (ex. #coffeephotography, #coffeevibes, #morninglight, #lightsandshadows, etc.), look to other brand accounts (both competitors and other categories), and follow my favorite creator accounts for inspiration.

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

    I try to consolidate things as much as possible, so that I’m not bouncing around from platform to platform all day. That’s what makes Buffer such a great tool—I’m able to manage our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn all in one place.

    While we typically have ‘themes’ or overarching content initiatives that we plan six months to a year in advance, I only look to schedule content a few weeks out—and even then, I consider it a rough plan. Things can change so quickly, and it’s important to be able to pivot quickly and adapt to the landscape.

    While we typically have ‘themes’ or overarching content initiatives that we plan six months to a year in advance, I only look to schedule content a few weeks out

    From there, as it relates to Instagram, my day-to-day looks like the following:

    1. I’m checking in on UGC via our tagged posts and hashtags, and engaging with members of community who share their Ultra Coffee photos and recipes. We try to encourage customers to use #jotcoffee and #justonetablespoon, and we’re currently running a #summerofjot campaign.
    2. I’m checking in on stories and DMs throughout the day, to engage with our customers, re-share stories to our own story, and field any customer service-related questions that might come in.
    3. I like to keep an eye on the engagement on Facebook and Instagram ads, both to moderate any comments that violate our community guidelines and to answer questions from consumers who might be curious about our product.

    How do you plan for a successful new brand or product launch?

    As a marketer, brand and product launches are some of my favorite initiatives to plan, strategize and execute.

    With Jot, when it came to Instagram specifically, we were careful to start curating our feed with on-brand, aesthetic content (and I think this can be a great time to utilize more ambitious grid-style posts that span 3-, 6- or 9-feed posts in size) leading up to our launch, without showing the actual product.

    How to Pre-Launch on Instagram: The Inside Story of Jot Coffee’s Social Media Strategy
    Jot’s pre-launch grid-style post that spanned 6-feed posts.

    While we planned to have a presence on all the major social media platforms, we knew that Instagram was going to be a main priority for us and where we’d be dedicating a majority of our resources when it came to content, influencer and community.

    To help generate pre-launch interest, followers and UGC, we launched a friends & family program in the weeks before our official launch, and encouraged participants to share their Ultra Coffee experience with us. This allowed us to start gathering early customer feedback and troubleshooting possible customer service and community questions.

    To help generate pre-launch interest, followers and UGC, we launched a friends & family program in the weeks before our official launch, and encouraged participants to share their Ultra Coffee experience with us.

    We also received a lot of great unboxing and other UGC content for social, which we started gathering and saving to ensure we’d have enough content on our launch day to really make a splash. Again, a tool like Buffer can be really helpful in this regard, because you can start to build up your content database and schedule out your launch day posts and stories (knowing how hectic launch days usually are, this can be a huge time-saver!).

    In terms of other product launches I’ve worked on in the past for more established companies with an existing community, I think it’s fun to build anticipation with teaser posts leading up to the official launch. It gets the community engaged and involved and almost makes the launch into a game (you could even tie in a giveaway if someone guesses the correct new flavor/product).

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

    I’d establish yourself on all the main social channels (and try to keep a consistent handle across all platforms) but figure out which channels are going to be your main focus.

    For us as a DTC consumer product, it made sense that Instagram, and to an extent Facebook, would be an important part of our marketing strategy, so it was really essential that we nailed it on those platforms. We have more flexibility when it comes to posting cadence and strategy for our other platforms like LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and TikTok, which allows us to be a little more experimental in our content.

    When you’re a small startup, you’re only going to have so many resources—time, budget, manpower—to devote to your social channels, so invest wisely in your primary channels while maintaining relevant content on your secondary channels.

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

    Time is of the essence, so check in with your platforms of highest engagement frequently. If your priority platform is Instagram and that’s where you’re seeing the most engagement, you don’t need to necessarily be glued to Instagram all day but consider designating a few 15-minute chunks of time throughout the day as Instagram check-in time and even blocking your calendar as such.

