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How Brands Can Benefit from Social Media Groups (#SMTLive Recap)

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During one of our most recent Twitter chats, we spoke with marketers about the benefits of and best strategies for managing social media groups. We had an extensive and insightful conversation. Here’s what our friends on #SMTLive had to say.

Let’s start with the benefits. Understanding why and how this space can help your brand is important in deciding whether groups are a good investment of time in your overall marketing strategy.

Remember, you’ll need to invest a fair amount of time into building and managing a group for any of these benefits to be realized.

There are so many benefits to using social media groups, but here are a few major ones that our community shared with us. We’ve broken them down here to show you, first, the benefits of how groups can help amplify your brand, and second, the benefits this space can offer your audience. Though, you’ll see that the two go hand in hand.

The Benefits of Social Media Groups for Your Brand

Gathering Useful Audience Insights

You can learn a lot about your audience’s interests and behaviors by simply listening to the conversations being had in the group.

Building Relationships, Community, Engagement and Trust

This is an opportunity to show your human side. You can use this space to have more direct, one-on-one conversations with your audience to build those relationships.

The group can interact as a whole and form a community with your brand in mind. These regular interactions can help build brand trust and loyalty.

Discovering New Ideas for Content

You can use the member feedback, new knowledge you gain about your audience and content shared in the group (UGC) to help you create better content for your other social platforms.

The Benefits of Social Media Groups for Your Audience

Social media groups clearly offer brands many opportunities for growth; but, ultimately, these groups should aim to benefit and offer value to their audiences.

A Valuable Community

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The group provides a space for people with similar interests to connect and have important conversations.

Networking Opportunities

More than just offering a space for people with common interests, members can connect with others and build their network.  

Learning Opportunities

One can learn a lot by just listening and speaking to their peers.

Feeling Heard

Responding and having one-on-one conversations with your audience will make them feel seen, heard and respected.

In general, people just really seem to love social media groups.

Those are a few of the major benefits of groups, but they’ve proven to be useful to both brands and their audiences.

The next question you need to ask yourself is: “What type of group would be beneficial to my audience?”

Clearly, you will need to do the appropriate research to answer that question, but let’s look at some examples of how brands are currently using social media groups. Their success may spark some ideas.

Examples of Successful Groups

We asked participants in this chat to share different use cases for social media groups, and here’s what they had to say.

Again, there are so many options to choose from, so knowing what type of group would interest your community is key.

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Finally, we discussed tips, tricks and best practices for anyone managing (or planning to start) a social media group for their brand.

Tips, Tricks and Best Practices

Planning your content, marketing, and management strategy for a group will take time — but the time you spent strategizing and prepping will make all the difference. Make sure you have a clear launch plan, including a select-few people you can count on to help you start the conversation.

Set rules for your group and remember to be extremely clear in your marketing language so people know what to expect. Then deliver on your promises.

Listen to your audience and give them what they want. Engage like a human, not a salesman.

Remember that your audience may have different expectations of content on one platform vs another. Choose the right platform to host your group and create unique content for them on that space.

Don’t act like a robot. Have a personality and find creative ways to get group members to engage.

Know that monitoring a group takes a lot of work. It isn’t a simple project that’s done as soon as you launch. You need to constantly be monitoring, engaging and sharing a unique offering of content and perks for your members to stick around.

If you aren’t ready or don’t have the bandwidth to start managing a social media group, remember there are other options and opportunities for your brand. Many brands find success by joining and participating in other groups where your audience is already spending their time.

There were a lot more useful tips shared during this chat, but these were a few we wanted to highlight.

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If you’re interested in being part of our next Twitter chat, you can learn more and RSVP here. And for all those of you who want to be a regular participant in these chats, sign up here to join our #SMTLive Tuesday Twitter Chat Club.

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Meta’s Developing and ‘Ethical Framework’ for the Use of Virtual Influencers

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Meta's Developing and 'Ethical Framework' for the Use of Virtual Influencers


With the rise of digital avatars, and indeed, fully digital characters that have evolved into genuine social media influencers in their own right, online platforms now have an obligation to establish clear markers as to what’s real and what’s not, and how such creations can be used in their apps.

The coming metaverse shift will further complicate this, with the rise of virtual depictions blurring the lines of what will be allowed, in terms of representation. But with many virtual influencers already operating, Meta is now working to establish ethical boundaries on their application.

As explained by Meta:

From synthesized versions of real people to wholly invented “virtual influencers” (VIs), synthetic media is a rising phenomenon. Meta platforms are home to more than 200 VIs, with 30 verified VI accounts hosted on Instagram. These VIs boast huge follower counts, collaborate with some of the world’s biggest brands, fundraise for organizations like the WHO, and champion social causes like Black Lives Matter.”

Some of the more well-known examples on this front are Shudu, who has more than 200k followers on Instagram, and Lil’ Miquela, who has an audience of over 3 million in the app.

At first glance, you wouldn’t necessarily realize that this is not an actual person, which makes such characters a great vehicle for brand and product promotions, as they can be utilized 24/7, and can be placed into any environment. But that also leads to concerns about body image perception, deepfakes, and other forms of misuse through false or unclear representation.

