Hello 👋 This newsletter got a big boost from last week’s Instagram exclusive and I appreciate everyone who signed up or shared the news.
It’s a tough act to follow! I don’t actively seek out exclusives — creators share with me because they trust me. Besides, there are already lots of great folks who focus on publishing scoops.
This newsletter focuses on social media trends and updates for creators and social media pros — whether that’s a buzzy new app or simply a new feature — so you know what to expect and how it could impact your job.
Let’s get into it!
⏰ 1-SECOND SUMMARY
Airbnb’s social team wins the extremely-online award for coming to Alix Earle’s rescue after she was stranded in Italy
Over 95% of TikTok’s biggest accounts hit that milestone by 2020 — growth has stalled since then
Here’s why you might have seen all those blue couch jokes on your timeline this week
Podcaster and tech founder Casey Adams shared 1 tool to save you time and 3 simple reasons you should launch a podcast this year
📲 Google Updates:
YouTube now allows eligible creators to tag their products in Shorts, which enables a one-tap shopping button right on your videos.
YouTube revealed it’s using a visual language model called Flamingo to analyze, explain and categorize Shorts videos to improve search results.
YouTube is expanding access to Community Posts to anyone who enables the advanced features.
YouTube Stories will no longer exist after June 26.
📲 TikTok Updates:
TikTok confirmed it’s in the early stages of exploring chatbot tools. Tako is the name of the AI-powered tool they’re currently testing with select users in the Philippines to help people discover more relevant content. One way to think about this is like recommendations on steroids, and stresses the importance of interest-based content on that platform.
TikTok is suing Montana over the state’s ban claiming it’s unconstitutional
📲 Twitter Updates:
Twitter now publicly shows whose tweets you’re paying to subscribe to.
This week we learned Twitter Spaces isn’t ready for prime time.
Elon Musk's Neuralink said it's been given FDA approval to test brain implants on humans.
👆🏻 CLICK THRU
🇮🇹 Airbnb’s Alix Earle Rescue Is a Win, No Matter What
I had posts do big numbers on LinkedIn and Twitter this week about Airbnb’s social listening efforts to swoop in and save stranded-in-Italy Alix Earle and her friends. Reactions were mixed so I want to address why this still qualifies as a massive win on multiple fronts for the vacation rental company.
Here’s a quick recap of what happened:
Alix Earle (5.3M TT followers) traveled to Positano, Italy with 10 friends, including bestie and fellow influencer Alexandra Pohl (better known as @xandrapohl, 1M TT followers), only to find out their rental house didn’t exist. Earle and Pohl’s initial videos about being stranded in the middle of the night without accommodations because of an alleged Booking dot com snafu were watched by close to 6 million people.
The Airbnb team was monitoring the trip and jumped into the comments section of Earle’s video promising to help. Within about 24 hours, Airbnb had located an empty rental house for the girls and got them installed in an Italian villa overlooking the Mediterranean.
Alix Earle has since posted two videos of herself and her travel companions — that’s a mix of 11 mega and micro influencers — publicly thanking Airbnb for their assistance.
Win number one: Whether you approve of Airbnb or not, this still qualifies as an outstanding example of social listening. Keeping tabs on your favorite creators and jumping in to support them when the opportunity makes sense for your brand is a smart move! Plus, this team is clearly empowered to act quickly, going into action overnight instead of waiting weeks on approvals.
Some people in my mentions disagreed, saying this wouldn’t change their perception of the company. A common complaint was that Airbnb wasn’t as helpful to regular customers who didn’t have millions of followers.
Clearly, practicing good social monitoring of your own (non-influential) customers and creating a superior experience for them is just as important. No debate there.
But this Italian collaboration still qualifies as an Airbnb win and here’s why:
A lot of the complaints I saw were made by professionals, adults who have their own personal experiences and impressions of Airbnb.
Win number two: In collaborating with Earle and her friends on their college graduation trip, Airbnb may be able to sway some of those negative impressions but, more importantly, they’ve reached an entirely new audience of potential customers with no experience booking vacation rentals — young people who previously relied on their parents to book vacations.
Now, if you’re one of the millions of Gen Z TikTokers following this saga online, you’ve been introduced to a brand that’s vouched for by one of your favorite creators. And Airbnb could become a solid contender when it comes time to book your first vacation.
🏷️ Shutterstock announced they bought Giphy — the world's largest GIF library — from Meta for $53 million in cash. Facebook bought the app for $400 million in 2020 but then Gen Z turned on GIFs and Meta was ordered to sell by UK antitrust regulators.
🗂️ Creator marketing platform #paid just launched an interesting new feature that helps creators repurpose existing content, selling it to brands looking to buy usage rights for a variety of marketing placements. This basically automates the contract and terms, so creators don’t have to sweat the fine print and worry that they’ve accidentally signed away use of their content for something like a billboard or TV ad without getting paid.
