Tag: The Voice of Social media

Caryn Hubbard is Buffer’s VP of Finance

Caryn Hubbard is Buffer’s VP of Finance

I’m happy to share that Caryn Hubbard was recently promoted to Buffer’s VP of Finance. 🎉

Caryn Hubbard is Buffer’s VP of Finance

Caryn has been on the Buffer team for over five years now and has made huge contributions in her time on the team, both as the leader of our Finance team and as a member of our Executive team. She was instrumental in our $3.3M buy back of VC investors, in helping us navigate the turbulence of the financial impact of the pandemic, as well as in launching Buffer’s annual charitable donations. She has also piloted several projects that advanced Buffer’s transparency around compensation, including multiple versions of our salary formula.

Beyond the Finance team, Caryn has overseen Buffer’s legal and compliance focus through industry changes and Buffer’s expansion. She continues to be a strong leader for the financial team and most recently has been working on our approach to liquidity and equity.

I’m so grateful for everything that Caryn does for Buffer and our team. Buffer’s financial future is more secure, and we have a more sustainable business as a result of Caryn’s hard work. She is a trusted and calming presence who is relied on to provide regular thoughtful updates on Buffer’s finances to our team and investors. You can see the most recent report here.

https://buffer.com/resources/vp-finance/

Tyler Wanlass is Buffer’s VP of Design

Tyler Wanlass is Buffer’s VP of Design

I’m happy to share that Tyler Wanlass recently became Buffer’s VP of Design. 🎉

Tyler Wanlass is Buffer’s VP of Design

Tyler has been on the Buffer team for over five years now, initially joining as a Product Manager before he transitioned to our first Head of Design.

Throughout 2020, while we were hiring for a new Product leader, Tyler took on that role in the interim and did an incredible job. I’ve been impressed with how he’s juggled so much, operated at a high level, and contributed at layers from the leadership team down to the individual 1:1 level with product team members. He’s lead Product excellently, introduced new processes and alignment, and put things in a fantastic place for Maria, our CPO, to come and take us to a new level. Since working with Maria, he has formed a strong partnership and they’ve already achieved some incredible milestones together as well as jointly brought new energy to how we approach Product overall.

A key reflection I had over the past six months is that at Buffer, we’ve always spoken about Product being at the core of Buffer. We’re a truly product-led organization, putting the Product at the center of everything we do. We don’t have a sales team, and much of our growth comes through word of mouth based on our customers’ experience. With this in mind, it started to occur to me that having two Product leaders, both Maria and Tyler, within the leadership team would be the most appropriate structure going forward and help us to create the right balance and approach to strategy over time. VP of Design is not a role we previously had at Buffer, and in these first few months, it has felt completely natural and highly impactful. This decision reflects the importance we place on product innovation and quality, which is fundamental to a lot of the outcomes we are pushing for.

I’m so grateful for everything that Tyler does for Buffer and our customers. Tyler has been an awesome partner in some big decisions this year. I believe customers and all of us at Buffer are better as a result of Tyler’s significant contributions.

https://buffer.com/resources/vp-design/

Social Media for Nonprofits: Empowering Younger Generations to Take Action

Social Media for Nonprofits: Empowering Younger Generations to Take Action

Today’s youth is craving to be at the forefront of successful movements, tearing down and rebuilding structures and enacting positive change around the world. Increasingly, nonprofits are leveraging this desire and turning to younger generations to drive change and become the future leaders of the world. Their main catalyst of change? Social media.

This is the driving notion at Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), a young, vibrant, and growing organization that is pushing for bolder actions to make universal access to modern and clean energy happen by 2030. They believe that the younger generations are the driving forces of the current climate action movements; they ask the most challenging questions, are open-minded, and use their own network to reach new audiences of leaders and supporters. Through their platforms, SEforALL truly hopes to channel the right mindset and influence the future leaders of the world.

In this interview, you’ll hear directly from Meriam Otarra, Communications Specialist at SEforALL, and you’ll learn:

  • Why it’s important for nonprofit organizations to appeal to younger audiences nowadays
  • How to connect on a deeper level with younger audiences through reader-friendly, modern, dynamic content
  • The marketing tactics that work best to reach younger audiences
  • Tips on building awareness and community around important causes via social media
Social Media for Nonprofits: Empowering Younger Generations to Take Action

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

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

There are so many great nonprofits working hard to make the world a better place. We want to help a tiny bit when it comes to their social media marketing efforts. We offer a 50% discount to all registered nonprofit organizations. Here’s how you can apply for the discount!


Tell us more about you! What’s Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) all about and what’s your role there?

Hi my name is Meriam Otarra and I’m a Visual & Digital Communications Specialist for international organizations. I currently lead the creative communications and social media for Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL). SEforALL is a young, vibrant, and growing organization that works with the United Nations, international organizations, governments and the private sector to ensure we achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) — access to modern, clean, reliable, and sustainable energy for all — by 2030. We’re soon celebrating a decade of SDG7 progress since SEforALL was initiated by former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon. Since then, there has been an increasing demand for SEforALL platforms and products, and that’s why as part of the communications team, I make sure that these digital products are:

  • Reader-friendly, modern, dynamic;
  • Reaching the right audiences!
Social Media for Nonprofits: Empowering Younger Generations to Take Action
Meriam Otarra, Communications Specialist at Sustainable Energy for All

Tell us about the “This is Cool” campaign! What has made this campaign so successful?

From where I’m from, which is the Philippines, a day never passes by without hearing someone say, “It’s hot.” (Either that, or “Oh my god, it has been raining non-stop for 7 days!”) And without urgent actions to the climate crisis, the rural and urban poor in developing countries in Africa and Asia are getting more and more at risk of the consequences of heat, because they can’t access or afford whatever cooling technologies are available out there.

SEforALL started the #ThisisCool campaign last year after releasing one of the household reports called Chilling Prospects, which tracks the global development of delivering universal sustainable cooling. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the current cooling situation (last year it was found that around *1.02 BILLION* people are at high-risk due to lack of access to cooling!), its challenges, and what can be done across the world to make sustainable cooling for all a reality.

Social Media for Nonprofits: Empowering Younger Generations to Take Action

As part of the campaign, we created a microsite with Greenhouse PR, with different cooling case studies—from cool rooftops to farming innovations—and provided a nicely illustrated toolkit that can be used by anyone and everyone to start the conversation on sustainable cooling. Check it out at thisiscool.seforall.org!



Why do you believe it’s important for nonprofit organizations to appeal to younger audiences nowadays?

We’ve said it before at SEforALL (and we’re definitely not the first ones to say it!), but youth are the driving forces of the current climate action. They aren’t afraid to speak out and demand better policies or a better response to the pandemic that’s affecting us, youth, both short- and long-term. As social media managers, sincere engagement is what we ultimately aspire to build, and at least for what I can say as the frontline of SEforALL social media, youth are the ones who ask questions, are open-minded, share ideas, and use their own network to help SEforALL reach other audiences who may have otherwise not heard about SEforALL before. Through our platforms, we can only hope to channel the right mindset and influence the future leaders of the world.

As social media managers, sincere engagement is what we ultimately aspire to build, and at least for what I can say as the frontline of SEforALL social media, youth are the ones who ask questions, are open-minded, share ideas, and use their own network to help SEforALL reach other audiences who may have otherwise not heard about SEforALL before.

As a nonprofit international organization, how do you connect on a deeper level with younger audiences?

We’re not scared to dive into conversations with youth. That’s why we created the SEforALL Youth Summit last February, organized by the SEforALL youth representatives ourselves, to show that youth voices are needed to be heard and that SEforALL is here to listen. The outcomes of that Summit are also going to feed into the high-level meetings on energy happening this September.

Social Media for Nonprofits: Empowering Younger Generations to Take Action

What marketing tactics have you found work the best to reach younger audiences?

We found showing data and infographics that hit closer to home for younger people have had better engagement and reactions than most other content. Two good examples that we’ve pushed out during the Summit were (1) showing data through an infographic on the amount of energy the whole country of Senegal uses versus the amount of energy Californians use playing video games; and (2) no energy access, no internet.


We found showing data and infographics that hit closer to home for younger people have had better engagement and reactions than most other content.

For our #ThisisCool campaign, we also reached out to youth influencers in the climate action sphere in Africa and Asia by commenting on their posts related to passive cooling (see example below). And only when they follow us back do we actually send them a personalized message on Twitter telling them about our campaign and ask them for their emails so we can send the toolkit directly to them. It’s important for us to know that they believe in our message as we do with them before we bombard them in their inbox. With the support from Greenhouse PR, we selected them not just based on their following count, but also the quality of content that they put out.


Which social media platforms have successfully driven SEforAll’s missions forward and why?

As far as advocacy goes, our Twitter and LinkedIn profiles have had the most impact on SEforALL projects. Twitter is fast-paced and straight to the point and easy to connect with our audiences in the international organization sector. As we (and our partners) always have events, knowledge products to release, it’s usually the first platform we utilize for any campaign. And while LinkedIn is quite the contrary, we’ve used our LinkedIn to establish thought leadership in the energy access scene, as well as show value and appreciation to our staff. It’s also quite surprising but a lot of our youth audiences are mostly on LinkedIn.

We’ve used our LinkedIn to establish thought leadership in the energy access scene, as well as show value and appreciation to our staff. It’s also quite surprising but a lot of our youth audiences are mostly on LinkedIn.

What advice do you have for other organizations that want to build awareness and community around the causes they care about via social media?

Two words—timely and timeless. At SEforALL, we don’t want to be just quick, we also want our content to be relevant yesterday, today, tomorrow. It helps to create content that puts the cause into proper context, one that is straight forward, relatable, short.

At SEforALL, we don’t want to be just quick, we also want our content to be relevant yesterday, today, tomorrow.

We recently did a 2-minute explainer on why we need universal energy access or Sustainable Development Goal 7. It was also created to reach out to those who are not yet familiar with the Sustainable Development Goals in general. We talked about current events, why energy is needed for cold chains for vaccine deployment, why children need energy to access online education, etc. Art and copy have to go hand in hand. At SEforALL, I’m lucky to work with multimedia wordsmiths that make my work easier.


What actions can businesses and individuals take today to make sustainable cooling a reality?

When we think about cooling, the first thing that comes to mind is air conditioning. But cooling for all depends on many different solutions and with the climate, economic, health crises that we are facing, we need to make sure we prioritize efficient and affordable solutions that (1) won’t spike energy demand, and (2) don’t have negative environmental impacts.

Business, corporations, individuals—all stakeholders—can think about cooling solutions in four ways:

  • Passive cooling solutions: no-energy solutions like trees that provide shade or natural ventilation in buildings
  • Policy solutions: governments prioritizing passive cooling in building codes or cities ensuring enough green space to keep the city cool
  • Financial solutions: making energy-efficient refrigerators and air conditioners easier to purchase by the mass public
  • Service solutions: training people and companies how to be more sustainable and how to create sustainable products

To find out where we are in delivering sustainable cooling for all and what the newest cooling innovations are out there, we’re having a virtual event on the release of our 2021 Chilling Prospects report this May 5!


We hope this interview with Meriam helps you get started with or double down on your social media efforts. You can follow Sustainable Energy for All on Instagram here and on Twitter here!

https://buffer.com/resources/empowering-younger-generations-to-take-action/

When Taking Fridays Off Can Help Our Team Get More Done: An AMA on the 4-Day Work Week

When Taking Fridays Off Can Help Our Team Get More Done: An AMA on the 4-Day Work Week

Since we first kicked off a 4-day work week in May 2020, people have had a lot of questions about it. What day are we taking off? How long will we continue this practice? Is everyone really working four-days a week or are some people working more?

Some of the answers to these questions have changed over the last few months, and I’m sure some will continue to change and evolve as we learn more about operating within a four-day work week. A little while ago, I decided to answer questions about our four-day work week policy on Twitter, and I got a fantastic response. I’ve included a high-level recap in this post, but feel free to check out the whole thread if you’d like to see every reply.

Without further ado, here are some of the questions I got about the four-day work week organized into a few top categories, along with my replies and those of Caryn Hubbard, our VP of Finance, and Åsa Nystrom, our VP of Customer Advocacy, who contributed to several answers.

Why a 4-day work week?

Pranay asked: Why did it take a pandemic to implement it and why is a 4 day work week matter – cant it just be about the work itself instead of timing it?

We’ve thought about it for years, and I have a fundamental belief that 5-day workweeks aren’t necessarily optimal. The pandemic meant added stress for all of us, especially for the parents in the team. I wanted to get through it with the team, mentally, in the best position.

I believe that many businesses that are squeezing every last drop they can get out of their companies in terms of profit, productivity, etc. suddenly ran into issues in the pandemic. Growth goals to hit and no profit margin, meant layoffs for many companies.

And when you make layoffs, you erode trust significantly with your team. That can take years to build back. I wanted to build trust with my team through the pandemic. This was one of the best ways that I thought to do it.

How does it work?

Niel asked: Does everyone take the same day off? Or is it up to the individual? Or is it based on teams? Or something more nuanced?

In the beginning, we experimented with teams deciding the day, but knowing which day and having adequate time for cross-team collaboration was a challenge. Frankly it felt quite chaotic. Now, we do Fridays other than Customer Advocacy which rotate the day.

Shubham asked: Which 4 days of the week do you work? M – TH or Tu – Fr or something else? Do you find that the team tries to fit in 5 days of work in 4?

For the majority of the team, we do M – TH. In the beginning I tried Wednesdays as my day off, and enjoyed that but I prefer Fridays now. 3-day weekends are very powerful. I think overall, the team tries to work smarter. Perhaps trying to fit 4.5 days into 4.

David asked: woah didn’t know you were doing this – love it what would your reasons be for going back to 5 day?

The reasons would likely be not achieving our goals, which would be sad because I fundamentally don’t believe it’s putting in hours that will get us there.

And, one key thing is that over time, we’ve realized that 4-days should feel like a privilege, not entitled. So, if you get your tasks and goals for the week done, awesome – take that day off. If you didn’t quite do enough for us to reach our goals, spend part of Friday working.

Scott asked: Doing a 4, 10’s type of deal? Or not tracking exact hours, rather output and movement?

Not tracking exact hours, and more focus on tracking output. The goal is to achieve the same if not more, in less overall hours worked (more along the lines of 4 8’s).

Gaya asked: That’s awesome! Hopefully more companies will follow to normalise this. Q: Did the salaries stay the same? I know people who are holding back from working less because of decrease in pay

No change to salaries at Buffer with our 4-day workweeks. It’s less hours for the same pay. I don’t believe in same hours in less days, because for me 4-day workweeks are really about a more fundamental belief that hours worked are not correlated with results.

Stone asked: Love that you did this! Do you build in any deep work/no meetings time as well? Do you think the pandemic was needed for the transition/will you keep@it when offices reopen? How confident are you that people aren’t working longer 4 days or actually taking Friday off?

For many years we’ve had discussions and focus on deep work, and many teams have a day with no meetings. I don’t think the pandemic was needed to do it, but it was a motivator. I’m confident we’ll keep at it after, too. We’re already 100% remote so no actual offices.

I’m confident in most cases people are taking the Friday off. That said, we also don’t actively discourage working a little on Friday, if the team member feels that is needed to achieve our goals. We have big ambitions for what we can do for customers *and* innovating culture.

How do specific teams and teammates manage a 4-day work week?

Dwija asked: Do you have mothers working as full time employees? If working hours of those 4 days increase – how do they manage? I know it depends on them but just curious. Females are taking a hit – BIG TIME in Covid. ( For example: Yours truly)

From Caryn: We have many mothers and fathers at Buffer. Our shift to the flexibility of a 4 day workweek has been one of the most key things keeping my family of 5 healthy & safe this past year. The trust & flexibility to work the schedule that works for me & my family is everything.

From Joel: To add to the great insights Caryn shared, our decision to try a 4DWW was very much with parents in mind. Working hours haven’t increased. We work hard as a team to strive to achieve our goals without regularly working more hours. More here.

Mark asked: Does customer support participate in the 4-day week? If so, how do you stagger hours / meet customer expectations?

