Tory MP Andrea Jenkyns Quits As Ministerial Aide Over Brexit

Andrea Jenkyns, MP for Morley and Outwood, addresses the Conservative Party conference in Manchester.

Tory MP Andrea Jenkyns has quit as a ministerial aide to fight for leaving the customs union via her membership of a powerful Commons committee.

The Morley and Outwood MP resigned from her role as parliamentary private secretary (PPS) at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, on Thursday, saying she wanted to focus on securing the “right kind” of Brexit.  

Jenkyns is a member of the influential Brexit Select Committee, led by Labour MP Hilary Benn, but says it is “unbalanced” in favour of Remain supporters.

The MP, who defeated Labour’s Ed Balls to win her seat in 2015, said it had been a “huge honour” to serve as PPS but had decided to stand down to “concentrate more of my time on obtaining the right Brexit for our country and my constituents”.

Although unpaid, PPS roles are often seen as the first rung on the ladder for ambitious MPs vying for ministerial positions.

Jenkyns said: “Standing down as a PPS was a difficult decision for me, but I have decided that this is something that I need to do to be able to fully commit to my other parliamentary duties.

“I have an obligation to my constituents and the 17.4 million people around the country that decided to leave and take back control of our destiny.

Labour MP Hilary Benn, the remainer who chairs the Brexit Select Committee 

She said Theresa May had her “full support” but in a pointed message about the kind of Brexit deal she wants, Ms Jenkyns said: “We want to see a new relationship with Europe, with a new model not enjoyed by other countries – nothing that leaves us half-in, half-out.

“And in order to achieve this, we need to leave the customs union.”

Explaining her concerns about the Exiting the European Union select committee, she said: “Currently, there are 21 members on the Brexit committee, only seven of which voted to leave the EU.

“It is my opinion that the reports produced by the committee have been unbalanced in favour of us either remaining in the EU, the customs union or delaying our departure.

“I, therefore, feel I need to spend more of my time doing all I can do to correct this imbalance and be a robust voice for the benefits of Brexit.

“During my time on the committee, it has become clear that some of my colleagues are committed to upsetting the democratic decision of the British people.

“Over the past few months, this situation has caused me much frustration, but since this disparity is unlikely to change I feel it is my duty to give the necessary attention to this vitally important role.”

Her comments came as the committee published a report criticising the Government’s failure to decide on a customs model for the future and suggested that staying in the customs union was the only “viable option” until a replacement was ready.


How Facebook Marketing is Changing (And How to Be Prepared)

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Facebook, as a platform, is barely recognizable from the social network that launched to connect Harvard University students in February 2004.

And looking ahead, the Facebook of five years from now is highly unlikely to resemble the product that 2.2 billion people use every month right now.

That’s no bad thing. If Facebook is to thrive over the next 5, 10, 15+ years, it’ll need to evolve.

Here’s where we think it’s heading…

Back in January, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, outlined his vision for the future of Facebook on his Page:

What followed was an update that would prioritize posts from friends and family over public content from Pages in the News Feed.

And just a couple of weeks back, Facebook announced another significant update that could signal a new path for the platform – an update that only developers are likely to have picked up on so far.

On April 25, Facebook announced some API changes on its developer blog:

The `publish_actions` permission will be deprecated. This permission granted apps access to publish posts to Facebook as the logged in user. Apps created from today onwards will not have access to this permission. Apps created before today that have been previously approved to request `publish_actions` can continue to do so until August 1, 2018.

These changes mean that developers, and platforms like Buffer, will be unable to post content on behalf of personal Facebook profiles. This brings Facebook’s API in-line with Instagram’s, meaning developers can only post to business profiles and pages on both Facebook and Instagram.

For more information on how these API changes relate to the Buffer product, you read this full overview with all the details in the Buffer FAQ.

At Buffer, we believe it paints a pretty clear picture that Facebook wants individuals to be interacting with its products (Instagram, Facebook, Messenger, Whatsapp) and others on the networks in a manual, deliberate way – whether that is posting content, consuming content or engaging with content.

What this means for the Facebook ecosystem

Facebook seems very keen to encourage more users to share content and counter the decline of user-generated posts.

For example, its recent focus on Stories and Groups could be seen as a way to encourage more unique content. This, coupled with the “meaningful interactions” update, shows that Facebook might be hoping that more unique content shared by users, reaching more of their closest friends and family will help to spark more conversation and interaction on the platform.

In his January update, Zuckerberg shared:

The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos – even if they’re entertaining or informative – may not be as good.

