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Meta Launches New Small Business Support Program, Including Online and IRL Elements

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Meta Launches New Small Business Support Program, Including Online and IRL Elements

Meta has launched a new Small Business Studios project, which will provide both online and in-person training elements to help small businesses make the most of their marketing efforts across both Facebook and Instagram.

As explained by Meta:

Recently, Meta hosted the Good Ideas Exchange, where executives from Meta and partners, including Adobe and Vimeo, came together with small businesses to pinpoint the top obstacles small businesses are facing. That’s where we discovered that content creation and creative strategy are among the top pain points for entrepreneurs when growing their businesses. Knowing this, Meta Boost Small Business Studios was born to help small businesses build creative digital marketing skills.

The initial program consists of three key elements:

  • Build Your Brand workshop: An online workshop providing creative inspiration and branding guidance to small businesses using Facebook and Instagram. This workshop champions a customer mindset and dives in on business branding, how to build copy and creative when creating a post and then deciding what to post.
  • Reels School: A course designed for small businesses to simplify Reels creation while expanding their audience reach and helping achieve business goals.
  • Photography virtual workshop: Since building great creative can feel daunting, this training pairs small businesses with an expert to teach owners how to make great, low-cost and low-lift images that are made for mobile.
Meta Small Business Boost Program

In addition to this, you can also sign-up to get a one-on-one business support session with someone from Meta’s Small Business Team, which could provide some valuable insight into how to maximize your Facebook and Instagram presences.

It’s also one of the only ways that you might be able to speak to a real person within Meta, which could see it flooded with non-brand-building queries. Either way, you can register for the initiative here.

The program will also offer IRL events in certain areas, beginning with a five-stop US tour, which will include training, networking and direct support elements.

Meta Small Business Boost Program

Again, access to Meta’s internal team is scarce, and these IRL events could be a valuable connective tool, providing direct connection to Meta’s expert team.

Upcoming dates for the Small Business Studio roadshow are:

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  • Columbus (August 3–4): Vue Columbus; register for the event here
  • Kansas City, MO (September 21–22):The Abbott; registration opens on August 21
  • Austin (September 28–29):Distribution Hall; registration opens on September 2
  • San Diego (October 12–13):Bldg 177; registration opens on September 16

It seems like a good initiative, which could help many more SMBs get a better handle on Meta’s various business development tools and options, with Reels, in particular, getting key focus.

And with Reels being the fastest growing content format, that will no doubt make it a popular addition.

You can learn more about Meta’s Small Business Studio programs and content here.

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TikTok Rolls Out Comment Downvotes to All Users

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TikTok Rolls Out Comment Downvotes to All Users

After testing them out in the live environment over the last six months, TikTok has today announced that it’s rolling out comment downvotes for all users, as a means to flag inappropriate responses to video clips.

As you can see in this example, TikTok’s ‘Thumbs Down’ comment downvote option will be displayed at the far right of each comment, providing a quick and easy way for users to tag such, in order to help TikTok identify negative behaviors in the app.

Which is the key focus – rather than being an audience response element, like downvotes on Reddit, TikTok’s approach is actually to use the indicator as a means to weed out negative behaviors.

As TikTok explained back in April:

“We’ve started testing a way to let individuals identify comments they believe to be irrelevant or inappropriate. This community feedback will add to the range of factors we already use to help keep the comment section consistently relevant and a place for genuine engagement. To avoid creating ill-feeling between community members or demoralize creators, only the person who registered a dislike on a comment will be able to see that they have done so.

So dislike counts won’t be public, as they are on Reddit, with the purpose, again, being to help TikTok’s moderation team get on top of negative trends, as flagged by its users.

How it will likely work in this respect is that downvoted comments will be displayed to TikTok mods in ascending order, based on total downvote activity across the app, which will then enable them to them wade through the list and pick up on rising negative trends, providing another way to detect and address such in their process.

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That could also help to limit the use of the feature for ‘brigading,’ or using it as a means to launch targeted attacks on people or opinions based on alternative motivations. You can imagine how, for example, people might try to use this feature as a means to downvote conflicting political opinions into oblivion, but as the downvotes themselves don’t impact public display, and are only an indicator for TikTok’s moderation team, that’s less likely to become an issue.

Which would be part of the reason why TikTok’s comfortable pushing ahead with a full launch – and it may well be a good way to help keep things more civil, and more positive in the app.

TikTok actually first began its comment downvote experiment back in 2020, with some researchers spotting the feature in early testing.

TikTok comment downvotes

Both Facebook and Twitter have also been experimenting with comment downvotes for similar purpose, not as a means to better surface or hide user responses, but to help identify negative behaviors based on what users think is bad, which effectively then helps to improve automated algorithms to detect such in future.

Which could be a better use of the option – though it is worth noting that Reddit’s public downvote system does help the platform highlight more relevant conversations and topics, based on actual responses from humans, as opposed to algorithmically identified trends that are guided by clicks, Likes, dwell time, shares, etc.

The problem with algorithmic trends is that divisive, negative content is amplified via this process, because sparking an emotional response, like anger, drives more people to comment and share. The algorithm then takes as an indicator that more people might want to see it, based on engagement response. The system itself has no way of determining the intent of the content, it only goes on binary signals – which means that triggering more reactions, however you can, is the best way to maximize exposure.

That doesn’t happen on Reddit, because such posts are rapidly downvoted into the doldrums of the app.

Giving actual people the chance to drive exposure in this respect may be a more beneficial approach overall, but the bigger players will never go with it because it also makes users less likely to comment, likely because they’re also concerned about their own remarks being downvoted to the pit.

Previous analysis has suggested that more than 98% of Reddit’s monthly active users don’t ever post or comment in the app, which is likely a key consideration that would limit take-up of such in other apps.

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So they go with automated algorithms instead, which also then enables them to wash their hands of any responsibility for whatever type of content gains traction and doesn’t across their networks.

Negative content drives more engagement, and thus, more reach in their apps? ‘We don’t know, it’s based on how users respond, factoring in all forms of engagement, so we’re not responsible for whatever that leads to’.

It does seem that a human-moderated process, via public downvotes, could improve the flow of information in this respect. But the impacts on engagement could also be significant.

In any event, TikTok’s comment downvotes are not designed to help guide the conversation, and could be a valuable supplementary measure to detect rising negative trends.

TikTok says that comment downvotes are being released globally in the app from today.



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