How LinkedIn Is Changing Perceptions With #InItTogether -The Digital Marketing Superhero’s Club Volume 1 Chapter 9

30-day video challenges are all the rage but are they worth the effort? 2 weeks into my challenge I decided it was time to evaluate. What are the benefits and what are the downsides of posting a video a day to my Facebook page?

Our talented guest this week is Dr. Ai Addyson-Zhangtalks from Classrooms Without Walls. She tells us about a fascinating UGC campaign from LinkedIn that is breaking down the perception of what LinkedIn is and who it is for.

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Superhero Tips – 15 Days In: The Ups And Downs Of The 30-Day Video Challenge

We’re just 2 weeks into our video challenge in the Digital Marketing Superheroes Facebook group. As someone who creates video regularly and has been for years, I didn’t realise I’d learn so much from the process.

But I have. Here are some of my takeaways so far

1. Live does better

When I started doing Facebook live, reach, views and engagement were massive. You didn’t have to do anything too fancy, Facebook would throw your posts in front of people and they would watch, and engage.

But times have changed Facebook has moved on. I wasn’t convinced that Live would still perform better than pre-recorded, uploaded video but so far it does.

But it may not be because it’s live. Facebook is pushing us to create 3-minute video posts. My Live broadcasts almost always meet this criterion. My pre-recorded don’t.

2. Make Facebook Video 3 minutes + long.

If that’s what they want, give it to them and they’ll reward you with reach. See above.

3. LinkedIn likes tutorials

It seemed a waste to create videos and just post them on Facebook so I’ve been experimenting with other networks.

The videos I’ve seen on LinkedIn in the past have always been short, opinion pieces so I was surprised that my most successful video there was a tutorial.

Maybe it’s the novelty of something different on LinkedIn that made it work.

Which brings me to…

4. Getting comfortable with opinion pieces.

Among those tutorials, tips and live video I’ve been sharing I’ve included a few opinion posts.

Although I cringe when I post them these posts seem to do well on Facebook and provoke discussion. I’ll have to get over my fear and do more of this.

5. IGTV is not dead

Just for fun, I thought I’d try an IGTV video. I shot and edited a tutorial about the new Instagram quiz stickers on my phone, posted it to IGTV and cross-posted to Facebook. It worked. I got comments straight away and more views than my previous IGTV videos ever got. This is partly due to the teaser video Instagram now post to your feed when you create one.

6. Twitter live works

My first live video on Periscope didn’t go so well. It’s a long story involving lack of planning, a dark room and a camera angle that gave me far more chins than is humanly possible.

I have used Periscope/Twitter Live occasionally since but never with much success.

As part of the challenge, I broadcast live to Periscope and Facebook at the same time. To my surprised people watched on Twitter.

It’s not just live. Pre-recorded video I’ve posted has also worked well. The platform is definitely warming to video

7. Reach and engagement on my Facebook page are up

The goal of the challenge has been to grow reach and engagement on our Facebook pages and so far it seems to be working.

In week one my reach increased but engagement dropped slightly. In week two both had increased significantly.

But there’s a downside…

8. More negative feedback

One of the concerns people had when we started the challenge was that posting so frequently to our page would annoy people.

I figured that because Facebook showed your posts to so few people there was little danger of that.

But when I looked at my negative feedback stats I noticed that there had been a rise in negative feedback mostly poss hides.

9. Creativity Spurt

I thought it would be hard to come up with ideas for videos but almost as soon as I started, my brain went into overdrive and I now have a bunch of ideas saved in my notes app.

10. It’s getting quicker to make them

Because I have to turn out a video a day I have to make them faster. I have no time for fancy editing and you know what, that doesn’t seem to be having a negative effect… hmmm

Superpower of the week – Reflector

Have you ever wanted to display your phone screen on your computer? Maybe you wanted to demonstrate how something to an audience without having them huddle around your phone? Maybe you wanted to make a recording of your screen to use in videos.

Reflector is an app for desktop that allows you to stream your phone to your computer. The screen appears in a phone frame and you can record what you are doing. 

In the recoring I said it was 30 dollars. In fact, it’s only $14.99. A bargain!

Superhero Interview – Dr. Ai Addyson-Zhang

Dr. Ai Addyson-Zhang is an educator and an entrepreneur. She received her MA and Ph.D. in communication from Syracuse University and the University of Maryland. Ai coaches education professionals to leverage social media to build powerful brands and communities. She is also the founder of Classroom Without Walls, and the host of a weekly live streaming show. She has recently interviewed Seth Godin on her show.

Ai’s story has been featured in Forbes, Inside Higher Education, Pearson Education, and Mark Schafer’s Tao of Twitter among others. She additionally contributes to Entrepreneur, Thrive Global, and HubSpot Academy’s Social Media Certification.

