June 9, 2020: Social media platforms respond to fight racism and discrimination; TikTok pivots to hub for social good; YouTube releases new features for creators monetization around live streaming
Here’s what’s worth knowing this week:
Social Media Platforms’ Responses to Racial Justice Movement
With #BlackLivesMatter protests sweeping the nation in response to the death of George Floyd, social media platforms have also been adding their support to the cause.
In addition to releasing statements in support of the Black community, the following platforms have publicly stated additional measures to show their support:
YouTube pledged $1M towards police reform; Facebook said it will donate $10M to organizations focused on racial justice; Reddit’s founder and former CEO, Alex Ohanian, has stepped down from his position on the company’s board, calling on the company to fill his position with a Black board member; TikTok announced plans to donate $3M to nonprofits that help the Black community and a separate $1M to address racial injustice and inequality; Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, is donating $3M to a group funded by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick; LinkedIn has begun using its various social media platforms to highlight POVs from Black employees as well as making a variety of LinkedIn Learning courses on diversity and inclusion available for free; and Pinterest is donating 25k shares of stock (valued at roughly $500k) to organizations committed to racial justice, as well as providing $250k to help rebuild local businesses damaged in the protests and a further $750k in paid media to organizations that support racial justice.
Although many people praised these responses, many consumers are saying social platforms like Facebook and other brands and companies can do more. Many users are calling these platforms out, emphasizing the need for specific and actionable statements, versus blanketed promises. As well, social media platforms have also received backlash for the treatment of their employees, with many users citing a discrepancy between a company’s policies and treatment of workers compared to the public statements delivered during a time of crisis.
Today’s consumers are holding brands to a higher standard than ever before, as they are more likely to shop from brands who reflect their beliefs and values — now more than ever.. It’s no longer enough for brands to simply make a statement to check the PR box, consumers are demanding that brands put their money where their mouth is and donate to causes supporting movements, as well as looking at how well the brand lives out the values it preaches.
The #BlackLivesMatter movement has received unprecedented levels of support from brands and consumers alike, and the momentum is only growing. As such, consumers are going to be watching and making sure that the companies who have made statements are keeping their commitments.
Not Unrelated: TikTok For #BlackLivesMatter Activism
TikTok has evolved from being a platform Gen Z uses to showcase their latest dance moves to a hub for social good, seen specifically though the current #blacklivesmater movement.
Videos with the #blacklivesmatter hashtag have quickly moved to a top spot on TikTok, holding more than 6 billion views over the last few days. Other popular hashtags include #blackvoices and #blackmusic. Prominent TikTokers, like Charli D’Amelio, are contributing to the movement by pressing pause on their usual dance videos and instead, encouraging their fans and followers to take time to listen, learn and reflect.
But, it hasn’t been all good news surrounding TikTok…
Immediately following the death of George Floyd, and the subsequent protests that swept the nation, some Black creators noticed that videos tagged #GeorgeFloyd or #BlackLivesMatter were hard to find, or looked as though no one had watched them despite an influx of views. The company has since apologized, citing a technical glitch as the source of the problem. Many Black creators, however, remain skeptical of the company’s intentions.
What are creators saying?
“It just doesn’t make sense that I have tens of thousands of new followers who came to me for videos about the protests, but I only get like 500 views on the posts. It just doesn’t make any sense to me.” – Raisha Doumbia, creator on TikTok
What’s TikTok saying?
“We understand that many assumed this bug to be an intentional act to suppress the experiences and invalidate the emotions felt by the black community. And we know we have work to do to regain and repair that trust.” – Vanessa Pappas, general manager of TikTok US
In addition to the record growth we’ve seen TikTok achieve in recent weeks, we’ve also seen the platform grow up (literally and figuratively, as the platform’s users have begun expanding beyond Gen Z). As part of this, the platform has reached mass adoption among Gen Z and Millennials — two generations that are much more likely to speak out and be part of a social justice movement.
As TikTok continues to be both a reflection of, and a contributor to mainstream culture, we’re continuing to see the value of the platform in many ways. With the strategic hire of Kevin Mayer, a former Disney exec, a few weeks ago, it could only be a matter of time before TikTok passes Instagram for influencers’ and users’ platform of choice.
YouTube’s Live Streaming Monetization
YouTube is adding some new features to help creators get a better understanding of channel performance and to promote merchandise sales during live streams.
Monthly performance report: Creators now have access to a performance report that combines multiple sets of data. The new report, available in YouTube Studio, merges two existing monthly reports about subscribers and revenue. Also within this section is a completely new analysis of video views.
Live alerts for merchandise purchases: YouTube has launched a new feature so that when a creator’s merchandise is purchased during a livestream, an alert will be displayed to the whole chat room. The alert itself will look similar to when someone becomes a member during a live stream or sends a Super Chat.
What’s the state of all things live streaming on YouTube?
Since the COVID-19 lockdowns began, live streaming viewing has increased dramatically and, on YouTube, add-on sales and subscription features have also seen significant growth as a result. Specifically, YouTube says that over 80,000 channels have earned money from monetization products over the last 28 days, which has been a 20% increase since March. The platform says it has also seen an increase of over 40% since January on channels who earn the majority of their revenue from Super Chat, Super Stickers, memberships and merch.
As audiences have begun to crave greater authenticity from brands, raw and genuine video content has grown in popularity. Moreover, users spend 10-20 times longer watching live video than traditional content, making live streaming a powerful way to deliver meaningful and engaging brand experiences to consumers.
With live streaming capabilities available on virtually all social media platforms, marketers have the opportunity to reach consumers in new ways and in real-time on platforms where they are already consuming content. More so, by partnering with influencers to sponsor live content, brands have the opportunity to leverage trusted voices to interject themselves naturally in a conversation and establish a meaningful connection with consumers.
With brands and influencers alike craving in-person connection, we’ve helped our customers partner with influencers to create sponsored live streaming content. Let’s chat about how we can help bring your brand to life, too.