Category Archives: Social Media

The Top 25 Movies About Social Media to Add to Your Watch List via @martinibuster

Social media has inspired comedies, dystopian thrillers, documentaries, and horror movies.

Here is a list of the best movies related to social media, in no particular order.

1. The Social Dilemma, 2020

Documentary

Netflix

A popular movie that can’t be recommended enough.

Even if you’re in the business there are parts of this movie that will still startle.

Featuring interviews with people who invented a variety of the algorithms.

This movie balances the shock factor of what’s going on behind the scenes of social media with insights into how social media can be improved.

2. Love, Guaranteed, 2020

Romantic Comedy

Netflix

Stars Rachael Leigh Cook, Damon Wayans Jr., Heather Graham, Kandyse McClure (Dualla on Battlestar Galactica).

Social media is defined as a social network, and what kind of network is more social than a dating app?

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This romantic comedy follows an attorney and her client who claims that a dating site guarantees love is offering a false promise.

As evidence, he offers himself, who has engaged in a thousand dates and failed to find love.

3. The Hater, 2020

Thriller

Netflix

This is a great movie that you might never have heard of but should definitely check out.

It’s a fast-paced thriller and drama about using social media to settle personal scores.

The hero of the movie is both likable and worthy of loathing.

Don’t be put off by the fact that this is a Polish movie and you might have to read subtitles.

This movie tells a story of harnessing the power of social media like a weapon against those who may or may not deserve it.

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It’s highly relevant in today’s world of disinformation amplification yet it’s not really about social media in the same way that a movie like Taxi Driver is not about guns.

Both movies, Taxi Driver and The Hater, share a theme of the misfit trying to fit in and not really able to find a way in until circumstances create an opportunity.

4. Emily in Paris, 2020

Comedy-drama

Netflix

I cheated.

This isn’t a movie.

But so many who have an interest in social media marketing and movies will find this so interesting that I had to fit it in.

The central character – Emily (duh!), is a social media marketer from Chicago who is sent to a Paris office where she’s met with skepticism.

She changes her Instagram handle to @emilyinparis and starts posting photos, her account goes viral.

The series is from the mind of Darren Star, the writer behind such hits as Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, and Sex and the City.

If any of those are your favorites then it’s likely you’ll enjoy Emily in Paris as well.

There’s a bit of suspension of disbelief necessary regarding the social media, but Emily in Paris is fundamentally a fantasy not a documentary.

A little fantasy helps to get through these dark and pandemic times.

5. Die Influencers Die, 2020

Horror

Roku

This is a B-Movie slasher exploitation flick about a group of easy-to-hate influencers meeting dreadful ends.

What’s not to like right?

Millions of social media followers are dangled in front of a small group of social media influencers in exchange for spending the night at a reportedly haunted studio in Las Vegas.

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For those who enjoy heavy metal, are annoyed by social media influencers to no end, and harbor a fondness for killer clowns…this movie is for you.

6. Spree, 2020

Social media satire/Horror

Amazon, Vudu

A spree is defined as a sustained period of time during which an unrestrained activity is indulged.

That’s pretty much what this movie is about, a rideshare driver going to the ultimate extreme to achieve Internet fame.

Starring Joe Keery (“Steve” in Stranger Things), Spree is a dark and violent comedy that’s not necessarily for everyone.

7. #realityhigh, 2017

Dramedy

Netflix

This is a teen dramedy about a girl going through the social media popularity rabbit hole and becoming another person to please others.

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8. Hard Candy, 2005

Thriller/Horror/Revenge

Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

This is an under-the-radar movie that might make some uncomfortable.

It stars Ellen Page (Juno, Umbrella Academy), Patrick Wilson (Conjuring, Watchmen, Aquaman), and Sandra Oh (Killing Eve, Grey’s Anatomy, Sideways, Princess Diaries).

The movie won several awards including three at the 2005 Sitges Film Festival (Best Motion Picture, Best Screenplay, and an Audience Award for Best Motion Picture) and four awards at the 2006 Spanish Malaga Film Festival (Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Cinematographer).

Ellen Page won Best Actress at the 2006 Austin Film Critics Association Awards.

This is an intelligent suspense and thriller.

But it’s not for the squeamish.

It can get grueling for some.

Ellen Page stars as a 17-year-old teenager who entraps an older man via a chat room.

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Expecting illicit activities the teenager turns the table on him.

Again, I must warn that this movie is not for those with delicate sensibilities.

9. Searching, 2018

Thriller

Amazon, Vudu, YouTube

A movie starring John Cho (Harold & Kumar, Star Trek) in the missing person genre.

The daughter goes missing and police lack leads, so the father takes to the Internet to trace the daughter’s virtual steps to find her.

10. Ingrid Goes West, 2017

Comedy

Hulu

Stars Elizabeth Olsen and Aubrey Plaza.

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Aubrey Plaza is a great actress who consistently surprises with the quirky nuance she brings to her roles and that’s also the case here.

This film is in the stalker genre but it’s also a satire of the influencer world.

11. The Social Ones, 2020

Comedy

Amazon Prime, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

This is a mockumentary and parody of the influencer culture, taking swipes at Instagram stars and fashion bloggers.

12. A Simple Favor, 2018

Comedy/Thriller

Amazon, Hulu, Sling TV, Vudu, YouTube

This is a Paul Feig movie about a video blogger who gets in over her head after she befriends a woman who causes her viewership to soar.

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It’s like a noir because it has a femme fatale.

The mystery and thriller quality of the story kept me watching.

13. Smosh: The Movie, 2015

Comedy

Amazon, iTunes, Vudu

Satire of YouTube stars starring two actual YouTube stars.

Directed by Alex Winter, star of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

14. Friend Request, 2016

Social media mystery/Horror

Amazon, Hulu, Vudu, YouTube

A woman accepts a friend request whose mysterious death sets off a series of deaths of those who are friends with the woman.

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15. Unfriended, 2015

Social media horror

Amazon, iTunes, Netflix, Vudu

Instead of a group of young people at a camp getting murdered, it’s people on a group chat that are meeting their demise one by one.

16. The Assistant, 2019

Comedy/Satire

Amazon

Short film 13 Minutes, available on Amazon Prime.

Comedy/satire of being an assistant to a social media influencer.

17. The Circle, 2017

Thriller

Amazon, YouTube, Vudu, iTunes

Starring Emma Watson, John Boyega, Bill Paxton, and Tom Hanks.

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This is a cautionary tale of living life on social media based on Dave Egger’s novel.

18. Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World, 2016

Documentary

YouTube

A documentary that explores how the Internet affects society today and may affect it tomorrow.

It asks probing questions like “will our great, great-grandchildren grow up in a world where they have no need for human companionship?”

Werner Herzog is a consistently thought-provoking filmmaker.

19. The Great Hack, 2019

Documentary

Netflix

A chilling documentary about not just about Cambridge Analytica but about the surveillance Internet.

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20. The Social Network, 2010

Drama

Netflix

Starring Jesse Eisenberg, this movie is based on the story of how Mark Zuckerburg came to found Facebook.

Highly acclaimed and a must-watch movie.

21. American Meme, 2018

Documentary

Netflix

Featuring Paris Hilton and DJ Khaled, it’s a behind the scenes look at what it means to be a social media star and the conflicts between the reality and what’s presented.

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22. Disconnect, 2012

Drama/Thriller

Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

Starring Jason Bateman, Hope Davis, Alexander Skarsgård, Frank Grillo.

Three stories interweaved around human interaction via social media.

Lives are changed, conflicts arise, some characters face a reckoning.

All of the actors are top shelf, including a strong performance by Frank Grillo – a character actor who’s been in dozens of popular films including Mambo Kings, Minority Report, Zero Dark Thirty, and several of the recent Marvel superhero movies.

23. Catfish, 2010

Documentary

Netflix

Documentary and indie film of two brothers who strike up a relationship with a woman over Facebook, with both sides misrepresenting who they are and their motives.

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The movie is the origin of the term Catfishing, which is the practice of pretending to be someone you are not – like pretending to be an associate of a famous person over the Internet in order to woo someone.

24. Chef, 2014

Comedy-drama

Amazon (free), iTunes, Pluto (free), Vudu, YouTube

Starring Jon Favreau, Scarlett Johansson, John Leguizamo, Sofía Vergara, Robert Downey Jr.

This is a feel-good dramedy.

A chef gets a bad review over Twitter and he responds in kind.

The Twitter argument goes viral and results in unanticipated events in his personal and business life.

It’s partially about the transformative effect that social media can have on a life.

25. You, 2018

Dramedy/Thriller

Netflix TV Series

This is not a movie.

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Again, I cheated.

Yet it deserves to be included in a list of things to watch and chill.

The show is absolutely binge-bait, it grabs you from the beginning and you hang on tight as the story takes unexpected twists and turns.

Without spoiling anything, the series is about a smart likable guy who meets a cute college student who is between relationships.

What seems like a romantic comedy turns into something else entirely.

An enjoyable series, well worth a try.

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Image Credits

Featured image by the author

Balaji Srinivasan, HashKey Back $2M Round in Twitter Privacy Tool Mask Network

Mask Network, the protocol that allows users to send encrypted messages, cryptocurrencies and even dapps over Twitter and Facebook, announced a $2 million funding round Tuesday co-led by HashKey and Hash Global. 

Other participants included Alameda Research, Sino Global and personal investors like Balaji Srinivasan, who touted the network back in September.

“Yes, you’re using Twitter, Facebook or eventually Reddit, but you’ll realize your picture and your file never existed on those platforms,” Mask Network founder Suji Yan told CoinDesk in an interview, translated from Mandarin. 

The company recently engaged its Twitter community with random draws of 538 election-themed non-fungible tokens (NFTs). (The number of Trump and Biden cards issued mirrors the number of Electoral College votes each candidate ended up winning.)

“We got into this election NFT game to prove to more users that Web 3.0 can be used on Web 2.0,” Yan told CoinDesk.

