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Social Media Stocks: Which Ones Do the Pros Love? | Kiplinger

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Social media is here to stay – just ask the billions of worldwide users across a number of platforms. Like it or hate it, it is impossible to ignore. As more people engage with each other through communities and virtual networks, it also means that social media sites wield more power than ever before – but it also means social media stocks will face a high amount of scrutiny.

Consider that over the past few years, Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR) and other platforms have fielded claims from both sides of the political aisle that they favor one political ideology over another and suppress the latter’s ideas. This isn’t exclusive to the U.S. – governments worldwide have increasingly scrutinized these and other platforms over the enforcement of content moderation, user privacy and other policies.

That’s yet another wild card in what is an already difficult environment for trying to gauge the upside of social media stocks.

To help make sense of some of the biggest names in social, we’ve decided to tap the TipRanks stock comparison tool, which helps investors compare stocks across different parameters, including key technical indicators, dividend information, consensus price target and analyst consensus regarding. 

Here, we’ll look at four popular social media stocks, and the perceived outlook and upside for each.

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Data is as of Oct. 28.

1 of 4

Meta

Meta HQ

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  • Market value: $868.5 billion
  • TipRanks consensus price target: $405.59 (28% upside potential)
  • TipRanks consensus rating: Strong Buy

It’s not Facebook anymore … it’s Meta (FB, $316.92).

The company formerly known as Facebook announced Oct. 28 that it was switching its name to “Meta Platforms, Inc.,” or just “Meta” for short, to reflect the growing importance of the so-called metaverse to its business. (The social media stock will switch its ticker too, to MVRS, but the actual social platform will retain the “Facebook” name.)

You can read more about that here, but for now, we’ll explore more immediate matters.

Facebook has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. Recently, whistle-blower Frances Haugen complained to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding Facebook’s policies. The internal documents leaked by Haugen and accessed by the Wall Street Journal detail disarray over how to deal with vaccine information, an internal “integrity” team that was overruled by CEO Mark Zuckerberg several times, and issues dealing with misinformation on Jan. 6, among other things. 

Haugen also testified that Facebook was aware its Instagram platform was toxic for teenage girls, yet the company downplayed its effect on young girls. 

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Facebook also is dealing with mixed Q3 results. While the TipRanks’ Website Traffic tool shows that year-to-date, the amount of total unique visitors on all devices from its family of domains is up 14.7% year-over-year to 2.9 billion. Still, FB struggled in the third quarter, reporting better-than-expected earnings but disappointing revenues. 

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Among the headwinds were Apple’s (AAPL) iOS 14 changes, primarily app developers’ inability to track a user’s Apple’s Identifier For Advertisers (IDFA) if a user opts out of sharing privacy details while downloading an app from AAPL’s app store.

Regardless, Wall Street analysts remain bullish on Facebook and have rated it a Strong Buy, with a consensus average price target of $409.39 on the stock. In fact, FB is the most highly rated among the major social media stocks right now.

Bank of America analyst Justin Post, for instance, acknowledged the IDFA headwind but also said this could have peaked in the third quarter. “FB is guiding to better-than-feared 4Q [quarter-on-quarter] growth, and, despite big investments, core business EPS may be higher-than-expected in 2022 backing out FRL investments,” he says.

Post is talking about the augmented- and virtual-reality focused “Facebook Reality Labs,” which will be one of the two new reporting segments under the new Meta structure – “Family of Apps,” which includes Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and other services, is the other.

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He did caution that, “given massive investments which could total well over $50bn before reaching breakeven, we think long-term holders will need to have a strong belief in Facebook’s vision for the metaverse business model to want to hold the stock.”

Nonetheless, Post reiterated his Buy rating and raised his price target to $400 per share to $385 per share. To see what other analysts think, see FB’s stock forecast on TipRanks.

2 of 4

Snap

Snapchat app on phone

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  • Market value: $87.6 billion
  • TipRanks consensus price target: $76.46 (41% upside potential)
  • TipRanks consensus rating: Moderate Buy

Snap (SNAP, $54.39) calls itself a “camera company.” Its flagship product is Snapchat, a camera app that lets users communicate visually with family and friends through images and short videos.