For many, Facebook has evolved into a passive experience. Somewhere you go to view a photo, read a news story or watch a video, but not a place you share and engage with friends.

Throughout 2018, and beyond, Facebook will likely continue to experiment with ways to connect users to those closest to them and encourage time on Facebook to be time well spent.

So rather than prioritizing content that might grab a user’s attention, but drive little interaction, Facebook will favor the content that sparks conversations and brings people closer together.

As Brian Peters’ explained in a recent post:

Active interactions such as sharing, commenting, and reacting will hold much more weight than “passive” interactions such as clicking, viewing, or hovering.

The API changes could also help from a privacy and trust standpoint too, as users will know that every update shared by themselves as well as their friends and family will have come directly from them.

So no apps or third-party products will be posting on their behalf or accessing their own or their friends’ data without being given really explicit permission.

What this means for businesses on Facebook

It appears that Facebook wants to encourage businesses to continue to create and share high-quality content on its platform and will continue to support third-party tools (like Buffer) that help businesses to create, schedule, publish and analyze the performance of their content.

At Buffer, we also believe that these changes will help to make Facebook a “healthy” environment for both businesses and individuals. As Joel recently shared:

These new restrictions are more likely to affect products that are pushing the boundaries of what are healthy social media strategies. We believe that the changes will result in a healthier ecosystem for Facebook and Instagram and, by extension, a better place to be for our mutual users.

But what does this mean for marketing on Facebook? Here are a couple of thoughts… 

Fewer posts will receive organic reach

Overall, I believe that this might lead to marketing on Facebook feeling a little more like search engine marketing – a direction we’ve been heading in for a couple of years as organic reach has declined.

On Facebook now, some of your best content will still reach your audience and organically take off (similar to reaching page 1 of Google for a relevant keyword) and this will happen for 1-2% of the best content on Facebook.

And for those pieces of content that don’t break through organically, Facebook’s advertising product offers the chance to display your content to your target audience using its incredibly powerful targeting features (similar to using Google AdWords).

Content should become a destination

There’s also an opportunity for businesses to start thinking about episodic content – the type of stuff your audience will actively seek out if they get into a routine of knowing when it’s published.

Much like how people might purposefully open Netflix to watch the latest episode of their favorite series, people will begin to actively seek out the best content on Facebook.

Moz’s Whiteboard Friday has made their blog a go-to destination for search engine marketers for a few years. And now we’re seeing similar on Facebook. For example, The Ringer’s NBA Desktop show has basketball fans heading to their Facebook Page to check out the latest episode every Tuesday and Friday.

But episodic content doesn’t have to mean high-end video production. It could be a weekly Facebook Live session, daily featured images or a question of the day (using Facebook’s polling feature).

Marketers need to start thinking about how they can make their content worth seeking out. It’s almost like “Inbound Marketing 2.0”.

Instead of interrupting the Facebook News Feed with content, how can you make your content a destination for your target audience?

That’s the big challenge ahead for social media marketers.

Over to you

What are your thoughts on the future of Facebook marketing? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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How to Share Posts From the Instagram Feed to Stories

Instagram has released a new way for users to easily share feed posts to stories.

More than 300 million users now use Instagram stories daily and this update will enable them to share any post from their Instagram feed directly to stories.

In the feature’s launch blog post Instagram explained:

When you come across something in feed that inspires you – like a post from a friend raising money for a cause or a photo of a new design from your favorite brand – you can now quickly share that post as a sticker to your story for your friends and followers to see.

How to share feed posts to Instagram Stories

To share feed posts to stories:

  1.  Tap the paper airplane button below the post (like you would to send a direct message)
  2. You’ll then see an option on the following menu to “Create a story with this post”
  3. Tap it to see the feed post as a sticker with a customized background ready to share to your story. You can move, resize or rotate the photo or video. You can also use drawing tools or add text and stickers.

Any post shared to a story will include a link back to the original post and include the original poster’s username.

Only posts from public Instagram accounts can be shared to stories. If you have a public account and would like to opt-out from letting people share your posts to stories, you can do so within Instagram’s settings.

In a recent episode of The Science of Social Media, hosts, Hailley and Brian discussed this update (around the 4:45 mark in the below audio):

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How brands can use this feature

Many brands and influencers already use stories as a way to drive attention to their latest feed and promote their latest posts. This update will be a welcome improvement to this process by allowing users to directly link to their latest feed posts, rather than taking a screenshot of a post and manually adding it to stories.