Yes, they do, but we still want to serve customers to the same high level. Over time, we’ve tweaked our 4-day workweek to drive us to push ourselves in the 4-days and feel like we’ve really earned that day off, not entitled to it.

Our customer support team is the one team that switches up the day off in order to make sure we maintain coverage for customers.

Stefan asked: Are the customer-facing teams doing 4-day work weeks as well? If so, are they all off on Fridays? If so, are customers’ emails/calls not answered till Monday?

No, we have to take a slightly more unique approach in our customer service team. We’re fully committed to providing world-class service, and we know the world works M-F (and even weekends). The specific day is different per team member, so more of a relay in that team.

Have y’all had any issues with a handoff from one team member to another in this relay system?

From Åsa: Jumping in to help with this q. No issues! We work in four-day blocks and use an assigned inbox flow to keep consistency in our customer communications. Our team covers most of the globe and are in constant communication across the week to keep on top of issues etc.

Jean asked: Do you have a strong customer support team in terms of number of people? Are you also applying this formula to tech team?

Our customer support team is 21 people out of 85. All teams adopt the 4-day workweek, but we also have goals we strive for and we see the 5th day as something earned not entitled.

Mercer followed up with: Does that mean that your support team doesn’t always get the same time off? How do you strive to protect the time of your customer-facing teams (who so frequently don’t get the same blessings as the other teams around them)?

It’s not necessarily that different for our support team, but it’s often more measurable for a support team. So we aim to be mindful of that. But we also have engineering teams that will work the 5th day if they don’t feel on track. Most teams work 4-days now.

From Åsa: Everyone on the CS team works a 4-day block & has the same days off every week to make sure we have the same ability to disengage and recharge! Being customer-facing doesn’t mean we can’t participate in company initiatives like these, it just means we need to plan a bit more.

Sllyllyd asked: Do the more senior team members stick to four days?

In general, yes. Often the more senior team members are the ones who feel the most accountability and energy for goals, and so we sometimes work the extra day to get make sure we’re on track. It’s not the norm, though, and when we do it’s usually just a couple of hours.

From Caryn: There’s a high level of flexibility and trust that we’ll meet our shared and individual goals w/in the schedule that works best for us. As a mom of 3, my needs look different than fellow colleagues but I thrive with that mutual respect & trust. Sometimes I choose to work 5 days.

How is it going?

Daniel asked: What’s better than you expected? What’s worse than you expected?

Better: The extra day builds in reflection time that we often don’t make room for, where many of us solve problems. So in many ways, we do more meaningful work.

Harder: Purpose becomes even more important. We need to feel driven to do great work in the precious 4 days we have.

Purpose on an org level or individual level?

Both. Especially with the past year we’ve had. The real magic is when org purpose feels intertwined with a personal sense of purpose, something worthy to go after that can really make a difference. If org purpose feels like it serves society, individual purpose usually follows.

Jesse asked: Are people get as much done? Do you have hourly staff?

We have no hourly staff, which is important. This isn’t less hours for less pay, it’s less hours for the same pay. In terms of productivity, that’s hard to measure in this wild past year we’ve had. But, things look promising. Philosophically, I believe we can get as much done.

Awesome. Are people happier and more excited to come to work? Boost in moral? Did you see it level off?

Yes, to all of that! You nailed it. We’ve not felt it level off yet, there’s still a ton of gratitude for the 4-day workweeks 9+ months in.

André-Paul asked: What are the biggest changes you’ve noticed within your team? Any new routines/behaviours/processes?

Well, there’s definitely a new level of gratitude. We’re here, trying out this wild new thing, and gaining this extra day for family or ourselves. It’s awesome. And with that, a sense of alongside gaining flexibility, giving flexibility too.

What I mean by gaining flexibility and giving flexibility is, especially as a global team, we need to be open to meetings once in a while earlier in a morning or late at night, to make everything happen. Especially with a 4-day workweek.

So, a renewed sense of, we’re lucky to have this extra freedom but let’s be smart about how we work in order to make 4-day workweeks really work for us as a company and for customers, so we can keep having them.

Ali asked: Has the rate of burnout gone down?

It’s hard to measure, but I believe absolutely, it has. Or rather, 2020 was a year that drove much more burnout than most years and we minimized the amount in part through implementing the 4-day workweek.

Michelle asked: I can always find more to do. Are people self-disciplined enough to really take Friday off and are people good enough at knowing how much they can really get done in a week or do they set goals that are too lofty and usually end up working Fridays?

Great question. I think it’s somewhere in the middle. I genuinely thing most people now take Fridays off. But, we still have big ambitions as a company and so once in a while we need to work a Friday. The real magic is when the Friday off helps you actually get more done.

Luthfur asked: How are you measuring productivity? Put another way, how do you intend to make the decision on whether this is going well or not.

Ultimately, we will make our decision based on whether we achieve our goals as a company. I fundamentally believe though, that the 5-day workweek is a relic of the industrial era and not necessarily the most effective way to work. So I believe we can achieve our goals in 4DWWs.

One of the benefits we have, is that investors do not control our company. We can take longer term stances and decisions, that we believe will lead to great results in time.

If you or your team are trying a 4-day work week send me a tweet to share how it’s going for you, I’d love to hear about it!

https://buffer.com/resources/ama-4-day-workweek/

3 New Ways Facebook is Helping Brands Manage Their Content and Communities

According to Facebook‘s recent State of Small Business Report, more than half (55%) of small businesses say they’re using digital tools to communicate with customers.

On the heels of this research, the platform announced several new tools and features to help businesses connect with their customers online and grow their communities more efficiently.

Building Community

For businesses that already use the new redesigned Facebook Pages experience, originally unveiled this past January, the platform is introducing additional ways to manage your community and find relevant content from other businesses without having to deviate from the app.

More specifically, businesses can engage as their business profile streamlining routine tasks including commenting, posting and liking. Once a user takes the time to check out or hover a particular update or post, they can tap through a new dedicated feed of listings from these Pages that may align with their top interests.

To further help you save time managing your business account, Facebook suggests leveraging the Professional Dashboard that serves as a central hub for all the key tools as well as actionable Page Insights. A final tip – don’t overlook the ability to set task-based permissions to admins to further monitor who has access to your Page.

Upping discovery

“The need for digital business communications and transactions isn’t slowing down, and we’re continuing to build products that meet the evolving needs of people and businesses as they look to do more online,” Facebook shared in the official announcement. In this vein, it’s rolling out a few noteworthy updates emphasizing the quality versus quantity of leads.

A new ‘Conversion Leads’ goal for Lead Ads allows advertisers to optimize for lead and most likely versus pure volume. Put differently, emphasizing functionality of Lead ads as opposed to going for reach alone. You can also integrate your CRM data with Facebook. Per the platform, Lead ads that used Conversion Leads quality optimization saw on average greater than 20 percent increase in lead-to-sale conversion rate compared with existing optimization.

To drive longer-term relationships, Facebook also introduced the option to convert Lead ads form into Messenger templates. As part of the testing phase, Newsome Interactive added Messenger to its lead-generation strategy and saw more than a 13 percent lift in lead volume.

Finally, new ‘Call Ads‘ will enable advertisers to display a ‘Call Now’ CTA button in their ads. This not only allows advertisers to connect with consumers in real time, but also help improve the overall performance of Call ads and lower the cost per call. In testing, Facebook reports observing a greater than 30 percent cost reduction in cost per quality call during the test, compared to running Call Ads with the Link Clicks optimization goal.

Improving the Business Suite: scheduling stories and editing scheduled posts y

Last year, Facebook rolled out Business Suite with the primary goal of taking the headache out of managing their online presence so they could focus purely on establishing meaningful connections.

A recent survey revealed that two out of three users said Business Suite helped them connect with more customers. Following 2020, however, as a growing number of people and businesses focus their efforts online, and with the future leaning heavily towards digital communications and transactions, the platform wants to take these efforts to the next level.

In its latest push, Facebook is focusing on helping brands streamline content creation by planning, and these new features are designed to do just that.

Here’s what’s new:

  • The ability to compose Stories within the app, then schedule them to go live on both Facebook and Instagram. Your scheduled posts will then be displayed on your content calendar within the Business Suite app.
  • The ability to save all Facebook and Instagram posts as drafts, adding even more planning flexibility for your Stories approach.
  • Coming soon: the ability to publish and manage Facebook Photos and Albums from Business Suite by navigating to the “Posts & Stories” tab.

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The post 3 New Ways Facebook is Helping Brands Manage Their Content and Communities appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2021/04/3-new-ways-facebook-is-helping-brands-manage-their-content-and-communities/

#SMWLA 2021 Preliminary Agenda Is Live!

We’re excited to announce our initial agenda of Main Stage and Academy sessions for the 12th edition of #SMWLA, June 29-July 1.

Secure Your Pass Today and Save Up to $140!

Featuring insights from REVOLVE, PepsiCo, Google, Hulu, Wieden + Kennedy, as well as creators including Hannah Bronfman and Luvvie Ajayi Jones, this year’s program is shaping up to be the best yet and you’ll gain actionable insights into the business of influencer marketing under the umbrella of our annual theme, “Reinvention.”

Take a peek at the new sessions below and don’t wait to register, tomorrow, Friday, April 16th is your last chance to save 40% on your pass.

Disruption, advocacy, and leveraging your brand voice

How to Be a Professional Troublemaker: Fighting Fear with Luvvie Ajayi Jones

Referencing insights from her new book “Professional Troublemaker” join Adweek and Luvvie Ajayi Jones for a conversation unveiling how we can leverage the power of our own voices, personally and professionally, for a greater good and how to drive actions needed to prove the truth of our words in a noisy social media landscape. Learn more.

Turning Passions into Businesses: A Conversation with Hannah Bronfman

Join Adweek in conversation with Hannah Bronfman, founder of HBFIT, as she shares insights and tips learned throughout the evolution of her presence as an advocate and a host, how mommyhood now shapes her views and strategy on social media, and how influencers can make small strides each day to drive positive change in our society from racial injustice to reimagining default standards of “beauty” and “healthy.” Learn more.

The Meme Economy, Building Brands and Catering to the Next-Generation Consumers

The Meme Economy with Reid Hailey

Memes have become one of the most culturally relevant methods for digital communication. Join Doing Things Media Co-founder and CEO, Reid Hailey, to learn how memes are applied to real-time Culturally Relevant Marketing (the new CRM) and how top meme creators (@Shitheadsteve, @Middle Class Fancy, etc.) produce branded content that capitalizes on real-time trends. Learn more.

Building Brands at the Speed of Culture

Join James Andrews, founder of Authenticated Ventures, as he addresses key questions as we navigate this next chapter including If culture is defined by where consumers are paying attention, what are you paying attention to? If authenticity is measured by credibility, how do you know when you are respecting or disrespecting the genres and sub genres? If we have now moved into a fractured and confusing media landscape, how do you know if you have the right personnel on the team with the right skill sets? Learn more.

How REVOLVE Caters to the Next-Generation Consumer

In this session, REVOLVE Chief Brand Officer, Raissa Gerona will explore how REVOLVE is approaching the business of influencer marketing, how they pivot their strategies as the space continues to evolve, and tips for ensuring partnerships move the needle and foster long-term loyalty. Learn more.

Academies: Cultural relevancy, collaborations, and “influence culture”

(Re)volution of Rockstar Energy Drink

2021 has been a year of reinvention and revolution for Rockstar Energy. It launched its first-ever TV commercial during the pre-kick off at the Super Bowl with Lil Baby and shortly thereafter announced a huge partnership with 100 Thieves. Hear from Gabe Alonso, PepsiCo’s Head of Digital Platforms and Community as he explores how the brand is developing key influencer partnerships to drive cultural relevancy and rebuild its brand equity with a new generation of energy drinkers. Learn more. 

“Influence Culture”: The Reinvention of Word of Mouth Marketing via Social Media

Join Hulu’s Head of Brand Social, Tatiana Holifield, to unpack this cultural phenomenon and learn practical ways to reinvent your influencer marketing strategy with credibility and authenticity. You’ll learn how word of mouth marketing creates a halo effect that drives Earned Media, why an Active Listening strategy is integral to mastering ‘Influence Culture,’ and what key forces and consumer dynamics are behind today’s hyper-competitive marketing landscape. Learn more. 

How Google is Evaluating the Return on Influencer Marketing

Join Google’s Global Influencer Marketing Lead, Tobias Rauscher, as he shares how he and his team managed to elevate influencer work to be a part of the broader marketing mix. He’ll also debunk commons myths around measurement frameworks and selling impressions and likes as impact. You’ll learn how to prove the return of influencer marketing and compare effectiveness across the marketing mix, how to think of vanity metrics vs. brand lift and how to think of long-form vs. short-form. Learn more. 

Passing the Pen: The Importance of Collaboration in Brand Partnerships

In this session, join Wieden+Kennedy’s Head of Social, John Petty III, and explore what modern brand partnerships need to look like to succeed in internet culture. You’ll learn how to identify the right collaborations and partnerships for your brand, the essential factors behind creating the best brand partnerships and how to make cultural waves and authentically engage your audience. Learn more.

The post #SMWLA 2021 Preliminary Agenda Is Live! appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2021/04/smwla-2021-preliminary-agenda-is-live/

Recent Entrepreneur Podcast Guests on the Mike Armstrong Podcast & YouTube Channel…

The Mike Armstrong Podcast Show #MikeArmstrongPodcast

Please find some of the recent Podcast guests featured on the Entrepreneur Chats #EntrepreneurChats feature of the Mike Armstrong Podcast #MikeArmstrongPodcast and the Mike Armstrong YouTube Channel #MikeArmstrongYouTube.

Podcast guests

If you are interested in becoming a podcast guest and are an Entrepreneur or Professional Sports Athlete, please contact the Mike Armstrong Podcast Show via this website, and please let us know a little about yourself.

Podcast Guest

If you are looking for podcast guests then please feel free to reach out to Mike Armstrong, who is always happy to appear as a guest on any podcast, social media live or video blog (blog) discussing almost any topic that you have in mind, or one of his chosen expert topics including Business, Entrepreneurship, Sales, Marketing, Social Media, Clubhouse, Leadership, Mindset, Personal Development and Sports etc.

#PodcastGuests

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

Mike Armstrong is looking forward to attending, speaking at and teaching at this event today – #MikeArmstrong

USA Networking

Happy Tuesday Friends!

Please register here before 4pm UK time today.

Join Mike Armstrong #MIkeArmstrong a.k.a the #WelshDragon on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 from 11 am – 1:00 pm Eastern Time Zone (4pm to 6pm GMT) for a SPECIAL show of Networking plus the Singer and Actor Showcase.

THE LINK TO REGISTER TO SHARE WITH FRIENDS IS:  https://bit.ly/BlancaLawsofLife

THE FACEBOOK LINK TO SHARE IS: https://www.facebook.com/events/445495100086568

THE INSTAGRAM STORY TO SHARE IS:  https://www.instagram.com/p/CNkts8IL8O1/

THE LINK FOR FULL AGENDA (PLUS FREE LEARNING SCHEDULE) AND TO APPLY TO BE IN SHOWCASE IS:  https://bit.ly/3uCnNbV

THE PRESS RELEASE IS:  https://bit.ly/LawsofLifePressRelease

THE LINK TO OUR ONLINE MAGAZINE:  https://www.flipsnack.com/F5B6786D75E/online-news-magazine-xp86p9mzhm.html

 

INVITE FRIENDS.

NETWORK.

ENJOY THE SINGER SHOWCASE TOMORROW

HAVE YOUR PITCH READY!

Mingle in Breakout Rooms, Have a one on one

Join the Room of your Choice!

            BLANCA HOST – Led by Blanca to discuss webcasting, podcasting or business strategy

          LOVE HOST – Led by Mother Daughter Dynamic Duo Coach Rochelle Schwartz and Alisha Schwartz

HEALTH HOST – Led by Marc Siegel (Also Judging the Competition)

          REAL ESTATE HOST- Led by Sunny Arfa

          LIFE HOST – Led by Samantha Foster, The Lifehouse Project

          CRYPTO HOST – Led by Alan Hagel and David Shafman

 

GUEST HOST OF THE DAY: SKYLINE SKYLINE AND MARC SIEGEL

GUEST OF THE DAY: Sho-Time.  Read last week’s article about Sho-Time!  http://bit.ly/Shotimerocks

 

DIAMOND SPONSOR:  MARECKI & MEDOLLA, YOUR PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY PUTTING COMMUNITY FIRST.  Mylegaladvocate.com or call them at 561-847-2868 if you have a personal injury and need their help.

