We’re wrapping up the (what might arguably have been the quickest) month with stand-out news in the social media and influencer marketing space. Keep reading for our take on May’s top stories.
The closure of all non-essential stores has caused a surge in online shopping, accelerating the already growing consumer shift towards eCommerce, while IRL social activity has moved to social media platforms more than ever before. Fresh, compelling visuals have long been a critical element of any winning digital marketing strategy, yet with reduced budgets and lessened capacity to produce content due to the lockdowns, marketers are in a tight spot. The good news is that people are creating and sharing photos and videos across social platforms in record numbers, and it is these unvarnished and personal brand experiences, or user-generated content (UGC), that potential customers crave and trust.
Leveraging UGC to build trust, provide social proof, and create human connection is not a new phenomenon. 79% of people say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions.
During and post-covid, creating a sense of normalcy and belonging will become increasingly important. Consumers crave connection, especially now. So lean on the people who are already talking about you to facilitate those conversations. Not only will repurposing UGC on social, email, website, and other marketing channels allow you to save substantially on your content budget, but it will also allow consumers to feel like an active participant in your brand, creating stronger bonds during and long after the COVID-19 pandemic.
A growing number of brand founders are putting themselves front-and-center in their brands’ marketing, taking to Instagram Live for hangouts, interviews, Ask-Me-Anything sessions, and workout classes. These informal, unscripted events hosted from a founder’s own home allow the executives to strengthen their brand communities by interacting with them directly, without cutting into the marketing budget. Molly Howard, La Ligne co-founder, explained, “Founders typically outsource a lot of their social media content. It can take so much work; it’s highly analyzed and polished. But I think now, especially, people like to have a closer look at how the creator of a brand they’re a fan of lives and thinks. It makes you feel closer to the brand.” Joe Kudla, founder of athletic brand Vuori, echoes, “A lot of things are evolving due to Covid-19, including marketing strategies. We’re much closer to our customer now than ever before.”
70% of consumers report feeling more connected when a brand’s CEO is active on social. Connected consumers spend more and refer more. If your brand’s CEO isn’t one to tweet and post, leverage your brand community to help tell brand stories that accurately depict your brand.
Putting a face behind your brand is crucial to personify the brand and make customers feel as if they aren’t being talked at, but being talked with. Regardless of who the figure is, the key to successfully humanizing your brand is to understand your audience and appropriately choose an employee or figure that represents your brand and resonates with the target audience. Focus on authenticity. Don’t force a personality that isn’t genuine to avoid doing the opposite effect.
The article: Consumers tire of COVID-19-related ads, survey finds
A survey of 7,000 consumers across seven countries in April found that 41% are now ready to hear from brands about topics unrelated to the pandemic. Additionally, 77% of consumers said brands care about their well-being based on the ads they've seen over the past several weeks while 30% said brands helped make them feel less anxious. 53% said that they heard from brands more often in the last few weeks, and 73% felt the increase in messages was appropriate. 58% of consumers were open to hearing about changes to business that could affect them during the pandemic. For the most part, consumers said they have preferred hearing from essential services including doctors or banks more than from delivery services such as DoorDash or Amazon. The majority of respondents said they were more open to messages from small businesses than large companies.
Depending on where you are in the world, it may feel like it's back to business as usual. But despite some countries and states reopening, COVID-19 still poses an incredible risk and should be treated as such. Although consumers are “tired” of hearing about COVID, it's important to find a balance between ignoring and spreading the truth. That said, many consumers look to social media for an escape from reality and they look to the brands that they love to make them happy. Try keeping the content you share on social channels positive and lighthearted, and leave COVID-19 related updates for major news outlets.