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4 Must-Have Tools to Help You Create Amazing Social Media Content

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As a marketer, you generally have a range of different goals that you’re concurrently working towards at any given time. Those could include boosting brand awareness, generating more leads, increasing conversions, etc.

In a social media context, in order to achieve the best results, you need great content. The digital space is highly competitive, and in order to grab and hold attention, you need to consistently create new and engaging material, likely in a variety of formats.

And the importance of such efforts can’t be overstated. These days, some 54% of social browsers use social platforms to research brands and products.

With great social media content, you can gain attention, build trust, and increase brand awareness among your ideal audience – and ultimately, with the right strategy and the right content, those efforts will help you boost sales and grow your business.

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It’s your content that’s the first step, and in order to create great content for social media, consistently, you need the right tools.

Here are four must-have tools that will help in your social content efforts.

1. Animoto.com

Video is the most shared, and most engaging content type, on average, across all social media platforms. These days, most platforms incorporate autoplay video, which can help to grab attention as people scroll through their feeds, while it’s much easier, in general, for consumers to take in a short video summary, as opposed to a written blog post.

As such, you need to be considering if and how you can utilize video in your approach – but creating marketing videos can seem daunting at first.

With Animoto, however, you can start creating professional videos for your social media campaigns, even if you don’t have a big budget or design skills.

First of all, Animoto provides templates for different needs. Some of the templates available on Animoto include:

  • Behind the scenes videos
  • Explainer videos
  • Product and service promotion
  • Testimonials
  • Tutorials

After finding the template you want to customize, Animoto has a simple editor that even a first-time user won’t have problems using. It’s incredibly easy to upload videos, images, and music to create unique videos.

And even if you don’t have video clips and imagery to use, Animoto has a library of over a million videos, images and licensed music that you can use to create a unique video.

When you’re done creating your video, Animoto enables you to share directly to your social media pages. And with options to share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and 10 other channels, you won’t even have to leave Animoto to share your video.

Alternatively, if you’re creating a video for a future campaign, you can download your video content in 360p, 480p, 720p, and 1080p resolutions.

2. Canva.com

You’ve no doubt heard that an image is worth a thousand words. Well, there’s that – and there’s also the fact that images perform better than text-only updates on most major social networks.

A Buffer study found that tweets with images, for example, see 150% more retweets, and 89% more favorites, than those without.

Tweets with images beat tweets without images on every engagement metric, and the same is true for pretty much and social network.

So you need visuals – and fortunately, there are now numerous, easy-to-use tools to help in your image creation process.

Canva is one of the best in the market, and with over 8,000 templates for social media posts, you’re bound to find templates for any occasion.

Canva’s templates are grouped under different social media channels, enabling you to easily create images which meet the size requirements of each social media platform. You also have the option to upload your own images to edit them.

Editing your images is easy, even for a non-designer, as Canva’s drag-and-drop editor enables you to customize images and add text. And the best part is that you have access to all these features with a basic, free account

Canva also enables you to add up to 20 teams to a profile, with each team comprising up to 3,000 members. You can also assign roles to each team member.

3. Buzzsumo.com

Without data, creating the right social media content for your audience is just guesswork. But with BuzzSumo in your arsenal, you can ensure that you hone in on the exact key topics and content types that resonate most within your target market.​

BuzzSumo enables you to find the best performing content on any topic or website.

Let’s say you want to create a piece of content about how to start a business – you can enter the topic into BuzzSumo, and the tool will return a listing of posts on the subject that have seen the most social media media shares over the last week, month, year, etc. You can also filter these results based on content type, word count, and even country.

As you can see in this example, BuzzSumo also provides a listing of the social media channels where each post has seen the most shares, providing you with insight into where to focus your efforts when promoting your content.

Apart from searching for topics, you can also, as noted, search for specific websites. By entering your competitor’s website, for example, BuzzSumo can show you their best-performing content, which again gives you more data insights to base your own approach upon.

BuzzSumo also provides listening tools which can track what people say about your business, industry, or competitors. From these mentions, you can find leads, sales opportunities, customer complaints or buyer’s pain points.

You can also set up alerts for key term mentions, so that you’re made aware of them in real-time.

4. Feedly.com

As a social media marketer, you also need to stay up to date with industry news – while at the same time, it’s worth keeping tabs on what your competitors are publishing, and learning from their approach.

