Clicks, likes, comments, share, saves. Social media has only been around for a decade but it’s already had a profound effect on how brands communicate, engage and convert customers. And we’ve only just scratched the surface.
Ahead of our first event of the year with Lone Design Club, we look at key takeaways from our final panel discussion for 2019, which focused on the future of social media and storytelling. Read further for advice and insight from our fabulous panelists, Camilla Purkis-White, Cassie Samji, Paul Archer and Sonika Phakey.
ON INSTAGRAM HIDING LIKES AND NEW SOCIAL METRICS
“Likes should never ever be a metric of success on any campaign whatsoever. It's very, very easy to buy likes, to inflate likes. Instead, really look into those comments and find people going “Oh, my God, I really want this. Where is it from?” or “I bought this.” Pay very, very close attention to DMs or even Story mentions. These are much more important for community building. You might have 200 likes but 500 comments and that holds a lot more weight. Make a note of people that will even send you their receipts of their purchase because they might not tag the brand but they might tag you - the influencer - because you’re the inspiration for their purchase.” - Cassie Samji, content creator
A lot of the more meaningful conversations, beyond the comments, are now happening in direct messages. That's one thing that people aren't reporting back on. That is actually so heavily weighted and shows success when you are communicating and pulling people down that funnel. It’s incredibly impactful but never spoken about. New metrics need to be discussed primarily in the dark social side of things.” - Camilla Purkis-White, Global Digital Marketing Lead, Unilever
ON EVOLVING BRAND - INFLUENCER RELATIONSHIPS & AUTHENTIC AMBASSADORS
“A lot of what we do at the Digi Fairy is finding the right influences and networkers, whatever their following size, for the brands that we work with. To figure out if an influencer is right for a brand we look beyond vanity metrics - their Stories, the quality of their content, what do they sound for, what do they do apart from creating content, what other brands have they worked with. We’ll have a conversation with them and figure out what they want to do with the brand.” - Sonika Phakey, Digital Marketing Manager, The Digital Fairy
“The vast majority of influencers are no longer influential and marketers are lazy. When you mix those two you get an interesting dynamic. Anyway, the idea of paying someone to pretend to like your product doesn’t work. Longer term engagements is where that happens. There are two ways of doing this. One is a permanent partnership model which is where an influencer would work with the brand over a long period of time. That for me is real, especially if you are using that product on a day to day basis. Then you actually become an advocate and there's a big difference in that.
The other side is just thinking about brand ambassadors. If you're a brand, and you're trying to find someone to talk about you, something that almost every single brand neglects is the fact that they have hundreds, millions of customers already out there that love them and buy from them every day. Go ask them! Very rarely do we, as consumers, get asked by the brands that we love to collaborate with them. But consumers would actually jump at those opportunities every single time, particularly if they get rewarded. And those rewards don't cost much. They cost considerably less than paying influencers.” - Paul Archer, Co-Founder, Duel
ON BUILDING COMMUNITIES
“I just built a rapport. I actively respond to questions in my Stories as well, so people know that they can contact me for absolutely anything and I will answer. Building that rapport with your audience is so important because I do think influences right now are a dime a dozen. And people can tell if what you’re posting is not legitimate. You only get so many favors with your audiences and I think you need to pick those favors. So pick your brand partnerships wisely.” - Cassie Samji
“It’s really hard to form a community from a brand point of view, and I guess I'll give you a metaphor. It's also really hard to make friends. Right? Like, I want to make 10,000 new best pals. That's tricky. That takes time. That takes communication and commitment. Social media was invented so that we could speak to our friends and family. So building a community is incredibly difficult, especially over the last decade, but it goes back to that main thing. So as brands we need to behave in a more human way. It’s like the way that you communicate if your best friend texts you.” - Camilla Purkis-White
ON CREATING ENGAGING CONTENT
“You always have to play to the algorithm. And the algorithm will always prioritise the type of content it knows performs well on the platform. It's designed to be the same content over and over, but as a brand, you have to balance getting new followers and engaging your existing community. So it's kind of this tension of creating content that’s relevant to your brand and injecting originality so that people hit the “follow” button. And wherever your unique selling point as a brand is, make sure that it’s combined with those familiar formats. - Sonika Phakey
“I think we have to start with asking what content is first. So we take away the idea that content is just an immediate picture that will try and trick the algorithms into favouring. We’re working with a feminine hygiene brand from Africa for example where we can’t advertise on Facebook or any social media. So if you think about what content can be and how it can open the way, it's actually about the story and the narrative that you create. Where is that narrative? What is the thing that makes us stand out?
Thinking about content is fantastic but think about what is the message first. What will the brand stand for and think about the delivery of that message after.” - Paul Archer
ON WHAT'S NEXT IN SOCIAL
“We're seeing a big shift in investment in content creation and media spend. As a brand, we want to create content that people actively seek out when you need to. For example, you're looking for things like ingredients, textures, sizes, styles. The content doesn't necessarily isn't always owned by you as a brand. You might partner with a publisher. But there's actually a significant more power in that content that someone is seeking out and discovers. I think we're going to see a big shift of brands spending a lot less on their own Instagram pages, and spending more in being in the places that people are going to when searching for information and education.”- Camilla Purkis-White
“Five years ago, brands wanted to be everywhere: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. It’s very different now. Brands are figuring out where their customer is and how they can spend the best time on that platform. You've got to put your all into the channels that you're running. So you're better to do that and do it well.” - Sonika Phakey
“Brands like Tesla, Netflix, Patagonia, Lush don’t necessarily advertise so much on social but have found really creative ways to make people talk about them. There are many other ways around it and social is not always the answer. It's just what we do right now. Social networks are no longer Twitter or Facebook, these are just communities where your customers live. For some brands that’s on Twitter, for others - LinkedIn, Reddit, and so on.” - Paul Archer
Ready for more insight on innovation in fashion, beauty and retail? Join us on 17th March at Lone Design Club for a panel discussion on Who Fashion Forgets. More info and tickets here.
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