Businesses don’t get to choose whether they participate in social media marketing, just how well they participate. I understand this is a bold statement. However, it couldn’t be more accurate in relation to modern marketing. It doesn’t matter how much you avoid social media, there will always be something about your business on the internet, and that’s just a fact. As a result, companies must work increasingly harder to make social media work in their favour. Which a lot of the time isn’t so easy. Some of the smallest mistakes can result in the loss of millions. There is always a constant threat that your marketing campaign could go viral, for all the wrong reasons. An
example of this is Budweiser’s, Bud light #UpForWhatever campaign in 2015. “The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night” was printed on Bud light beer bottles. At first, like Budweiser’s marketing team, I didn’t exactly see what was wrong with it. More than likely it’s because I’m a little slow at these things, but hopefully there is some of you out there just like me, so I’ll just go ahead and explain… Consumers were outraged by the campaign because it promotes rape! Consumers tweeted that they couldn’t believe “Bud light didn’t know it was making a rape joke”. Others proceeded to tweet “Budweiser- a proud sponsor of American Rape Culture™ (Removing the “no” from women’s vocabulary since 1876)”.
Personally, I feel people look to deep into these things but once I copped why people were so outraged, it was hard to ignore the fact that it really does sound like they’re promoting rape. It also doesn’t take a genius to realise, that’s not something you want associated with your brand. This example clearly illustrates the dangers of social media marketing, and even if you don’t initially use social media for your campaign, it could very well find its way on it.
As you probably already know, (those of you that actually cared enough to read my previous blog… all three of you)
I am writing these blogs in reflection to the conferences I am attending for college. This is the second installment to my trilogy, where hopefully for once the second is better than the first. And possibly you won’t all be begging me not to write a third one. Regardless of your begging, there will be a third blog so just pretend you enjoy what I’m writing and look out for it soon.
The latest conference I attended was ‘Get Social’! The conference thought me a lot about how to avoid social media and general marketing errors to effectively deliver a product or service to the public. That’s why I started off with the example of Bud light because it effectively shows how even the biggest firms can get themselves into a spot of bother over these issues and why it’s so important to have an in dept knowledge of this issue.
Overall the speakers were excellent and I genuinely learned a lot. Most of which I am happily sharing below. Enjoy!!
Know Your Audience!!
One of the most compelling messages of the conference was to understand and appeal to your audience. Although this might seem extremely obvious, it’s consistently done badly and is one of the most important factors in having a good social media presence.
Paul Hayes, founder of Beachut PR, emphasised how to effectively engage your audience. The audience doesn’t necessarily just mean the consumer, it also considers potential investors and journalists who can effectively help you spread your ideas. “Resist the temptation to talk about yourself. Talk about your impact on the world”. This was an extremely importance message he expressed during the conference, and I know many of you are probably trying to figure out what he means by that… It’s simple. People don’t care about you as much as you’d like to think. I know some of you are thinking ‘speak for yourself, you miserable ****’, but it’s true. In business, the only relevance you have to people is how beneficial you are to them. Effectively you need to think of yourself as irrelevant and hence you need stop talking about yourself. What you need to be doing is talking about what effect you will have on the world, and in turn the effect you will have on your consumers! He also stated people remember how you make them feel and not what you say… this is extremely important and I want you to remember this. An example of this is buying the first and last drinks. This is because these drinks appeal to people emotionally. You’ve started off the night and ended it. People appreciate generosity and hence remember you and not the other guy you’re with who bought everyone their second drink after seeing you buy the first. In order to get people to remember and talk about you, you have to appeal to them emotionally, and that’s what many companies have started to do in their advertising campaigns. Think about it! The adds that get shared on Facebook or twitter aren’t the ones that get across how great a company’s product is but the ones that are funny, motivational or support subjects close to people’s heart. They appeal to us emotionally.
John Lewis are notoriously famous for their Christmas adverts providing us with some tear jerking tales since 2007. They’re famous because they make people feel something. Last Christmas their advertisement was both heart-warming and funny, making it memorable. In case you haven’t seen it, have a look below!
Now tell me you that ad doesn’t evoke some sort of emotion. The first thing I wanted to do when I saw it was tell some, and it looks like a lot of other people had the same idea. According to Adweek this video received nearly 2 million shares online. It also raked in an astonishing 25 million views on YouTube alone!! Each year they appeal to our emotions and without fail, we remember them.
Targeting Your Audience
It’s all well and good to create an impressive, emotive campaign but you still need to have it reach your audience. Knowing how to target your audience is becoming increasingly easier with the large amounts of data available. It is imperative that you find out what your target market is using, watching and listening to. The more data you have the better. Anne Marie Boyhan was telling us that Bank of Ireland are now using Snapchat to target young consumers. She informed us that Ireland has the world’s highest snapchat penetration, with 63% of 16-24 year olds having accounts. Although I fell this is the right way to go about things, by finding out what means of social media your audience is predominantly using, I think they’ve missed just one thing. People in that age category don’t Particularly want their bank on snapchat. This is just my personal opinion along with the thoughts of people my age (19), who I have been talking with. Although they plan to use snapcodes to reduce the friction between adding the account, I personally don’t think people will bother. What do you guys think? I feel that adding a snapchat account is far too personal for businesses to expect people to do it. instead they should think of creative ways around it. Like sponsored lenses. As you can see Taco Bell using on the left. It’s a playful way to target your audience and it actually has your consumers sending your ad on for you! Taco Bell subsequently had 224 million views on this campaign in one day!! According to snapchat, users “play with a sponsored lens for 20 seconds” which is incredible interaction with your brand. I think this is definitely a case where Bank of Ireland should try know their audience a little better and find more creative ways to advertise. In contrast to this, I feel Jameson have used the same concept of finding out how to target your market but have executed it a lot better!