You can, of course, just look up the individual websites for each, every day, but Feedly can save you a heap of time by delivering a stream of the latest updates in one single feed.

You can create feeds based on your preferred topics, and after that, you can add sources to your feeds. Using the content from your sources, Feedly will make suggestions of similar sites.

Consequently, content discovery becomes easier for a particular topic. In addition, Feedly allows you to save articles to Pocket and Evernote.

And apart from catching up with industry trends and competitors, Feedly is useful for social media content curation.

To make content curation easier, you can connect your feeds to Buffer, Hootsuite, Zapier, or IFTTT. This makes it easy to add relevant content to your social update queue. If you work with a team, Feedly also enables you to share your lists with team members.

Conclusion

To achieve your social media campaign targets, you need to create and share amazing content with your audience. This is the best way to build trust, and ultimately, to drive your audience towards taking further action.

The tools in this list all help with different aspects of the content creation process. Find the right ones for you and start creating social media content that gets results.

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Emergencies Act: Social media was key to protests, expert says

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OTTAWA –

Social media acted as the “central nervous system” of the “Freedom Convoy” protest in Ottawa last winter, the Public Order Emergency Commission heard Tuesday as it considered the role of misinformation in the lead up to the invocation of the Emergencies Act.

The policy phase this week follows six weeks of fact-finding hearings into the events that led to that decision, which included testimony about online threats and the role social media played in organizing the protest against COVID-19 public health measures.

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Before thousands of trucks started rolling toward Ottawa last January, a loose group of protest organizers communicated mainly over TikTok and Facebook, the commission heard over those weeks of testimony. Many of them had never met in person until the protest began.

“Social media was the central nervous system of the convoy, and exploration of its role crosses numerous domains, such as law, psychology, history, sociology and public policy, to name a few,” Emily Laidlaw, the Canada Research Chair in Cybersecurity Law at the University of Calgary, wrote in a report for the commission.

Social media was used to fundraise, connect organizers and spread their message. It was also used to contrast the accounts of traditional media outlets and provide a different view of what was happening on the ground, Dax D’Orazio, a political scientist and post-doctoral fellow with Queen’s University, testified during an expert panel discussion before the commission Tuesday.

“It was a way of creating meaning, finding community and building, eventually, momentum for social and a political movement,” he said.

The inquiry is seeking the expert input to bolster its analysis of whether the government was right to use the Emergencies Act in response to protests that took over downtown Ottawa and halted trade at several border crossings.

The expert testimony will inform Commissioner Paul Rouleau’s recommendations about how to modernize the Emergencies Act and identify other areas for further study. It will also help him and his team study the impact of the purposeful or inadvertent spread of false information during the protest, which was explicitly written into the commission’s mandate.

Experts testified that regulating disinformation is a difficult prospect, especially since it’s not illegal to spread falsehoods.

“It’s lawful but awful,” said Laidlaw during the panel discussion. “For the government to create legislation that targets lawful expression, it likely won’t survive constitutional scrutiny.”

The experts defined disinformation as the intentional spread of false information, while misinformation was described as people spreading false information that they themselves believe to be true.

It would be difficult to draft laws that distinguish between the two, said Jonathon Penney, a legal scholar at York University. “It’s a question of intent,” he said.

The panellists also explored the relationship between extremist views and social media, which can provide an echo chamber that serves to confirm people’s existing biases.

Studies have shown the internet can help entrench extremist values, said Vivek Venkatesh, an education professor at Concordia University.

People who subscribe to extremist views increasingly turn to “fringe media” instead of taking in news from traditional sources, said David Morin, a national security expert with Sherbrook University, who spoke at the panel in French.

He said “self-made journalists” associated with those fringe outlets were present in Ottawa during the convoy protest, and produced “alternative information” for viewers.

For example, Morin said some alternative media sources reported that hundreds of thousands of protesters attended the Ottawa demonstration, when police reports show the true number was far lower.

The inquiry is on a tight timeline to complete its work, with Rouleau expected to submit final recommendations to Parliament at the beginning of February.

Another panel on the flow of essential goods and services, critical infrastructure and trade corridors was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2022.

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U.S., European media outlets urge end to prosecution of Julian Assange

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WASHINGTON –

The United States should end its prosecution of Julian Assange, leading media outlets from the United States and Europe that had collaborated with the WikiLeaks founder said on Monday, citing press freedom concerns.

