Tag: Brands

How YouTube is Supporting Black Creators and Artists

Last summer admist the Black Lives Matter Movement and protests in support of George Floyd, YouTube announced the launch of a multi-year $100 million fund dedicated to amplifying and developing the voices of Black creators and artists and their stories. More specifically, the fund has supported programs such as 2 Chainz’ “Money Maker Fund” series highlighting HBCU entrepreneurs and Masego’s “Studying Abroad” livestreamed concert series.

Today, the platform is using capital for that effort to create a global grant program for Black creators.

“The painful events of this year have reminded us of the importance of human connection and the need to continue to strengthen human rights around the world. In the midst of uncertainty, creators continue to share stories that might not otherwise be heard while also building online communities,” YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki wrote in a blog post detailing the decision and reflecting on 2020.

The #YouTubeBlack Voices Class of 2021

Per Billboard, the program is kicking off with an inaugural class of 132 individuals spanning musicians and lifestyle vloggers including Kelly Stamps and Jabril Ashe, also known as Jabrils, who share educational videos centered around the emerging gaming, technology, and AI spaces.

The musicians named to the group include Brent Faiyaz, BRS Kash, Fireboy DML, Jean Dawson, Jensen McRae, Jerome Farah, Joy Oladokun, KennyHoopla, Mariah the Scientist, MC Carol, Miiesha, Myke Towers, Péricles, Rael, Rexx Life Raj, Sauti Sol, serpentwithfeet, Sho Madjozi, Tkay Maidza, Urias and Yung Baby Tate.

Each grant recipient will be provided an undisclosed funding amount to be used in support of their channels, and can encompass needs such as editing, lighting or other equipment to amplify and enhance the quality of their content. YouTube will also offer additional resources such as workshops, training and networking opportunities to boost skills and fuel meaning collaborations. “We are not only supporting them in the moment, but this is seed funding that will help them to thrive on the platform long-term,” he added.

Hailing from across the United States, Kenya, Brazil, Australia, South Africa and Nigeria, the cohort was selected in part based on their past participation in #YouTubeBlack, a campaign and event series promoting Black creators launched in 2016.

Paving a future for change

“These creators and artists have been doing this work already and are known by their communities, but we’re really excited to invest in them, and we believe that they can and will become household names with this support, shared Malik Ducard, YouTube Vice President of Partners on the #YouTubeBlack community.

In today’s landscape, influencers are themselves a media channel. The budgets put against them shouldn’t just be production-driven but rather emphasize a broader commitment to diverse and authentic stories driven by co-communication and co-creation. For YouTube, this effort is not only beneficial in ensuring these creators have their voices heard, but in allowing the platform to stay true to its goals and values and its commitment to its community.

“This is not a flash-in-the pan Instagram moment. This is about keeping the drum beat of change alive, and in the DNA of our organization,” added Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s Global Head of Music, reiterating the confidence in the ability of this group to lead and find long-term success through raw passion, creativity, and an entrepreneurial spirit. “Our expectation is that these artists are going to be significant and important voices and make music even more enjoyable.”

The future of brand-artist collaborations

For brands partnering with music artists – the takeaway here is that social listening requires responsiveness, flexibility, and mindfulness when it comes to integrating culture. People want to be heard, not sold to, and efforts should extend offline. This is only achieved through a full understanding of a new age of partnerships – one where brands have a bigger role to play in artist’s lives and artists are crossing the threshold to become true digital marketers monetizing the whole self.

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The post How YouTube is Supporting Black Creators and Artists appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2021/01/how-youtube-is-supporting-black-creators-and-artists/

How Facebook is Helping Brands Adapt for the Mindful Consumer

2020 has been a challenge — particularly when it comes to mental health. From online fitness classes to recipe inspiration and DIY projects — consumers have a renewed sense of appreciation for the simpler things in life as they carve out new mindful habits. While this has become apparent, what this will ultimately spell out for the industry is still up for discussion.

Facebook recently embarked on a report to uncover some of the trends that will have a lasting impact on health and well-being and what they mean for brands as they prepare their strategies ahead of 2021.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the key topics and findings.

Self-care as an essential ritual

During a time where widespread working-from-home arrangements have blurred the boundaries between work and leisure, wellness routines and creative pursuits have become instrumental in carving out “me” time. For consumers, this is regarded as essential for relaxation and as a means of entertainment in lieu of regular social events.

Per the report findings, over half (58%) U.S. consumers who have worked on a craft or DIY project for the first time as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic say this is an activity they could see themselves continuing to do for years to come. Further, 80 percent of Americans intend to regularly practice self-care post-pandemic.

What is the moral here for brands? Self-care is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Consumers are more likely to engage in mindful purchases with a treat yourself mentality as opposed to impulsive ones and crave opportunities to create small moments of serenity day-to-day. In turn, there is a tremendous opportunity for brands to step in and reshape their narratives in ways that empower the consumer to establish their own health-building habits.

Altruism and purpose

Seventy percent of survey respondents reported they are now more aware that human activity threatens the climate than they were before the outbreak of COVID-19. Roughly the same percentage (71%) of consumers say they’d lose trust in a brand forever should it be seen placing profit over people.

Beyond helping people care for themselves, it is table stakes for today’s brands to take a stand on social and environmental issues and consumers will be quick to flag when they don’t or an attempt is disingenuous. In this vein, customers want to be thought of as humans, not consumers, and have their values and interests reflected in the companies they support. More than ever, they want the affirmation their purchasing power is being used to create positive change.

The prioritization of brands to display human qualities including empathy, compassion, and kindness is not only one consumers look to in a brand’s external communications, but also across their organization. As an example, 55 percent of U.S. consumers find it important that a brand offers medical and paid sick leave benefits to all employees. In other major markets like the U.K., this figure is even higher at 75 percent.

Social listening and empathetic experiences

As the report refers to it, “future-proofing” is on the rise with consumers tackling tough, longer-term decisions amidst the uncertainty of COVID-19. This ranges from career choices to saving or relocating, and even lifestyle specifics such as diets. More specifically, 75 percent of global consumers plan to eat and drink healthier as a result of the pandemic.

In addition to self-care, this year peace of mind has largely been derived from planning and brands can continue to play an instrumental role in this regard as consumers seek safety and stability. Experiences are varied so this can present obstacles by way of not being able to lean back on a one-size-fits-all strategy. To overcome this, brands must lead with adaptability, practice regular social listening to ensure alignment with values and needs of consumers, and reflect this effort through empathetic messaging.

COVID-19 has not only sharpened the individual level of mindfulness but what it means to be collectively well as a society. Consumers expect brands to step up, be active listeners, and assume responsibility for their communities as definitions of care and wellness evolve. As the brand-consumer relationship faces growing complexity, marketers should focus on several basic questions as their guidepost including who are you marketing to, how can you appropriately target them, and how has their mindset shifted?

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The post How Facebook is Helping Brands Adapt for the Mindful Consumer appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/11/how-facebook-is-helping-brands-adapt-for-the-mindful-consumer/

5 Best Practices for Finding the Right Influencer for Your Brand

Think you can get away without dipping into the world of influencer marketing? Think ahain. According to The State of Influencer Marketing 2020: Benchmark Report, which surveyed 4,000 brands, marketing agencies, and industry professionals, earned media value, which is publicity that comes from promotions, not paid advertising, is $5.78 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing.

That means while ROI is notoriously difficult to track when it comes to influencer marketing, the publicity gained from influencer marketing is nearly six times as much as is spent. While direct sales may be difficult to track for some companies, it seems that exposure is exponentially increased thanks to influencer marketing.

Here are the best practices to keep in mind when you’re searching for the right influencer for your brand.

Select the Most Important Platform

Choosing the platforms where you want influencer marketing to have an impact isn’t as cut and dry as you may think. On the one hand, the platform where your business is already performing well is a great place to capitalize on that popularity and help it grow via an influencer campaign. On the other hand, a platform where you don’t have a strong presence but where an influencer who’s a great match for your brand and does have a strong presence is also beneficial because you can break into a platform you’ve been wanting to add to your strategy.

You may want to focus on one type of platform over another, or you could try to do both at the same time, assuming the influencer you choose has a solid following on both platforms. What’s most important is that you choose influencers who are doing their best work on the platforms you’ve decided are most important for your business. More on selecting the right platform next.

Approximately 90% of influencer campaigns include Instagram, so whether you only want to promote your business on Instagram or it’s part of a larger campaign, Instagram should absolutely be included. This is especially true if your customer base is under the age of 35 since the largest concentration of Instagram users are ages 25 to 34, followed by 18 to 24.

Make Sure the Influencer Is Relevant to Your Brand

There’s a lot more to think about than just the influencer’s Instagram following and the average age of their fans. Even if they’re in the exact same niche as you are, their content and messaging have to be consistent with or complementary to your brand, too. If the aesthetics or voice of the influencer’s content is way off compared to your own branding, you’re not going to reach the right audience, no matter how engaged their following is. And you could even harm, or at least muddle, your own reputation, too. 

A good way to find the influencers who are relevant to your brand is to discover which ones are already talking about you. Influencers are experts at knowing their audience and what will connect with them, and if they’re interested in what you sell, chances are they know it’ll be a great match for their audience.

Select Influencers According to Your Budget

When it comes to influencers, you should care more about the quality of their following than the number of followers they have. But, in general, a smaller influencer is going to charge less than a larger-scale influencer. If your budget is meager when starting out, aim for a micro-influencer with a dedicated fan base. What you don’t want to do is try to talk to well-known and well-established influencers into accepting a lower rate than they deserve. You could ruin your relationship with an influencer who you’d love to work with in the future when you have a bigger budget to dedicate to the campaign.

Search the Old Fashioned Way

While you can Google something like “top influencers in organic cooking,” you may be disappointed with the results. Lists of top influencers are often repetitive, only featuring the same ones, and you’ll miss out on a bunch of influencers you don’t even know exist. Instead, go about your search the old fashioned way. If you’re on Instagram, for example, search by hashtag. If you use #ad or #sponsored to search, you can skim the results to see if any post looks like it matches your brand’s industry and look. This process may take a while, but it’ll be worth it, and you’ll come across a lot of high-performing smaller influencers who you’d never know about otherwise.

Spot a Fake Influencer Before You Get Too Far

Many influencers are in it for the money they’re paid, and it’s clear why just about anyone would love that opportunity, even without working for it. Fake influencers quickly gather a massive following by buying followers and engagement, which can make their accounts look popular, even if it’s all smoke and mirrors. There are a few strategies you can use to determine if an influencer is the real deal or not, but the most telling one will be their engagement ratio. If they have a ton of followers and their posts have a bunch of likes, but nobody is actually commenting on their posts in a meaningful way, it could be that all of those “fans” are actually bots.

Narrowing down your list of influencers is just one step toward getting a compelling influencer campaign up and running. You also have to pitch the influencer to encourage them to work with you, and then you have to figure out how they work with clients, what type of campaign you want to run, how to track the effectiveness of it, etc. All in all, though, it will be worth it, and with more businesses planning to increase their budget for influencer marketing, you’ll not just only reach more members of your core customer base, but you’ll also compete with others in your industry.