Aisling Tobin, brand manager of Jameson talked to us about what they are doing regarding social media. From the conference, I got a true sense that Jameson knows their target market in incredible detail. They describe their consumers as ‘LADS’. Laid back appreciators and down to earth socials. By effectively knowing their market they are much better at appealing to them. Tobin says ‘LADS’ spend 24 hours a week on social media with 80% of that accessed through smartphones or tablets. Unlike Bank of Ireland they fully understand their market.
Jameson are now using NFC (near field communication) technology for android users and QR codes for Apple users on their bottles. The NFC technology just requires android users to tap their phone against the bottle. This results in engagement with the product and consumers are rewarded for their loyalty. This effectively correlates with their information that ‘LADS’ are constantly using their phones and it factors in the increasing trend momentum for use of these codes. It is a great way to bring their customers online through their physical product and also help increase the completion of their consumer journey. There is no commitment to the brand by having them constantly on your snapchat, they just simply reward your loyalty in an interesting and fun way.
Engage with your customer
Consumer engagement on social media is a key to any campaign’s success. However, Hugh Curran, a digital transformation consultant, suggests companies’ further engagement with customers can further enhance your customer satisfaction. Like stated before, people remember how you make them feel and not what you have to say. By responding to people on posts by retweeting, commenting or liking what they have to say, you are making them feel relevant to your company. YouTubers are excellent advocates of this. When they respond to subscribers on social media the subscribers get a more personal interaction with them. They run off and tell all their friends, ‘OMG you’ll never guess who just retweeted me’and It wasn’t too hard to actually find a forum, where people are bragging about celebrity interaction. This creates an emotional felling people remember as well as spreading awareness for your company.
A lot of companies go through great lengths to respond effectively to consumers on social media and it can create a great brand image and consumer appreciation. Last year Shane Bennett, a loyal Samsung customer reached out to them online asking for their latest phone for free. To sweeten his offer he attached a picture of a dragon he drew. Not surprisingly Samsung said “no” but sent him their drawing of a kangaroo on a unicycle. Shane shared both of the messages and drawings to Reddit, where it went viral. In response, Samsung sent him the phone he asked for customised with the fire breathing dragon he drew.
This just shows how a simple reply, with a bit of effort, can create a viral response. Why did it go viral? because it showed Samsung cared. Online can seem so impersonal at times, it’s imperative that you remind your consumer of their significance to you. This touching story of a man and his dragon, spread the message that Samsung care about their customers.
Digital + Physical + Emotional + sensual = Success
Paul Berney, CEO and managing partner of mCordis had a lot to say about customer engagement and understanding. He insisted that combining digital, physical, emotional and sensual to solve customer’s problems is the ultimate branding. I couldn’t agree more with him. Companies realise this, and are now spending millions on creating an experience with their product, to appeal to people’s emotions and senses while also solving their problems. Berney used Apple as an example. Their packaging gives buyers a sensory experience that reinforces their brand. Every part of the packaging is designed to be clean, simple and direct. They use an elegant minimalist white colour that effectively reinforces what’s inside the box; something elegant and straightforward to use. Even opening the box is a unique experience. In Adam Lashinsky’s book, “Inside Apple” he says “For months, a packaging designer was holed up in this room performing the most mundane of tasks- opening boxes”. Apple spend considerable time perfecting their packaging, just to create this sensual and emotional connection that customers have with their products, because like stated before people remember how you make them feel. Consequently, Customers remember their experience with Apple and their packaging which has resulted in them having a brand loyalty that most companies can only dream of.
Starbucks are also trying to improve their brand in relation to the equation above. They have implemented a digital side to the customer experience to solve customer issues. They concluded their shops’ main friction was the large lines people were waiting in to grab a coffee. So, they introduced a new click & collect app, that allows customers to order their coffee online to their nearest Starbucks and to collect their coffee within 5-9 minutes without waiting in line. It gives customers that priority feeling and that personal touch is still there when they call out your name as you walk through the door.
Don’t stop moving forward!
It’s exciting to see such advancements in technology and marketing, such as Starbucks and Snapchat advertising. However, with such large-scale innovation, companies need to be careful not to fall behind. This was precisely the message of Eric Weaver, vice president of communications & marketing solutions at Xerox. People are scared of change and rightly so. Change is destroying firms that remain still. The only way to survive is to change, and change better than your competitor. Who would have thought that the world’s biggest taxi company would own no cars? For crying out loud, Airbnb doesn’t even own a bed and it’s almost worth more than Hilton and Hyatt combined ($30.2 billion). 74% of CEOs are worried about disruption. However now is not the time to worry. It’s time to innovate!! Companies that are creating a culture where ideas are welcomed and change isn’t a ‘dirty word’, are succeeding. The ones that prefer to stay in their comfort zone are paying the price. 35% of Google’s revenue in the last 4 years, came from ideas by their employees. Challenge people to challenge their own thinking and you will reap the rewards.
Social Media is a large part of consumer culture and weather you like it or not you are going to need to use it. Use the tips above to become creative and informed when using social media and you’ll see your company flourish. I hope you enjoyed this blog and keep your eyes peeled for my next one!!