Today we have the first ever doctor to appear. So she’s already a doctor, now she’s going to be a superhero. Well, she’s already a superhero. Welcome to the show, Dr. Ai Addyson-Zhang.

Ai Addyson-Zhang

Thank you so much for having me.

Amanda Webb

And she’s from a… Well, she’s starting out. She’s just been telling me a big project, which is Classrooms Without Walls Academy. So before we go into talking about your favorite digital marketing campaign, you just have to tell me a little bit about that, because it’s so interesting.

Ai Addyson-Zhang

Oh, thank you so much, first off all for having me on your show Amanda. Super excited to be a super hero. And so I have been working in higher education for 10 plus years. I grew up in China but I came to the US many years ago. So I spent 20 years in China, half of my life in China, half of life my life in the US. And I have also I’ve been traveling a lot and giving talks at different universities. And I really start to see how our education is failing, not to serving, failing our children. It’s not training our children to have the necessary digital soft skills to succeed in the 21st century.

So after like 10 plus years in higher education, I have finally decided it is time to build my own school. And it is called Classroom Without Walls Academy. And actually, I have already been like reinventing education for quite a few years. Like you see what I do online, I have a weekly live-streaming show.

That is my effort to reinvent education and to really disrupt the notion that students have to go into a physical classroom to learn and I’m building this like digital classroom in the digital space where we have students from all over globe, 20-plus countries, people have joined my show.

And from the past, present, and future, every time when the show happens, people are literally from, like all types of different time zones, literally the past, the present, and the future. And I really enjoy that. And so this… But that is kind of only a smaller piece of what I’m doing with this Classroom Without Walls Academy. So I’m really excited to disrupt and transform education in a way that I can, outside of the system.

Amanda Webb

And I think your livestreams for anyone that hasn’t seen them before, you’re kind of famous. Well, you’re famous in my circles for your livestreams, because… Well actually, I’m not even as excited about your big guests as I am your smaller guests. They’re really interesting. So just tell me, I know you’ve had Seth Goden, you have Mark Schaefer coming up here. They’ve been on by the time that this goes live. So I just thought we definitely need to direct people towards that. So where can they find your live stream?

Ai Addyson-Zhang

I used to go live only on Facebook. But I don’t know if you remember a few weeks ago, Facebook for the entire day was not working.

Amanda Webb


Ai Addyson-Zhang

That was my wake up call. I realised how much I was depending on one single platform that is Facebook. So since that day, I decided to go live on multiple places. So now I go live on Facebook, including my personal page, my public page, on YouTube, and on Periscope/Twitter. People can join me live and my guests on any of those four places.

Amanda Webb

And that totally makes sense because they had another outage, I think yesterday or was it the day before, all the days are merging into one. Facebook is… I know they’re doing a lot of engineering work. So we’ll blame it on that. So it does make sense to diversify.

Ai Addyson-Zhang

I think so. Because, you know, I feel like as all of us probably are artists, we are digital marketers. And we just feel like sometimes, just so tied into one platform, be so obsessed, people do Facebook and people do Instagram stories and that is it. We need to build our own territory, our email list, our website, and so that’s kind of what I’m working on right now.

Amanda Webb

So talking about diversifying, your campaign that you want to talk about is one that is happening on LinkedIn, and it’s actually from LinkedIn. And I have to say, I hadn’t heard of it. So do you want to just introduce it, explain it to us?

Ai Addyson-Zhang

Yeah. So LinkedIn’s campaign #InItTogether. It’s one of my favourite social media campaigns. Because there are a few key features about this campaign and they really spotlight their audiences user generated content and ask them, what does success mean to them.

And you will see the organic content from people across the globe and sharing what it means to them, and what does success mean to them. And like going to work, what does even mean go to work, the impact, the deeper meaning they’re creating, and then the campaign really spotlights people have different colours, from different countries, in different professions. And I really, really loved that.

So user generated content, and they really spotlight diversity. And the hashtag is still going strong. I was, before the interview today, and I was actually just doing a quick hashtag search on LinkedIn and people are still using the hashtag and still sharing their organic stories of how they are transforming other people’s lives and how they are achieving success in their own way.

And even for me, I just added in it together for my latest LinkedIn video of how I am transforming, how I am changing education. I’m inviting others to join me so that we can be in it together.

So I really, really love this idea of it’s not just about the brand. But about us, what we can do together. It’s not just about me, but me and my audience. It’s not I’m only like, I create content and disseminate the content to you. But the audience and the brand have come together and create content together. And they also have, if you have a chance to watch some of their really short one-minute videos, very emotional, and very captivating. I really want to watch until the end, and I love those like short women’s stories and very nice.

