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Facebook’s Next Big Bet Is Making Your Phone’s Camera Smarter

Facebook has gotten us all to share text posts and photos, and is seeing a lot of use of video. Now, it wants to turn is all into live streamers, and use advanced technology to aid our use of our phone cameras: That’s the gist of an outlook that Facebook’s Chief Product Officer Chris Cox gave at the Wall Street Journal’s WSJ.D Live conference in Laguna Beach, Calif. Tuesday.

Cox said that Facebook has already seen 400 percent growth in live streaming since opening it up to all of its users in May. Not all of that is coming from users watching broadcasts of major media brands, he explained, adding that the number of small broadcasters — teenagers that stream to just a dozen of their friends — was a surprise even to Facebook itself.

Key to Facebook Live’s future growth will be technology that adds to the live broadcast experience, said Cox. He showed off one example that Facebook is currently experimenting with in the lab: An app that automatically takes the camera input and in real-time renders it in the style of famous painters like van Gogh using neural networks.

The bigger idea behind experiments like this is to turn the camera into an advanced tool that unlocks live streaming and augmented reality experiences, said Cox. “This is going to help take the technology to the next level.”

Cox was joined on stage by Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, who argued that Live is an evolution of free expression on Facebook, complete with the challenges that come with it. The company has been in hot waters in the past for overzealous removal of content, and suggested last week that it was ready to relax some of its guidelines for acceptable content.

“Facebook is a platform for all ideas,” Sandberg said. “We also want to be a really safe community. Those two things can come into conflict.”

As Facebook is making decision what content to keep on its platform and what to ban, it often finds itself confronted with criticism that it is exercising editorial control — a charge that Sandberg and Cox denied. “A media company is about the story that it tells,” said Cox. “A technology company is about the tools that it builds.”

Source: Variety, article by Janko Roettgers (http://variety.com/2016/digital/news/facebook-chris-cox-sheryl-sandberg-live-1201900331/)

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Instagram Stories Sends A Clear Message To Digital Marketers

Instagram took aim at Snapchat with the launch of its Stories platform, which allows users to post photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. The news should light a fire under brands that have yet to embrace ‘ephemeral marketing’.

As Instagram has evolved into the place to post highly stylized, curated photos of “perfect moments”, Snapchat took off with young people who just want to share the little details of their everyday lives — things they buy, what they’re wearing, stuff they’re eating, and who they’re hanging out with. Now, with Stories, Instagram hopes to “lower the bar for sharing all types of photos and video — and not just the carefully planned and painstakingly touched-up photographs that are typical of the service,” said Kevin Systrom, co-founder and CEO of Instagram.

For marketers, Instagram’s launch of Stories underscores the importance of creating a new type of less-stylized brand content for these 24-hour social platforms. Snapchat, and now Instagram Stories, get closest to the holy-grail of marketing: the ability for brands to share authentic photos and videos that don’t “feel like ads” but still build strong brand lifestyle. When brands post content on Snapchat, it’s opt-in and interactive. Users choose whether they want to see the content, and can doodle on it, share it, or insert it into their own stories.

But these ephemeral social platforms also pose a huge challenge to marketers: creating enough of the right type of content. Whereas brands are accustomed to scheduling regular posts on Facebook FB, Instagram, and Pinterest – often using social media marketing platforms to create and manage content flows – Snapchat is more reactive, immediate, and constant. The highly-curated and staged posts brands are used to creating (or, more often, having their agencies create) for Facebook have no place on 24-hour platforms. Instead, Snapchat users want to interact with light, lower-bar content that paints the brands they love in a familiar tone. “Blooper” videos, behind-the-scenes photos, or user snapshots taken at live events are popular types of brand content on Snapchat. Simply put, the rise of Snapchat Stories and Instagram Stories proves that digital storytelling is evolving .

So what can brands do to get ahead of the curve on the newest social marketing platforms? The first order of business is to bring more of their creative services in house, because timeliness will become a lot more important. Instead of scheduling two or three posts a week, with Snapchat and Instagram Stories, brands will have to post content at least once a day. Instagram Stories are also a good opportunity to leverage brand influencers. A popular tactic on Snapchat stories is to collaborate with an influencer to do a Snapchat takeover. Brands can do the same on Instagram. Influencers visiting the brand HQ can give viewers a behind the scenes look from their perspective for the day. The outcome is mutually beneficial: an influencer’s trusted content validates a company’s brand, while generating publicity and recognition for the influencer. Brands will have to mimic the type of fun, unstaged, interactive photos and videos that young millennials themselves post on these platforms.

