Getting social on social - connecting is now more important than ever


By Katie Penfold |

Insights

Pivoting your social and influencer marketing strategies given COVID-19.  

Pressed for time? Check out our quick read.

QUICK READ

This has all been a helluva lot for us to take in, hasn’t it? And so quickly too. Our lives have changed. And the way we work has changed. So now that we’re all set up at our kitchen tables with cats stepping on our keyboards, and we’ve discovered that we’re married to the, ‘let’s put a pin in it guy', or the ‘one last question’ girl, brand plans need to change too. And fast.

Like our lives, the online world is continuously changing, and now rapidly, which means our strategies need to keep adapting too. Unfortunately it’s no longer all about the double-tap love. People want to see authentic and meaningful content on their feeds, and what they engage with, represents that. We’ve focused on Instagram (IG) specifically below, but if you’d like a bit more of a how-to on social in general, naturally we'd be happy to share our expertise here.  

So IG’s algorithm has adapted, and quite remarkably so. It now favours content that is less polished and edited, and puts it higher up in people’s feeds. They even use AI to scan posts and act on that accordingly.

There are also a multitude of new interactive features that let brands engage and interact with their fans beyond them just double tapping a post. And the best new adaptation, in my opinion, is their online shopping feature. It’s an amazing and easy way to boost sales and drive traffic to your website, so check it out.

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Here’s what we’re telling our clients at Because.

Firstly, look at your consumer’s current psyche. Think about where their heads are at? How are they viewing this lockdown? What are they doing at home? Below are three insights I’ve gained from my social circle:

TIME TO INDULGE

A friend of mine who had never baked before (EVER) decided to make his own bread the other day. Just to, you know, make his own bread…! Pre Mad March, time was a luxury few of us had. But very suddenly, many of us now find we have quite a lot of it on our hands, to, you know, bake bread and all such stuff…

Brands should be using this to their advantage. They should be investing in incredibly creative, immersive online experiences that consumers can really enjoy and get ‘lost’ in, now that they have the time to do so.

Using creative tech is a great way to do just this, and there are many immersive and engaging ways to get brand gamification into the at-home experience.​ Our passion for creative tech means we’re often at the forefront of this sort of thinking, and many of our clients are challenging us to create some extraordinary things for their audiences at the moment. Watch this space...

A NEW WAY TO CONNECT

We may not be able to connect physically, but we are connecting more than ever! My social calendar is brimming now that all my friends are suddenly available and have worked out how to use Zoom. My wonderful dad is even calling me on Houseparty these days!

Video chat and AR experiences allow individuals or members of an entire ‘tribe’ to connect simultaneously. Your brand's consumers are using the tech, so ask yourself how you can be a part of the home-to-home occasion in a meaningful way?

Let’s think about alcohol brands for example. They have traditionally relied on sampling and couponing both on and off-trade, or at large summer events like music festivals and even county shows. But what if they now offered virtual coupons instead, and encouraged video chat catch-ups?

This can be easily done using virtual atoms (vAtoms), a trend just beginning to hit the marketing industry. A vAtom is a platform that allows the distribution of infinite digital tokens into the virtual-sphere. It can literally take the form of ANYTHING. And Because is incredibly excited to be one of the first to bring it to market with a number of campaigns we’re currently working on globally (if you call us up for a chat, we’ll share some examples). Or grab a cuppa and check out our recent blog post, ‘AR, VR, VATOMS, THESE DAYS VIRTUALLY ANYTHING GOES...’.

ALTRUISTIC SHARING

I have a friend who is a bit of an influencer. (Probably the most famous person I know). Now that she’s stuck at home, she’s ramped up production of her content, and her followers are consuming it like never before. She’s reveling in her new heightened fame.

There are many people out there who have a specific passion or point of view they enjoy sharing with others online. They’re already creating content. They already have a following. And people already love, trust and respect their opinions. At Because, we call these niche influencers, and have shared a few posts before about these folk, along with videos, and a white paper or two.

Think about how your brand can partner with relevant influencers, but in a truly authentic way. Authentic, being the key word. Because recently did an online content campaign with Weber. Our mission was to help enhance the UK’s BBQ experience, in layman's terms, make British BBQers more than just sausage burners...

It’s easy to partner with a popular influencer and get them to stand by your product and take a few pics to create a content campaign. But we wanted more than that. We partnered with people who genuinely loved Weber’s product, and believed in the brand’s mission, this ensured the content that was created was authentic and shareable.