The protocol currently has over 800,000 downloads across its product suite but only 30,000 active users. Yan says that’s because only crypto-native experts really understand the product. 

Mask Network currently partners with companies such as Arweave to send encrypted files and MakerDAO for users to send DAI via Twitter “red envelopes,” which founder Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin took advantage of this Chinese New Year.

Yan told CoinDesk the funding round will help the company to decentralize and partner with other companies to add more functions over the next two quarters.

“Imagine how powerful it would be if Square built their function on Twitter through MetaMask,” Yan said. “When we’re fully decentralized, they won’t need us to build that.”

Becoming a fully decentralized company would also enable the Shanghai-based startup to attract more Chinese users, by building MetaMask’s current features onto Chinese social media apps like WeChat or Weibo. 

“Our current centralized operating model is very dangerous in China,” Yan told CoinDesk. Through a future launch of a governance token, the Mask team hopes to ease the risk of being deplatformed.

“They can kill us but they can’t kill a DAO or a file on Arweave,” Yan said.

This current funding round also included many Chinese investors. Yan said the reason for that may be because “U.S. VCs seem to be afraid that Facebook is involved.” 

The company also has plans to launch “Initial Twitter Offerings” before the end of this year. It will allow users to discover new token launches and purchase the tokens – all without leaving Twitter.

Lead investor HashKey said via Telegram, “We firmly believe that the Mask team will keep this amazing world by pursuing liberty of encryption and privacy.” 

Indeed, Yan said the company’s ultimate goal is to achieve a declaration of independence in cyberspace. 

“Today in 2020, we finally saw an awakened need for independence of governance on social media,” Yan said. “The only thing that’s missing is a portal to a new, open internet.”

What It Means if Companies Like Twitter Are ‘Systemically Important’ to Financial Regulators

When I first suggested Systemically Important Social Media Institutions (SISMIs) were the social media parallel to Systemically Important Financial Institutions (SIFIs), I did not expect the theory to be picked up by financial regulators.

As it turns out, the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) essentially agrees with the argument, as seen by its investigation into the recent Twitter hacks. In the “Twitter Investigation Report,” the department recommended creating a “systemically important” designation for large social media companies, like the designation for critically important bank and non-bank financial institutions. 

Jenny Leung is a blockchain and fintech attorney at Blakemore Fallon PLLC dba Ketsal.

If you’re wondering why the New York’s financial services regulator was directed to conduct an investigation into the hack of a California-based social media platform, recall that NYDFS licenses Coinbase, Gemini and Square – all companies affected by the Twitter hack that resulted in losses of approximately $22,000 worth of bitcoin by their customers.

Considering the complex web that binds social media companies with financial companies, the economy, markets and politics, it ultimately wasn’t all that surprising to see a state regulator thrown into the mix. Even Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo noted, “This type of hack by con artists for financial gain can also be a tool of foreign actors and others to spread disinformation and – as we’ve witnessed – disrupt our elections.”

See also: What Happens if Big Tech Only Gets Bigger?

As the Twitter report highlights, more Americans are getting their news from social media. I originally argued that if certain social media institutions were to fail today, their failure would pose a significant threat to society due to their outsized influence, size, reach, society’s co-dependence on them and “their power to shape the interpretation of public events.” In other words, any changes to the way SISMIs operate could lead to rippling effects across the globe. After all, they are centralized companies with highly distributed users and employees. 

NYDFS points out that because no regulators have the authority to uniformly regulate internet-based social media platforms or to oversee their cybersecurity concerns, they recommended:

  • Creating a “systemically important” designation for these companies; i.e., labeling social media companies that cross a certain threshold so as to subject them to further regulatory oversight
  • Establishing an expert agency to oversee designated SISMIs
  • A new regulatory framework for SISMIs

Some complications arise from the imposition of a new regulatory framework. In the U.S. alone, any novel framework would need to factor in President Trump’s executive order on online censorship, the upcoming Federal Communications Commission rulemaking regarding Section 230 of the Communications Act, considerations around ever-changing state privacy laws and a proposed federal data privacy bill, Securities and Exchange Commission regulations for public companies, antitrust and related laws and regulations enforced by the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission – the list goes on. 

Outside of the U.S., setting standards that work well across borders or even harmonizing the laws of various nations is not easy, nor can it be done in a reasonable amount of time. Just look at the Principles for Financial Market Infrastructures (PFMIs) – a series of global standards that apply to systemically important financial market infrastructures that took over a decade to implement.

The Twitter hack and NYDFS Twitter report highlighted an obvious need for a tailored approach to cybersecurity and social media.

Governments around the world have proven they can respond aggressively to social media: Thailand signed an order last week allowing authorities to ban media deemed threatening to national security in response to pro-democracy protests, and Iran implemented a five-day nation-wide shutdown of the internet last year. New global standards may be both necessary and appropriate for SISMIs, yet the changes were needed yesterday and will not magically coalesce tomorrow.

If a new regulatory framework for SISMIs is introduced, we may see an exodus of companies and businesses from certain regions as they engage in regulatory arbitrage. We saw this occur in 2015 when the introduction of the BitLicense resulted in numerous cryptocurrency platforms leaving New York. Similarly, many businesses chose to block European visitors from their websites, shut down completely or restructured operations in response to the introduction of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GPDR) in 2018. 

A novel framework risks fragmenting the social media ecosystem where: (1) users are granted different access, rights and protections depending on their location; and (2) users start turning to censorship-resistant alternatives.

We experienced the latter phenomenon this year in the decentralized finance (DeFi) space as significant volumes of liquidity started to move from centralized exchanges onto DeFi protocols and decentralized exchanges. For many, the attraction was the unstoppable, non-custodial and decentralized nature of the platforms, but for the regulators and enforcement agencies they present “new and unique challenges”

See also: Richard Myers – To Beat Online Censorship, We Need Anonymous Payments

The Twitter hack and NYDFS Twitter report highlighted an obvious need for a tailored approach to cybersecurity and SISMIs, but also unearthed a larger issue – SISMIs are not only too big to fail, they may also be too big to effectively regulate on both a domestic level and international level.

Also hidden in the report is the idea that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin may no longer exist solely within the realm of payments, finance, and trade. It may not be long before we realize that cryptocurrencies have also become embedded into society and economy.

The NYDFS proposals are an important starting point for regulators, policymakers and governments around the world to consider. It is also a warning for the rest of us who continue to use and rely on these centrally controlled, soon-to-be-designated platforms, that Big Brother may be coming to town. In the interim, we may have few options except to trust SISMIs to, among other things, act neutrally and protect our data and the security of their platform. As we take a collective leap of faith, I only hope the gap is shorter than it looks. 

Disclosure

The Digital Archipelago: How to Build an Internet Where Communities Thrive

The internet of today isn’t the independent territory it was originally imagined to be. For ordinary people “the internet” is just a bunch of apps made by giant companies. These companies do whatever they want with your data, disappear when the journey is over, spy on you and show you ads. I’m honestly not sure why people even bother trying to come up with dystopian futures for the web – it’s already here.

So how will the web evolve in the next 10 years? Things could continue to get worse for a little while. But soon we’ll start playing the past few decades in reverse. We’ll build new protocols that give people control over how they connect and build communities. Slowly at first, then incredibly quickly, we’ll return control of the internet to the communities that depend on it. 

Galen Wolfe-Pauly is the co-founder of Tlon, a corporate developer of Urbit. This post is part of CoinDesk’s “Internet 2030” series examining the future of our digital lives.

The technology that will return the web to the individual is just emerging. You can see it on the horizon just like last time around. Instagram is CompuServe, Facebook is AOL, Twitter is Prodigy and the next internet is just barely getting started.

I can’t render the future in HD, but I can see the broad outlines. To lay these out, let’s start with an overview of how our technology is changing, then we can talk about how new protocols will change how our digital communities function and feel.

Unbundling into protocols

The internet of apps that we live in is amazing. We can stream gigabytes of data to one another as chat messages, videos, location data, biometrica data, livestreams and so on. This plethora of ways to connect, above all, lets us build new kinds of communities. Communities are how we make sense of the world and generate a sense of progress. Under an ominous orange sky, in the midst of a pandemic, our communities are incredibly important. They may be the only way we’ll figure out a path forward from the strange world we’re in. 

The problem is, the communities we build are all stuck inside the apps we use. This means our communities are fragile, they can disappear when the app disappears. They’re limited and depend on the app developer to decide what functionality makes sense. They’re controlled by someone else: App developers decide the rules about content, membership and so on.

Every app we depend on today has to run some server somewhere to provide identity, data storage and computation. Every app has its own stack and none of them work together. 

The future is the exact opposite of this. We’ll unbundle everything about the current app model. Identity, data storage and computation will become universal protocols just like TCP/IP or HTTP. When this happens we’ll log in once, compute and communicate freely and trust that our data lives forever.

That sounds way too good to be true because it is. It won’t be perfect, but it’ll be just like the transition from the mainframe to the PC or the “online service” to the internet. Most important, our tools for building communities will improve dramatically. 

See also: Elena Giralt – Crypto Co-ops and Game Theory: Why the Internet Must Learn to Collaborate to Survive

Shaping environments

Today’s apps are like hotel rooms. You can’t move the furniture or put anything on the walls. Imagine if you tried to start an intentional community in a Marriott. 

Today’s apps are restrictive because they’re monolithic. Each one rolls together systems for logging in, storing data and doing computation. When each of these components are protocols of their own, developer-prescribed, massively multipurpose interfaces don’t make sense. Instead, we’ll build single-purpose tools that communities can compose creatively.

In a future of rich protocols, when we sit down to work we’ll bring up a single shared environment with our collaborators. Chat messages, discussion and documents will all live in the same place. We’ll monitor the markets, chat, write and monitor infrastructure all in a unified interface that we log in to once. 

Technology exists to serve people.

