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Social Media

Will Vine 2 Kill Tik Tok?

Tik Tok has been all the rage with younger audiences. But now that Vine 2, better known as Byte, has been launched, will Tik Tok survive?

Beside the fact that its developers are calling this new video looping service Byte, a lot of people are still using the name Vine 2. It became known by this name because it is the product of the original vine co-creator Dom Hofmann and because of the video looping of course. The app is now available for free to download on IOS and Android devices.

Vine 2 Finally Released

Like its predecessor, Byte allows users to creatively make looping videos. The main difference is that instead of seven seconds like in Vine, the Byte app uses 6-second videos. It comes with features you’d expect from a social media platform including a content feed, an explore page, and user profiles.

Users can either record videos with the Byte app or upload the videos directly from their devices. This means that videos can be edited using third-party apps before being uploaded to the Byte platform.

A Byte partner program is also planned for the future meaning that users will get paid for generating content. This program may in fact lure content creators away from Tik Tok and other established apps. That platform currently offers no payment for video content.

Another thing that makes Byte different is that it features a community forum that prioritizes communication with creators. Byte gives users the opportunity to gain popularity on the platform and it offers compensation through a monetization program. The community forum and monetization offers are what the Byte creator hopes will differentiate the platform from its competitors including Snapchat and Tik Tok.

Hofman says that Byte is considering a number of monetization options including ad revenue-sharing, tipping, or other options to their partners. It looks like they will be starting with a revenue-share plus supplementing with their own funds. They will have more details about exactly how the pilot program will work soon.

Many creators who found their popularity on apps such a Snapchat and TikTok that do not have direct monetization have tried to pull their audiences over to YouTube where they can earn a steady ad share. By getting started paying early, Byte hopes to lure some of those personalities over to its app and be able to retain them from the long-term. Former Vine Stars turned Tik Tok stars like Chris Melberger, Joshdarnit, and Lance Stewart already have a presence on Byte.

The official community guidelines read, “Byte is dedicated to building tools and communities around the possibility of new experiences that’s why it’s our mission to put creativity first in all that we do. As humans living among other humans in a complicated world, we believe that creative, playful contact with others helps us tap into our collective potential.”

Things to Know

At this time, there is no private account option for Byte so anyone can add anyone else to follow. It is possible to block accounts but you’ll need to monitor who is deciding to follow you. There is no location sharing.  It lacks live video options as well as the disappearing content that made Snapchat famous.

Users cannot direct message to each other, but comments are allowed on Bytes. At this time there are no ads or in-app purchases, but as the app tries to establish their revenue model we could see these appear later.

At this time, Byte lacks remix ability, augmented reality features, transition effects, and other features you would find in apps like Tik Tok and Snapchat.

A Vine Refresher

Hoffman co-founded Vine in June 2012 with Colin Kroll and Rus Yusupov. Hoffman actively ran a beta tester forum since the original announcement for Byte was made in early 2018. Twitter acquired Vine prior to its launch in January 2013 after Hoffman left the company.

At the time, Vine was an effective way for small businesses to make an impression on their target audience because it helped them beef up their content. Using Vine, small businesses could respond to customer feedback to provide them with personal interaction. They could also work Vine videos into there larger content strategy making their marketing efforts more effective. By blogging about the day to day function of their organization, small businesses could increase transparency and provide their followers with real insight into what it’s like to be behind the scenes.

In December 2016,  Twitter announced that the vine mobile app would remain operational as a standalone service so that users could publish videos directly to Twitter rather than buying. In January 2017, the vine Community website shut down and Vine became Vine Camera in a name change.

With the release of Byte aka Vine 2, small businesses once again had the opportunity to benefit from the many marketing and Communication features created by the original vine. But, Byte adds the additional benefits of monetization for content along with a user forum. In this sense, Byte may be able to revive the excitement Vine once had and by doing so, it could mark the beginning of the end for Tik Tok.

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Social Media

Is Your Ad Copy Facebook Compliant?