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The post 5 Best Practices for Finding the Right Influencer for Your Brand appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/10/5-best-practices-for-finding-the-right-influencer-for-your-brand/

How Pinterest is Fueling Inspirational Ideas with Story Pins

On the heels of breaking its daily download record and earning a top spot on the App Store rankings due to the release of iOS 14 and flurry of home screen design ideas, Pinterest is taking major steps to connect creators and Pinners around inspirational content.

Following over a year of work, the platform is launching Story Pins in beta and a new creator profile with analytics tools for improved performance tracking. Pinterest is the latest platform to hop on the Stories bandwagon following Snapchat’s lead in 2013 and Facebook and Instagram putting their own twists on the format in 2016. More recently, Twitter introduced “Fleets,” and LinkedIn began testing its own version of Stories earlier this year.

Here’s a breakdown of the latest Pinterest updates and how you can start to build them into your marketing mix.

Turning ideas into Stories

A key difference between Story features on other platforms and Pinterest’s approach to the format is that Pin Stories are very much tilted towards utility, discovery, and inspiration. “Story Pins are designed to show you how people are trying new ideas and new products. That means the features and intent are dramatically different, David Temple, Head of Content, Creator and Homefeed Product said in a statement to reporters.

This new content format blends videos, voiceover and image and text overlay will make it possible to create step-by-step stories, such as tutorials for recipes or DIY projects. Early users of the feature include Coco Bassey, Camille Styles, Shiquita from Unconventional Southern Belle, and Jazmine Ford of Finding Uphoria. An added bonus? Detail pages can be added so materials and ingredients can be revisited later and fuel action on the ideas and tips.

Pin Stories are also not ephemeral, meaning that won’t disappear after a set period of time as is the case on Instagram or Facebook Stories. Much like a standard Pin, Stories can be saved to boards for later use and distributed across the home feed, search results, and relevant tabs including “Today.” Creators will also have the ability to tag their Story Pins or videos with topics or interests which the visual discovery engine can use to match ideas to Pinners who have similar taste.

“We want to be deliberate and thoughtful with the growth that we have here, to ensure that the tone for the content and the community remains positive,” Temple added. In other words, creating a space in which you can be inspired but inspire others in meaningful and actionable ways through content.

Creator profiles

As part of the push, Pinterest is also introducing creator profiles — making the platform a more seamless option for sharing creator content directly as opposed to distributing it once its shared elsewhere.

A big emphasis with the profiles is interaction between Pinners and creators. Specifically, a new display format and updated contact options make it easy to stay connected. Pinterest also unveiled a range of positive reactions like “Great idea,” “Love,” “Wow,” and “Thanks” to provide feedback to creators via a Message or Contact card. This is a subtle but significant update that nods to the current environment — one in which digital empathy is more important than ever and it is harder to express how we feel in the absence of face-to-face interactions.

Maximizing engagement and measuring reach

Finally, in order to ensure creators and brands can easily track how their audiences are responding to this format, Pinterest is revealing an engagement tab, where users can solicit and respond to feedback, and an updated Analytics hub outlining the performance of their Pin Story content. Impressions and engagement are two core metrics, but the re-designed dashboard will also provide a sense into how categories and interests are shifting over time and which audiences are engaging with the most.

With its community growing, searches up 50 percent year-over-year and board creates up 40 percent year over year as of this past July, it makes a lot of sense for Pinterest to want to lean into the Stories format to help people better connect amidst the current global pandemic. It also represents an opportunity for Pinterest to learn more about its community, align with trends and behaviors, and identify the white spaces that exist to drive creativity.

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The post How Pinterest is Fueling Inspirational Ideas with Story Pins appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/09/how-pinterest-is-fueling-inspirational-ideas-with-story-pins/

How the Coronavirus is Changing the State of the U.S. Consumer

Real-time market insights platform Suzy conducted two studies between April 24th through the 29th on the state of the U.S. consumer during COVID-19. The first was conducted from the 24th to the 26th with a sample of 750 participants while the second was conducted from the 26th through the 29th with a sample of 1,000 participants. During #SMWONE, CEO Matt Britton broke down the key insights stemming from the research.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • The behaviors exhibited behind closed doors today, will become the new real-world habits of tomorrow
  • Brands that pivot to become helping” or “ingredient” brands are the ones most likely to succeed after the pandemic is behind us
  • DIY is a form of catharsis for consumers during these difficult times

The formation of long-term habits

According to a 2009 study by Phillipa Lally, it takes 66 days for a person to develop a habit. At this point of the pandemic, we’re well into this window of time where consumers are adopting everyday activities that will likely last long beyond the pandemic and disrupt how we speak to and connect with consumers.

This isn’t to say every single decision being made during quarantine has this impact, but there are several key areas where behaviors exhibited today will become the new-world habits of tomorrow. These encompass at-home cooking and self-care, remote learning and working from home, and this notion of having more time on our hands that are fundamentally impacting today’s businesses.

DIY as a form of catharsis

A major theme of the COVID-19 pandemic is consumers being left to their own devices and being forced to adopt new habits where they’re taking more activities into their own hands that they once outsourced to others. Leading in this space is cooking followed by chores, laundry, baking, self-care, home repair, pet care, and sewing. Seventy-five percent of consumers believe they are now more skilled in the kitchen and over 50 percent believe they will continue to cook more after the crisis. In the beauty sector, 54 percent report they’re conducting at-home self-care or beauty treatments to replace spas.

Britton believes the food and beverage industry is the industry that will be impacted most on a long-term basis in addition to travel and hospitality as a close second. In the next five to 10 years, however, we can expect them to return to a state of normalcy but the caveat is that the companies in these spaces will have to make substantial business decisions that involve reshaping their go-to-market strategies. More specifically, this will involve selling your brand as an “ingredient” or “helping” brand, acknowledging that now your product or service can solve the pain points of DIY. L’Oreal partnering with Eva Longorio for an ad shot from her house where she used a product to dye her own hair and Mattel Playroom’s campaign “Play is Never Cancelled” are prime examples.

Time is money

More than half, (54%) of Americans are worried about finances as a result of COVID-19, which comes as no surprise. With mounting layoffs occurring and unemployment rates that could reach up to 20 percent, consumers are finding ways to reframe their routines within the confines of evolving budgetary parameters to prioritize how and where they spend. And we’re even looking ahead to the forthcoming holiday season. Thirty-nine percent state they plan to spend less on gifts for the holidays in December 2020 than they did in 2019.

If Americans are spending less money, what are they doing? They’re re-evaluating how they’re spending more time. They have less money but they have more time and this will be spent cooking at home (60%), engaging in at-home fitness activity (39%), and educating themselves via outlets like YouTube.

“In a new world of ingredient brands, DIY, where consumers have more time – YouTube has to be a place where brands place because consumers are living there. Brands need to invest in the right amount of content to educate their consumers and give them the tips and tools they need to really engage and embrace in this new DIY lifestyle.”

Redefining what it means to be social

Whether you’re considering a middle school student navigating how to interact with teachers and peers over Zoom or a salesperson trying to sell a new service or tool and create an emotional connection with potential customers without face-to-face interaction, one thing is clear: the entire world has had to redefine what it means to be social and interact.

From Zoom happy hours to birthday parties and weddings, the recurring question becomes what part of this reality is good enough? Put differently, COVID-19 has awakened us to the idea that certain businesses can operate at optimal levels virtually. From this critical examination, we can arrive at innovative conclusions that challenge our previously held assumptions and that improve our livelihoods in ways we couldn’t previously have imagined.

Online learning, for instance, has grown in popularity where resources like Skillshare and Coursera are enabling people to take this time to learn more and prepare themselves in ways that will set them up for success post-COVID. Online fitness is another key area, where influencers and personal trainers are using their at-home studios to offer online training sessions that many find are more effective as training in-person.

Due to emerging platforms like TikTok, Squad and Houseparty, and existing apps including Instagram, the virtual experience economy is booming. Artists like DJ DNice amongst numerous influencers and celebrities are tapping into these outlets to drive a deeper point of connection and more loyal fandoms that will stick around following the pandemic in the absence of mass gatherings. In this vein, gaming is also experiencing widespread success with Fortnite, Twitch, and even Microsoft’s Minecraft offer that common point of connection that is harder to come by in the absence of enginga with someone in real life.

Old habits: from not to hot

Thanks to COVID-19, more traditional habits that once dominated culture are now seeing a revival and are being used in tandem with emerging technologies., Per Britton, to stay connected users are primarily relying on physical phone calls (57%) followed by Facebook (55%), Whatsapp (36%), Instagram (34%), Facetime (26%), Skype (21%), and Zoom (19%).

A major concern over the past few months is whether colleges and universities will return. “The notion of the four year college may still exist, but what consumers seek to learn coming out of the pandemic may fundamentally change,” Britton explained. When assessing the 20 skills most in demand today, they are very trade and skill-based including items such as cloud computing, SEO, UX design, and video production, all of which aren’t traditionally taught in a liberal arts environment.

The major takeaway: the technology companies are where the jobs are, where GDP is expanding and this is not likely to change. For this reason, it’s unlikely students not want to incur debt for a system that doesn’t prepare them to succeed in this capacity. This is supported by research findings that state since COVID people are more likely to pay for online education in the future (69%).

Education aside, engaging with neighbors is making a comeback, in addition to crosswords, puzzles, and old-school games like Nintendo Switch, Sony Playstations and XBoxes. Mobile has been king for years in media conversations but since the outbreak of COVID-19, 64 percent said computer laptops and tablets have been integral to their day-to-day lives.

“Anyone can come up with a campaign, but brands today really need to ask themselves how they’re going to make decisions that will impact the fabric and DNA of the business,” Britton shared in one of his final thoughts during Q&A.

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The post How the Coronavirus is Changing the State of the U.S. Consumer appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/06/how-the-coronavirus-is-changing-the-state-of-the-u-s-consumer/

Tips for Staying Brand-Safe During a Pandemic

With the COVID-19 pandemic, tons of influencers and brands are trying to “influence for good.” In last week’s #SMWONE session, CreatorIQ’s COO, Tim Sovay was joined by Lena Renzina who manages talent partnerships at Ad Council to discuss how to reevaluate brand safety policies during this unprecedented time and how content creators can mindfully manage their channels and influence.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Influencers are leading impact-oriented campaigns
  • Creators have a responsibility with the platforms they have to share positivity and keep people informed
  • The key to brand safety is vetting and testing

Overall, creators have been using their influence for good

“Creators today are delivering millions of posts to their audiences around their interest and involvement in COVID-19,” Sovay states. Specifically, the content and campaigns being pushed out during this time show that there’s a shift from “broader pandemic content to more cause and impact-oriented campaigns,” especially with topics that are centered around thanking heroes and staying at home, plus supporting small businesses. In fact, overall engagement on influencer has surpassed 4.6 billion, and Sovay says this is because of the efforts of influencers, brands, government agencies, and efforts from AdCouncil to rally around this important cause and get people to engage.

Mobilizing the industry for good

During this time, Renzina’s team at AdCouncil had to rally their clients to quickly respond to the crisis and push out messages around critical news. They focused on five issue areas: social distancing messages, hygiene such as washing hands, stay at home orders, mental health, and parenting. The team wanted to hit different markets yet still push out the “general messaging that the public needed to hear, in a quick time period” Renzina points out.

