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Will social media influencers completely replace ad agencies?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) With the increase of social media influencers in the digital world, ad agencies have the potential to become obsolete.

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Influencers are the new ad agencies

When it comes to advertising, creativity is important, but relevance is everything. While traditional ad agencies are great at concocting engaging messages to grab an audience’s attention, social media influencers don’t have to grab — they already have a loyal audience waiting eagerly for their next post.

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This is why brands have been increasingly turning to influencers over ad agencies to handle their creative marketing campaigns.

The old process and the power shift

Agencies would create detailed storyboards for specific photo or video campaigns, and approach influencers to simply post that content on their channels. The influencer was essentially a secondary medium for the content rather than a contributor.

Influencers are now being given creative license and taking the reigns on brands’ social media initiatives.

Brands come directly to them with briefs and RFPs, then the influencer prepares and executes the whole campaign. This is more powerful since the content will be entirely in the influencer’s style, resonating deeply with their followers and seeming more legit, less advertisey. At the same time, it’s much more cost effective than hiring an ad agency, which, with all its fees, essentially serves as a middle man.

So is this a wise move for brands?

Absolutely. First, working directly with influencers gives a brand far more control over brand experience. It’s easy to lose control of communication when too many people are involved, such as an agent and their agency. Working closely with them makes the process less commercial and more collaborative and personal.

Second, the audience reach is far greater with social media influencers. Content created by social stars lives not only on the company site, but also on social channels and other retail channels, like Amazon, for example.

Fans love to like, comment on and share posts from their favorite stars, so influencer-created advertisements have a virtually limitless reach.

When they’re created by the influencer themselves, they fit seamlessly into the rest of the influencer’s posts, so to a follower it doesn’t feel like advertising at all — and that’s the genius of it.

Campaigns with credibility

Influencers are social proof that a brand is legit. There’s no need for catchy taglines or provocative themes when the information source is beloved by millions. Their word is law, and their opinions set trends. Recognizing the unique value influencers possess, brands aim to develop ongoing relationships with influencers rather than a just one-and-done campaign.

This way, they can become mutually associated with popular social icons and expand brand presence exponentially.

There are already companies out there that help brands find influencers to serve as their creative ad agency. One of these is Delmondo. Most influencers working through Delmondo create storyboards to present to brands rather than the other way around, then produce content for paid posts on Instagram and Snapchat.

Several corporations are already on board with this movement. L’Oreal Paris has numerous contracts with social media influencers, and Viacom has even hired Snapchat creator Shaun McBride as a creative strategy consultant for all its social media advertising initiatives.

Where we’re at

It comes down to this:

traditional advertising is fading into obscurity as online review sites and social media take over and word-of-mouth prevails.

Influencer-driven advertising is a smart way to capitalize on this trend. Rather than scrambling to master social media marketing best practices yourself, let someone who’s done it already take the wheel. The right influencers know your target audience maybe even better than you do, and face it: they’re just way cooler than you.

#influencers

Helen Irias is a Staff Writer at The American Genius with a degree in English Literature from University of California, Santa Barbara. She works in marketing in Silicon Valley and hopes to one day publish a comically self-deprecating memoir that people bring up at dinner parties to make themselves sound interesting.

Social Media

Can you legally monitor your employees’ online activities? Kinda

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Are they ways you are monitoring your employees online even legal? Did you know there are illegal methods? Yep.

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Edward Snowden’s infamous info leak in 2013 brought to light the scope of surveillance measures, raising questions about legality of monitoring tactics. However, the breach also opened up broader discussion on best practices for protecting sensitive data.

No company wants to end up with a data breach situation on their hands, but businesses need to be careful when implementing monitoring systems to prevent data loss.

Monitoring your employee’s activity online can be a crucial part of safeguarding proprietary data. However, many legal risks are present when implementing data loss prevention (DLP) methods.

DLP tools like keystroke logging, natural language processing, and network traffic monitoring are all subject to federal and state privacy laws. Before putting any DLP solutions in place, companies need to assess privacy impact and legal risks.

First, identify your monitoring needs. Different laws apply to tracking data in transit versus data at rest. Data in transit is any data moving through a network, like sending an email. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) requires consent for tracking any data in transit.

Data at rest is anything relatively immobile, like information stored in a database or archives. Collecting data at rest can fall under the Stored Communications Act (SCA), which typically prohibits unauthorized access or disclosure of electronic communications.

While the SCA does not usually prevent employers from accessing their own systems, monitoring things like Gmail accounts could get messy without proper authorization.

Who you’re tracking matters as well regarding consent and prior notification. If you’re just monitoring your own employees, you may run into disclosure issues. Some states, like Delaware and Connecticut, prohibit employee monitoring without prior notice.

The ECPA also generally prohibits tracking electronic communication, but exceptions are granted for legitimate business purposes so long as consent is obtained.

Monitoring third party communications can get tricky with wiretapping laws. In California and Illinois, all parties must be notified of any tracking. This can involve disclosures on email signatures from outbound employee emails, or a broad notification on the company’s site.

Implied consent comes from third parties continuing communication even with disclaimers present.

