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Sharing our Latest Transparency Report

By Chris Sonderby, VP & Deputy General Counsel

Today, we are releasing our latest Transparency Report for the second half of 2018.

We take our commitment to transparency at Facebook seriously. Since 2013, we have released information on the nature and extent of the government requests we receive for user data. Each half, we look to improve and expand our scope, which now includes information about the number of content restrictions based on local law, reports on locations where access to Facebook products and services were disrupted, and reports of counterfeit, copyright and trademark infringement.

Also included in this release is our third Community Standards Enforcement Report, which shows how much violating content we have detected on our service, so people can judge for themselves how well we’re doing at enforcing our Community Standards. Guy Rosen, our VP of Integrity, explains more about these numbers in this post.

Government Requests for User Data

In the second half of 2018, government requests for user data increased globally by 7% from 103,815 to 110,634. This increase reflects normal growth for the second half as compared to previous reporting periods. Of the total volume, the United States continues to submit the highest number of requests, followed by India, the United Kingdom, Germany and France.

In the United States, we received 3% fewer requests than last reporting period, of which 58% included a non-disclosure order prohibiting Facebook from notifying the user. In accordance with transparency updates introduced in the 2016 USA Freedom Act, the US government lifted the non-disclosure orders on three National Security Letters (NSLs) we received between 2014 and 2015. These requests, along with the US government’s authorization letters, are available below.

This half, we also conducted an internal review of our US national security reporting metrics as part of an effort to strengthen our protocols and ensure standardization of accounting methods across our family of apps. During this review, we discovered an error in our accounting methods for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) content requests. This error resulted in a significant undercounting of the number of accounts specified in those requests, as well as overcounting of the number of requests in one half, dating back to 2015. Our practice of sharing our national security figures with the government before the publication of each of our prior reports did not surface these errors. In this report, we are updating our numbers to reflect these corrections, though our review is ongoing. We will provide an update following the completion of that work. We are required by law to report this data in ranges of 500 and we delay the release of data on these requests to comply with the law. You can see the previous and revised numbers in an attachment below.

As we’ve shared in previous reports, we carefully scrutinize every government request we receive to protect the information of the people who use our services. Each request must be legally sufficient and if a request appears to be defective or overly broad, we push back and will fight in court, if necessary. This is true no matter which government makes the request. We’ll also keep working with partners in industry and civil society to encourage governments around the world to reform surveillance in a way that protects their citizens’ safety and security while respecting their rights and freedoms.

Content Restrictions

During the second half of 2018, the volume of content restrictions based on local law increased globally by 135% from 15,337 to 35,972. This increase was primarily driven by 16,600 items we restricted in India based on a Delhi High Court order regarding claims made about PepsiCo products. For this release, we’ve added a new breakout of content restrictions by product — Facebook and Instagram — and their content types — like Pages, profiles and comments — for each platform.

Internet Disruptions 

This report also monitors and reports on identified, temporary internet disruptions that impact the availability of Facebook products. In the second half of 2018, we identified 53 disruptions of Facebook services in nine countries, compared to 48 disruptions in eight countries in the first half of 2018. This half, India accounted for 85% of total new global disruptions.

Intellectual Property

Finally, we continue to report on the volume and nature of copyright, trademark and counterfeit reports we receive each half — as well as the amount of content affected by those reports. During this period, on Facebook and Instagram, we took down 2,595,410 pieces of content based on 511,706 copyright reports; 215,877 pieces of content based on 81,243 trademark reports; and 781,875 pieces of content based on 62,829 counterfeit reports.

Publishing this report represents our continued commitment to transparency. We’re always working to improve our reporting in these areas and we look forward to making this report available in more than 15 different languages in the coming months.

You can see the full report for more information.

How to Stop Being Boring on Social Media

Are you having trouble gaining or keeping new followers?

Are you posting content but not getting much response?

Have you considered that you might be…boring?

If your posts aren’t getting the attention you desire, it might be that you’re not posting content that engages your audience. Social media writing is a skill that takes time and practice to perfect.

The good news is, social media platforms are a great place to practice and hone your skills. You can transform your page from a snoozefest to a trending topic in no time at all.

No one will even remember how boring you used to be!

Keep reading for tips on how to write social media posts that your audience can’t resist. 

Use Active Voice

Active voice is more engaging to readers.

Active voice is when the subject in your sentence performs the action described by the verb. Passive voice is when the subject is acted upon by the verb.

When the subject is in the driver’s seat, the sentence becomes more action oriented and is more relatable to your readers.

Don’t Make it All About You

You have a product or service to promote, we all get that.

Ironically, talking less about yourself helps make your content more interesting for your readers.

Putting your audience first and including them in your posts makes them more likely to feel included and engaged in your content.

Create Content to Share

The beauty of social media is the ability to have your followers act as marketers for you with the click of a “share” button.

Social media users and influencers promote their own pages by sharing relatable and interesting content. By creating content that your own followers want to share, your content will reach massive audiences with little effort on your part. 

Use Visuals

Social media content is not all about written copy.

Visuals can compliment your posts, attract people to them, and they are highly sharable. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Center your content around an image or graphic and let it speak for itself. 

Create a Brand

One way to make your content more interesting is to create an identifiable brand.

Your brand is not just the logo associated with your business, it is the message you are sending and the way your audience feels about your mission.

Your brand is what makes you, you. Social media is a great way to develop and promote your brand and you can learn more from the HOTH.  

More Tips on Social Media Writing

Learning the trade of social media writing takes time and effort.

Social media is a new medium for advertisement and many are still getting the hang of it. There’s no shame in asking for help upping your social media game.

For more advice on making your social media content more engaging, check out the tools and tips section of our blog. 

The post How to Stop Being Boring on Social Media appeared first on Social Media Explorer.

How to Stop Being Boring on Social Media

Are you having trouble gaining or keeping new followers?

Are you posting content but not getting much response?

Have you considered that you might be…boring?