    Time is of the essence, so check in with your platforms of highest engagement frequently.

    I do think it’s important to try and engage in a timely manner, whether it’s through DMs, a comment on a piece of UGC, or a comment on a post, because your followers are more likely to still be active on the platform and see your engagement.

    I’ve also seen instances where follower conversations or questions can snowball in an unintended direction, or misinformation can be spread, if the brand doesn’t engage quickly enough with the community, so try to monitor and stay on top of conversations as they happen rather than being days behind and trying to do damage control later.

    How do you stay up to date on social media trends?

    I find that many of the social media scheduling and influencer platforms I utilize have fantastic blogs and email newsletters (including Buffer!) so make sure you’re signed up to receive their communications—they often have all the latest news & updates on the major social media platforms and trends in the space.

    I have a few newsletters I’m subscribed to as well—The Hustle, Lean Luxe, and Morning Brew’s new marketing-centric newsletter, for a quick take on trends in retail, marketing and DTC businesses.

    Finally, I’d recommend seeking out a few networking groups specific to your position or industry. I really like the Create & Cultivate and Women in Influencer Marketing Facebook groups—they’re a great way to share resources, ask questions, discuss ideas/approaches and meet others in the industry. Since conferences and trade shows are off the table at the moment, these kinds of groups can be a great stand-in for in-person networking opportunities and can lead to collaborating, brainstorming and sharing.

    How do you take your Ultra Coffee?

    My favorite everyday way to take my Ultra Coffee is in an iced latte—it’s as simple as 8 oz milk (I prefer Oatly Barista Style), ice, and a tablespoon of Ultra Coffee.

    When I want to switch things up, I go for one of our new #summerofjot recipes: one tablespoon of Ultra Coffee, 6 oz water, one tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1.5 tbsp maple, and ice – for a refreshing and unique Cold Brew Lemonade.

    View this post on Instagram

    Iced coffee season has officially returned. To celebrate, we’re hosting our first Ultra Coffee recipe contest. It’s as simple as whipping up your favorite iced or cold Ultra Coffee beverage, snapping a photo or video, and sharing it using #summerofjot. ⁣ ⁣ We’ll be selecting three winners by 7/3 to receive a three-month Ultra Coffee subscription (3x bottles, every 4 weeks). ⁣ ⁣ In addition, as part of our ongoing efforts to support the Black Lives Matter movement, for every entry received we’ll be making a $10 donation to @thelovelandfoundation, an organization that brings opportunity and healing to communities of color, and especially to Black women and girls.⁣ ⁣ We’ll be sharing some of our favorite iced and cold summer-ready recipes over the coming weeks, so keep an eye out if you need some inspiration. ⁣ ⁣ For more details, check out our #summerofjot stories highlight.

    A post shared by Jot (@jot) on

    We hope this interview with Jackie 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 Jackie? Feel free to drop your question in a comment and Jackie, or someone from the Buffer team, will get to them as soon as possible.


    Why Social Utilities are Accelerating in a COVID-19 Era

    The Coronavirus pandemic has acted as an accelerant on the businesses and industries that seemed already on track for future growth. Remote work, e-commerce, at-home fitness, connected TV, gaming—each made dramatically more relevant in the era of social distancing.

    Among these is an emerging category comprised of “social utilities,” or companies that provide tangible value by virtue of bringing people together.

    Zoom makes it possible for anyone to mimic an IRL social experience. Citizen puts a social layer on breaking news and events at the hyper-local level. Peloton offers fitness motivation in the form of a digitally-connected community. Public.com makes investing in the stock market a social experience so you can share ideas with friends and experts while you build your portfolio. The list goes on.

    Here’s why social utilities are surging in the era of social distancing.

    Uncertainty drives community

    In uncertain times, most people find solace in the feeling that they’re not alone. This could mean more frequent video calls (Zoom has grown by more than 50 percent since January) and messaging (Facebook recently reported a 50 percent jump in messaging and has launched a Zoom-like rival, called Messenger Rooms).