The company caused a ripple in the social media sector with its recent earnings report, which were extremely adversely affected by Apple’s iOS 14 changes. This stoked investor concerns that other social media companies could also be affected by these changes in Q3 – which they were, but to varying (and mostly lesser) extents.

SNAP stock went into full-blown correction (a drop of 20% or more) after its release. Adjusted earnings of 17 cents per share more than doubled expectations of 8 cents per share, but Q3 revenues, while up 57% year-over-year to $1.07 billion, still fell short of the consensus estimate for $1.1 billion.

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Using the TipRanks’ Website Traffic tool and analyzing the data provided by SEMrush (SEMR), it is evident that SNAP still is growing, though slowly. Unique visitors to the site grew approximately 2.8% to 163.7 million users, versus 159.2 million in the same period last year.

See also  Social Commerce Market to Witness Rapid Growth by 2027 | Facebook, Pinterest, Tencent, Twitter

What really irked investors, however, was management’s warning during the Q3 earnings call that the operating environment remains challenging in Q4 due to “iOS platform changes, as well as macro uncertainty driven by supply chain disruption and labor shortages.”

Needham analyst Laura Martin remained sidelined, with a Hold rating on the stock. The analyst was of the view that there is a possibility that SNAP “may have already fully penetrated its total super-fan user base, suggesting future rev growth must come primarily from higher monetization/user, which adds risk to growth projections.”

The rest of the Street, however, is optimistic, if cautiously, with a Moderate Buy rating and an average price target of $76.48 (38.1% upside) on the social media stock. You can learn more about the analyst community’s views on Snap shares via TipRanks’ consensus breakdown.

3 of 4

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Pinterest

Pinterest app

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  • Market value: $29.4 billion
  • TipRanks consensus price target: $67.80 (49% upside potential)
  • TipRanks consensus rating: Moderate Buy

Pinterest (PINS, $45.61) also has been in the news recently – not about privacy or data use, but about a potential acquisition. However, a few days after rumors arose that PayPal Holdings (PYPL) planned to buy the social network, the company stated it was “not pursuing an acquisition of Pinterest at this time.” 

Those rumors shot the social media stock from the low $50s to nearly $63 per share, but it has since lost that and much more, shedding greater than a quarter of its value since PayPal demurred.

Pinterest is expected to announce its Q3 results on Nov. 4. The company certainly is on the mend; Q2 revenues jumped 125% year-over-year to $613 million, and adjusted earnings of 25 cents per share were much more welcome than the 7-cent loss it suffered in the year-ago quarter.

However, in Q3, Pinterest anticipates that revenues will increase year-over-year in the “low-40% range.” 

PINS is facing uncertainty when it comes to predicting its monthly active users (MAUs) because, as management explained, the “evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions remain unknown, and we are not providing guidance on Q3 2021 MAUs given our lack of visibility into certain key drivers of engagement.”

As of July 27, the company’s MAUs in the U.S. had declined 7%, while global MAUs had risen 5% year-over-year. 

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This trend is supported by an analysis of the website traffic volume data for Pinterest, which is provided by SEMrush and demonstrated by the TipRanks’ Website Traffic tool. This data indicates that in Q3, the total unique visitors to the site on all devices is down by around 4% year-over-year, showing a drop of approximately 10% quarter-over-quarter to 894.2 million. 

See also  Pinterest Stock – Pinterest Expert Explains Why Investing In Pinterest Marketing

Even RBC Capital analyst Brad Erickson (Hold, $58 price target) believes that the social media company lacks user growth and believes that it needs “product-fueled ways to attract new users followed by monetization while operating at a structural data disadvantage vs. the mega-caps [such as Amazon and Facebook].”

Among 17 analysts, Erickson and another 10 pros call the stock a Hold. The remaining six are bullish, however, with a Buy rating on shares. To learn more about PINS analyst forecasts, click on the TipRanks Analysts link.

