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What is TikTok and how is it engaging Generation Z?

If your parents were on Facebook and Instagram, wouldn’t you want an alternative platform to connect with friends? It’s a no-brainer that Generation Z does. Enter the new social platform – TikTok.

To be exact, 41 per cent of TikTok-ers are between the age of 16 and 24 according to Globalwebindex. Many of which likely don’t appreciate the original TikTok song by Kesha as much as I do.

It’s a great reminder that social platforms are made and perfected by their daily users. It’s the users that wanted a new way to share and engage with friends. It’s also these creators that are developing a new community to share, connect, and entertain.

I’m optimistic that the platform will hold on throughout 2020 but the power behind giant companies like Facebook and Google won’t let this little company capture audiences without a fight.

Here are the five things you need to know about the platform:

1. TikTok content should entertain: Content getting the most attention entertains first. With music at the center of the app, TikTok gives users access to the most popular music on the charts, making it easy for individuals to recreate topical content. As users easily scroll through 20-30 videos within five minutes, the content should be creative and attention-grabbing. These users don’t like any content that interrupts their experience or feels like it doesn’t fit.

2. Adapt your content to the community by leveraging what users expect to see. Combine different elements like challenges, trending music and jump transformations to tell a unique story. Stay tuned on the discover page to see what’s trending in the community.

3. TikTok campaigns can drive sales: Users like a good challenge that’s why brands like Chipotle or Kroger took to the platform to challenge fans to join them. Chipotle held a #GuacDance challenge and received over a quarter of a million content submissions and 430 million video plays during its first six days. Kroger held a #TransformUrDorm challenge which asked users to post before and after videos of their dorm makeovers using products from Kroger’s.

4. Influencer exists here too! Check out Influencer Grid to search for the most popular TikTok creators based on followers, video views, topics or engagement rates. In Canada, the most popular users are Eric Struk, Sophia Diamond or Anna McNulty. These influencers can drive crowds of teens like the Beatles or Elvis used to do, as a few influencers recently took to the Eaton Centre to show how to draw a crowd.

5. Organic engagement won’t last long: For many of these platforms, their objectives are driving daily active users and then monetizing them. With an advertising page and a growing Canadian account team, if you want to take part in the early adoption phase of this community, act now.

Katie Boland is an Account Director at ruckus digital. Drafted with notes from APEX PR coordinator and huge TikTok fan, Jesse Cecchetto. Need help with

your social strategy? Drop us a line.

2019 Reflection Blog Post – The Pivot

2019 was the year of podcasting for me. As one of APEX’s in-house podcast producers, one of my favourite projects was producing our very own podcast The Pivot, based on the CMO Lab research we conducted in 2018.

The Pivot is the qualitative aspect of the CMO Lab to further peel the onion on why 53 per cent of Canadian marketers haven’t shifted their strategies in the last few years, even though 98 per cent of CMOs believe that brand and organizational reputation have only become more important.

What a year we’ve had with The Pivot! From growing the producing team from 3 to 7, to chatting with some of Canada’s top marketers about strategy and the shifts along the way, it has certainly been an enriching project. The year ended with a bang – with season 3 wrapping up with a discussion about Canada’s cannabis sector with Andrew Rusk of Canopy Growth.

We had the chance to delve into some great campaigns – Lori Davison of the SickKids foundation walked us through the process of the VS. Limits campaign and the team at Hershey Canada chatted with us about the Oh Henry 4:25 campaign. My personal favourite is our discussion on reputation management with Brad Ross, chief communications officer at the City of Toronto.

Going into this podcast, I hoped for the episodes to be very conversational and insightful, without being too dense or disingenuous. With season 3 now wrapped up, I am happy with how each episode turned out. Each one was indeed conversational and light-hearted, with the guests sharing their own experiences in the industry and offering insights on their own approach to face disruption.

We also have a little fun with our guests – every time a guest says “authentic” or “authenticity” in the conversation, our host Ken Evans will stop and ask them to define it. Why? Because it’s an over-used word that can be very vague!