    And the desire to participate in the company others can be observed in more niche areas, as well, like exercise, career development, eSports—and even financial services. During the peak of market volatility in March and April this year, Public.com tracked a 70 percent uptick in social activity in the app, according to TechCrunch.

    Sub-communities create a feeling of belonging

    Beyond merely connecting in times of uncertainty, people also want to feel like they belong. Within a larger network, sub-communities make it possible to be part of a global conversation while at the same time curating a more specific experience based on interests and values.

    Peloton, which has seen a surge in app downloads and equipment sales since March, introduced a new feature called Tags to nurture the organic subcommunities that were already sprouting throughout the larger community. Tags allow people to select sub-groups with which they want to affiliate in the community, like one’s hometown (#NYCRiders), alma mater (#GoBlue), favorite instructor (#BensArmy), or professional background (#WomeninTech).

    Here at Social Media Week, we recently wrapped a month-long virtual conference that brought our community even closer to our content. Social interactions, and building micro-communities within individual talks and sessions, were core to the experience.

    Synchronous social captures attention

    According to eMarketer, time spent with social media is predicted to increase by 8.8 percent in 2020, no doubt due to social distancing measures that have caused people to spend more time in the home with their devices.

    Alongside this broader trend is the proliferation of digital “events” which capture attention during specific moments in time. Synchronous social isn’t entirely new—people have been live-tweeting breaking news and award shows for years—but it has certainly been given a boost as of late.

    Take for example D-Nice, the DJ who has been attracting massive crowds on Instagram during planned “Club Quarantine” sets and the video chat app House Party, which recently hosted a three-day virtual festival. Twitch, the Amazon-owned eSports platform that allows people to watch and offer commentary on live games, reportedly saw a 57 percent increase in usage in the month after social distancing guidelines were put into place.

    While social media certainly receives its fair share of valid criticism when it comes to furthering divides, it has also served its stated purpose of creating connections where otherwise absent. For many products and platforms, including Social Media Week, this social layer—accelerated by uncertain times—serves a clear purpose for consumers.

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

    The post Why Social Utilities are Accelerating in a COVID-19 Era appeared first on Social Media Week.


    How Brands Can Maximize Their Videos With TikTok for Business

    Brands are a core part of the TikTok experience whether they use the platform to be at the front of emerging trends, connect with impressionable communities, or bring awareness to critical health and societal issues like a global pandemic and racial injustice. Just look no further than the #DistanceDance campaign featuring TikTok star Charli D’Amelio as an example of how TikTok continues to leverage its authentic spirit to offer users fresh ways to discover, engage, and make a difference IRL.

    In this spirit, TikTok recently announced a new brand and platform specifically catered to helping marketers and brands thrive. Dubbed “TikTok For Business,” the platform will serve as the home for all its current and future marketing solutions for brands. These include ad formats such as TopView, which is the ad that appears when you first launch the TikTok app.

    An audience for every voice

    “The magic of TikTok is not just the chance to create, but the chance to discover – and to be found. With TikTok For Business, our goal is to give marketers the tools to be discovered and connect with the broader communities around them,” said TikTok’s Managing Director for Global Business Marketing, Katie Puris, in the official announcement. “For brands, this opens an entirely new window of opportunity to create content that speaks to people, to invite the community to join in the conversation, and…to Make TikToks,” she added.

    Nodding to the ad slogan “Make TikToks — Not Ads,” the core mission behind TikTok for Business will be to encourage marketers to focus on aligning with more meaningful themes of creativity, expression, creator and brand unity, inclusivity, and a participatory community over interruptive, non-productive spots.

    Branded effects, in-feed videos, and hashtag challenges

    Amongst the new features and updates with Business for TikTok includes branded takeovers and a Branded Effects Partner Program that create seamless augmented reality experiences between brand and audiences.