With their talent partners, Renzina really wanted to make sure that the influencers were using their voices for good around the issues that each influencer was most passionate about. Sharing critical and time-sensitive information needed to be fully vetted so that their platforms don’t seem outdated or fake, and should continue to be vetted on an ongoing basis.

The challenges to ‘create’ during this time

Now more than ever “creators have a responsibility with the platform they have, ” Renzina points out, and it’s important that they send out the right message. Her tips during the session included always finding the source before influencers post anything (so making sure the source is credible and they double-check the info) and gut-checking a post with a friend or team before sharing it widely. She also warns that influencers should not shy away from sharing resources at this time that might be helpful to their audience. While influencers are trying to strike a balance between staying positive yet away of what’s going on globally, it’s important to remember that good information should be shared so that it can possibly help others during this time.

How to stay brand-safe

Savoy notes that some areas brands can takeaway are:

  • While individual companies guidelines and risk tolerances are unique, brands and legal teams should think to adjust guidelines for COVID-19 content. This is an entirely new subject matter, so content needs to be revisited for both “subject and tone”.
  • As these are fast evolving topics, content that might be brand-safe today can be super risky tomorrow, so staying nimble and adaptable is key too
  • To respond to some of these challenges, Creator IQ can screen influencers for brand safety keywords so that brands remain careful in who they choose to partner up with

How future and current content creators can stay on top

Vetting talent is really important, according to Ranzina. With so much uncertainty, she shared her screening test “the good, the bad and the ugly” to vet influencers. The good means the creator is uplifting or brand-safe for a specific campaign or organization, the bad can be a red flag like posting something that might be tone-deaf in the past, and the ugly is a deal-breaker that you don’t want to align your brand with. So, it’s important for brands to really look at the content creators channels. Brand safety is especially key during these times.

There’s still time to register for #SMWONE at smwone.com. Save 20% throughout the rest of the month!

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The post Tips for Staying Brand-Safe During a Pandemic appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/05/tips-for-staying-brand-safe-during-a-pandemic/

Why Killer Creative and a Purposeful Strategy are Integral to Your COVID-19 Strategy

Though it may feel like everything has been put on pause due to COVID-19, the fact that we need to share stories hasn’t. Now more than ever we have an incredible opportunity as marketers to capture the elements of life today and deliver timely experiences to our audiences. The world is different, however, so naturally how we visualize our realities must also shift which can present barriers when taking up creative arms and finding ways to innovate.

During #SMWONE Social Chain‘s Oliver Yonchev brought attendees through three key principles: relevant storytelling, self-aware brands, and speed needed in order to turn away from the standard of business as usual and prepare for the future.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Theories aren’t facts
  • The case for purposeful content and creativity is a strong one
  • Great storytelling hinges on being self-aware, timely delivery, and relevancy

What does this process of adapting actually look like? According to Yonchev, it’s time to close the yearbook and turn away from those old theories of having to post ‘x’ amount of posts daily or weekly and return to what truly matters in marketing: creative ideas that are productive and positive for the benefit of humanity. If we follow those old theories in an evolving landscape, with increased choice and this ‘always on’ mentality, also known as business as usua, will lead to content overload that can cause distraction and deter innovation in meaningful moments.

Everyone loves a good story

For starters, great storytelling strives from going deeper and by bringing in that depth. How to create depth when it comes to social content? Social marketers, look out your windows and understand what is happening in the world! Look for cultural moments, emotional sentiments, and distribution methods. Oliver continues to say that “indifference is where marketing goes to die.” We need to think outside the box by bringing in those known truths of our culture and turn them into something beautiful. Does, #NoFilterNoFuture sound familiar? If not, check it out, Social Chain partnered with Brita and opened up eyes by turning one conversation into a mass movement.

“The best campaigns understand culture and lean on creativity. Our work for Brita did both.” Specifically, Yonchev referred to the #NoFilterNoFuture, a breakthrough social media campaign aimed at encouraging people to take action to reduce single-use plastic waste, while driving awareness and purchase intent for Brita’s Filtering Water Bottles.

The larger point to remember from this example: take the current pandemic of COVOID-19, use it, and create something positive.

Know yourself

As social marketers, we need to understand how we are perceived by others, and how we see ourselves. Only then can we convey a session of relevancy and purpose behind what we communicate. “The gearing of algorithms have made social media a game of outrage, and attention-seeking. It’s for this reason that brands need to know when they should speak, and more importantly when they shouldn’t,” he shared.

Yonchev continued to give sight on being careful of wrongly assuming. Know where you stand within your followers, and think before you post of how your brand or business is perceived. We do not need to create a double standard without realizing. A good best practice to pocket when you’re uncertain if something you share will have negative repercussions: take the time to fully understand what your brand sounds like and convey this in a way that has a human touch that is easily decipherable. This may take slightly different formats as you navigate between channels, but generally, this will be helpful rule of thumb to apply across each.

First-Mover Advantage

When it comes to speed, always remember the first-mover advantage notion. Stay on top of your game, and run forward, not backward. Yonchev emphasizes that “relevance moves quickly, and brands brave enough to act fast, stay relevant.” But when staying relevant we need to keep quality in mind, it’s important to be mindful of the speed at which brands are relaying messages. If your brand uses multiple social media platforms keep up with them, listen to your following, and take in feedback. Have quick responsiveness regardless of your brand’s reputation from the past.

At the end of the day, you just need to remember Yonchev’s famous lines, that “theories are not facts,” and “business as usual is a theory.”

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Here are the Video Marketing Strategies You Need to Know from Vimeo’s CMO

Gone are the days where video is deemed a ‘nice to have’ in a marketer’s strategy. More than ever before, video is an essential medium for marketers no matter what your brand goals are or how big your business is. But, while businesses of all sizes are looking to create more content across multiple formats, there are still significant challenges faced in making good video at scale.

On the second day of #SMWONE, Vimeo CMO Harris Beber sat down with SMW Founder and Executive Director, Toby Daniels, to take a closer look at these barriers to entry, the state of video storytelling, tips for adapting content to today’s shorter attention spans, and much more.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Fear, cost, and complexity are the leading barriers to video
  • Frequency is the key to driving reach
  • Gradual engagement boils down to telling authentic brands stories

Bringing scalable video creation in house

Ninety-six percent of SMBs report that if obstacles like time, cost, and complexity were removed they would be integrating more video into their marketing approach. Only half (50%) are actually making video and of that percentage, 92 percent claim that making more video would help grow their business aren’t due to a lack of time and money, and a poor understanding in how to approach their video efforts.

Enter Vimeo Create. Available on desktop and as an app, brands can pick from pre-made, professionally curated video templates customizable to their specific needs or start a new video from scratch, integrating their own video footage. After the video is finalized, they can automatically tailor the content for each of their social channels in distinct versions depending on the format and aspect ratios needed: square, vertical, or horizontal.

Drive reach through frequency

Seventy-five percent of video views happen in the first four days. More frequent video is necessary to keep an engaged audience,” explained Beber.

For optimal reach, creating daily is ideal though this is not always feasible especially for smaller companies who are under-resourced. A simple hack to overcome this obstacle is creating in bulk, “Spend an hour or two a week on creating content so you can schedule that content out for the entire week,” explained Beber. Not every platform is the same, so testing the waters regularly will allow you to gauge how to share your story across different platforms and formats successfully. With each post, you’ll see the areas of improvement and you’ll feel less overwhelmed, Beber assured. “The first video is the hardest. Keep evolving,”

Despite that not every platform is created equal, a general rule to keep in mind to ensure your content is thumb-stopping? Capture your viewer’s attention in the first three seconds. “Start with the peak of your story, use bright colors, show faces, pets, motion, and your brand. We are fighting in 3-second increments when it comes to social engagement,” he explained.

Build engagement over time tell through authentic stories

Offering a powerful reminder on the impact of storytelling in videos, Beber urged attendees to prioritize authenticity over perfection and pushing the “shiny object.”

In a world where you have three seconds to capture someone’s attention, there’s still room to tell a longer story. “People buy from people. Tell your story; don’t sell products… If you can’t demonstrate value through the consumers’ eyes it doesn’t matter how great you think your product is.” he said. Now more than ever people crave community and brands have a significant opportunity to use this moment to cut through the noise in profound and positive ways.

But how exactly does a brand define authenticity in its own lens? Start at the end. Define the mission or purpose behind your message at the ground level. Once you’ve answered the “why,” the next question becomes what type of video will help you most directly in achieving this goal and every else — the format, the channel, the message — will fall into place in a holistic package.

“You may be 50 percent less likely to create, but 100 percent more likely to succeed if you do take the leap and try,” Beber shared to conclude the fireside.

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Here’s How to Use Data to Speed Up Your Marketing Decisions

Now more than ever it’s important for marketers to make smarter data-driven decisions. Instead of just monitoring, more brands and businesses are looking for actionable data that can help push the business forward, from both a strategic, marketing, and operational standpoint.

During their #SMWONE session, NetBase Quid’s Zen Ahmed and Zachary Mesenbourg used the current state of COVID as a timely example of how brands can uncover important themes — using the NetBase Quid platform — that are top-of-mind for consumers during this time, plus how to extrapolate conversation drivers and audience segments from those themes uncovered. The result was a real-time analysis that shows brands how to “make decisions faster with more reliable data” as Mesenbourg pointed out, and stay one step ahead.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Start with the “why” or the challenge
  • Be the artist around your data sets and analysis
  • Deep dives help build context around key entities

There’s a wide variety of data sources at a brand’s disposal

By inputting any search query, NetBase Quid’s “web” functionality gives brands a visual way to understand the news and topics around it. Through this, brands “can compare and contrast articles that are leveraging similar language” states Ahmed, and identify clusters of articles around certain topics that users can then dive deep into.

The platform also gives an insight into trends taking place and the conversations that have been evolving over time through a timeline map. From there, the platform can break it down by audiences – some specific examples Ahmed showed were splitting up the audiences into things like institutions mentioned, gender breakdowns, and top people or sources covering the topic. “This allows us to look at our audiences from a segmented perspective,” Ahmed adds and gets into harder to reach insights than more “conventional analytical tools” may provide.

From data to actionable insights

Brands can now understand a more comprehensive “state of affairs” around any topic through Netbase Quid, breaking it down through a central topic, island clusters, unique clusters and largest volume that are all shown on the map. With so much data out there, it’s especially important to listen and analyze first, before you connect with your certain teams and disseminate the information. It’s important to start with the challenges you want to solve, then find an analysis approach that makes sense for you.

Mesenbourg also adds that brands should “not only be smart with the questions you want answers for when it comes to the analysis types you’re running” but also the audience segments that are “going to be pretty critical to the decisions that you make.”

Being creative with both your data analysis and the results

This platform aims to create a holistic analysis around given topics or questions that a brand, marketer, or agency might be trying to answer – whether from
a media intelligence perspective or a consumer intelligence perspective. With so many capabilities and ways to display information, Metenbourg points out that you’re not just getting a “word cloud of top terms” but instead you can see the “true driving catalyst behind certain conversations” and how these conversations can transition and shift over time.