If your posts aren’t getting the attention you desire, it might be that you’re not posting content that engages your audience. Social media writing is a skill that takes time and practice to perfect.

The good news is, social media platforms are a great place to practice and hone your skills. You can transform your page from a snoozefest to a trending topic in no time at all.

No one will even remember how boring you used to be!

Keep reading for tips on how to write social media posts that your audience can’t resist. 

Use Active Voice

Active voice is more engaging to readers.

Active voice is when the subject in your sentence performs the action described by the verb. Passive voice is when the subject is acted upon by the verb.

When the subject is in the driver’s seat, the sentence becomes more action oriented and is more relatable to your readers.

Don’t Make it All About You

You have a product or service to promote, we all get that.

Ironically, talking less about yourself helps make your content more interesting for your readers.

Putting your audience first and including them in your posts makes them more likely to feel included and engaged in your content.

Create Content to Share

The beauty of social media is the ability to have your followers act as marketers for you with the click of a “share” button.

Social media users and influencers promote their own pages by sharing relatable and interesting content. By creating content that your own followers want to share, your content will reach massive audiences with little effort on your part. 

Use Visuals

Social media content is not all about written copy.

Visuals can compliment your posts, attract people to them, and they are highly sharable. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Center your content around an image or graphic and let it speak for itself. 

Create a Brand

One way to make your content more interesting is to create an identifiable brand.

Your brand is not just the logo associated with your business, it is the message you are sending and the way your audience feels about your mission.

Your brand is what makes you, you. Social media is a great way to develop and promote your brand and you can learn more from the HOTH.  

More Tips on Social Media Writing

Learning the trade of social media writing takes time and effort.

Social media is a new medium for advertisement and many are still getting the hang of it. There’s no shame in asking for help upping your social media game.

For more advice on making your social media content more engaging, check out the tools and tips section of our blog. 

The post How to Stop Being Boring on Social Media appeared first on Social Media Explorer.

What is TikTok, Who Uses it, and Should Brands Care About It?

What is TikTok in three words? Real short videos.

Or, as The Verge put it in a few more words, it’s “the closest thing we have to Vine,” the former video-sharing app owned by Twitter.

According to TechCrunch, TikTok is “the Instagram for the mobile video age.”

No matter how you describe it, the app is taking the digital world by storm, and marketers are taking note.

Bonus: Get the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence.

A short history of TikTok

Since the app launched in 2016, TikTok’s user base has grown to include more than 500 million people. It’s also just passed the one billion-downloads mark.

It shows no sign of slowing down, with a whopping 75 million sign ups in December 2018—up 275% from the previous year.

Those aren’t the only landmark figures worth noting. The app, which is especially popular with Gen Z, has already courted controversy.

In February, TikTok was fined a record $5.7 million over child privacy law violations. And the app has come under scrutiny for child nudity and solicitation.

In response, TikTok has increased security measures and launched online safety campaigns, teaming up most recently with Internet Matters.

But is TikTok as big a deal as it seems? Is TikTok a good fit for you brand? Luckily, we have answers.

Learn about TikTok stats, demographics, and early brand content to decide if it’s time for your brand to get on board.

What is TikTok?

TikTok bills itself as a “destination for short-form mobile videos,” but of course it comes with all the trappings of a social media community, too.

Video creators can share vertical, looping videos between 15 and 60 seconds in length. An extensive editing toolkit, with an array or filters and effects, and a massive music library, lets users tune and score their content to clever and comedic effect.

TikTok is often mistaken as a lip-syncing app. This is likely because it was preceded by Musical.ly, a social app that was built around just that.

In 2017, TikTok’s parent company, Bytedance, purchased Musical.ly for $800 million. Bytedance had already launched Douyin, the forerunner to TikTok, in China. After acquiring Musical.ly, the two platforms merged and launched TikTok.

In China, the app still goes by its original name, Douyin.

Key TikTok stats:

  • In February 2019, TikTok exceeded one billion installs from the App Store and Google Play. More than half of these installs occurred in 2018.
  • Valued at $75 billion, TikTok’s parent company Bytedance surpassed Uber to become the world’s most valuable start-up.
  • By November 2018, the TikTok app was downloaded nearly 80 million times in the United States.
  • Sensor Tower estimates TikTok made approximately $3.5 million in October 2018 from in-app purchases.
  • In November 2018, Facebook released Lasso, a “clone” of the TIkTok app that is currently only available in the United States.

How does TikTok work?

From TikTok’s algorithm, to duets and hashtag challenges, there are many facets of the TikTok platform worth knowing.

What can you do on it?

Here’s a point-by-point summary of the main things you can do on TikTok.

Videos

Watching and creating videos are central to the TikTok experience. Videos and slideshows can be uploaded or created in-app with stop and start recording, timers, and other effects.

Music

TikTok’s extensive music library and integration with Apple Music is where the app edges out all other social platforms.

Creators can add, remix, save, and discover songs and sounds via playlists, videos, and more. According to Genius, TikTok plays a big role in helping tracks climb the charts.

Video editing

During post creation, users can apply visual filters, time effects, split screens, transitions, stickers, GIFs, emoji, and other effects.

Interaction

TikTok users can follow accounts that they like, and give hearts, comments or shares on videos they enjoy. Videos, hashtags, sounds, and effects can be added to a user’s Favorites section.

Virtual money

TikTok offers in-app purchases of coins, which users can buy to give to creators. Prices for coins start at $1.39 for 100, and go up to $139.00 for 10,000.

Live streaming

Some creators have the ability to livestream on TikTok.

Profiles

In addition to tallying followers and accounts followed, TikTok user profiles also show how many hearts the user’s content has received. As on Twitter and Instagram, official accounts are given blue checkmarks. Popular creators are also designated with orange checkmarks.

How do people typically use it?

TikTok is at times hilarious, searing, bewildering, and poignant. Creative users have already found an abundance of ways to express themselves on the app.