 

SPONSORS FOR WINNERS OF SHOWCASE:

 

Guest of Honor and Gift Sponsor @shotimetv

Judge & Speaker @christiansantamaria + 60 minute marketing coaching sesh with Blanca

Radio Interview with @EliDapson

Radio Interview with @Osodiva

Magazine Interview with Authority Magazine

Magazine Interview with Medium Blog

Magazine Interview with Natalee Federal

Beat Gift Sponsor @farikoondatrack

Video Edit Sponsor @jordansantamarianyc

Shirt Giveaway Sponsor @SchebereNewYork

CBD Gummy Gift @quantumperformancecbd

Renu28 Anti-aging and pain gift @the_real_bionic_woman & @Gilat Khorsandi and Stacy Rosman

Glamour Face Mask gift @SOULsticesky

Laws of Life is giving an interview on IG, Magazine feature in THE LOOP and more. Visit www.lawsoflife.shop

 

LAWS OF LIFE LEARNING TEACHERS ON TUESDAY:

 

Christian Santamaria – Marketing for Singers and Actors and “Creatives” (1:30 – 2:00 pm)

Mike Armstrong – SEO Strategies (2:00 pm – 3:00 pm) #MikeArmstrong

Lizeth Alvarado – Instagram (3:00 pm – 4:00 pm)

Blanca – How to Utilize Social Media to Promote a Special Event (4:00 pm – 5:00 pm)

 

Remember to RESERVE Thursday, April 15, 2021  from 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm for Marc Siegel’s Networking Group and join his Spectacular Small Business Facebook group if you have not done so yet!     https://www.facebook.com/groups/2970532012980880

Thank very much in advance for your attendance and for your kindness and friendship.

Blanca

Host

Laws of Life Network

561-543-9040

www.lawsoflife.shop

Published by Mike Armstrong a.k.a the #WelshDragon – https://linktr.ee/mikearmstrong

#MikeArmstrong the #WelshDragon

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

Introducing the First Wave of Speakers for #SMWLA 2021

We’re excited to introduce the first round of leaders who will bring our 2021 theme, “Reinvention,” to life at the 12th edition of #SMWLA taking place June 29 – July 1.

Featuring insights from REVOLVE, PepsiCo, Google, Hulu, Wieden + Kennedy, and creators including Hannah Bronfman and Luvvie Ajayi Jones, gain actionable insights into the business of influencer marketing under the umbrella of our annual theme.

Register today so you don’t miss out any agenda updates in the coming weeks and save 40 percent on your pass when you register before Friday, April 16th.

Creators

 

Hannah Bronfman

Hannah Brongman

Author, Founder of HBFIT, Activist & DJ

Hannah Bronfman is the Founder of HBFIT, a unique destination for all things Health, Beauty + Fitness, a DJ, author of the book “Do What Feels Good,” and entrepreneur. On social media, she inspires her followers to embody a life of health and wellness by sharing her workout regimens and favorite homemade recipes. She is a vocal advocate for social and racial justice. Beginning in June 2020, Hannah began posting “History with Hannah” videos to her IGTV where she tackled voting rights, civil rights history, and the contributions that Black artists and chefs have made to American culture.

 

Luvvie Ajayi Jones

Luvvie Ajayi Jones

New York Times Best-selling Author and Podcaster, “Professional Troublemaker”

Luvvie Ajayi Jones is an award-winning author, speaker and podcast host. Her books include New York Times bestsellers I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual and Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual. Her podcasts “Professional Troublemaker” and “Jesus and Jollof,” tackle culture with both humor and criticism with an underlying aim of making people laugh, think, face their fears and use their voice for the greater good. Luvvie is also the co-founder of the #SharetheMicNow global movement.

 

Building brands

 

Raissa Gerona

Raissa Gerona

Chief Brand Officer, REVOLVE

Raissa Gerona is the Chief Brand Officer of REVOLVE and Co-Founder of Alliance Apparel, which REVOLVE acquired in 2014. In her role, she leads the brand’s strategy at the forefront of marketing to connect with the next-generation consumer through social media and experiential events. In support of this, Raissa oversees brand marketing for more than 20 REVOLVE-owned brands in addition to the company’s owned brand collaborations. These involve global lifestyle influencers such as Chrissy Teigen, Nicole Richie, Aimee Song, and Camila Coelho.

 

Ben Trinh

Ben Trinh

Global Head of Entertainment and Cultural Marketing, Uber

Ben Trinh is the Global Head of Entertainment and Cultural Marketing at Uber. Previously, he served as the entertainment and influencer marketing arm of Postmates, leading successful campaigns which featured John Legend, Chance the Rapper and Billie Eilish. Prior to Postmates, Ben spent several years at Lyft as a city launcher and then Head of Influencer Marketing. Earlier in his career, he led his own agency, Bredfor, which also focused on influencer marketing and served as a foundation for his current role. In his spare time, Ben is also an investor and advisor as well as the host of the celebrity featured podcast, “First and Featured.”

 

Gabe Alonso

Gabe Alonso

Head of Digital Platforms and Community – Energy Drinks, PepsiCo

Gabe Alonso is a seasoned digital strategist, with experience across multiple marketing disciplines spanning digital products, social media, and CRM. In his current role, he spearheads digital Platforms and community for the Energy Drink portfolio at PepsiCo. Previously, he served as industry-defining brands like Activision and Nike, where he drove best-in-class digital storytelling across platforms with an obsessive focus on the consumer. These roles included Global Director, CRM Strategy and 1:1 Marketing and Global Director, Member Programs. In his free time, you can catch Gabe hitting milestones on his Peloton.

 

John “JP” Petty, III

Head of Social, Wieden + Kennedy New York

John Petty, III — “JP” — leads engagement strategy development for the likes of McDonald’s, Bud Light, Ford, Heinz, and Delta at Wieden + Kennedy New York. Prior to his current role, he spent five and half years at advertising agency, Translation. In November of 2017, he was instrumental in launching artist services company, UnitedMasters. He is a hip-hop and sports fanatic well-versed in project management and data analysis, a mix that allows him to combine a connection to culture with a methodical, data-driven approach.

 

James Andrews

Founder, Authenticated Ventures

John Petty, III — “JP” — leads engagement strategy development for the likes of McDonald’s, Bud Light, Ford, Heinz, and Delta at Wieden + Kennedy New York. Prior to his current role, he spent five and half years at advertising agency, Translation. In November of 2017, he was instrumental in launching artist services company, UnitedMasters. He is a hip-hop and sports fanatic well-versed in project management and data analysis, a mix that allows him to combine a connection to culture with a methodical, data-driven approach.

 

Reid Hailey

Head of Social, Wieden + Kennedy New York

Reid Hailey is the CEO and Co-Founder of Doing Things Mediam a digital content and entertainment company that houses the fastest growing library of viral videos on the internet. Under Reid’s leadership, Doing Things owns and operates over 25 of the most culturally relevant brands on social media including ShitheadSteve, NeatDad, AnimalsDoingThings, MiddleClassFancy, DoggosDoingThings, GamersDoingThings, and NoChaser. Since 2017, the company has doubled in size every year, organically garnering an audience of more than 60M followers across social platforms that consume more than 1B videos monthly.

 

Platform leaders

 

Tatiana Holifield

Tatiana Holifield

Head of Social, Hulu

Tatiana Holifield is a seasoned marketing executive with 15 years of experience in media, sports, and entertainment, As Head of Brand Social for Hulu, she leads the streaming giant’s social media marketing strategy to drive earned media and brand awareness. Her unique ability to lead high-performing teams, reach Millennial & Gen Z audiences, and elevate legacy brands through digital innovation has named her one of the industry’s top change agents. Prior to her current role, Holifield was the Vice President/Head of Digital Strategy for Pacers Sports & Entertainment where she one of the Pacers’ highest-ranking women in leadership.

 

Tobias Rauscher

Global Influencer Marketing Lead, Google

Tobias Rauscher is the founding member of Google’s social media team, the Social Lab, and Influencer Marketing Lead where he oversees more than 80 collaborations with social media influencers and YouTube creators to meet marketing objectives. Prior to this role, he served as Social Media Marketing Lead where he drove Google’s global social team, creative excellence, and innovation partnerships across over 100 teams including Google Assistant, Google Maps, and Pixel. In addition to starting #teampixel he built the first social network at the age of 14.

 

The post Introducing the First Wave of Speakers for #SMWLA 2021 appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2021/03/introducing-the-first-wave-of-speakers-for-smwla-2021/

2021 Pay Analysis: How We’ve Lowered Our Gender Pay Gap From 15% to 5.5%

2021 Pay Analysis: How We’ve Lowered Our Gender Pay Gap From 15% to 5.5%

Buffer has been built on the belief that transparency builds trust, holds us accountable, and can push our industry forward. Our salaries have been transparent since 2013, and for the fifth year in a row, we’re sharing our transparent pay analysis. In this report, we share the difference between what men and women earn at Buffer.

We have come a long way in the last five years. Far from the ratio of 70 percent men and 30 percent women on the team when I first wrote this report, this year, we are close to 50/50. And at the time of this report, our leadership team is eight people, five of whom are women.

Here are all of our numbers from our 2021 pay analysis, along with more on the positive impact that transparency has had on the gender pay gap for us.

2021 Pay Analysis

Here’s what the unadjusted gender pay gap looks like at Buffer as of March 2021:  

Buffer team: 83 people
Women: 39
Men: 44

Average salary for women: $123,707
Average salary for men: $131,923
Unadjusted percentage gap: 5.46%

Note: We specify an unadjusted pay gap as we are comparing earnings between all men and all women at Buffer, regardless of their role or experience level. An adjusted pay gap would be the earning gap between people who perform similar roles. We have no adjusted pay gap at Buffer as we use a salary formula for all of our salaries.

About the numbers

For the second year in a row, our gap has gone down, and this year it went down significantly compared to last year.

We’ve been tracking the unadjusted gender pay gap at Buffer monthly since 2019. Here, you can see our progress over the last year, where the gap has gradually gone from 12.5 percent down to 5.5 percent.

2021 Pay Analysis: How We’ve Lowered Our Gender Pay Gap From 15% to 5.5%

Compared to previous years
Here’s a comparison of all of the years we’ve been running this pay analysis. You can also read each full report at the following links: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017.

2021 Pay Analysis: How We’ve Lowered Our Gender Pay Gap From 15% to 5.5%
2021 Pay Analysis: How We’ve Lowered Our Gender Pay Gap From 15% to 5.5%

Our gender pay gap has gone down from 15% to 5% in the last two years — how did that happen?

We’ve been paying close attention to the gender wage gap at Buffer since we first started sharing transparent pay analyses, and we’ve been committed to lowering our gap.

Transparency has been a critical factor in lowering our gender wage gap.

There have been many small shifts we’ve made along the way, but the most significant factor for us has been transparency. We believe that transparency creates accountability, and it’s clear from our example that transparency can have a powerful impact on closing the gender wage gap.

Transparency led to more learning.

Through being transparent, we’ve learned more about the gender pay gap and have been able to keep making changes and adjustments every year. In 2017, when we first ran the report, we didn’t know much about equal pay. We also had a smaller team size with fewer women and later realized that having one high-earning woman on the team made our gap lower in 2017, so our report wasn’t an accurate reflection of the year for us.

In 2019, we had our highest yet gender pay gap — 15 percent —, and that came the year that we also increased the number of women on our team.
The correlation we saw is that when we hired more women, and it made our gap larger because in some cases, those women may have been at lower experience levels, but over the years, we’ve seen that gap slowly decrease as having more women on the team led to more women getting promoted and earning more overall.

Transparency brought more attention to making this change.

The act of reporting the gender wage gap every year has also brought more teams together to focus on how we can improve equal pay at Buffer. It’s not fun to publish a report showing that our gender wage gap is getting worse every year, and several teams have been highly motivated to improve this number.

Our Finance team started tracking gender pay data monthly instead of annually, and it gave us a clearer picture of the impact that new hires and departures have on our overall gap.

Our People team also played a huge role in diversifying our hiring pipeline over the years to bring on more women in higher-earning positions. Our People team’s work is especially impressive considering that as a long-term focused company, we aren’t growing our team considerably year-over-year. Our team size was 72 teammates in 2017 and is 83 teammates now.

The ratio of men and women at Buffer has improved significantly.

When we first started reporting on equal pay, we were 70 percent men and 30 percent women at Buffer. That meant that any change to the women at Buffer had a significant impact on this number, and it was much more likely to fluctuate when women joined or left Buffer.
Since then, our gender split has become nearly 50/50 with 44 men and 39 women on the team, and at the time of this report, our leadership team at Buffer is eight people, five of whom are women.

We’re confident about this positive downwards trend.

Now, we can safely say that our five percent gap isn’t a result of one high-earning person on the Buffer team. This consistent decrease of our gap over the last two years is a result of many areas of work, and it isn’t going to change drastically in one month.

What’s next for equal pay at Buffer?

We’re proud that our gender pay gap is at 5.5 percent, much lower than the industry average. We’ll continue doing everything we’re doing and closely watching our gender pay gap throughout the year. We’ll continue working towards no unadjusted gender pay gap and focusing on diversity overall in our hiring. We’re also hoping that our journey can help others looking to tackle the gender wage gap.

If you know of other companies sharing their gender wage gap publicly, or if you’d like to share yours publicly, please reach out. We’d be happy to chat!

Want to work at a company with pay transparency? We’re hiring, check out our open roles!

https://buffer.com/resources/2021-pay-analysis/

How We Decide What To Pay Our Team: Our Salary Formula and Compensation Philosophy

How We Decide What To Pay Our Team: Our Salary Formula and Compensation Philosophy

Compensation is an important topic at any company. At a company like Buffer, where our salaries have been transparent since 2013, compensation is a transparent internal discussion where the whole Buffer team can share thoughts and feedback.

A lot has changed in our salary formula over the past few years. We took a very simple formula and made it more accurate to the labor market, and most recently, we’ve been focused on improving our formula to make it a true benchmark for a remote-first world.

In this post, we’ll share an overview of our compensation philosophy and a simple explanation of our salary formula. Transparency is an incredibly powerful tool, and we hope that sharing our approach to compensation can help others who are currently navigating this space.

How we think about compensation

Our approach to compensation has evolved over the years, and our salary formulas have taken various forms, but a few fundamental pillars of our overall compensation philosophy haven’t changed.

Ultimately, we view compensation and benefits as the set of tools that empower our teammates to bring their best to Buffer so that we can share that same generosity in service of our customers. We want every single customer interaction to be a delightful experience. By ensuring our team members are fulfilled and engaged with their work, we can build the solutions and tools that support our customers to achieve success and fulfillment in their personal and work lives.

These key principles guide all the decisions we make about our team’s compensation and benefits:

Transparency: We openly share our approach and all salaries to create trust, hold ourselves accountable, and serve as a resource for the industry.

Simplicity: We aim to maintain an easy-to-understand formula that allows anyone to easily see how we arrive at any individual salary.

Fairness: We ensure that those with the same role and responsibilities who are at the same experience level are paid equitably.

Generosity: We pay above market to attract the team we need, thrive as individuals, and avoid exceptions and inequity resulting from negotiation.

Our salary formula

Every base salary at Buffer is derived from our salary formula. The formulaic approach minimizes biased decisions about compensation. This has been a valuable tool to ensure our awareness of any gender wage gap since our salary formula is rooted in objective market factors applied consistently across the team. Read our latest pay analysis for more insights into equal pay at Buffer.

Our formula is your role x cost of living = your salary.

How we determine role compensation

We benchmark each role to data from Radford, a platform that gathers compensation and benefits data from companies participating in global surveys twice per year. The role benchmark is based on the software industry and the 50th percentile of San Francisco market data. We selected San Francisco as a part of our principle of generosity as it is a competitive labor market.