“Utilize different sources to your own brand’s advantage to drill home the decisions you’re trying to make,“ says Ahmed. Ultimately, he suggested that brands be the “artist around these data sets” developing whatever use cases fit their needs. The result? By going a next level deeper to see what consumers are talking about right now, brands get a real-time picture to what challenges consumers are facing, based on their conversations, plus how they’re interacting in a certain category, and much more. Based on this data, brands can make decisions faster with more reliable data to support it, especially with the NetBase Quid visualizations to drill home those messages.

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What Is Social Listening and Why Your Brand Should Be Using It

Social listening is a tactic that became commonplace among marketers during the past couple of years. As soon as social listening tools started monitoring social media networks and crawling billions of websites in minutes, brands jumped on the opportunity to gather the data on their customers. However, just as any trendy tactic, social listening is often not used to its full potential.

In this post, I’ll go through the ways you can use social listening and get the most out of the method.

But let’s start with the definition.

WHAT IS SOCIAL LISTENING

Social (media) listening and social (media) monitoring are the terms used interchangeably in most articles. They describe the process of gathering mentions of a given keyword(s) (brand name, person, product, industry) on social media, and, sometimes, also on news sites, blogs, forums, and the web.

Some authors distinguish between social media monitoring and social media listening, pointing out that the former means responding to mentions individually, while the latter means analyzing big data – the online presence of the keywords you’re interested in – and working proactively with social media rather than just responding to what’s already there.

Most media hasn’t caught up with the alleged difference between the two terms, so we will use them interchangeably and assume each meaning depending on the context. And the context starts with your goals.

DEFINE YOUR GOALS

Social media listening can do a lot. It reveals your customers and your potential customers, conversations that involve your brand and your industry, every post that links (or should link) to your website.

Social listening is both about individual people on Twitter that praise your book to their friends and big faceless data that demonstrates what kind of sentiment is expressed about your book all over the world and in all of the languages. So first, you’ll need a set of priorities. Otherwise, you might get too overwhelmed and confused to make an informed decision about what to use your new shiny social listening tool for. Here are the possibilities:

1. Perfecting customer care

More and more people address brands on social networks and expect them to reply quickly. Social listening makes sure you receive all these mentions (including the ones without the handle) from chosen social media platforms on one dashboard (or via email) in real time. Customer service is one of the most common applications for social listening.

2. Assessing brand reputation

Knowing your brand’s online reputation and assessing how it changes in reaction to your efforts (such as marketing campaigns, publications, product launches, etc) is another goal that companies are usually after. Social listening tools take all mentions and create a visual representation of the overall brand sentiment and its fluctuations. This, in turn, helps marketers with another important subgoal – spotting and preventing social media crises.

3. Market research

Social listening can reveal who your target audience really is and where they hang out. Social listening tools break down your brand’s (or other keyword’s) mentions by location, online resource, and language.

Some also analyze demographics and psychographics of the authors.

4. Competitor research

Social media monitoring isn’t always about monitoring your brand, your product, and your CEO (if they are a public person). Sometimes, it’s about doing that for your competition and learning their strengths and weaknesses.

5. Product research

Unlike with the questionnaires, people give honest feedback about all kinds of products online. Social listening can help with product research and development by uncovering what people are saying about your product and your competitors’ products.

6. Social selling and raising brand awareness

Finding conversations online about your industry and finding people that are actively looking for a product or service like yours online are two other goals that social listening completes.

7. Influencer marketing

Social listening identifies influencers and brand advocates in your niche.

8. Link building

By finding unlinked mentions to your brand, product, or pieces of content and discovering niche blogs, social listening tools discover potential link-building opportunities.

So that’s it. Although there might be more uses for social listening, these are the main ones.

Now you’ve got to identify a couple of goals you’re most eager to pursue. For small brands, it’s often perfecting their customer service (something that makes it possible for them to be better at than their larger competitors), social selling (something that big brands often neglect), and market research – getting to know the most about the customers.

For large brands, it’s usually about brand reputation, assessing the effect of their marketing campaigns and PR events, product research, and competitor research.

To find out how to get started with your first campaign, jump to this article.

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Why Earning Consumer Trust is Essential for Brands

For years, we’ve hoisted large tech companies to hero status, pledging our loyalty and brand affinity all the while these companies amassed more and more influence in politics, culture, and even our mental health. But this dynamic has shifted. Fast. As a result, we face the ever-present and complicated question: how are today’s societal forces shaping a new era of trust?

Based on interviews with over 2,200 U.S. adults, a recent report published by Morning Consult provides actionable intelligence into this exact issue and opportunities brands can leverage to earn and deepen trust with today’s consumers.

The majority distrust “Corporate America” but give individual brands the BOTD

One of the report’s biggest findings: consumer trust in the U.S. is declining. More than two-thirds of respondents reported that in general, Americans have become less trusting and it’s influencing decisions big and small. This spans which news outlets and anchors they prefer to how they choose their food at the grocery store based on packaging labels.

Increasingly it has become difficult to determine what is fact from fiction; only eight percent claim they trust the media and a mere 15 percent agree it is easy to differentiate when the news headlines they tune into are factual.

While individual brands are reaping the gift of the benefit of the doubt, larger corporations and institutions with a concentration of power are facing the repercussions of a lack of trust from the public. These trends are supported by several key stats including:

  • Less than 1 in 10 Americans claim to have a lot of trust in the government while only four percent place trust in either Wall Street or Hollywood. Elsewhere, the public education system, religious leaders, and major industries such as finance and insurance are also facing skepticism.
  • 74 percent trust that the average major company will deliver consistently on its mission
  • Looking at 100 major brands, the average is trusted by 59 percent and distrusted by just 13 percent.

Factors relating to reliability are for more important in earning trust than ethics

When gathering responses as to why people trust brands like USPS and PayPal overwhelmingly issues related to reliability came out on top over those concerning ethics or politics. This was supported in a ranking of “what is most important” when considering trusting a company. Among the top three answers were that the company protects my personal data (73%), the products work as advertised (71%), and that the products are safe to use (70%). For comparison, only 34 percent said it was important that a company has strong ethical or political views and 37 percent said it mattered whether a company gives back to society.

It’s worth noting however, most U.S. consumers expect brands to deliver on the basics but few anticipate them going above and beyond.

Beyond reliability — what are the other primary areas of distrust that brands should look to when approaching their strategies this year? Data privacy, fine print, and employee treatment.

Navigating Gen-Z and Millennials: reliability is king but ethics is queen

Compared to their Gen X and Boomer counterparts, Gen Z and Millennials are notably less likely to trust the average brand and are more likely to say that companies should make active efforts to gain their trust. Specifically, 42 percent of Gen Z-ers and 30 percent of Millenials agreed with the statement, “I tend to not trust the average American company. They have to earn my trust.”

While reliability is still important, issues such as how a company treats its employees and how products are produced matter much more to these younger demographics and are influential in whether they wind up following through on a purchase. For example, 18-29 year-olds are 5 points more likely than all adults to say it is “very important” a company has strong ethical or political values.

The broader takeaway here to pocket: as you consider your messaging bear in mind that younger generations will hold you to a much higher standard and bring greater skepticism to the table.

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How Instagram’s @Creators Account Can Inspire Your Brand’s Next Collaboration

Instagram is doubling down on its creator community with a new branded account, delivering more tips, tricks, and inspiration for creators to improve their presence and create better content that leverages all the platform has to offer. Appropriately titled @creators, the company is hoping to address gaps that many are turning to alternative outlets like YouTube to fill in order to meet the needs of their audiences.

In a quote shared with sources at AdWeek, Instagram reps explained, “The hub will be a source of education and discovery for aspiring creators (and those who just like to keep learning best practices—it’s important to remain teachable, you know?)—and a space where content meets “how-to,” spoken in a language that our core audience understands, with the talent they connect with the most.”

An introductory FAQ story highlight shared to the account targets basic algorithmic and setting-focused questions including how to get verified, how to filter comments, how to gain access to the latest features and updates, why the chronological feed isn’t coming back, and how to seek general help and guidance from the Instagram team.

Navigating IGTV

One of the first algorithm insights the account revealed in their posts is that 60 percent of people listen to stories with the sound on. A skim of other uploads clearly depicts a focus on video content, specifically IGTV, which to date hasn’t garnered significant traction but a branded account dedicated to how to navigate it and find success in its use is certainly a viable starting point.

“We’ve always said that IGTV is going to be the first monetizable platform on Instagram. It’s just a matter of when, and I’m sure there’s more to come on that,” Justin Antony, Head of Content and Creator Partnerships told The Verge earlier this year. “The creators that are really leaning into it, being native to it, creating an audience there, will be the stars of tomorrow.”

While these bits of insights are undoubtedly helpful as instantaneous learnings on-the-go, it is important to not neglect your own research and statistics. Use these as a comparison and guide versus as a one-size-fits-all approach to your social strategy.

Get inspo from influencers

Beyond sharing it’s own best practices, Instagram wants users and businesses to learn “from the creators you admire the most,” another post claimed.

Creators, including dancer Susie Meoww and comedian Adam Waheed, have already been tapped to take part in this process, sharing their process and strategies for creating content ranging from the equipment they prefer, sound effects they utilize, how often they post, and more.

“By using all surfaces of the platform you’re able to get traffic from all different directions,” explained Waheed in his IGTV testimonial unveiling ways he’s turned his love of witty Instagram skits into a business. “I post two photos, four videos, and one IGTV per week, and five stories every day,” he said.

Rising above the noise

Additional posts promise future content revolving around topics such as standing out in a community of creatives, finding and establishing your brand, and seeking a strategy for sharing your story in the broader community.

“Find a lane that’s open, and try to fiil it,” says Shalom Blac and LaLa Milan regarding how to cut through the noise in a caption teasing their testimonial.

The @creators handle has already spurred a video series under the hashtag #howicreate, where over 1,000 users have documented their experiences and tips on what has worked in their journey to successful sharing.

Aside from creators, brands also stand to benefit from visits to this new account as they seek to improve their presence and enhance their knowledge of how to best create content. Primarily, by supporting an enhanced understanding of what influencers are looking for and why.

Keeping a finger on the pulse of what your prospective partners are talking about and where these dialogues are taking shape is invaluable in today’s digital space and can only help you prepare for the future and secure more successful collaborations.

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The post How Instagram’s @Creators Account Can Inspire Your Brand’s Next Collaboration appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/10/how-instagrams-creators-account-can-inspire-your-brands-next-collaboration/

5 Hidden Ways to Get Your Brand Noticed on Instagram

It’s no secret Instagram has tremendous reach. More than one billion people use the app every month and 500 million engage with the platform daily. Of late, it’s evolved into a booming e-commerce hub for brands with 60 percent of Instagram users reporting they’ve learned of a product or service through the platform.

With over 25 million business profiles in existence, vying for attention is a perpetual obstacle. Fortunately, the Explore Tab, a section dedicated to curated content and branded accounts based on a user’s interest, offers some answers in terms of breaking through the noise.

According to recent research, 26 percent of Instagram users follow new brand accounts discovered via the Explore tab. When considering this stat with Instagram’s own numbers, specifically that more than half of its billion users visit this portion of the site every month, it becomes very transparent that the Explore page holds the potential to drive a significant amount of engagement for brands.