Trends on TikTok move fast, but here are the main ones that have found lasting power.

Challenges

TikTok challenges typically prompt users with a popular song or hashtag like #LiteralLyrics or #AirplaneChallenge to create their own video around the theme. Challenges can go viral fast, especially since TikTok often features the hashtag on the search page.

Late night host Jimmy Fallon helped increase the app’s mainstream visibility when he launched his own hashtag challenge, #TumbleweedChallenge, on his show.

Duets

Duets are a popular collaborative feature on TikTok that allows users to take another person’s video and add themselves to it. These videos typically play on a call-and-response format, with room for a partner inherently built into them.

Bonus: Get the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence.

Cringe videos

Cringe compilations may be difficult for the pre-YouTube generation to wrap their heads around. Essentially, these videos aim to make audiences cringe with painfully-awkward-yet-supposedly-sincere performances. Cringe videos often creep their way into challenges and duets.

Bonus: Get the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence.

Get the free guide right now!

React videos

Under the share option of someone’s video, users can choose to post a reaction. YouTubers may have pioneered the reaction genre, but TikTok users have perfected it. A user can record their reaction while the video plays, and then position where they want their overlay video to play alongside the original.

The TikTok algorithm

Like most social media platforms, TikTok is all about user-generated content. But unlike Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other sites, TikTok revolves less around people you follow, and more around introducing users to new content.

Fed by its algorithm, the TikTok For You feed shows users content it thinks they will like, and makes adjustments based on their behavior over time. As New York Times columnist John Herrman put it, “Imagine a version of Facebook that was able to fill your feed before you’d friended a single person. That’s TikTok.”

TikTok demographics

TikTok and its parent company Bytedance are guarded when it comes to sharing statistics and user data, but here’s what we know so far.

Age

Tik Tok is especially popular with teenagers, a demographic commonly referred to as Generation Z. According to Global Web Index, 41% of TikTok users are between 16 and 24 years old.

On Douyin, in China, 75% of users are between 18 and 35 years old. Unsurprisingly, this segment also happens to be the most active on the app.

Geography

TikTok, under its native Douyin alias, is of course popular on its home turf in China where it has 500 million monthly active users.

While China may be the biggest user base, TikTok is available in 154 countries worldwide, with 40% of its users located outside China.

India has a particularly large user base, and accounts for approximately 25% of app downloads to date. In Thailand, a reported one in seven people have downloaded the app. And in Japan, the app had approximately 9.5 million monthly active users in the last quarter of 2018, with an average of six sessions per day.

In the United States, the TikTok app has been downloaded more than 96 million times.

Gender

In an interview with Glossy, Jenny Lang, managing partner of Integrated Investment at UM Worldwide, notes that TikTok has an actively engaged female audience. Within the 16-24 year-old age range, she says the app has a reach of 60 %.

In China, the male-to-female gender ratio on Douyin sits at approximately 4:6.

Should brands pay attention to TikTok?

If Gen Z is a target demographic and your brand is not on TikTok, you may be missing out. But even if your brand targets a different age range, teenagers tend to be ahead of the curve with spotting what’s cool before it’s really cool.

Advertising on TikTok

The list of brands on TikTok already includes Nike, Fenty Beauty, and Apple Music. While TikTok has yet to unveil advertiser options in North America, it has apparently been testing in-app ads since as early as January 2019. A few ad sightings have already been reported, including a Disney Kingdom Hearts promo.

According to Nanjing Marketing Group, the Chinese version of the app (Douyin) sells splash and newsfeed ad placements that cost up to one million Renminbi per day (roughly 200,000 CAD). These ad placements, as well as native video ads and branded Hashtag Challenge ads, are available in Japan as well.

Sponsored ads for Five Feet Apart, a film starring teen heartthrob Cole Sprouse, have also been appearing in the upper carousel of TikTok’s search page feed. The ad includes a sponsor disclaimer and includes the option to buy tickets in the app.

five feet apart ad on tiktok five feet apart ad on tiktok

Branded hashtag challenges

Guess was the first fashion retailer to enter the fray in September 2018, partnering with TikTok to create the first branded content takeover in the US. The #InMyDenim hashtag challenge tapped prominent content creators to demonstrate how Guess transforms looks from blah to banging, and was able to rack in more than 37 million views.

Calvin Klein’s “My Calvin” campaign reportedly earned 10 times the engagement it had on a similar initiative it ran in 2015 starring Justin Bieber, reports Glossy.

Influencer marketing on TikTok

Some brands, such as Universal Pictures have dabbled in TikTok influencer marketing campaigns. To promote the premiere of its film, The House with a Clock in its Walls, the studio scouted popular creators to share branded content.

Douyin is reportedly signing contracts with influencers in China, some of who make up to 100,000 Renminbi per post (almost $20,000 CAD). Because the app does not track account creation and video posting dates, some caution that bots and faux-influencers are harder to spot.

Branded stickers on TikTok

Just in time for the Super Bowl, TikTok released NFL Player AR stickers, a product comparable to Snapchat’s branded stickers and filters.

Specializing in short highlights means there’s lots of room for sports brands to get in on the action, as evidenced by Red Bull’s feed. The professional soccer team Inter Milan also joined TikTok in December 2018 in a bid to better connect with young audiences.

For its part, Tik Tok has released a full-fledged ad campaign of its own, targeting the North American market on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Bonus: Get the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence.

The post What is TikTok, Who Uses it, and Should Brands Care About It? appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

10 Important Skills and Traits Your Social Media Manager Will Need

A decade ago, the role of a social media manager might not have even existed. Today, however, almost every company is involved in social media one way or another.

A quick look at Google Trends shows the rise in interest in the term “social media manager” over the years, and it seems that people have never been as interested in the term as they are today.

Google trend search for social media manager - interest in the term has been increasing since 2004.

But what does it take to be a great social media manager? What are the skills to master and traits to have? How can you work on those areas?

