Raka Weekly Roundup: LinkedIn Groups Regroup, IGTV Business, and Giphy Tells Stories

LinkedIn Groups

Welcome to the Raka Weekly Roundup, where we cover the week’s news and trends and tell you exactly what you need to know. This week, LinkedIn Groups is changing things up, Instagram tries to appeal to businesses with their new video platform, and Giphy is telling stories.

LinkedIn Groups: Out with the old, in with the new

LinkedIn, with over 500 million users and 2 million Groups, notified select Groups power users this week that they are set to launch updates to the platform by the end of August.

Here’s what’s new.

LinkedIn is integrating Groups back into the main website and mobile app, giving more visibility and accessibility to Group discussions. The move was inspired by the lack of interest garnered by LinkedIn’s standalone Groups app, which was launched in 2015 and axed this past February.

With this integration, both members and admins will be able to reply to comments, edit posts, and post directly to the Group. Admins will be able to manage Groups on both the iOS and Android LinkedIn app. Users will also have the ability to add video and GIFs to posts, a long-awaited feature users have been asking for. Soon to follow are notifications about Group activities and conversations that will be part of the LinkedIn feed.

Other changes include the LinkedIn Groups moderator role being downgraded to a member, leaving only owners and manager roles. So if a moderator needs to manage a Group, LinkedIn advises making sure they are upgraded to a manager.

LinkedIn warned users that the moderation queues, as well as admin and auto-generated Group emails, will be unavailable for the next few months as these updates are being made. This has inspired concern among some who use Group emails to push out important information to its users. Us? We’ll welcome not getting spammed, honestly.

All in all, it seems like these changes will prove positive for both LinkedIn and their many groupies. Groupers?

Instagram appeals to businesses to use a new long-form video platform

Looking for a way to expand your offerings, reach new customers, and increase usage? Then you might want to consider using IGTV, Instagram’s new platform for showcasing long-form vertical video.

Instagram first launched IGTV in June of this year and it is definitely getting attention as the new shiny object on the social media block. The company is also trumpeting it as an opportunity for businesses to promote themselves.

When Instagram announced IGTV on their blog for businesses, they pointed out that people are getting away from watching television and spending more time watching digital video. Undeniably true. So to appeal to businesses, they are asserting that longer-form vertical video makes it “easier to use deeper storytelling to get closer to a brand’s audience and be discovered by new people.”

They go on to say, “As with stories, IGTV is built on Instagram leveraging a global community of more than 800M people. When your followers open IGTV, they will instantly see original content from you, and new people can also discover your brand.”

It’s too early to tell the real impact IGTV will have on businesses. We don’t see it as something they will run toward full force, but merely as another opportunity to build brand awareness. If businesses currently have a strong Instagram following the likelihood of them trying and eventually latching onto IGTV is probably pretty good.

However, before putting all of your eggs in this vertical video basket, keep in mind the real question you’ll have to answer for the folks in the corner office, “How will using IGTV boost the bottom line?” Be sure to have your style down first!

style guide

Giphy Stories take front and center

Last week, we talked about Facebook stories becoming more visible on Facebook business Pages and this week, Giphy announced it’s refreshing its homepage to make stories more visible as well.

For Giphy, adding Stories presents an opportunity to build out their advertising business they started earlier this summer after launching their in-house creative agency to work with brands on GIF-based ads. Now, these same brands are actually paying Giphy to promote their GIFs on their website and mobile app.

Right now, Giphy Stories are limited to curated collections by the company’s editorial team under three categories: Sports, Entertainment, and Reactions.

For instance, want to know what happened at the VMA’s? Check out these Giphy Stories:

via GIPHY

via GIPHY

Later this year, Giphy is planning to open up the creation and distribution of Stories to partners and artists so they can tell their own curated stories. In fact, they’re teasing this launch with the Film Fest, a contest for struggling filmmakers to create original stories as a GIF no longer than 18 seconds. There will be a cash prize and an invitation-only festival in November, and we’re looking forward to seeing what comes of it.

This New York City-based company has more than 300 million daily active users and has managed to become the largest search engine for six-second videos, pulling in 10 percent of the search traffic on Google. Not bad for a five-year-old startup with fewer than 100 employees.

Their story is definitely one to watch.

If you’d like to talk about these trends, or need help getting any of your marketing initiatives off the ground, reach out to us!

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