Here, we’ll look at five key tricks you can use to get your posts and Stories featured on the page to boost your exposure:

Use hashtags and tags

Both hashtags and tags are a great way to invite engagement and interaction, especially if you do your homework and research the right people and tags to incorporate into your captions.

From a partnership and collaboration standpoint, tagging companies or influencers or using the same hashtags can be mutually beneficial in that you each stand to gain exposure to audiences you otherwise would not cross paths with.

Audience-wise, hashtags are a staple in sifting through the body of posts that get uploaded to Instagram every day. You can include up to 30 hashtags on your post. Use these to your advantage to make the user experience simpler and more positive by categorizing your content. Operate on the assumption that if you don’t tag it, they can’t see it.

Avoid reposting

Algorithmically speaking, reposts are deprioritized when it comes to Instagram so the best rule of thumb to note is focusing on your own content.

Stick to other callouts if you want to shout another brand or individual out like hashtags, tags or custom captions that you craft yourself. Ensure its conveyed in a way that’s consistent with your brand’s tone and that will be received positively by your audience.

Get creative with visual stories

By 2022, online videos will make up more than 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic, which is 15 times higher than in 2017.

Indeed, more people share videos than ever before. Recognizing this, Instagram has prioritized visual content, ranking videos higher in the Explore algorithm. Why? Because they have a greater tendency to grab attention and hold it for a longer period of time than still photos. Visual content also fuels retention.

According to Forbes, 95 percent of viewers claim to retain the message of a video, versus just 10 percent of message retention with text only. Concerning calls-to-action, 95 percent are more likely to remember it after watching a video, versus just 10 percent when the CTA is delivered solely by text.

A quick tip: don’t overdo it with the length of your videos. Recent research from AdAge shows that after 30 seconds, 33 percent of viewers will stop watching a video, 45 percent before that one minute is up, and 60 percent of viewers will stop watching by two minutes.

If a video doesn’t quite fit for a particular post you’re envisioning, aim to incorporate some alternative form of motion. This can be achieved through a variety of features within the app including Boomerang, motion filters, animation, and more.

Use CTAs

Speaking of CTAs, you’ll want to be sure these are on every checklist before pushing a post live. They not only communicate what you want your audience to do as a response to your message but are a great incentive for engagement.

For example, ask a question that kicks off a conversation for followers. You can also use emojis and tags and language such as “Give this post a like if…” “tag a friend who needs this” or “comment below and tell us what you think” to naturally drive responses.

Don’t be above viral trends and memes

As much as it may feel counterproductive to getting your brand to stand out, an effective way to meet your followers where they are is by paying attention to topics that are already trending and gaining traction.

Strive to put your own twist on the conversation to illustrate what your brand has to offer them in a way that is meaningful and demonstrate your effort in capturing attention in a way that won’t come across as a time suck to them, rather a use of their time.

A highly popular and effective way of doing just this is using viral memes to illustrate a message.

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The post 5 Hidden Ways to Get Your Brand Noticed on Instagram appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/09/5-hidden-ways-to-get-your-brand-noticed-on-instagram/

How The World’s Leading Brands Are Crafting Highly Engaging Campaigns on Twitter

Let’s take a trip down memory lane to the year 2014. Twitter is eight years old and primarily represents an alternative to micro-blogging, compelling users to fit within the confines of a 140 character limit per Tweet.

Fast forward to today, the conversations have evolved and increased in importance, binding people by shared values, causes, and interests. Images, GIFs, and videos give users a richer, more emotive way to communicate.

More marketers are beginning to understand the critical value of interaction and what makes people genuinely want to participate with a certain idea or message. It isn’t a case of luck. Rather, the success stories begin with listening. Putting this knowledge to work is what ultimately gives brands the best shot at success today and those that don’t simply fall victim to deaf ears and eyes.

It may sound simple enough, but to make it even simpler let’s break down six key insights, inspired by Twitter’s Influencing Culture: The Participation Playbook, that you’ll need in order to craft campaigns that people will want to engage with.

Don’t underestimate the power of social listening

Image via Twitter Marketing

There’s no rhyme or reason when it comes to the ideal marketing plan, but what most have agreed on is that it begins with acutely understanding what it is you want to achieve. Are you focused on a targeted group of people? Are you looking to bring new customers to your brand or business?

For answers, you need to tune into what is being said about your company and its competitors. When done right, you can leverage this information and apply it across business development across R&D, customer service and real-time campaigns.

An exemplar brand that recently used this insight to its full advantage is Burger King. In 2017 the restaurant chain introduced spicy chicken nuggets to its menu conveniently after seeing people on Twitter complain about Wendy’s ditching its own. These comments became the exact inspiration for its ad campaign on twitter which helped sell three months’ worth of nuggets in only four weeks. The campaign was shortlisted for a Social & Influencer Lion at Cannes 2018.

Prioritize communication over consumption

Image via Twitter Marketing

In 2015, REI and Venables Bell & Partners initiated a campaign #OptOutside, which centered around its decision to shut all stores on Black Friday to encourage people to explore the wilderness.

The result? More than 1.4 million people used the brand’s hashtag in conversation REI signed up a record number of new members to its co-operative that year.

In this example, a brand’s story was used to create a movement, not just a conversation, and it can best be explained by looking at the principle of self-identity. Put simply, it was easy for people to express their distaste for consumerism and get behind the campaign and communicate their innate sense of innate adventure and fitness in line with REI’s mission “to awaken a lifelong love of the outdoors, for all.”

Think beyond the metrics

Image via Twitter Marketing

Much like the conversations on Twitter have evolved, so too have the metrics that marketers are using as measures of determining success. The primary cause of this is the rise in bots and click farms causing distrust amongst users.

Indeed, the best margins for advertising are on the lowest cost content, typically favoring content that is fake, negative or sensational but marketers today must think bigger and more holistically. Instead, winning brand stories now hinge on real-world outcomes and deeper connections with consumers.

What this boils down is digital marketing that prioritizes the human experience, communicating deep and profound respect for a person’s time and attention, and being proactive in how you address pain points and frustrations when they occur.

For instance, In 2018, Verizon cheekily, and helpfully, responded to people’s frustrated Tweets about rival broadband suppliers.

When the company noticed people taking to Twitter to complain about dropped signals while they were trying to stream college basketball games, Verizon seized an opportunity to demonstrate it was better than its competitors by sending users written reports of what they weren’t able to follow. The campaign, which was ultimately supported by NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, was shortlisted at Cannes Lion the same year.

Cultivate lots of little ideas

VMLY&R‘s Jen McDonald hit the nail on the head when she said, “If you’re trying to hit a home run every single time, you’re going to strike out.”

In a digital landscape where competition is paramount and attention spans have never been shorter, it’s easy to default to the expectation that everything you do has to break the internet. Quite the contrary, some of the biggest successes seen on Twitter began by steadily engaging a base of fans with fun interactions.

For instance, Wendy’s ‎#NuggsForCarter challenging a fan to get 18 million Retweets in return for a year of free chicken nuggets became the most Retweeted Tweet of all time until earlier this year when a Japanese billionaire offered cash prizes to people who shared his Tweet. It also won a silver PR Lion at Cannes in 2017.

The takeaway here is that generally, crafting stories to appeal to lots of people tend to only gain traction amongst a few. Alternatively, creating something more micro-level, that appeals to more specialized tastes and interests, increases the likelihood that your content will spread faster and farther. Bear in mind the term “ripple effect.” Start with a pebble, not a huge rock.

Be fearless in your Twitter tone

Let’s face it, composing that perfect Tweet is a mind game. No one wants a jargon-heavy piece of writing and at the same time, no amount of clever phrasing is going to trick people into talking about your brand if your idea or campaign does prioritize their needs and interests.

In 2017, McDonald’s took to the platform to share, “All Quarter Pounder burgers at the majority of our restaurants will be cooked with fresh beef.” Wendy’s saw this and wittingly replied, “So you’ll still use frozen beef in MOST of your burgers in ALL of your restaurants? Asking for a friend.”

The Tweet received more than 175,000 Retweets and started a follow-up chain of discussion that garnered more than 7,000 replies. The main insight to take from this example is that seizing the moment of impact can be powerful. Strive for speed and take inspiration for how you want to craft your tone based on how people are actually talking.

In yet another example, Crock-Pot abandoned its usual tone of voice in 2017 when the company was blamed for [SPOILER ALERT] the death of Jack Pearson on the TV show This is Us. The Twitter damage control that ensued relied on a lot of emojis and vernacular to resonate with the show’s fans and communicate authenticity and genuity.

The campaign, created in partnership with Edelman, generated 3.7 billion impressions was awarded a Silver Lion in the PR category at Cannes. Crock-Pot also enjoyed a $300,000 bump in its February sales.

Put the customer first

Indeed the largest obstacle with social media is that we obligated to succumb to vanity metrics. The likes, retweets, and follows, and in the process comes a desire to please as many people as possible. It’s easy to know when you’re doing this well and when you’re not.

“Getting good isn’t hard. It’s a symptom you did something else right,” per the philosophy of author, entrepreneur and marketer, Seth Godin. When we chase these metrics it can be a trap of false progress and in actuality dilute our power. The focus should always be on creating and sharing the stories that matter for people who care.

“You can seek out the people who care, or you can yell at the people in the middle who are ignoring you,” says Godin.

For more insights from Seth, check out his episode of Social Media Week’s Leads2Scale podcast where he discussed the keys to getting at the heart of great storytelling, why empathy is overlooked as a core marketing strength, and much more.

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Instagram Stories and Vertical Video: The Future of Brand Storytelling

It’s been just over two years since Instagram Stories launched and today over 500 million people use the feature daily. Yet, it remains a relatively untapped advertising resource.

Add-ons including the Questions Sticker and Music give the personal touch every social user today craves. Meanwhile, the introduction of Stories ads and IGTV for marketers and influencers continue to speak to the level of influence the platform has with regards to selling power.

View the full #SMWLDN agenda

Despite these features, marketers continue to face the overarching challenge of finding new ways to make it easier for audiences to consume content when and where it’s convenient for them. A recent trend that seems to be offering insights into this topic is vertical video.

On 1 November, the final day of #SMWLDN, we’ll explore this theme in detail in a session led by Jane Kinnaird, Creative Strategist at Instagram, and Gareth Leeding, Group Creative Director at We Are Social. Together, they’ll underscore success stories of award-winning brands highlighting the very best and most innovative uses of Stories and explore why vertical video storytelling is the future. They’ll also share reasons Instagram Stories is a must-have format of choice for storytelling and driving traffic and shed light on the trends that are shaping how brands are using the platform to move the needle for their business.

Sixty-percent of videos today are watched on phones and tablets and 94 percent of us interact with our phones vertically. Vertical has, indeed, been on the up for years but marketers are just becoming awakened to the myriad of use cases for it to meet the demands for personalization, interactivity, and immediacy.

There’s still time to join Jane, Gareth, and many more speakers in London at Westminster’s QEII Centre this fall (31 Oct – 1 Nov), – so act fast, and look toward a future of vertical storytelling with us!