4 of 4

Twitter

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  • Market value: $43.4 billion
  • TipRanks consensus price target: $69.16 (27% upside potential)
  • TipRanks consensus rating: Hold

Twitter (TWTR, $54.29) had some good news when it announced its third-quarter results. Namely, Apple’s iOS changes effect on the social media giant were “lower than expected,” according to Twitter management. Moreover, Q3 revenues grew 37% year-over-year to $1.3 billion. Advertising revenue, which made up approximately 89% of Twitter’s total revenues, rose 41% YoY.

But things weren’t all rosy. 

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The company reported a quarterly loss of 54 cents per share, largely as a result of a one-time litigation settlement expense of $810 million. Twitter also said that monetizable daily users (mDAUs) improved by 13% to 211 million, which was shy of estimates by about 900,000 users. That’s despite encouraging traffic trends from TipRanks’ Website Traffic tool, which shows that in Q3, total unique visitors on all devices were up 7.1% year-over-year (and up 3.9% across 2021).

Analysts are largely mixed on the social media stock, with a consensus Hold view fueled by 14 Holds, four Buys and three Sells.

Rosenblatt Securities analyst Mark Zgutowicz (Hold, $65 price target) is of the view that the iOS 14 changes will level the playing field for Twitter, as compared to its peers such as Facebook and Snap. That’s because those companies have “historically had much stronger first party data signals [when it comes to direct response (DR) advertising] and subsequently one-to-one targeted returns vs. Twitter.”

But this bright spot is dimmed in the near-term, says Zgutowicz, as the company’s DR peers are investing significantly in new ad targeting models that can address or workaround the iOS 14 changes. See what other analysts are saying on TipRanks.

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Social Media Marketing Trends To Watch In 2022

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social-media-marketing-trends-to-watch-in-2022-–-alist-daily

Marketers aren’t clairvoyant but they can keep a finger on the pulse of trends. To help brands stay ahead of the competition, HubSpot Blog surveyed more than 1,000 global marketers from B2B and B2C brands and a handful of industry experts to create a 2022 marketing trends guide, covering privacy and AI to social media and SEO. Ahead we break down HubSpot’s findings on social media marketing trends.

As HubSpot notes, 79 percent of Americans have some type of social media account while there are 3.7 billion social media users worldwide, making it a regular part of people’s lives and a critical tool in enhancing any marketing strategy.

Live Content Will Be A Leading Social Media Format

Among the social media marketers HubSpot polled, 68 percent reported that audio chat rooms such as Clubhouse are the most effective social media content while 59 percent report the same for live video.

Ninety-six percent of those investing in live audio content intend on spending the same amount or more on it through 2022. Live video, on the other hand, is reported by 9 percent of respondents as driving the largest return on investment (ROI) of all social media formats. These formats enable brands to connect directly with audiences in a meet-them-where-they-are context while discussions range from current issues and events to the brand’s stance on those issues to the products and services themselves. 

The authenticity and dynamic nature of this format can’t be matched as heart-to-heart conversations may be interspersed with expert opinions, Q&A-style discussions, how-tos and entertainment.

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TikTok Will Continue To Gain Brand Interest

TikTok began to go viral roughly three years ago, sparking a new medium through which brands can connect with audiences without sounding sales-y. The social media app now boasts 1 billion global users and caters to a vast array of audiences. Having recently launched a number of advertising and marketing features for businesses and creators, TikTok has positioned itself front-and-center in the race to secure the highest quality content, the highest number of users and creators and brands that will continue engaging with it for marketing purposes.

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Sixty-seven percent of marketers intend on increasing their TikTok investment in 2022 and 10 percent of marketers who employ some sort of social media into their overall marketing strategy intend on investing the most in TikTok throughout 2022.

Most Marketers Will Concentrate On Three To Five Social Media Platforms

Of those social media marketers polled, 64 percent use three to five platforms, 11 percent use one or two, and 7 percent use seven or more. Managing three to five platforms allows brands to expand their reach to a variety of audiences while allowing for their marketers to engage with each one without exhausting their bandwidth or producing low-quality content.