We’ve all had it happen at least once — the dreaded ding of a new notification that declares your Facebook ad was denied. It usually comes with a vague comment about following Facebook’s ad rules. Sometimes (if you’re lucky), you’ll get an equally confusing comment about what part of the guidelines you may or may not have violated.

Facebook can be a little obtuse and confusing about what they accept and deny, but there are ways to increase the likelihood of approval. Here’s what you need to know.

Facebook’s Brand

Facebook has specific guidelines for how you can use or mention the word “Facebook” in your ads. This would apply, for example, if you were advertising a new Facebook page you wanted people to “like.” It’s also a must if you need to show where the ad click-through will take your audience, should they hopefully click it.

Facebook’s advertising rules regarding Facebook-branded assets state that you can only use their assets at certain times. Here’s the basics:

  • You may never imply that your ad is in partnership with Facebook or Instagram, or that it is endorsed by either party. This is an instant decline.

  • You may not highlight or enhance brand terminology in a way that makes it stand out in the ad. For example, the font you use when mentioning Facebook or Instagram must be the same as the font (in both style and size) used throughout the rest of the ad.

  • You must write the words “Facebook” and “Instagram” with proper capitalization. You may not use the abbreviation of “FB” in any ad copy, nor can you use either word as a verb.

  • You may never use the corporate logo for any reason. Full-stop. Even if you’re advertising a page on Facebook.
  • You cannot use any screenshots of Facebook or Instagram that represent old functionalities. You may only use photos of features that are current and work properly.

Average advertisers don’t have a lot of reasons to incorporate Facebook or Instagram logos into their advertising campaigns. Rarely, people working in the internet marketing or social spheres may find it necessary to promote services or consultations, but the instances in which this is valid are extremely niche. Facebook and Instagram both offer brand resource centers with complete information on how the logos can be used; you should review and follow them closely.

Prohibited Ad Content

While all of this may seem cut and dry, Facebook does offer a list of content that is completely prohibited. Ads that mention topics that are illegal or discriminatory in nature can’t be promoted at all through the advertising system. In fact, you can’t even post this kind of content on Facebook without risking a ban.

Here are some other surprising blacklisted topics:

  • Tobacco products and paraphernalia (including vaping products).
  • Unsafe supplements (as per Facebook’s discretion).
  • Legal drugs, including over-the-counter or prescription products. This includes substances like CBD oil or marijuana, even where it is legal.
  • Anything related to weapons, guns, and even some tactical gear.
  • Adult products, services, or content (sexually suggestive or not).
  • Ads that depict or promote violence, as well as “shock value” content.
  • Items that talk about personal attributes. This can get complicated, but essentially, it means you can’t assume the personal attributes of your audience, including race, religion, or age.

While violence is a given, content with shock value sometimes trips people up. For example, Facebook may find a photo of a cancer patient or accident victim in a hospital bed “shocking,” whether there is graphic or gory content in the image or not.

Facebook also prohibits content that includes links to broken landing pages, the promotion of spy equipment, payday loans, actual multi-level marketing or pyramid schemes (not to be confused with network marketing), and other illegal services or activities.

Your ad will also be denied if it is poorly written with bad grammar or spelling mistakes. Do yourself a favor; take a few seconds to have it proofread or at least run it through Microsoft Word’s review tools. A well-written ad is always more impactful!

Certain other categories are listed as “restricted” in nature. For example, you may promote alcohol if you are complying with local laws, but you must also be compliant when it comes to your targeting methods. State-run lotteries may advertise via their respective government entities, but all other lotteries are prohibited. You can read Facebook’s full list of prohibited and restricted content here.

A Closer Look at Personal Attributes and Health

We’ve already mentioned that you can’t create an image or write ad copy that points out a personal identifying attribute. This includes asking questions about gender identity, criminal records, financial health, medical conditions, or disabilities.

