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The White House is Enlisting Pop Stars, Heavily-Followed Influencers to Endorse COVID-19 …



Move over Revolve. The biggest influencer campaign of the moment is not pushing attire for previously-postponed weddings or for long-awaited Côte d’Azur holiday wardrobes. It is one that aims to persuade young Americans to get vaccinated. The New York Times revealed last week that the White House has enlisted more than fifty influencers – from heavily followed figures on gaming platform Twitch to those on TikTok, such as 17-year old creator Ellie Zeiler, who boasts upwards of 10 million followers – to help promote COVID-19 vaccinations. In furtherance of the broad social media push, influencers have shared question-and-answer sessions, and taken part in Instagram live events with the federal government’s top infectious disease expert and President Biden’s chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, while singer Olivia Rodrigo paid a visit to the White House to call on young people to get vaccinated, and posted a selfie with the president with a similar message. 

A couple of months before 18-year-old Rodrigo’s heavily-publicized visit (which was not only believed to help boost vaccination rates among teens but also led to a 200 percent spike in spike in searches for vintage Chanel, according to Lyst, a nod to the pink S/S 1995 Chanel suit that the star wore), President Biden and Dr. Fauci aimed to reach young Americans by hosting a YouTube town hall with make-up artist Manny MUA, animal expert channel Brave Wilderness, and beauty YouTuber Jackie Aina – who collectively boast some 28 million YouTube subscribers – to discuss vaccinations. 

Still yet, the Times reports that as part of a larger effort, the White House has enlisted New York-based influencer-led creative agency Village Marketing and COVID vaccine campaign Made to Save for the specific purpose of enlisting influencers to back the cause. 

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Not the First Push of its Kind

While certainly noteworthy, the move is, however, not the first of its kind. In fact, it comes less than a year after the United Kingdom government opted to enlist influencers in promote a COVID-specific endeavor. Not unlike how department store chain Nordstrom hired a handful of established social media figures to spread the word about its safety measures in an attempt to lure consumers back not stores last year, the UK relied upon several social media influencers and reality television stars to help promote the National Health Service’s test and trace service, a system that aims to track contact that an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 has had in other to prevent further spreading of the virus. 

When the NHS’s system failed to reach its target for the ninth week in a row last year, the government opted for a new strategy, and brought in Love Island stars Shaughna Phillips, Josh Denzel and Chris Hughes, to help encourage the public to take part in the service. Phillips, who has 1.5 million followers on her Instagram, posted a photo of herself, reminding her followers that “the best way for us all to get back to doing the things we love” is by getting tested for coronavirus. She alerted her followers that the NHS’s service is “totally free, quick and is vital to stop the spread of coronavirus.” Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has been relying on influencer marketing techniques of its own in order to promote coronavirus messaging since last spring. 

Interestingly, the practice of looking to influential figures to help promote the public good, including by way of vaccinations, dates back much further that 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“The power of celebrity had been harnessed in vaccination campaigns many times,” according to Western Sydney University School of Business professors Michelle O’Shea and Sarah Duffy Lecturer, School of Business, and Patrick van Esch, a Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Auckland University of Technology’s Business School. Most famously, they point to Elvis Presley, who was enlisted to receive his polio vaccine, as documented by members of the press on the set of “The Ed Sullivan Show” in October 1956 “as a way of encouraging take-up among teenagers.” 

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In terms of the efficacy of these celebrity endorsements, O’Shea, Duffy, and van Esch say that research has shown that “celebrity endorsements can trigger biological, psychological and social responses in people that make them more trusting of what celebrities say and do,” which is precisely why brands regularly tap big-name figures to serve as the face of their brand and/or endorse their products – whether it be cologne or cars. That same type of response applies to celebrities’ “endorsement of health information,” the academics assert, noting that “neuroscience research supports these explanations, finding that celebrity endorsements activate regions in the brain involved in making positive associations, building trust and encoding memories.” In short: famous figures are able to sell … vaccination campaigns, included. 

As for the parties involved in these campaigns, Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz attorney Jordyn Eisenpress notes that “the Federal Trade Commission’s endorsement guides require clear and conspicuous disclosure of material connections (i.e., connections that are not reasonably expected by the audience that might materially affect the weight or credibility of the endorsement). ” In light of “the focus that the federal government has had on influencer disclosures over the last few years,” Eisenpress says that “it will be interesting to see whether the White House will require and enforce FTC-type disclosures here.”

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





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 …





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

— 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





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


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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