Amanda Webb

I think… Just I suppose to explain how it works. So I totally missed this campaign but you’re right, the hashtag is up and running. And when I started looking because I was talking to you about it I thought I’d better go and research this campaign. Okay, two things stood out to me. Firstly, the videos they have that are promoting it are just brilliant and they’re so not LinkedIn. I think when we think about LinkedIn it’s like we have a bit of a yawn and a snooze. But they were really featuring yes, business owners, business people, but not people in suits with ties.

I think when I was watching it had a guy who was a guitarist, it had somebody who was an artist or a crafter in the video itself. I thought that was spectacular. And then secondly, I found the page on LinkedIn about this campaign.

And am I right? So to get… If you want your stuff featured, your user generated content featured on that page, you just use the hashtag in a LinkedIn?

Ai Addyson-Zhang

That’s it.

Ai Addyson-Zhang

That’s it. Yes, exactly. I actually did a test. I added the hashtag in one of my earlier posts and as it was added, the hashtag showed up on the LinkedIn page. So the only thing you need to do to show up, is just to use that hash.

It doesn’t really matter what you talk about. As long as you use that hashtag. But regarding the first point you mentioned, I think it is so brilliant about this campaign and your way, they’re really breaking away from this stereotype that people have regarding LinkedIn, you know, it’s white collar for people who are successful, they have LinkedIn page and make that connection, making all those professional connections.

But if you follow the campaign, it is really about everybody, from the top to the bottom, from all walks in life. And that’s why I feel like everybody can relate to this campaign, regardless of how successful you are in terms of the traditional sense or not. And everyone has a say, everyone is in this together. And that is just so brilliant.

Amanda Webb

Yeah. And I actually found other kind of user generated campaigns as I was scrolling through. There’s one about a day that I think it’s coming up in May, where everyone is to do an act of giving. And it’s got its own hashtag. So it’s, the two of them are coming together. And that’s another really lovely idea. So I think, they’ve started something good here.

Ai Addyson-Zhang

Yeah, I agree. Yeah. Do you feel like that’s the direction we’re heading toward in social media marketing, to be more like not always so polished, but always to just like spotlight stories? The brand is now the hero. The hero are the people who are using our brand; the customers, the consumers, the others, not just about us. Sorry, I cut you off.

Amanda Webb

No, that’s a really important point. And actually, I was thinking about that earlier because I’m doing a 30-day video challenge with my group at the moment. And normally if I’m going to make a video, it takes me… for YouTube, it takes me a day, maybe a day and a half put it together and edit it and get it just perfect. And I started doing these videos on my Facebook page. And part of me is going this isn’t good enough. This isn’t the polished sort of videos I’m used to. But I think more so, I think YouTube still you do need a little bit of a polish and shine.

But for Facebook, people just want to see the person. They just want to get to know the person. So as long as the information is good, I think you don’t have to spend those hours in production.

Ai Addyson-Zhang

Amen. Actually on Facebook, I love organic, authentic stories and videos from users. Because if it is so polished, I feel like it is a sponsored ad or something like that. I don’t know. But I just love the raw authentic content and I can relate. Yeah, totally. As long as the key is, quality is good. Like I feel like nowadays, so many people doing like challenges and blogs all those things. But I feel like we should always prioritise quality over quantity or frequency, and like quality matters so much.

And especially on Twitter, I really started to practice less is more. And I don’t really tweet as much as I used to. And also for I start scheduling tweets, just on Twitter and just kind of play with this experimental space. And you know how I run this weekly live streaming show I used to promote a lot.

But now I don’t. Maybe I send out one tweet about this a day, but the traffic, the traction that tweet has been gaining, it is so much better than before. And I feel like this less us more just focus on quality is actually working really well.

Like a few days ago, I did a video on Twitter. Really short, a 10 seconds. And guess what? That video gained, organically no dollars spent, 8200-plus views and almost 100 hearts and 25 or 24-ish replies. It was crazy. And also similar with some other just like simple tweets and people… Like I recommend people give this a try, may work may not work but play with it. Less is more. I really started to discover that. And focus on quality.

Amanda Webb

I think so. And by that I suppose we’re not talking about like having a polished production. You’re talking about like quality of what making sure you’re saying something important. I think that’s it. It’s like, it doesn’t matter if the video is a bit fuzzy, it doesn’t matter what it does. I think sound is always important if people are going to switch on but you should be able to hear it, you should be able to see it, but I wouldn’t be getting like too technical. Like before we started, I switched lights on so that we could see each other. That’s the important thing. It’s having a really important nugget of information that you want to share.