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Deepfakes, in particular, may be problematic, with Meta citing this campaign, with English football star David Beckham, as an example of how new technologies are evolving to expand the use of language, as one element, for varying purpose.

The well-known ‘DeepTomCruise’ account on TikTok is another example of just how far these technologies have come, and it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where they could be used to, say, show a politician saying or doing something that he or she actually didn’t, which could have significant real world impacts.

Which is why Meta is working with developers and experts to establish clearer boundaries on such use – because while there is potential for harm, there are also beneficial uses for such depictions.

Imagine personalized video messages that address individual followers by name. Or celebrity brand ambassadors appearing as salespeople at local car dealerships. A famous athlete would make a great tutor for a kid who loves sports but hates algebra.

Such use cases will increasingly become the norm as VR and AR technologies are developed, with these platforms placing digital characters front and center, and establishing new norms for digital connection.

It would be better to know what’s real and what’s not, and as such, Meta needs clear regulations to remove dishonest depictions, and enforce transparency over VI use.

But then again, much of what you see on Instagram these days is not real, with filters and editing tools altering people’s appearance well beyond what’s normal, or realistic. That can also have damaging consequences, and while Meta’s looking to implement rules on VI use, there’s arguably a case for similar transparency in editing tools applied to posted videos and images as well.

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That’s a more complex element, particularly as such tools also enable people to feel more comfortable in posting, which no doubt increases their in-app activity. Would Meta be willing to put more focus on this element if it could risk impacting user engagement? The data on the impact of Instagram on people’s mental health are pretty clear, with comparison being a key concern.

Should that also come under the same umbrella of increased digital transparency?

It’s seemingly not included in the initial framework as yet, but at some stage, this is another element that should be examined, especially given the harmful effects that social media usage can have on young women.

But however you look at it, this is no doubt a rising element of concern, and it’s important for Meta to build guardrails and rules around the use of virtual influencers in their apps.

You can read more about Meta’s approach to virtual influencers here.





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Meta Publishes New Guide to the Various Security and Control Options in its Apps

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Meta Publishes New Guide to the Various Security and Control Options in its Apps


Meta has published a new set of safety tips for journalists to help them protect themselves in the evolving online connection space, which, for the most part, also apply to all users more broadly, providing a comprehensive overview of the various tools and processes that it has in place to help people avoid unwanted attention online.

The 32-page guide is available in 21 different languages, and provides detailed overviews of Meta’s systems and profile options for protection and security, with specific sections covering Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

The guide begins with the basics, including password protections and enabling two-factor authentication.

It also outlines tips for Page managers in securing their business profiles, while there are also notes on what to do if you’ve been hacked, advice for protection on Messenger and guidance on bullying and harassment.

Meta security guide

For Instagram, there are also general security tips, along with notes on its comment moderation tools.

Meta security guide

While for WhatsApp, there are explainers on how to delete messages, how to remove messages from group chats, and details on platform-specific data options.

Meta security guide

There are also links to various additional resource guides and tools for more context, providing in-depth breakdowns of when and how to action the various options.

It’s a handy guide, and while there are some journalist-specific elements included, most of the tips do apply to any user, so it could well be a valuable resource for anyone looking to get a better handle on your various privacy tools and options.

Definitely worth knowing either way – you can download the full guide here.

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Twitter bans account linked to Iran leader over video threatening Trump

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Twitter bans account linked to Iran leader over video threatening Trump


Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meets with relatives of slain commander Qasem Soleimani ahead of the second anniverary of his death in a US drone strike in Iraq – Copyright POOL/AFP/File Tom Brenner

Twitter said Saturday it had permanently suspended an account linked to Iran’s supreme leader that posted a video calling for revenge for a top general’s assassination against former US president Donald Trump.

“The account referenced has been permanently suspended for violating our ban evasion policy,” a Twitter spokesperson told AFP.

The account, @KhameneiSite, this week posted an animated video showing an unmanned aircraft targeting Trump, who ordered a drone strike in Baghdad two years ago that killed top Iranian commander General Qassem Soleimani.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s main accounts in various languages remain active. Last year, another similar account was suspended by Twitter over a post also appearing to reference revenge against Trump.

The recent video, titled “Revenge is Definite”, was also posted on Khamenei’s official website.

According to Twitter, the company’s top priority is keeping people safe and protecting the health of the conversation on the platform.

The social media giant says it has clear policies around abusive behavior and will take action when violations are identified.

As head of the Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Soleimani was the architect of its strategy in the Middle East.

He and his Iraqi lieutenant were killed by a US drone strike outside Baghdad airport on January 3, 2020.

Khamenei has repeatedly promised to avenge his death.

On January 3, the second anniversary of the strike, the supreme leader and ultraconservative President Ebrahim Raisi once again threatened the US with revenge.

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Trump’s supporters regularly denounce the banning of the Republican billionaire from Twitter, underscoring that accounts of several leaders considered authoritarian by the United States are allowed to post on the platform.



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