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The post Instagram Stories and Vertical Video: The Future of Brand Storytelling appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/09/instagram-stories-and-vertical-video-the-future-of-brand-storytelling/

How Pinterest’s Newest Shopping Features Will Bring You Closer to Your Favorite Brands

This week, Pinterest introduced two new shopping features continuing its pursuit to be the leading online shopping network: browsable catalogs alongside Pins, and personalized shopping ideas in its feed.

As a quick recap, in March the platform unveiled Catalogs whereby retailers could upload entire catalogs into shoppable pins. In 2018, Pinterest overhauled buyable pins and replaced them with product pins, delivering new features such as indicating whether or not a product was in stock.

Here’s a look at the newest updates:

When Pinners scroll under a Product Pin and click “More from the brand,” they’ll be directed to a shopping section containing related items from that given brand. An initial click or tap will trigger the display of the latest products and info, and an additional click will direct the user to the retailer’s website to complete their purchase.

As for the platform’s homepage, while Pinterest users are shopping, personalized shopping ideas will appear atop their feeds in the form of a “picked for you” icon. By tapping on the icon, they’ll be directed to a package of products curated based on their interests, prior searches, and brands they’ve previously interacted with on the platform.

This is a huge win for retailers offering another critical opportunity to reach Pinterest users while they’re shopping on the platform. It’s also a bonus for digital shoppers craving that ‘just for me’ experience.

In addition to the updated shopping tools, Pinterest’s announcement also shared results of a study conducted in partnership with Neustar, which looked at digital channel performance for paid search, paid social and display ads for five retail brands in the U.S., tracked to their online and in-store sales. Key findings included:

  • 75% of sales that came from Pinterest took place more than one week after people saw ads on its platform.
  • Despite the studying finding that Pinterest made up only 11% of total media spend among the five retail brands, it generated 18% of their incremental sales and revenue, making it the platform 2.3x more efficient than other social platforms, 1.5x more efficient than paid search and 1.1x times more efficient than display.

Stats aside, this study can be summarized by two core takeaways: Pinterest is highly efficient in the digital space and it is successful in influencing purchasing decisions early.

“Because people use Pinterest so early in their shopping journey, marketers need to adjust their attribution windows to give people time to make a purchase, before declaring a return on ad spend,” underscored Pinterest’s Gunnard Johnson, Head of Measurement Science and Insights on the company’s Business Blog.

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The post How Pinterest’s Newest Shopping Features Will Bring You Closer to Your Favorite Brands appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/07/how-pinterests-newest-shopping-features-will-bring-you-closer-to-your-favorite-brands/

This AI-Boosted Survey Tool Helps You “Gauge” Your Brand’s Potential Fallout

The fallout of an ineffective or offensive ad campaign—think Pepsi, Dove, or H&M—can cost brands huge sums of money, as well as hard-earned customer trust. In the eyes of Gauge, a DC-based research startup, a key reason for these gaffes: “they’re talking with the wrong people.” Their app wants to change these conversations, centering the populations who often end up most affected.

Gauge’s cofounders Brandon Andrews and Joshua DuBois met at the firm Values Partnerships, which worked with nonprofit organizations, foundations, and religious leaders to “tackle the intersections of race, politics, media, and faith.” It is frequently at these intersections where brands and marketers are often at a loss- simply because their expertise lies elsewhere. Andrews and DuBois developed a deep understanding of how to listen to these populations and implement their wishes in a smart, sensitive, and effective way. Now they’re bringing this sensibility to the companies that need it most.

Afrotech lays out the approach of the app simply:

Gauge uses focus groups to help companies make decisions and gives surveys to tastemakers and industry experts. Surveyees can download the app and are compensated with gift cards and cash for every questionnaire they complete.

Artificial intelligence is then deployed to analyze the responses given, yielding detailed insight on the potential impact of a brand’s choices. With tastemakers that include Ferguson activist DeRay McKesson, #oscarssowhite founder April Reign, actress and LGBT activist Trace Lysette, YouTuber Brendan Jordan, and many others, the bench of individuals – and populations – consulted on a company’s potential moves is deeper than most tend to consider.

Gauge has already played a major role in Google’s Titan Generator Hackathon earlier this year, deployed to provide user feedback during the event that was supported by March for Our Lives, Color of Change, United We Dream, and the International Indigenous Youth Council.

The event and its resulting solutions “aim[ed] to be a catalyst for a broader coalition of support and action”; Gauge hopes to do the same in a larger marketplace, with the goal of catching potentially disastrous faux pas (often the result of too little diverse input) earlier. “With technology,” Andrews said, “we could create a better, cheaper, and faster way for brands to engage with diverse customers.”

Gauge is available now for desktop, iOs and Android.

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The post This AI-Boosted Survey Tool Helps You “Gauge” Your Brand’s Potential Fallout appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/07/this-ai-boosted-survey-tool-helps-you-gauge-your-brands-potential-fallout/

Building a Lasting Emotional Connection with Customers: A Conversation with Lindsey Turner

Today’s consumers have rapidly evolved into target audience members presenting the fundamental challenge for brands to earn attention and break through in a world overloaded with information. But where are they to begin? Primarily, through understanding audience members’ key emotional motivators and crafting content that aligns brand positioning in accordance with these feelings.

View the initial #SMWLDN agenda & grab your pass at 20% off!

Per recent research, 70 percent of emotionally connected consumers spend twice as much on brands they have an emotional attachment to than those who don’t. Additionally, 81 percent of those respondents promote their favorite brands to family and friends.

On 31 October, the opening day of #SMWLDN, we’ll explore this theme in detail in a session led by Lindsey Turner, Head of Creators at Twitter EMEA. As she interviews a Creator who designs for the feed and builds content for the community, you can expect to learn how to better drive brand conversations, build authenticity though best-in-class Creators, and create an emotional connection with your audience.

It’s no longer good enough for a brand to be the first or even among the first to hop on the social media bandwagon to communicate what their products and services can offer. Brands must shift their focus to longer-term strategies that emphasize what consumers feel versus what they know.

Brands that succeed in doing this effectively translate their messages into deep-seeded loyalty that sticks throughout the entire customer journey, ultimately generating higher ROI. Conversely, those who don’t run the risk of becoming lost in the growing sea of competition.

Per Viacom, the vast majority of brands in 2019 (93 percent to be precise!) are looking to transgress beyond the standard social media post and identify ways to merge experiential and influencer marketing. Above all, the fundamental responsibility we share as marketers in what is a critical inflection point for social media is to revolutionize traditional storytelling by fueling conversations that not only reflect culture but shape it.

There’s still time to join Lindsey and many more speakers in London at Westminster’s QEII Centre this fall (31 Oct – 1 Nov), – so act fast, and look toward a future of connecting with culture with us!

Browse the current agenda and list of featured speakers and secure your pass by 9 August to take advantage of the 20% discount before it expires.

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The post Building a Lasting Emotional Connection with Customers: A Conversation with Lindsey Turner appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/07/building-a-lasting-emotional-connection-with-customers-a-conversation-with-lindsey-turner/

Inside the Influencer-Marketer Partnership: Tips from Julius

Influencer marketing has become much sought after, but as the field grows, it is important to explore and understand the priorities within an influencer and marketer partnership.

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During #SMWLA, Karin Swanson, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Julius, a company that specializes in influencer vetting, spoke with several influencers to break down what marketers should be asking themselves when working alongside them and in order to execute a better campaign.

What do influencers want from their marketing partners?

Swanson touched on this need with a slide that advised, “Be informed and know as much about the influencer as you would like them to know about your brand.”

There are often strict standards which require influencers to know the brand’s mission, aesthetic and team structure, to name a few things, prior to working with it. Yet the brand itself is does not meet those same standards when working with an influencer, according to Swanson.

It’s about authenticity and building trust.

To prove the point, Swanson shared statistics that showed that 66% of influencers polled said they are motivated by the opportunity to share a passion and expertise with a marketing partner. So it should not be simply the other way around.

What can solidify a partnership?

While influencers care about compensation for their work, experiences and creativity are sometimes valued over money.

Matthew Nadu, an actor, host and producer, relayed that when brands offer things (products, dinners, experiences) as part of the compensation, they stand out to him because he is gaining an access that is not typically available.

“It’s things that you wouldn’t normally get to do…You can authentically enjoy it,” Nadu said.

In addition, there can be value to the brand in providing these things to an influencer: Nadu talked about working with Australian brand Traveller’s Autobarn, whom was converting Ford vans into camper vans, and receiving access for two-weeks to drive around in one.

“We basically just took this thing, ran it 3,000 miles, all over the west coast, and we hit every national park that we love. That was awesome because they were like, ‘Here, we trust you guys. Just make whatever the content is that you want to make. Just make our van look cool.’”

For a company that was having trouble connecting to the American audience, that worked. And it also worked for the influencer, adding truth to Swanson’s stat. that 74%  of influencers polled were motivated by the ability to be more creative.

How can advertisers build better relationships with influencers?

It is important that influencers feel like they can still be themselves while working with a brand, Swanson has found.

Tyler Grove, who has the podcast and website We Traveled Where, advised brands to build organic relationships, as she experienced with COOLA Suncare, which she described as her favorite partnership to this day.

Because she feels there is an honesty in their relationship, she also feels free to test and tell them her true opinion about their new products.

In addition, she reminded brands to capitalize on people that are excited and loyal to the brand from the start.

“Don’t forget about those nano-influencers, or people that you might be seeing on social media, posting about your brand, that might have two or 3,000 followers because in three to five years from now, they might be the people with 100,000 followers,” she said.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

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The post Inside the Influencer-Marketer Partnership: Tips from Julius appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/06/inside-the-influencer-marketer-partnership-tips-from-julius/

Inside the Influencer-Marketer Partnership: Tips from Julius

Influencer marketing has become much sought after, but as the field grows, it is important to explore and understand the priorities within an influencer and marketer partnership.

Join SMW Insider to watch this #SMWLA session

Subscribe

During #SMWLA, Karin Swanson, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Julius, a company that specializes in influencer vetting, spoke with several influencers to break down what marketers should be asking themselves when working alongside them and in order to execute a better campaign.

What do influencers want from their marketing partners?

Swanson touched on this need with a slide that advised, “Be informed and know as much about the influencer as you would like them to know about your brand.”

There are often strict standards which require influencers to know the brand’s mission, aesthetic and team structure, to name a few things, prior to working with it. Yet the brand itself is does not meet those same standards when working with an influencer, according to Swanson.

It’s about authenticity and building trust.

To prove the point, Swanson shared statistics that showed that 66% of influencers polled said they are motivated by the opportunity to share a passion and expertise with a marketing partner. So it should not be simply the other way around.

What can solidify a partnership?

While influencers care about compensation for their work, experiences and creativity are sometimes valued over money.

Matthew Nadu, an actor, host and producer, relayed that when brands offer things (products, dinners, experiences) as part of the compensation, they stand out to him because he is gaining an access that is not typically available.

“It’s things that you wouldn’t normally get to do…You can authentically enjoy it,” Nadu said.

In addition, there can be value to the brand in providing these things to an influencer: Nadu talked about working with Australian brand Traveller’s Autobarn, whom was converting Ford vans into camper vans, and receiving access for two-weeks to drive around in one.