We’ll swap between work-oriented spaces and social spaces smoothly, creating new ones as we see fit. We’ll casually spin up new spaces for friends, colleagues or events by simply picking the tools we need and the people to share them with. We’ll go out to dinner by sharing directions, a reservations service and shared payments for splitting the check.

These tools will store our data, but they won’t control it. We’ll log in, but with identities that we own. And when we use them, they’ll simply commit data to each of our permanent personal archives. 

Community-curated spaces will feel familiar, natural and safe in a way that one-size-fits-all apps never can. The experience of being able to log in once to a standardized look and feel will be a welcome relief from the world of constantly switching contexts. It’ll be like living in your own home.

Self-regulating communities

Who gets to decide the rules of the software we use today? The people who run the software, of course. And if you ask, “cui bono,” it’s because the apps we use are designed to make themselves as profitable as possible.

If an app is like a hotel room, the company developing it is like the owner and property manager rolled into one. It’s no surprise when they tell you to stop loudly arguing in the lobby, or having a rager in your room. They’ve got to keep the rest of the guests happy. And, since they own your whole social graph and all the data you put into the platform they hold all the power. 

When communities can initiate themselves on top of universal protocols, the developer-as-rulemaker will disappear completely. Instead, communities will make their own rules and care for their own social graphs.

In this future, we’ll be able to decide how much personal information we share with our communities and what we require other members to share. Some of our communities might make using real names a custom, others might be strictly anonymous.  Further, each community will decide who stays and who goes; what’s acceptable and what isn’t. 

And, when we decide to leave a community or start a new one we won’t leave our social graph or connections behind. We’ll take them with us because they’re a part of the permanent archive we carry.

Once communities are independent, have the tools to govern themselves and aren’t at risk of losing their connections, we’ll see far more variety in guidelines, rules and conventions. Membership could be subject to a collective vote, content moderation could similarly go through different phases of community review, identity details could be used as a kind of “staking” for anonymous-but-verified communities. With a lower boundary for exit (with a portable social graph), community forking will be common.

The simplistic world of “verified” accounts and moderated content hardly serves our desire to explore new ideas and new forms of community. Building communities in a protocol centric world will feel more like digital homesteading than reluctant imprisonment. A digital world we can trust is one with much higher quality discussion and more earnest engagement. 

See also: Immunity Passes Explained: Should We Worry About Privacy?

Self-sustaining communities

When an app disappears, so does my identity, reputation and data. Since the apps we use today are each unbreakable monoliths of interface-and-data-and-code-and-devops, even when I do get my data back it’s useless without the app itself. 

Today’s software cannot, by design, make genuine guarantees around durability. The crux of this is that software itself is both owned and controlled by companies. It could be that a company raises too much money and can’t bring cash in, it could be that it has to sell all your data to advertisers to stay afloat, or even when you’re paying, its owners could decide to sell the business and cash out. No centralized app can be a solid foundation for a lasting community.

Communities of the future won’t have these issues. They’ll be built on top of durable, long-lasting, universal protocols so the cultural record can be safe. 

In the future, we’ll be able to commit ourselves to self-sustaining communities in ways we never can in our current arrangement. Will my grandchildren actually be able to read the notes and photos I have shared with the family? Will future students be able to look at discussions and debates from decades past? If they’re on someone else’s platform, it’s impossible to say. On a platform designed to last forever, we’ll be able to create things without any lurking suspicion that they might disappear.

For a community to survive and be independent we won’t just need reliable underlying protocols, although that’s critically important. Communities have to be able to do business, to sell products and content, and to manage digital contracts. Communities have to be able to ensure their survival by freely doing business.

In the future, we’ll see collectives that produce and publish content directly to their subscribers. We’ll see everything from investment syndicates to developer collectives run their businesses by managing smart contracts that control both assets and enforce community governance.

See also: Kevin Werbach – How Data Centralization Ends by 2030

The archipelago

Technology exists to serve people. Today, the situation is nearly reversed. Each of us is just propping up an engagement graph somewhere. Our thinking has been warped because we’re at the mercy of our tools and the people that control them. 

There’s enormous potential for geographically distributed, decentralized communities to build in incredible ways. I can see the outlines of what these communities will be like – but I can’t tell you what they’ll do or how. All I do know is that the physical world is a vast expanse of varied ways of living and thinking. The sooner the digital world is an archipelago of independent groups, tribes, communes and communities, the better off we’ll be.

Disclosure

Why You Need a Holiday Social Media Advertising Strategy Right Now via @danibeetalks

The holidays are… sort of upon us?

In my family, the annual joke is that if my mother starts asking about the holidays one month earlier than last year, we’ll eventually be giving her our gift wish lists in January!

If your world is anything like mine, the holidays seem to come earlier and earlier every year.

No more than 12 hours past Halloween, we’re flooded with December holiday themes, nearly bypassing Thanksgiving entirely.

The days get shorter, service providers get busier, and every company with a retail item has something they want you to buy.

It’s tempting to wait until closer to November to kick off a holiday advertising strategy because we’re still trying to finish our fall strategy, or just purely out of principle.

And while no one wants to be a Scrooge, it can be tough to think about building a holiday strategy this far out.

Especially because the global pandemic has shown us that each day can either drag on, or circumstances can change in an instant.

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But that’s exactly why you should be putting together your strategy now instead of taking the “wait and see” approach.

You should be thinking about why you need to start earlier and what you can do to stand out.

And know the things to keep in mind as we move closer to the holiday season alongside a thick air of global uncertainty.

Here are a few ways this year is a little bit different.

Earlier Online & More Spread Out

We all have seen the numbers.

People are spending a lot more time on the Internet than usual these days.

After all, what else is there to do when you’re stuck at home on quarantine or you’re working and/or studying from home all day?

But more than that, people are understandably concerned about in-person touchpoints in their shopping experience.

This is driving more people to online purchases than ever before.

Suddenly, you’ve got a lot more lingering eyes on your shopping cart page than a year ago at this same time.

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And people are finding themselves doing a lot more online shopping than usual.

You could say it’s due to a need for dopamine.

And the relatively new concept of “anxiety shopping” – anxiety over what the future holds and a need for present-moment comfort.

That is if you still needed validation for the new impulse buying habit you’ve picked up in the last six months.

People are also being encouraged to complete their holiday shopping earlier this year.

Brought about by concerns over COVID-related delays in shipping or supply chain issues.

All this compounded by the uncertainty over the future of the pandemic and whether jobs will stay secure.

This means that the shopping may start early and actually may be spread out throughout the holiday season, as changes materialize.

But the moral of the story is this: People are online and they’re buying so you need to get your brand in front of them.

And you need to do it now.

Tip: If you’ve been uncertain over whether or not to add a commerce function to your site, now is the time to make that happen.

People will be buying online.

And there is no way to guarantee that, two or three months from now, brick-and-mortar shops will even be able to stay open for in-person shopping (as we saw five months ago).

Salesforce research shows that 50% of all seasonal retail revenue is complete by December 3, meaning you can’t afford to delay.

If the first quarantine and decline of in-person shoppers caught you unawares, don’t let it happen again.

Invest in a commerce function on your website now, or at least start listing your products or services on Instagram, Pinterest, or another third-party shoppable site.

Make sure you don’t miss out on major online sales and all your shopping revenue.

DYK?

Recent studies show that the pandemic has changed our Internet behavior.

Desktop use is back on the rise, while mobile app use has suffered a bit of a dip.

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If you’ve been taking great pains to fine-tune your mobile strategy, you don’t need to take the effort away from it (people are still using their phones).

But you do need to spend time to make sure your desktop experience is just as beautifully optimized for all the incoming traffic.

Why Spend Twice as Much for Just as Many

This is one preparation that never changes; but this year, it might just be amplified.

Every year in September, we start preparing our clients for the upcoming holiday season.

Whatever you’ve been spending on advertising, prepare to spend more – like twice as much – for the same amount of reach, impressions, clicks, and conversions.

Why?

Because even if you’ve been advertising all year long, you’re not the only one in the pool anymore.

Social media advertising peaks in the holiday season.

There are more and more businesses spending money for the first time, and more of them spending more money than they did all year long.

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What does that mean for you?

Greater competition for the same eyes.

Prepare for things to cost more – and expect to get poorer results overall, on average.

Everyone else jumps in the advertising pool this time of year, so if you want those eyes, you’re gonna have to fight for ‘em.

But that’s every year.

Here’s where this year is different:

First of all, we’re in an election year in the U.S.

While there is always more competition for eyes during this time of year, it’s compounded by the amount of competition that only comes out once every two to four years.

Candidates are running ads and organizations are running ads on behalf of candidates.

There are policy changes or ballot measures as well as publishers reporting breaking news stories or running election guides.

You’re competing with far more than just other businesses. You’re competing with the fabric of governing structures.

And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, or if I’ve mentioned it enough in this article, but we’re in a pandemic.

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Now, more than years before, people will be advertising to try and make up for some of the unexpected revenue loss from months past.

So don’t be surprised if you have to spend more than twice your normal ad budget to get the same results.

Tip: Get in touch with your deeply creative side for this holiday season strategy.

You’re competing with a lot of noise that makes people nervous, afraid, exhausted – or it makes them feel assaulted with demands to buy products or donate money.

Give your audience something fun and lighthearted.

Use this year to truly stand out with your ads with levity, fun, and engaging content.

People need more happiness to hold onto.

Be the brand that gives it to them!

Don’t Feel Like You Need to Push Sales Right Now

“But Danielle, how do I kick off a holiday advertising strategy when it’s not the holidays? I can’t use all my holiday specials in October or I won’t have anything unique to offer in the future months!”

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Ah, but you don’t need to offer sales right now – it’s about so much more than that.

Think about it:

What do people know about your brand?

Do they know your brand at all?

What better time to start telling them all about your fabulous brand with its fabulous products and services than right now, before your holiday sales kick-off.

I know that I said that people are buying earlier, and yes, you should take advantage of that.