In order for a brand to determine how many platforms to be on, i.e., how able a social media marketing team will be at building an effective and engaging strategy, HubSpot suggests answering the following:

  • How many social media marketers are on your team?
  • Which social media platforms have audiences that best align with your brand’s targets?
  • How much time will it take to master a strategy on each of the platforms?
  • Which platforms, if any, will not benefit the overall marketing strategy right now?
  • Which platform’s content, if any, can be easily repurposed? (such as TikTok and YouTube Shorts)

Influencer Marketing Will Evolve From Trend To Common Marketing Tactic

When HubSpot asked global marketing professionals which trends they planned to invest in for 2022, 34 percent said influencer marketing, ranking it first and above other trends like mobile web design and short-form video marketing.

While 57 percent of respondents that currently leverage influencer marketing say influencer marketing is effective, 46 percent of them plan to increase their investments in 2022. Additionally, 11 percent say influencer marketing is the top ROI-generating trend they’ve tested.

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More than 56 percent of marketers who invest in influencer marketing work with micro-influencers, according to HubSpot.

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Video Marketers Will Keep Content Short

HubSpot found that short-form content is the second most effective trend marketers are currently utilizing. Short-form content requires less bandwidth and aligns well with the fast-paced attention spans of online audiences in a variety of demographics

More than 31 percent of global marketers currently invest in short-form video content, 46 percent of them consider the strategy effective when it comes to performance and engagement. In addition, next year 89 percent of global marketers plan to continue investing in it or increase their investment.

Permanent Social Media Posts Could Overtake Ephemeral Content

Brands have observed that permanent social media content—namely standard posts, videos and live events that live on a platform’s feed and can be viewed again days later—might be more effective than ephemeral content such as Instagram Stories and Snapchat.

HubSpot’s survey results show that 44 percent of global marketers plan to increase their investment in permanent social media content, while 8 percent say it generates the most ROI compared to other marketing strategies they leverage. Meanwhile, 25 percent of respondents cited ephemeral content as the “least effective” trend they invested in.

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Lastly, 37 percent of marketers said they plan to decrease their investment in ephemeral content.

However, HubSpot cautions against writing off ephemeral content completely as it can still provide other brand awareness benefits and unique content experiences.

According to Kelly Hendrickson, a social media marketing manager at HubSpot, Instagram Stories’ fleeting design and fun editing options give brands a new strategy for producing content that varies from their other social media content.

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“Instagram can organically serve up a wall post across a wide span of time, so there’s less of an opportunity for brands to be timely (who wants to see New Year’s post when they’ve already given up on their resolutions?!). Since Instagram users are more active on weekdays, during the standard workday, it seems users are looking for a break,” Hendrickson said.

Hendrickson urges marketers to remember that the combination of a running clock and a lively audience presents a big opportunity for brands to lean into quick, in-the-moment content that showcases the light-hearted side of their brand, adding that succinctness and clarity are key in content.

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Getting the Most Out of Shopify

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Getting the Most Out of Shopify

The growth of your online business in Shopify significantly depends on how well you use the e-commerce platform. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it sounds. There’s a lot of competition in the e-commerce industry itself, and it requires patience, intentionality and transformational skills to move to the top right in the categories where you compete. Many marketers who use Shopify for eCommerce encounter strategic and tactical issues using the platform. At TopRight, we’ve studied the most common issues facing marketing executives and we provide tips and techniques to help you get the most out of Shopify. Here are a few of the most common marketing challenges you could encounter while using Shopify:

  • Mediocre sales conversion
  • Insufficient traffic to your site
  • Difficulty interpreting Shopify analytics
  • Unrealistic predictions of sales and traffic
  • Misalignment of inventory management
  • Failure to target and identify customers

Importance of a Clear Marketing Strategy

Your marketing strategy acts as a playbook for your business and how you make investments in you Shopify store. It helps keep your business pointed in the right direction and allows you to make informed decisions. Without a strategic marketing playbook, it’s easy to get lost and encounter obstructions. A stragegic playbook can help guide you to responding to challenges and navigating barriers you may encounter with your Shopify store. Specifically, it can help you:

  • Estimate sales potential
  • Promote your goods and services better
  • Attract new customers
  • Maintain good connection with existing customers

Tips on How to Get the Most Out of Shopify

Of course, understanding the analytics on your store isn’t sufficient to assure success. You need to turn data into insight and devise strategies to drive traffic and conversions. Here are a few tips to guide you through the development of a winning marketing strategy to get the most out of Shopify.

