Parler’s Rise to #1: In the last week a relatively unknown social network called Parler has rocketed to the #1 spot for app downloads, beating out Zoom, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. Parler calls itself “an unbiased social media focused on real user experiences and engagement,” with “free expression without violence and no censorship.” And it is growing in popularity as Twitter and Facebook start enforcing new moderation policies as some conservatives look for alternative social networks to connect. Just like any other emerging social network, brands should consider registering their brand handles to inoculate against trolls or squatting.
What Does 2021 Hold for Digital/Social? This week there is lots of discussion online about what the future of digital and social look like under a Biden administration. Short answer: focus on privacy, data, antitrust, and China will still be a focus, including potentially revoking Section 230, the section of the Communications Decency Act that shields internet companies from liability for the content that they host. Perhaps there will be movement on net neutrality. And look to Twitter to be more aggressive at deactivating troublesome accounts.
2021 Social Media Planning Calendar: It’s not quite the new year, but it’s never too early to start planning Q1. Social Bakers have published a 2021 calendar you can combine with your own brand moments and hashtag holidays that you care about. It integrates with Google Calendar, plus it can be downloaded as an .ics cal to upload to your platform of choice.
Give Your Social Team a (Virtual) Hug Today: In the relentless news cycle of 2020, social media pros are first responders, and it’s been a nonstop crisis almost the entire calendar year. Yet the importance of their work is often invisible and sometimes underappreciated. Journalist Marta Martinez has a highly recommended read called “The Social Media Managers are Not Okay” that spells out the essential role of a social team in 2020.
Key quote: “Social media managers are making important — and very public — decisions all the time. They need to respond to news and conversations quickly to be effective. The public voice and image of companies, media outlets, public figures, and institutions are in their hands at a very delicate time. Yet their job is still often seen as something anyone could do, or left to those who are just getting started in their careers… It is an essential job. We need to have more infrastructure and awareness of the fact that we’re in service to our audience.”
Payola in the Spotify Era: With the news that Spotify will begin allowing artists and labels to influence recommendations if they accept a lowered “promotional recording royalty rate” for the resulting plays, a new generation is learning the definition of payola, and how it has artificially influenced the music industry for decades. There have always been creative marketing solutions behind the scenes, but this is one to watch – especially as the music industry tends to “break” trends before they move to other categories, influencers, and publishers.
Twitter’s Carousel Ads are Here (Organic, too!): This week Twitter introduced a new Carousels format. Brands can now add up to six images or videos in an ad, they can run organically or promoted, and like other carousel ads, and although every brand is different, they are expected to perform extremely well. For example, Carousel ads on Facebook and Instagram reportedly drive 10 times more web traffic for businesses than the counter single-image ads. And a Facebook study showed Carousel ads drove a 72% higher click-through rate than single images. Read more about the announcement here.
Business Reads of the Week: McKinsey’s 2020 Holiday Seasons in a Pandemic Report; 6 skills employees will need in the post-pandemic workplace; It’s time for brands to double down on activism; The Battle for the Soul of Digital Freedom Taking Place Inside Your Printer