    With the help of partners including Tommy, Subvrsive, and Bare Tree Media, TikTok is launching a new AR effect called Branded Scan. At its core, Branded Scan allows brands to play a more integral role into the content creation behind ads. Specifically, by activating visual effects such as a brand logo or band product in a user’s 2D or 3D videos. These can also be combined with Hashtag Challenges to help drive engagement. In a time where we face an oversaturated attention economy, the simpler it is for brands to become involved in a conversation where users are already actively participating the better — and will only become more integral to our marketing decisions.

    Separately, Brand Takeovers entail a three to a five-second advertisement featuring an image or video while In-Feed videos are longer in form, allowing brands up to 60 seconds of space and run with audio playing.

    Maximizing Your Videos

    Creativity aside, TikTok is also aware that brands must balance their objectives with what the data is telling them. In this vein, the company recently distilled down the three key elements that inform which videos appear in a user’s feed: user interactions, video information such as captions, specific sounds or songs, and hashtags, and device and account setting including language preference and mobile device type.

    While the platform, like many others, largely seeks to show users more of the same content based on their engagement and interests, it also may show something out of the norm in an effort to promote diversity. “Our goal is to find balance between suggesting content that’s relevant to you while also helping you find content and creators that encourage you to explore experiences you might not otherwise see,” TikTok shared.

    A few takeaways to note from these insights: when creating TikTok content bear in mind that each post is assessed independently, staying abreast of trending conversations will help you connect with a larger audience, and higher reach is contingent on viewers watching your videos in full.

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

    The post How Brands Can Maximize Their Videos With TikTok for Business appeared first on Social Media Week.


    How YouTube Is Helping Marketers Capitalize on Online Video

    COVID-19 has fast-forwarded several prominent consumer behavior trends in the marketing space — a major one centering around online shopping where tech giants are shifting their investment dollars in the hopes of propelling their growth on the other side.

    Earlier this spring Pinterest introduced new ways to shop from pins, from pin boards, and directly from search results. More recently, Facebook and Instagram rolled out “Shops,” essentially converting business profiles into online storefronts and tested shopping tags in captions. Separately, Snapchat unveiled an expansion of dynamic ads for e-commerce retailers in June.

    Building a stronger e-commerce presence through video ads

    Looking ahead, YouTube unveiled several updates to its platform in a push to help marketers capitalize on the growing trends of e-commerce and online video. Primarily, a new ad format called “Direct Response” will enable brands to add browsable product imagery to their videos to make them more actionable and shoppable.

    “As businesses begin to reopen, they have an opportunity to use video to drive both online and offline actions on YouTube, where 70 percent of people say they bought a brand as a result of seeing it on our platform,” YouTube’s parent company Google explained in the official announcement.

    As a result of using the new format in a test phase ahead of its spring 2020 campaign, Aerie, the underwear company owned by American Eagle, reported sales conversions 9x higher than that garnered by its traditional media stack. The company also reported a 25 percent higher return on ad spend compared to 2019.

    To use the ad format, retailers will need to synchronize their Google Merchant Center feed to their video ads, per the announcement. Ultimately, they will also be able to place greater emphasis on certain products through an expanded call-to-action button.

    A more cost-effective way to boost conversion rates

    Limited marketing budgets and other key resources have put significant strains on marketers these past few months but this hasn’t kept them from seeking more simple, cost-effective ways to drive reach and convert demand. As part of the update, YouTube announced Video Action Campaigns that will automatically distribute video ads “that drive action” to the YouTube home feed, watch pages, and Google video partners, all within a single campaign.

    “In the last few months, Mos saw 30 percent more purchases for their service at a third of the cost compared to their previous YouTube benchmarks,” Google stated of the startup that seeks to help students find funds for college to avoid large debts. As a newer company, it was eager to test the campaigns to gauge how quickly it could scale.

    Adding transparency around a consumer’s path to purchase

    Beyond building an e-commerce presence, YouTube is cognizant of the fact that in the digital age the process for tracing the exact origins of a conversion and keeping tabs on a consumer’s full path to purchase isn’t always clear. To address this, brands will be able to evaluate their efforts on YouTube directly from their Google Ads attribution reports. There are two major benefits of this including having a better understanding of how to allocate ad budgets and what new tools to consider in addition to enhanced transparency around your Google ads campaigns.

