BLOG POST BY: Eliza Borrett

INDUSTRY ROUND UP #9: LOUIS VUITTON AND GEN Z CREATORS, TIKTOK RESUMES AND TWITTER’S CLOSE FRIENDS FEATURE

HEADLINE NEWS FROM THE SOCIAL SPACE

Nextdoor Goes Public 

Nextdoor is an app and social platform that enables users to connect with others based on their location – allowing neighbours to communicate within the same geographical area to share information. The app launched in the United States in 2011 and began a global expansion in 2016, resulting in Nextdoor being available in 11 countries. In a more recent update, the app is going public through a reverse merger, with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) at an expected valuation of $4.3 billion.

Nextdoor experienced huge growth in engagement during the pandemic, with people needing to connect within local communities for information such as school closures, neighbourhood support and more. The app reported a 50% year-on-year increase in daily active users in 2020, and in more recent figures released by Nextdoor, nearly one in three US households are on the app, as well as operating in 275,000 neighbourhoods globally.

Following the announcement of plans to go public, Nextdoor, like all social media apps, must address some issues with content moderation. Users on the app can be toxic and this behaviour needs to be better managed. Social media platforms have all had to face the challenge of reducing harmful content and with scrutiny from investors, Nextdoor must find solutions to make the platform a safer place for its users. 

Furthermore, Facebook has already launched a test competitor to Nextdoor, named “Neighborhoods”. Facebook’s “Neighborhoods” is a hyperlocal feature on the Facebook app that allows users to sign up on a profile – different from a user’s main Facebook profile to connect with nearby people. Once users have signed up and have joined a nearby neighbourhood, they can then share and see posts from their neighbours. However, Facebook has not rolled out “Neighborhoods” globally, an initial test was conducted in Canada, and Facebook have only just begun rolling out the feature in selected cities in the US.

Hyperlocal platforms serve as a great opportunity for local businesses, allowing communities to recommend local cafes, shops or restaurants, which could lead to a new way to easily market to consumers in specific geographical areas. In fact, Nextdoor has already stated that the platform has facilitated over 50 million business recommendations from neighbours, showing a new avenue to market products and services through word-of-mouth marketing.

Applying For Jobs Through TikTok

TikTok recently announced the testing of the ability to apply for jobs through the platform. Now it appears the application tool is taking shape, with the ability to send video resumes being made available for companies such as Chipotle, Target, WWE and Shopify.

The idea to build out a resume function within the app originates from the rise of organic career and job conversations on the platform. On the initial announcement of the short-term pilot program called “TikTok Résumés”, more than 30 companies signed up. Users who want to apply for a job through the platform create a video résumé, post it to TikTok and then have their video sent to recruiters within the app. The pilot will be visible when searching a dedicated hashtag and when visiting the website, tiktokresumes.com. On the site, visitors can browse job listings and fill out a questionnaire, attaching a video link.

The benefits of an application process on the platform allows employers to find suitable candidates who could help produce content for a brand’s TikTok pages. A résumé on TikTok shows applicants understand the platform and have an understanding of creating TikTok-native content. Some brands that signed up for the initial test have listed TikTok-centric jobs such as TikTok social media managers, but there are a variety of roles on offer – such as sales representatives. The application tool can also serve as a great way to find video producers or on-camera jobs through the showcasing of talent through a short video format, calling for creativity and charisma to catch the eye of an employer in a short space of time.

TikTok Résumés will be open to additional submissions this month and showcases that the platform is experimenting with a LinkedIn-like approach to create job opportunities, especially among a younger generation through digital-first opportunities.

NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF INFLUENCERS

Faze Clan And A Cryptocurrency Scheme 

In recent years, we’ve seen a number of creators promote various cryptocurrencies. However, the Esports and entertainment collective Faze Clan has recently fired a member and suspended three others for their involvement in a “pump-and-dump” cryptocurrency scheme. 

FaZe Kay has been removed from the organisation while his brother, FaZe Jarvis, and other members FaZe Nikan and FaZe Teeqo, are all under suspension. Faze Clan made a public statement about the decision to fire and suspend some of its members, adding that the suspensions will be “until further notice” and that the organisation had no involvement and very much condemn the recent behaviour of some of its members.

The scheme in question refers to the four members investing and promoting the Save The Kids token – an altcoin (referring to any cryptocurrency that is not Bitcoin) that had apparent intentions of helping children through the donation of 1% of the 3% tax on transactions to the Binance Charity Wallet. The Binance Charity Wallet reportedly helps with projects that support children with resources to live a long and healthy life. However, it remains unknown that any funds were actually donated to the blockchain-verified Wallet.

Details of the scheme were investigated and subsequently revealed by the creator Coffeezilla, who alleges the influencers were given coins pre-launch in exchange for promotions on social. Upon the launch, all major owners appeared to sell off most of their coins, resulting in a dump in the value of the coins – making them worthless for those who chose to hold. Faze Kay allegedly was the worst offender, as he appeared to sell off all of his Save The Kids coins upon launch, and had a trend in promoting various cryptocurrencies in the past and consistently dumping all coins fairly quickly.

Emma Chamberlain & Charli D’Amelio Star In Louis Vuitton Footwear Campaign 

Louis Vuitton is working with Emma Chamberlain and Charli D’Amelio in the latest campaign for the LV Squad sneaker and LV Sunset mule. The campaign is part of the luxury fashion house’s pre-fall 2021 collection and is currently live across social on the Louis Vuitton and creator’s Instagram accounts.

