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Commerce and Culture Collide

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Against the backdrop of the pandemic we saw a dramatic shift in the way people shopped, dressed and connected with one another. Both streetwear and e-commerce have accelerated greatly and at the heart of this shift lies Instagram. Primed for inspiration and discovery, Instagram continues to be the go-to destination for exploring this cultural zeitgeist and with a strong focus on Commerce, frictionless purchasing also put the platform at the forefront of shopping.

“From my perspective, the most interesting things are happening when trends intersect,” said Karin Tracy, Head of Industry, Retail, Fashion, Luxury at Facebook Inc. “Trends on the street converge with sports, art, entertainment, music, etc., and then brands participate to create a new form of artistic expression that shows up as apparel, accessories, beauty products, and even interior design. This is Culture Commerce.”

Put simply, Culture Commerce is inspired by streetwear brands and what they do well – artfully connecting with communities, boosting relevancy and inspiring loyalty.

A modern fashion phenomenon

Today’s consumers not only want to engage with brands, they want to help shape them. Through Culture Commerce, the modern customer has the power to determine what’s cool as much as industry insiders.

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“Brands are no longer trying to drive trends, they are watching and listening via social media to respond organically to movements in ways that are more relevant and authentic than ever.”

“Although streetwear brands existed before the era of social, we’ve seen them choose our platforms to meld industries, creators, and brands in ways one would never expect,” said Tracy. “They not only create surprising products that consumers flock to but also cultural moments that insiders and onlookers are excited to talk about on Instagram.”

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“It’s dynamic and ever-shifting, with customers having the ultimate power to determine what’s cool and trend-worthy, while appealing to this highly social and mobile-first demographic.”

Compared to prior generations, today’s consumers want to engage with brands and use social media as their primary source to research a brand’s authenticity and validity. When looking at the Gen Z shopper, *data from a recent survey conducted by FB found that 68 percent of shoppers consider their smartphone their most important shopping tool, and **45 percent of shoppers say their loyalty towards a brand is based on what they say and do on social media.

Younger consumers especially, having grown up with a device in their hands at all times, are accustomed to and increasingly demand that content and products from brands be on-demand, collaborative and community driven.

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An evolving phenomenon

As mobile technology, commerce and social media continue to converge, today’s digital marketplace will continue to mix trends – and develop new ones – all over the world. Where trends were once covered in a magazine or blog, social platforms like Instagram are now the younger consumer’s first place for discovering new product ideas, creative inspiration, and the ability to instantly connect with brands and their creator communities.

“Fashion has always been about reimagining the possible, and the best ideas are born when community is at the heart of a product and brand,” said Tracy. “Social platforms like Instagram and Facebook are where this creativity is expressed most authentically.”

Facebook Inc.’s new guide provides a framework and tools to help brands understand how they can respond to consumer needs by meeting them where they are.  By strategically leveraging the Culture Commerce pillars through authentic dialogue on Instagram and Facebook, brands can connect with consumers in a meaningful and authentic way.

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The culture commerce ecosystem

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In describing what Culture Commerce is, and how it has evolved, Facebook Inc. puts the phenomenon into four distinct pillars: community, discovery, purpose and demand. “All of these pillars have to work together to achieve true culture commerce – they can’t work alone.”

Although each pillar is important, the community pillar leads the way. “Get this right or the rest doesn’t matter,” said Tracy. “It’s not just a surface-level identification of the target audience and their demographics, it’s about deeply connecting with groups of people who share passions, and ideals with your brand, with whom you can build a connection. The ultimate goal is to garner and build a tight-knit, engaged community that has a relationship with your brand or product.”

The second pillar, discovery, should include touchpoints that arise organically and feel more authentic in engagement.

Similarly, the demand pillar comes through in the form of drops and limited-edition releases which build hype. Knowing what’s dropping and when has become this form of “knowledge currency” – only those in the know can get their hands on the product.

Lastly, the purpose pillar relies heavily on a brand’s messaging, as consumers expect a higher level of transparency when it comes to sharing stances on social good, sustainability and internal operations. Especially in a post-pandemic world, sharing values with consumers is a must and can jump-start lifetime loyalty.