    Overall, the effort is not only one to create an even playing field around emerging formats like video, but more importantly, to help marketers save valuable time to put against broader strategic initiatives such as aligning creative with the right message for a particular audience.

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

    The post How YouTube Is Helping Marketers Capitalize on Online Video appeared first on Social Media Week.


    The Voice of Social Media Episode on the Mike Armstrong Podcast – #TheVoiceofSocialMedia

    Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: #TheVoiceofSocialMedia Increase Your Social Media Engagement with other people’s content 💪🙌😎🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿🇬🇧🌍 #SMM https://anchor.fm/mike-armstrong9/episodes/TheVoiceofSocialMedia-Increase-Your-Social-Media-Engagement-with-other-peoples-content–SMM-eg916q

    #TheVoiceofSocialMedia Increase Your Social Media Engagement with other people’s content 💪🙌😎🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿🇬🇧🌍🎙 – Another The Voice of Social Media Episode where #TheVoiceofSocialMedia & #KingofMarketing Mike Armstrong talks about the importance of liking and engaging with other people’s social content in order to help them out and have the favour returned so that you can have your marketing and messages go much further 👑🎙 #SocialMedia #MikeArmstrong #YouCanDoIt #PositivityPodcast #Motivation #MotivationalPodcast #Entrepreneurship #PersonalDevelopmentPodcast #SalesPodcast #MarketingPodcast 😎 #Sales #Marketing #PersonalDevelopment #WOLFofWALES #WOW 🐺🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 #WOWPodcast #SalesTraining #LifeCoaching #BusinessTraining from #MikeArmstrong Teaching people how to achieve their goals and dreams via various motivation, education and personal development teachings! #MikeArmstrongSalesTraining #MikeArmstrongMarketingTraining #MikeArmstrongBusinessTraining #MikeArmstrongEntrepreneurTraining #MikeArmstrongTraining #MATraining on his #YouCanDoItPodcast – #MikeArmstrongPodcast / #MikeArmstrongPodcasts – Rapid Business Growth, Personal Development and Sales & Marketing Training & Advice From #MikeArmstrong on the #YouCanDoItPodcast #YCDI #YCDIPodcast featuring the #Awesome Mike Armstrong #AwesomeArmstrong – #Motivation #Motivated #Motivational #MotivationalPodcast – #10x #20x #Infinityx  #BusinessGrowth #RapidBusinessGrowth #PersonalGrowth #PersonalDevelopment 🚀😎 – #MikeArmstrongYouCanDoItPodcast – More About Mike;  Mike is “The Awesome Mike Armstrong” – A #Philanthropic #Entrepreneur who loves to help people. He’s also an Author, Speaker, Mentor, Coach, Blogger, Vlogger & Podcaster who lives to help people especially; Struggling Business Owners and Entrepreneurs who need a lift and those suffering with Mental Health issues #MentalHealth #MentalWellbeing #MentalHealthSupport. Mike has spent years cultivating an awesome global network, and is currently building an #AwesomeArmy of similarly minded #Philanthropist #Entrepreneurs and is happy to share the contacts and the love with those who are deserving. If that’s you please get in touch with Mike. Mike Armstrong of Mike Armstrong Ltd | MA Group | MA Consultancy | MA Web | MA Training | Marketing Wales / WelshBiz | Tourism Wales | Things To Do In | MA News | MAN Media | MA Property | Mike Armstrong News & Mike Armstrong’s You Can Do It Podcast.

    Mike’s areas of Interest and Expertise include Welsh Business News & Events, UK Business News & Events, Global Business News & Events, Business Advice & Personal Development, Rapid Business Growth, Happiness, Success, Goal Achieving, Knowledge Sharing, Elite Performance, as well as Sales & Marketing Mentoring, Coaching, Training and Services inc. Sales & Marketing Strategy & Services, Social Media Strategy & Services, SEO Strategy & Services, Content Marketing Strategy & Services, Ecommerce Strategy & Services, Business Growth Strategy & Services and Property Maintenance, Property Management and Property Development Joint Ventures (JV’s) – All aimed at Biz Owners, Entrepreneurs, Speakers, Coaches, Startups, Networkers, Global Networks and people in need of help, support, love and a pick me up etc.