Looking back, the biggest hurdle in this project was scheduling – I’m sure every podcast has experienced this at least once! Let’s face it – marketers are BUSY! Nailing down a date for a recording can get tricky.

Overall, I’m very proud of this podcast and happy with the outcome. Each episode continues to get more downloads over time, and I’m looking forward to producing season 4 in the new year!

Ashley Villarroel is a Senior Consultant at APEX PR. How do you define authenticity?

Check out more 2019 highlights here!

2019 Reflection: Planet Fitness Awareness Campaign

Back in 2017, ruckus Digital successfully launched the Planet Fitness Canada social channels. While new locations are regularly opening across the nation, as a newer gym in Canada, there is still a level of education and brand awareness required for the Canadian audience.

December and January is a busy time for the fitness industry as Canadians look to join gyms and fulfill fitness New Year’s resolutions. To put Planet Fitness at the forefront of Canadian minds, we needed to create an awareness campaign that would tell social media users who Planet Fitness is and why they should join.

Since Planet Fitness’ brand voice is fun and sassy, we wanted to develop a campaign that not only boasted Planet Fitness membership perks and prices (which are extremely competitive), but that also stayed true to their unique tone. As an added challenge, we wanted to attribute as much of our budget as possible to paid social advertising to maximize reach, which meant we wanted to create assets without the use of production studio.

The result was a “Reactions” campaign – a series of overly and comically expressive stock models in Planet Fitness branded imagery with captions that spoke to Planet Fitness features in relatable, meme-like ways.

There was a moment during the ideation where I found myself feeling genuinely concerned we were going to have a hard time finding a winning idea – but when the idea came, it felt so natural and obvious, and one of those few times where you toot your own horn and think “genius!”

Once the base of the idea was created, the captions came easily, and it’s a campaign I’m very proud of.

The campaign ran from the end of December 2018 until early 2019 and resulted in over 1.75 million impressions and an average engagement rate of 12%, compared to an average engagement rate of 5% on always-on content.

A big takeaway I got from this project is realizing how a simple can idea can have a maximum effect. Despite brainstorming bigger ideas that would be more complex and harder to execute, the winning idea ended up being the one that was simplest to execute – meaning we could put those dollars directly back into media spend, which our team and the client team was very happy about.

Amanda Carreiro is the Senior Digital Content Manager at ruckus Digital.

Check out more 2019 highlights here!

#SMWTO – Providing LEGS for Real Time Community Influencer Moments

Earlier this month, the ruckus team had an opportunity to attend Social Media Week Toronto, which brought several leading social media marketers, influencers and social media platforms together to outline what’s new and upcoming for social media marketing. We live-tweeted, laughed, cried, and learned from the best.

This piece highlights our key takeaways from the conference and what inspired us the most:

1. A Moment Like This

FOMO and inclusion are the two main drivers in why individuals join social media. There is a large fear of missing out with an equally large drive to be included and feel part of a movement. Various speakers touched on the fact that to understand social media is to understand your audience. Challenges such as the ice bucket challenge, planking, and the kiki challenge give your audience the ability to be “cool” by partaking in a trending topic. They can then share their “entry” and be part of something bigger— a specific moment in time.

2. Community is King

We’ve all heard that content is king, but during the course of the week, it was all about community reigning supreme. Posting content for content sake is not going to earn you much engagement or clout with your followers. A few speakers hypothesized that the best method of creating content comes from seeking out your community and asking what they want to see. Conduct searches to see what accounts are saying about your brand, not just those who tag you, but the individuals who hashtag your organization or just write it out. By engaging with your community, you give them a voice, make them feel heard, and increase the chances of them sharing. Word of mouth is just as important online as in person.