In this post, we’ll try our best to answer all those questions. We’ll share 10 skills and traits that are crucial to being a great social media manager and relevant resources to help you improve in those areas.

social-media-manager-skills

Skills vs Traits

Throughout this post, we’ll discuss the various skills and traits we feel are most important for social media managers. But before we dive in, I quickly wanted to share some of my learnings about the difference between skills and traits.

Here’s a great explanation of skills vs traits from Red Letter Resumes:

Skills are tangible factors that you actually bring to the table. Things such as HTML, PowerPoint, Tax Preparation, Medication Compounding, Social Media Management, Lesson Planning, Accounts Receivable, Contract negotiations, etc. They are things that require you to develop a certain level of understanding, productivity or efficiency to claim expertise.

A trait is therefore defined as, “a quality that makes one person or thing different from another”. These are the things that make you who you are, that are part of your personality: the things that make you different from other people. The difference is that these are subjective. One person’s definition of being hard-working is not the same as another’s. Traits come without a quantifiable or standard measure. They are often, but not always, amplifiers of how you do or complete something that is a skill.

Hard skills involve specific knowledge and abilities. Soft skills focus on attributes and personality traits.

(Image from The Huffington Post)

When it comes to finding your ideal social media manager, I feel you may be looking for the right mix of tangible skills (things like copywriting and analytics) and traits (such as curiosity).

In addition, we feel that the role of a social media manager these days owes heavily to the concept of a T-shaped marketer. We use the T-shaped marketer framework at Buffer to describe the depth of skills each of us has as well as the breadth of experiences and knowledge that we all hold.

Here’s a n example of how this might look for someone with a depth of skill in content:

Buffer T-shaped marketer diagram

7 skills top social media managers share

1. Copywriting

Copywriting is a fundamental skill for social media marketing (and probably all areas of marketing). Writing good copy is required in many areas of a social media manager’s role, from filling up your social media profile description to crafting tweets and Facebook posts.

To drive engagement and clicks, you have to fit a captivating story into your social media post and without great copywriting skills that can be difficult.

To enhance your copywriting skills, I’d highly recommend studying a few copywriting formulas to help you craft inspiring copy. Finding a copywriting formula (or two) that works for you can be a great productivity boost and also improve the quality of the social media content you publish.

One of our favorite copywriting techniques here at Buffer is the ‘Before – After – Bridge’  – you may recognize it from a few of our blog posts and social posts. Here’s how it works:

Before – After – Bridge

Before – Here’s your world …

After – Imagine what it’d be like, having Problem A solved …

Bridge – Here’s how to get there.

Example:

For more great tips on copywriting, be sure to check out Kevan’s great post: If Don Draper Tweeted: The 27 Copywriting Formulas That Will Drive Clicks and Engagement on Social Media

Resources

2. Design (Graphics and Videos)

Research has found that social media posts with images receive more engagement and 43 percent of consumers want to see more videos content in the future.

43 percent of consumers want to see more videos content.

Social media evolved a great deal over recent years, and we have moved away from mostly plain text based updates towards visual content such as images and videos. Designing and creating visual content is becoming an essential skill for social media managers.

Resources

3. Public Speaking (confidence in front of an audience)

With features and apps like Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and Periscope, live videos are becoming more and more important on social platforms. And marketers have noted this change, with 42 percent of marketers saying they want to create more live videos.

42 percent of marketers would want to create more live videos if they were not restricted by time, resources, or budget.

Why are marketers excited about live video? I believe the answer is two-fold: reach and engagement. Facebook Live videos are more likely to appear higher in the News Feed when those videos are live than after they are no longer live. From an engagement perspective, live content also provides opportunity for high-engagement and 1:1 interactions with audiences.

To tap into the live video trend, social media managers have to be confident enough to go live on social media to connect with their audience. Having public speaking skills will help you to present your ideas, interview guests, answer impromptu questions, and chat with your followers in real-time.

If you want to see our awesome Social Media Manager, Brian Peters, in action, you can find his live videos here. And below is a short clip of Brian discussing viral content:

Resources

4. Customer Service / Community Engagement

Social media is the top channel people go to for customer care, but only 21 percent of businesses use social media for customer support. This means there’s a huge opportunity here to provide remarkable customer service experiences.

Social media is the top channel people go to for customer care

As the face of your company on social media and the person who is likely to be responding to at least some of the messages your brand receives on platforms like Twitter and Facebook, it’s important for social media managers to have conversational skills and empathy to help you customers on social media.

Community engagement is quite similar in many ways. A great social media community manager is able to ask the right questions to facilitate engagement and answer questions about the product, company, or industry.

Resources

5. Behavioral Psychology

With data and analytics, you know what type of social media posts do well. Behavioral psychology tells you the why — for example, why are people attracted to certain posts? Why do people share certain posts?

Knowing the what allows you to spot trends and try to repeat past successes; knowing the why enables you to understand the underlying causes for those trends in order to try and create future successes.

For example, your data might tell you that your tweets with images are doing better than tweets with only text. Based on just that information, you might create more tweets with images. However, it could be that your followers prefer visual content. Without knowing the psychology behind trends, you might miss out on opportunities to create other types of visual content such as videos and GIFs.

You certainly don’t need a degree or high level of expertise in psychology to be a social media manager, but a keenness to learn and understand psychology at some level is an important skill.

Resources

6. Analytics

The term, ‘Analytics’, is used quite broadly here, referring to both social media metrics (e.g. likes, comments, shares, etc.) and business metrics (e.g. traffic, leads, conversions, revenue, etc.). A great social media manager is able to understand both types of metrics and tie them together to give an overall view of the company’s social media performance against business goals.

A social media manager should be the guiding light in your business when it comes to measuring your performance across various social channels. As such, learning the ins and outs of social media metrics and judging which ones are meaningful for your business is essential for a social media manager.