As Brian mentions in the podcast, this could enable brands to use stories as a way to cross-promote their feed posts to their audience on stories – people who may have potentially missed the post in the feed.

“One of the reasons we love stories so much is that it can be used as cross-promote content and now users will be able to go from stories directly to your feed,” he explained.

Hailley also drew comparisons between this feature and Twitter’s quote tweet functionality, where users can share content from the feed, but also add their own thoughts and context around it.

This is another exciting update from Instagram – following the share to stories and live video chat announcements at F8 – and it helps to better connect the feed to stories as well as providing a way for users to re-share some of their favorite Instagram content in a more public way than sharing with a couple of friends via a direct message.

These updates now available on Android and will be coming to iOS in the coming days.

What do you think to this release from Instagram? Will it change how you use Instagram stories for your business? Let us know in the comments <img src="×72/1f4ac.png&quot; alt="

4 Million Homes Needed To Solve Crisis ‘Epic’ Crisis, Startling Research Finds

The research said 145,000 of these 340,000 homes should be affordable homes. 

As many as four million homes are needed to meet burgeoning demand, it was claimed, as new research reveals the “epic” scale of the housing crisis facing England. 

The estimate, calculated for the National Housing Federation and the charity Crisis, takes a comprehensive view of how many people do not have a place to call home. 

It counts people who are homeless, “boomerang” generation adults still living with their parents, couples who would otherwise have separated, and people in flatshares who would have moved out.

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: “This groundbreaking new research shows the epic scale of the housing crisis in England.

“The shortfall of homes can’t be met overnight – instead, we need an urgent effort from the Government to meet this need, before it publishes its social housing green paper in the summer.”

The research looked at Office for National Statistics (ONS) population figures and the English Housing Survey as well as other reports to arrive at the four million estimate.

The research, conducted by Heriot-Watt University, also estimates that to both tackle the backlog of homes needed and keep up with new demand, the country needs to build 340,000 homes per year until 2031.

As many as four million homes needed in England

It said 145,000 of these 340,000 homes should be affordable homes. Of the 145,000 affordable homes, 90,000 should be for social rent, 30,000 should be for intermediate affordable rent and 25,000 should be for shared ownership.

The news comes after HuffPost UK revealed former Housing Minister Sajid Javid surrendered to the Treasury a total of £292m allocated for desperately-needed affordable homes over the course of two years, despite demand rising. 

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “To truly get to grips with this crisis and ensure everyone has a safe and stable home, we must build the social and affordable housing we need to end homelessness once and for all.”

Terrie Alafat, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: “This isn’t just a numbers game and we have to make sure we build the right homes, in the right places and that people can afford them.”

Campbell Robb, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “Now is the time to redesign our housing market so that it works for everyone – no matter who they are or where they come from.”

And Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Government can turn things around but only by building many more of the high quality, genuinely affordable homes this country is crying out for.”

John Healey, Labour’s shadow housing secretary, said the Government must act.

He said: “This research confirms the immense scale of the housing crisis that Britain faces and just how far short this Government is falling.

Newly-appointed Housing Minister James Brokenshire faces calls to act. 

“It also reinforces Labour’s case for a big new affordable housebuilding programme, with a million new genuinely affordable homes over ten years, starting from the current record low level under the Tories.”

A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesman said Theresa May was investing.

He said: “This Government is committed to building a housing market fit for the future, with the homes our communities need.

“We have a comprehensive plan to deliver this, including reforming planning rules and investing £9 billion in affordable homes.

“We are also allowing councils to borrow more and providing them with increased certainty over rents so they can build more homes.”

Eurovision 2018: Netta Wins For Israel, As UK’s Entrant SuRie Finishes Third From Bottom

All-singing all-dancing all-clucking Israeli singer Netta has been crowned this year’s Eurovision champion.

Eurovision viewers voted her as this year’s champion after Saturday night’s (12 May) final, after winning them over with her version of the energetic, beatbox-heavy track, ‘Toy’.

Despite Eurovision jurors having selected Austria as their winners, the voting public’s votes boosted Netta to the top of the leaderboard with an impressive 529 points. Her closest competitor, Cyprus’s Eleni Foureira scooped 436.

Netta learns she's won the Eurovision Song Contest

After collecting her award from last year’s champion Salvador Sobral (who notably slated her song as “horrible” earlier this week), she thanked viewers for “choosing different, “accepting differences between us” and “celebrating diversity”.

Perhaps controversially, she added: “I love my country… next time in Jerusalem.”

The UK’s entrant, SuRie, finished third from bottom, with 48 points.