Second, with Instagram Stories brands will have to start treating candid, less-staged photos as real marketing material. Brands can still operate within style guidelines, but will have to accept a broader range of content within those guidelines. On 24-hour social platforms, brands must move from airbrushed to authentic, skipping the polished and glossy images to instead include more raw and spontaneous posts. A great way for brands to increase these type of posts is to include user-generated content in their marketing arsenals. Consumers who post photos and videos of brand products are valuable influencers; marketers can re-share some of these posts on Snapchat and Instagram Stories to create an authentic, grassroots feel to their marketing content.

The rise of Snapchat, and now Instagram Stories, is a prime example of a shift that was already underway in marketing: Today’s audiences crave authenticity from brands. Young people in particular largely ignore traditional ads, instead expecting their favorite brands to engage with them in fun, personal, entertaining ways. The launch of Instagram Stores proves the time has come for marketers to loosen the controls on what’s acceptable brand content. Whether Instagram Stories can catch up to Snapchat remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: authentic, visual brand storytelling is the future of marketing.

Source: Forbes. Article by Kyle Wong(http://www.forbes.com/sites/kylewong/2016/08/03/instagram-stories-sends-a-clear-message-to-digital-marketers/#4361b3ac7eba)

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5 Content Marketing Tips on Social Media for Small Businesses

If you own or operate a business that is reliant on web traffic in order to drive sales, much of your marketing efforts should be focused on attracting visitors to your website and converting them from prospects to clients or customers. One way to gain targeted web traffic through social media is to implement a content marketing strategy. Content Marketing is the process of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage your target audience. Let’s consider 5 Content Marketing tips to help your small businesses to build credibility, increase brand awareness, establish relationships and provide value to your target audience.

Keep social media posts “short and sweet”

Social networks use algorithms to read and analyze every social media post. The ever-changing algorithms determine what sort of content will be displayed in users feed. The algorithms analyze the post content (words, photos, link credibility), timing and users feed preferences among many other factors. Most social networks tend to favor short and meaningful content as well as engagement. Users are also more likely to view and interact with smaller ‘bite-sized’ content.

Share your own unique content to build your brand

Many small businesses are unaware of the significant advantages that unique content serves. Besides developing a brand and interacting with customers or clients, the objective of social media marketing is to drive traffic to your website to either attain email addresses, sales or prompt the visitor to contact you. If you are not sharing content on social media that is not inbound to your website, it simply isn’t going to result in web traffic. Use your content as a magnet. When you share content from other websites you will be providing value by sharing useful industry-related tips or entertaining your followers. When you share content from your own website you are trying to attract visitors to it where you will be able to encourage the desired transaction. It is often recommended to share a mix of outside and unique content. This will decrease the amount of content that you will be required to make and still allow for you to share useful content that will help you to enhance your digital brand.

Post content that will make followers look good when they share it

Engagement seems to be a metric that social networks are taking increasing cues from when it comes to showing up more users newsfeeds. Social media is an excellent branding tool and by sharing content that your followers would look good to share, they will be more likely to share it which will help you to expand the reach of your post and company page.

Include a web link, photo, video or any other form of media to increase reach and engagement

When social networks use algorithms to sift through content, they seem to favor content that includes some form of media. Video seems to display more often than photos or posts with links oftentimes. Reach (or impressions) are the key to attaining more engagement which will lead to more exposure for your brand.

Popular forms of content include: photos, slideshares, blog posts, podcasts, videos, graphics, news updates, quotes, webinars and livestreams

Your web content can take many different forms. Live or native video content seems to perform at a very high level (especially on Facebook and Twitter) and I would expect to see this trend continue. A varied content strategy would be wise attract a diverse audience. Once you are able to determine what forms of content are the most effective, continue to build upon them.
Source: Business 2 Community. Article by Andrew C. Belton (http://www.business2community.com/content-marketing/5-content-marketing-tips-social-media-small-businesses-01614048#J7AY2ozIoI7RiebG.97)

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Instagram Is Now Letting Marketers Use Videos in Its Swipeable Carousel Ads

Instagram is bringing videos to its Carousel ad format, allowing marketers to pick five videos—or a combination of videos and photos—for users to swipe through. Launch partners include Airbnb, Taco Bell, Hollister, IBM and W Hotels.

The new format is an extension of Instagram’s existing carousel ads for photos that the company unveiled in March 2015.  The platform’s video views have increased 40 percent in the past six months, so the video carousel  gives marketers creative flexibility to tell richer stories on Instagram,

Carousel ads have shown that swipeable series perform better than single, static images. Instagram’s internal studies have shown an increase in ad recall, and from a performance standpoint, such ads have driven a 58 percent lift in conversation rate.