But don’t negate the importance of brand awareness when setting yourself up for holiday advertising revenue success.

Even if the concept of the marketing funnel is supposed to be dead or something, it still serves a purpose.

You know that you have to keep the funnel full by adding more people at the top, unless you want it to eventually be empty.

So, run your Instagram Reels.

Make engaging Facebook (and now LinkedIn) stories.

Dance through TikTok ads (while you still can).

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Experiment and A/B test with carousels and GIFs and videos – but just make sure you’re in the game.

Plan out your holiday advertising strategy like a lead nurture campaign:

You’re getting people interested in your brand and leaving breadcrumbs along the way for your big holiday reveal.

And also, any sales you make in the meantime is gravy.

Tip: Just like people are looking for fun in ads, they’re also looking for values, kindness, and compassion.

Today, more than ever, people are buying from companies that share their values.

So don’t be afraid to talk about them!

Use your ads to show what your organization believes in.

People are more likely to buy from a brand that has a message they care about.

Whether it’s supporting a nonprofit for Giving Tuesday or letting people know about the care that goes into designing and manufacturing or selecting products for sale.

Be Ready to Pivot

As a marketer, I know it’s en vogue to roll our eyes and groan about every new change delivered to us from the Advertising Platform Gods.

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I get it.

I do.

It’s annoying.

But also, I get really tired of hearing the complaints, especially when they’re connected to stubbornness and a general refusal to make the changes necessary.

We’re marketers.

Pivoting, adjusting, and adapting is literally the job.

Right now, we’re in a constant global PR crisis of sorts.

There are fires and a pandemic, a general election, and justifiable civil unrest.

Every day is a new exercise in how our brand should respond to the current happenings, especially this year.

Which is why you should craft a solid, well-thought-out holiday advertising strategy.

And then you should be prepared to completely scrap it at a moment’s notice.

We have zero idea what the last quarter of the year holds for us.

The business owners and marketers I’ve seen thrive this year have had one thing in common:

They pivoted early, often, and were ready to make changes at a moment’s notice.

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They gave themselves a moment to grieve their previous plans, and then they got to work.

Conversely, I saw a lot of businesses and marketers struggle because they sat around doing the “wait and see.”

They stayed frozen and indecisive, hoping and praying day after day that the winds would change course and blow in their favor.

Don’t wait for a virus or a civil movement, or a natural disaster to tell you what to do.

It’s your job to figure it out early and quickly, and adapt.

So make the plan.

Just be prepared to scrap it on a dime.

Tip: Build pivots into your plan.

No one says you can’t have layers of advertising strategy – have back-up plans for your primary plans and “if this, then that” sort of scenarios.

It’s good common practice to have a plan in crisis for both internal and external communications.

And this is a great time to flex that muscle.

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When planning your holiday advertising strategy, ask yourself, “What could go wrong?”

No, seriously, what could go wrong?

Then plan for each possible thing.

  • If there is another quarantine and we have to move to ecommerce only, how will we adjust our language? Our retail partner strategy? Our own ecommerce strategy?
  • If there are more layoffs and fewer people can afford to make purchases, how will we change our messaging?
  • How will we respond with compassion, but also so that we can salvage our own business?
  • What happens if the Advertising Platform Gods change rules, regulations, or algorithms?
  • How are we prepared to respond if one of our primary platforms suddenly becomes too expensive or untenable to advertise on?

Force yourself to see the worst-case scenarios unfolding before your very eyes.

Then craft your holiday advertising strategy around how you’ll handle things you can control from all the things you can’t.

This holiday season will be fraught, no question.

But you can get ahead by making your holiday advertising strategy now before you’re in the thick of it.

Don’t stand by and wait to see if things work out the way you want them to so you can launch the strategy you normally do.

Make a plan right now about how you want to handle your holiday advertising circumstances, no matter what comes your way.

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Jack Dorsey Details Twitter’s Blockchain Strategy at Oslo Freedom Forum

When Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey spoke at the virtual Oslo Freedom Forum 2020 on Friday, he said blockchain technology is the future of Twitter. 

“Blockchain and bitcoin point to a future, point to a world, where content exists forever,” Dorsey said. “We’re not in the content hosting business anymore, we’re in the discovery business.”

In short, Dorsey expects the nonprofit Blue Sky to create an open Twitter protocol, which users can contribute to and access data from instead of a centralized service where the social media platform hosts content on its website. 

“[Blue Sky] is a completely separate nonprofit from the company [Twitter],” Dorsey said. “We’ll focus on becoming a client of it so we can build a compelling service and business where anyone can access and anyone can contribute.”

He added the nonprofit is still looking to hire at least five roles, tasked with creating a public blockchain platform.

“You see this most fundamentally in bitcoin and in blockchain,” Dorsey said, describing the shift from centralized service providers to diverse network participants. “The keys will be more and more in the hands of the individual.” 

As for Bitcoin Twitter, as it exists today, Dorsey broadly spoke to the importance of safeguarding users’ identities, which may be the key to healthy discourse. Plus, Twitter’s staff are ampig up reliance and machine learning tools to help identify non-authentic user behavior, aka propaganda. 

“I appreciate the difference between anonymity and pseudonymity,” he said. “Pseudonymity is built identity. … We want to protect that,” he said.

“Security is not anything that can ever be perfected, it’s a constant race,” Dorsey said. “The more we’re giving the individual the keys, the safer we’re going to be.”

How to Create Engaging Social Media Content: 12 Tips to Drive Results via @brentcsutoras

With 3.8 billion users, social media platforms put you in front of a huge audience.

But does your audience love your content?

Because it’s one thing to be seen by them.

It’s another to get their wholehearted support.

Plus, social media platforms were created for connections, not selling.

To gain your audience’s attention, you need to compete against posts from their friends, DMs from their family, and tons of cute cat photos.

Need help making yourself heard above the noise and truly engage with social media users?

Here are 12 tips to use content to drive real results on social media.

1. Show, Don’t Tell

Ever stop scrolling on social media to read a huge wall of text?

You know, something like this.

social media users

social media users

I bet you haven’t. (Unless it was posted by your ex.☺)

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But when brands post like this?

That’s right, you shoot straight past them.

The message of this story is clear: if you’re marketing your brand on social, make it a rule to add an image to everything you post.

Get creative for your brand.

Post photos that speak to your audience and watch those likes and comments rise.

Like this post, which garnered five million likes, 62,000 comments, and 231,000 shares.

FC barcelona

FC barcelona

2. Get Your Own Photos Taken

If you’re using stock photos in your social media posts, it’s time to stop right now.

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Why?

Stock photos simply don’t perform as well as real photos.

To prove this, Marketing Experiments tested a real photo of their client against their top-performing stock photo.

The result?

Visitors who saw the real photo were 35% more likely to sign up.

stock vs real photo marketing experiments

stock vs real photo marketing experiments

Here are three tips for amazing social media images:

  • Hire a local photographer to take photos that match your editorial calendar.
  • If you’re just starting out, you can take your own photos with a high-specs smartphone.
  • Make sure your images match the text around them. Images are meant to summarize concepts and drive home points, not simply to break up text. (Like the photo in this Instagram post from BMW. )

3. Recycle Your Evergreen Content into Graphics

Did you know that people remember visual information 65% longer than text?

To take advantage of this, repurpose your best pieces of evergreen content into infographics, charts, graphs, and social media images.

Here’s an example of a social media infographic…

How to Create Engaging Social Media Content: 12 Tips to Drive Results

How to Create Engaging Social Media Content: 12 Tips to Drive Results

graph

…chart…

How to Create Engaging Social Media Content: 12 Tips to Drive Results

How to Create Engaging Social Media Content: 12 Tips to Drive Results

…and image.

How to Create Engaging Social Media Content: 12 Tips to Drive Results

How to Create Engaging Social Media Content: 12 Tips to Drive Results

When creating graphics, remember these tips:

4. Share Customer Testimonials & Reviews

Imagine this.

You’re about to buy a new product, but you want to learn more about it first.

When searching for information, who do you trust?

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A salesperson selling the product…

…or an honest review from a customer?

If you picked the first option, you’re in a small pool of just 3% of buyers.

The rest of us are scouring online review sites to learn the truth about a product. In fact, the average buyer reads seven reviews before making a purchase from a new brand.

If this says anything to you as a marketer, it’s that reviews from happy customers are powerful magnets at your disposal.

And while you’ve probably already posted them on your website and blog, make sure not to leave social media out.

Pick your best testimonials and reviews, design them into readable bites, and craft catchy captions to go with them.

Like this one from Courtney-Foster Donahue.

These results aren’t unusual; this is the kind of stuff we see every. single. day.Why grow your list with a free lead…

Posted by Courtney Foster-Donahue on Friday, July 17, 2020

5. Search for the Latest Visual Trends

You want to post tons of visuals on social media, but first, you need to know which visuals work and which don’t.

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To find out, dig up visual trends on social media platforms and Google search.

Here’s how:

How to Create Engaging Social Media Content: 12 Tips to Drive Results

How to Create Engaging Social Media Content: 12 Tips to Drive Results

  • Search using the most popular hashtags on Instagram. For instance, #love is the most popular hashtag on Instagram with over a billion posts. Go through the posts with this hashtag and take note of the ones with high engagement.
  • Do a Google search for popular image trends. You can browse through top-ranking sites to learn about image trends. Like the ones in this guide from Canva.

How to Create Engaging Social Media Content: 12 Tips to Drive Results

How to Create Engaging Social Media Content: 12 Tips to Drive Results

6. Host Contests

A surefire and fast way to grow your audience and gain tons of engagement is through running social media contests.

Here are three that work:

  • Like, comment, and share to join. Users like your post and share it with their friends to enter your contest.
  • Tag a friend. The more friends your audience tags, the more entries they get.
  • User-generated content. Users create posts according to a theme you set and tag your business to join.

Here’s a mouthwatering example from Hallmark. (Who doesn’t want to win a bunch of beautiful birthday cards?

