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Introducing Instagram’s (Not so) newest feature. What will it bring?

Social media news! This week, Instagram has officially released its newest addition: IG Reels. The feature is now implemented in Instagram’s mobile app and it is believed to be concurring with TikTok?

The functions of IG Reels:

What IG Reels offers? Well, essentially the same what is offered by TikTok. You create a short video, add some fun effects and a background sound, and there you go. Your video is ready to publish. You can create eye-compelling and creative videos without needing any editing experience or software. This makes the videos easily distributable and TikTok has proven that a large audience is attracted to that.

So Instagram, that is known for it user-friendly photo-editing tool, now mimics TikTok and adds a video-editing tool for short, engaging audiovisual content. The question is, will it succeed?

Critiques

Though Instagram is among the most used social media platforms, it is suspect to some criticism. Some users are being more skeptical of Instagram’s functions and I also question Instagram’s current value compared to other social media platforms. Last week, I found a tweet that perfectly illustrated my thoughts on Instagram.

In my opinion, Instagram’s issue is as follows: Even though IG’s features might allow for creativity, I think that there is a sense persistent that Instagram only rewards a distorted, perfectionist image of the true self. Instagram is loaded with filtered, photoshopped selfie pictures of influencers and provides much less room for things such as art, photography, and creative visual design.

Additionally, despite having features for videograpghy and audiovisual content, these features are rarely used and are being overshadowed by pictures. Lastly, I think that smaller creators are overshadowed by larger Instagram accounts, whereas these small creators might actually have more interesting content to offer. Instagram’s algorithm is purely designed to show what your friends create, what popular people create, and what advertisers create.

The app has become ‘boring,’ and other platforms provide more room to truly express yourself. TikTok’s algorithm, for instance, is designed to not only show videos created by people you follow, but also to show videos created by people you do not know yet. Even if you don’t create a TikTok account, TikTok will learn about things you like to see. In result, it shows popular and not-so-popular-yet TikTockers who create content you might like. In result, TikTok also provides room for more organic exposure to smaller creators.

What will follow?

Another critique I found is that Instagram (and Facebook) yet again copy something from another social media platform. Instagram Stories is nothing more than a popular rip-off from Snapchat, Instagram TV is made to battle against Google’s YouTube and now Instagram is copying TikTok.

Yet, I am interested to see how Instagram Reels unfolds. Instagram was very succesful in lanching IG Stories as it became much more popular than Snapchat. Also, Instagram is currently effectively profiting from TikTok’s insecure future, as some TikTok creators have already moved to Instagram “just in case.”

The question is however if people will be using Instagram Reels to the same extent as they were (and are) using TikTok. Will this new feature add more creativity to the app? Will IG Reels provide smaller creators to tell their stories just like TikTok does? Time will tell.

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Lessons Learned: Show yourself

There we are again. Some work experience, a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Arts in the pocket. Ready for new adventures. Either as an employee of a company, or by continuing as a freelancer. I do not know yet.

So, how has life been rolling over the past years?

I have done some cool short- and long-term projects on behalf of my company, I’ve helped other companies by improving their social media marketing, I took pictures, made videos, and yet something seemed a bit off to me.

Pitfall: Not marketing your own marketing company

I seemed to neglect my own business. The last time I shared content on my social media pages was on February 14th, and even though I like writing blogs and updating people about my business, it has been two years since I last shared a blog on my company’s website (if we leave out my newest basketball blog).


Quite understandable, since I have been busy on internships, other projects, two theses and so forth. The result, however? A lack in social media impressions, my website visits plummeted, and an overall lack in engagement. Not using the company to its full potential. And that’s a shame.

Creating connections

Why? Because showing what you got will bring results. That’s one thing I found out in the past couple of weeks. After finishing my Master Thesis, I have been posting more frequently on my personal LinkedIn-page and on my newly-created Twitter account.

On LinkedIn, I try to update my people more often on what I am working on, what I have achieved, and what I am looking forward to. Since creating several posts in a considerably short time, the amount of page visits has considerably increased, I have made interesting connections with like-minded people, and I possibly have some interesting tasks to do for the following period.

