Social Media

2019 F8

May 18, 2019

Facebook’s highly anticipated and closely watched F8 conference rolled around again this week, and it did not disappoint. Most of the updates were heavily focused around its hero products: Stories, Messenger and Groups.

Here’s what I thought.

Instagram shopping tags for creators: This looks like a win from all angles. The top thing here is reducing friction for purchasing, especially on a platform where you can only link organically from your bio. Currently if a consumer sees a sick outfit on an influencer, likely they’ll need to click on their profile, go to their bio link, hope they use something like Linktree or manually search in their blogs for their outfit deets, open a new browser and start looking for the garment based on some keywords. At which point I’ve already gotten bored and had a nap.

Shopping for Creators is a clear evolution of its current (closed beta) Instagram Checkout feature available for certain American brands, and plugs into the same system. The few creators selected for the trial can only tag Instagram Checkout enabled brands. This sadly means we’re a while away from using this as a way to discover cool new brands from our fave mircro-influencers. Only established brands (e.g. Kylie Cosmetics, Adidas, Nike) and top tier creators (e.g. Kim Kardashian West, Chriselle Lim, GQ, Vogue, Elle) have access. Makes sense though – they need to use high traffic brands and accounts to really see if it’s having an impact.

I can’t figure out if these creators are getting kick backs. No mention of affiliate links but it wouldn’t surprise me if this is an option when it’s rolled out globally. Have a squiz at the full breakdown from the Instagram Business blog.

Instagram Stories donation stickers: The Facebook ecosystem has always been a great space for cause awareness and fundraising, so it makes perfect sense for Facebook to roll out a solution for its hero product of the moment – Stories. Only available in the US for now… I wonder how they’ll curb fraud.

Camera Vs. Create mode for Stories: Exactly what it sounds like – a supercharged mode in Stories when you don’t actually want to share an image, and want to use a countdown or a lot of text. The current Instagram app’s text mode for Stories is pretty shithouse, so let’s see how this fares.

A better Messenger app, built from the ground up: Facebook is rebuilding the architecture of the Messenger app to be faster and lighter and I am ALL FOR THIS. The app has been getting super slow and with some weird bugs (like crazy lag time to add reactions to messages) so this makes perfect sense. Especially with Facebook now having WhatsApp technology on hand.

Lead generation template in Ads Manager: I’ve used lead gen at Bolster before to run competitions and for pre-sale sign ups, but they’ve always been super fiddly. Hoping this new update will make it easier for advertisers (for set up) and consumers (via easy automated questions in Messenger) will reduce friction and increase leads.

Spark AR: This is Facebook’s renamed Camera Effects Platform, which was first introduced at F8 2017. It’s been in closed beta to certain accounts like Gucci and Kylie Jenner, allowing them to easily create interactive, immersive AR filters for Instagram. It’s now open to all so it doesn’t matter if you weren’t born into the Kardashian-Jenner dynasty. Read about the 2019 updates here, or road test Spark AR Studio yourself. (Side note – here’s a great read about AR vs VR.)

Groups: There have been rumours and panicking about this for months now, and it’s true. Facebook is prioritising Groups, but they’re making some changes to the design of Groups to make them even better for users. Groups types will each get different features most relevant to how their communities interact online.

Most of the panic from my networks have been centred around where to shift their marketing attention. They’ve literally spent years growing their Facebook pages to get to over 100K fans and are understandably freaking out. Should they jump ship, set up a group and abandon their page? (No.) It’s still early days but I think the key things are:

  • Continue using a Facebook page as the main hub of direct info from your brand to your consumers.
  • If you have a community and it feels right, set up a Facebook Group and make sure you’re an admin. If your fans have a reason to talk and share, this makes perfect sense. For instance, a video game might have a Facebook page for updates, patches and new releases, but a Facebook Group would be for real users to share walkthroughs, tips and cheat codes. A camping music festival might run a Facebook page to share lineup, date, ticketing and PSA info but have a separate group where staff and diehard attendees are admins. The group could encourage discussion around ticket reselling, themed parties around campsites and cute missed connections posts after the festival. (Ask me about the time I tried to help a friend connect with a girl he met at Golden Plains via a Facebook Group. Like actually.)
  • If your audience doesn’t naturally want to talk about your product, think about other topics that are relevant, feel on-brand and not forced. For instance, consumers might not care enough about toilet paper to join a Facebook Group about TP only, but might be interested in a Group about household tips and tricks, sponsored by said brand. As much as people love stationery, it might make more sense for a fine liner brand to run a Group around art creation.
  • Recognise the role of the page vs. Group, and tailor content types and content schedules accordingly, but be on-brand wherever you go.
  • Don’t freak out about less-than-glossy content on your Group. Facebook Groups are real and authentic, and that’s actually what consumers want. (Look at how Google search terms like ‘BRAND reviews’ and ‘BRAND alternatives’ are on the rise. Consumers want to find out about your brand or product from other consumers.)