3. Does your content have LEGS?

Yes, you read that right, but no, we don’t mean will it walk away. Creating content for the ad-averse is a real day challenge, and in order to grab those eyeballs, content should include at least one of the following elements:

Laugh Out Loud – If your content incorporates humour, individuals are willing to overlook the fact that it’s an ad for the reward of a good laugh.
Edgy – Pushing boundaries sparks conversation.
Gripping – Does it grab and hold your attention?
Sexy – make it visually appealing.

If your content doesn’t have legs, it needs to offer personal value in the forms of being inspirational, educational, or thought-provoking.

4. Real-Time

The theme of time and trends was woven through presentations on Twitter, 5G, Pinterest, and TikTok. Audience users expect immediate results and interactions. Whether it be in conversing online or partaking in a TikTok trend (which on average lasts about a week), they expect immediate response and reaction. With the development of 5G phone networks, we’ll be able to download and process information in 3-second increments. With Pinterest’s new lens, you can point your phone at an object and find out exactly where it’s from and purchase it on the spot. This is going to mean content creators (and everyday individuals) will have to work quickly to produce timely content while the idea is still fresh. On the flip side, this also means we’ll need to pay closer attention to real-time analytics in order to pivot in the moment.

5. Nano Influencers

In the era of fake news and bots, a lot of brands and agencies are shying away from influencers with large followings for nano influencers with more authentic reach. Much like brands, audiences don’t like the feeling of being duped when a piece of content gets thousands of likes and thousands of the same comment within moments of a post going live. Nano influencers offer more niche targeting with a higher likelihood of your branded content resonating with audiences leading to engagement.

Abby Radovski is an Account Director at ruckus Digital. Need help with your social strategy? Drop us a line.

Employee Spotlight: Emily Rivas on Her Journey to Senior Strategist

Emily Rivas is ruckus’ newest team member, joining our team as senior content and development strategist. Rivas joins us after spending over two years with Rogers Media. Get to know Emily below!

1. How has your past work or volunteer experience helped you in your current position?

In my previous position as Editor, Branded Content at St. Joseph Communications Heritage Group (formerly Rogers Media), I dealt with many clients from a variety of sectors (consumer, food and beverage, retail and more). In this role, I created branded content on behalf of magazines like Chatelaine, FLARE and Today’s Parent in response to RFPs. My role also required me to execute projects from beginning to end; including ideation, project management, content production and social media. It was a fast-paced, client-centric role that required me to think outside the box and deliver top-notch content to clients, just like at APEX and ruckus.

2. What are you most passionate about professionally? Personally?

Whether it’s through video, social, articles or an infographic, I’m passionate about making ideas come to life in the digital space! On a personal level, I’m passionate about staying creative and making time for the things I enjoy doing such as watching films, playing music, cooking, spending time with family and friends, or hitting up a yoga or spin class.

3. What moment or accomplishment in your career are you most proud of?

I can think of two, actually. One of them is a video series that I produced for Today’s Parent in partnership with First Response. In the series, eight women shared their personal stories on getting pregnant. The stories were very emotional and highlighted the fact that no two pregnancies are the same, and that it’s important to talk about touchy subject matters, too.

The second is a feature I produced for Chatelaine in partnership with Dove that showcased seven gorgeous women—from various walks of life and with different body types—in a variety of swimsuits. Our goal was to show that every body is a beach body. The women featured also shared brilliant advice on body positivity that we used in the story as well.   

Having these women open up and share their stories with me meant a lot, as did having the opportunity to create content that would make other women feel seen, understood and empowered.

4. How do you stay up to date on industry trends and best practices?

Of course, the daily use of social media in my job keeps me updated. But otherwise, reading various digital marketing websites and consuming content from a mix of outlets keeps me up to date on industry trends and best practices.

5. Three interesting facts about yourself.

  • I climbed Mt. Fuji three years ago. It was tough but so worth it.
  • I played bass in a band throughout high school and university.
  • My first language is Spanish. I was born in Toronto but didn’t learn English until I was four years old!