Plus, the mechanics are super simple.)

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Remember, always stick to the contest rules set by each social media platform. Since each platform has different rules, review them first before spending time crafting your contest.

Here are some to be aware of:

Contest Rules on Instagram and Facebook

  • You are responsible for the lawful operations of your contests (eligibility requirements, official rules, and regulations around prizes).
  • You shouldn’t ask users to inaccurately tag photos (for example, don’t ask users to tag photos if they don’t appear in them).
  • You must acknowledge that your contest is not sponsored by Instagram or Facebook.

Go here for the full list of Instagram’s contest rules, and here for a full list of Facebook’s rules.

Contest Rules on Twitter

  • Don’t encourage users to create multiple accounts (for example, users may create multiple accounts to receive multiple entries to your contest).
  • Don’t ask users to post the same tweet over and over again (avoid “whoever retweets this post most wins”).
  • Stay away from content that jeopardizes users’ safety such as content containing violence, abuse, terrorism, hateful conduct, and adult content.
  • Stay away from spam and don’t post other people’s private information.

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Check out this guide for the complete list of Twitter’s contest rules.

Contest Rules on Snapchat

  • Don’t use Snapchat’s trademarks and logos.
  • Don’t encourage illegal, illicit, or spammy behavior.

For more rules on what you should and shouldn’t do in Snapchat contests, check out Snapchat’s guide.

7. Tag Influencers & Bloggers You’ve Quoted in Your Message

Using quotes from influencers in your blog is a great way to spark engagement.

But don’t stop there.

Make sure to give the influencers you quoted credit by mentioning them on social media.

  • Tag them on social media with a link to your content.
  • Create an attractive graphic and tag the influencer in a social message.

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They’ll surely appreciate it! Plus, it’s a great way to gain the attention of their followers.

8. Add Social Media Buttons to Your Email Newsletters

Think social media and email are competing marketing channels?

Think again.

Actually, social media and email work hand-in-hand.

One great way to use them together is to add social media buttons to your email newsletters.

This works because readers merely scan emails, and buttons stand out from text in an attractive, eye-catching way.

So, before you send off those email newsletters add social media buttons below so readers can check out what you’re doing on their favorite platforms.

Here’s an example from HubSpot.

How to Create Engaging Social Media Content: 12 Tips to Drive Results

How to Create Engaging Social Media Content: 12 Tips to Drive Results

9. Use the Right Hashtags

When used wisely, hashtags can put you in front of a much wider audience.

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For example, hashtags on Instagram make your post appear on that hashtag’s page.

Like these posts with the hashtag #tbt.

But remember, hashtags don’t work equally on all social platforms. For example, they gain huge engagement on Instagram but don’t do much on Facebook.

Follow this guide on how many hashtags to use on each social platform:

  • Twitter: 1-2
  • Facebook 1-2
  • Instagram: 5-10
  • Pinterest: 2-5

10. Spark It Up with Stories

Should you take the time to post stories on Instagram and Facebook?

The short answer, yes.

The longer one: with over 500 million people saying they use Instagram Stories every day and 62% of consumers saying they discovered a new brand through stories, you just don’t want to miss it.

Plus, stories can be fun and inspiring.

Check out this one from Gucci Equilibrium.

11. Add Puzzles, Quizzes & Riddles to Connect with Users

Is this you?

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You’re panicking with 100 projects for work and 200 assignments from your night college professor.

But instead of hammering into them right away…

…you take a quiz to find out what kind of cheese you are.

(Yup, that’s me too. Just kidding. I don’t have 100 projects for work.)

The fact is, quizzes are irresistible.

So if you want to enjoy that extra engagement, plan a fun, challenging, unique quiz or riddle and post it on social.

Like this one.

How to Create Engaging Social Media Content: 12 Tips to Drive Results

How to Create Engaging Social Media Content: 12 Tips to Drive Results

12. Engage in Current Events

One way to connect with your audience is to show how you care about the same things they do.

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Like what Taco Bell did here.

The secret is to respond quickly to current events your audience cares about.

Like Oreo did when the lights went out during the Super Bowl.

Creating Meaningful Engagement on Social Channels

Yes, standing out on social is hard.

It’s not easy to make yourself heard as a brand on platforms mainly created for connection.

But here’s the thing.

Once you learn how to connect to your audience in a real, human, engaging way, you’ll watch your brand soar in no time.

These tips for creating engaging social media content are a great way to start.

More Resources:

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Image Credits

All screenshots taken by the author,  August 2020

How to Maximize Your Search & Social Audience Expansion via @joshuacmccoy

Digital advertisers benefit from working in a dynamic, fast-paced environment where well-thought-out thought strategies come to life.

However, the end of campaign life cycles can become less than a lackluster period.

For those campaigns without a stop point, one can occasionally see audience fatigue.

While this can be combatted with ad refreshment – outside of SEO’s fresh content and the user intent of PPC – you may feel like your hands are tied.

But what if I said the campaigns didn’t have to die?

With a little retooling, you have the ability to stay visible for existing customers but also nurture your funnel abandonment.

Step Back

Let’s take a moment to draw back and instead of analyzing the staleness that has become of one platform, review your entire online marketing mix.

  • Have you created a platform funnel to conceptualize what platforms are mass impression (awareness) at the top of the funnel and those driven by intent at the bottom of the conversion funnel?
  • What platforms are working well? Which are not performing well?
  • If we could market to well-performing audiences on non-performing platforms, might this be a complementing process worth pursuing?

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Time in the industry has given us the best practice knowledge to not rely on any one single platform as goal performer.

We exist within a digital landscape where our audience encounters us while surfing morning email, perusing social platforms, researching, and educating themselves in search engines before directly searching for you.

Let’s take advantage of this.

Nurture the Customer Journey

Unless you are selling $5 trinkets online, you likely won’t see your new visitor become a new customer in the first visit.

Ideally, your website-visiting audience looks more so like a visitor who arrived through multiple touchpoints.

Want to gain a better sense of your converting visitors’ journey?

How to Maximize Your Search & Social Audience Expansion

How to Maximize Your Search & Social Audience Expansion

Notice that 25% of the example conversions come after day zero.

How to Maximize Your Search & Social Audience Expansion

How to Maximize Your Search & Social Audience Expansion

Here, we can see the reoccurring relationship between mediums that drive conversions through multiple mediums/platforms.

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Amp Up Your Retargeting

A few years back, I wrote upon the topic of remarketing and retargeting.

This was an instruction on employing advertising targets of those who have visited your site or had purchased/converted with your site  –giving you a chance to once again approach a considerate audience.

This concept is still wildly important today but the world of retargeting allows you to do much more.

Instead of just advertising to those who visited a particular area of your site, non-convertors, etc., you have to ability to advertise on a platform to those who originally arrived at your site via another platform.

It is worth mentioning that your mind may run with all the different cross-platform capabilities but you need to consider your lookback windows so that your audiences are large enough to run advertising and also be worth the effort.

You will want Display and Search audiences ranging from 100 to 1,000, respectively.

Your social platform audiences will need to be at least a few thousand in total.

Social platforms require fairly the same range but of course the more you have the more opportunity you have for success.

Let’s cover a few potentially advantageous angles.

Scenario 1: Finding Those with Intent to Convert That You Know You Have Encountered Early in the Funnel

You utilize the Google Display Network for a top of funnel approach to bring a lot of traffic into your site.

Might this higher bounce and low conversion traffic just need another invitation to your site?

Tip: Set up a Google Analytics audience to target traffic that has arrived at your site from the Default Channel Group of Display.

This will allow you to provide a bid modifier in paid search, hopefully lifting your visibility, for those people who are searching for keyword terms relevant to your offerings and they have already visited your site in the recent past.

How to Maximize Your Search & Social Audience Expansion

How to Maximize Your Search & Social Audience Expansion

Scenario 2: Targeting Your B2B Customers on Facebook

You have a variety of existing customers who you provide a monthly newsletter.

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You would like to set up a Facebook remarketing campaign but have one problem:

You are a B2B service provider and your email list is likely their professional company email addresses.

In this case, the match rate of email addresses to Facebook account registered email addresses is going to be very low.

Tip: Ensure that your deployed emails include UTM-tracked URLs. (Get help with Google Campaign URL Builder.)

Most importantly, they should feature a utm_medium= of “Email” or something easily identifiable with this audience.

This will allow you to create a Facebook audience targeting email traffic that visited your website.

Note, you will need to have placed a Facebook pixel on your website beforehand to make this association with your site.

Keep in mind, you are only going to be able to target those who have clicked on email links and visited your site instead of all of your email contacts.

On the bright side, it is your most engaged email audience.

How to Maximize Your Search & Social Audience Expansion

How to Maximize Your Search & Social Audience Expansion

Scenario 3: Cost-Conscious Audience Segmentation

You are finding that the most relevant traffic comes from LinkedIn but often comes at a higher cost per click vs. other platforms.

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Wouldn’t it be great if we could target similarly on Facebook, find those interested enough to click, and then target them further on LinkedIn?

Tip: We are now familiar with audience building by the “medium” UTM in the previous example but now we will target by the “campaign” UTM.

Here, we can target by job title, industry, etc. on Facebook with clicks UTM-tagged with a specific campaign identifier so that we can set an audience on LinkedIn to advertise against.

How to Maximize Your Search & Social Audience Expansion

How to Maximize Your Search & Social Audience Expansion

Rethink Your Approach

Utilizing an advanced approach to retargeting does not feed a new audience so to speak but provides you with a highly targeted existing audience through a new platform.

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While we have covered only a few examples, there is a myriad of ways that you criss-cross your audience targeting, allowing you second-chance opportunities at exposure.

Ultimately, it’s your chance to bring some life to a stale conversion funnel.

More Resources:


Image Credits

Feature Image: iStockPhoto / Modified by author, September 2020
All screenshots taken by author

How Do Social Media Algorithms Work? via @gregjarboe

Here’s an old question that gets asked every year:

How do social media algorithms work?

