Who really rules social media?

| June 24, 2019

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Does social media influence carry the seeds of its own destruction? It begins in innocence, unfeigned enthusiasm and transparent honesty. You share likes and dislikes. People listen and agree with you. You become a voice for others who share your interests and passions. You acquire a following, modest at first, but slowly and surely you become an Influencer, someone with thousands or tens of thousands of followers. People take your tips, heed your advice and buy the products you recommend. Purely on their merits at first, but then the manufacturers freebies begin. And, of course, you’d never buy likes or followers would you?

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Companionship: Still big on the radar for consumers when choosing an influencer to follow

Article | January 18, 2021

We may have entered a New Year, but we are still living in a world filled with lockdowns and restrictions. Still unable to hug our loved ones, online companionship is quite possibly, more important than ever before. The last 12 months has shown online communities come together with social media influencers becoming the ultimate lockdown companions. Amelia Neate, Senior Manager at Influencer Matchmaker explains why companionship is still big on the radar for 2021 and why she thinks it is here to stay. Since March of last year, most of the population have found themselves spending more time indoors, whether that’s due to lockdown, working from home, furlough or maybe they have been shielding. But because of that, human interaction has been limited and it doesn’t seem to be on the cards for anytime soon, either. And with a quarter of UK adults saying that lockdown has made them feel lonely, many have turned to social media influencers in a bid to feel less alone. Helping each other out Online companionship is much more than simply a one-way street. Whilst it primarily benefits consumers, social media followers and audiences, it also provides rapport for the influencers and brands, too. Many influencers felt a responsibility to uplift their audiences, keep them company and deliver some much-needed entertainment during a time filled with such despair and crisis. This, in turn, allowed social media influencers to create a deeper connection with their followers, and the feeling of responsibility provided them with something to focus on and strive for whilst they too, found themselves living a life under restriction. With the temporary closure of retail alongside many other industries, social media has supplied brands and businesses with an opportunity to establish a brand-new relationship with customers that they may not have had otherwise. Brands have been able to understand exactly what their customers want by spending more time communicating with them and getting them involved with the content they create and the brands they choose to work with. As well as this, brands have been able to work closely (albeit virtually) with influencers to provide them with just that. It isn’t just the relationship between brands, influencers and their audiences, though. Brands have used this time to build relationships with other brands, particularly through the use of social media. Smaller, local, independent businesses of a similar vein have teamed up with one another to create bespoke packages, combining their products and services as a way to build brand awareness and help gain recognition. Influencers have also been doing something very similar. ‘Follow Fridays’ have made a triumphant return to Instagram, with many influencers dedicating their time to promoting fellow content creators and sharing their work. A sense of community Influencers have worked hard to adapt their content to meet the newfound needs of their audience and to build a community. The last year has seen an influx in the number of virtual book clubs, Facebook groups and podcasts, many of which have been created as a way to tackle boredom and loneliness - for both the creators and users. With people forced to embrace daily Zoom calls with work as well as weekend catchups with family members, many have been seeking a distraction that isn’t too far from their norm. Book clubs such as ‘Beth’s Book Club', founded by Beth Sandland, have blossomed during the coronavirus pandemic. Going from simply reading one book a month, this particular online community has upped the ante and has become a place to discuss their favourite reads and create new friends. As well as the usual monthly discussion, this book club often features virtual get togethers, Q&A’s with popular authors and even yoga sessions, regularly providing members with something to look forward to. Such communities have also been welcomed with open arms by royalty. The Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker Bowles, has also launched her very own Instagram book club. The Reading Room features conversations with authors and connects like-minded book lovers. Facebook groups have also proven to be a popular source of escapism, with many celebrities and social media influencers creating members-only groups for their followers to join. X-Factor star Sam Bailey created a ‘buddy up’ campaign via her Facebook group, Bailey’s Cuppa Crew. Aiming to help her fans combat loneliness, Sam encouraged them to make friends and even paired people up who would otherwise be spending Christmas alone, providing them with a way to enjoy their festive dinner over Zoom. Influencers Lily Pebbles and The Anna Edit use a Facebook group to help with their ongoing podcast, ‘At Home With...’. The group enables listeners of the podcast to truly get involved, by sharing detailed feedback and requesting topics for episodes which really places them at the very heart of the podcast. Similarly, health and fitness app Battle Ready 360, founded by Ollie Ollerton also have a members-only group, allowing users of the app to compete in friendly challenges, make friends and take some time for themselves. Throughout the entirety of this pandemic, influencers have provided their followers with nothing but positivity, hope and a little inspiration. A thought for the future An end is in sight, although it may be a little further away than we initially thought. But one thing that the pandemic has taught us, is the importance of companionship and the true power of social media influencers. They are much more than online creators and entertainers, but friends, supporters and advocates for all that we believe in. And with that being said, I firmly believe that the act of online companionship is something that will stick around, throughout 2021 and beyond.

