Selected by Elena and summarized by SWIMterns. For your next marketing meeting, trend report, or dinner conversation about social media.

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Instagram’s Test of Removing Likes Expands to More Regions

Instagram has recently tested the idea of hiding the number of likes and video view counts a post receives in the following countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand. The post will still show mutual followers who have liked it, but it will not display the actual number of likes to the public; although the individual user will still be able to see the total counts. These steps have been put into place in an attempt to improve the overall mental health and experience of users. A survey conducted in 2017 highlighted the detrimental effects of “compare and despair” ideology that is intrinsic to the app. Although removing the ability to view others’ like count could help ease some of the anxiety of users, the more prominent issue is the comparison between images themselves. Moreover, will removing likes even result in measurable changes-- and even so, is it worth it if the larger issue is still not addressed? Instagram is also mindful of how this change will affect engagement with the platform overall, but they remain positive that it is a necessary experiment if the goal is to benefit users in the long run.

- Taylor

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Twitter Launches “Twitter ArtHouse”

Twitter recently unveiled a new creative team that will aid brands in creating video content, exclusive to their platform: “Twitter ArtHouse”. This development follows research collected by Twitter and GroupM who discovered that video content on their platform drives a 33% increase in emotional engagement amongst users. Another study by Magna/IPG Media Lab found that users also spend 24% more time with Creator ads; Creator ads are specifically curated content produced from partnerships between brands and “creators” (usually unique to the platform). Twitter’s recent efforts in the Creator space has led to an exponential increase in the platform’s visual campaigns in the last six months. Many other platforms have been working towards capitalizing on creator content to encourage brands to advertise with their platform.

- Taylor


Update: Instagram Will Now Keep All Stories in a Camera Roll for Seven Days

Instagram is rolling out an update to Stories, now giving users the option to save any content you capture via the Instagram Stories camera to a gallery that is native to the platform. Think of this as a camera roll within the Instagram app. This option will make it easier for users to curate their best Stories content by allowing them to take a ton of photos and videos at once, then select the best options to edit and post to your Stories later.

- Briana


The Smallest Viable Audience: How Micro-Influencers are Changing Marketing

Seth Godin’s keynote “Social Media and the Revolution” focused on finding “the smallest viable audience” of fans and building meaningful and dedicated communities around them. So what does this mean? Many brands work on the assumption that bigger is better. However, Godin notes that marketing on such a large scale can sacrifice what makes you special in the first place. Therefore, instead of trying to reach everyone, brands should remember that is better to be important, to be in sync, or be the one that is hard to replace. And the only way to be important is to be relevant, focused, and specific. Adopting this community-driven approach is a great way to build a lasting group of fans and followers that are more passionate and dedicated. As brands are realizing the value of small-scale engagement, we’re seeing the rise of “micro-influencers.” These influencers work on a smaller scale (usually between 5,000-50,000 followers) and engage with a highly active group of fans. They are more authentic and their opinions on brands and products carry more weight with followers due to their authority on specialized, niche interests. All of this translates into more meaningful engagement with fans, and more cost-efficient influencer marketing campaigns. Social Media has demolished traditional notions of mass media, and has created a clearer path for fans to build online communities around a particular product or interest.

- Kassandra


Facebook Releases Details of Its Coming ‘Libra’ Cryptocurrency

What is it? “Libra” is a digital currency that will be a part of Facebook’s ‘Calibra’ crypto subsidiary. It enables funds to be transferred at little-to-no cost within Facebook’s ecosystem. Eventually the platform hopes to assist with paying bills, buying a cup of coffee, and riding public transit without carrying cash or a metro pass.

How will Facebook make money? Calibra, Facebook’s crypto subsidiary will operate separately from the platform and will be backed by a range of investors who will take a cut of the interest accrued on the money users cash in. They are currently prioritizing building the utility of its platform over making money to bring more businesses on board and are factoring in increased government regulations and the privacy concerns of the public moving forward.

The Wall Street Journal reports that a few famous partners have decided to form an independent consortium to govern the cryptocurrency. Mastercard, Uber, Visa, Spotify, and Paypal are among the few dozen major companies backing Facebook’s Libra. By the currency’s launch in 2020, Facebook wants to grow from a couple dozen to at least a 100 company members in the consortium. Each company will invest around $10 million in a governing body for Libra which Facebook will ultimately use to develop the coin. It has been decided that Libra will not be directly managed by Facebook or any of the companies in the consortium. This decision to have the network be its own entity may stem from the need to steer clear of additional regularity hurdles, as Facebook continuities to handle backlash from the data privacy scandal.