The combination of video and carousel is very powerful. The immersive nature of sequential video allows people to be inspired by a business and then progressively learn more about how it fits into their life.

The size and scope of Instagram continues to grow, with more than 400 million active users spending an average of 21 minutes a day on the platform. Mark Zuckerberg said more than 200,000 businesses advertise on Instagram every month.

Facebook and Instagram are now looking for new ways to engage users, including adding an algorithm that reorders the images and videos users see in their feeds.

Per a report from eMarketer, adults in the U.S. this year will spend an average of 43 minutes a day on social networks. However, the growth of time spent on social networks is expected to slow over the next three years, increasing just a few minutes by 2018.

Instagram has introduced video capabilities for advertisers and consumers, with the ability to post 60-second videos rolled out at the end of March. Instagram originally launched video ads in November 2014, but now with longer time allotments, marketers can use Instagram to post 30- or 60-second ads more akin to TV or pre-roll ads.

The carousel, though, offers advertisers the opportunity to be more creative in how they market themselves. For instance, Macy’s is using the carousel to post a video, and the follow up photos are close-ups of the clothes being worn in the video.

Source: Adweek, Article by Marty Swant (http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/instagram-now-letting-marketers-use-videos-its-swipeable-carousel-ads-171198) and Advertisig Age, Article by Maureen Morrison (http://adage.com/article/digital/instagram-introduces-video-ad-format/303831/?utm_campaign=SocialFlow&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social)

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Snapchat and Travelers showing the World

Now a days there are better uses for the social media app (Snapchat), especially when put in the hands of world travelers.

Imagine having your own personal travel shows and tours of far away places, in the palm of your hands for you to view whenever you’re feeling a little wanderlust. That’s what will happen when you follow these full-time travelers, who Snap to literally put the world in your hands!

Full time travelers use SnapChat to show what’s really going on behind the scenes when they travel and are taking those seemingly perfect-looking Instagram shots. Often, they make tutorials for travel tips and tricks, like how to use the flexible option to get hundreds of dollars off flights, how to pack a carry-on, and even how to use a GoPro to get photos like theirs!

Some examples of this type of travelers are:

  • Matt (Expert Vagabond) has been a full-time traveler for the past 5 years now, and shares his crazy travel adventures from around the world in real time. Recently he was snapping the Northern lights in Norway, and the Mayan ruins in Mexico, and right now you can catch him snapping things like classic cars in Cuba!
  • Anna is another full-time traveler whose Snapchat ranges from a variety of entertaining things. She’s really good at capturing the behind-the-scenes life of travel bloggers, for instance; she snapped me while I was attempting to take a GoPro selfie over the edge of a cliff, and also snapped Matt (ExpertVagabond) after he accidentally broke the shifter in a beach buggy in Cozumel. She also manages to always find cute animals to snap, and shows her skills when practicing aerial! Right now she’s snapping from Havana, Cuba!

  • Drew Binsky  is a full-time traveler and Snapchatter, sharing his fun adventures around the world. Follow his entertaining Snapchat to get a behind-the-scenes look at the world’s best cities, festivals and activities. Drew frequently plays games with his followers, giving out free prizes like postcards to people who snap him back! Drew is currently Snapping his adventures in Indonesia, and then he’ll be taking you around New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam until June!
  • Hannah and Adam are the dynamic duo behind the blog and Snapchat Getting Stamped, and are an awesome full-time traveling couple! #relationshipgoals. They’ve been on 22 flights this year already, and just spent two weeks in Israel. Now they’re exploring Cuba for the next few days before heading back to Playa del Carmen, Mexico!
  • Alicia (AliciaExplores) has quite the entertaining Snapchat account with her lovely travels and witty presentation. Recently I just watched her do a full on conversation as a face-morphed tiger, and I’m pretty sure she was Snapping it from her seat on the plane! She also likes to include the people in her life who are close to her, which, I’m sure get a kick out of being her Snapchat victims! See what shenanigans she’s currently up to in the UK right now!
  • Tom is a full-time traveler who uses his Snapchat to show what’s really going on during his travels instead of just looking at his beautiful Instagram pictures (I’ve seen them, they’re pretty great). See how he goes from slumming it in 0 star hostels to the most exclusive 5 star hotels, and how he sips cocktails on rooftop bars then will go have a beer with locals and try the local food. He cliff jumps, snorkels, and climbs mountains for a shot of an amazing sunset. Right now you’ll be able to see him snapping from Southeast Asia!

To see more examples click HERE

Source: Huffington Post Article by Alyssa Ramos (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alyssa-ramos/these-travel-snapchat-accounts-literally-put-the-world-in-your-hands_b_9606270.html)

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