How we apply cost of living

After we’ve benchmarked for position and experience level, we multiply by a cost of living factor that objectively considers one of four geographical areas in comparison to San Francisco’s cost of living and property price index.

High cost of living
100% of the San Francisco market = multiply by 1.
Examples: San Francisco, CA & New York, NY

Intermediate cost of living
90% of the San Francisco market, multiply by 0.90
Examples: Singapore & Sydney, Australia

Average cost of living
85% of the San Francisco market, multiply by 0.85
Examples: Boulder, CO & Madrid, Spain

Low cost of living
75% of the San Francisco market, multiple by 0.75
Examples: Bangalore, India & Wroclaw, Poland

These cost of living multipliers take into account being a global team while closing the gap found in traditional compensation approaches.

To see this formula in action, check out our Salaries page with the whole Buffer team’s transparent salaries.

The future of our salary formula

For the past few years, we’ve had the goal to further simplify our formula and do away with the cost of living consideration as a component of the formula. In practice, this would mean we’d eliminate the low, average, and intermediate bands to pay everyone at the same level of San Francisco market salaries.

The result of this shift would be a $1.2 Million increase in operating expenses based on the team we have today (March 2021).  While this change remains a consideration, we’ve deliberately set a goal to do this incrementally rather than all at once. Investing in our team is important, though we must weigh trade-offs, and in this season for Buffer, we believe that expanding our team size is more in line with serving our customer’s needs.  

Meanwhile, we’re also seeing market shifts that are bound to impact global compensation. With more companies embracing remote work, access to talent is no longer dependent on the local talent pool. You don’t need to live in Silicon Valley or New York City to work for companies headquartered in those areas. You also don’t need to headquarter in those cities to access top talent! While we’ve never looked only at local market to benchmark our salaries, we recognize that cost of living will likely become more and more irrelevant as part of the movement towards supporting a global workforce.  

Want to work on a team that has transparent salaries? Check out our current job openings here.

https://buffer.com/resources/compensation-philosophy/

How Facebook is Diversifying Monetization Options for Creators

Per new Facebook reports, fom 2019 to 2020, the number of content creators earning the equivalent of $10,000 per month grew 88 percent and content creators earning $1,000 per month grew a whopping 94 percent.

To further support its bustling community of creators, the platform recently unveiled several new updates and features to help them diversify their revenue options whether it’s a primary business or a side hustle. Here’s a recap of what’s new.

  • Earn revenue from short-form video: Content creators can monetize all video types and testing sticker ads in Stories.
  • Opening monetization to more content creators: Facebook is expanding in-stream ad eligibility allowing more video creators access to the program. In addition, Facebook is opening up in-stream ads for Live and expanding paid online events and fan subscriptions to more countries.
  • Accelerating fan support: Content creators have easy access to fan support while growing consumer adoption via free Stars giveaways to viewers.

Diversifying reach through short-form video

Looking to the expanding format of short-form video — Facebook revealed that creators will now be able to earn money from videos as short as one minute long, “with a minimally interruptive ad running at 30 seconds.” For reference, in the past creators and brands could only monetize with in-stream ads of videos three-minutes or longer with the ad itself shown no earlier than 1 minute.

In the announcement written by Facebook’s Director of App Monetization, Yoav Arnstein, explained the growth trajectory of in-stream adds across video partners of all sizes – with ad payouts increasing over 55 percent from 2019 to 2020 alone.

“We’ll begin testing the ability for content creators to monetize their Facebook Stories with ads that look like stickers and receive a portion of the resulting revenue,” Arnstein explained. The broader goal is to further the development of these in-stream ad formats that lend to diverse, engaging experiences amongst relevant audiences though rewards or product interactions.

With this, the company unveiled updated eligibility criteria for those who quality for monetization. These include:

  • 600,000 total minutes viewed from any combination of video uploads – on-demand, Live and previously Live – in the last 60 days.
  • Five or more active video uploads or previously Live videos. Videos must be published, not deleted, and compliant with our Content Monetization Policies.

Driving revenue through Live with Stars

Live is another key area of focus for Facebook. As part of the push, the platform is delivering new live video monetization options to a previously invite-only program. More specifically, those looking to add in-stream ads in their live broadcasts will need to have 60,000 Live minutes viewed in the last 60 days. Aside from in-stream ads for Live, the company is boosting awareness of its Stars gift-giving program. Per the announcement, over the past six months people sent video and gaming creators an average of 1 billion Stars per month, equal to $10 million per month.

“During certain Star-enabled livestreams, some people will see an offer to claim free Stars that they can send at their discretion to their favorite content creators to boost their visibility and connection with the creator and add to the creators’ earnings,” said Arnstein.
While Stars lends itself primarily to the Live format, Facebook is experimenting with Stars across different formats including a new test of Stars for video-on-demand and Stars options for short-form video clips.

Bringing fan subscriptions and paid online events into more regions

2020 was a testament to the power of digital in bringing people together. From sporting events, cooking classes, Live podcast recordings, virtual tours, make-up tutorial and more, brand and creators continue to expand the scope of how they connect with new and larger audiences and monetize their efforts. To continue the momentum, Facebook is bringing paid online events to an additional 24 countries including Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Ireland.

Similarly, Facebook is also expanding its fan subscription feature. To date, there are over 1 million active fan subscriptions to content creators on Facebook and paid online events are in 20 countries. The fan subscription feature is currently in more than 25 markets and, with a new push, will made available an additional 10 countries including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.

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The post How Facebook is Diversifying Monetization Options for Creators appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2021/03/how-facebook-is-diversifying-monetization-options-for-creators/

3 Ways Gen-Z is Empowering a Digital Economy

In partnership with Oxford Economics, Snapchat recently set out to explore the role of Gen Z in driving the post-pandemic recovery, digital economy, and their impact in marketing efforts and what this means for the industry at large.

We’ll take a closer look at some of the themes and trends unveiled by the findings, but amongst the key pieces of information in the report include:

  • Gen Z will support $3.1 trillion of spending by 2030 across six key markets studied: Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States
  • The global AR market is projected to expand four-fold by 2023
  • Technology and COVID-19 are set to transform skills demand, with the majority of jobs to require advanced digital skills
  • A greater emphasis for the future workforce will be put on skills such as agility, curiosity, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving playing into Gen Z’s natural strengths

Gen-Z: the engines of consumer spending

Gen Z is set to emerge as an independent and powerful source of consumer spending. While most of this cohort are on the periphery of the labor market given their age, this is set to change drastically in the coming years. Specifically, their consumer spending will increase more than six-fold, from $467 billion in 2019 to $3 trillion in 2030, equivalent to 11 percent of total household spending. Further, Gen Z’s share of total employment will rise noticeably from a mere 10 percent in 2019 to 30 percent in 2030.

Beyond digital competence, Snapchat highlighted several key characteristics that will set Gen Z-ers up for success in workforce. These include agility through absorbing information quickly and responding to new challenges with an open and innovative mindset. They’re also more creative and compared to their older cohorts and very curious to engage in forms of communication and content creation including AR, emojis, lenses and filters.

The evolving AR market

It’s no secret that COVID-19 will act as a significant disruptor, accelerating shifts towards a more digital society and fundamental changes that will transform our world of work.

One of the fastest-growing technologies many have their eyes on is AR. Outlined in Snapchat’s report, it is estimated that the global AR market revenue nearly quadrupled between 2018 and 2020. The next three years are expected to be marked by a similar trend with estimates projecting a 10x increase by 2023 from 2018. Stats aside, what is key to note is that AR’s characteristics pave the path for a significant demand in digital skills comparable to that seen in 2010 with the rise of social media platforms.

Allowing new forms of expression, entertainment, utility and information-gathering it is not only essential to how brands attract attention and connect emotionally at scale, but the technology is facilitating immersive experiences that are redefining retail and online beauty. According to research by Shopify, interactions with AR/3D garnered nearly 94 percent more conversion to sales compared to non-AR channels. Outside of marketing and e-commerce AR will continue to transform how we experience healthcare, education, architecture, entertainment and manufacturing.

The future of learning and re-skilling for a dynamic workforce

While the disruption to formal education amongst Gen Z is a key concern following 2020, the impact on their labor market prospects remains uncertain. To put the rise of online learning into context, platforms such as Coursera and edX enrolled over 180 million students in courses in 2020, up by 1,000 percent compared to five years earlier. As we face increased reliance on remote working, Snapchat’s analysis points to Gen Z’s higher digital competence as largely supportive to their adaptation to this new way of working.

Additionally, in common with all recessions, the pandemic is set to accelerate a new wave of automation driving demand for creativity and curiosity in the workplace—two of the inherent traits of Gen Z mentioned earlier. With this, the increased importance of lifelong learning is set to rise with workers required to adapt to more rapidly evolving demands. This involves picking up new technologies and software to spur new ways of doing business, respond to the structural changes and challenges, and re-skill in a dynamic workforce that will set the tone for the 2020s.

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The post 3 Ways Gen-Z is Empowering a Digital Economy appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2021/03/3-ways-gen-z-is-empowering-a-digital-economy/

How The Clubhouse Phenomenon Could be Utilized as a Marketing Strategy

If you don’t happen to be familiar with the unique audio-based social network, Clubhouse, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many haven’t had the chance to use it because they’re either not on an iOS device or they haven’t received an invite. However, it’s likely that marketers will soon wake up en masse to the potential of this platform as a unique opportunity to win new leads and leverage fresh conversions for their business. 

Despite launching in May 2020, by the end of the year Clubhouse was enjoying having over 600,000 registered users, despite a lack of presence on Android devices and online. 

Clunhouse User Growth

(Image: Backlinko)

As we can see, in early 2021 Clubhouse downloads have spiraled past six million thanks in no small part to Elon Musk’s advocacy of the platform. The growth of Clubhouse appears set to continue to spiral due to the network’s unique invite-only framework, where users are unable to simply sign up to the app without first receiving a user invitation. 

Clubhouse non-us markets

(Image: Backlinko)

While the vast majority of Clubhouse users are based in the US, the market is expanding rapidly across Germany, Japan, and the UK. Other English-speaking nations like Canada and Australia are experiencing an increasing number of downloads while Turkey’s relatively young population is among another significant nation of large early adopters. 

But what actually is this new social media network that’s spent the past year steadily embarking towards global domination? And why could Clubhouse provide marketers with a golden opportunity to connect with their audience in a brand new way? Let’s look at how Clubhouse can be utilized as a marketing strategy:

What is Clubhouse

Clubhouse is a social audio chat app where users have the ability to tune into interviews, conversations, and discussions between people on various topics. Think of the platform as a podcast, or a streaming service like Twitch, only the content is live audio. Once the discussion has finished, the content is gone and there are no recordings available afterward. 

For the time being, only existing users are capable of inviting others. This means that to sign up, users will need to know somebody who has already registered to the platform themselves to get in. Meanwhile, anybody can download the app on iOS to reserve a username – and then it’s a case of waiting to get an invite to dive in. 

The reason behind this rather unique approach to Clubhouse stems from the fact that the creators are still developing the platform and working to develop safety features and guidelines ready for more broad adoption. When the app can handle large audiences, plans are in place to open it up for everyone to use. 

This closed-circuit release of Clubhouse may have inadvertently – or indeed deliberately – become an excellent marketing ploy by its creators. The scarcity of invites has created a buzz around the app that may not have existed to the same extent if everybody had the chance to join in and eavesdrop on conversations from the word ‘go’. 

Furthermore, a number of factors like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the sustained popularity of podcasts, the free time that remote work has generated and general widespread video fatigue appear to have combined to make Clubhouse the ideal social app at the ideal time. 

Ray Wang, Constellation Research principal analyst and founder described Clubhouse as “the modern version of AM talk radio democratizing a digital society. The other unwritten part of the business model is a way to reward content creators with a new platform.”

Clubhouse taps into the popularity of podcasts while allowing users to multitask as they engage in the app. Unlike with copy and video, listeners to audio can do tasks like exercising, cleaning, or checking our inboxes as we hear the individuals we follow talk live. 

The Potential That Clubhouse Holds for Marketers

So, what makes Clubhouse a great fit for brands? The answer to this depends on your business, and what you’re looking to achieve from your campaigns. 

At the moment, Clubhouse has displayed significant potential for boosting users as thought leaders and expanding audiences within their respective niche. 

In terms of use cases, it’s been reported that some attorneys have already been able to find new clients via Clubhouse by using the platform as an opportunity to share their expertise and demonstrate their value to followers within dedicated rooms – while some brands have even begun sponsoring discussions on the app and sharing business insights in rooms of their own. 

This appears to be the most significant benefit for brands. The platform is a hub for sharing knowledge and insight through the means of various discussions that can build on community connections. These demonstrators of value could hold significant value too with Clubhouse rooms currently seeing high levels of engaged, active users. 

As a marketer, you could ensure that your brand sparks the right topic of discussion and use it to draw in a refined and engaged audience – helping, in turn, to boost your presence and maximize audience reach. 

How to Run Campaigns on Clubhouse

While it’s reasonable to expect Clubhouse to introduce some form of advertising opportunities for businesses in the near future as the app grows, there’s real value in creating your own campaigns that are geared towards demonstrating expertise and engaging with a new audience. 

By using Clubhouse to set up a room of your own, you can use the app to grow your own community of followers who are interested in your business’ content and thus more likely to act on their interest and make a purchase. To get started on Clubhouse – assuming that you’ve managed to access an invite – here’s a step-by-step guide to building your own room:

1. Find People, Rooms, and Clubs to Follow

 

 

Start a room

(Image: Social Media Examiner)

One of the most significant things you can do as a marketer on Clubhouse is to be strategic with who and what you follow. Following too many random accounts can lead you to have access to too many rooms that you’re not interested in. Take care in who you follow – the hallway will generally show you only rooms that match your perceived interests. 

2. Begin Building a Vibrant Network of Users

 

 

Network

(Image: Social Media Examiner)

When you enter rooms, you’ll see a breakdown of the individuals around you. The people in the room are broken down into three categories. Firstly, you’ll have the stage which consists of those speaking to the audience. Then, there’s the front row. The front row consists of the individuals in attendance who the speakers themselves follow. Finally, the third section is the audience. 

When you click on the people on the stage and the front row, you can access information about them. This can help you to determine who to follow and how you can build your connections within the app. 

3. Optimize Your Portfolio to Build a Following

Your Clubhouse bio is where you can tell your audience exactly what you want to be known for. What you include in your bio will play a key role in how people find you in the member directory, so be sure to use a healthy array of keywording to get you noticed. 

Rather than a traditional online bio, invest time in creating an extended informational bio, and don’t be afraid to include emojis. Here, you want to stand out. Mention where you work, your title, content channels, and social profiles – as well as any clubs you’ve already launched. 

To build a following, enter rooms that are relevant to your industry and get to know the people who regularly visit them. As you get more active and show up more, the people who host those rooms could invite you to come on stage where your audience will notice you. The more time you get on stage, the more followers you’ll attract

Don’t waste time when you’re talking. Don’t introduce yourself or your field of work, or even your business. Simply ask or answer a question clearly and succinctly and offer value based on your expertise alone. When you effectively engage with your audience, they’ll feel compelled to click on your bio and read more about yourself and your business. 

4. Begin Hosting Your Own Rooms on Your Terms

 

 

Host

(Image: Good Housekeeping)

When you create a room, you automatically become a moderator for that room. As a moderator, you can control who comes up on stage, who gets muted, and who can join you in the role of moderator. 

Here, your goal is to bring order to the room and anticipate what the audience wants and needs. Sometimes that could mean taking a short break, where you can ask your audience to give moderators a follow. When the audio content resumes, you can even suggest listeners ping their contemporaries into the room to listen along. 

Having your own room means that you get to curate your content. You can invite your business’ industry experts to the stage in a bid to demonstrate why their knowledge can be a vital component in earning clients money, or you can tap into the diverse qualities of Clubhouse’s global audience by including voices from all around the world. 

New event

(Image: WikiHow)

To start a room, all you need to do is to create an event and schedule it. There are two caveats to creating your room that need to be addressed. Firstly, it’s important to ensure that you’ve networked enough to begin drawing an audience into your room. Preaching to an empty room can be a waste of valuable time spent on campaigns elsewhere. 