“This indictment sets a dangerous precedent, and threatens to undermine America’s First Amendment and the freedom of the press,” editors and publishers of the Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, and El País said in an open letter.

Assange is wanted by U.S. authorities on 18 counts, including a spying charge, related to WikiLeaks’ release of confidential U.S. military records and diplomatic cables. His supporters say he is an anti-establishment hero who has been victimized because he exposed U.S. wrongdoing, including in conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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Monday marked twelve years since those media outlets collaborated to release excerpts from over 250,000 documents obtained by Assange in the so-called “Cablegate” leak.

The material was leaked to WikiLeaks by the then American soldier Chelsea Manning and revealed the inner workings of U.S. diplomacy around the globe. The documents exposed “corruption, diplomatic scandals and spy affairs on an international scale,” the letter said.

In August, a group of journalists and lawyers sued the CIA and its former director Mike Pompeo over allegations the intelligence agency spied on them when they visited Assange during his stay in Ecuador’s embassy in London.

Assange spent seven years in the embassy before being dragged out and jailed in 2019 for breaching bail conditions. He has remained in prison in London while his extradition case is decided. If extradited to the United States, he faces a sentence of up to 175 years in an American maximum security prison.

His legal team has appealed to the High Court in London to block his extradition in a legal battle that has dragged on for more than a decade.

“Publishing is not a crime,” the media outlets said in their letter on Monday.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien

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Top media outlets demand US end prosecution of Julian Assange

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US charges against WikiLeaks founder threaten press freedom and set ‘dangerous precedent’, US and European media say.

The United States must end its prosecution of Julian Assange, top global media organizations have urged, saying the US indictment against the WikiLeaks founder threatens free expression and freedom of the press.

In an open letter on Monday, five leading media outlets denounced the US’s prosecution against Assange, who is wanted on 18 counts, including a spying charge.

“This indictment sets a dangerous precedent and threatens to undermine America’s First Amendment and the freedom of the press,” wrote the editors and publishers of The New York Times, The Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and El Pais.

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“Holding governments accountable is part of the core mission of a free press in a democracy.”

The letter comes exactly 12 years after the media outlets published revelations gleaned from WikiLeaks’s release of more than 250,000 confidential US military records and diplomatic cables, known as “Cablegate”.

The material was leaked to WikiLeaks by then-US soldier Chelsea Manning and revealed the inner workings of Washington’s diplomacy around the world.

The documents exposed “corruption, diplomatic scandals and spy affairs on an international scale”, Monday’s letter said.

“Twelve years after the publication of ‘Cablegate’, it is time for the US government to end its prosecution of Julian Assange for publishing secrets. Publishing is not a crime,” the media outlets said.

The 2019 US justice department indictment accused Assange of causing “serious damage” to US national security with the leak, as well as putting US government sources in danger of physical harm or detention.

But Assange’s supporters say he is being prosecuted for exposing US wrongdoing, including those committed during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

He remains in custody in Britain pending a US extradition request to face trial and could face up to 175 years in prison in the US if found guilty. Assange is appealing against the British government’s approval of his extradition.

Monday’s letter noted that, when Barack Obama was president and Joe Biden his vice president, the US administration held off on indicting Assange, as journalists involved could have also had to face prosecution.

That changed under President Donald Trump, when the US justice department charged Assange under the 1917 Espionage Act, which the media outlets said “has never been used to prosecute a publisher or broadcaster”.

The letter is the latest example of pressure on President Biden’s administration to end Assange’s prosecution.

Last year, leading human rights groups, including Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union, called on Washington to drop the charges.

“The indictment of Mr Assange threatens press freedom because much of the conduct described in the indictment is conduct that journalists engage in routinely – and that they must engage in in order to do the work the public needs them to do,” they wrote.

In July, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador also said he gave a letter to Biden in defence of Assange, while also renewing a previous offer of asylum to the WikiLeaks founder.

“I left a letter to the president about Assange, explaining that he did not commit any serious crime, did not cause anyone’s death, did not violate any human rights, and that he exercised his freedom, and that arresting him would mean a permanent affront to freedom of expression,” Lopez Obrador said.

Colombia’s left-wing President Gustavo Petro said last week that he met with WikiLeaks spokespeople and planned to ask Biden not to charge a journalist “just for telling the truth”.

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