This is one of the biggest reasons for declines, but advertisers often struggle with figuring out exactly when they cross the (very gray) line). If you’re in the wellness, weight loss, or beauty spheres, the risk is often much higher because the very nature of these products is that they exist to be targeted to specific attributes.

Does that mean you can’t advertise a service to someone with, say, a criminal record? No, not at all. It does mean you have to write the ad copy in an objective manner with more of a third-person voice that doesn’t speak directly to your potential consumer.

In terms of health and beauty, you can’t point out flaws. Ads for acne treatments need to talk about the physical attributes of acne and how the condition can sometimes make sufferers feel, but you still can’t necessarily write them in a way that suggests the reader of the ad has acne.

Here’s something else that may surprise you: you aren’t prohibited from posting before and after photos on your page. Yet, you are prohibited from using them in your ad creatives.

Need a few examples?

Lawyers can create ads that say, “Legal services for convicted felons.” They cannot write an ad that asks, “Are you a convicted felon?”

You can write an ad that talks about “Reversing acne scarring.” You cannot write an ad that asks, “Are you tired of your acne scars?”

Image and Text Guidelines

Facebook used to have a hard rule stating that an ad image can have no more than 20 percent text. They’ve since relaxed the rules a bit, but ads that are 20 percent text-heavy or less still do better than those with a higher ration.

This determination is based on a grid system. The grid is split into sections and no more than 20 percent of the grid can have even a portion of text within it.

Sweating? Confused? Don’t worry, help is available. Facebook has an Image Text Check tool you can use to review your image before creating your ad. Images that are “OK” will run normally. Low and medium text blocks may be restricted, while images with a high text ratio may still be blocked.

At the end of the day, it’s important to have an in-house or partnered ad writer and designer who is familiar with Facebook’s community and ad guidelines. The more creative you can be about presenting your product or service, the more successful your ads will be. You’ll spend less time trying to correct rejected ads and can focus on creating new objectives instead!

If you do run into problems, I encourage you to get in touch with me or book a consultation. Some situations are a little bit more complex and need a bit of a deeper dig to identify the problem. I believe there is always a fix.

Categories
Social Media

From Zero to Hero: Building a New Social Media Strategy

It doesn’t matter if you’re starting a brand new business or if it just never seemed like social media would be a great fit for your marketing strategy. It’s never too late to get started. More importantly, it’s a heck of a lot easier than you think to build a social strategy from the ground up. We’ll walk you through how to start fresh by setting some simple goals, making a plan, and moving forward one step at a time.

Develop SMART Goals

I’ve talked about SMART goals in the past – goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant,and Time-bound. Setting your goals with the SMART strategy ensures you’re getting results from your social strategy, whether that’s engagement or sales. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for adjustments within the SMART philosophy, either. Goals for each platform can be slightly different, as long as they all feed positively into your overall marketing plan.

Create Audience Avatars

Audience avatars (personas) are as important for social media as they are for any other aspect of marketing. Take some of the data you’ve already gathered and think about what it says about your potential social audience. What type of content is that audience most likely to comment on or otherwise engage with? Should you be focused on written blogs or shorter pieces of visual content?

Make sure you’re comparing your existing marketing data with available data for social platforms. For example, some gurus claim Facebook is great for the older generations, and that Millennials are shopping elsewhere, but the reality is that there are more Millennials on the platform than there are people in other generations. This is especially important information to have when you begin to develop paid ad strategies. Splitting creatives to target each of your customer personas is very effective.

Slow Your Roll

You don’t need to build a presence on every single social platform at the same time. You do want to be present on at least a few (eventually), but it’s smarter to start with the platform where your biggest target audience is already actively participating.

Take your time to set up your profiles, fill in all of the details, upload your branded logos and banners, and start creating quality, platform-specific content. Once you’re comfortable operating within your first platform, go ahead and add your second to the mix. Track, measure, and investigate what works as you go – don’t rush it.

