Battle of the Digital Shopping Avenues

July 29th, 2021 by

Livestream shopping was given a new lease of life during the pandemic with retailers and influencers leaning into the new craze for video entertainment. As consumers were kept away from physical stores, the surge of ecommerce activity and sales resulted in more live shopping videos online. 

Live shopping is an immersive entertainment experience that keeps viewers engaged for longer, whilst tunneling customer decision journeys from awareness to purchase. By providing time-limited discounts in livestreams, brands and influencers are able to generate a sense of urgency in customers which accelerates conversions. Livestream commerce can increase conversion rates up to 30%—which is 10 times higher than traditional ecommerce. 

When done well, livestream shopping can pull in additional website traffic and improve a brand’s appeal. While rising in popularity, live shopping is still a novelty to many consumers. Adopting this new shopping experience early can differentiate the brand from competitors, increasing its appeal. Providing an innovative shopping channel can strengthen the connection among existing customers and attract new ones, especially within younger audiences. 

But what new shopping experiences and avenues have arisen from the rise of online shopping and livestreaming?

Shoppable TV

Have you ever watched TV before and thought “Where can I buy that?”? Well, ITV is trialling shoppable TV alongside Boots and popular reality show Love Island. The interactive shoppable TV service will be the first of its kind in the UK. Following its success in the US, the AI technology will be built directly into LG TV sets.

Shoppable TV- Love Island episodes - Socially Powerful

The shoppable TV service identifies and tags featured products during programmes and notifies viewers where they can purchase the products on screen. If a viewer is interested in a product, they can select to view more information with their remote and make a purchase through Boots’ website or through a link sent directly to their mobile phone. 

The service refreshes as new products and characters are shown on-screen throughout the programme. Users can continually scroll through products showing at certain times or choose to view all available products at once from the episode they are currently watching. 

While only currently available during Love Island episodes, ITV plans to roll out the service to other programmes in different genres throughout 2021.

Social Commerce

As with ecommerce, social commerce saw a huge rise in 2020 and 2021. The sheer volume of consumers shopping online spurred social media platforms to step up their ecommerce integration by investing in different forms of in-app product delivery and purchase. 

As more social platforms offer social commerce and in-app shopping, it will gradually become an expectation from consumers and adopted by the masses. This opens new opportunities for brands, but also risks the chance of businesses being left behind if they fail to adapt to the shift. 

Social media is a go-to for consumers to discover brands and find out more about them. In 2020, 55% of consumers made a purchase through a social media channel and 11% were motivated to purchase by seeing a “Buy” button on a social platform.

TikTok

In 2021, TikTok rolled out in-app shopping to all users and businesses. The platform had previously tested the social commerce waters in partnerships with Shopify and Walmart, but it now offers its own shopping services.

Tiktok - Shopping Experience - Socially Powerful

The new shopping experience gives brands their own dedicated shop tab on their TikTok profiles. The storefronts display a range of merchandise alongside product images and price. Users can click on a product to find out more information, retailer policies and shipping and size options. If a customer needs assistance with a purchase, TikTok offers in-app customer services. By clicking the headphones symbol, users can live text-chat with a brand representative without leaving TikTok.

Tiktok - Livestream Shopping - Socially Powerful

In addition to this, TikTok also offers livestream shopping. Accessible through a brand’s TikTok page or natively within For You Pages, viewers can instantly shop products featured within a Live by clicking the cart button or through a pinned product that is viewable on screen. 

Users are given the option to pick their sizing, shipment preferences and then pay within the app. Currently TikTok users can only purchase one product at a time as there is no customer cart available. However, the platform does have capabilities to offer discounts on products.

Instagram

Instagram offers a set of shopping features that allow users to easily shop a brand’s photos and videos across the platform. Instagram Shopping offers brands the chance to create an Instagram storefront and connect with customers that love to shop. The storefront can display singular products or collections.

Instagram Digital Shopping - Socially Powerful

Collections allow users to shop curated products into themes such as new arrivals, gifts, seasonal trends or whatever works for a business. Brands can write product detail pages to offer relevant information on items from catalogues. Product detail pages also pull in content where the product is tagged on Instagram and drive people to your website to complete a sale. 

In the US, customers are given the chance to checkout within Instagram, but this is currently only available to US businesses and creator accounts. 

Instagram - Product Tags - Socially Powerful

Users can also discover shoppable products natively in feeds. Product tags allow brands to highlight items from catalogues in images and videos so users can tap to learn more. In addition, businesses with Checkout on Instagram can announce an upcoming drop so users can preview details and set reminders for when the products are available to purchase.