The same is true for Twitter. Last month I started my own personal Twitter account in which I interact with other marketing-savy people. So far, Twitter has been really useful for me, since I can share my ideas about online marketing with others, and because I can adopt ideas from other marketers. In result, Twitter has become a very meaningful social media platform to me, in which I can discuss about social media, and in which I can try to format my ideas in just 280 characters (preferably less).

Moral of the Story

As result of my increasing social media activity, in daily life, people are increasingly asking how I am doing, what I am up to and what I am working on with my company. That has been a while. I can’t wait to share more interesting stories about my adventures as an entrepreneur marketer.

So the moral of the story? Social Media can serve as very productive platforms. Through social media, you can express yourself, learn how to write, share ideas with other people and even start potential interesting projects. The most important thing, however is to share. Share your ideas, share your thoughts, share your experiences. Show what you are doing. And let’s discuss!

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How a basketball bubble can result in increased engagement between athletes and fanbase.

As result of the COVID-19 crisis, major sports events have been cancelled. Yet, a few major sports associations, such as the NBA, have announced that they will restart competition during summer. They will play in so-called ‘bubbles’, hub areas in which sports athletes will stay, sleep, practice and play for the remainder of the sports competition.

Only players and staff are permitted inside this area. There will be no fans allowed into the hub area. In result, fanbases are disconnected from their teams. The only ability for fans to see their favorite athletes is via sports broadcasts. Or is it?

Recently, I got notified that Matisse Thybulle, rookie of the Philadelphia 76’ers, published his first vlog on his newly-created Youtube channel: ‘Welcome to the Bubble – Day 1.’ Since then, six days have passed: 500.000 views. His Youtube channel already has 151K subscriptions. I want to remind you: Thybulle is a rookie who is playing in his first NBA season ever.

Since July 11th, Thybulle has already posted three videos, good for 1.2 million views and overwhelmingly positive responses. As result, L.A. Lakers star JaVale McGee decided to hop on the vlogging train. He has posted three vlogs in four days, resulting in a total of approximately 2 million views in less than 5 days.

One could argue that it is not surprising that Thybulle and McGee’s videos are doing well. They play in the NBA league. This league is among the most viewed sports competitions worldwide. Additionally. McGee and Thybulle respectively have 1.7 million and 255K Instagram followers. They already have a large community. They can easily share their videos with their large audiences. Thus, they already have a platform for a large amount of views.

­Why are these video’s so well-received?

However, what makes McGee’s and Thybulle’s vlogs that special?

Let’s first define what a vlog actually means. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a vlog is “a record of your thoughts, opinions, or experiences that you film and publish on the internet.”

Your thoughts, your opinions, your experiences. You film. The ‘you’-aspect in vlogs is what makes vlogs unique.

Normally, sports athletes are followed by sports broadcasters, sports media and social media crews. In result, what you see in ‘traditional’ media content, is limited to the athlete’s professional career. You can see bytes of team practices, short interviews with athletes, and the athletes competing in games. However, you are not given insight into the athletes’ personal lives, and the athletes’ personality.

These vlogs do give insight into the athlete’s personality. The vlogs show that the basketball players are not only athletes, but also humans who are fun and genuine. McGee and Thybulle give their viewers insight into the current lives of basketball athletes inside the closed NBA Bubble. They show where they sleep, what they eat, where they train, which measurements they take to prevent COVID-19 infections, and how they interact with their teammates. The athletes thus give their fans a unique insight into their basketball careers.

What follows?

What McGee and Thybulle are doing right now? Building a growing online community with little effort. Not only have their Youtube channels been growing. Socialblade statistics show that Thybulle is gaining around 3K to 4K followers per day without posting on Instagram. Javale McGee’s follower count is also gradually increasing. Additionally, the audiences are entertained by the content (some even consider the vlogs as ‘historical’) and are looking forward to seeing more vlogs.

It is clear that McGee and Thybulle give us a unique insight into sports in a time in which sports is hardly accessible to us. I am curious to see which basketball, hockey, football, baseball and soccer athletes will hop on the vlogging train as well. It can certainly be contributive to the exposure of the sport competitions and to the personal brand identity of athletes.

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