About Those Profiles

Your social media profiles aren’t really about you (shocking, I know). They’re all about showing your audience what you can do for them – or how you can make their lives easier in some clear, distinct way. This means using clean and simple language that caters to your audience, as opposed to people who understand your niche. Be personable and relatable. Also, check back every couple of months or so to make sure your profiles are still relevant.

Another important aspect of your profile and account in general is the voice and tone you’ll be using. Instead of thinking about your customer personas, consider what your business persona would be if it were human. Would it have a personality? Would it be a friend, coach, or advisor? Would your customers trust your business?

Use all of this information to create a profile or persona. Then, re-ask these questions at regular intervals and update as your audience adjusts along the way.

Remember the 80/20 Rule

One big mistake businesses make when building a new social strategy is posting all promotional content, all the time. No one following your pages wants to see commercial after commercial; they’re already over-saturated with advertising every single time they hop online. You need to break through that wall by being useful, engaging, and better than the other guy. The type of content you create and distribute will have a huge impact on your overall success.

Design a Posting Strategy

How often will you post on your social platforms? Once per day, three times per week, or several times per day? What time of day is best for your audience to read what you post? While there are a lot of articles out there about the best day and time for posting, the truth is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. You need to experiment to find out what will work best for your business and your audience.

Offer content your followers can use. Tips, tricks, memes, and even motivational quotes (especially if they are related to your industry) all do well on social media. Post one sales post for every four non-sales posts. Mix it up by sharing blog posts, video content, and photos. Those should be real photos showcasing your shop, staff, or special events. Show your fans the human side of your business.

Engagement is Critical

The point of social media is to be social, right? This means you will need to spend a little bit of time engaging with your followers. But hold on before you jump in feet-first; there is a fine line between managing your social platforms and allowing them to suck you in and eat up your time.

To make this work in a positive way, set aside 15-minute windows, a few times per day, to check for messages and comments that need replies or to scroll your Twitter feed looking for relevant content to comment on. Your social media audiences want to feel like you genuinely care about communicating with them.

Analyze Your Response

Nothing you do will matter if you’re not hitting targets for engagement, followers, leads, or any of your other SMART goals. Take a look at each platform’s insights and watch how they change over time. You should be able to get a bird’s eye view of what’s working and what’s not. Use what you find to keep testing and adjusting your strategies.

Did you get a consistently better response on a certain day of the week or a certain time of day? Maybe a particular content format, like a video or a photo, does better than all of your other content types. Create similar pieces of content and post them at the times of day that seemed to work best for you. This doesn’t mean you need to ditch all of your other content styles or posting times, but it should definitely tell you when and where your most valuable pieces should be published.

Keep your business content and strategy genuine. Social media users appreciate honest, authentic personalities and consistent, timely communication. The world of social media can be fast-paced (and sometimes a little cruel), but with consistent effort you can use your business’s presence to make an impact.

Categories
Social Media

The Duality of Social Media Marketing: How Creative and Metrics Come Together

If you’ve been involved in the world of social media marketing for a while now, you’ve probably started to notice an interesting pattern that’s developing within the marketing community. For whatever reason, there’s been an imbalance in the way that brands and businesses execute their marketing strategies.

It’s not surprising if you understand the roots of our marketing community. What is surprising is that no one seems to be addressing it.

So, if no one else will do it… It’s time to have a serious conversation about the development of the way businesses think about social media marketing. Not only are we going to consider the current state of affairs, but we’re also to going to take some time to consider exactly what it will take to maximize the potential of social media marketing.

Learning From Our Mistakes

It’s easy to forget just how much the marketing industry has changed over the last 20 years. Less than two decades ago, television advertising seemed untouchable. Celebrity endorsements weren’t going anywhere. Even radio advertising was still valid enough to be considered a viable marketing option.

But why did all of that work so well? What exactly was it that changed throughout those 20 years?

The short answer is the internet happened. The long answer is that the internet changed the way people consumed everything, including marketing content. Look at all the examples I listed above. Each of those represents a form of what can be considered ‘passive’ media.