For example, if your goal is to drive traffic from social media channels to your website and drive sales, being able to attribute traffic and conversions back to channels and even certain posts will help your team to understand what content is helping you to achieve your goals.

Knowing how to read and interpret data is now an important skill for social media managers.

Resources

7. Budgeting

As a social media manager, you might be allocated a budget to work with. Apart from paid advertising, you might have to pay for things like a social media management tool, designs, images, or courses to improve yourself. Having some basic financial and budgeting knowledge can make you better on the job.

While you might not need to be an Excel expert, understanding Excel and knowing what you can do with it can be very valuable.

Paid advertising budget spreadsheet template

(Image from HubSpot)

Resources

3 personality traits great social media managers exhibit

8. Curiosity

A curious social media manager would immerse herself in the social media world, staying up-to-date with the latest development and experimenting with new social media marketing strategies.

Brian Peters is an epitome of this quality. When we discovered that videos, especially live videos, are becoming popular on social media, Brian immediately started making more videos on Facebook and Twitter. When Snap Inc. launched Spectacle, Brian got it as soon as he could to try it out and figure out how marketers can use it in their social media strategy.

Snap Spectacles a Buffer Review

HubSpot VP of Marketing Meghan Keaney Anderson said this really well when she described her ideal social media hire:

“We really look for people who have their finger on the pulse of how social is changing. It is one of the most rapidly changing industries right now, and I want someone who is paying attention to it, who is enthralled by it and fascinated by it. … Things shift so fast. If you think about the social media channels that were dominant two years ago and the social media channels that are dominant today, it’s just a totally different world.”

Resources

9. Adaptability

Adaptability complements curiosity. When you discover something new or spot a trend, being able to quickly adapt to it can keep you ahead of the curve.

For example, the most engaging type of social media content has shifted from texts to images to videos. In a Fast Company article, Mark Zuckerberg was reported to have said,

“Most of the content 10 years ago was text, and then photos, and now it’s quickly becoming videos,” Zuckerberg said, justifying Facebook’s aggressive push into the area. “I just think that we’re going to be in a world a few years from now where the vast majority of the content that people consume online will be video.”

A great social media manager is able to keep up with such changes and pick up the necessary skills (e.g. graphic design, video making, etc.). (Imagine when virtual reality becomes the most popular type of content!)

Resources

10. Business Savviness

Being able to generate likes and shares is great; knowing how social media fits in with the entire business strategy is even better! A business-savvy social media manager sees the bigger picture and understands the role of social media in the company.

They understand which metrics are most relevant and crucial to the business and how social media can help to push them higher. For example, a B2B social media manager might focus on generating leads for her sales team while a B2C social media manager might focus on increasing customer purchases directly. This way, her impact goes beyond just social media but to the entire company.

Resources

Skills and traits others think are important

To give you an unbiased view on this topic, I’d love to share the skills and traits that other companies and individuals think are important:

What the Best Social Media Community Managers Actually Do in Their Jobs by HubSpot

  • Content creation
  • Marketing analytics
  • News junkie
  • Customer service
  • Community management
  • Funnel marketing
  • Project management

Lindsay Kolowich of HubSpot also mentioned the necessary skills for each of these areas in this article.

10 Essential Skills a Social Media Manager Needs To Have on Their Resume by Jeff Bullas

  • Strategy planning
  • Tactics and execution
  • Community management
  • Understand how content works on a social web
  • Optimizing content and technology
  • Creative mindset
  • Writing skills
  • Be on top of the latest digital marketing trends
  • Analytical skills
  • Leadership and communication skills

How to Build A Social Media Strategy Dream Team by HubSpot and Sprout Social

  • Patience
  • Technical aptitude
  • Proactive
  • Daring
  • Passion
  • Level of Experience
  • Customer-first mentality

Over to you

While you might not need to be proficient in every single area mentioned above, being good at a few of them would make you a great social media manager and a valuable asset to your company.

What other skills do you think is important for a social media manager to have? Would you be up for sharing some resources for improving those skills, too?

Thank you!

What is TikTok, Who Uses it, and Should Brands Care About It?

What is TikTok in three words? Real short videos.

Or, as The Verge put it in a few more words, it’s “the closest thing we have to Vine,” the former video-sharing app owned by Twitter.

According to TechCrunch, TikTok is “the Instagram for the mobile video age.”

No matter how you describe it, the app is taking the digital world by storm, and marketers are taking note.

Bonus: Get the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence.

A short history of TikTok

Since the app launched in 2016, TikTok’s user base has grown to include more than 500 million people. It’s also just passed the one billion-downloads mark.

It shows no sign of slowing down, with a whopping 75 million sign ups in December 2018—up 275% from the previous year.

Those aren’t the only landmark figures worth noting. The app, which is especially popular with Gen Z, has already courted controversy.

In February, TikTok was fined a record $5.7 million over child privacy law violations. And the app has come under scrutiny for child nudity and solicitation.

In response, TikTok has increased security measures and launched online safety campaigns, teaming up most recently with Internet Matters.

But is TikTok as big a deal as it seems? Is TikTok a good fit for you brand? Luckily, we have answers.

Learn about TikTok stats, demographics, and early brand content to decide if it’s time for your brand to get on board.

What is TikTok?

TikTok bills itself as a “destination for short-form mobile videos,” but of course it comes with all the trappings of a social media community, too.

Video creators can share vertical, looping videos between 15 and 60 seconds in length. An extensive editing toolkit, with an array or filters and effects, and a massive music library, lets users tune and score their content to clever and comedic effect.

TikTok is often mistaken as a lip-syncing app. This is likely because it was preceded by Musical.ly, a social app that was built around just that.

In 2017, TikTok’s parent company, Bytedance, purchased Musical.ly for $800 million. Bytedance had already launched Douyin, the forerunner to TikTok, in China. After acquiring Musical.ly, the two platforms merged and launched TikTok.

In China, the app still goes by its original name, Douyin.