But, you can often uncover strategic insights by looking at an old question like this one from a different perspective.

In fact, there’s a term for this effect.

It’s called the “parallax” view.

How Do Social Media Algorithms Work?

How Do Social Media Algorithms Work?

For example, marketers often look for influencers on the social media platforms with the greatest reach.

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But, influencers evaluate these same platforms based on their opportunity to grow their audience and make more money.

This explains why The State of Influencer Marketing 2020: Benchmark Report found that the top five social media platforms for influencer marketing are:

  • Instagram (82%).
  • YouTube (41%).
  • TikTok (23%).
  • Twitter (23%).
  • Facebook (5%).

This list made me wonder why marketers focus on the reach of their campaign’s outputs, but influencers are focused on the growth of their program’s outcomes.

Influencers want to learn how the Instagram and YouTube algorithms work, because they want their videos discovered by more people.

And influencers are interested in learning how the TikTok and Twitter algorithms work, because they are thinking about creating content for those platforms.

Facebook’s algorithm, however, doesn’t seem quite as important to today’s influencers – unless Facebook represents a significant opportunity for them to make more money.

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There are a lot of strategic insights that marketers can glean from looking at how social media algorithms work from an influencer’s point of view.

How the Instagram Algorithm Works

Back in 2016, Instagram stopped using a reverse-chronological feed.

Since then, the posts in each user’s feed on the platform has been ordered according to the Instagram algorithm’s ranking signals.

According to the Instagram Help Center:

“Instagram’s technology uses different ways, or signals, to determine the order of posts in your feed. These signals are used to help determine how your feed is ordered, and may include:

  • “Likelihood you’ll be interested in the content.
  • “Date the post was shared.
  • “Previous interactions with the person posting.”

This has a profound impact on influencers – as well as the marketers who are trying to identify the right influencers, find the right engagement tactics, and measure the performance of their programs.

Relevance

The first key signal is relevance, not reach.

Why?

Because Instagram users are more likely to be interested in an influencer’s content if it is relevant – if it’s about what interests them.

In other words, if you’re interested in football (a.k.a., soccer), then the likelihood that you’ll be interested in content by Nabaa Al Dabbagh, aka “I Speak Football Only,” is high.

But, far too many marketers are looking for celebrities and mega-influencers who have lots of Instagram followers (a.k.a., reach), instead of looking for macro-, mid-tier, micro-, or nano-influencers who are creating relevant content that their target audience is more likely to find interesting.

How Do Social Media Algorithms Work?

How Do Social Media Algorithms Work?

Recency

The second key signal is recency, or how recently a post has been shared.

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This gives an advantage to influencers like Marwan Parham Al Awadhi, a.k.a., “DJ Bliss,” who post frequently.

How Do Social Media Algorithms Work?

How Do Social Media Algorithms Work?

Unfortunately, far too many marketers are engaging influencers to create a single post during a campaign instead of building a long-term relationship with brand advocates who will generate a series of posts that recommend their brand on an ongoing basis.

Resonance

The third key signal is resonance.

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In other words, how engaging are an influencer’s posts?

Do they prompt interactions such as comments, likes, reshares, and views with the influencer’s audience?

And, unfortunately, way too many marketers assume that an influencer’s post that mentions their brand has increased their brand awareness, using bogus metrics like Earned Media Value (EMV).

If they’d read, Why International Search Marketers Should Care About Brand Measurement, then they’d realize there are a variety of legitimate ways to measure the impact of an influencer marketing campaign on:

  • Brand awareness.
  • Brand frequency.
  • Brand familiarity.
  • Brand favorability.
  • Brand emotions.
  • Purchase consideration.
  • Brand preference.
  • Brand demand.

Using this parallax view, it’s easy to see that too many marketers mistakenly think influencer marketing is just like display advertising.

They’re buying posts from influencers the same way they would buy ads from publishers.

So, marketers who only look at an influencer’s reach shouldn’t be shocked, shocked to discover that some influencers are using bad practices such as fake followers, bots, and fraud to inflate their numbers.

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If you use a one-dimensional view of an influencer’s influence, then you reap what you sow.

How Does the YouTube Algorithm Work?

Now, I’ve already written several articles on how the YouTube algorithm works, including:

But, these articles were written for marketers, not influencers.

So, what can we learn from looking at YouTube’s algorithm from an influencer’s point of view?

Well, according to YouTube Help:

“The goals of YouTube’s search and discovery system are twofold: to help viewers find the videos they want to watch, and to maximize long-term viewer engagement and satisfaction.”

So, YouTube influencers need to start by creating great content on discoverable topics.

Why?

Well, YouTube is one of the most-used search engines in the world.

People visit the site looking for videos about all sorts of subjects.

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These viewers may not necessarily be looking for a specific influencer’s video, but they’ll discover it if it ranks well in YouTube search results or suggested videos.

Learn how to use Google Trends to find out what your audiences is looking for on YouTube.

The default results in Google Trends show “web search” interest in a search term or a topic.

But, if you click on the “web search” tab, the drop-down menu will show you that one of your other options is “YouTube search” interest.

YouTube influencers can then use what they see to inform their content strategies.

For example, you might learn that there was 31% more YouTube search interest worldwide in the topic, beauty, than in the topic, fashion.

How Do Social Media Algorithms Work?

How Do Social Media Algorithms Work?

Or you might discover that there was 18 times more YouTube search interest worldwide in the sport, drifting, than in the sport, motorsport.

How Do Social Media Algorithms Work?

How Do Social Media Algorithms Work?

YouTube’s algorithm can’t watch your videos, so you need to optimize your metadata, including your titles, tags, and descriptions.

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Unfortunately, most marketers don’t use this approach to find the search terms and topics on YouTube that are relevant for their brand and then identify the influencers who are creating content that ranks well for these keywords and phrases.

Now, getting your YouTube video content discovered is only half the battle.

Influencers also need to build long watch-time sessions for their content by organizing and featuring content on their channel, including using series playlists.

As YouTube Help explains:

“A series playlist allows you to mark your playlist as an official set of videos that should be viewed together. Adding videos to a series playlist allows other videos in the playlist to be featured and recommended when someone is viewing a video in the series. YouTube may use this info to modify how the videos are presented or discovered.”

Fortunately, one of the guest speakers for NMA’s program was Mark Wiens, one of the most famous food vloggers in the world.

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His YouTube channel has more than 1.4 billion views and almost 6.7 million subscribers.

Here are examples of the playlists that he had created, including Thai food and travel guides.

How Do Social Media Algorithms Work?

How Do Social Media Algorithms Work?

Now, marketers could also look over the playlists on the YouTube channels of influencers when they’re evaluating which ones are “right” for a campaign.

However, I strongly suspect that this only happens once in a blue moon.

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How Does the TikTok Algorithm Work?

The TikTok Newsroom posted How TikTok recommends videos #ForYou just before I was scheduled to talk about this topic.

Hey, sometimes you get lucky.

How Do Social Media Algorithms Work?

How Do Social Media Algorithms Work?

Here’s what I learned:

“When you open TikTok and land in your For You feed, you’re presented with a stream of videos curated to your interests, making it easy to find content and creators you love. This feed is powered by a recommendation system that delivers content to each user that is likely to be of interest to that particular user.”

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So, how does this platform’s recommendation system work?

According to TikTok:

“Recommendations are based on a number of factors, including things like:

  • “User interactions such as the videos you like or share, accounts you follow, comments you post, and content you create.
  • “Video information, which might include details like captions, sounds, and hashtags.
  • “Device and account settings like your language preference, country setting, and device type. These factors are included to make sure the system is optimized for performance, but they receive lower weight in the recommendation system relative to other data points we measure since users don’t actively express these as preferences.”

The TikTok Newsroom adds:

“All these factors are processed by our recommendation system and weighted based on their value to a user. A strong indicator of interest, such as whether a user finishes watching a longer video from beginning to end, would receive greater weight than a weak indicator, such as whether the video’s viewer and creator are both in the same country. Videos are then ranked to determine the likelihood of a user’s interest in a piece of content, and delivered to each unique For You feed.”

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TikTok cautions:

“While a video is likely to receive more views if posted by an account that has more followers, by virtue of that account having built up a larger follower base, neither follower count nor whether the account has had previous high-performing videos are direct factors in the recommendation system.”

It’s worth noting that Oracle has won the bid to acquire TikTok’s U.S. operations after ByteDance rejected a bid by Walmart and Microsoft.

Meanwhile, YouTube released YouTube Shorts, a TikTok-like feature, while Facebook recently launched Instagram Reels, which is basically a TikTok knock-off.

So, it appears that some very big players are convinced that TikTok represents a significant opportunity to make more money, or a competitive threat to the growth of their own social media platforms.

I wish that I could add more, but I’m a stranger here myself.

How Does Twitter’s Algorithm Work?

When Twitter was launched back in 2006, it had a simple timeline structure and tweets were displayed in reverse chronological order from the people you followed.

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But, like other social media, Twitter started using an algorithm to show users posts that different factors indicate they’ll like.

The biggest recent change to Twitter’s algorithm took place in 2017.

According to a Twitter blog post by Nicolas Koumchatzky and Anton Andryeyev:

“Right after gathering all Tweets, each is scored by a relevance model. The model’s score predicts how interesting and engaging a Tweet would be specifically to you. A set of highest-scoring Tweets is then shown at the top of your timeline, with the remainder shown directly below.”

Their post added:

“Depending on the number of candidate Tweets we have available for you and the amount of time since your last visit, we may choose to also show you a dedicated “In case you missed it” module. This modules meant to contain only a small handful of the very most relevant Tweets ordered by their relevance score, whereas the ranked timeline contains relevant Tweets ordered by time. The intent is to let you see the best Tweets at a glance first before delving into the lengthier time-ordered sections.”