    MA Website – https://mikearmstrong.me #MikeArmstrong

    MA News Site – https://MikeArmstrong.me/news/




    MA Podcast – https://anchor.fm/mike-armstrong9


    #YouCanDoItPodcast #WOLFofWALES #WOWPodcast

    Co. Websites – www.maconsultancycardiff.com #MAConsultancy

    www.marketing.wales  #WelshBiz

    Search & connect with Mike Armstrong in any social media as well as MA Consultancy & WelshBiz!

    Also pls join one or all of my Cardiff Businesses, Welsh Businesses, UK Businesses, Global Businesses, Global Networkers, Entrepreneur Zone, Wolf of Wales Fans, Mental Health Support Group, or Mike Armstrong Podcast Fans – Groups on FB 👍😎 or the #AwesomeArmy if you want to get involved and join the team!

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

    Listen to or watch Entrepreneur chats and more on the Mike Armstrong Podcast or the Mike Armstrong You Tube Channel #MikeArmstrong

    Check out my podcast, Mike Armstrong’s Podcast – Mike’s You Can Do It Podcast – MikeArmstrongPodcasts by #MikeArmstrong , on Anchor! https://anchor.fm/mike-armstrong9


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

    Why Transparent Email Stopped Working For Us and What We Do Instead

    Why Transparent Email Stopped Working For Us and What We Do Instead

    When I joined Buffer and opened my new Buffer email account for the first time, the email count read 200.  I was momentarily stunned.
    That was way more emails than I’d ever had in one place before.

    Usually, when you set up an email account at a new workplace, your inbox is empty at first – people don’t yet have your email address and you aren’t on a bunch of email lists. I was planning on those few days or weeks of email bliss, where your inbox is nearly always zero.

    I had known about Buffer’s value of transparency at work and about our practice of email transparency, but what I hadn’t realized was that sometimes the benefit of transparency can become a burden. That’s what was happening with transparent email.

    Here’s why transparent email stopped working for us, and what we switched to instead.

    Why transparent email wasn’t working for us anymore

    Six years ago now, we shared a blog post detailing the exact workflows we used for transparent email. At the time, we wrote:

    Our value of transparency extends all the way to the inbox. Every email is public within the team. Every bit of communication gets shared. Everyone knows everything. There are no secrets.

    The idea is a sound one, and transparent email did solve a challenge for us. A lot of communication was happening via email, and we wanted everyone to be able to see emails transparently. Having specific email lists that we cc’ed or bcc’ed (click on that link above for more on that system) was a much more efficient way to work than to add each teammate individually.

    So what stopped working?

    We grew to a larger team size

    The purpose of transparent email was to see conversations happening across any team and have all of the context you needed. It worked well for us when Buffer was a team of fewer than 30 people, but around and past that time, it started to get a little bit out of control. By the time we reached a team of over 80, transparent email was no longer easy to keep up with purely because of the volume.

    If you look at it from a relationships standpoint, the formula for possible relationships means that at 80 people there were 3,160 possible relationships. Of course, every individual wasn’t always speaking with every other person at the company, but still, that’s a huge number of possible relationships to be communicating via email.

    It put the burden of staying informed on the individual

    Receiving several hundred emails in a week was a huge burden for teammates. They needed to leverage email to stay informed, maintain a system, and figuring out which conversations were relevant, and we placed that burden on individual teammates, rather than making a change at an organizational level. Teammates became responsible for keeping track of all internal conversations, while at the same time email was still a place for external conversations to come in as well and it was a lot to juggle.

    On top of that, the feeling that I had opening my Buffer email for the first time happened to a lot of new teammates, and that wasn’t a great experience.

    Filters didn’t always work

    The best solution to that level of email was to create lots of filters to sort and organize all internal conversations based on the internal email address that was being cc’ed.