Key TikTok stats:

  • In February 2019, TikTok exceeded one billion installs from the App Store and Google Play. More than half of these installs occurred in 2018.
  • Valued at $75 billion, TikTok’s parent company Bytedance surpassed Uber to become the world’s most valuable start-up.
  • By November 2018, the TikTok app was downloaded nearly 80 million times in the United States.
  • Sensor Tower estimates TikTok made approximately $3.5 million in October 2018 from in-app purchases.
  • In November 2018, Facebook released Lasso, a “clone” of the TIkTok app that is currently only available in the United States.

How does TikTok work?

From TikTok’s algorithm, to duets and hashtag challenges, there are many facets of the TikTok platform worth knowing.

What can you do on it?

Here’s a point-by-point summary of the main things you can do on TikTok.

Videos

Watching and creating videos are central to the TikTok experience. Videos and slideshows can be uploaded or created in-app with stop and start recording, timers, and other effects.

Music

TikTok’s extensive music library and integration with Apple Music is where the app edges out all other social platforms.

Creators can add, remix, save, and discover songs and sounds via playlists, videos, and more. According to Genius, TikTok plays a big role in helping tracks climb the charts.

Video editing

During post creation, users can apply visual filters, time effects, split screens, transitions, stickers, GIFs, emoji, and other effects.

Interaction

TikTok users can follow accounts that they like, and give hearts, comments or shares on videos they enjoy. Videos, hashtags, sounds, and effects can be added to a user’s Favorites section.

Virtual money

TikTok offers in-app purchases of coins, which users can buy to give to creators. Prices for coins start at $1.39 for 100, and go up to $139.00 for 10,000.

Live streaming

Some creators have the ability to livestream on TikTok.

Profiles

In addition to tallying followers and accounts followed, TikTok user profiles also show how many hearts the user’s content has received. As on Twitter and Instagram, official accounts are given blue checkmarks. Popular creators are also designated with orange checkmarks.

How do people typically use it?

TikTok is at times hilarious, searing, bewildering, and poignant. Creative users have already found an abundance of ways to express themselves on the app.

Trends on TikTok move fast, but here are the main ones that have found lasting power.

Challenges

TikTok challenges typically prompt users with a popular song or hashtag like #LiteralLyrics or #AirplaneChallenge to create their own video around the theme. Challenges can go viral fast, especially since TikTok often features the hashtag on the search page.

Late night host Jimmy Fallon helped increase the app’s mainstream visibility when he launched his own hashtag challenge, #TumbleweedChallenge, on his show.

Duets

Duets are a popular collaborative feature on TikTok that allows users to take another person’s video and add themselves to it. These videos typically play on a call-and-response format, with room for a partner inherently built into them.

Bonus: Get the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence.

Cringe videos

Cringe compilations may be difficult for the pre-YouTube generation to wrap their heads around. Essentially, these videos aim to make audiences cringe with painfully-awkward-yet-supposedly-sincere performances. Cringe videos often creep their way into challenges and duets.

Bonus: Get the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence.

Get the free guide right now!

React videos

Under the share option of someone’s video, users can choose to post a reaction. YouTubers may have pioneered the reaction genre, but TikTok users have perfected it. A user can record their reaction while the video plays, and then position where they want their overlay video to play alongside the original.

The TikTok algorithm

Like most social media platforms, TikTok is all about user-generated content. But unlike Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other sites, TikTok revolves less around people you follow, and more around introducing users to new content.

Fed by its algorithm, the TikTok For You feed shows users content it thinks they will like, and makes adjustments based on their behavior over time. As New York Times columnist John Herrman put it, “Imagine a version of Facebook that was able to fill your feed before you’d friended a single person. That’s TikTok.”

TikTok demographics

TikTok and its parent company Bytedance are guarded when it comes to sharing statistics and user data, but here’s what we know so far.

Age

Tik Tok is especially popular with teenagers, a demographic commonly referred to as Generation Z. According to Global Web Index, 41% of TikTok users are between 16 and 24 years old.

On Douyin, in China, 75% of users are between 18 and 35 years old. Unsurprisingly, this segment also happens to be the most active on the app.

Geography

TikTok, under its native Douyin alias, is of course popular on its home turf in China where it has 500 million monthly active users.

While China may be the biggest user base, TikTok is available in 154 countries worldwide, with 40% of its users located outside China.

India has a particularly large user base, and accounts for approximately 25% of app downloads to date. In Thailand, a reported one in seven people have downloaded the app. And in Japan, the app had approximately 9.5 million monthly active users in the last quarter of 2018, with an average of six sessions per day.

In the United States, the TikTok app has been downloaded more than 96 million times.

Gender

In an interview with Glossy, Jenny Lang, managing partner of Integrated Investment at UM Worldwide, notes that TikTok has an actively engaged female audience. Within the 16-24 year-old age range, she says the app has a reach of 60 %.

In China, the male-to-female gender ratio on Douyin sits at approximately 4:6.

Should brands pay attention to TikTok?

If Gen Z is a target demographic and your brand is not on TikTok, you may be missing out. But even if your brand targets a different age range, teenagers tend to be ahead of the curve with spotting what’s cool before it’s really cool.

Advertising on TikTok

The list of brands on TikTok already includes Nike, Fenty Beauty, and Apple Music. While TikTok has yet to unveil advertiser options in North America, it has apparently been testing in-app ads since as early as January 2019. A few ad sightings have already been reported, including a Disney Kingdom Hearts promo.

According to Nanjing Marketing Group, the Chinese version of the app (Douyin) sells splash and newsfeed ad placements that cost up to one million Renminbi per day (roughly 200,000 CAD). These ad placements, as well as native video ads and branded Hashtag Challenge ads, are available in Japan as well.