Let’s talk about how ruckus Digital can help you reach your business goals

Dear Abby, Tell Us About Yourself…

Abby Radovski joins ruckus as an account director, digital integration. Abby’s role will focus on senior client counsel and leadership on all digital aspects, and she will also support new business growth. Abby brings more than seven years of experience from numerous multi-national agencies, with a robust background in social media management, content creation and influencer relations.

1. How has your past work or volunteer experience helped you in your current position?

“I’ve been a member of Girl Guides of Canada for more than 20 years.  For the past decade, I’ve been a leader within the organization, mentoring girls of all ages to try new things, communicate effectively and believe in themselves.  My experiences as a guider have helped me hone my skills of group work, team leadership and exploring the unknown. The Girl Guides motto is to Be Prepared, and as a communicator, I can’t think of a better motto to apply to the PR world. While the media and digital landscapes constantly evolve, we research, anticipate, and prepare ourselves for the future. It also means I always have an extra phone charger, pen, paper, and band-aids in my purse.”

2. What are you most passionate about professionally? Personally?

“I’m a social butterfly by nature and this translates into my passion for all things social. If there is an event, festival or new social platform, I’m there! This passion is what drove me into becoming a dog and cider influencer. Managing two accounts, Instagram offered me the opportunity to flex my creativity, share photos and be part of an online community where I can be an over-enthusiastic dog mom and cider drinker. From a professional perspective, it also keeps me up to date on new features and what types of analytics are offered to influencers.”

3. What moment or accomplishment in your career are you most proud of?

“There are many milestones that I look back upon proudly. The first time I landed a media hit, introducing social media into a workplace and winning my first Silverleaf award all come to mind. That being said, it’s the relationships I’ve built over the past decade that I’m most proud of. From my classmates at Seneca’s corporate communications program, to individuals I interned with when I first entered the public relations world. Relationships are a key aspect of public relations both traditionally and digitally and I’m very proud to have maintained mine with people from all over the world.”

4. How do you stay up to date on industry trends and best practices?

“There are a variety of ways to stay up to date on industry trends. I subscribe to newsletters, attend conferences and conduct social media audits for my clients on a regular basis. However, I think the best way to keep your finger on the pulse is to actively use the tools and platforms and try the updates as they happen.”

5. Three interesting facts about yourself.

  • “I previously lived in Madrid, Spain for three years. During my time there I partook in all Spanish festivals from La Tomatina to Carnaval.
  • I initially studied criminology in university before switching to a double major in anthropology and sociology in my third year.
  • I’m a dog mom to a large Cane Corso rescue named Knight who I frequently dress up for holidays.”

Check out our other blogs and podcasts

Tales from a Digital Intern: Aaron

Aaron Short is ruckus Digital’s newest intern, joining the digital marketing and creative team. Aaron attended Durham College, completing an advanced diploma in public relations and then a postgraduate sports business management program. Before joining ruckus, he most recently spent six months as a communications and marketing intern for the Ontario Basketball Association.

Ever wonder what it’s like to intern at a public relations or marketing agency? Our intern Aaron answered some questions about his time here at ruckus!

1. What got you into PR?

“In high school I really enjoyed writing a sports column in my local newspaper about my school’s sports teams. That passion for writing guided me in the direction of media but I wasn’t 100% sure that journalism was the best for me. I saw PR as an interesting profession because it was so diverse and full of opportunity compared to traditional journalism. Thus, I decided to enroll in the Public Relations program at Durham College which opened the door for me to pursue a career in PR. ”

2. What do you think is the best quality to have in PR?

“I think the best quality to have in PR is a great personality. There is a large amount of relationship building that takes place in the PR industry and if you’re not someone who can easily connect with others it makes life more difficult. The relationships you need to build go past your coworkers and management. You have clients, third party partners, vendors and many more. You never know how people can be able to help you and your organization so being able to quickly and effectively connect with people is a major key to a successful PR career. .”