🩺 The U.S. Surgeon General’s office warned that social media can have “a profound risk of harm to the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents,” while the American Psychological Association released its own more measured advisory with 10 recommendations for parents, educators and policymakers with a focus on training teens in social media literacy skills. Either way, it seems like we can anticipate more research and regulations around social media use in teens.
A few outlets, including CBS News, asked for my thoughts on the new Instagram text-based app I revealed last week. Some thoughts based on this conversation and others I’ve had since then:
First of all, Meta’s secret invite strategy makes sense. You invite creators and celebrities first because that makes it seem like a hopping party everyone wants to go to, instead of being the first to arrive at an empty house
For all the “Twitter killer” comparisons, Instagram (2.35B users) doesn’t need to crush Twitter (450M users), they just need to make sure their product offers all things to all people so they don’t lose users and continue to attract new ones. They launched Stories in 2016 modeled off Snapchat Stories. It took a couple of years but by 2018 it was one of their most popular features and now no one can image Instagram without Stories.
Instagram is notorious for launching complimentary apps and then folding the experience back into their main product. Which is what could happen here depending on how the public reacts to the text-based app. Does anyone remember the Threads app or IGTV, Layout, Boomerang, Hyperlapse, etc? Exactly.
While we still have to wait and see exactly what Meta has planned, it’s likely that this is a step toward the “everything” app Silicon Valley is anticipating, which folds in communication, creative expression and utility (ie, you can pay your bills with it).
🧮 DATA OF THE WEEK
Over the last several months, there have been grumblings among creators that [TikTok] views are on a steady decline and follower growth is lagging. A cursory look at the top creators seems to reinforce this: Of accounts with over 50 million followers, 20 out of 21 hit that threshold prior to summer 2020, more than three years ago, the one exception being Selena Gomez—and even she, a global superstar, has been on the platform for years.
-Via AdWeek’s Understanding TikTok’s New Growth Patterns. Author Brendan Gahan attributed declining views to several factors, including increased content and competition as TikTok’s American user base has grown to 150 million and over 1.6 billion worldwide; plus a “slow burn” model, where video views see a longer growth arc.
🎓 IN SESSION
Podcaster and MediaKits.com founder Casey Adams spoke to my UCLA Extension class this week about establishing credibility as a creator. He’s an electrifying speaker — he got us all wanting to launch podcasts by the time he was done — and brings a creator mentality to everything he’s working on as an entrepreneur.
He shared a little about the new platform he’s building, Listener.fm, that ties into his background as a podcast host. It’s an AI-Powered solution that saves time by generating podcast titles, descriptions, and show notes.
If you were on the fence about launching a podcast this year, here’s a useful outtake from Casey’s guest lecture on why he thinks the medium is so powerful for creators:
1️⃣ One is just building relationships with high quality entrepreneurs and founders. And the podcast, quite frankly, is an excuse to sit down with someone, to give you the time of day, and to document that conversation.
2️⃣ Second one is just learning from them. When I went out to raise money for my company, MediaKits, I was 20 years old. I'd never raised venture capital.
And before doing that, I decided to interview a lot of venture capitalists and founders that had raised money and ask them their process, and their story. And being able to do that 20, 30, 40 times prior to going out to fundraise myself, that was a great way for me to use my podcast.
3️⃣ And then the third thing is the business opportunities. When we went out to go raise money for MediaKits, we raised just over $1 million for the product. That came from 37 different Angel Investors and I think 35 of them were previous podcast guests on my show.
For me, it's never been about closing the biggest brand deals on the show or even just monetizing every single episode. The bigger play for podcasting is the relationships you build.
📖 ON YOUR RADAR…
MrBeast’s team is recruiting people for an upcoming video - Google Forms
68% of Gen Z YouTube viewers agree creators are why they visit YouTube -Think With Google
YouTube Algorithm 2023: What Creators Need to Know -Creator Insider
Creators will play a significant role in the YouTube and NFL Sunday Ticket deal -Lindsey Gamble
The TikTok Stars You Follow Are Getting Hired As Social Media Directors for Major Companies -Dot.LA
Can Kick actually challenge Twitch? Here are the numbers -TubeFilter
Influencer Agency Offers $1,000 to Scroll TikTok for 10 Hours Straight -Insider
Adobe launched Generative Fill, text prompt AI edits in Photoshop -Adobe
How influencers think about AI and its impact on their work -Insider
'Mom-fluencers' are cashing in on lucrative brand deals – but not without some controversy -ABCNews
The First Social-Media Babies Are Growing Up—And They’re Horrified -The Atlantic
Here’s why you keep seeing jokes about blue couches -Twitter
Bioré apologizes after using TikToker who survived school shooting to promote pore strips -NBCNews
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Chock full of fun Friday reading as always!