Sponsored ads for Five Feet Apart, a film starring teen heartthrob Cole Sprouse, have also been appearing in the upper carousel of TikTok’s search page feed. The ad includes a sponsor disclaimer and includes the option to buy tickets in the app.

five feet apart ad on tiktok five feet apart ad on tiktok

Branded hashtag challenges

Guess was the first fashion retailer to enter the fray in September 2018, partnering with TikTok to create the first branded content takeover in the US. The #InMyDenim hashtag challenge tapped prominent content creators to demonstrate how Guess transforms looks from blah to banging, and was able to rack in more than 37 million views.

Calvin Klein’s “My Calvin” campaign reportedly earned 10 times the engagement it had on a similar initiative it ran in 2015 starring Justin Bieber, reports Glossy.

Influencer marketing on TikTok

Some brands, such as Universal Pictures have dabbled in TikTok influencer marketing campaigns. To promote the premiere of its film, The House with a Clock in its Walls, the studio scouted popular creators to share branded content.

Douyin is reportedly signing contracts with influencers in China, some of who make up to 100,000 Renminbi per post (almost $20,000 CAD). Because the app does not track account creation and video posting dates, some caution that bots and faux-influencers are harder to spot.

Branded stickers on TikTok

Just in time for the Super Bowl, TikTok released NFL Player AR stickers, a product comparable to Snapchat’s branded stickers and filters.

Specializing in short highlights means there’s lots of room for sports brands to get in on the action, as evidenced by Red Bull’s feed. The professional soccer team Inter Milan also joined TikTok in December 2018 in a bid to better connect with young audiences.

For its part, Tik Tok has released a full-fledged ad campaign of its own, targeting the North American market on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Bonus: Get the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence.

The post What is TikTok, Who Uses it, and Should Brands Care About It? appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

10 Important Skills and Traits Your Social Media Manager Will Need

A decade ago, the role of a social media manager might not have even existed. Today, however, almost every company is involved in social media one way or another.

A quick look at Google Trends shows the rise in interest in the term “social media manager” over the years, and it seems that people have never been as interested in the term as they are today.

Google trend search for social media manager - interest in the term has been increasing since 2004.

But what does it take to be a great social media manager? What are the skills to master and traits to have? How can you work on those areas?

In this post, we’ll try our best to answer all those questions. We’ll share 10 skills and traits that are crucial to being a great social media manager and relevant resources to help you improve in those areas.

social-media-manager-skills

Skills vs Traits

Throughout this post, we’ll discuss the various skills and traits we feel are most important for social media managers. But before we dive in, I quickly wanted to share some of my learnings about the difference between skills and traits.

Here’s a great explanation of skills vs traits from Red Letter Resumes:

Skills are tangible factors that you actually bring to the table. Things such as HTML, PowerPoint, Tax Preparation, Medication Compounding, Social Media Management, Lesson Planning, Accounts Receivable, Contract negotiations, etc. They are things that require you to develop a certain level of understanding, productivity or efficiency to claim expertise.

A trait is therefore defined as, “a quality that makes one person or thing different from another”. These are the things that make you who you are, that are part of your personality: the things that make you different from other people. The difference is that these are subjective. One person’s definition of being hard-working is not the same as another’s. Traits come without a quantifiable or standard measure. They are often, but not always, amplifiers of how you do or complete something that is a skill.

Hard skills involve specific knowledge and abilities. Soft skills focus on attributes and personality traits.

(Image from The Huffington Post)

When it comes to finding your ideal social media manager, I feel you may be looking for the right mix of tangible skills (things like copywriting and analytics) and traits (such as curiosity).

In addition, we feel that the role of a social media manager these days owes heavily to the concept of a T-shaped marketer. We use the T-shaped marketer framework at Buffer to describe the depth of skills each of us has as well as the breadth of experiences and knowledge that we all hold.

Here’s a n example of how this might look for someone with a depth of skill in content:

Buffer T-shaped marketer diagram

7 skills top social media managers share

1. Copywriting

Copywriting is a fundamental skill for social media marketing (and probably all areas of marketing). Writing good copy is required in many areas of a social media manager’s role, from filling up your social media profile description to crafting tweets and Facebook posts.

To drive engagement and clicks, you have to fit a captivating story into your social media post and without great copywriting skills that can be difficult.

To enhance your copywriting skills, I’d highly recommend studying a few copywriting formulas to help you craft inspiring copy. Finding a copywriting formula (or two) that works for you can be a great productivity boost and also improve the quality of the social media content you publish.

One of our favorite copywriting techniques here at Buffer is the ‘Before – After – Bridge’  – you may recognize it from a few of our blog posts and social posts. Here’s how it works:

Before – After – Bridge

Before – Here’s your world …

After – Imagine what it’d be like, having Problem A solved …

Bridge – Here’s how to get there.

Example:

For more great tips on copywriting, be sure to check out Kevan’s great post: If Don Draper Tweeted: The 27 Copywriting Formulas That Will Drive Clicks and Engagement on Social Media

Resources

2. Design (Graphics and Videos)

Research has found that social media posts with images receive more engagement and 43 percent of consumers want to see more videos content in the future.

43 percent of consumers want to see more videos content.

Social media evolved a great deal over recent years, and we have moved away from mostly plain text based updates towards visual content such as images and videos. Designing and creating visual content is becoming an essential skill for social media managers.

Resources

3. Public Speaking (confidence in front of an audience)

With features and apps like Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and Periscope, live videos are becoming more and more important on social platforms. And marketers have noted this change, with 42 percent of marketers saying they want to create more live videos.

42 percent of marketers would want to create more live videos if they were not restricted by time, resources, or budget.

Why are marketers excited about live video? I believe the answer is two-fold: reach and engagement. Facebook Live videos are more likely to appear higher in the News Feed when those videos are live than after they are no longer live. From an engagement perspective, live content also provides opportunity for high-engagement and 1:1 interactions with audiences.

To tap into the live video trend, social media managers have to be confident enough to go live on social media to connect with their audience. Having public speaking skills will help you to present your ideas, interview guests, answer impromptu questions, and chat with your followers in real-time.

