January 27, 2021: Welcome back, we’re happy to have you here. A lot has happened in the past two weeks (helloooo new president), so, we’re going to catch you up on everything you need to know.
In today’s edition:
- TikTok gives more resources to creators
- Instagram’s new dashboard
- Influencers become the new digital storefront
- A special announcement from Mavrck – you don’t want to miss this (read until the end)
TikTok Launches Education Hub for Creators
TikTok has debuted the “TikTok Creator Portal,” an online hub providing educational resources aimed at helping users thrive on the platform.
School is in session
Last Friday, TikTok debuted the TikTok Creator Portal, aka TikTok school. This online hub provides creators with educational resources to learn the basics of getting started on the app, connecting with their audience, and best practices to bring their videos to the next level.
The portal is broken down into the following six categories:
- Getting started on TikTok
- TikTok creation essentials
- TikTok foundations for success
- TikTok content strategy
- Community guidelines and safety
- Getting paid to create
From its creation, TikTok has always put an emphasis on its creators (think: creator-friendly features, monetization). Now, they are giving every creator (and non-creator) the tools they need to succeed. Why? Because this creates more high quality content on the platform.
This creator-first approach is one of the reasons why TikTok has been so successful. Unlike other platforms (cough, cough, Instagram), TikTok has put the creator experience at the forefront of its brand strategy. How, you may ask? Two words: creator monetization – specifically, giving all users equal opportunity to make money or become the next viral sensation.
The result? Lots of high quality content and lots of addicted users. If you’ve ever found yourself falling into the rabbit hole that is TikTok, it’s easy to see why. Where most other social platforms like Instagram and Facebook base your news feed off of who you follow and engage with, TikTok’s algorithm is based on what content you engage with. In other words, every piece of content you interact with gives them data to introduce you to new content that you will enjoy. If users are kept entertained, they will keep coming back. If users keep coming back, TikTok can sell more ads to brands which, of course, means more $$$ for TikTok.
Not Unrelated: Instagram’s New Dashboard for Businesses
Instagram has introduced “Professional Dashboard,” an in-app update that allows business and creator accounts to track performance, discover professional tools, and explore educational information curated by Instagram.
What is it?
This dashboard is aimed to help creators turn their passions into a small business. Like Badges, Instagram Shop, Checkout, and Branded Content tools launched throughout 2020, this feature is here to help creators promote their businesses. This dashboard brings together features already present on the app all in one convenient spot.
The key goals of this dashboard are:
- Track Your Performance: insights and trends based on your accounts performance
- Grow Your Business: tools to run your account more efficiently, and check monetization status and eligibility
- Stay Informed: Tips, tricks, guidance, and inspiration to help you learn how to make the most of Instagram
Don’t worry, you’re not the only one who thinks this sounds a lot like a certain story above… It would appear that Instagram is finally taking a note from TikTok’s playbook and emphasizing the creator experience.
And that’s not all the big news from Insta…
Remember when Instagram tested removing likes? Well that test (that has literally been running for 1.5 years) might be coming to an end. According to app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi, Instagram’s currently testing a new option which would allow users to decide to hide or unhide the like counts on their personal posts.
Why the sudden change? Tbh, it could be because Instagram realized changing user behavior is really… hard. Instagram’s entire ethos and user experience was built upon social validation and vanity metrics – people literally delete posts if they don’t get enough likes. While the original move was made to “depressurize” Instagram and put users’ mental well-being to the forefront, if the change resulted in even a slight drop in user engagement, Instagram probably decided it wasn’t worth it. Also, let’s not forget that the amount of views and likes someone gets on TikTok is imperative to their success within the algorithm. Instagram doesn’t want to fall behind.
With platforms like Instagram and TikTok making it easier for anyone to become a creator, the democratization of content creation is only accelerating. However, it’s worth noting that it’s taken Instagram MUCH longer than TikTok to provide resources to support creators in the content creation process (Instagram was founded 6 years before TikTok…but who’s counting). While Instagram may have been around for longer, and therefore had much more time to build up a user base, the emphasis on the creator experience was lacking – especially in comparison to TikTok. Is it too little too late for Instagram? TBD, but despite TikTok growing fast, Instagram is still much bigger from a monthly active user perspective. We’ll have to wait and see.
Influencers Become the New Digital Storefront
With stay-at-home orders lasting indefinitely and e-commerce sales only increasing, influencers are becoming the new digital storefronts.
Apps like Linktree and Linkin.bio are enabling influencers to create a personalized landing page with a grid of products and hyperlinks to affiliate links that give them a commission on the items purchased. With Linktree, instead of constantly having to change the link in their bio and only promote one thing, users can quickly and easily click a personalized store front.
How is this fueling e-comm?
Consumers trust influencers more than they trust brands, which is why so many brands have turned to influencers to promote their products. People want to buy products with a story or experience that resonates with who they are and who they want to be. P&G’s Global Cost Forecaster, Dhruv Patel, said it best when he said, “when consumers feel a sense of belonging to a person or community, they are more likely to engage with a product in the name of social proofing, even if they have to work through inefficiencies. It’s no wonder why marketing spend has exponentially increased in influencer marketing — brands are aligning themselves to communities that already exist.”
Influencers are increasingly driving e-comm, especially with the help of apps like Linktree and Link.in.bio. Although, currently Instagram and TikTok don’t allow for direct links within posts, it’s possible that it could be coming in the future. And what would that mean for companies like Linktree? As Instagram and TikTok each roll out shoppable posts (and we know these are already in the works,) would a customer still want to click through to an external link when they can just buy a product directly from a post? Regardless of future app updates, influencers are given the opportunity to act as their own digital storefronts and monetize their brand through affiliate marketing (hint hint to our big announcement) which, in turn, is beneficial for brands.
Traditional in-person shopping doesn’t provide the same sense of community that one feels buying an item promoted by an influencer. Working with influencers eliminates the concerns around consumer variability. Brands no longer have to fight for shelf space or fear the wandering eye of a customer.