The more I think about it, the more it completely makes sense. Facebook is moving away from vanity metrics (e.g. Facebook fan numbers, simple like counts and overall engagement numbers) towards meaningful metrics that show real business outcomes (e.g. deep engagement with humans talking to other humans about things they care about, ecomm revenue).

I actually manage a job board for creative roles in Australia and New Zealand and have been prompted a few times to start using features specific to Groups about employment! If you’re curious – join us here. Lots of music, comedy, film and event roles popping up there.

New Events tab: Look, if you have no Facebook event is it really an event? The app is introducing a new tab to help people discover interesting local events happening near them. All about this.

Facebook Dating: Coooooooool.

Shipping on Marketplace: I love Facebook Marketplace. Gumtree is where I go if I want attention from weirdos, but Facebook Marketplace is my app of choice for actually selling things and making money.

(Also the launch of Facebook Marketplace was very conveniently timed with the rise of Konmari a.k.a. everyday people selling joyless shit. Good work, Facebook.)

The most common ‘no thanks’ reason I get from potential buyers is usually that I don’t offer shipping because payment is so awkward online, so the new shipping option is perfect.

Want to read more about F8? Check out Facebook’s official one-sheeter about their updates, and if you’d like the Bolster touch, the content team wrote about what these changes mean for our clients too.

So, what’s on for 2019?

February 7, 2019

February. It’s that time of the year: people forget their NY’s resolutions, everyone’s back in the swing of things and data reports from the past 12 months start sliding into my inbox.

Here are some of my top 2018 report picks:

  • Deloitte’s Media Consumer Survey 2018: The 7th edition of this report surveyed 2,000 Aussies on how they consume media. What did they find? Weirdly newspaper subscriptions in Australia went up last year – perhaps a sign of uncertain political times. 91% of surveyed Aussies admitted to multi-tasking while watching TV. Young or rich people were more likely to purchase a voice assistant. Music only accounted for 11% of the average Australian’s digital entertainment time. And people were more likely to be cool sharing data with companies if they can see and edit what is being collected (no shit, hey).
  • We Are Social & Hootsuite’s Digital 2019 Australia Report: Australia had 18M active social media users, with 16M of those accessing it from their mobile devices. Using GlobalWebIndex data, users spent only an average of 47 minutes a day listening to music (I’d say this would be way higher for the average Bolster consumer though). Facebook and YouTube are now head-to-head, with both scoring at 79% for daily platform use. Oh yeah, and Pornhub was the 7th most visited site in Australia, with people clocking 10 minutes and 42 seconds on the website. Just so you know.

And now looking to the future. A lot of predicted trends for 2019 revolve around technology (specifically seamlessly fitting into our lives), wellness (bread 2.0 came up a few times) and ethics (environmentalism, sustainability, data privacy, corporate and individual responsibility).

  • Shutterstock’s 2019 Creative Trends: a wrap of major trends right now (e.g. zine culture, which despite its very physical nature seems to be everywhere online), plus rising trends (like Kalamkari, a.k.a. Indian fabric painting). Also, elephants were the most searched stock photo in Australia? Go figure.
  • Eventbrite’s The Pulse Report: The ticketing platform surveyed 4K event promoters worldwide, including 600 on home soil here in Aus. Almost half the participants are planning on running more events this year, and 36% will increase their marketing budgets. Interestingly, just over half the peeps surveyed also claimed that marketing/promo was their top expense last year. Challenges for this year are finding new attendees (*cough cough* oversaturated markets), low budgets and increased competition (*cough* I repeat, oversaturated markets). Eventbrite’s hot tips for tech trends this year include – mobile event apps, cashless payments and live streaming events. Key things the ticketing giant wants its clients to start thinking are environmental sustainability and data privacy (including ticketing fraud).
  • 100 Pinterest trends for 2019: So what are people pinning this year? Oat milk, pegan diets (part paleo, part vegan), fashion bloggers in bike shorts, surprise destination holidays, sleep optimisation and body painting.
  • The 2019 Topics & Trends Report from Facebook IQ: In a similar vein, Facebook also had a look at the conversations happening on Facebook to predict which trends are on the cusp of breaking through. People are talkin’ about micro-plastics, snakeskin prints, K-beauty, eco-products, sustainable fashion, smart TVs, all things horror (eep), ASMR, soul food, turmeric, Wu Wei (a Taoist concept of effortless action), self care and glamping.
  • The Future 100: 2019 by JWT Intelligence: This one is juicy reading. It covers 100 trends and changes for the next year across categories like tech, travel, food & bev, beauty and lifestyle. Some of my faves include ‘woke luxury’, reframing masculinity, brand therapists, inclusive design, water connoisseurship, bread 2.0 and virtual influencers.

