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Indian social media influencers are marketing cryptocurrencies like soap and shampoo

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In India, cryptocurrencies are being marketed like hair oil, shampoo, and soap.

Over the last year, several cryptocurrency exchanges in India have tied up with celebrities from social media, sports, and Bollywood to market cryptocurrency investments on the internet. These campaigns, which have mostly been run by local cryptocurrency exchanges like CoinDCX and CoinSwitch Kuber, often have celebrities talking about financial literacy and encouraging youngsters to invest in the alternative asset class. At times,  these promotions go a step further and offer coupons that can be exchanged for cryptocurrencies.

Some of the celebrities who have promoted cryptocurrencies on Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter include standup comics Tanmay Bhat, Samay Raina, and Aishwarya Mohanraj, Bollywood actors Radhika Apte, Kunaal Roy Kapur, and Manoj Bajpayee, YouTube sensation Ashish Chanchlani, internet content creators Kusha Kapila and Dolly Singh, vlogger Vishnu Kaushal, TV host Danish Sait, cricketers Ishant Sharma and Dinesh Karthik, and poet Priya Malik.

“Social media acts as a way to trust the company. In India, the industry isn’t regulated yet. The trust factor is important,” Nischal Shetty, founder of  Mumbai-headquartered exchange WazirX had told The Economic Times in December. “Back in 2017, there were a lot of crypto scams and we didn’t have a crypto community. Today, no one will trust a brand-new website if no one within the online community is talking about it.”

Tanmay Bhat to Radhika Apte: The cryptocurrency promotion posts

In April, Bengaluru-based crypto exchange CoinSwitch Kuber launched its campaign #makeaswitch and #tradeKarBefikar, aimed at young and tech-savvy Indians. Kapur, Bajpayee, and Sait have collaborated with CoinSwitch Kuber for endorsements.

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Similarly, one of India’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges CoinDCX launched a digital campaign #BitcoinLiyaKya to bring new users onboard. The platform incentivised new users with free bitcoin worth Rs100 ($1.35) through a voucher code and said a few winners would be given a prize of 1 bitcoin, which was worth around Rs32 lakh today (Aug. 9).

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The trend of distributing free cryptocurrencies has become so prevalent that it is now triggering memes.

Content and comedy aside, such promotion could prove to be very risky for the exchanges as well as the celebrities.

The problem with promoting bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies in India

Though India has lagged many western nations in terms of cryptocurrency popularity, the asset class has become quite popular in the country in recent months. Indians had parked nearly $6.6 billion (Rs49,189 crore) in cryptocurrencies until May this year, as compared to around just $923 million until April 2020. Currently, the country ranks 11 out of 154 nations (pdf) in terms of cryptocurrency adoption, as per blockchain data firm Chainalysis.

These marketing campaigns are a way for exchanges to drum up their business even further. However, most of these promotional videos don’t disclose the risks associated with investing in cryptocurrencies. In addition, many of these internet celebrities have very young followers, which makes these ads even riskier.

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Cryptocurrencies may be the future, but it is not a meaningful part of the present for many people in the country, said Harish Bijoor, brand strategy expert and founder of Harish Bijoor Consults Inc. “Until the regulation is sorted, social media influencers must stay wary and even steer clear of participation. The influencer must influence on the basis of clear guidance and path. Not an iffy one,” Bijoor said.

Promoting cryptocurrencies without any regulatory scrutiny can land celebrities in trouble because not all exchanges are safe and reliable. In 2018, the founder of Pune-based crypto company GainBitcon had been arrested for allegedly duping more than 8,000 people of Rs2,000 crore.

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In July, advocates Ayush Shukla and Vikash Kumar filed a plea in Delhi High Court arguing that risk disclaimer text on such ads should cover 80% of the screen to warn viewers appropriately.

So far, there are no regulations around cryptocurrency advertising in India. Industry body Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council is set to release self-regulatory guidelines on advertising for such companies in the future.

Meanwhile, there are reasons why the trend of crypto advertising on social media may pick pace going forward.

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Google’s advertising rules for cryptocurrencies

After banning cryptocurrency ads in March, the world’s largest ad network Google eased its advertising regulations for cryptocurrency exchanges registered with the US financial authorities and wallets from Aug. 4. This means, American crypto exchanges will be able to advertise more freely on Google, and that could prove to be a threat to their Indian rivals.

It doesn’t help that India does not have any laws to protect investors, which makes those who are putting their money into the market via local players at high risk.

Many Indian investors are already considering a switch to foreign exchanges for better features and due to technical glitches in operations on domestic ones.

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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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