It’s also key to ensure that your room is scheduled well enough in advance and at a convenient time that doesn’t clash with any competitor discussions that could take your audience away from you. 

Building a Vibrant Community With Clubhouse

The explosion of Clubhouse onto the social media scene has come at a time when users are looking to favor companies with authentic and trustworthy branding rather than corporate giants with decades of accumulated brand loyalty. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a time of deep financial uncertainty and a steady stream of news events. In this era, consumers want to find confidence in brands that appear to share the values of their consumers. In creating live, uncensored and unscripted rooms through Clubhouse, your brand has the chance to demonstrate genuine value while offering users the chance to benefit from your expertise for free. 

HubSpot’s social media community manager, Krystal Wu explained that “Clubhouse offers a lot of opportunities for connection with celebrities, a vast variety of people in different industries, and even close friends. It opens the door for live conversations allowing people to be vulnerable within a community space. This type of connection is unique to deliver audio content with small to large groups of people. Its unscripted content that anyone can be a part of.”

By setting up rooms to discuss your industry and your brand’s position and potential to deliver leading service, it’s possible to win dedicated fans and followers who are more likely to reward your willingness to share your knowledge by choosing your business to make a purchase. 

As marketers utilize this early and largely untapped market, it’s vital to bring in analytics platforms to observe your progress. Insights provided by Google Analytics and Finteza can map how audiences receive your Clubhouse content and use it to inform their purchasing decisions. You can build a custom funnel that will show you exactly how visitors from Clubhouse navigate and behave on your website, how many of them convert and where they exit. 

Conversion funnel

Through studying the flow of traffic and subsequent conversions, you can make informed decisions on how to approach the market and how much time to commit to the app. 

Brands that use Clubhouse have a brand new opportunity to earn credibility by discussing topics that they’re experts on. However, they could also earn greater trust because they’ve made themselves available to listen and talk candidly with their audiences. 

This level of trust-building with potential customers is a chance that shouldn’t go begging in the value-driven climate of 2021.

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The post How The Clubhouse Phenomenon Could be Utilized as a Marketing Strategy appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2021/03/how-the-clubhouse-phenomenon-could-be-utilized-as-a-marketing-strategy/

Inside Our Engineering Mentorship Program and How It Helps Our Engineers Grow

Inside Our Engineering Mentorship Program and How It Helps Our Engineers Grow

Our Engineering team is the largest team at Buffer. It has a lot of moving pieces and is composed of several smaller teams. As with any large team, we’re keen to make sure no one individual lacks guidance or an opportunity to grow. In this post, I’ll share a little bit more about how we’ve done that through a new program at Buffer that we’ve already had a lot of success with, our Engineering Mentorship Program.

Why a mentorship program?

Over the years on our Engineering team, we’ve had great results from engineers pairing and sharing knowledge. We’ve also seen spontaneous mentorship relationships form and are currently at a point where we have several senior engineers who naturally fill the role of a mentor for a more junior team member.

These relationships proved to be extremely beneficial both for the junior and the senior engineers’ growth and have helped the teams be more cohesive and move faster. To extend the mentorship opportunities to more engineers, we’ve decided to launch an official Mentorship Program in the Engineering team, to add momentum to existing relationships and form new ones between engineers interested in growing as mentors or learning from one.

One of our main focuses on the Engineering Management team is helping engineers grow and advance in our career framework. At the same time, they learn and apply best practices to improve our codebase quality over time.

In the past, we’ve heard some confusion from our engineers around how investing in code quality and best practices relates to our career framework, and concerns that some technical debts might be making it more challenging to advance for newer engineers. This Mentorship Program feels like it has helped to level up more junior engineers, something we’re always keen to do more of.

How we’ve set up our mentorship program

There are three roles in our Engineering Mentorship Program: mentors, mentees, and mentorship champions.

Mentors

Mentors are senior engineers who have a depth of experience to develop the skills of others. They have regular meetings with their mentees and provide a safe space for the mentee to think out loud and be a sounding board to explore new ideas and innovative thinking.

Mentors can also be the personal cheer squad for a mentee, motivating mentees to achieve their goals and inspiring mentees with a mentor’s own accomplishments.

Mentors will share best practices, code quality, testing, refactoring, and how those relate to our engineering career framework. A mentee’s promotion is a sign of success! A mentor’s goal is to grow mentees technically, and promotions are one (but of course not the only) way that growth shows up.

Mentors will help identify and solve problems and provide practical, timely advice, and pair program to help remove any blockers and share knowledge.

Mentees

Mentees are engineers that feel they could benefit from having a mentor to guide career and skill growth. They don’t have to be “more junior” necessarily. A Senior Back-End Engineer who wants to learn front-end could be a mentee, too.

This program is for mentees, so they own the relationship and are responsible for organizing and driving all meetings with their mentor. They shouldn’t wait for their mentor to drive this growth. In their discussions, they should prepare tasks they want help with and code examples.

Mentees are responsible for implementing and growing from the feedback their mentor gives them. It’s on the mentee to take the advice and run with it.

Mentorship Champions

We’ve tried mentoring before, but we’ve had something missing: supporting our mentors. To fix this, we came up with the idea of Mentorship Champions. These are team members who are amazing mentors themselves, have extensive experience with teaching mentoring engineers and are highly experienced engineers.

Mentorship Champions regularly meet with mentors to provide guidance and support on how to be a great mentor. They help with any blockers, challenges, or frustrations that mentors might have and give feedback on the program to the Mentorship Manager to make sure it’s successful.

The difference between a mentor and a manager

Although there are some similarities in the mentorship and management relationships, such as helping and guiding team members to achieve certain goals, there are also key differences.

A manager’s focus is generally on achieving organizational and team goals, as well as ensuring their advice and decisions are aligned with the organizational vision. With a mentor, the focus shifts to personal and career growth. The agenda of a mentor-mentee relationship is focused on sharing knowledge and experience.

A manager is responsible for reviewing the contributions of an employee and giving performance feedback, while mentor feedback and reviews are personal communication targeted to help a mentee remain focused on their long-term goals.

Open and candid communication is a key element in a mentor-mentee relationship. In fact, the entire purpose of the relationship is to openly talk about mentees shortcomings and learn how to overcome them with the help of an experienced mentor, while it can be trickier to talk about ones technical gaps with a manager.

In short:
Mentors give answers; managers ask questions
Mentors advocate for you; managers develop you
Mentorship is casual; management is formal
Mentorship is personal; management is organizational

Key principles of this program

To help guide our mentors and mentees, we’ve defined some key principles of this program:

A mentorship session is all about the mentee.

It’s the mentee’s time, so the mentor should focus the session around them, their questions, and what they need. The mentor should also be prepared to fill in the gaps that the mentee does not bring or struggles to see for themselves.

Mentors help their mentees grow technically by supporting their mentee’s identity and interests.

The program’s aim is not to take a one-size-fits-all approach. It provides the tools and support for mentors to help everyone flourish in their own unique way.

Not everyone needs a mentor.

Some people learn best alone, or from casual chats with lots of different people, or they might already be getting everything they need at this moment from their manager and do not require additional mentoring.

An engineer does not need to be a mentor to grow.

There are other ways for engineers to expand in their careers and our mentorship program isn’t a requirement in our career framework.

Feedback from the Mentorship Program

Initially, we ran this program as a six-month experiment. After the first 6-months, we asked those who participated for feedback on the program and if they wanted it to continue.

The feedback we got from the program was extremely positive, showing that these kinds of relationships and the support the program provides has been very useful for the growth of both mentees and mentors.

Here are a few highlights:

  • […] I believe this mentorship has been the biggest factor in my growth at Buffer
  • […] the mentorship syncs are definitely one of the most helpful syncs I have
  • […] it’s a very positive experience overall, really enjoy building a trust relationship with my mentees, and seeing them progressing, it’s a rewarding experience for sure. It’s also a good way for me get more involved with different product areas, and problems, outside of my strict day to day work
  • This program has been an amazing help for me, I’ve been enjoying every single one of the calls I’ve had […], my mentor always challenges me and he has helped me to grow by doing the things I love.
  • […] “it’s been only a joy full of learning and mutual trust. I felt that we were able to bond together and discuss many things on career framework, personal growth and technical decisions in our organization”

Based on the feedback and individual chats with engineers, we decided to continue the Mentorship Program indefinitely with a few changes.

What we’ve changed in the program

Adding more Mentorship Champions

One of the Mentorship program’s identified benefits was having dedicated support for our mentors through Mentorship Champions. So far, this role was fulfilled solely by our Staff Engineer, Mike San Roman, making it difficult to scale and add more mentorship pairings (support more mentors). Because of that, we decided to add additional senior engineers and experienced mentors as Mentorship Champions.

Introducing regular mentorship chats

There have been important topics that emerged from this experiment, such as ensuring the program is inclusive and diverse, supporting and growing women mentors, and making the program more transparent and collaborative with Engineering Managers.

For this reason, we are now holding once-a-month calls between Mentorship Champions to discuss the above points, chat about any recurring themes in mentorship, and share learnings and updates with the Engineering Management team and wider Engineering team.

Introducing async office-hours

It has been quite tricky to gather mentors and mentorship champions on one call since so many of our team are in various time zones. With the 4 day work-week and leaning more towards asynchronous communication, we decided to introduce async office-hours where, on a dedicated day, everyone will share their updates asynchronously in our private Slack channel. The updates will include any successes, challenges, blockers, and celebrations that emerged during the past few weeks.

So far, we’ve seen great results from the mentorship program for the Engineering team, and we’re excited to keep investing in it and supporting our engineers in their career journey.

https://buffer.com/resources/engineering-mentorship/

How a Candle Company Uses Social Media to Drive a Better Customer Experience

How a Candle Company Uses Social Media to Drive a Better Customer Experience

The best marketers today are building loyal fans by engaging with their audience in the comments and in messages. By approaching every conversation with genuine interest, they are leveraging social media to drive a remarkable and unforgettable customer experience that has fans coming back over and over again. But how exactly can you create this remarkable customer experience on social media?

One marketer that has mastered the art of social media to drive a better customer experience is Bryanna Evans. She’s the Social Media Manager at Southern Elegance Candle Company (SECC), a home fragrance and budding lifestyle brand that captures the warmth and hospitality that the South is known for. Not only has her focus on engagement helped them build loyal fans, but it’s also helped them double or triple their revenue, as its founder and CEO D’Shawn Russell told us: “Our social media makes us a lot of money… We went from doing maybe $20,000-30,000 a month just posting pretty images to well over a $100,000 a month now simply by engaging people more.

Read on for a behind-the-scenes look at how SECC creates a positive customer experience on social media that has customers coming back over and over again. You’ll hear directly from Bryanna Evans, Social Media Manager at SECC, and you’ll learn:

  • How a positive customer experience on social media can bring significant value to your business
  • How your audience can help you with your business’ marketing and product development strategy
  • The tool Bryanna uses to more efficiently engage with SECC’s audience
  • What social platforms are most successful for customer engagement
How a Candle Company Uses Social Media to Drive a Better Customer Experience

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

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

Tell us more about you! What’s Southern Elegance Candle Co. (SECC) all about and what’s your role there?

Southern Elegance Candle Company is a home fragrance and budding lifestyle brand that captures the warmth and hospitality that the South is known for. The fragrances we offer are inspired by our CEO, D’Shawn Russell’s experiences growing up in the South. Through our products, individuals are able to experience the joys of southern-living no matter where they are.

My name is Bryanna Evans and the role I play at Southern Elegance is multifaceted, but my major responsibilities include social media management and overseeing customer service. Although many think of them as separate entities, I feel that they overlap quite a bit. Both assist in my process for developing strategies that appeal to consumers, content creation, and building authentic connections with our audience.

How a Candle Company Uses Social Media to Drive a Better Customer Experience

Why does customer experience on social media matter?

In this digitally charged age, everything is at the touch of our fingertips. We’ve been conditioned to expect information just as quickly as we consume it. The same holds firm for customer experience on social media. It’s often the first impression potential consumers have of the company and whether it’s worth investing in them, (browsing their social media platforms, following accounts, purchasing products). It can make or break a brand.

How does SECC create a positive customer experience on social media?

We use our platforms to cultivate a welcoming environment centered around unity and inclusivity. Our tagline ‘Modern Values, Southern Charm’ plays a huge role in our content creation process- from graphics to captions, we try our best to ensure that anyone who comes across our feed feels accepted. We engage with our audience as if we’re long-time friends whether they’ve been following since the beginning or just visiting out of curiosity. That energy also translates into how we approach questions, answer comments, email, and DM’s.

We engage with our audience as if we’re long-time friends whether they’ve been following since the beginning or just visiting out of curiosity. That energy also translates into how we approach questions, answer comments, email, and DM’s.

What are SECC’s most successful social platforms for customer engagement and why?

Instagram and Facebook are our most successful platforms, with TikTok on their heels. I would credit our success to our genuine interests in our audience. The internet has made many skeptical- It’s often hard to know if a brand really cares about you as a consumer or just your money. This feeling can be amplified through robocalls and chatbot assistants. If someone comments on our posts, we comment back. If they call they’re met with a welcoming voice. We spark conversations through quizzes, videos, contests & giveaways.

I would credit our success to our genuine interests in our audience. If someone comments on our posts, we comment back. If they call they’re met with a welcoming voice. We spark conversations through quizzes, videos, contests & giveaways.

How a Candle Company Uses Social Media to Drive a Better Customer Experience
Instagram post found here.

How do you learn from your community to help guide your marketing and product development strategy?

Our community is very vocal about what they desire from us. We often get messages regarding fragrances and products they want to return or see. However, in the event that we decide to launch a new product or scent, we try to include them in the process as much as possible. We allow them to test scents, vote for new fragrances, and name candles. We actively seek their feedback and test interest in future projects through story polls, surveys, and asking questions.

How a Candle Company Uses Social Media to Drive a Better Customer Experience
Facebook post found here.

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

We always have a lot going on, so content is planned on a weekly basis. Personally, organization is key. I have to manage my time wisely; to do so I use a personal planner, a social media planner, and two whiteboards. One whiteboard has a tentative time-based schedule written out. This allows me to pivot if something arises and I need to help out on the floor or have an influx of calls for the day. The other contains important reminders for upcoming projects and tasks.

My workday usually starts at 8 AM. When I arrive I review my planners, and reminders for the day. The next hour of work is dedicated to answering customer service emails. For the next half-hour, I create any graphics I need for the day and schedule a few posts, if I haven’t done so over the weekend. Afterward, I dive straight into our Instagram and Facebook DMs. I also reply to comments from anywhere between thirty minutes to an hour. I then take a bit of time to check my work emails and knock out a few things on my to-do list. I also take this opportunity to plan and execute at least one TikTok video for the week for the company account.

We post to our Instagram and Facebook stories daily- depending on what’s happening on the floor I post behind the scene footage around 11:30 AM or 1:00 PM. Throughout the day I share stories we’ve been tagged in or important announcements like sales. After lunch, I go back to answer any new customer service emails, schedule any other posts if needed, answer DMs, story replies, and comments. My day typically ends at 4 PM. Before I leave for the day, I make sure to answer any lingering emails.

We post to our Instagram and Facebook stories daily- depending on what’s happening on the floor I post behind the scene footage around 11:30 AM or 1:00 PM. Throughout the day I share stories we’ve been tagged in or important announcements like sales.

Walk us through how you use our new engagement tool. What are your favorite features?

Buffer’s new engagement tool has really helped to boost the efficiency of replying to comments. My favorite engagement feature by far is the alerts, as they’re a huge time saver. I love how they allow me to prioritize which ones I need to reply to ASAP. When I see a shopping cart or question icon I know that may need to have detailed information available for that individual. An added perk is that the tool makes it easy to scroll through comments on each post and locate those pesky spambot comments so they can be removed or hidden.


What advice do you have for brands that want to start using social media to build a community of loyal followers?