If you want to see our awesome Social Media Manager, Brian Peters, in action, you can find his live videos here. And below is a short clip of Brian discussing viral content:

Resources

4. Customer Service / Community Engagement

Social media is the top channel people go to for customer care, but only 21 percent of businesses use social media for customer support. This means there’s a huge opportunity here to provide remarkable customer service experiences.

Social media is the top channel people go to for customer care

As the face of your company on social media and the person who is likely to be responding to at least some of the messages your brand receives on platforms like Twitter and Facebook, it’s important for social media managers to have conversational skills and empathy to help you customers on social media.

Community engagement is quite similar in many ways. A great social media community manager is able to ask the right questions to facilitate engagement and answer questions about the product, company, or industry.

Resources

5. Behavioral Psychology

With data and analytics, you know what type of social media posts do well. Behavioral psychology tells you the why — for example, why are people attracted to certain posts? Why do people share certain posts?

Knowing the what allows you to spot trends and try to repeat past successes; knowing the why enables you to understand the underlying causes for those trends in order to try and create future successes.

For example, your data might tell you that your tweets with images are doing better than tweets with only text. Based on just that information, you might create more tweets with images. However, it could be that your followers prefer visual content. Without knowing the psychology behind trends, you might miss out on opportunities to create other types of visual content such as videos and GIFs.

You certainly don’t need a degree or high level of expertise in psychology to be a social media manager, but a keenness to learn and understand psychology at some level is an important skill.

Resources

6. Analytics

The term, ‘Analytics’, is used quite broadly here, referring to both social media metrics (e.g. likes, comments, shares, etc.) and business metrics (e.g. traffic, leads, conversions, revenue, etc.). A great social media manager is able to understand both types of metrics and tie them together to give an overall view of the company’s social media performance against business goals.

A social media manager should be the guiding light in your business when it comes to measuring your performance across various social channels. As such, learning the ins and outs of social media metrics and judging which ones are meaningful for your business is essential for a social media manager.

For example, if your goal is to drive traffic from social media channels to your website and drive sales, being able to attribute traffic and conversions back to channels and even certain posts will help your team to understand what content is helping you to achieve your goals.

Knowing how to read and interpret data is now an important skill for social media managers.

Resources

7. Budgeting

As a social media manager, you might be allocated a budget to work with. Apart from paid advertising, you might have to pay for things like a social media management tool, designs, images, or courses to improve yourself. Having some basic financial and budgeting knowledge can make you better on the job.

While you might not need to be an Excel expert, understanding Excel and knowing what you can do with it can be very valuable.

Paid advertising budget spreadsheet template

(Image from HubSpot)

Resources

3 personality traits great social media managers exhibit

8. Curiosity

A curious social media manager would immerse herself in the social media world, staying up-to-date with the latest development and experimenting with new social media marketing strategies.

Brian Peters is an epitome of this quality. When we discovered that videos, especially live videos, are becoming popular on social media, Brian immediately started making more videos on Facebook and Twitter. When Snap Inc. launched Spectacle, Brian got it as soon as he could to try it out and figure out how marketers can use it in their social media strategy.

Snap Spectacles a Buffer Review

HubSpot VP of Marketing Meghan Keaney Anderson said this really well when she described her ideal social media hire:

“We really look for people who have their finger on the pulse of how social is changing. It is one of the most rapidly changing industries right now, and I want someone who is paying attention to it, who is enthralled by it and fascinated by it. … Things shift so fast. If you think about the social media channels that were dominant two years ago and the social media channels that are dominant today, it’s just a totally different world.”

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9. Adaptability

Adaptability complements curiosity. When you discover something new or spot a trend, being able to quickly adapt to it can keep you ahead of the curve.

For example, the most engaging type of social media content has shifted from texts to images to videos. In a Fast Company article, Mark Zuckerberg was reported to have said,

“Most of the content 10 years ago was text, and then photos, and now it’s quickly becoming videos,” Zuckerberg said, justifying Facebook’s aggressive push into the area. “I just think that we’re going to be in a world a few years from now where the vast majority of the content that people consume online will be video.”

A great social media manager is able to keep up with such changes and pick up the necessary skills (e.g. graphic design, video making, etc.). (Imagine when virtual reality becomes the most popular type of content!)

Resources

10. Business Savviness

Being able to generate likes and shares is great; knowing how social media fits in with the entire business strategy is even better! A business-savvy social media manager sees the bigger picture and understands the role of social media in the company.

They understand which metrics are most relevant and crucial to the business and how social media can help to push them higher. For example, a B2B social media manager might focus on generating leads for her sales team while a B2C social media manager might focus on increasing customer purchases directly. This way, her impact goes beyond just social media but to the entire company.

Resources

Skills and traits others think are important

To give you an unbiased view on this topic, I’d love to share the skills and traits that other companies and individuals think are important:

What the Best Social Media Community Managers Actually Do in Their Jobs by HubSpot

  • Content creation
  • Marketing analytics
  • News junkie
  • Customer service
  • Community management
  • Funnel marketing
  • Project management

Lindsay Kolowich of HubSpot also mentioned the necessary skills for each of these areas in this article.

10 Essential Skills a Social Media Manager Needs To Have on Their Resume by Jeff Bullas

  • Strategy planning
  • Tactics and execution
  • Community management
  • Understand how content works on a social web
  • Optimizing content and technology
  • Creative mindset
  • Writing skills
  • Be on top of the latest digital marketing trends
  • Analytical skills
  • Leadership and communication skills

How to Build A Social Media Strategy Dream Team by HubSpot and Sprout Social

  • Patience
  • Technical aptitude
  • Proactive
  • Daring
  • Passion
  • Level of Experience
  • Customer-first mentality

Over to you

While you might not need to be proficient in every single area mentioned above, being good at a few of them would make you a great social media manager and a valuable asset to your company.

What other skills do you think is important for a social media manager to have? Would you be up for sharing some resources for improving those skills, too?

Thank you!