All the news that's relevant to startups and SMEs...and only startups and SMEs.
It's nice to have massive ad budgets and endless resources, but what if you don't have those? Introducing SME²; your one-stop-shop for what you need to know in the world of social if you're a growing business. We'll focus on the larger platforms, expand on a few stories and throw in some exciting nuggets we find along the way, but always aimed at startups and SMEs.
Use SME² to stay ahead of the curve and if we can help you keep your social humming, let us know. Book in some time with a social specialist today!
Welcome to a first of many SME² updates.
"Creator Badges" being tested
What? Instagram Creators (influencers) have now been given a new revenue stream and incentive to create content. Fans can purchase 'badges' that appear next to their name in Instagram Lives, allowing them to have priority in asking questions or being seen by Creators.
When is this happening? Q3 & Q4
Where is it available? United States, Brazil, United Kingdom, Australia, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Spain, and Mexico.
Why does this matter? Loyalty and the bottom line. If your industry relies on brand and customer interaction you'll want to research this more. Equally personal trainers, speakers and coaches will be able to use badges to enhance loyalty gain another way to make money.
- No cost other than time!
- Gives you a list of your biggest fans, meaning you have actual accounts you can reach out to for special opportunities.
- Time spent on Instagram can now have a direct ROI. Less time may need to be spent elsewhere.
- Interacting in this way is often easier to drive revenue than say creating a video series due to the instant nature of the interaction.
Less good things...
- Planning - you're going to need to do more than simply go live. It's never been more critical to build your group before you need them!
- The 'Going live' phenomenal - it's not natural to everyone. Practice and be honest with yourself. If your heart isn't in it, you're unlikely to get the hearts and coins!
- Think about your customer - while this is now possible, will a 45 or 50-year-old buy gin or tip a cocktail making class? Maybe, but you'll have an easier time with the younger crowd straight away because they've grown up with this and have connected more bank cards etc.
What do I need to do?
- Plan. Think about what will make your customers fall in love with you, come back and tell their friends. Don't go cheesy or competitions straight away - start small and build, build, build. Ask your audience what they've always wanted to see or wish they could ask you.
- Think social first, what weekly activities can you create that incentive connection.
- Don't discount the low-fi route; you can always increase production value. People are looking for the real you during these times. Authenticity is critical from day one. Mistakes will happen, and no-one is perfect first time.
- Focus on organic growth tactics. Stop looking at social as a 'could have' and invest some real time into expanding your audience.
- Get practising and set up an area where you would be comfortable going 'live' in.
Tik Tok banned in whole countries
What? Many countries have set sights on TikTok, the popular short video sharing service, as a topic of hot debate because of their size and user base. Countries and companies are worrying that data will be readily available to Chinese authorities. Much like Facebook help the FBI, TikTok is subject to even stricter measures due to the powers of People's Republic of China. Some countries and companies (including Amazon temporarily) have banned the app, while others are contemplating a similar move.
When is this happening? Changing daily.
Where is this happening? India have banned TikTok already. The USA are in discussions and the UK potentially to follow.
Why does this matter? TikTok has +800m active users, and the app is downloaded on +1.5 billion devices so far. Most users are in China (+500m) but the growth outside China and impact of the network has been amplified due to lockdown and protests. If more countrywide blocks are announced, TikTok's growth will slow, and the superusers will abandon it as engagement on their revenue source dries up.
- If TikTok is banned, other channels can be focused on and should get more engagement as eyeballs and time spent on other platforms increases.
- You can finally get those three Doja Cat lines out of your head.
- If your customers are in a country where TikTok is allowed a new strategy and other tech will be required to post.
- Creators will lose a revenue stream, and businesses lose a free place to market and promote their goods and services.
- Millions of creators losing their fanbases could impact your Q3 and Q4 results.
- Other platforms will gain more influence and drive up ad prices and make eyeballs harder to come by.
- Wait and see for right now if you're in a country that hasn't banned it yet. Actions are moving fast, and if companies like Amazon are concerned, others will likely follow suit. Think about your content plan for the next few months and build in other options and alternative strategies if the worst happens.
- Use what works on TikTok on other platforms - most of the mechanics are from the old playbook. Some of the new ones might work equally well on platforms like Instagram - trial and error time. The 'sharing' and 'showing' culture isn't going anywhere, even if TikTok might be.
Incentivised streaming on Facebook
What? From the owner of Instagram, you'd expect more moves in the 'live' arena. With E-Sports pulling in record numbers of viewers, Facebook is looking to incentivise gamers, and other content producers, for streaming activity on Facebook. Another notch on their monopoly belt, Facebook looks to test a feature that could take on Twitch and other leading gamer sites.
When is this happening? Q3 Testing.
Where is this happening? Brazil, Australia, Thailand, Canada, Mexico, the UK, and the US.
Why is this happening? The 'always-on' consumption keeps rising thanks to lockdown and changing consumer habits in general. Smaller businesses can make use of these extra revenue streams to support social growth as they invest time creating for audiences online. Brands can make use of this by either creating content themselves or by partnering with streamers trying to grow on this feature! Whether it's 'how-to' content or ask us anything sessions, the people want to watch and are about to be able to tip you for it.
- New tools that enable you to build a more loyal, engaged following.
- Easy revenue stream that can generate revenue if used with timed sales and limited edition mechanics.
- Time. Live streaming takes time to plan and do. Right now, we're in the test and learn phase of 'streaming for pennies'. It might not work for you, but equally you might be streaming for pounds if enough people do this well and the behaviour sticks. Learn from the competition or be the first to market; both have risks attached that you need to weigh up before you go live.
- Look into influencer campaigns to bolster your launch now. Partnering reduces risk and introduces new audiences to both parties. Start making those connections now.
- Look a little outside of your industry to work out how two brands can come together. Regardless of industry, it's likely you can find somebody else to partner with who has a similar target audience to you.