Ai Addyson-Zhang

Amen. Exactly. Like, I host my live streaming show and so many people asked me, “Hey Ai, what equipment I should use?” I was like, “Do you have a smartphone? That’s it, just get started and after you get started… And actually taking action will help you gain confidence, gain clarity. You can always upgrade later. Don’t be so obsessed with technology.”

And actually the video I shared with you on Twitter, and which gained eight-k plus views actually had some sound issues. So people couldn’t hear it. But thank God, like nowadays when I post a video content, I also kind of write out what this video is about. Because I’m not sure about you, I personally don’t like it when people force me to watch their video.

What I mean by that is sometimes on a particular social media platform, and people say, “Hey, watch this video. I have the three most important tips for you to learn how to master SEO,” for example. And that’s it. Often times I couldn’t watch a video. And so many videos don’t have captions. And I was like, “I really want to know the three tips.”

And so I feel like you need to give people… talking about this, user focus, you have to give people options that they want to consume the content in a way that makes sense to them at that moment. And so that’s kind of my call to action. If you are producing content, give people some options.

So with that particular Twitter video, even though the sound was not working because of some technology issues, people still know what I was talking about. They were able to engage with me.

Amanda Webb

And it still got loads of views. 8000 views.

That’s just proof isn’t it? That you don’t need to have the most polished content.

Ai Addyson-Zhang

No. I think and people always use that as an excuse to not get started. They feel like, “Oh, You know what? I need to have that. And no, no, no, I also need that.” And they use that to kind of dance with their fear of getting started.

Amanda Webb

Bringing it back to LinkedIn just because I want to bring it back to that campaign because it’s been in my head, is that do you think the point of this campaign from LinkedIn was to push themselves out there and make them look like less of a boring network?

Ai Addyson-Zhang

Oh, definitely. Definitely. As you and I, we both agree LinkedIn, at least a few years ago, I had the impression of LinkedIn being only a place to post the resumes and to network for really professional kind of boring way. And I never ever associated storytelling with LinkedIn. Never ever.

But this campaign and really changed my perception of LinkedIn. I really love it. In fact, you know, I told you this is my favourite one. And how they are sharing stories, emotional stories. Not to polish the content from the brand. But emotional stories, success, failures from their community members is really organic. It is still growing strong after quite a few months. And so I really… and it is changing how people are perceiving LinkedIn.

Amanda Webb

And that’s an important lesson, I think for us as well. Because there’s two things it’s done there. It’s totally put a new spin on the brand. So we can… I think what we were talking about there doing video, like putting yourself front and centre, and not being perfectionist, that’s something we can do. If you’ve only been showing your logo to people before, why not just give it a go? And I think… I know it’s hard for some people to get in front of a camera, but just give it a go. And I think you could be surprised with the results.

And then was the second point. Users. I think that’s the other thing we forget about when we’re creating content. We think it’s all about us. And exactly chosen to feature LinkedIn users is really valuable. So again, I think we should be looking… I mean, you already do it with your live streaming show. I guess I’m kind of doing it now with the podcast about-

Ai Addyson-Zhang

Exactly. I think like for example, the podcast after this interview is released, I will be talking about this, and my community members will be talking about this. I think we have come to a time that it is much more effective and compelling when other people are talking about us, when other people are doing the marketing for us, instead of us doing the marketing. I think there’s that like kind of switch.

And so LinkedIn with this campaign, they have done amazing job to encourage others. Look, I’m talking about it now. And actually I did a blog article for a friend the last year to share my favourite campaign. And I used him as an example again. In the same blog article, another influencer and use the same campaign. It was really interesting, like how all of us are talking about them and we are doing the marketing for them. And that is just like, so smart.

Amanda Webb

That’s exactly what we want, isn’t it? So that we can learn a lot from LinkedIn. And it is kind of nice to see it becoming a more interesting platform. So I’m happy about that.

Ai Addyson-Zhang

Yeah, and the stories and the videos content, the video content people are doing. It is my top priority actually, and my video content and performs really, really well on LinkedIn. Like really, really well.

Amanda Webb

I think doing more video there too. I keep… I feel like I want to keep talking but I know we’ve got to the end of our interview. Thanks. You’ve been fascinating. It’s been so good to have you on. I can now like tick the box that I’ve had a doctor. I’m going to have to get Dr. Julia Bramble on now because I’ll only take doctors. Thanks for joining us. You really are a superhero. Welcome to the club.

Ai Addyson-Zhang

Thank you so much for having me, Amanda. And it’s really fun to talk about my favourite campaign and share some things about myself. So thank you so much.

Amanda Webb

Thank you. Oh, and tell me where we find you online.

Ai Addyson-Zhang

So just my name; A-I A-D-D-Y-S-O-N Z-H-A-N-G I on every single social media platform.

Find Ai Online