My advice for brands looking to use social media to build a loyal community is to start conversations, gather feedback, and be real with your followers. Social media can be intimidating but at the end of the day, there’s no wrong or right way to go about it. What works for Southern Elegance, may not work for another company. It’s all trial and error. It’s important for brands to experiment with different approaches and see what sticks. A good start is looking into the topics, trends, and habits of your target audience and using that information to curate engaging content.

What works for Southern Elegance, may not work for another company. It’s all trial and error. It’s important for brands to experiment with different approaches and see what sticks. A good start is looking into the topics, trends, and habits of your target audience and using that information to curate engaging content.

I actually follow some of my professors from college. They regularly post articles, start conversations around emerging trends, social media, public relations, and marketing practices. I try to stay active on social media- Even if I don’t post daily, I set time aside to go through each platform, take note of memes, recurring topics, trending hashtags, etc. If I see something I think I can apply or rework to fit Souther Elegance I take notes and dig deeper.

Additionally, in my free time, I take online courses, and attend “YouTube University.” Social media is constantly changing and I’ve found that the best way to keep up with the algorithm changes, updates, and latest strategies is to just put time aside to actively learn.

What’s your favorite SECC product and why?

My favorite Southern Elegance product would have to be our wax melts and warmers. I just turn my warmer on, pop a wax melt in, and go about my day. My favorite fragrances are our Charleston: Sweet Tea and our Savannah: Peach & Champagne as they remind me of my time spent growing up in Georgia and attending my alma mater Georgia Southern University.

How a Candle Company Uses Social Media to Drive a Better Customer Experience
Instagram post found here.

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

https://buffer.com/resources/how-to-use-social-media-to-drive-a-better-customer-experience/

Hack-Week: Embedding Our Values and Causes in Our Product

Hack-Week: Embedding Our Values and Causes in Our Product

Towards the end of 2020, the Buffer engineering team held a two-day hack event where the team explored ideas that aligned with both our personal and company values. Whilst we strive to bring our personal and company values into the things that we build, sometimes it’s good to take a step back and really focus on those things that are important to us. These two days of hacking allowed us to do just that, building out a collection of projects that clearly embedded our values. ❤️

Leading up to the days, the team spent some time collating ideas in Trello. Here we discussed ideas, found projects that we wanted to work on and collaborators who we could work with on these projects!

Hack-Week: Embedding Our Values and Causes in Our Product

With the projects laid out, we entered the hack-days with a clear vision of what it was we’d each be working on. Overall, a total of 14 projects were built. Some of these have already been shipped, whilst others need some more work or will be left as proof of concepts. Let’s take a dive into these projects and see what the engineering team built!

Emoji skin-tone support

Status: We have shipped this update to our engagement features but it still needs more work before we can add it to our publishing features.
Within our publishing and engagement tools, we currently support the ability to select emojis to be inserted into the content input areas.

However, the existing implementation does not support the skin-tone functionality that the emoji ecosystem utilizes. In order to allow individuals to express themselves in the way that they want, this feels like an important aspect of emojis to support.

During hack-days Ana and Hamish from the Publish team took a dive into getting this support added to the Publish Composer. The result looks awesome and adds full support for the emoji skin-tone attribute.

Hack-Week: Embedding Our Values and Causes in Our Product

As well as getting this into our Publish Composer, Boris and Sol from the team working on our engagement features added support to this in the composer under the engagement tab. Now, users across both of these areas can utilize emoji skin-tone support.

Hack-Week: Embedding Our Values and Causes in Our Product

Hate speech detection

Status: We have not shipped this yet to any of our products, but are exploring the technical details for how we can make it possible.

When it comes to social media scheduling, there can be a lot of responsibility with the content that our users can send out to their networks. When it comes to facilitating this content currently, there is a manual process in place where accounts will be looked into if they breach our policies. David, Mike and Joe took a look to see if there was a way that we could automate some of these checks and prevent users from creating updates that breached certain policies of ours.

For this, David created an endpoint in our API so that clients could check whether textual content contained hateful speech. This was done using HateSonar and Perspective. This endpoint would return a score which would depict whether some text is deemed as offensive or hateful. With this endpoint available, Mike hooked it into the post creation flow for the composer in our publishing tool, meaning that when the user attempts to create an update that may contain hateful or offensive text they will be presented with an error message.

Hack-Week: Embedding Our Values and Causes in Our Product

Joe took this same endpoint and hooked it into the snippet creation flow within our publish tool. Now, if a user attempts to create a snippet group that contains offensive or hateful hashtags, an error message will be presented and the group will not be created.

Hack-Week: Embedding Our Values and Causes in Our Product

Creating a carbon footprint page

Status: We have not shipped this yet to any of our products, but are exploring the technical details for how we can make it possible.

Two of our charitable contributions last year were for climate focus organizations, so it was to be expected that there would be a project focused on the climate. Gisete, Phil, and Dan took a look at creating a page to display the carbon footprint of the servers that Buffer uses. This page not only shows a graph of the emissions, but also a breakdown of the server emissions, and some calculated equivalents. With this in place, this gives us the data and foundations required to start putting change in place for making our servers greener.

Hack-Week: Embedding Our Values and Causes in Our Product

Diversifying campaign color options

Status: We have shipped this update to our mobile publishing features but it still needs more work before we can add it to our web publishing features.

Within our publishing tool, users are able to create Campaigns to hold a collection of upcoming posts. When creating a campaign, a color can be selected to be associated with it, however, this palette of colors did not include the color black. For Campaigns that might be focused around causes for Black people, this is a missed opportunity for inclusion. To fix this, our internal-tools engineer, Mick, added support for the color black in our publishing tool for both web and the Android app. With one of our iOS engineers, Jordan, adding this to the iOS app.

Hack-Week: Embedding Our Values and Causes in Our Product

Snippet group suggestions

Status: We don’t have any plans to ship this to our publishing features in the near future, it will remain as a prototype for now.

Currently in our publishing tool, we offer the ability to create groups of hashtags, allowing our customers to re-use collections of hashtags across their posts. Currently they are required to create these groups themselves, so Joe took a look at how we could align some of his values with this feature. He added a new section to the feature that allows users to view a pre-defined collection of hashtag groups. This change allows us to display groups for any current events, allowing us to support these causes and raise the visibility of posts for them.

Hack-Week: Embedding Our Values and Causes in Our Product


Status: We have not shipped this yet to any of our products, but are exploring the technical details for how we can make it possible.

In our publishing tool, users have the ability to share external links directly into the composer of our mobile apps. When these links are imported, the composer body is generated based on the content of the provided link. Currently, any links could be shared into the composer, which could allow our users to fall victim to the sharing of false information to their networks. As a solution for this, Prateek and Michael worked on a project that allows us to check the links that are imported into the composer of our publishing tool. This checks whether the link has come from a source known to provide false information and if this the case, the app informs the user before they add the content to their queue.

Hack-Week: Embedding Our Values and Causes in Our Product

‘Support Black’ brand badges

Status: We don’t have any plans to ship this to our publishing features in the near future, it will remain as a prototype for now.

Our Shop Grid feature enables brands to present multiple link-in-bio URLs in the form of a shoppable grid. Whilst this feature is used by many different kinds of small businesses, Char wanted to think about having a way for these brands to present their own values directly on their Shop Grid page. Char built out a quick prototype for what this could look like, by adding a Support Black-Owned Brands badge directly into the page. Not only would this allow shops to show support for Black-owned businesses, but it could be easily extended to allow further values to be shown on the page. For example, a brand could show that they are a Black-owned business or that they are carbon neutral business.

Hack-Week: Embedding Our Values and Causes in Our Product

Adding alt-text to Facebook and LinkedIn media


Status: This needs more work before we can add it to our publishing features.

At Buffer, we use our accessibility statement to not only share our value for accessibility, but also to give us some clear direction of how this is represented within our projects. When it comes to this, it’s not about the accessibility within our own products but also how we can support the accessibility features that are supported by networks that we share content too. Currently our composer supports adding alt-text to Twitter as this was available early in the Twitter API. For hack-days, Amy-Lee added alt-text support to images shared to Facebook and LinkedIn, which is support that was added more recently to the APIs for these networks. With this work in place, alt-text will be available to add to three different networks that we support, helping to make content shared by our publishing tool more accessible.

Hack-Week: Embedding Our Values and Causes in Our Product

Adding badges to attached media

Status: This needs more work before we can add it to our publishing features.

Within the composer for of our publishing tool, users are able to attach media attachments to be posted to supporting networks. Once these media items are attached, we offer the ability to crop these images but allow for no further customization. To offer some flexibility here and also provide a way for users to express their own values, Andy implemented a sticker feature for the publishing tool’s iOS app. This feature allows users to select a badge/watermark to be applied to an image before being shared to the desired networks.

Hack-Week: Embedding Our Values and Causes in Our Product

Accessibility dashboard


Status: This will be shipped soon as an internal tool, but will not be released publicly in the near future.

As mentioned earlier in this article, our accessibility statement defines and shares our value for accessibility along with some requirements that we strive for our products to meet. Joe wanted to take a look into how we might be able to monitor our accessibility errors and warnings for our web products, as this could help us to keep track of issues and spot any commonalities across our products. For this, Joe used the pa11y dashboard to spin up an internal service for a collection of pages across Buffer products allowing us to get daily reports of accessibility errors and warnings.

Hack-Week: Embedding Our Values and Causes in Our Product

Running a federated social network


Status: We don’t have any plans to ship this, it will remain as a prototype.

Our business is built around social networks, these are complex applications that have many different moving parts. One key thing that often arises around these networks are privacy and the control over your data. With this in mind, Eduardo decided to look into creating our own Buffer federated social network, using Plemora to do so. Whilst this is something we could use for retreats and other company gatherings, creating our own internal social network allows us to have control over our own data, as well as exposing us further to more in-depth concepts around social networking.

Hack-Week: Embedding Our Values and Causes in Our Product

Theme support for the Safari extension of our publishing tool

Status: This has been shipped and is available for use with our publishing features.

Our publishing tool offers browser extensions that allow users to share the current browser page directly into the composer of that tool, removing the need to manually copy and paste the site URL. For the safari extension, we only supported a single icon theme; meaning that the black Buffer logo was always displayed. When using a dark theme in the browser, this resulted in the icon not being accessible as against the dark background of the browser, this icon was barely visible. To fix this, Andy added support for a light icon for when the dark theme is in use, resulting in an accessible extension icon regardless of the browser theme you are using.

Hack-Week: Embedding Our Values and Causes in Our Product

With these 14 projects, the engineering team were able to focus in on our values and explore how they could be represented within our products. As you can see, this has been done in many different ways, along with many different goals being tackled.

I found it really inspiring to see everyone come together and build so many great features in such a short space of time. Whilst we strive to embed our values into our everyday work, it’s refreshing to take that time to step back and really focus in on what’s important to us. This helps us to nurture a pro-active mindset when it comes to the topics, as well as create a space to educate ourselves further in these areas. With this, hack week continues to prove a valuable investment in our engineering team.

Do you engage in hack weeks for your engineering team? We’d love to hear what works for you if so! Send us a tweet anytime! And you don’t have hack weeks, it could be worth reflecting on how this time could contribute to your team and product. ❤️

https://buffer.com/resources/hack-week-values-causes/

4-Day Work Weeks: Results From 2020 and Our Plan for 2021

4-Day Work Weeks: Results From 2020 and Our Plan for 2021

In March and April of 2020, work and life as we knew it was changing. I surveyed our team members (all 84 of whom are spread out across the globe) to understand the best way to help them cope with so many things shifting at once.

I especially wanted to hear from parents about what could help them as many schools were shutting down and partners or spouses were also required to work from home.

The results? Most people wanted more time to get through the new challenges they faced.

As a remote organization, we already offer a lot of flexibility to our employees, and it’s one of the many benefits of remote work. The ideal solution for us at the time was to both lean into flexibility and offer more time at once, which is when we started considering a four-day work week.

The concept of a 4-day work week gained a lot of traction in early 2020 as many companies saw better flexibility and thus happier employees when moving from five eight-hour days to four. Microsoft trialed this in Japan and saw a 40% increase in productivity, and Unilever New Zealand also rolled out 32-hour work weeks.

Given the stress, shutdowns, and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, this was also touted as a helpful way to address childcare, quarantines, and other things.

The combined survey of our teammates and increasing global proof that the four-day work week could be a good solution is what spawned our one-month trial. After that trial, we saw that not only had happiness and stress improved, but productivity hadn’t dipped. We opted for a 6-month trial to validate if this was a sustainable practice, and it was.

Now, we’re continuing four-day work weeks for the foreseeable future. Here’s a look at some of what we’ve learned from surveying our team about the four-day work week over the course of our two trials.

What our internal surveys have told us about a four-day work week

The four-day work week resulted in sustained productivity levels and a better sense of work-life balance. These were the exact results we’d hoped to see, and they helped us challenge the notion that we need to work the typical ‘nine-to-five,’ five days a week. It’s worth noting that though we’ve seen sustained productivity levels, we’ve been gauging that based on teammate feedback and not company-wide goals, that is changing in 2021.

As we looked back on the impact of working a company-wide four-day work week in most of 2020, we decided to push forward with this model into 2021, with a few clarifications and exceptions. Here’s how we evaluated our six-month pilot program and why we decided to continue operating on a four-day work week.

Starting in May of 2020, I measured the following:

  • output based on area deadlines and goals
  • teammate’s individual autonomy
  • stress levels
  • general work happiness

Here’s a bit more about how each of those measurements has gone.

Our output during a four-day work week

In our May trial, we saw that teammates felt overwhelmingly as productive or more productive on a four-day work week as they did on a five-day work week. That was only the one-month trial, so it could be easy to ignore, but we saw the pattern emerge in our six-month trial. Nearly 34 percent felt more productive than when we had a five-day work week, nearly 60 percent felt equally as productive, and less than seven percent felt less productive.

4-Day Work Weeks: Results From 2020 and Our Plan for 2021

While teammates reported feeling more productive, I also spoke with managers. I rounded up the data from our managers around team output to help establish if the data matched the teammate’s feelings and what my recommendation would be for going into 2021.

For our Engineering teams, the number of total coding days went down. However, we saw significant increases in output. Our Engineering Manager, Ivana, shared: “Weekly coding days went from 3.4 to 2.7 for product teams, and from 3.2 to 2.9 for Mobile and Infrastructure, while the productive impact increased significantly for product teams and doubled for Infrastructure and Mobile!”

Many of the managers I spoke with echoed Ivana’s feelings of seeing an increase in output.

The exception to these results in productivity was our customer advocacy team. We had a harder time maintaining productivity levels, which was to be expected because this role is unique in its unpredictability of volume.

Anecdotally, our advocates still cited feeling they were about 85 to 90 percent as productive as they had been during five-day weeks outside of the customer inbox, i.e., on other projects. However, customers did wait a bit longer to receive an initial reply to their emails.

As was mentioned earlier, we were asking teammates and managers to gauge overall productivity and not measuring it for ourselves based on company-wide goals. That is changing in 2021 as we’ve set down more specific company goals, so we will be able to see how well we achieve our goals each quarter, and it will be another key measure of the success of the four-day work week.

Individual autonomy

Reported autonomy and flexibility in May of 2020 was at 4.3 out of 5, with 5 being “total autonomy.” This increased to 4.7 by the end of our six-month pilot:

4-Day Work Weeks: Results From 2020 and Our Plan for 2021

Reiterating that our teammates have control over their schedule has been a key goal of the four-day workweek.

Stress levels

Our stress levels in May 2020 (when we first launched the experiment) was 3.3 out of 5, with 5 being high stress. Reported stress dipped down to 2.7 at our June survey, and then only slightly up to 2.9 at our October survey.

4-Day Work Weeks: Results From 2020 and Our Plan for 2021

General work happiness

Our overall happiness trend for the entire company stayed consistent, and given the volatility of the events of 2020, I felt this was a good trend.

4-Day Work Weeks: Results From 2020 and Our Plan for 2021

Our exact quarterly numbers were:

  • Jan: 4.1/5
  • April: 3.8/5
  • July: 3.8/5
  • Sept: 3.7/5

How we’re continuing the 4-day work week into 2021

Given that the data was primarily positive for a four-day work week, we’ve decided to continue this practice into 2021. Throughout the year, I’ll continue to keep an eye on productivity and team engagement through our quarterly surveys to ensure that the four-day work week is ultimately helping Buffer’s business needs.