If you’re wanting to install DLP software on personal devices used for work, like a company cellphone, you could face a series of fines for not gaining authorization. Incorrect implementation may fall under spyware and computer crime laws.

With any DLP tools and data monitoring, notification and consent are crucial. When planning monitoring, first assess what your privacy needs are, then identify potential risks of implementing any tracking programs.

Define who, where, and why DLP software will apply, and make sure every employee understands the need for tracking. Include consent in employee onboarding, and keep employees updated with changes to your monitoring tactics.

Protecting your company’s data is important, but make sure you’re not unintentionally bending privacy laws with your data loss prevention methods. Regularly check up on your approaches to make sure everything is in compliance with monitoring laws.

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Social Media

What you need to know about Facebook’s collaborative stories

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook now allows Groups and Events to craft collaborative stories – here’s what you need to know.

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If you’re like me, you’ve never posted a story on Facebook. Many of you probably don’t even realize that Facebook got in the story game last year in an effort to compete with Snapchat and (sort of, maybe?) Instagram (even though they own it). Facebook is doing its best to change that by creating a more robust story experience that they hope will expand the networking possibilities of the already abundantly popular site.

Stories on Facebook seemed like a bit of a headscratcher at first, it seems like everyone has had enough story experience between their Snapchat and Instagram accounts, but according to Facebook, they plan on surpassing Snapchat’s capabilities by adding a number of features to boost usage.

Users of Facebook Groups and Events can now contribute to a Facebook story exclusive to the group’s members and can be controlled by admins. Their idea is that this could add excitement and momentum for social meetups, weddings, or parties. These collaborative stories will function similar to a hashtag, only it will be accessible only by those involved in the event or group.

While Snapchat has a group feature, you have to add members like a group chat, where Facebook’s idea gives the story feature a more open-ended scope that reaches a large amount of people where exclusivity is optional, rather than the purpose. Facebook is enabling groups based on hobbies, professions, locations, and ideologies to create their own niche content where you can go to blow off some steam or connect with people who love the same things you do.

Just think, you’ve always wanted to post a video into the Riverdale Facebook page arguing over Archie’s real age, now you can rant away without typing a word! Rather than spar with words, you can pontificate about Game of Thrones theories with all the gusto you can muster, emotions and all!

What was once lost in text will be lost no more.

Facebook will be giving page admins ultimate control over what gets posted or not, similar to how a page’s News Feed currently works. To encourage posting, Facebook has moved a bubble to the top of every event page for easy access.

Proving that they are serious about the future of collaborative stories, Facebook is working on integrating stories across the app instead of just throwing it in as a half-hearted extra for you to roll your eyes at. With Stories’ new abilities, users will be able to hit different groups and encourage sharing opportunities unavailable to Snapchat users. Rather than just liking or sharing a post you like, you’ll be able to share your opinion on the spot. Whether or not that’s a good thing is yet to be seen (troll on trollers!).

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Social Media

Facebook wants your nudes now to protect you from revenge porn later

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook, attempting to get in front of revenge porn, is requesting that users send in all of their nudes.

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In a heroic and totally innovative attempt to combat revenge porn, Facebook has come up with the following solution: “PM US UR NUDEZ.”

No seriously. They want your nudes.

But don’t worry, they’re only going to be viewed by a small group of people for manual confirmation of said nudes, and then stored temporarily… for reasons.

That part gets a little fuzzy. Some sources report that Facebook isn’t actually storing the images, just the links. This is meant to convert the image to a digital footprint, known as a hash, which is supposed to prevent the content from being upload to Facebook again.

Others say Facebook only stores the images for a short period of time and then deletes them.

What we do know, is this is a new program being tested in Australia where Facebook has partnered with a small government agency known as e-Safety and is requesting intimate or nude photos that could potentially be used for revenge porn in an effort to pre-emptively prevent such an incident.

Revenge porn is basically when someone uploads your personal and private photos online without your consent. Rather than address the issue of whether or not it’s such a good idea to take photos on a mobile, hackable device, it’s better to just send a large corporation all your nudes… through their Messenger app. /sarcasm

For your protection.

According to the commissioner of the e-Safety office, Julie Inman Grant, however, they’re using artificial intelligence and photo-matching technologies… and storing the links!

If this isn’t convincing enough, British law firm Mishcon de Reya LLP wrote in a statement to Newsweek, “We would expect that Facebook has absolutely watertight systems to guard the privacy of victims. It is quite counter-intuitive to send such intimate images to an unknown recipient.”

Oh, she wasn’t joking.

I’m not sure how many people still hold onto old intimate photos of themselves, but I am doubtful that it’s enough for this to really be effective as it only prevents intimate photos from being shared on Facebook. At least that’s the plan.

Reactions to this announcement have largely been met with amusement and criticism ranging from commentary on Mark Zuckerberg and Co. being total pervs, and theories of shared Facebook memories: “”Happy Memories: It’s been 1 Year since you uploaded 47 pictures of you in your birthday suit”!

Either way, I can only imagine someone’s inbox is flooded with crotch shots right now, and Zuckerberg has a potential new industry in the works.

Just sayin’.

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