- Briana


New Report Shows Facebook Engagement in Gradual Decline, as Instagram Rises

When looking at the official numbers reported from Facebook, you would assume that usage on the app is not decreasing with their Monthly Active Users steadily increasing. However, a rising accumulation of third-party data suggests otherwise. A new report from eMarketer shows Facebook’s average time spent on the platform is trending downwards, while Instagram is rising up. Facebook’s overall audience reach is unmatched, but people are refining their social media use over time, and are looking for different things in each app. Facebook seems to be the place where people are going for updates from friends and family, which may make it less beneficial for marketing. This does not mean that you should suddenly abandon The Social Network entirely; however, it's worth noting the evolving usage trends and consider where your audience is spending their time.

- Justin

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CNN Launches Instagram Account on Climate to Appeal to Young Voters

What better place for CNN to reach young people than Instagram? On April 22, CNN launched a new Instagram account in relation to Earth Day. Focused on climate, this launch follows CNN’s strategy of managing social accounts dedicated to specific issues (in addition to its main account) including Business, Travel, Style, and Politics. During the 2018 midterms, CNN launched a series called “Why I Vote” and found that climate change and global warming were the two top policy issues of younger voters. Therefore, knowing their audience, CNN has decided to communicate and educate their readers about an issue that they are truly interested in. Even though CNN does not have a strict content strategy for the account, they play off notable headlines and events on CNN and essentially repackage them into short videos, quote cards, and images. With around 43 posts and 1 IGTV, the account has increased to nearly 50,000 followers.

- Kassandra

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People Are Spending More Time on Smart Phones Than They Are Watching TV

According to new research from eMarketer, in 2019 - "for the first time ever, US consumers will spend more time using their mobile devices than watching TV, with smartphone use dominating that time spent."

As per the report: Time spent on mobile is about 3 hours and 43 minutes whereas time spent watching TV is about 3 hours and 35 minutes. Listening to digital audio (music and podcasts primarily) is the most common app usage, while social network activity comes in second. The shift from TV to mobile was predicted a long time ago, however, eMarketer also predicts that the use of mobile will hit a plateau by 2020 as consumers become increasingly uneasy about overuse of mobile devices. No doubt your marketing strategies are already re-aligned with the modern consumption shift, but again, it is worth noting this change, and taking stock of how people are now spending their time. TV advertising is still highly effective, but the cheaper - and now more popular - mobile experience could prove more beneficial, depending on your approach.

- Justin


8 Ways to Improve Your Video Marketing Strategy

More and more businesses are investing in a video marketing strategy. In fact, video now accounts for about 80% of all consumer internet traffic and its consumption increases by 100% every year. With this in mind, this article provides a few key pieces of advice on how to increase engagement.

  1. Know Your Audience: determine what channels they’re using, their language, and what needs they have that your business can provide a solution for.

  2. Consistently Brand Your Videos: this makes it easy for people to recognize you when they see your video shared.

  3. Make the Video Topic Clear: there is a ton of content out there, so it is essential to grab your audience’s interest quickly. To get viewers to commit to a lengthier video of five minutes or longer, give them an accurate and informative synopsis and highlight two or three benefits to watching the full video. May also be helpful to transcribe your videos.

  4. Tell Stories With Your Video: use video to showcase your expertise, explain a trend, show a process, inspire, or just to get personal.

  5. Use Social Proof: people look to what others have done when making a decision, so share customer testimonials and case study videos when appropriate.

  6. Optimize your Videos: be familiar with the best practices for video on each platform. For Facebook, keep videos short, upload directly to the site and add captions. For YouTube, wait two weeks after the video has launched to make tweaks or refine your target audience. For Twitter, upload videos directly, keep them short, and do not over-target.

  7. Include a Call-to-Action: tell your viewers what to do next to prompt meaningful engagement from interested viewers. This can come in different forms such as: directing to another piece of content or asking a question they can answer in the comments below.

  8. Analyze your Video Performance: use metrics like engagement rate, view count, play rate, social sharing, and comments to gauge your video’s performance.

- Briana