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Editor’s Picks 

Instagram tools that brands can utilize now to lean into Culture Commerce:

Instagram Reels: Reach new audiences and join cultural moments through short-form, entertaining videos (Discovery and Community pillars)

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Instagram Live: Fosters that 1:1 connection with your consumer in real-time (Community and Purpose Pillars)

Instagram Guides: New tool that allows you to curate


your favorite places, products and posts (Discovery and Demand pillars)

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Branded Content: Authentically find new customers, build advocacy and drive impact at the intersection of culture and advertising through creators (Discovery and Demand pillars)

Instagram Product Launches: Limited releases – or drops – give businesses the opportunity to launch new or exclusive products directly on the platform while building hype and creating a sense of urgency amongst shoppers. *Available for Instagram Checkout eligible brands only. (Demand and Discovery pillars)

Building for what’s next

Modern social change and mobile innovation has transformed how brands story tell, communicate with customers and create desire. The Fashion Report by Facebook dives deeply into some of the most important changes impacting the fashion world. Each chapter provides guidance on how to use Facebook’s apps and services as a marketer’s building blocks for connecting with the Fashion consumer in these contexts. Check out:

Chapter 1 Reimagining Fashion Week

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Chapter 2 Culture Commerce

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LinkedIn Makes its 20 Most Popular LinkedIn Learning Courses Freely Available Throughout August

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Looking to up your skills for a job change or career advancement in the second half of the year?

This will help – today, LinkedIn has published its listing of the 20 most popular LinkedIn Learning courses over the first half of 2022. In addition to this, LinkedIn’s also making each of these courses free to access till the end of the month – so now may well be the best time to jump in and brush up on the latest, rising skills in your industry.

As per LinkedIn:

As the Great Reshuffle slows and the job market cools, professionals are getting more serious about skill building. The pandemic accelerated change across industries, and as a result, skills to do a job today have changed even compared to a few years ago. Professionals are responding by learning new skills to future-proof their careers and meet the moment.” 

LinkedIn says that over seven million people have undertaken these 20 courses this year, covering everything from improved communication, project management, coding, strategic thinking and more.

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Here are the top 20 LinkedIn Learning courses right now, which you can access via the relevant links:

  1. Goal Setting: Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) with Jessie Withers
  2. Excel Essential Training (Office 365/Microsoft 365) with Dennis Taylor
  3. Interpersonal Communication with Dorie Clark
  4. Cultivating a Growth Mindset with Gemma Leigh Roberts
  5. Project Management Foundations with Bonnie Biafore
  6. Using Questions to Foster Critical Thinking and Curiosity with Joshua Miller
  7. Essentials of Team Collaboration with Dana Brownlee
  8. Unconscious Bias with Stacey Gordon
  9. Learning Python with Joe Marini
  10. Communicating with Confidence with Jeff Ansell
  11.  Speaking Confidently and Effectively with Pete Mockaitis
  12. Learning the OWASP Top 10 with Caroline Wong
  13. Power BI Essential Training with Gini von Courter
  14. Strategic Thinking with Dorie Clark
  15. SQL Essential Training with Bill Weinman
  16. Developing Your Emotional Intelligence with Gemma Leigh Roberts
  17. Communication Foundations with Brenda Bailey-Hughes and Tatiana Kolovou
  18. Agile Foundations with Doug Rose
  19. Digital Marketing Foundations with Brad Batesole
  20. Critical Thinking with Mike Figliuolo
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If you’ve been thinking about upskilling, now may be the time – or maybe it’s just worth taking some of the programming courses, for example, so that you have a better understanding of how to communicate between departments on projects.

Or you could take an Agile course. If, you know, you don’t trust your own management ability.

The courses are available for free till August 31st via the above links.

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Instagram Is Rolling Out Reels Replies, And Will Be Testing A New Feature Which Informs …

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Instagram has added a few more social features to the platform, with Reels Replies being rolled out. Along with the Replies, anew feature is being tested that shows when two users are active together in the same chat.

Reels has been performing much better than perhaps even Instagram ever anticipated. The TikTok-inspired new video format (which officially claims to have absolutely no relation to the former) had some trouble really finding its footing initially. However, Reels has grown massively and while it may not be a source of the most direct competition to TikTok, it is indeed a worthy alternative.