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How Zoom has become an ecosystem for startups

Article | April 28, 2020

We have always been familiar with various video conferencing platforms but the current situation of COVID-19 has put them at the top of everyone’s routine. Never before have video calling platforms been in so much demand. The current lockdown imposition in the world has forced all possible industries to give their employees work from home by default not by choice, and asked to contribute to stopping the spread of the Coronavirus disease. A rare situation like this has caused the world to go online for important meetings, conferences, learning activities, and every other important work. During this time many companies have seen a spurt in growth and Silicon valley-based communication technology company—Zoom is one of them. The video communication software company has seen a growth in its user base from 10 million to 200 million daily visitors and has been recognized as the top choice from satisfied customer reviews on TrustRadius, Gartner, and G2. With big customers in the pocket like Uber, Delta, HubSpot, Zapier, etc. the company has earned power when other companies started their businesses based on Zoom which is running quite successfully. Many businesses started building their services or products on Facebook, Slack, Twitter, Instagram, etc. and now Zoom is the latest hotspot around which new businesses are popping up. Let’s have a look at the newly started businesses based on the web conferencing software and how they have made use of Zoom features. Table of Contents - Grain - Fireflies - Stream - Otter Grain Founded in 2018, San Francisco based Grain might be the first business to build entirely around Zoom, at least as a starting point. Let’s understand the core idea of the business. According to co-founder and CEO, Mike Adams, the key idea is to extract and save the important content in Zoom calls. Further, the best part of the conversation can be shared across various platforms like Slack, Notion, Discord, Twitter, or even iMessages. Suppose a student is attending a Zoom class and wants to take the notes for later use. This has been made simple using Grain. Without needing to watch the full lecture again a student can save or record the important part of what a teacher is teaching in the virtual class that he or she can share with other students. There are many ways to save an important part of the video using Grain. You can convert the whole video call into the transcript and then pick up the part you want to share. This will automatically create a unique URL for the separate part of the video that you can share across various platforms. You can save and share the highlighted notes that you can create alongside the call. Here you are given a facility to take notes during the call in a column that is provided by Grain and save or share it later on. Similarly, Grain can be used for the office purpose where you can flag the most important bit of information from the meeting and share those clips with your colleagues to understand the complex or prime things in the call. The limit is given to save and share the video clips ranges from 30 seconds to 10 minutes. You can also create sections of the best parts of the video to create a summary highlight and this has no time limit. You are also given control over who can edit the video later to avoid the illegal activity and stop manipulating the snippet. Fireflies Founded by two young and talented minds from MIT, Fireflies.ai is doing an excellent work of helping people manage their tasks using AI-based technology. While there are so many things to do on the list, one can simply not waste time going through the past calls or chats to note down an important part of work. That’s where Fireflies.ai comes to help you. It helps you save critical information that is being said and you won’t miss anything even after leaving the meeting room. And to do so, all you have to do is integrate Fireflies’ AI assistant by inviting it to the Zoom meeting. As soon as the meeting starts, it captures every moment by recording the call and sends you the transcript over your email once the meeting is over. It makes use of NLP (Natural Language Processing) algorithms to transcribe the audio call into the text format. Along with these features, it can integrate with dozens of apps like Salesforce, Slack, Zoho, Zapier, etc. They also have a Chrome extension for Google calendar that makes it easy to invite the AI assistant to the scheduled meeting. This is how Fireflies.ai helps improve and accelerate the productivity gained from the Zoom meetings and unlock the hidden value in the voice data. It makes it easy to take quick notes with the help of high-quality recording while you pay attention to the live meeting. The San Francisco based business is running quite smoothly and raised a fund of $5M in December 2019 from Canaan Partners. Stream Stream is a privately held, San Francisco based small company which started its business based on Zoom. It helps people host online events