The final scoreboard

She had a tough time on the night, when her performance of ‘Storm’ was interrupted by a stage invader, who stole her microphone, shouting: “For the Nazis of the UK media, we demand freedom.”

After the stage invader was removed by security, SuRie finished her performance without incident, winning praise from Eurovision viewers for her perseverance, as well as commentator Graham Norton.

In the lead-up to this year’s Eurovision, Netta had been the bookies’ favourite, but slipped down in the odds when Cyprus scooped a new legion of fans during the semi-finals.

Prior to the live final, we named Netta as one of five acts to keep an eye out for, noting: “What sells the song is Netta, whose energy and infectious confidence we can’t help but get behind.”

Take a listen to Netta’s track below:

How the Miami Dolphins Generated $4 Million in Sales Using Facebook Video

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Lead generation is an important task for any marketing department.

And for most companies lead generation means focusing on creating lead capture forms and driving traffic back to those forms.

But that’s not the only way to generate new leads for your business.

Nowadays, social media content can play an integral role in lead generation for businesses of all sizes.

But how does someone go from viewing a piece of content on Facebook to making a purchase?

Look no further than the NFL’s Miami Dolphins…

How the Miami Dolphins generate leads from Facebook video

In 2017, the Dolphins became the #1 ranked NFL team for video views on Facebook.

Alone, that’s quite an achievement, yet the Dolphins didn’t just use their video content as a way to boost engagement with fans, it was also a key part of their lead generation strategy.

During an off-season marketing campaign to sell season tickets, the Dolphins used data generated from the likes, comments and shares their videos to better target people who they felt were likely to become season ticket holders and results are astonishing:

25 percent of new season ticket memberships during the 2017 season was a direct result of leads generated from engaging with social media content. This brought in more than $4 million in revenue for the team.

The strategy: How to generate leads using social Facebook video

Step 1: Create content

Social media content is the most important part of this strategy. Without content, the Dolphins wouldn’t have been able to target such an engaged, receptive audience.

For this campaign, the Dolphins created a series of videos called ‘The Life’. The Life focused on the Dolphins organization, the Miami community, and the players. The videos featured no mentions of season ticket sales. Instead, they focused on telling stories that might resonate with new and existing fans.

Note: The Life is one of 11 video shows the Dolphins have published directly to Facebook, including:

  • Dolphins DailyA short, daily roundup of news from the Dolphins franchise.
  • The Grind: Behind-the-scenes content from practice sessions.
  • The Audible: A live, interactive podcast show.

Step 2: Create an Engagement Custom Audience

Next, the Dolphins created engagement custom audiences on Facebook. These audiences were made up of fans who had interacted with their chosen pieces of content. This meant that the Dolphins could target people specific ads at people who had interacted with content.

Step 3: Build a relationship using Lead Ads

Instead of trying to make a sale directly on Facebook, the Dolphins instead focused on creating leads.

The Dolphins used Facebook Lead ads to re-connect with fans who engaged with their video content. The lead ads invited each user to sign up for various events at the new stadium or receive more information about ticket packages.

Following the link from these ads would enable the user to share their details with a Dolphins sales rep:

Step 4: Make the sale

Once people had signed up for the events from the Lead ads, the Dolphins were able to start making sales right away. And as we mentioned at the start of this post, 25% of new season ticket memberships during the 2017 season were a direct result of leads generated on Facebook.

Scale your lead generation strategy with social media content

The Miami Dolphins might be one of the most famous and richest sports franchises in the world, but the great thing about their lead generation strategy is that any business can replicate it-all you need is great content to get the ball rolling.

Instead of going right in for the sale, think about how you can create an audience of leads using content and gradually move them down your sales funnel using various ad-types.

This strategy works even if you don’t have a sales team and simply want to move leads through your funnel using Facebook Ads. For example, here’s a simplified look at how a lead-gen campaign might look for a fitness product:

  • Step: 1 First, you might create a video ad showing a simple home workout for people in your audience who are interested in fitness:

  • Step 2: Next, you could create a Facebook carousel ad looking to drive clicks to your website and increase brand awareness amongst people who watched 10 percent of the fitness video you created for step 1:

  • Step 3: Then, you might create a conversion focused ad aiming to get people who clicked the link in the previous ad to become customers of your fitness company:

Content has proven to be a huge success as a way to generate leads for the Miami Dolphins and many other businesses on Facebook – we’ve even experimented with this technique at Buffer as a way to move leads through our funnel.

Have you ever used content as a way to generate leads for your business? I’d love to hear your experiences and any tips you might have.