We reached out to local foodies – barbecuers who genuinely loved the Weber brand, and who too, wanted to help enhance the UK’s BBQ experience, because it was something they were passionate about too.

We gave each person a Weber, a chicken and a mission - showcase their personal take on a simple yet effective Weber recipe - the Beer Can Chicken. The content that was created was engaging, enjoyable, memorable, but most importantly authentic and believable, and this simple strategy worked incredibly well for the brand.

When pivoting your social and influencer strategies, it’s imperative to know and understand where your consumer’s headspace is in order to be relevant. But it’s also essential to know and understand what works online, and why.

IT’S ALL ABOUT ENGAGEMENT

Like our lives, the online world is continuously changing, and now rapidly, which means our strategies need to keep adapting too. Unfortunately it’s no longer all about the double-tap love. People want to see authentic and meaningful content on their feeds, and what they engage with, represents that. We’ve focused on Instagram (IG) specifically here, but if you’d like a bit more of a how-to on social, get in touch. So IG’s algorithm has adapted, and quite remarkably so. It now favours content that is less polished and edited, and puts it higher up in people’s feeds. They even use AI to scan posts and act on that accordingly.

There are also a multitude of new interactive features that let brands engage and interact with their fans beyond them just double tapping a post. And the best new adaptation, in my opinion, is their online shopping feature. It’s an amazing and easy way to boost sales and drive traffic to your website, so check it out.

THE ENGAGEMENT ALGORITHM

It’s fundamental that you get real with your Instagram content. And I mean really real. The more polished and filtered your content, the less it will be favoured by the algorithm, but also, the less engagement it receives from your audience.

Naturally, most Instagram users and brands prefer a curated aesthetic on their feeds. You can absolutely maintain this, but embracing the IG stories with a more peer-to-peer approach, is a great way of bringing authenticity to your content. The best can then be featured in the story highlights.

A brilliant way of doing this is responding to and reposting your fans’ content to your stories (with their permission of course). By actively doing this, you’ll make your fans feel valued and show your followers that real people believe in your brand and products.

NEW INTERACTIVE FEATURES

The Close Friends List (CFL) wasn’t created for brands per se, but we see a great, natural way to use it to reward and engage VIPs, and your ultra fans.

For example, you could create a list of VIPs, Key Opinion Leaders and/or Number One Fans and share things like: exclusive sneak peaks or previews​, product updates​, special discounts​ and behind-the-scenes content.

You could also use it to source ideas from your key customers on product development, campaign concepts, and so the list goes on and on.

INTERACTIVE INSTAGRAM STORY FEATURES

With 500M people engaging with IG Stories every-day, it just makes sense to use them to their full potential by utilising all of the interactive features on offer. ​

Take a look at the Question Stickers. We used them in our Weber campaign to do Live Q&A Stories with Weber’s Grill Master, answer product and food-related questions ​and share BBQ tips from Weber’s consumers​.

Inspired by Buzzfeed’s popular trivia stories, Weber (as we’re on the subject) could use IG Quiz Stickers to hold a BBQ trivia quiz to expand their followers’ knowledge and build on their BBQ experts perception.​

You could use Countdown Stickers to announce product launches or events or to remind people how long a sale is on for.​

Story Polls make followers feel included. Using Weber as an example again, asking questions like, “Would you rather see a post on how to make Beer Can Chicken or Briskets tonight?” ​encourages followers to come back to see the results.

A NEW WAY TO SHOP ONLINE

Instagram Shopping gives brands an immersive storefront that highlights your products, makes the pricing easy to find, and drives people directly to your website.

When your audience taps a product tag on your post, or a product sticker in your story, they'll be taken to a product description page where they will see:​

redshapelogo_bullet An image of the product from your post
redshapelogo_bullet A description of the product
redshapelogo_bullet How much the product costs
redshapelogo_bullet A link that takes them directly to your website, where they can purchase the product​

Sprout Social found that “including shoppable tags on brand posts saw 79% of users searching for more information and 46% made a purchase from Instagram directly.”

The thing is, we don’t know when COVID-19 will end. But it’s here in full force. And we, along with our consumers, are at home for now. So, we need to pivot our social and influencer marketing strategies super quickly to not only stay relevant, but to also keep people’s spirits up.

Today, and tomorrow, will pass. And when it does, as marketers we must be prepared to pivot once more. Because at that point, people starved of real human interaction will be out and about like never ever before, and will want a full calendar of events to attend. And when this happens your brand will need to be ready to switch from creating real connections in the digital world to live brand experience. And of course, we can help you with that too ;)