The creators are two of the biggest digital stars with a huge Gen Z audience. The move by a luxury brand to market to a younger audience through digital creators is nothing new, especially for Louis Vuitton. A couple of years ago, Louis Vuitton sent YouTubers to major fashion events such as the Met Gala and Paris Fashion Week. Creators were kitted out in the latest Louis Vuitton clothes and were tasked with documenting the experience for their social channels. Emma Chamberlain and the Dolan Twins were YouTubers who recently worked with the brand and other fashion houses, such as Balmain, Dior and Alexander Wang, all have experimented partnering with other YouTubers to appeal to a younger consumer.

Looking to the future, luxury brands partnering with digital creators will become even more prevalent. Brands such as Gucci have seen the benefit of appealing to younger demographics, due to their influence on other generations and future purchasing power once transitioning into the workforce. We are seeing a shift away from luxury brands tapping celebrities to endorse the latest collections to a preference in working with digital creators who have built huge audiences through authentic and engaging content online.

WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH PLATFORMS?

TikTok Moving To Longer Videos

TikTok is looking to extend the maximum video length, allowing users to post clips up to three minutes long. Since the platform began, creators have been putting longer stories together through a series of clips with the call to action to “follow for the next part”. TikTok has even rolled out a feature called “playlists”, allowing creators to group clips into themed collections. TikTok also launched live capabilities very quickly, allowing creators to connect with users on the app through a longer and in-real-time format. What does this tell us? Well, clearly users and creators want longer-form content on the platform. 

What is also interesting about TikTok, is the number of creators becoming huge on the platform and crossing over into new formats. For example, the D’Amelio family and Shluv family both grew a huge audience on TikTok and since had reality shows on platforms such as Hulu and Facebook – clearly showing an interest from audiences to see more from these creators beyond just short clips. 

By extending the duration of clips on the platform, it will be interesting to see how this impacts time spent in the app, and how engaged users are. At present TikTok is great for delivering short and entertaining content, primed for a Gen Z audience who notoriously have shorter attention spans online. Will bringing longer formats to the platform change what makes TikTok so special? 

Nevertheless, TikTok plans to roll out three-minutes videos to all users in the coming weeks, and with every other platform ripping off TikTok’s short looping clips format, this puts TikTok directly in line with those competitor platforms with longer-form video at the heart of the user experience. 

TikTok Adds A “Shoutouts” Option

TikTok has added a “Shoutouts” option in the app, which enables fans to pay creators/celebrities on the platform to send them personalised video messages. This sounds a lot like Cameo – the platform that found huge success during COVID, with influencers and celebrities signing up en masse to create video shoutouts for fans as an additional source of revenue.

This feature appears to offer payment through the virtual currency, TikTok coins – which was added last year allowing users to purchase virtual gifts to send to creators during a live stream on the platform. The option for “Shoutouts” appears to not be rolled out in full, with the option to only request “Shoutouts” from certain accounts in some regions being made possible on creator clips.  

This feature is another way TikTok looks to compete with Instagram and YouTube in terms of building monetisable solutions that can generate significant income for creators and keep them on the platform. At present, YouTube and Instagram are more profitable platforms for creators, but with TikTok working hard at various options to monetise content, this could all change in the next few years.

Twitter is Testing A New Close Friends Feature 

Twitter is considering a “trusted friends” feature, similar to Instagram’s “close friends” option, that limits content visibility to a selected group of friends. Twitter’s “trusted friends” feature will allow users to choose specific friends/followers to view tweets, while Twitter’s other feature “Facets”, could let you categorise tweets when you send them. The “Facets” option will essentially allow users to sort tweets into professional and personal categories, or specific hobbies or interests.  A further feature will also allow users to list certain phrases they would rather not see in their Twitter replies. Followers would see these phrases highlighted, with a warning to not use certain language with tweet authors having the ability to move any replies including highlighted phrases to the bottom of the conversation.

All these features are currently not in active development but stand as interesting options for future use that allows Twitter users to have better control of their content.

Instagram Becomes A Video-Centric Entertainment Platform

According to the Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, the platform is no longer just a photo-sharing app. Changes are expected to come to Instagram with a focus on video. The platform chief made it clear that the priority is currently on four key areas: video, message, creators and shopping.

After seeing the success of YouTube and TikTok, Instagram aims to establish itself as more of an entertainment app. This is why we have seen Instagram rapidly develop features to replicate the user experience of TikTok. TikTok currently has the longest time spent in-app in most markets, proving to the likes of Instagram, YouTube and Facebook that more needs to be done to keep users engaged for longer.  

The two main updates happening across Instagram include recommendations for topics you are not following and making videos more immersive thanks to a new full-screen experience. This closely mimics TikTok with the “For You Page” delivering content hyper-relevant to the individual that you never knew you wanted and the video experience taking up the entirety of the screen.

Instagram has made it clear that users appreciate a full-screen experience through Reels, IGTV, and Stories when it comes to video content. Now the platform will “embrace video more broadly”, which implies to social media managers that the future is video and content should focus on this format above all others.

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Written by: Eliza Borrett

Insights Manager at The Goat Agency