How Instagram Stepped Up It’s Game with IGTV

Like most millennials, part of my morning routine is to log in to Instagram and see what all of my friends and favorite brands and celebs have been up to since my last viewing of content on the platform which let’s be honest happened the night prior and pretty much right before bed.

Instagram is dominating the social media landscape and if some entity were keeping score, I think they’d be winning the ongoing platform battle.

So this morning, I woke up and there it was, a shiny new feature that I had only read about yesterday for the first time.

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Instagram TV

So naturally, I clicked on the new notification and began to watch.  Instagram was super smart (good job Insta algorithm) and the first video they served up to me was a behind-the-scenes look at Zac Brown Bands Behind the Rabbit Hole Tour.  Of course, ZBB is one of my favorite bands and my husband and I as well as a bunch of our friends have a yearly summer tradition of tailgating and going to the show when ZBB comes to town.

The content was captivating.  It’s a long-form vertical video much like an Instagram story but instead of the annoying breaks every 15 seconds, this video content can last for up to 10 minutes!  Anyone can create IGTV content which is super awesome and will definitely change the way we view video content on Instagram.  Select content creators will be able to upload content lasting up to an hour!  If you don’t have an extra battery pack on your phone, you’re definitely going to need one now.

Instagram now has over 1 billion monthly users and is the platform I typically recommend to all of my clients that should serve as the main hub of their social content strategy.  With features like Insta stories and now IGTV plus that giant user base, it’s hard to pass up an opportunity as golden as Instagram.

Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, is also putting many of their efforts into improving video viewing capabilities on their platform with continuing to enhance Facebook Watch.  YouTube was always the powerhouse in the video space, and not that I think that their dominance will fade away quickly or even at all, I just believe they’ll have a little more work to do in order to stay on top now that Facebook and Insta are jumping in to the space more and more each day.

Stay tuned for more information as this new Insta feature continues to evolve and develop.  I’m certainly looking forward to leveraging this feature and creating some awesome long-form content!

How It’s Done: Facebook Live at the 2017 NFL Draft

Not everyone has the opportunity to go to the NFL Draft, and especially not for work. In 2017, I was working at a large advertising agency in Milwaukee who had Comcast XFINITY as a client. Comcast’s headquarters are located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which conveniently was the host city for the 2017 NFL Draft. As a massive cable content provider obviously the NFL Draft is a pretty big deal.

The agency I worked for at the time managed many of the sports partnerships for Comcast, which meant we got to work on the event activation for the Draft. Upon hearing this news around the office I promptly hit up some of my closest guy friends who happen to be HUGE NFL fans and requested that they teach me everything there was to know about the Draft.

Lucky for me, these guys proved to be a much better source of information than my various Google searches on the topic. I was able to get a good sense of what NFL Draft junkies wanted to know prior to Draft Day in order to brainstorm ideas for what to pitch back to our client, Comcast, and their partners at the NFL Network.

So what did the process of pitching a Facebook Live to one of the largest cable content providers in the country and the NFL Network look like?

After doing my homework and understanding what sort of content Draft fans would want to see leading up to the Draft, we began collaborating as a team at work to come up with various ideas to pitch back to our client and their partner. We put together a pitch deck that contained several different ideas ranging from Facebook Live concepts to large-scale social contests all the way to in footprint contests with social amplification.

We then pitched our various ideas to our client and narrowed down to our best two or three based on what they liked and what would be feasible in accordance with their partnership with the NFL Network and with the confines of which we’d be able to leverage the NFL Network talent.

We then worked with our client to pitch our ideas to the NFL Network and narrowed down to doing a Facebook Live with two NFL Network talents to be disclosed at a later time.

Not knowing which talent we would have at the event to be on camera for our Facebook Live presented some interesting challenging while trying to hammer out the topics and discussion points for our Facebook Live. It wasn’t until a little over a week before the Draft that we found out we’d be working with Maurice Jones-Drew and Ike Taylor. Until we found out who we’d be working with, we just developed content ideas and talking points living on a prayer. We got lucky with two great, super popular NFL vets who are now great on-camera talent.

Many challenges presented themselves along the way. Many time changes happened and things weren’t formally locked in until a couple of days until my colleague and I were on a plane heading to Philly. This made it challenging to create the promotional assets required in order to publicize a Facebook Live segment as impressive as this one. We also had a lot of back and forth with our client regarding paid budgets and getting that finalized with the media buying partner. We also had to quickly procure gimbals, microphones, WiFi hotspots, and other technologies required for successfully pulling off a quality Facebook Live. We also wouldn’t be able to test all of this technology until the day prior to the Draft which meant if anything wasn’t working or went wrong we would not have much time to troubleshoot.

Draft Day arrived and our team assembled and headed to the XFINITY Zone, our event activation within Draft Town, where we would be filming the Facebook Live with MJD and Ike. We quickly tested and did troubleshooting prior to go-live time and ensured everything was ready. We had a team of 4 people to pull this off, everyone wearing a different hat.

I manned the camera and made sure everything was working smoothly while another team member was off-camera guiding the conversation with MJD and Ike and interspersing the segment with fan questions from those who gathered to catch the experience live from the XFINITY Zone. The other two team members were responsible for monitoring any questions that came in via the live broadcast and responding where necessary and another had headphones in making sure that the stream continued on seamlessly and that sound quality was always good.

The segment was 15 minutes long and went off without a hitch. During this time, MJD and Ike discussed first pick predictions and the latest fashion trends from all of the NFL’s next top athletes. We had a pretty penny (cannot disclose client’s budget) which was used to promote this segment and to-date this Facebook Live has 437,000 views.