“We basically just took this thing, ran it 3,000 miles, all over the west coast, and we hit every national park that we love. That was awesome because they were like, ‘Here, we trust you guys. Just make whatever the content is that you want to make. Just make our van look cool.’”

For a company that was having trouble connecting to the American audience, that worked. And it also worked for the influencer, adding truth to Swanson’s stat. that 74%  of influencers polled were motivated by the ability to be more creative.

How can advertisers build better relationships with influencers?

It is important that influencers feel like they can still be themselves while working with a brand, Swanson has found.

Tyler Grove, who has the podcast and website We Traveled Where, advised brands to build organic relationships, as she experienced with COOLA Suncare, which she described as her favorite partnership to this day.

Because she feels there is an honesty in their relationship, she also feels free to test and tell them her true opinion about their new products.

In addition, she reminded brands to capitalize on people that are excited and loyal to the brand from the start.

“Don’t forget about those nano-influencers, or people that you might be seeing on social media, posting about your brand, that might have two or 3,000 followers because in three to five years from now, they might be the people with 100,000 followers,” she said.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

WATCH OUR 2019 PROMO

 

The post Inside the Influencer-Marketer Partnership: Tips from Julius appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/06/inside-the-influencer-marketer-partnership-tips-from-julius/

Building Relationships and Strengthening Brand Loyalty through Personalization: Tips from Collective Bias, an Inmar Platform

Only 22 percent of shoppers are satisfied with the level of personalization they currently receive from businesses despite 80 percent of brands feeling they meet customer expectations “extremely well.”

This discrepancy has resulted in a whopping 75 billion revenue loss for companies every year — but there is an upside: with this void, there is a huge opportunity for traditional companies to start connecting with their consumers on a more personal level to build relationships and strengthen brand loyalty.

Join SMW Insider to watch this #SMWLA session

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During a #SMWLA panel hosted by Leah Logan, Vice President Media Products Strategy and Marketing, Collective Bias, an Inmar platform, representatives from Facebook, HP, and Coty sat down to explore how brands are using data to personalize their communications and why personalization is so important in competing in today’s D2C space.

Personalization = product + loyalty + customer service

Targeting outreach is important when it comes to starting a conversation, but a lot of the focus for businesses is on is supporting the entire purchase journey.

Stated differently, we must think of modern brands in the context of a service, not necessarily the product or commodity it’s delivering. Attributes and level of quality are givens; it’s how you’re going to serve the customer and communicate how you’ll meet their needs that is key to success. Put into a simplified equation: personalization = product + loyalty + customer service.

This notion was echoed across the panelists’ definitions of what personalization means to them in the context of their companies and specific roles.

  • “Personalization is finding out about your customer, their problems, and solving them,” said Austin Ratner, Affiliate + Partnerships Marketing Manager, HP
  • “Personalization is the right product at the right time with the right message built into the right channel…Consumers are expecting brands to add value beyond their product offering,” said Jess Chu, Brand Manager, Fragrance, Coty
  • “Personalization to me is making sure I’m getting stuff that matters to me 100 percent of the time,” said Asher Rapkin, Director, Global Business Marketing, Messenger and Emerging Platforms, Facebook

Adding value through data

Brands are using data primarily to shorten the distance between the consumer and their particular objective, and in turn, introduce a unique value-add to the overall experience.

Chu introduced the example of Johnson & Johnson’s Zyrtec team, which tracks a variety of data points in the backend even before the need — in this case allergies — is identified. They then deliver their messaging based on a person’s geographic location and what the pollen count is for that area.

Utilizing data should be less about segmenting audiences and more about “how do we let a consumer raise their hand and say, ‘I’ll tell you what I’m looking for, and if you can utilize the knowledge you have to deliver the thing that will be most useful, then you have met my expectations,’” said Rapkin.

Leveraging new tools & emerging tech

Meeting consumer objectives directly and accurately was a unanimous theme raised by the panelists when discussing the use of new and emerging technologies.

Instead of using technical jargon, HP describes their computers in a user-first perspective so that their customers can easily choose a laptop that works for them.

Similarly, Facebook’s approach tries to distill down what exactly it is the individual is ultimately trying to achieve by employing an objective-driven approach to utilizing new technologies.

“Whether this is done through a mobile app, a website, an ad unit, or in a virtual world, whichever is the most effective emerging technology is the best technology to meet the goal, regardless of novelty,” Rapkin stated.

The convergence of content & commerce

Influencer partnerships can help brands get consumer feedback on their products. Give your influencers campaign goals and seek feedback frequently. Make it a conversation.

In this way, you can compress distance and more successfully take feedback to heart and incorporate it in a way that will be viewed favorably amongst your target audiences.

“We think of influencers as brand advocates in the sense that we want them to be able to talk about how our products fit into their life authentically. We never want them to push a product just because,” Chu explained.

In the fragrance world, this is beneficial to consumers especially because choices are keenly reflective of a person’s lifestyle. Is this for me? Is it recommended by someone I trust and who knows me? These are all questions that closing the loop between a person’s point of discovery and point of conversion can address.

By being connected through social commerce in this way, “we can shorten the path to purchase and get it to consumers in their hands in a very frictionless way,” she added.

Advice to traditional brands in competing with D2C competitors

  • Focus explicitly on the opportunity or the problem; not the experience first
  • Diversify your choices and solutions
  • Don’t be deterred by the need to “catch up”

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

WATCH OUR 2019 PROMO

The post Building Relationships and Strengthening Brand Loyalty through Personalization: Tips from Collective Bias, an Inmar Platform appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/06/building-relationships-and-strengthening-brand-loyalty-through-personalization-tips-from-collective-bias-an-inmar-platform/

Building Relationships and Strengthening Brand Loyalty through Personalization: Tips from Collective Bias, an Inmar Platform

Only 22 percent of shoppers are satisfied with the level of personalization they currently receive from businesses despite 80 percent of brands feeling they meet customer expectations “extremely well.”

This discrepancy has resulted in a whopping 75 billion revenue loss for companies every year — but there is an upside: with this void, there is a huge opportunity for traditional companies to start connecting with their consumers on a more personal level to build relationships and strengthen brand loyalty.

Join SMW Insider to watch this #SMWLA session

Subscribe

During a #SMWLA panel hosted by Leah Logan, Vice President Media Products Strategy and Marketing, Collective Bias, an Inmar platform, representatives from Facebook, HP, and Coty sat down to explore how brands are using data to personalize their communications and why personalization is so important in competing in today’s D2C space.

Personalization = product + loyalty + customer service

Targeting outreach is important when it comes to starting a conversation, but a lot of the focus for businesses is on is supporting the entire purchase journey.

Stated differently, we must think of modern brands in the context of a service, not necessarily the product or commodity it’s delivering. Attributes and level of quality are givens; it’s how you’re going to serve the customer and communicate how you’ll meet their needs that is key to success. Put into a simplified equation: personalization = product + loyalty + customer service.

This notion was echoed across the panelists’ definitions of what personalization means to them in the context of their companies and specific roles.

  • “Personalization is finding out about your customer, their problems, and solving them,” said Austin Ratner, Affiliate + Partnerships Marketing Manager, HP
  • “Personalization is the right product at the right time with the right message built into the right channel…Consumers are expecting brands to add value beyond their product offering,” said Jess Chu, Brand Manager, Fragrance, Coty
  • “Personalization to me is making sure I’m getting stuff that matters to me 100 percent of the time,” said Asher Rapkin, Director, Global Business Marketing, Messenger and Emerging Platforms, Facebook

Adding value through data

Brands are using data primarily to shorten the distance between the consumer and their particular objective, and in turn, introduce a unique value-add to the overall experience.

Chu introduced the example of Johnson & Johnson’s Zyrtec team, which tracks a variety of data points in the backend even before the need — in this case allergies — is identified. They then deliver their messaging based on a person’s geographic location and what the pollen count is for that area.

Utilizing data should be less about segmenting audiences and more about “how do we let a consumer raise their hand and say, ‘I’ll tell you what I’m looking for, and if you can utilize the knowledge you have to deliver the thing that will be most useful, then you have met my expectations,’” said Rapkin.

Leveraging new tools & emerging tech

Meeting consumer objectives directly and accurately was a unanimous theme raised by the panelists when discussing the use of new and emerging technologies.

Instead of using technical jargon, HP describes their computers in a user-first perspective so that their customers can easily choose a laptop that works for them.

Similarly, Facebook’s approach tries to distill down what exactly it is the individual is ultimately trying to achieve by employing an objective-driven approach to utilizing new technologies.

“Whether this is done through a mobile app, a website, an ad unit, or in a virtual world, whichever is the most effective emerging technology is the best technology to meet the goal, regardless of novelty,” Rapkin stated.

The convergence of content & commerce

Influencer partnerships can help brands get consumer feedback on their products. Give your influencers campaign goals and seek feedback frequently. Make it a conversation.

In this way, you can compress distance and more successfully take feedback to heart and incorporate it in a way that will be viewed favorably amongst your target audiences.

“We think of influencers as brand advocates in the sense that we want them to be able to talk about how our products fit into their life authentically. We never want them to push a product just because,” Chu explained.

In the fragrance world, this is beneficial to consumers especially because choices are keenly reflective of a person’s lifestyle. Is this for me? Is it recommended by someone I trust and who knows me? These are all questions that closing the loop between a person’s point of discovery and point of conversion can address.

By being connected through social commerce in this way, “we can shorten the path to purchase and get it to consumers in their hands in a very frictionless way,” she added.

Advice to traditional brands in competing with D2C competitors

  • Focus explicitly on the opportunity or the problem; not the experience first
  • Diversify your choices and solutions
  • Don’t be deterred by the need to “catch up”

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

WATCH OUR 2019 PROMO

The post Building Relationships and Strengthening Brand Loyalty through Personalization: Tips from Collective Bias, an Inmar Platform appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/06/building-relationships-and-strengthening-brand-loyalty-through-personalization-tips-from-collective-bias-an-inmar-platform/

Why Kidfluencers are an Important Demographic for Marketers: Insights from Viacom

They’re young. They’re smart. They’re single-handedly redefining the world of digital advertising.

At age 12, Gavin Magnus has three years of YouTube experience and at age 8, Heaven King already has six years of dancing in her background. Oh, and they have 852k and 690k Instagram followers respectively.

Kidfluencers may be “just kids,” but it’s hard to discredit their hard work and content creator experience.

During #SMWLA, Gavin, Heaven, and Heaven’s mother, Tianne, sat down with Harvey Schwartz, Co-Founder, EVP Talent, WHOSAY, a Viacom Company, for an enriching conversation around the booming business of kidfluencers including best tips for forging relationships.

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The online influencer market shows no signs of slowing down per recent research from MediaKix, which estimates that companies will spend $5 to $10 billion paying influencers for sponsored content by 2020.

While on the one hand brands are eager to swoop on sizable celebrity partnerships, they’re also quickly learning that kids are an exceptional way to communicate with target audiences due to heightened exposure to digital channels. 79 percent of parents let their kids under 11 watch YouTube and 56 percent of kids have social media accounts by the time they turn 12, though research has proven children now start surfing the web at as early as age two.

Why kids are an important demographic for today’s marketers

According to PwC’s Kids Digital Advertising Report 2017, the under-13 digital media market is currently seeing 25 percent year-on-year growth.