3. How do you keep up with ongoing projects?

“With this being my first agency experience I was shocked to say the least on how fast-paced it really is. I quickly learned that trying to remember everything that’s going on by only writing down the bare details wasn’t going to keep me as organized as I needed to be. So, I’ve gotten in the habit of keeping fairly detailed notes about ongoing and future projects. From there I organize my priorities and set a timeline. I like to add things into my calendar, so I’m reminded to stay on track or even just so I’m sure I have time on a certain day to get a project done. Of course, things pop up all the time that can mess with your priorities and timelines and that’s why it’s vital to have an open line of communication with your team. People are really understanding and accommodating when they know what’s going on and where you’re coming from.”

4. Being so new to PR, how do you think things are going to change?

“I honestly have no clue how things are going to change. Obviously, technology is continuously taking over and digital has never been more important. Video and AI are rising and important to Marketers and PR professionals alike. But I’m not sure what role AI will play in the future or if more emerging technologies will steal the spotlight. With the shrinking media landscape, Influencers are integral to marketing strategies going forward. However, I personally see public trust in influencers will dip in the near future. As people become more aware of the influencer industry i feel they will become better at detecting those who are in it solely for the money and those who are genuine. Watch for a rise in micro-influencer utilization because of this.”

5. What has been your biggest take away from your current internship?

“Coming into this internship I had a couple of misconceptions about agencies. First of all, I thought of agencies as being mostly consumer-based with a focus on fashion and beauty. I assumed If you’re not well-versed in either of these (which I’m not) you won’t fit in or excel in an agency. I found out quickly that certain agencies are like this but not all. ruckus and Apex have a wide variety of clients and thus a wide variety of personalities which creates a really interesting and inviting culture. As well I expected agencies to be very demanding and serious. Of course, agencies are still fast-paced and can get somewhat intense, but there is a lot more time to talk, laugh and have fun than I would have imagined. We take our work seriously but at the same time, we try to have as much fun on the job as we can. Because at the end of the day, if you enjoy where you work, you’re more likely to want to work hard and stay for a while.”

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5Q’s: Comedic Artist AManLikeJoseph

AManLikeJoseph
Find him on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter

Aaron from ruckus Digital chatted with @AManLikeJoseph about his beginnings in comedy and music as well as ways he has cultivated his loyal and engaged following.

1. What first attracted you to the comedy industry?

“What first attracted me to comedy was Vine and then later on Instagram grabbed my attention. Seeing other people creating six seconds to a minute videos that were entertaining or comedic was something I thought I could do. Especially because I was always the class clown at school, and you know the tings love comedy. But really @renny was the first person to inspire me to actually do skits.”

2. What are some ways that you’ve grown your following and how have you kept them engaged? 

“When I would make videos, I would really attack the Toronto audience. So, I’d basically make fun of the Toronto culture through comedy but also base my content on real life experiences. People love videos they can relate to so I slowly transitioned to more global skits. While doing that, I started getting into music which was my first passion. This transition caught everyone off guard, but I feel like making videos can get redundant so it’s always good to switch it up.”

3. How will advancements in technology affect your work? 

“Everything is always changing so as a creator/artist, it’s important to adapt and follow the latest trends. I don’t think technology will ever be able to replace creators so with that being said I don’t personally believe it will affect my work.”

4. Who are some of your favourite individuals to follow?

All of these guys are different in their own way, some are artists and some are creators, but I enjoy their content the most right now.
@renny
@the6atsix
@booggz_gme
@tedddles
@liltecca

5. Do you think it’s important to align yourself with organizations that represent you and your values? Why or why not? 

“Yeah for sure it’s important to align with like-minded brands. I feel like it would be a lot easier to get your vision across working with an organization that suits you.”

Aaron Short is a Digital Marketing Intern at ruckus Digital.

Read more 5 questions of people we find interesting.