Our guidelines for our four-day work week in 2021:

We adjusted a few things based on our experience in 2020. Here’s what I sent to our team about our guidelines for the four-day work week:

We’ll continue with:

  • No meetings or expectation of communicating on Slack on Fridays.
  • Fridays as a default day off for most areas.
  • Customer Advocates’ workweeks will look different due to the nature of the role. More communication will follow on schedules and expectations.
  • Further defining weekly output expectations at the area and department level.
  • Clarifying performance standings. Teammates who are not meeting their objectives may choose or be asked to work 5 days.
  • Evaluating this schedule at least quarterly on the basis of overall team productivity, hitting OKRs, teammate stress levels and feeling ownership of your work schedule.

We will continue to reiterate that while this is a special benefit, we as a company must meet our collective deadlines. Some work weeks might need that Friday as an overflow work day to finish up what we’ve committed to do. Everyone is still expected to get their work done.

While as a company we originally adjusted deadlines to factor in the four-day work week and the unique situation of the pandemic, we’ve since moved forward with establishing ambitious goals for the coming year and recognize that this will likely push the limits of the way we’ve been operating in a four-day work week and force us to keep adapting to this new way of work. Personally, I know every teammate at Buffer is capable and up to the challenge.

Because our Customer Advocates don’t have as much project-based work as other roles, we have specific targets to meet:

Customer Advocacy 4DWW Strategy 2021

Goal: Successfully work four-day workweeks as a team whilst delivering an above the bar customer service experience customers rave about.

Measurement: Team members are expected to achieve their ticket targets each week (number of tickets replied to based on level + personal commitment/goal agreed upon with lead) as well as average 2.8 ACE score on tickets and/or team members working outside of the inbox will be expected to complete projects, hit deadlines, and achieve key results.

We’ll continue to craft and iterate on ways to both serve our customers well and provide flexible work weeks to our teammates.

Looking ahead

I will continue with periodic surveys around team productivity, personal stress levels, autonomy, and happiness. Buffer is also diving back into using OKRs as a tool to track our productivity and progression, which will give us another measuring stick to use in the overall evaluation of our four-day work weeks.

We aren’t sure that we’ll continue with the four-day work weeks forever, but for now, we’re going to stick with it as long as we are still able to hit our ambitious goals.

Want to keep talking about the four-day work week? Reach out on Twitter and use the hashtag #BufferCommunity. 😊

https://buffer.com/resources/4-day-workweek-2021/

How Social Platforms Are Supporting a Growing Community of Digital Advertisers

This year social media will play perhaps the largest role in client marketing and advertising ever. To succeed, marketers need a clear understanding of how consumer behavior on social media has changed, which platforms they’re now turning to, and feel confident they have the tools and resources to remain agile to address the changing digital landscape and the rising creator movement.

Facebook and TikTok recently shared announcements in this vein focusing on new partnerships and product updates. Here, we break them down and how they stand to help brands excel in 2021 and beyond.

Paving a Future of Digital Growth, Brand Safety and Innovative Campaigns

In TikTok’s official blog sharing the news, its newest partnership with WPP will provide clients of the company with “unique access and capabilities” on the platform. More specifically, the holding company will receive early access to advertising products that TikTok is developing including API integrations and next-generation formats including augmented reality offerings.

The news comes roughly a month after WPP shared its five-year growth plan highlight its commitment to expand further into the “high-growth areas” of commerce, experience and technology. These areas currently make up 25% of its business, however WPP wants them to represent as much as 40 percent by 2025. How does it plan to get there? At he time WPP pointed to digital as the key driver it would emphasize—as opposed to traditional—advertising.

WPP’s media buying arm, GroupM will play an important role in the partnership with regards to brand safety. The company will work closely with TikTok to establish a process for adhering to the GARM Brand Safety and Suitability Framework, thoroughly assess integrations with third-party verification vendors, and develop meaningful first-party inclusion and exclusion controls. More broadly, the companies will also conduct market-leading research to guide brands on best practices and arm them with data-informed strategies for driving audience engagement and opportunities to innovate.

Deeper Insights, Diverse Voices, and Early Access

“More and more brands all over the world are experiencing the impact TikTok has to create moments that not only shape culture but also drive business value,” shared Blake Chandlee, VP of Global Business Solutions at TikTok. “We both share a common goal: to drive amazing campaigns for our clients that resonate with our growing audience in a way that is authentic, inspires creativity and brings joy,” he continued.

So, what steps are the two taking in the partnership to achieve this mission?

Primarily, TikTok outlines that it will work with the app’s “creator community” to facilitate exclusive opportunities on behalf of WPP’s clients. In addition, WPP’s teams will have “access to customized trainings and certification programs conducted by the TikTok team to ensure they are providing best-in-class strategies to clients.”

To facilitate diversity and create exclusive opportunities for collaboration with select advertisers, WPP will be the Lead Agency Development Partner to new creator-focused APIs, “which will incorporate WPP’s market leading brand safety methodology while leveraging unique brand and marketer data signals.”

Advertiser Topic Exclusion Controls in the News Feed

While TikTok is leaning in on content development, other platforms are focusing on product developments dedicated to privacy and safety.

Facebook, for instance, in a new push announced its test of advanced advertiser topic exclusion controls, which will enable businesses to stop their ads appearing next to certain topics in the News Feed, based on their brand suitability preferences.

This type of process would help the platform more accurately and effectively define the ad would be presented on the platform, particularly in the News Feed. “A children’s toy company may want to avoid content related to a new crime show, so they could select the ‘Crime and Tragedy’ topic,” the announcement explained.

For anyone keeping tabs, Facebook currently offers exclusions for ‘news’, ‘politics’, ‘gaming’, and ‘religious and spiritual’ content for video campaigns. Given its latest test relates to a much more specific set of categories and the variability and personalization that comprise the News Feed, this effort will likely require some time to get right. “This product development as well as testing and learning in News Feed will take much of the year,” the company stated.

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The post How Social Platforms Are Supporting a Growing Community of Digital Advertisers appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2021/02/how-social-platforms-are-supporting-a-growing-community-of-digital-advertisers/

How TikTok and Shopify are Maximizing E-Commerce Revenue Options

Over the past several years the way we shop has changed dramatically. As social platforms evolve into the new-age shopping malls, a trend largely fueled by the pandemic, consumers will continue to prioritize relationships with brands based on the online experience they provide every step of the way.

In this spirit, in October 2020, TikTok and Shopify announced a global partnership geared to help more than one million merchants reach highly engaged audiences and drive sales by tapping into TikTok’s global scale. Today, they announced new tools and integrations to expand revenue options for retailers and enhanced brand-consumer experiences.

Faster, more efficient, and secure payments

In 2020 Shopify’s Shop Pay helped buyers complete more than 137 million orders in 2020, and by the end of the year, had facilitated nearly $20 billion in cumulative gross merchandise value (GMV) since its launch in 2017.

To help facilitate even greater usage, the company is teaming up with Facebook so retailers selling with Shops on Instagram and Facebook can leverage the tool. In case you’re unfamiliar, Shop Pay functions akin to Amazon’s One-Click purchase product. In this case, users will have the ability to save their email address, credit card, and shipping and billing information in the app so that they can complete their transactions faster and more efficiently whether they are browsing through Facebook or Instagram.

“Through our continued work with Facebook, we’re excited to combine the best in commerce with the power of community, extending the benefits of Shop Pay to even more people buying and selling with Shops on Instagram and Facebook,” Shopify wrote in the official announcement. The article also noted that checkout on Shop Pay is 70 percent faster than a typical checkout, while it also sees a 1.72x higher conversion rate.

Convenient order tracking and sustainable shopping options

According to a recent Twitter report on customer care, seventy-eight percent of retail brand handles that excel at customer support take ownership of customer problems in order to build trust. A significant piece of this involves personalized customer support such as a convenient way to trace and manage the tracking of orders.

“With 430+ million orders tracked over 450 billion miles, our global order tracking service enables consumers to track all of their important purchases, receive updates, and manage orders,” shared Shopify.

Aside from ease and convenience, people are embracing social commerce for the greater quantity of options available that align with what matters most to them. For a large portion of consumers, shopping sustainably is a top priority with making these decisions. Per Shopify, over half (53%) report that they prefer green or sustainable products, which is why Shop Pay offsets 100 percent of the delivery emissions for every order.

Establishing more direct connection between creators and monetization opportunities

TikTok made its foray into the e-commerce world with integrations with Shopify and Walmart late in 2020. Today, the platform’s looking to take its efforts even further with several new tools to facilitate more e-commerce opportunity and maximize its revenue options. according to a new report from The Financial Times the platform briefed advertisers on three new forthcoming updates coming soon to the app. These include:

  • A tool that lets its most popular users share links to products and automatically earn commission on any sales
  • The ability for brands to showcase catalogs of their products on the platform
  • “Livestreamed” shopping, a mobile phone version of television shopping channels, where users can buy goods with a few taps after seeing them showcased by TikTok stars

The push around presentation and experience enhancements is a smart and welcomed one according to several statements shared with FT.
“The product and the content has not matured into a place where sophisticated advertisers really want to commit,” one ad agency executive said. With added features to help simplify listings and formalize commission processes as well as those to deliver on an in-app showcase, this could be the nudge some advertisers are waiting for in order to pull the trigger.

“Culturally, TikTok is well placed for livestreamed commerce to capture the dissolving distinction between content and commerce because it doesn’t feel as polished as other platforms,” added Jack Smyth, Creative Technology officer at WPP’s Mindshare.

While the platform faced a tumultuous and uncertain 2020, one thing is clear – in order to keep its biggest creators, it needs to ensure that they can generate similar income to what they’d be able to on other, more established and lucrative platforms.

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The post How TikTok and Shopify are Maximizing E-Commerce Revenue Options appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2021/02/how-tiktok-and-shopify-are-maximizing-e-commerce-revenue-options/

Shareholder Update: Q4, 2020 — 2020 Results and What’s Ahead

Shareholder Update: Q4, 2020 — 2020 Results and What's Ahead

Note: This is the quarterly update sent to Buffer shareholders, with a bit of added information for context. We share these updates transparently as a part of our default to transparency value. See all of our revenue on our public revenue dashboard and see all of our reports and updates here.


We’ve emerged from a challenging year, one that proved our resilience and gave us a renewed sense of optimism heading into 2021.

We spent much of the final quarter of 2020 leaning into the inspiration we gained from the adaptability and strength of our customer’s stories. We observed countless companies shift quickly to remote work, an evolution of work that we always thought would someday come. We reflected deeply on our purpose, questioning how we’d show up for our customers to help them expand their positive impact and grow their brands and businesses over the next decade. We invited the company’s first Chief Product Officer to join Buffer’s Executive team and we committed to refining the company’s purpose, vision, and mission. We established strong company-level OKRs, and set ambitious goals for 2021 and beyond.

For another reflection on 2020, check out this review of Buffer’s 2020 in Numbers.

With January just behind us, we’re already realizing the exponential impact of optimism, resilience, and a cohesive leadership team in service of the entire team’s execution of shared, ambitious goals. We’re moving quicker and raising our bar in support of small businesses. We’ve re-committed to being bold, increasing the value of the essential tools we offer, while maintaining our strong foundation of Buffer values and integrity.

This year already feels so different.  

We’ve just launched Buffer’s new engagement tool as the newest feature in our full stack of brand building tools and in response, saw the highest number of daily trial starts we’ve seen in awhile.

Along with Buffer’s engagement tool, we’re focused on adding value for customers, improving accessibility, and providing more opportunities for active engagement by leaps and bounds. We’re also hiring several roles this year.

We’re looking forward to what’s ahead in 2021.  Let’s take a look at our financial results for Q3 and end of year outlook.  

Financial results from Q4 2020

Q4 2020:

  • Total operating income: $400,471
  • EBITDA margin: 7.69%
  • MRR: $1,760,653

2020 end of year:

  • Net Revenue: $21,080,452
  • 2.30% YoY revenue growth
  • Operating Income: $3,318,234
  • EBITDA Margin: 15.74%
  • MRR: $1,760,653 (down slightly from end of Q3 MRR $1,761,962)
  • ARR: $21,127,836
  • ARR Growth Rate: -4.8%
Shareholder Update: Q4, 2020 — 2020 Results and What's Ahead

Metrics

Shareholder Update: Q4, 2020 — 2020 Results and What's Ahead
Shareholder Update: Q4, 2020 — 2020 Results and What's Ahead
Shareholder Update: Q4, 2020 — 2020 Results and What's Ahead

What else would you like to see?

This is the update that goes to Buffer shareholders, but I’d also love to hear from you. Are there other metrics or financials that you’d like to see from us? We’re working on building and delivering a new level of transparency this year and I’d love to hear what you’re most interested in, send me a tweet with your thoughts.

https://buffer.com/resources/shareholder-update-q4-2020/

Announcing Our Initial #SMWNYC 2021 Agenda!

Our preliminary agenda for the thirteenth edition of Social Media Week New York (May 4-7, 2021) is live, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to share it with you!

Featuring insight from professionals with Snap, TikTok, Peloton, LEGO and many more, consider this your first look at our curated lineup of speakers and sessions dedicated to unlocking the power of “Reinvention,” our 2021 global theme.

Secure Your Pass Today and Save Up to $360!

Building meaningful connections, brands and businesses in an era of disruption

Love it or Leave it: How Red Antler Builds Brands that Matter

What does it actually mean to be a disruptor in our industry today? Why are great ideas. a massive social following, or better prices no longer differenatiors for success? In this session, Emily Heyward Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Red Antler, will present a new image of brand, the role it plays in driving social media strategy, and the principles today will create obsession in 2021 and beyond.

The Great Reset: Building Meaningful Connections in a Disjointed Media Landscape

About half of U.S. adults (53%) say they get news from social media “often” or “sometimes,” and this use is spread out across a number of different sites, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey conducted Aug. 31-Sept. 7, 2020. In this session hear from Nadja Bellan-White, Global Chief Marketing Officer at VICE Media will unpack how to navigate social media’s evolving role in the news cycle and modern journalism, what the future holds for media brands, and how marketers can prepare.

The Reinvention of You: How to Grow in an Age of Data-Driven Storytelling

We live today in a date-driven age with many marketing functions being augmented and often replaced by algorithms and automation. To succeed, we need to prioritize what we add to the machine. This is what will actually add value to us, our companies, and to society. Otherwise, we risk losing the plot by forgetting the human, the culture, and the storytelling. Hear from Rishad Tobaccowala, author of Restoring the Soul of Business and former Chief Growth Officer at Publicis as he tackles this theme through the lens of the four P’s: perspective, provocation. point of view, and plan of action.

Navigating the creator economy, the AR revolution and the rise of TikTok

Newcomers Versus Incumbents: Defining Success on TikTok in 2021 and Beyond

TikTok was the most downloaded app of 2020 and is on track to surpass 1.2 billion active users this year. What do newcomers need to know as they establish and how can established brands continue to grow their audiences? Why will TikTok’s rise in entertainment only the beginning of a long-term journey? Join Nick Tran, Global Head of Marketing as he explores these answers and more.

The Augmented Reality Revolution: A Guided Tour by Snap

Snapchat’s daily active users topped 265 million in Q4 2020, an increase of 47 million, or 22%, year-over-year. Guided by Snap’s Chief Business Officer Jeremi Gorman, join this session to explore the inspiring, immersive world of AR, from the voices of experts. Experience a 360-degree view of the opportunity, the technology, the business, and the big future ahead learn how we as marketers can prepare not only for the emerging technologies but the global shifts that are paving a path for a world of immersive, digital experiences?

The Future of the Creator Economy is Measured in Minutes

More than 50 million people now considered “creators.” How does personalization scale in a crowded landscape and how can this shape our social media marketing mix? Join Cameo’s Chief Executive Officer, Steven Galanis, in a fireside chat as he shares how the platform is capitalizing on this community, how it fits into entertainers’ business and brand strategy, how co-creation is altering the fabric of the creator economy, and how minutes can translate to long-term value.