Instagram Shopping Tab - Socially Powerful

Instagram also offers users a Shopping Tab. The Shop tab is a location where users can discover new brands, products and editor’s picks, and all selected products are personalised to the user through Instagram’s algorithm.

Instagram is launching a new shopping section called Drops

Instagram is launching a new shopping section called Drops that will showcase collections of exclusive product launches. Users will be able to browse, save items to wish lists, sign up for launch reminders and shop within the app.

Instagram Drop Shop - Socially Powerful

Drops creates a great opportunity for brands to create a social buzz around launches and to increase shopper demand. As users are able to shop within the app, Drops adds excitement to ecommerce on Instagram with new and exclusive products. Products will be in limited supply and only available for a short period of time.

Shopping Entertainment

Popshop Live

Start-up livestream app Popshop Live has dedicated itself to providing a space for businesses to focus on livestreaming shopping entertainment. Popshop gives users the chance to shop on their phones as if they are browsing through products and interacting with shop assistants in a store.

Popshop Live - Shopping - Socially Powerful

The app allows sellers to share their livestreams via their own social media accounts or to embed it online, while shoppers can purchase directly from the stream. Popshop is not revealing its exact number of sellers, but it has reportedly increased by 500% in the past three months, suggesting it is going to become a go-to platform for sellers looking to build a platform in the crowded online marketspace. 

Sellers on Popshop are seeing gross merchandise value of more than $500,000 and 80% of customers returning to purchase more within 30 days. Its ethos is based around interesting people selling interesting items, socialising through a chat stream that runs alongside the live videos and an algorithmic feed that lets you watch show after show as you swipe to the right (which sounds relatively similar to TikTok live shopping). 

Popshop Live Influencers - Socially Powerful

So far, Popshop has proven to be incredibly popular with younger users and is showing signs of staying power that will make it a staple in the “new normal” of online shopping. The platform has also seen large and growing brands begin offering live shopping entertainment, including Cider, JapanLA, Mall of America and Kettle & Fire. 

Popshop has recently seen new investments from huge names such as Hailey Bieber, Kendall Jenner, TQ Ventures, Sophia Amoruso and more. With such big names backing the company, it’s safe to say Popshop has popped off.

Amazon Live

Amazon Live is a livestream shopping feature available to those signed up to the Amazon Influencer Program. Amazon sellers and influencers can promote products and drive sales by hosting live video events.

Amazon Influencer Program - Socially Powerful

The broadcasts can be found through a dedicated Amazon Live landing page or through Amazon influencer storefronts. The Amazon Live landing page informs viewers of “Live Now” streams, upcoming streams and finished streams that may be of interest to them. Users can also discover live streams based on industries (tech, home, fitness etc), through featured creators or themes (beauty hauls, amplifying Black voices or DIYs).

During Amazon Live’s, viewers can ask questions in real-time through the chat box and hosts can answer as they see the questions. As hosts discuss products, the mentioned product will be highlighted in a live carousel underneath the video. Viewers can click on the product and be taken to the product’s Amazon page where it can be added to the viewer’s shopping cart.

Amazon Influencers making sale during amazon live

Amazon influencers that make a sale through their Amazon Live’s will earn a commission for each sale. During Amazon Prime Day, Amazon offers exclusive deals to its network of influencers which they used when creating live video content for featured products. This enticed viewers to spend more time exploring the live content in hopes of finding an exclusive deal. 

There are two key ways brands can get involved with Amazon Live: by creating their own Amazon Live account or having an influencer publish via their own account.

The competition between shopping avenues

As more and more shopping avenues become available to consumers, each channel will have to compete with the others in order to succeed.

The future of shoppable TVs

Shoppable TV seems like something that should have been around for a while, but is only coming onto the ecommerce scene now. While shoppable TVs lend themselves well to impulse purchasing, it’s main selling point is likely to be the novelty of buying something through a TV. As we’ve seen with entertainment shopping, users come back for the unique experience, but entertainment shopping is likely to stick around due to the fact younger generations are quickly favouring live content over TV. 

Shoppable TVs will also present programmes, broadcasters and TV personalities with new revenue streams. If brands partner with TV programmes, they may be given a cut of any purchases made throughout the programme.