quickly especially the paid ones. It is not restricted to be used by office working professionals but can also be used by musicians, fitness instructors, content creators, private tutors, etc. and allows turning every physical event into a virtual event. We use Zoom because it's what my 65-year-old aunt is familiar with. It's the tool of the moment. It is helpful to build a powerful, easy-to-use API. I'm surprised a lot of other developers haven't used it yet you can do a whole bunch of different things that you probably wouldn't think of. Lan Paje, Co-founder and CEO, Stream According to Stream, you can create a website to promote your virtual event and make money with tip donations or by charging people for entry to the event. This is the easiest way for event organizers to live-stream the event with just one click. The company is still taking baby steps and growing quite well. The issue that Stream facing right now is uninvited guest appearances to the live events. According to the company, Zoom is lacking a security solution and preventing Zoombombers. Otter Otter is again a silicon valley based startup by a team of industry veterans who have working experience of development and technology in mobile, search, speech, and data analytics in leading technology companies. Otter.ai offers a real-time voice transcript of conversations in a meeting. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has seen growth in its customer base and launched some new features. Earlier users would get the transcription after an hour or two after the meeting is wrapped. But with the recent partnership with Zoom, it offers real-time transcription and recording of a live video conference. The feature is available on the Zoom app and can be used on desktop or mobiles. Once the meeting is wrapped, you can refer back to the transcript and highlight the important part of the long conversation. Additionally, you can also add comments and photos to meeting notes. It offers security to group conversations giving each user a separate user ID and then group members can also highlight edit, and share notes with others. The software is usable for work, schools, and daily life. With Otter.ai, transcription as long as 600 minutes is offered for free. It also offers paid plans with additional features that help to make your meetings more reliable. Otter usage has been increased 5X with Zoom meeting over a few weeks of April and the company has observed new more sign-ups of students and employees working from home. Addressing increased use of generating rich notes with Otter’s AI-powered assistant, Sam Liang conveys the importance of Otter where everyone can search, play, edit, and share conversations on all devices. Virtual meetings have skyrocketed during the COVID-19 outbreak as organizations recognize that high-quality voice meeting notes are a critical tool for employee productivity when collaborating within an office or in any virtual meeting. Sam Liang, CEO, Otter.ai By April 2020, Otter has transcribed more than 25 million meetings and has raised $23 million in funding from NTT DOCOMO, GGV Capital, Slow Ventures, Horizon Ventures, and others. It seems Zoom is changing how remote working employees communicate and in the future, it might become a strong business tool. Growth of the video conferencing application pointing to more businesses built based on it. Isn’t that a way to go?

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The Agile Path to Engagement: Solving the Personalization Challenge with AI

Article | August 12, 2020

The depth of customer engagement depends, in large part, on how personalized the shopping experience is. If a customer feels like a brand knows them as an individual among thousands of other customers, they will purchase more from that brand, more often, and remain loyal. The path to 1:1 marketing is paved with personalization, and while there are many personalization tools out on the market, it’s hard to understand which one(s) to pick. This can become particularly challenging when distracted by a shiny UI — though usability is, of course, vitally important to the marketing teams who desperately need personalization tools.

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11 Social Media Changes to Make in a Coronavirus World

Article | April 6, 2020

Coronavirus has changed just about everything, but you still need to connect to your customers, prospects, partners, and team members. And now more than ever, social media may be the best way to do so. But you cannot just continue with your regular social media strategy, content, and cadence. What works is different. What people want is different. You must consider these 11 changes to your social media to continue possibly even accelerate your social media success during the pandemic. The strategy team here at Convince & Convert has been working closely with our world-class clients to develop these approaches. We shared this advice on the 11 changes to your social media strategy during Coronavirus on a live webinar.

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