Academies: Empathy, Agility and Creativity Re-Invented

How Facebook is Building an Empathetic Future through AR/VR

Keeping empathy and consumer value top of mind in an “always-on” augmented world laden with emerging technologies is more important than ever. How can marketers best find a balance in a mixed reality future? Join Instagram‘s Global Creative Lead of Augmented Reality Elizabeth Valleau for a deep dive into what‘s new, what’s next and how to keep our empathy muscles in top shape.

How LEGO Maintains Creative Inspiration in a World of Digital Reinvention

With digital channels in a constant state of flux – with the rise of new platforms like TikTok and new communities like Clubhouse — how can brands organize their creative thoughts and inspirations so they are not lost and can be actioned? In this session, James Gregson, Digital Creative Director for LEGO, offers helpful tips and tricks for staying creatively curious, the sources of his creative inspiration and how he goes about gaining inspiration from all areas of the web.

Empathy and Agility: Leading with a Digital Marketing Mindset

2020 proved that if brands can address their customers’ needs in ways that meet their expectations with speed, then they will have earned their customers’ business going forward. In this session, hear from Tatiana Urriaga, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Peloton as she shares valuable tips for empowering your team to navigate change, the role of digital marketing in enhancing your company’s ability to remain nimble, and more.

Adapting to Change at Scale with Google Social Lab

To cut through the noise and respond to societal issues and shifting consumer behaviors and interests in real-time, flexibility and relevance are table stakes. In this session, Head of the Social Lab at Google, Santi Pochat, unpacks the mental models and strategies required for active listening that will deliver insights that inform encompassing solutions in both the short and long-term.

Why Livestreaming is the Future of Shopping in America

Livestream shopping has taken China by storm and its growth shows no signs of slowing. U.S. brands are joining the phenomenon in a bid to woo consumers through unparalled experiences including engaging video elements, creators, and limited product drops. In this session, hear from NTWRK President Moksha Fitzgibbons for fresh insights into where the trend is heading and how to leverage consumer trend to deliver a successful, digitally-driven business model. 

How it Started, How it’s Going: Social Creativity Reinvented for the “New Normal”

The meaning of social creativity changed drastically over the past year forcing brands to ideate, iterate, and test their organic content and branded content — but where do brands and businesses turn to next? What defines successful creative in today’s environment? Join David Levin and David Schneider, founders of top UK social agency That Lot, for an actionable dialogue around post-2020 social creative and the techniques you need to prioritize.

Reinventing Data: From Spreadsheet to Edge-of-Your-Seat Page Turner

Think there is no connection between the methods of a detective from the 1800’s and your next data-driven digital marketing campaign? Think again. In this Academy session, Holland Martini, Chief Insights Officer and Maria Vorovich, Chief Strategy Officer at GOODQUES explore the reinvention of data through the lens of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes to show that big data can be sexy and fun and it isn’t all cumbersome and tedious.

The post Announcing Our Initial #SMWNYC 2021 Agenda! appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2021/02/announcing-our-initial-smwnyc-2021-agenda/

How To Drive Traffic From TikTok In 2021

The importance of social media is increasing significantly. Brand storytelling is evolving, influencers experience a sharp rise into fame, and social media campaigns are becoming the main traffic source of many companies.

In this piece, we’ll talk about a specific and very platform, TikTok, and walk through the various ways for how to drive traffic from it. Let’s get to it.

Driving Organic Traffic

Organic traffic is the best, free way to drive traffic from TikTok. Haf (50%) of the users are under the age of 34. What is also interesting is that around 50% of the users are in the $75k+ household income bracket.

Complete your Bio

On TikTok, clicks can come only from the links shared in your bio. That is, you can not put links in the description of the video and lead people to your site from a particular video on your profile. What you will see in most cases is a reference to another channel, or saying that you can learn more if you go through the link in the bio.

It is important to stay coherent and upkeep the visitor’s expectations. If there is no possibility to line up your TikTok profile and your page so they reflect a similar line of content, consider using a landing page builder and create a sub-page that would make sure that you do not lose the traffic that you are getting from TikTok.

Increase Engagement: Videos and Sound

TikTok promotes videos that have higher engagement. Views, shares, comments, likes – are all interactions that count towards that score.

TikTok is full of creators. Some have great skills, some have great looks and some are just purely interesting. Take Bella Poarch for example, who made a hypnotizing head-bobbing video that garnered over half a billion vews.

The point is, you just have to consider your audience/client’s avatar, adjust your account strategy accordingly, and start creating content.

You can outsource content creation to sites like Fiverr and Upwork. On these two sites, you can get everything that you might need, even the complete TikTok videos.

Continuing on the video of Bella Poarch, you can also create sounds to increase your visibility on TikTok.

Videos that are using music (and that is all of them) will have a link in the description of the song and the author of the music. You can create your music trends and leverage this to your advantage to grow your audience.

Choose Good Posting Times

Post when your audience is not only awake but is actually active on TikTok.

If you post and your audience reacts immediately (posting in good times) your engagement rate will become higher and spread on the TikTok platform faster than if you post at bad times and your content receive reactions only several hours later.

Organize Contests and Giveaways

One strategy that is becoming mainstream due to how well it falls into the who social media marketing context are influencer giveaways. Why? They have good virality potential and aren’t intrusive.

You announce, for instance, a prize, a product, trial, free consultation, a free lesson on online course platforms, a t-shirt, free use of your product or service for a limited time, whatever seems fitting for your audience and in order to compete for the prize, the audience has to do an action — such as follow you or share the video.

Getting Paid Traffic: TikTok Ads

We discussed primarily organic options, now let’s talk about paid ones. The advantages are obvious – you get instant traffic without any need to build a follower base or thing about the content.

The main advantage of paid ads is that you get instant results. Also, you can precisely specify your audience and expected end result. What is the goal that you are after? We presume that is not just getting a visitor on your site and then seeing them leave. You want a conversion or at least a lead if you already have your email marketing services in place.

Setting up a tracking pixel and spending a part of your budget to test what works – is what will ultimately bring more results than just burning your money and hoping that something sticks.

Shoutouts

Sure, you can go to the ads manager and buy your ads there – or you can go directly to any TikTok influencer account and ask for shoutout prices. Why?

Because you target your audience even better and you can get your cost per conversion lower than on the ads platform. It is no wonder that many affiliate websites, online stores and drop-shippers are doing exactly that.

Here is Addison Rae promoting the American Eagle account through a shoutout. Her content is more geared towards younger audiences, mostly female — so hip clothing, accessories, and similar topics work well.

In comparison to Instagram, working with TikTok influencers may be a bit difficult, because both accounts have to follow each other to send DM.

This is usually solved by email in their bio, link to their Insta or Youtube profile. Collect the contacts, and outreach to them (to keep everything in check, you would probably have to use an outreach automation service or check how to send mass email in Gmail – depending on the volume of recipients of course).

In the top examples, we were showing some of the biggest accounts on TikTok, there a price for a shoutout is very individual but expect five figures at least. It would not be wise to spend such a big budget on an untested territory so what you want to look for are micro-influencers and small theme accounts, there you can get shoutouts for $25-$100.

The common denominator and main takeaway for everything related to digital marketing of course remains testing and to stay consistent. We hope that this guide and the tips that are included in it will help you to look for the strategy that will work for your account, and you will be growing along with TikTok!

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The post How To Drive Traffic From TikTok In 2021 appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2021/02/how-to-drive-traffic-from-tiktok-in-2021/

3 Trends Disrupting Mobile in 2021

The world changed drastically in 2020 and several of these shifts are here to stay including the uptick in mobile usage. With people staying home, mobile devices became the cement, the go-to tool for managing our day-to-day lives. Transforming nearly every vertical in the industry in the process, from how we entertain ourselves to how we plan and organize our finances and everything in between, our world is increasingly defined by mobile.

To help marketers navigate the landscape and identify opportunities to succeed in mobile in 2021 and beyond, App Annie unveiled the latest State of Mobile report. The findings provide an important overview of the key mobile app trends and shifts over the past year and what they mean for the future including:

  • In 2020, mobile accounted for $143 billion in consumer spend, 3.5 trillion hours spent, and 218 billion downloads. Overall, adoption boomed advancing two to three years in a span of 12 months.
  • Mobile gaming is estimated to surpass $120 billion in consumer spend in 2021 — capturing 1.5x of the market compared to all other gaming platforms combined.
  • Mobile surpassed live TV for time spent in 2020 at 4 hours per day vs. 3.7 hours. With this, mobile ad placements are on the rise (95% YoY) with this type of ad spend currently on track to exceed $290 billion in 2021.

Now let’s unpack some of the underpinning themes around mobile to keep top of mind as we begin to execute the new year’s strategies.

Empowering the everyday trader and democratizing investment

Per the report, time spent in finance apps during 2020 was up nearly half (45%) worldwide outside of China in 2020 YoY. Despite a tumultuous economic year, mobile was the common thread across the spectrum of fiscal management including research, decision-making, evaluation and purchase or investment. It is the mechanism for participation and not only building wealth, but more importantly, establishing financial literacy.

Currently, the fundamentals of personal finance and investing are not typically taught in schools, in some cases delaying when people decide to actively begin investing. Looking ahead to 2021, investment apps are stepping up, fulfilling an important knowledge void for novice investors, and making investing more approachable and empowering.

Gaming and streaming: the new influencer marketing frontier

According to App Annie, “The average American watched 3.7 hours of live TV a day, whereas they spent 4.0 hours on their mobile device in H2 2020.” Further, 40 percent more hours were streamed on mobile in 2020.

With more eyeballs favoring mobile, marketers thought long and hard about their ad placements and their tactics. Specifically, 2020 saw $240 billion in mobile ad spend. This figure is expected to grow to $290 billion in 2021 fueled by celebrity collaborations, an approach 2020 proved effective in cutting through the noise driving 2.7x downloads.

It isn’t only about churning out mobile ads but taking into consideration the unique demographic opportunities mobile offers across age groups. In support of this, the data showed that in the U.S. Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X/ Baby Boomers spent 16 percent, 18 percent, and 30 percent more time YoY, respectively, in their most-used apps.

Unsurprisingly, casual gaming and entertainment apps including Twitch, TikTok and ROBLOX dominated app downloads amongst Gen Zers as brands got innovative and used these spaces as the new frontier for their influencer efforts during the pandemic. The report supported this theme further stating that mobile gaming is anticipated to surpass $120 billion in consumer spend in 2021 while TikTok is expected to reach 1.2 billion active users this year.

The future of social commerce and live shopping

Rather than delaying brands’ long-term strategies, the pandemic served as an accelerant for e-commerce, ensuring that three-year business growth plans became reality in just six months. In 2021, it is anticipated these bold moves will continue.

As evolving consumers habits fuel new channels for discovery and purchases, brands and retailers must rise to the occasion and position themselves to connect with these growing, engaged, and purchase-ready audiences. Live shopping is one of the spaces to watch, the report noting that social commerce and live shopping present a $2 trillion market globally by 2024.

With many people are more accustomed to buying online, many won’t go back to their pre-COVID habits, even when they’re able, which is a plus for many platforms, notably Pinterest and Instagram according to App Annie data which found global downloads of Instagram and Pinterest worldwide grew 50 percent and 20 percent YoY, respectively.

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The post 3 Trends Disrupting Mobile in 2021 appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2021/02/3-trends-disrupting-mobile-in-2021/

How to Gain New Customers and Reduce the Cost of Acquisition

We all hope that we can get new customers on the fly with as little spend as possible. Unfortunately, such optimism is rarely rewarded.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) has been (rightly) called the startup killer. New entrepreneurs often have an unfounded optimism in whatever they’re offering. In doing so, they end up greatly underestimating how expensive getting a customer can be. 

Those that have been in business know that acquiring a new customer can cost seven times more than selling to an existing one. And, depending on the industry, it can cost you between $7 to $395 to get a new client. 

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Sounds discouraging, right? 

Indeed, customer acquisition is hard. But, the real devil’s in the details here. Much of what we know here comes from statistics that average out much of the results. 

In other words, there are plenty of companies that are just doing customer acquisition wrong. So, here are a few ways you can decrease your CAC while increasing client satisfaction.

Follow a Customer Onboarding Process

Your sales and marketing might be misaligned. Your customer success team might end up dumping all the info on them at once. Or, you may not have a repeatable process in the first place. 

There’s just too much that can go wrong with client onboarding which can drive up your acquisition cost.

Building a better customer onboarding workflow will help you reduce customer acquisition costs and increase retention. Think of how you can help your customers get the best out of your product. 

A good onboarding process should include —

 

  • An easy account registration process.
  • A succinct, but well written welcome message.
  • Reminders for clients who haven’t logged in a while.
  • A step-by-step guide to product setup.
  • Educational material to help clients leverage your product as effectively as possible.
  • Milestones for each task completed by the client in the onboarding process.
  • Robust after-sales support.

 

You can even consider creating customized solutions for clients if need be. Your onboarding workflow should make sure your client never has to sit and wonder what to do next. 

Don’t Forget Email

In their quest to become social media stars, many brands end up ignoring email to no end. Big mistake. Unlike the clunky clutter of a social media feed, the inbox is deeply personal.

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Says Brian Greenberg, CEO of True Blue Life Insurance, “The power of email is that it goes directly into a consumer’s inbox. Then it stays there. Most people don’t delete things out of their inbox, so if they need to pull up a thread you’ve had together or want to find your latest offer, all they have to do is search their inbox real quick. I’ve had people contact me at True Blue Life Insurance using a seven-month-old email.”

Some ways you can use email for customer acquisition — 

 

  • Use the reciprocity principle. Offer your prospects something free in return for their email.
  • Try cold emailing. A good cold email is a personal message and solves a problem.
  • Send follow-up messages after your first ones. 
  • Don’t spam, though. Really, don’t.

 

The popularity of email continues to grow, so, consider adding them to your marketing arsenal. If you’re strapped for time, then you can use a service like Designmodo that offers tested, high converting email templates.

Send gifts

Gifts have an advantage over other promotional methods — they forge a deeper emotional connection. And customers with such a connection with a brand have a 306% higher LTV than those that don’t. 

Most marketers today stick to electronic gift items. Redeemable coupons, gift cards, feature upgrades, etc are all popular giftable items. 

For example, GetEarlyBird.io, a new Fintech service for helping parents invest in their children’s future adds $15 to every new account opened. This is a great strategy for new SaaS companies. 

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That said, don’t write-off the humble old direct mail gifts just yet. Nothing can quite beat a direct mail gift item. They’re memorable and are more visible than their digital peers. 

Use Chatbots

No one page on your website can answer all of your prospect’s questions. And, most of them don’t have the time to find what they are looking for anyway. 

This is where Chatbots can really come in handy. Now, they can’t replace a human and have had us lol with their answers at times. But, chatbots have come a long way today. 

They can answer most general questions and can even direct users to desired resources. They also don’t take breaks and are present 24/7. 

Their acceptance rate is also climbing. For example, twice as many consumers were willing to engage with a chatbot in 2019 than in 2018. Likewise, 74% of users actually prefer to use chatbots to find answers to simple questions.

They have also been used very successfully. JoyOrganics uses a highly customized chatbot that not only offers chat but has links to FAQs right in the chatbox itself. 

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Go local

Unfortunately, many companies mistakenly think customer acquisition through the internet is all about going big. The world’s their oyster, after all. 

But, don’t forget about your local market space either. The people in your immediate vicinity can relate to your product better than those living half a world away. 

Besides, local SEO is better suited to small businesses such as restaurants, dry cleaners, home repair, etc. 

Local SEO helps slash your customer acquisition costs in a few ways. Firstly, having an office in a city helps your clients see your presence upfront. Secondly, you can forge better relationships with people you actually meet. Your local following can also help you build a better brand (think KFC). 

Customer acquisition gets hard and expensive when you’re more concerned with the sale than with helping customers. All the methods described above work best when used to forward as much benefit as possible. 

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The post How to Gain New Customers and Reduce the Cost of Acquisition appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2021/02/how-to-gain-new-customers-and-reduce-the-cost-of-acquisition/