1. Invest in Your Own Shopify App

Most successful Shopify merchants have optimized their app to tell their brand story. A Shopify app is a powerful way to give customers a reason to care about your store and the products you offer. Your brand story also helps you build connections and engage with other prospects on other ecommerce platforms and social media sites. Making this simple investment enables you to connect, reach and engage more potential customers.

If building your own app is an obstacle, you can use tools like Pocketfied – an easy app builder that lets you conveniently manage your store. You can have your own published app within a day, even if you don’t have any design and coding skills.

2. Use Shopify Resources

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Shopify offers resources to help you become a more effective marketer and entrepreneur. It provides guides, podcasts, and even an eCommerce University to learn new skills. Use these resources to learn more about the Shopify platform and get ideas on how to work on the platform more effectively and efficiently.

3. Promote Your Store on Social Media

Social media networks like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter represent significant opportunities for you to boost brand awareness and drive traffic to your store. However, social media marketing is highly saturated – it take a lot to stand out from the crowd. Many Shopify merchants use social media to showcase their goods and services. You need to develop a good and structured approach to get an edge and drive results.

See also  Pinterest Launches the Next Stage of its Assistance Program for Minority-Owned Businesses ...
  • Make a business page or account on all relevant social platforms.
  • Follow accounts and market to users within your target audience.
  • Integrate your shop in your accounts so shoppers can easily buy without leaving the social platform
  • Post meaningful content regularly including: videos that showcase your products; special pricing promotions; new product launches; and private/ exclusive store events

4. Leverage Email Marketing

Email remains one of the best ways to connect and engage with customers. When properly used (not abused), emails can serve as the backbone of your customer conversion strategy customer conversion strategy. Here are a few tips on how to use it appropriately:

  • Be creative with your emails so you can easily attract interest and give people a reason to care
  • Send out cart abandonment details to remind customers about incomplete or unfinished transactions.
  • Be professional and respectful – don’t send too many promotional emails. Thoughtless interruptions drive customers away.

5. Create a Website and Start Blogging

Write compelling content that will attract and encourage readers to go to your store and check out your products. Don’t just focus on your products and services. Make content about related topics and issues where you can smartly and smoothly promote your products. Think about topics that would be of interest and value to your audience. Content can be a gift if it is positioned properly with your customers.

Advertisement
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Research what your customers care about, what they want or what unmet needs they may have. Again, don’t overload your blog with sales messages and stories about your business. Instead, focus on the relevance of your products to your customers’ lifestyles. What can you do to make them the hero of your brand story?

6. Invest in Paid Advertisements and Affiliations

Depending on your budget, be sure to set aside some money for paid advertisements. Online advertisements, clickable or not, will drive traffic to your store and boost your store’s visibility. These are usually posted on online platforms like social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Additionally, you can use Google Ads to get your store to appear on the top page of search results.

You can also develop affiliations with other Shopify stores and businesses so they’ll help promote your store and products. For a small percentage of a transaction, an affiliate marketer with help will drive traffic and potential customers to your store. However, remember that you’ll be sharing your revenues or paying them for their cooperation!