Reels has grown to the point that it has a massive creator program attached to it, and the video format has even been migrated to Facebook with the goal of generating further user interest there. Naturally, with such a successful virtual goldmine on its hands, Instagram has been hard at work developing new features and interface updates for Reels, integrating it more and more seamlessly into the rest of the social media platform. Features such as Reels Replies are a major part of such attempts at integration.

Reels Visual Replies are essentially just what they sound like: A Reel that is being used to reply to someone. It’s a feature that’s been seen frequently across TikTok as well. Reel Replies essentially take a user’s comments, and reply to them in video format. The comment will then show up within the Reel itself as a text-box, taking up some amount of space, and showing both the user who issued said comment along with the text. The text-box is apparently adjustable, with users having the ability to move it around and change its size depending on where it obstructs one’s Reel the least.

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Overall, it’s a fun addition to the Reels format, even if the credit should be going to TikTok first. At any rate, it’s an example of Instagram really utilizing Reels’ social media capabilities, outside of just serving it up as a form of entertainment.

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Speaking of social media capabilities, a new feature might help alleviate one of the most common frustrations encountered across all such platforms. Isn’t it annoying when you see that a friend’s online, but isn’t replying to your chat? Sure, they’ve probably just put their phone down to run a quick errand, but there’s no way for you to know, right? Well, there sort of is now! Instagram is beta testing a new feature via which if both users are active within a chat, the platform will display that accordingly. It’s a work-around, sure, and one that’s currently being tested for usefulness, but it’s still a very nice, and even fresh, addition to the social media game.

Now, the active status will only appear when you are both active at the same time.#Instagram #instgramnewfeature@MattNavarra @instagram @alex193a pic.twitter.com/2chGZP9hr4

— Yash Joshi  (@MeYashjoshi) December 10, 2021

Read next: Instagram Plans On Allowing Users To Return To Its Old Chronologically Sorted News Feed

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5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android

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Alright, we get it. You’re an Instagram Nostradamus.

You know exactly what you want to post and when you’re gonna want to post it. Maybe there’s a meme or comment you want to make that you know will be totally relevant for a future moment or event. Or it could be that you’re an influencer and you want to make sure you keep a steady stream of content coming, so you want to schedule posts for times when you know you won’t be active (or won’t have internet access).

You’ll be happy to know there are apps that are specialized for just such situations. So listen up, InstaNostradamuses…Instagrostra…Instadam…Insta…uh…you guys (we’ll workshop it. No we won’t. We’ll probably just abandon that effort completely. You’re welcome) — these are the Instagram-post-scheduling apps for you.

While all of the iPhone apps below are free to download, they all have some in-app purchases.

1. Planoly

PLANOLY

We’ll start with “official partner” of Instagram, itself, Planoly — an Instaplanner that uses a grid to let you plan, schedule, and publish posts (as well as Reels) on Instagram. The app also lets you see post metrics and analytics so you can make sure your post didn’t flop.

Planoly is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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2. Buffer

BufferCredit: buffer / app store

Buffer is another Instagram post scheduler that helps you plan your posts and analyze feedback once they’re published. Use a calendar view to drag and drop posts into days/time slots for easy scheduling.

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Buffer is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

3. Preview

PreviewCredit: preview / app store

Preview offers typical post-scheduling tools and analytics along with a few helpful extras. Get caption ideas, recommendations for hashtags, and more.

Preview is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

4. Content Office

Content OfficeCredit: content office / app store

An Instagram post scheduler with a visual boost, Content Office allows users to plan and schedule Instagram posts while learning “marketing and visual guides to grow your brand on Instagram.” Like aesthetics and using visuals to create cohesive themes? Maybe this is the Instaplanner for you.

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Content Office is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.

5. Plann

PlannCredit: plann / apple store

You’ll never guess what “Plann” lets you do…

Aside from scheduling posts, get content ideas and recommendations, as well as strategy tips to ensure you’re maximizing your Instagram engagement. Ever wonder when the best time to post something is? Plann can offer you some help with that.

Plann is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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