    Having so many filters set up sometimes meant that people would miss out on emails that mentioned them, which isn’t a great result, but we spent a lot of time and energy trying to make these filters work with transparent email.

    We created several detailed internal best practices documents filled with different systems for setting up filters and managing email. Our CEO, Joel Gascoigne, even outlined a project for an internal email tool, he wrote:

    Email at Buffer is a little like the Wild West. With transparent email, the number of emails we individually receive as a 30 person team could be 5 or 10x the amount someone in a normal 30 person team would receive.

    So we built an internal tool for email called Buffmail.

    The result of all of this work was more work. Teammates needed to spend more time setting up filters and tweaking them when new teams were created or projects were kicked off. In the end, the issue wasn’t that we weren’t doing transparent email properly, it was that we had outgrown this system and needed to look for a new one.

    Our new system for transparent internal communication

    In the words of our Director of People, Courtney Seiter, we needed a tool to help us have “calm, deliberate and timezone-inclusive conversation and decision-making at Buffer.”

    In addition to decision making, we wanted a space for work-related announcements and discussion in the form of longer, asynchronous conversations.

    Our solution: Threads

    We’ve mentioned Threads before as it’s a staple in our asynchronous communication. Threads makes it easy to have text-based conversations across the company and clearly mark decisions when they are made. It also works well with Slack; new Threads can be cross-posted to a linked Slack channel, which is a nice benefit.

    Why Threads works for us

    Threads is a much less overwhelming way for 90 people to communicate. It’s easy to skim a Space (that’s the Threads name for a specific area) to see if there’s any conversation you want to drop into, and there’s also a helpful button to mark something as follow up.

    It’s also less likely that someone will miss a Thread that mentions them because of Threads’ notification system. Threads helps take the burden of staying informed off of the individual. If someone needs to be looped in, it’s easy to tag them, and if someone wants to skim a space, they can do so without getting alerted to every conversation.

    How we set Threads up

    In Threads, there are different “Spaces,” and anyone in that Space will see all of the Threads (discussions) created there.

    We’ve set up Threads to have Spaces that everyone should be a part of, and other, optional Spaces depending on a teammate’s team and location.
    Here’s how we’ve set up our Spaces:

    Team Spaces

    Any space that starts with “Buffer-” is intended for all teammates to permanently join with notifications on. For us, these spaces are:

    • Announcements: For team-wide announcements
    • Inclusion: To discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion
    • Joel’s Memos: For thoughts from our CEO
    • Recognition & Praise: For celebrating and recognizing teammates
    • Retreat: For retreat info
    • Time-off: For vacation plans and time off
    • Town-Hall: An asynchronous space for town-hall questions for our CEO and leadership team
    • Updates: For area updates

    Area Spaces

    Each Area has its own Space with the naming convention Area-AreaName, e.g. Area-Marketing. These Spaces are intended only for those who work daily in that area to join. Teammates can view any Area Space anytime but we ask that they view only and not join any area they don’t work in directly. We do periodic cleanups to help stick to this guideline.

    Project Spaces

    We have a small number of Project Spaces with the naming convention: Proj-ProjectName, e.g. Proj-Pricing. These are for projects that touch many different teams and have a finite end date.

    Geographic Spaces

    We have several geography-related Spaces, e.g. Geo-UK and Geo-Canada, for discussion about the Buffer teammate experience specific to those countries.

    Help Spaces

    We have two help Spaces, Help-People and Help-Tools. Help-People is for questions or help around things like benefits, moving, and other life changes. Help-Tools is for when a teammate needs help with any of the tools we use at Buffer.

    When we make new Spaces

    To avoid having too many Spaces, we currently default to trying to write a Thread in the best-fitting Space before creating a new Space. If after that is given a try it still feels like this topic needs a new Space, then we’ll create it.

    We’ve been using Threads for over a year now and are still feeling like it was very much the right decision and choice to move away from transparent email. If you liked this blog post, check out this post where we talk about asynchronous communication and why it’s so important for remote work.