And lastly, let’s not forget The Simpsons. The true predictor of what’s to come.

Year In Numbers

December 24, 2018

Another year, another year in list form πŸ˜‚ Here’s what my 2018 looked like:

  • Listened to 3,533 different songs on Spotify (down from 4,196 in 2015)
  • Celebrated my third year at Bolster in August
  • Read 8 fiction books (my favourite was The Vegetarian)
  • Went on my first ever solo holiday to Hobart in November
  • Moved desks three times at work to keep things fresh
  • Went to 8 music festivals
  • Went to Sydney five bloody times
  • Ate the exact same breakfast and lunch about 250+ times at work because decision fatigue (Special K for breakfast, brown rice, tofu and veg for lunch)
  • On a related note, got takeout exactly three times at work this entire year
  • Went to one wedding
  • Only rearranged the furniture in my bedroom twice this year which is fairly low
  • Had roughly 100 surprise visits from my favourite neighbour
  • Only posted on Facebook 14 times (but 268 Instagram Stories and counting because #bestpractice)
  • Played four gigs with Fever Land (more FL action in 2019 for sure)

On the first point, here are my top 100 tracks from the year. (Very glad that I ended up going to Meredith since The Breeders and Yaeji feature in this bad boy.) Happy 2018, and here’s to 2019 and people continuing to read this blog for reasons completely unknown to me 🍸🍹

Talking To Ourselves

October 9, 2016

As I mentioned the other day, Alex and I did a webinar on digital advertising last week! Here’s a link to the Crowdcast – I know you can definitely watch the replay if you RSVPed… Not sure if you didn’t RSVP ahead of time but try and see what happens ^__^

It was the first time I’ve ever done a webinar or talked to a web cam without someone talking back a la Google Hangouts or Skype. A bit weird at first but after Alex and I finished and turned to each other and said, “Well, that was actually fun.” Definitely helped having someone else there to chat through our curriculum – it would have been harder to be peppy and engaging solo. Also awesome to have people live streaming us from around Australia and asking us great questions.

P.S. While we’re on the topic of talking to large groups of people about what I do for work, I’m speaking on a panel at The 8 Percent in Melbourne on Monday. Updates on that next week!

@azac89 and I did an internet thing tonight πŸ€— mid-@blstr.co-webinar selfie.

A photo posted by Paige X. Cho 🌘🌠 (@tigerburning) on

Nerd Alert: Writing For Web

September 3, 2016

I recently decided to take a short course in writing for web via Open2Study, the free sister program of Open Universities. Seems pretty weird considering that I’ve been paid to write content for web contexts for almost a decade… but it was free, I haven’t actually studied writing/comms in a formal setting, and I am an ultimate nerd. (And yep, I passed.)

IΒ  stumbled upon the course from a careers blog, and it definitely had immediate takeaways that I could apply to my current job in digital advertising. A lot of what I know about writing for online environments has been largely through experimenting, accidentally learning things on the go and seeing how other writers play with words (both good and bad). While I don’t think there was anything revolutionary in the course, it was a great way to turn my random hunches about web writing into a neat little list of best practices.

In terms of takeaways specific to music:

  • The end user and channel is pretty important, which is why a press release doesn’t need to be the same as a band bio. And should rarely be the same as social media content.
  • Context of use is often overlooked. Some of our festival clients have horrendous sites that make it hard for mobile users to purchase a ticket (i.e. try filling out 40 fields with an iPhone keyboard) even though most of their traffic is via mobile devices. Or I often see other advertisers push iTunes links to my Android device.
  • Copy needs to be relevant to the audience that is getting it. Half the time I get advertising for bands that I don’t follow with extremely basic copy (e.g. “NAME-OF-BAND-I’VE-NEVER-HEARD-OF’s new album out now on iTunes.”). This doesn’t sell the product to me because I have no idea what you’re about and there’s no story to entice me.
  • Consistency across channels is pretty important. I think many music brands (e.g. festivals, bands, labels) are great at being consistent across one channel (e.g. just Facebook, just Instagram, just their blog) but not so much between channels (i.e. is the tone of voice the same between their EDM, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Triple J Unearthed profile?). Big brands have style guides and a developed TOV, but most music brands don’t because the content is much more organic and/or channels may be split up between band members.