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How Does Facebook’s Algorithm Work?

The biggest recent change to Facebook’s algorithm took place in January 2018.

In a Facebook post, Mark Zuckerberg announced:

“I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”

He added:

“The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups. As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

That same day, Adam Mosseri, who was then the head of News Feed, also wrote a Facebbok post that said:

“Today we use signals like how many people react to, comment on or share posts to determine how high they appear in News Feed. With this update, we will also prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people. To do this, we will predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about, and show these posts higher in feed. These are posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to – whether that’s a post from a friend seeking advice, a friend asking for recommendations for a trip, or a news article or video prompting lots of discussion.”

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He added:

“Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.”

So, it isn’t surprising that influencers got the memo.

Which explains why so few believe Facebook represents a significant opportunity to make more money.

Ironically, it’s unclear that marketers got the memo.

Far too many are still cranking out Facebook posts and videos despite the fact that few people are reacting to, commenting on, or sharing them.

Or, as I wrote in Two Social Media Vanity Metrics You Need to Stop Tracking, marketers should stop tracking Facebook Page Likes and Followers because “you’re lucky if .0035% of your Fans and Followers even sees your post or tweet these days.”

How Do Social Media Algorithms Work?

How Do Social Media Algorithms Work?

The Takeaway

These are just some of the strategic insights that marketers can discover by looking at how social media algorithms work from an influencer’s point of view.

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If you’re a marketer, then I suggest you move most of the people and budget that you’ve dedicated to creating branded content on Facebook into influencer marketing on Instagram and YouTube.

As for TikTok and Twitter, wait until after the dust settles later this year.

More Resources:


Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, September 2020
In-Post Images: New Media Academy. Used with permission.

15 Awesome Examples of Social Media Marketing via @anna_bredava

The best social media campaigns all have one thing in common:

They engage people and make them talk.

Social media can be used to inspire, enrage, amuse, and sell loads of stuff.

Even in what has basically become a pay-to-play channel, marketers continue to find creative ways to increase their visibility and reach, while simultaneously conveying their brand’s message.

You can measure the buzz around a social media campaign with a social listening tool.

It becomes easy to see how many people are talking about your campaign, and what they think about it.

So which brands are successfully tapping into the desires and needs of their target audience on social media?

This post puts together 15 outstanding examples of social media campaigns you need to see.

Some are fun, some are inventive, some promote worthy causes, but all of them do an awesome job of helping the company’s bottom line.


1. Gillette’s ‘The Best Men Can Be’

Platform: YouTube

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When: 2019

Campaign Outline

In January 2019, Gillette launched a social media campaign aiming at a modern interpretation of manhood.

The short film posted exclusively on YouTube depicted several cases of men struggling with traditional masculinity that Gillette itself used to glorify: the fear to show their emotions, sexual harassment, bullying others.

Then the film shows several examples of positive masculinity, such as standing up for others, caring for your loved ones, and so on.

The campaign was clearly inspired by the #MeToo movement.

On their Instagram, the company also posted positive male role models with short stories about their journey in the world:

  • Organizers.
  • Community leaders.
  • Non-profits’ CEOs.

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In addition to that, the company promised to donate “$1 million per year for the next three years to non-profit organizations executing the most interesting and impactful programs designed to help men of all ages achieve their personal best.”

The Numbers

  • The short film that launched the campaign has over 30 million views.
  • The #GilletteAd hashtag reached more than 150 million people in one month, according to Awario (disclosure: I work for Awario), a social listening tool.
  • The Instagram posts related to the campaign gathered around 800 likes and 50 comments, which is higher than usual for Gillette.

Why Did It Work?

This campaign managed to tap into an extremely relevant and widely discussed issue.

It juxtaposed the previous branding of Gillette with a new one and showed the willingness to change.

At the same time, it was also quite controversial – some people didn’t agree with how the short film portrayed men and thought that it was offensive.

They even started a #boycottgillette hashtag, however, it only took up around 3.5% of all the conversations around the campaign on social media.


2. Greggs’ #vegansausageroll

Platform: Twitter

When: 2019

Campaign Outline

Greggs is a British bakery chain loved by the Brits.

In January, they introduced their new vegan sausage roll, with a clever video ad parodying Apple ads.

However, it’s not the ad itself but the events that followed that made the campaign so memorable.

Piers Morgan, a controversial public figure, retweeted Greggs’ announcement and expressed irritation at the existence of a vegan sausage roll.

That made both pro-vegan roll and anti-vegan roll British people join the social media battle of the year!

Greggs responded to Piers Morgan along with 9,000+ other Twitter users.

And they didn’t shy away from responding both to sausage roll lovers and haters with witty remarks.

As a result, the vegan sausage roll became one of the most popular Greggs products that year.

The Numbers

  • On Twitter alone, the Greggs vegan sausage roll conversation saw over 516 million impressions according to Brandwatch.
  • The announcement tweet was retweeted more than 15 thousand times.
  • Greggs jumped 9,6% in sales in the first seven weeks of the launch.

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Why Did It Work?

Even though the success of the campaign partly happened because of an organic retweet and not an action planned by Greggs, it once again shows us the power of influencer marketing.

Even a negative opinion expressed by an influencer draws an incredible amount of attention to your brand.

Plus, if it’s an influencer that most people hate, you only win as a result of this retweet.

Another lesson to take away from this campaign is the advantages of being witty on social media.

Greggs’ funny responses to haters are what won over a new audience and it’s a good practice to not take yourself too seriously on social media.


3. Spotify’s #yearwrapped

Platform: Instagram Stories

When: 2019

Campaign Outline

At the end of last year, Spotify launched a campaign where its users could see the most important musical highlights on their website.

The special webpage Spotify Wrapped showed you your most listened artists, genres, songs, and other fun data discoveries.

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You could even see how the music you listened to coincided with your life events that year.

Once you went through all the data analysis, Spotify suggested you share these highlights on social media, specifically Twitter and Insta Stories, and tag your favorite artist of the year.

The Numbers

  • According to Twitter, the campaign has been mentioned in at least 1.2 million posts in the month of the launch.
  • More than 60 million users engaged with the in-app story experience.
  • There were nearly 3 billion streams from Wrapped playlists.

Why Did It Work?

Spotify combined two big psychological triggers in this campaign: personalization and FOMO.

Firstly, the app provided a personalized story for each user – you could see how your music taste developed through the year and what songs accompanied you in your life.

Secondly, by enabling and encouraging sharing on social media, Spotify amplified the reach of the campaign.

People naturally wanted to show off their highlights to their friends, thus making more people eager to try this experience.

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4. Planters’ The Death of Mr. Peanut – #RIPPeanut

Platform: Twitter

When: 2020

Campaign Outline

Perhaps one of the most bizarre social media campaigns: the beloved mascot of Planters snack food company died at the beginning of January.

His death was announced with a tweet and later explained in a video ad posted to YouTube.

Apparently Mr. Peanut sacrificed his life to save his commercial co-stars Matt Walsh and Wesley Snipes.

You could win some snacks by replying to a tweet with a #RIPPeanut hashtag.

The brands and regular social media users alike played along with the campaign and it even got a mention on SNL.

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The campaign was inspired by the reaction to celebrity deaths on social media.

It aimed to repeat the same level engagement that Tony Stark’s death caused in “Avengers: Endgame”.

Later Mr. Peanut was reborn as a Baby Nut and now happily tweets from the Peanut Jr. account.

The Numbers

  • The tweet announcing the death of Mr. Peanut gathered almost 50,000 retweets.
  • The hashtag was used more than a million times on Twitter.

Why Did It Work?

The premise of the campaign was so crazy that it immediately became a meme.

Many comedians and funny Twitter personalities “were making jokes about Mr. Peanut’s departure.

This was a specific brand of Internet humor that makes certain things go viral – and it worked.


5. Starbucks UK’s #WhatsYourName

Platform: Instagram

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When: 2019

Campaign Outline

Starbucks UK partnered with Mermaids, an organization to support transgender and gender-diverse youth for a #WhatsYourName campaign focused on trans rights.

The campaign builds on a well-known aspect of the Starbucks experience – having your name written on the side of your cup – by committing to respect the names that customers want to be called by.

In addition to that, Starbucks started selling a mermaid tail cookie to raise funds for Mermaids.

Social media users were encouraged to use the hashtag on Instagram to tell about their experience with gender.

The Numbers

  • The YouTube ad gathered 605,000+ views (with less than a thousand YouTube subscribers).
  • The Instagram post gathered 1,000+ comments with an average comment rate for the Starbucks UK Instagram profile being around 40 comments.

Why Did It Work?

The team behind the campaign created a simple, clear campaign hashtag.

And they led with their values, which helped this campaign make a real, emotional impact.

Many brands steer away from politicized topics, but ultimately, your employees and customers want you to take a stand.

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Specifically, they want companies to lead on issues of diversity and community.


6. WWF’s #EndangeredEmoji

Platform: Twitter

When: 2016

Campaign Outline

Seventeen of the animals included in the emoji index were identified as representative of endangered species.

WWF used this insight to launch a campaign to raise donations for species protection.

The idea was simple but effective: for each retweet of an animal emoji shared by the @WWF Twitter account, users were encouraged to make a donation of 10 cents.

15 Awesome Examples of Social Media Marketing

15 Awesome Examples of Social Media Marketing

Every retweet of an animal emoji was tracked and at the end of each month, users were given a summary of their activity, along with what their donation equivalent totaled.

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This timely campaign launched for Endangered Species Day (May 19), which helped to add an element of urgency.

The Numbers

  • Launch tweet was retweeted more than 36,000 times with 11,000 likes and 38,000 responses.
  • More than 1 million tweets using the campaign hashtag.
  • WWF gained over 200,000 new followers and over 59,000 donations in the first two months of the campaign alone.

Why Did It Work?

WWF made it easy to get involved with the campaign and effectively tapped into the emoji craze.