At the end of the day, we left with a very happy client and partner and were able to successfully execute this task in an outdoor event space with spotty internet and LIVE fans present. A lot could have gone wrong but it went off without a hitch.

What did I learn from this experience?

  • Always be patient. There were a lot of cooks in the kitchen on this project – 4 team members on-site (excluding TONS back home and others on-site who weren’t involved in the live portion of the event), clients, partners, and talent. Keep calm and be patient with everyone and things will go much more smoothly.
  • Be flexible, wear whatever hat is required of you. In this situation I was the account manager and part of the execution team, however, by the end of the day, I was walking MJD and Ike to where they had to be after their time with us. It was a super humbling and gratifying experience being able to help out in ways that maybe didn’t fall within my given job title/description.
  • Test things multiple times, don’t assume things are going to work properly the first time. We had lots of troubleshooting the day before and even 30 minutes before we went live. It’s important to always be creative and come up with out-of-the-box solutions. Instead of using a microphone attached to our camera we instead leveraged the sound system within the activation footprint to ensure sound quality would be superb on our broadcast. That isn’t something we could have predicted or planned for.
  • Don’t try to do everything on your own. I mentioned all of the different roles our team members played to make this successful. Remember it is best to work with others than to be the hero on your own.

This was definitely the largest (and coolest) social activation of my career and one I’m proud to provide a case study on. Also, a massive shoutout to Maurice Jones-Drew and Ike Taylor who were the most patient and kind celebrities I’ve ever worked with.

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The Challenge of Being a Millennial Woman in 2018

Millennial – Adjective – Muh-len-nee-al: Person born between 1982 – 2000, child of baby boomers, classified as job jumpers, self-diagnosed with the fear of missing out (aka FOMO), cell phones affixed to the body at all times as an essential fifth limb, would prefer text-based communication to verbal, and have high ambition, drive, and desire flexibility over anything else (again, see FOMO).

No, that’s not Webster’s definition of that word, it’s mine. I am a millennial woman. And despite what anyone says, I believe it is incredibly challenging.

We live in a society where the term “Boss Lady” is thrown around an insane amount.

Women like Sheryl Sandberg have taught us to “lean-in” in whatever we do.

Joanna Gaines has shown us that you don’t have to be a man to work in construction and you can be a boss interior decorator with an insanely successful business even with four kids and number five on the way, dang girl – kudos to you.

J.K. Rowling was so poor when she started writing that she would write her stories on the back of tiny napkins inside English cafes but then created the most popular book series known to the entire millennial population (back off Twilight, you’ve got nothing on Potter).

You get the gist – the list of successful, powerful, boss ladies can go on and on. And that’s exactly what makes it hard to be a millennial woman in 2018. It’s challenging because of the immense amount of pressure put on us by society.

A few short years ago the workforce was still made up primarily of baby boomers (people born between 1946 and 1964). But, with the rise of social media as the main marketing tactic for businesses today and the world becoming more and more digital with each passing second things have changed. This also means the path that millennials are taking to find success is different than that of our boomer predecessors.

Let’s break it down…

  • Baby boomers were motivated by title, power, and prestige. Millennials are motivated by high salaries and the flexibility to work when, where, and how they want. Titles and power are much less important to millennials than the flexibility and feeling of accomplishment with the conclusion of a days work.
  • Baby boomers aren’t afraid of confrontation nor are they afraid to challenge the way things are being done. Well, neither are millennials. However, many boomers are stuck in their ways and frankly don’t understand technology as much as they think they do which causes millennials to have a hard time pushing through the necessary change required for organizations to succeed in today’s constantly changing landscape.
  • Baby boomers like hierarchy and structure. Millennials thrive off of achievement and flexibility. Baby boomers are having a hard time adapting to the new premise of employees working remote or telecommuting and therefore millennials are getting frustrated with the antiquated mentality and processes of many workplaces.
  • Baby boomers are competitive and want to be at the top and likely they want to be the ONLY one at the top. Millennials would much rather work on a team and have work be a joint effort where collaboration is king and everyone who contributes succeeds.
  • Baby boomers usually stayed in one organization or industry for the entirety of their career. Millennials are classified as job jumpers. They’re always keeping a pulse on the market and looking for that next best opportunity to help them develop or advance their career. It’s not a lack of dedication to work but just the name of the game to find something meaningful and flexible that will help them achieve not only what they desire out of their career but their life as a whole.

So what is the point?

I’ve worked in a variety of corporate and agency roles since I started my career back in 2013. The shift from the boomer way has not yet taken place in many organizations which is making millennials feel unsatisfied and ultimately unhappy. More and more of my friends are now choosing to go down the path of freelancing or self-employment because of this.

Because millennials prefer flexibility more than anything else many are making the choice of these alternative career paths because it enables you to answer to yourself, work the hours that YOU want to from wherever you want, take vacation or sick days when you find yourself needing a break, and overall it’s simply more rewarding when you’re doing work that you believe in and that you want to do.

Being a millennial, male or female, in 2018 is hard because of the expectations. You have a ton of college education and want to work hard but you don’t want to come to success in the same way previous generations have. The world truly has changed. Technology has changed us. And it’s especially hard as a woman because there are so many other successful boss ladies out there. Shouldn’t I be one too?

If you’re a boomer reading this, consider these key facts about millennials and the challenges we are having in finding fulfillment in our lives the next time you think of us as non-committed or not working as hard as you think we should be.

If you’re a millennial, challenge yourself with what it is that you really want out of life and find a way to make that happen. Even though it may be challenging, it’s also super empowering. Find your purpose, don’t back down or give up, and make it happen.