It was easy to get people to watch your tv advertisements because they didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. Same with radio commercials. The only saving grace that print advertising had was that you could flip the page, and yet newspapers aren’t exactly light on the ads.

Passive media put marketing campaigns on autopilot. Come up with a catchy jingle, maybe a cute tagline and you were off to the races. Once you’d bombarded your audience with enough ads, you were in business.

The internet fundamentally changed the way that the average person interacted with the rest of the world. As a decidedly ‘interactive’ experience, consumers were able to choose where they wanted to go, what they wanted to consume and when they wanted to consume it.

The internet made the modern consumer well-informed. Instead of taking the television’s word for it that company xyz makes great cars, they can go online and see hundreds of reviews telling them to stay away.

But worst of all for marketers everywhere, the average person got used to being away from ads. Once they came back to watch television or listen to the radio, it was almost laughable how many commercials you had to sit through if you wanted to hear a few songs or see 8 minutes of a show. Expecting consumers to willingly subject themselves to all of that is unrealistic, and something that the marketing industry is still trying to figure out.

Why does any of this matter? Simple. If you want to understand what’s wrong with social media marketing today, all you need to do is look at our history. We’ve been used to bombarding people with shallow content and we’re just looking for another way to pull that off again.

More businesses than ever are using paid ads on social media now. Which isn’t itself a problem so much as how business owners are choosing to pour all their money into these paid ads. Most brands that I’ve seen are using Facebook Ads simply for the purposes of increasing their general exposure. Typically, there’s very little depth or purpose behind their marketing campaign except self-promotion.

“Wait, we shouldn’t be using Facebook Ads for self-promotion?” you’re probably thinking. There’s nothing wrong with drawing attention to yourself. But if your entire marketing campaign is built on self-promotion, you’ll probably run into some issues down the line. To be honest, it’s not the Facebook Ad that’s the issue here. It’s the overall focus on shameless self-promotion that’s prevalent in our marketing community on social media.

Creative: How to Avoid Wasting Potential on Social Media

Let’s step away from the marketing perspective for a second. If we look at this through the lens of the average person, we can recognize that the point of social media was to connect people.

I genuinely believe that all of this started from a good place. Sure, marketers were inevitably going to end up on social media because that’s where the attention is, but the reason social media marketing should would (in theory) is because from a marketing perspective, this is the perfect solution to our passive-interactive media issue. People want marketers to adapt? Fine, we’ll make an effort to connect with them.

And yet, that’s not really what has happened. To be fair, there are plenty of brands that have been able to understand the way social works and have been rewarded spectacularly. But for the most part, businesses have struggled with this concept.

So let’s clear a few things up. First off, your content has to provide value. And not just value in the sense that it leads consumers to a purchase of your product. Whether you’re making blog posts, videos, podcasts, you need to give something to your consumers for free, with no strings attached. The content can be value-driven or purely entertaining. All that really matters is that engages people in a way that isn’t purely based on self-promotion.

It’s really that simple. If you can put the focus back on consumers, you’ll be in a much better place creatively.

Recognize the potential that exists on social media for connection with consumers. It’s easy to forget, but the reality of social media marketing is that the more value you offer, the more valuable you become to consumers.

Metrics: How to Avoid Wasting Time on Social Media

Of course, some of you might be reading this and thinking that connecting with consumers is great and all, but how exactly does that help your bottom line? That’s what the metrics are for.

No one is saying that a business can’t function like a business on social media. You’re still there to make money and turn potential customers into paying ones. The compromise is finding ways to provide value to consumers while also convincing them that you’re worth their money.

The way you keep track of that is through analytics. For your typical marketing analytics, you have Google Analytics. For social media marketing, you’ll have a variety of platform specific tools. Instagram and Facebook both have comprehensive ones.

The key here is recognizing that social media marketing needs to continue to evolve. Trying to find ways to adopt the marketing strategies of old just won’t work in the digital media marketplace of today.