There was also a heap of content more focused around blogs and websites too, so here’s the course in case any of you want to ride nerdy with me.

BIGSOUND Buzz

August 31, 2016

WARNING: THIS SITE IS FUCKING BEAUTIFUL.

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Bolster (well, Mike & Nicky) built a social analytics site called BIGSOUND Buzz to accompany BIGSOUND. It ranks all 160 bands from the festival lineup according to who is the most talked about on Facebook and Twitter, over windows of the last 6 hours, 12 hours, day, 2 days and a week. Neat little summary around it on The Music.

Did notice a couple of grumpy peeps rag on this saying you can’t rank bands objectively because taste is subjective… which is TRUE. We’re not trying to rank the best bands of BIGSOUND, just trying to make all the noise a bit neater and see which bands people are writing the most about! Two different things. Also you’ll thank us at 10.30pm on day three when you don’t know which band to see next and your brain is fried ;)

Enjoy x

P.S. Here’s another bzzzz I like quite a lot.

What Job Am I Best Suited To?

June 30, 2016

I don’t know why, but I enjoy taking quizzes. Maybe it’s because I was once a teenage girl with a Dolly Magazine subscription. Or perhaps it’s grown from years of doing psychological tests as part of my Psych degree. Or maybe I just have weird hobbies. (Not poorly designed Buzzfeed tests that aren’t set up for response bias, bullshit or OTT Twilight-fandom-ness, mind you.)

Either way, I recently took a TIME Magazine quiz on finding the best job for your personality. Yes, TIME Magazine is slowly turning into Buzzfeed. Never mind, moving along.

The quiz used questions from an American university professor designed to measure six personality traits (realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising and conventional) and match those to personality types that are known to suit certain jobs. I also chucked in my preferred/realistic income bracket, age, gender and university education. My ideal job? According to the folks at TIME:

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 9.24.37 pmScreen Shot 2016-06-29 at 9.37.39 pm

Yes, a broadcast news analyst. I scored extremely low on ‘Realistic’ (e.g. moving things, manual labour, getting up and doing shit) and ‘Conventional’, moderate to increasingly high on ‘Investigative’, ‘Enterprising’, ‘Social’ and ‘Artistic’ respectively.

Interestingly my other top matches were: industrial/organizational psychologist, and poet/lyricist/creative writer. Interesting to me because I studied psychology at uni, and was into creative writing in a huge way when I was younger.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 9.37.46 pmScreen Shot 2016-06-29 at 9.37.17 pmSo how does my current job’s supposed personality requirements compare to my self-reported scores in these areas?

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 9.37.30 pm

Apparently much too investigative, artistic and social, but not enterprising or conventional enough… Let’s just say that I really do love looking at campaign and audience data to find consumer patterns, A/B testing with weird copy I write and sending GIFs to my clients, but not good at hustling and getting new contracts… which is why I work at an agency so I don’t have to do that. 😎😎😎

Segue – did you also take the TIME Magazine quiz, but got Advertising and Promotions Manager as your top employment pick? Bolster Digital (them people who pay me) is actually on the hunt for some new staff in Sydney and Melbourne. Job listings here. We don’t have high turnover. We just have lots of clients and work.

That feeling when…

March 13, 2016

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One of your clients debuts at #1 on the ARIA Album charts!!!

Am very lucky that we are working with the very talented The Cat Empire on their Rising With The Sun album campaign and global tour of the same name. Got a text last night from management that the album entered the charts at the top position, beating out new entries from Kendrick Lamar’s new album.

 

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Figured It Out

February 19, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 11.55.53 pm

According to Twitter’s #FirstTweet function, this was my first tweet. 15.1K tweets later, safe to say that I kinda know what’s going on now. (P.S. Ahem, please follow me here for 90% music-related ramblings, 5% tweets related to social issues,Β  5% real-time rants about Melbourne’s public transport system.)

Valentine’s Day craziness

February 15, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 11.55.30 pm

We’re a bit wacky so we sent Valentine’s Day bouquets to a handful of our clients, complete with cheesy puns… One of our clients had them sitting pretty next to an ARIA Award but Remote Control takes the cake with this gherkin jar. Happy V-Day, y’all ;)

P.S. Oh yeah, Bolster got an Instagram account.

P.P.S. Also happy six month Bolster-versary to me!

P.P.P.S. Why are you still reading?

 

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