The Takeaway

Story, Strategy and Systems alignment can be a heavy lift when you launch a Shopify store. There are many pitfalls and issues you may encounter. But if you focus on telling a simple story, formulating a clear strategy, and leveraging Shopify best practices, you can navigate these challenges and successfully give your customers a reason to care, listen, engage and buy from your store.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

The growth of your online business in Shopify significantly depends on how well you use the e-commerce platform. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it sounds. There’s a lot of competition in the e-commerce industry itself, and it requires patience, intentionality and transformational skills to move to the top right in the categories where you compete. Many marketers who use Shopify for eCommerce encounter strategic and tactical issues using the platform. At TopRight, we’ve studied the most common issues facing marketing executives and we provide tips and techniques to help you get the most out of Shopify. Here are a few of the most common marketing challenges you could encounter while using Shopify:

See also  Career Coach: social media tips | firsttuesday Journal
  • Mediocre sales conversion
  • Insufficient traffic to your site
  • Difficulty interpreting Shopify analytics
  • Unrealistic predictions of sales and traffic
  • Misalignment of inventory management
  • Failure to target and identify customers

Importance of a Clear Marketing Strategy

Your marketing strategy acts as a playbook for your business and how you make investments in you Shopify store. It helps keep your business pointed in the right direction and allows you to make informed decisions. Without a strategic marketing playbook, it’s easy to get lost and encounter obstructions. A stragegic playbook can help guide you to responding to challenges and navigating barriers you may encounter with your Shopify store. Specifically, it can help you:

  • Estimate sales potential
  • Promote your goods and services better
  • Attract new customers
  • Maintain good connection with existing customers

Tips on How to Get the Most Out of Shopify

Of course, understanding the analytics on your store isn’t sufficient to assure success. You need to turn data into insight and devise strategies to drive traffic and conversions. Here are a few tips to guide you through the development of a winning marketing strategy to get the most out of Shopify.

1. Invest in Your Own Shopify App

Most successful Shopify merchants have optimized their app to tell their brand story. A Shopify app is a powerful way to give customers a reason to care about your store and the products you offer. Your brand story also helps you build connections and engage with other prospects on other ecommerce platforms and social media sites. Making this simple investment enables you to connect, reach and engage more potential customers.

If building your own app is an obstacle, you can use tools like Pocketfied – an easy app builder that lets you conveniently manage your store. You can have your own published app within a day, even if you don’t have any design and coding skills.

2. Use Shopify Resources

Advertisement
free widgets for website

Shopify offers resources to help you become a more effective marketer and entrepreneur. It provides guides, podcasts, and even an eCommerce University to learn new skills. Use these resources to learn more about the Shopify platform and get ideas on how to work on the platform more effectively and efficiently.

3. Promote Your Store on Social Media

Social media networks like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter represent significant opportunities for you to boost brand awareness and drive traffic to your store. However, social media marketing is highly saturated – it take a lot to stand out from the crowd. Many Shopify merchants use social media to showcase their goods and services. You need to develop a good and structured approach to get an edge and drive results.

See also  Social Commerce Market to Observe Strong Development by 2027 | Key Players – Facebook, Sina ...
  • Make a business page or account on all relevant social platforms.
  • Follow accounts and market to users within your target audience.
  • Integrate your shop in your accounts so shoppers can easily buy without leaving the social platform
  • Post meaningful content regularly including: videos that showcase your products; special pricing promotions; new product launches; and private/ exclusive store events

4. Leverage Email Marketing

Email remains one of the best ways to connect and engage with customers. When properly used (not abused), emails can serve as the backbone of your customer conversion strategy customer conversion strategy. Here are a few tips on how to use it appropriately:

  • Be creative with your emails so you can easily attract interest and give people a reason to care
  • Send out cart abandonment details to remind customers about incomplete or unfinished transactions.
  • Be professional and respectful – don’t send too many promotional emails. Thoughtless interruptions drive customers away.

5. Create a Website and Start Blogging

Write compelling content that will attract and encourage readers to go to your store and check out your products. Don’t just focus on your products and services. Make content about related topics and issues where you can smartly and smoothly promote your products. Think about topics that would be of interest and value to your audience. Content can be a gift if it is positioned properly with your customers.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

Research what your customers care about, what they want or what unmet needs they may have. Again, don’t overload your blog with sales messages and stories about your business. Instead, focus on the relevance of your products to your customers’ lifestyles. What can you do to make them the hero of your brand story?