It was fun, the suggested donation was minimal, and the use of emoji tied directly to the campaign’s purpose, rather than feeling like a forced attempt to hijack a trend.

It also didn’t hurt that celebrities including Richard Branson and Jared Leto got involved.

Plus, the WWF campaign earned media coverage from big outlets including the Huffington Post and The Guardian.


7. ‘Ex Machina’

Platforms: Tinder, Instagram

When: 2015

Campaign Outline

A fake Tinder profile was created for SXSW 2015 to attract some publicity for the sci-fi thriller “Ex Machina”.

The profile featured pictures of Alicia Vikander, the Swedish actress who plays a bot named Ava in the movie.

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This impressively deceptive stunt lured people into a conversation with “Ava”, before sending them to an Instagram profile that contained only trailers for the movie.

We can only imagine their disappointment.

The Numbers

It’s difficult to pin down exactly how many people fell for this ruse, or just how much a fake Tinder profile contributed to the movie’s ultimate success.

In this instance, we can really admire the inventiveness of a great publicity stunt.

Why Did It Work?

Once more, we see the importance of a close tie between the campaign’s content and its purpose.

This campaign seems a logical extension of Ava’s character in the movie, which is perhaps why people were willing to forgive what could otherwise have been seen as a cruel prank.

It was also in the ideal location – SXSW is attended by a large audience of 20-something, tech-loving men.


8. BuzzFeed’s Tasty

Platform: Facebook

When: 2016

Campaign Outline

You’ve probably seen these quick and easy recipe videos popping up all over your Facebook news feed.

15 Awesome Examples of Social Media Marketing

15 Awesome Examples of Social Media Marketing

BuzzFeed’s Tasty videos are essentially cooking shows for the social media generation.

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These videos, typically lasting less than 2 minutes, deliver on-trend recipes to a highly engaged audience.

The Numbers

  • Nearly 15 months after launching, Tasty was able to publish 2,000 recipe videos, giving the brand a steady stream of new content.
  • Videos reach around 500 million users monthly.
  • 100 million Facebook fans.
  • In September 2016, Tasty generated more than 1.8 billion views of its videos. BuzzFeed now has a team of 75 people dedicated to producing content for Tasty.

Why Did It Work?

For starters, there’s the content.

“It taps into a simple truth: People love tasty foods and the kind of foods that remind them of their childhood, comfort food, or food that reminds them of an experience,” according to Frank Cooper, BuzzFeed’s chief marketing officer.

But more importantly, Tasty and Proper Tasty have exploded on Facebook because the content is tailor-made for that platform.

The videos are optimized for Facebook’s autoplay feature, which starts playing videos without the sound on. You don’t need sound to see, for example, a 45-second guide to making a cheese-stuffed pizza pretzel.

Within 24 hours, that video had 37 million views, 650,000 likes, and 750,000 shares. (It’s now up to 50 million views.)

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9. Worldwide Breast Cancer’s #KnowYourLemons

Platform: Facebook

When: 2017

Campaign Outline

The charity Worldwide Breast Cancer launched an innovative and highly shareable campaign in 2017.

Labeled #KnowYourLemons, the campaign was designed to promote awareness of the various signs of breast cancer and remind women that lumps are not the only symptom.

Using lemons to depict 12 different signs, the image cleverly gets around nipple-based censoring rules and aims to help women overcome fears about checking their breasts.

While a breast lump is the most common sign of breast cancer, some symptoms can be seen rather than felt. Either way, a…

Posted by Know Your Lemons Foundation on Sunday, March 29, 2020

The Numbers

  • The images from the campaign have reached 7.3 million people through just three Facebook posts.
  • It’s impossible to know how many women visited their doctor on the basis of this campaign, but it’s safe to assume it had a positive impact.

Why Did It Work?

It managed to strike a delicate balance between playful and serious, while also tackling an important issue.

A campaign like this one serves as an important facilitator of that discussion.

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It can be difficult for people to talk openly about these things, but the willingness is there.


10. General Electric’s #6SecondScienceFair

Platform: Vine, Tumblr

When: 2013

Campaign Outline

General Electric launched a campaign hosting a #6SecondScienceFair on Vine and Tumblr back in 2013.

Within this campaign, they revined posts of at-home science experiments, with the aims of encouraging engagement, generating interest in science, and building GE’s position as a force for innovation.

15 Awesome Examples of Social Media Marketing

15 Awesome Examples of Social Media Marketing

You can view a sample Vine here.

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The Numbers

  • The Vine linked to above was revined more than 105,000 times.
  • The campaign on Vine attracted more than 100 million Loops.

Why Did It Work?

Although this campaign is a few years old, it is an excellent example of just how effective user-generated content can be.

The rules were clear: posts had to contain a science experiment and they had to be 6 seconds or shorter.

Other than that, people were free to let their imaginations roam.

This sense of guided creativity was a driving factor behind the campaign’s success.


11. Ted Baker’s #MeetTheBakers

Platform: Instagram

When: 2017

Campaign Outline

Ted Baker, the British fashion brand, has long been associated with great social media storytelling.

Their content ambitions have continued evolving following last year’s cinematic “Mission Impeccable”.

Their newest campaign centered around a fake soap opera called “Keeping up with the Bakers”, partnering with Nexus to create digital window displays that link the real world to their social activity.

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Instagram Stories has been utilized in an episodic format to share updates from the “sitcom” with new content released daily over eight days.

This is far more engaging than simply snapping behind the scenes content and products like other brands have done.

Perhaps more interestingly, a shoppable 360 film has also been created to allow shoppers the freedom to explore before making a real-world purchase.

The Numbers

This campaign just launched, so it’s too early to attach final figures.

Nonetheless, Ted Baker has already received some positive press.

Why Did It Work?

Ted Baker took the universal, eternal appeal of storytelling and applied it to a relatively new medium.

The campaign doesn’t feel too overt with its commercial message either, which counterintuitively will most likely lead to much higher sales in the spring period.

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12. L’Oréal’s Beauty Squad

Platforms: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram

When: 2016

Campaign Outline

L’Oréal teamed up with five of the UK’s most influential and inspiring beauty YouTubers to promote their products and events.

Instead of simply commissioning sponsored content, the move saw a more genuine relationship between brand and blogger.

The result: more authentic and regular content across the influencer’s social channels.

It’s all #Sponsored. But because there is a bigger, lasting relationship behind this, fans are more receptive to the content.

The Numbers

  • The L’Oréal content produced for YouTube by the influencers has been viewed more than 5 million times.
  • More than 100,000 likes on YouTube and Facebook.

Why Did It Work?

Influencers have evolved from media support to media personalities in their own right.

Many brands have identified influencers as an “opportunity”, but viewing them as merely a vehicle to reach their social followings creates an unnatural and ineffective partnership.

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L’Oréal went a few steps further in establishing their own team of top influencers to promote their messaging, and they believe this will herald a new era of relationships between brand, talent, and audience.


13. The Brit Awards 2016

Platforms: Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Vine

When: 2016

Campaign Outline

In the months leading up to the Brit Music Awards, this campaign by UK TV channel ITV used multiple social media platforms to create an interactive journey, building excitement with a steady trickle of information.

On the night, a newsroom of 60 people worked behind the scenes with designers, photographers, interviewers, and social media experts to ensure all platforms were working to full capacity.

YouTube streamed the show globally; Facebook hosted a Red Carpet Live show; Instagram held a red carpet experience; Snapchat created a Brits Live Story; and the official Brits Vine channel pushed out exclusive content.

The Numbers

  • 10 million views on Vine in one day.
  • Facebook likes grew by 81%.
  • 12 million people live-streamed the red carpet experience.

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Why Did It Work?

Unique content was created for each platform over a period of months, building up slowly to the main event.

That’s not easy to do, but the effort clearly reaped rewards.

People use the various social platforms differently and expect different things from each, so brands with the means to meet this demand should aim to do so.


14. Visit Norway’s #SheepWithAView

Platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube

When: 2016

Campaign Outline

Visit Norway took a slightly alternative approach to promoting tourism to the country.

For their #SheepWithAView campaign, four sheep in four different regions of Norway starred in videos that promoted their local area.

Video content was supported with further imagery promoting local outdoor adventures, food, and culture.

The photographer spent 20 days documenting Norway through the eyes of the sheep to share their unique life.

The sheep used in the campaign belonged to local farmers, bringing additional authenticity to the campaign.

The Numbers

  • The campaign reach exceeded 64 million people.
  • Brand sentiment was tracked at 98.8% positive during the campaign.

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Why Did It Work?

It was knowingly self-mocking, and people like when companies don’t take themselves too seriously.

It was also downright bizarre at times.

Even those who didn’t enjoy the content would have to appreciate the unique, brave approach Visit Norway opted to take.


15. Burberry Cat Lashes

Platform: Pinterest

When: 2016

Campaign Outline

Burberry was the first luxury brand to offer customers a personalized experience on Pinterest.

To promote their Cat Lashes Mascara, Burberry asked users three questions about their beauty style.

Their answers were used to create personalized boards with complete looks.

The partnership allowed Burberry to tap into Pinterest’s 38.5 million unique monthly viewers in the hair and beauty category.

Burberry varied its content formats, too, interspersing product posts with beauty tips and demonstrations.

The Numbers

  • Pinners created more than 30,000 personalized boards.
  • 1 million Burberry makeup Pins were used.
  • All 5,000 available samples were redeemed in just five days.

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Why Did It Work?

Burberry has become a go-to brand for innovation within social spaces – from live-streaming their shows to collections that can be purchased directly from the catwalk on a mobile device.

Although this campaign didn’t garner the headlines that its other innovations have, this was still a novel use of Pinterest.

It showed Burberry has a deep understanding of how its audience uses the platform.


To Sum Up

Hope these 15 amazing campaigns gave you a lesson on how to do social media marketing right and inspired you to create your own amazing brand campaign!

More Resources:


Image Credits

Screenshots taken by author