5Qs: Lifestyle blogger Maca Atencio

Maca Atencio (HeyMaca)
Find HeyMaca on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and at heymaca.ca

Emily Rivas from ruckus Digital recently chatted with influencer and lifestyle blogger Maca Atencio on how she started HeyMaca and what it is about her content that keeps her audience so engaged.

1. What first attracted you to the industry?

“I think it was natural step for me to start a blog and get into content creation. I graduated in marketing and sales, worked as a marketing and advertising manager at an agency in Venezuela, then ended up working as a digital strategist in Montreal, planning sponsored content for different media outlets. Along the way, I got into interior design, too. What I love most about this industry is how I can be on the “other” side as a creator and help brands produce beautiful imagery, videos and fun content to promote product launches.”

2. What are some ways that you’ve grown your following and how have you kept them engaged? 

“I think the unique style that HeyMaca has across all platforms has helped me a lot. I started the blog during my first mat leave about seven years ago. That’s when I began growing the readership, followers and community I have now (and all with no Instagram around!) I keep them engaged by creating fun content. From real stories on Instagram, to useful tips on the blog, and fun recipes they can cook with their loved ones–keeping my audience inspired is my number one goal as a creator. We also just expanded our business a month ago by launching an online shop. One of my dreams has always been to get our community wearing and loving our products.”

 3. How will advancements in technology affect your work? 

“I don’t think it will affect my work negatively. On the contrary, I’ve seen how digital media has evolved and how it can benefit us. Smarter tracking and planning in the industry are coming and that makes me so excited!” 

4. Who are some of your favourite individuals to follow?

I have so many favourites! But here are a few specific ones I love:
@_lucilel_
@ohjoy
@colourspeak_kerry_
@ananewyork
@annaroslily

5. Do you think it’s important to align yourself with organizations that represent you and your values? Why or why not? 

“Absolutely! At HeyMaca, we partner with brands and products that we use, love and believe in. Our mantra is to show our genuine selves across all platforms and in real life–for example, I love hugs and hug anyone upon meeting them the first time.”

Emily Rivas is a senior strategist at ruckus Digital.

Read more 5 questions of people we find interesting.

Crystal Ball 2019: The significance of word of mouth in the era of information overload.

With 2019 ramping up, expect new trends throughout the news, social media, technology and more. At APEX and ruckus digital we will be sharing our predictions on some of these trends that we think will define 2019 (or at least part of it).

Vy Do, Digital & Creative Content intern, shares her view on how people are influenced and the power of word of mouth in 2019.

Bookstores are the main place where I learn about which books are most popular, which genres they belong to, which ones are staff picks; but, ironically, none of this information contributes to my purchase decision.

I have heard about “Educated,” “Becoming,” and “Small Fry” – all of them are from notable women, but I didn’t really pay attention to the praises they received on social media and in the newspaper.

Instead, I was influenced by a stranger on a subway who devoured “educated” in the early commuting hours.

I was influenced by my friend on “Goodreads,” the world’s largest site for book recommendations, who gave the book five stars.

I rely on these people because they have nothing to gain from suggesting a book.

When presented with so many choices, people seek advice from those they trust because it is too risky to listen to someone who may have received incentives for promoting something.

People are influenced by their friends of friends, too. Something like “I haven’t tried it but my friend Bobby said that…” may be just enough to be taken into consideration. Word-of-mouth is the oldest, yet most effective form of marketing.

We are bombarded with too much information daily, including fake news, so I believe people will turn back to people they know for advice.

Social content and paid ads may raise awareness for a product/service, but user-generated content and communities/forums are where consumers will test what they see and read.

So what is the implication for advertisers?

Care about what your audience may think and feel about your product. Spending money promoting something is not enough, think about how anyone your audience comes into contact with could influence your customer’s ultimate purchase. 

Vy Do is a Digital & Creative Content intern at APEX Public Relations. Learn more about what influences consumer’s purchase decision by visiting our website or emailing us at

bigger@apexpr.com

Check out more of our Crystal Ball series to know what other trends to expect in 2019.