Kids are an important demographic for marketers not only because of their impact on their parents’ buying decisions but also as future adult consumers. This was reiterated by several additional statistics shared during the panel by Harvey Schwartz, Co-Founder, EVP Talent, WHOSAY, a Viacom Company, that included:

  • 75% of parents say kids influence their purchasing decisions
  • 60% claimed they spend more when kids are involved in purchasing

Trends and consistency matter when it comes to content strategy

Keeping an audience involved requires keeping up with the rapid pace of trends.

For Tianne and Heaven, dance trends, in particular, are important sources of inspiration. While these are not always the easiest to keep up with, they try to pay attention to emerging styles and incorporate them into their content.

Gavin echoed this when describing his own content strategy, claiming he occasionally will devise his own challenge or prank-style video, but he also engages in research into what is circulating across YouTube prior to putting his own twist on the idea.

Another important ingredient in securing engagement? Consistency. “For some people, consistency is posting videos once a week, but I personally pay more attention to the consistency of our messaging and the quality we’re putting out there,” Tianne described.

Kidfluencers are more than just talent

When asked how often he posts, Gavin described how he has always posted on a weekly schedule. Originally he stuck to weekends, however, after a closer look at the KPIs of his channel, he made the decision to expand into the week and post on Wednesdays, which has resulted in greater ad revenue from his videos.

What this demonstrates is that kidfluencers are not mere sources of talent — they are capable and committed to understanding the marketing tactics behind their content success and harnessing the insights to improve their strategies and processes.

Characteristics of successful partnerships

“I like to work with brands where you can seamlessly integrate the product into your content,” remarked Tianne when asked what she looks for in a partnership.

She elaborated on this point by describing how for a particular video she did with Heaven last year titled, “Heaven and Tianne Cleaning Dance Challenge!” in collaboration with Pine Sol, she simply put the bottle down while they danced and cleaned up the house. “You never realized it was an ad until the very end,” she said.

In this way, the duo is able to remain true to their creative and the way they market their channel.

For Gavin, a standout partnership he participated in was with Capri Sun. “It worked really well because I love Capri Sun and actually drink it,” he explained.

It all boils down to one word: reliability. “You can take a Capri sun and be thirsty at the beach or on a hike and drink it while hiking,” he added.

In short, the freedom for an influencer to be his or herself is a significant part of the formula for successful collaborations.

Forging long-term relationships

Building long-term relationships in this emerging business is important and will result in improved quality when it comes to content and a higher level of engagement with younger consumers.

For brands, this often entails isolating themselves from what they think they already know. By listening to influencers’ input, you may very well become aware of ideas that otherwise would have never been brought to the table.

In these dialogues, consider fundamental questions including, what do they love about your product? What context do they envision presenting your product to their viewers or subscribers? An unboxing video? A prank or challenge video? A vlog that depicts the use of the product in their everyday life?

Kids will undoubtedly continue to have a huge effect on purchasing and online content creation in the years to come. Once you take the time to learn their journeys and what motivates them, and understand the rules around hiring them, there’s a tremendous opportunity to partner with these young creators who drive massive engagement.

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The post Why Kidfluencers are an Important Demographic for Marketers: Insights from Viacom appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/06/why-kidfluencers-are-an-important-demographic-for-marketers-insights-from-viacom/

What’s the Key to Keeping it Real? Treat Your Customers Relationships like Friendships, says ELA Advertising

It’s no secret that in today’s digital landscape social media carries tremendous storytelling power. What this means for brands and agencies is wielding a critical responsibility to influence how people think and act in an environment inundated with noise. It’s no small feat, but it’s now more important than ever to identify opportunities to develop truly authentic and meaningful content worthy of our time and attention.

During #SMWLA, Andre Filip, CEO & Founder, ELA Advertising, Max Brabant, Agent, Digital Talent and Packaging, CAA and Jesse Margolis, Founder, Overheard came together to offer their unique perspectives on this topic.

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Keeping it real & ensuring strategic alignment

“Alignment is so critical when it comes to messaging on social media,” said Filip when discussing the creation of authentic content.

Originally, the old model, for agencies in particular, was to view the consumer and their life in a straight path, and to sell directly to them based on their ethos or way of living. This approach, however, has become antiquated and no longer relevant.

“Our new model, on the brand side, is to start understanding and speaking their stories and find similarities and that parallel gap is where social falls in and we have this rhythmic balance of messaging,” he added. “It’s like starting a friendship.”

Weighing on how authenticity between a brand and a celebrity or influencer can do a better job of keeping it real, Brabant explained, that a more holistic approach and identifying overlaps with core values is important. “More often brands approach us for one-off social posts and it isn’t appealing to us as reps. It does very little for our clients. We look to long-term organic partnerships that are more authentic to them and to their audience.”

For OverheardLA, staying true to the idea that you can’t fake being real is an integral part of who they are. To achieve this, posts are purposely unpolished so that they feel raw and more relatable. “We figure out how to monetize without destroying the thing,” Margolis said.

Ultimately, there is a fundamental responsibility on both sides. On the one hand, a brand has to ask itself, does this person truly match us. On the other hand, influencers must also ask themselves, does this brand map to the kind of person I am and my personality?

Choose influencers for their talent, not their followers

On the topic of discerning how to determine what brands to partner with based on your personal brand and why, Andre turned to a recent April Fools campaign ELA completed in partnership with Tik Tok and DJ Khaled. Not only was it critical to understand Tik Tok’s brand values and what they stood for, but selecting the one person that would exemplify this overall spirit.

“It was important that we let Khaled be Khaled. If we would’ve given him a script, he would’ve felt very closed off,” Filip added, underscoring the relationship worked because he was provided loose direction and allowed to express himself how he wished as opposed to feeling as though he had to fit into a certain box.

Leveraging her own experiences, Brabant reiterated the idea that micromanaging is typically not favored by clients and in most cases, results in CAA offering an ultimatum. “There have been cases where we’ve closed a deal and whoever is on the other side has come to us and said, ‘we need it to look exactly like this,’ and I’ve had to go back and tell them that they can either deal with it or if it’s a deal breaker then let’s just not do this partnership.”

Awareness will lead to acquisition, but it’s the long-game that paves the way to a more meaningful, sustainable story to share with your audience. It boils down to patience and long-term commitment to assess each and every part of the communication funnel to identify moments of relevance where you can say, “We are like you and we live like you and think like you.”

Using tone of voice as a filter

Tone of voice is hyper-critical to the success of a brand not getting ‘heckled’ and ensuring the alignment sought after between brands and audiences yet this often gets convoluted when a brand and influencer have two different ways of communicating.

“How you combine this is art and we need to make sure we do that,” stressed Filip.

When discussing OverheardLA’s tone of voice, Margolis used the phrase “elevated curation.” 80 to 90 percent of their social posts are real overheard quotes that are submitted, with very few being written by the team.

“We are a brand of words and nothing we do should not be expressed with the written word,” he added. However, there are guardrails in place that determine which content is allowed or not. No religion, no politics, and no gossip for example.

It’s easy to decide there are no rules or there are rules but once you make these decisions you should stick with them, Margolis emphasized. The same applies to brands — those who have the most success know what they want and have certain red lines they’d prefer not to be crossed but then give the agency freedom to do the translating.

The alternative? Your audience will likely pick up that the message has been heavily filtered. “As much as people are okay with you monetizing, they aren’t ok with scrolling to something that has been sold out or taken over.”

Going beyond social

Born social-first, recently Overheard has stepped outside of the confines of Instagram to build its recognition through the launch of a free print newspaper called the Overheard Post. The paper includes horoscopes, comics, vegan food reviews, and is currently available at roughly 30 cafes and coffee shops throughout Los Angeles.

Serving as a physical manifestation of the social culture Overheard has built, Jesse described the paper as a business card that depicts “who we are and what we can do beyond posts and Stories…The fact that we have social allows us to play in new spaces with our content,” said  Margolis. He then rallied off examples spanning ad campaigns, billboards, merch, and coffee sleeves.

The key takeaway – by being disruptive outside of the platform, you can identify more opportunities to translate into other areas that ironically will feed back into your platform’s growth.

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The post What’s the Key to Keeping it Real? Treat Your Customers Relationships like Friendships, says ELA Advertising appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/06/whats-the-key-to-keeping-it-real-treat-your-customers-relationships-like-friendships-says-ela-advertising/

Unleash the Power of Fan Communities with Reddit

Reddit is the fifth largest website in the United States, with 150 million users domestically, and 330 million worldwide. They have a dedicated user base, with an average time on site of 16 minutes. So how can a brand navigate this space to successfully learn about their fans, engage with the community, and promote their products? What options are available?

During #SMWLA, Noam Cadori, Head of Revenue & Data Partnerships for Reddit, was joined by Kaylin Link of Socialgist, for a conversation around how brands can take advantage of Reddit’s fan communities, which addressed these questions amongst others.

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It’s All About Community

The first thing to understand about Reddit is that its focus is the community. “We’re about bringing community and belonging to the world. That’s the mission of the company. That’s the thought behind every product release” said Cadori.

With 135,000 individual communities, there is something for everyone. You’re likely to find fans already online talking about your brand and your competitors. These conversations provide valuable information that can inform marketing decisions.

“A lot of brands today tout the word ‘community’ — it’s almost like a buzzword, you hear it everywhere. And I think what is really special about our site is we’re a collection of communities. That’s what Reddit is.” explained Cadori.

What Does this Mean for Brands?

Reddit is place where brands can better understand their fan community, engage with people who are passionate about their products, and learn insights about their vertical. To break it down, brands can engage with Reddit in three basic ways:

  • First, brands can “Perceive” – they can analyze the conversation around their products in order to gain insights into their consumer. Listening to organic fan conversation and analyzing the sentiment can help brands build a consumer profile, understand their product’s strengths and weaknesses, and guide marketing decisions.
  • Second, brands can “Engage” – they can find communities that are applicable to them, engage in conversation, or set up an AMA (Ask Me Anything) with a brand representative or influencer.
  • Third, brands can “Promote” – this usually takes the form of paid advertising or promotional partnerships facilitated by the Reddit team.

Remember to Respect the Community

Reddit has a community culture that brands should be aware of when creating a presence on the platform. As a brand, you are entering a conversation already in progress and want to make sure to make a positive impression.

Cadori’s advice to brands on Reddit is this: “Similar to how you’re thinking about engaging with strangers, these people are on our platform and already talking – so just be mindful of what they are saying. If you just walk into a room full of strangers and you blast out a message… ignoring what people are saying, that kind of rubs people the wrong way.”

What about the Data?

If you are a brand marketer, you may be wondering – what kind of data and analytics can Reddit provide? Reddit has a strict privacy policy and will not provide any data that the user did not share publicly. However, Socialgist works closely with Reddit to provide an analysis of the available public data, and the Reddit ad sales team can provide audience segments for advertising purposes – based on the target you’re interested in.

In a landscape where brands talk about community but rarely achieve it, Reddit is a great place to find your fans and engage with them authentically.

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The post Unleash the Power of Fan Communities with Reddit appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/06/unleash-the-power-of-fan-communities-with-reddit/