6. Invest in Paid Advertisements and Affiliations

Depending on your budget, be sure to set aside some money for paid advertisements. Online advertisements, clickable or not, will drive traffic to your store and boost your store’s visibility. These are usually posted on online platforms like social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Additionally, you can use Google Ads to get your store to appear on the top page of search results.

You can also develop affiliations with other Shopify stores and businesses so they’ll help promote your store and products. For a small percentage of a transaction, an affiliate marketer with help will drive traffic and potential customers to your store. However, remember that you’ll be sharing your revenues or paying them for their cooperation!

The Takeaway

Story, Strategy and Systems alignment can be a heavy lift when you launch a Shopify store. There are many pitfalls and issues you may encounter. But if you focus on telling a simple story, formulating a clear strategy, and leveraging Shopify best practices, you can navigate these challenges and successfully give your customers a reason to care, listen, engage and buy from your store.

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Ifeoma Ozoma: US tech whistleblower helping others speak out

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ifeoma-ozoma:-us-tech-whistleblower-helping-others-speak-out-–-yahoo-news

Being a whistleblower comes down to careful preparation but also an eye trained for dirty tricks, said Ifeoma Ozoma, an ex-employee of several Silicon Valley giants turned revealer of tech world wrongdoing.

“I planned it like a program or product launch. Obviously the experience is something very personal, but I approached it like work,” she told AFP.

While Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen has become a figurehead for the fight against social media’s faults, there are others in the tech world, like Ozoma, who have also taken big risks to stand up.

An African-American, former policymaker relations specialist for Google, Pinterest and Facebook, she continues to work for ethics in tech, but from the outside, via her consulting firm Earthseed.

She has marked a first big success via the recent adoption in California of a law she co-sponsored, called “Silenced No More.”

Starting in January, this law will prohibit employers from using confidentiality clauses to prevent victims of harassment or discrimination in the workplace from speaking out.

In mid-October, she posted online a guide for whistleblowers.

“The difference with tech companies and other industries is on the power that they wield, but also they pretend they’re better for workers, consumers, society than more traditional industries,” she told AFP. “That’s just not borne out in reality.”

– Keep the emails –

A Yale University graduate in political science, the 29-year-old was born in Alaska to Nigerian immigrants.

She left Pinterest at the end of May 2020, with six months of salary, after months of making complaints internally and also to the state of California, accusing the social network of discrimination and racist retaliation.

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She said the company paid her less than if she had been a man, but she also complained about their lack of action after a colleague posted her personal details online to expose her to anonymous harassment.

In mid-June 2020, as the Black Lives Matter anti-racism movements were in full swing in the United States, her damning account on Twitter of her experience sparked a scandal for the company that had largely avoided controversy.

“Pinterest, told a number of reporters that the CEO had no knowledge of me being doxxed… and I was essentially making up a story about him being aware,” Ozoma said.

“I knew that it was something that would probably come up later. And so I had the emails,” she added.

The accused firms try to discredit whistleblowers by many means, said Libby Liu, the director of Whistleblower Aid which is working with Haugen.

“They will throw up against the wall every discrediting thing they can think of, through like every media organization on the face of the Earth,” she added.

– Losing their health insurance –

The whistleblowers that come forward often have a lot to lose.

“Just one example here in the United States — because our health care is tied to our employment — when you decide to whistle blow, you’re also making a decision for yourself and for your family to lose access to your health insurance,” Ozoma said.

“That is not a small thing to ask of people,” she added.

Whistleblower leaks and damning media reports have tarnished Big Tech’s image, but they have had limited tangible consequences for Silicon Valley.

See also  Why Is Pinterest (PINS) Down 5.1% Since Last Earnings Report?

In fact, Haugen’s oft-repeated accusation that Facebook puts profits over safety is not entirely new.

“There are countless nonprofit organizations and reporters, who reported on the exact same thing for years,” said Ozoma. “It remains to be seen whether anything fruitful will come of it.”

But from anti-sexism protests at Google in 2018 to warnings from former top Facebook officials, the pressure for change is steady.

After Ozoma spoke out at Pinterest, other female workers did too.

The company paid $22 million in December 2020 to Francoise Brougher, its white, former COO to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit.

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