The future of shoppable TVs - Socially Powerful

The issues with shoppable TVs enter when we consider the longevity of the service. Live entertainment shopping and social commerce are popular due to the fact they reduce the buying journey for customers, making a seamless experience within one online space. With shoppable TVs, users are given a link or QR code they need to scan on a mobile device before being taken to a product’s buying page. Adding an additional step elongates the buying experience, and by using two separate devices to make a purchase, it isn’t the seamless experience consumers can have elsewhere. Furthermore, TVs aren’t renowned for great user interface or speed. Putting information into a TV with a remote is fiddly and complicated at the best of times. Without an easy purchasing route, consumers won’t make a purchase. 

In addition, TV shopping is interruptive. Consumers watching a programme may not want to interrupt their viewing to make a purchase. Nowadays, a large portion of TV watchers are passively watching and multitasking on their mobile devices, where they can type a product into Google and make a purchase in a traditional ecommerce way. Arguably, the fact they are on their phones could mean they are more willing to scan a QR code, but could also mean they are too distracted and disconnected from the TV to make a purchase. 

Shoppable Tv - Socially Powerful

A final big threat for shoppable TVs is that younger generations are moving away from TV altogether. As streaming services and social media content continues to prevail as the top sources of entertainment, many younger consumers have stopped watching TV altogether. As social platforms and live shopping entertainment platforms continue to evolve their own commerce capabilities, these generations will be less inclined to watch TV or shop through TVs.

The future of social commerce

As we have already mentioned, social commerce presents customers with an easy and seamless shopping experience. Every step of their buying journey is within one location, from discovery to purchase. Having this close journey with a brand develops the relationship between brand and customer.

The future of social commerce - Socially Powerful

For brands, social commerce is incredibly low-cost (it’s free), so they aren’t risking losing resources if it doesn’t work in the way they hoped. Listing products on social media exposes your products to new audiences if they are browsing your social media pages—if someone sees something they like, they can purchase it there and then. If not, you haven’t lost anything. Moreover, if someone makes a purchase, you gain pure profit. 

In addition, due to the fact that product tags and TikTok Lives can appear natively in people’s feeds, it increases the reach of posts. Social commerce increases a brand’s visibility and allows them to sell on platforms with large potential customer bases.

Social Commerce - Shopping - Socially Powerful

Concerns for social commerce come for consumers when considering data. As many as 95% of people don’t trust social media and are unwilling to provide any unnecessary information. As internet users, we hand over large amounts of personal information to social media anyway, but it’s a different step to hand over bank details. 

The more brands begin using social commerce, the more consumers feel they aren’t being given real, engaging posts. Consumers are unwilling to trust traditional advertisements nowadays and if brands abuse social commerce too much, the same will happen to social media. Authenticity is one of the most important factors to consumers so it’s important brands keep up the engaging and interesting content they would usually post. A variety of content will keep customers on a brand’s side. 

A concern for brands is the loss of control over their customers. While social commerce does provide businesses with many opportunities, it does raise the question: who really owns the customer? The more control social platforms have over the buying process, the less power retailers have over their customers. When a customer checks out on a social platform, the data is owned by the platform and not the business. This can make it harder for brands to continually learn about their customers and offer personalised experiences.

The future of shopping entertainment

Shopping entertainment is still in its infancy, similar to shoppable TVs, however it has already seen significant growth and uptake. In China, live commerce has developed into an innovative sales channel, with sales expected to reach $423 billion by 2022. 

Following China’s lead, Western brands and platforms have begun developing their own live-commerce ventures. The introduction of live commerce is happily met by those outside of China, with almost a quarter of adults willing to discover new products via a livestream.

The future of shopping entertainment - Socially Powerful

One of the most appealing aspects of shopping entertainment is that hosts (brand representatives or influencers) can show a product in action and tell its story in real-time. This creates an authentic environment for viewers to learn about a brand or product. With exciting and engaging hosts, brands are able to create an interactive shopping experience that makes viewers want to invest. 

Shopping entertainment is paving the way for a whole new breed of influencer. The key to solid shopping entertainment is having a power-seller. Rather than established celebrities or social media personalities, “Shopatainers” are born to sell. This new influencer will be highly relatable, trustworthy and entertaining.

Popshop Live - Socially Powerful

It will be vital that brands select their hosts correctly. Hosts need to be able to chat through an entire live stream comfortably and answer questions (even hard and uncomfortable ones) quickly and easily. Without this upfront confidence, viewers will not be kept interested, no matter how cool a product or service. 

As a result of the live nature, entertainment shopping is a great way to build an authentic relationship with customers. Shopping entertainment is particularly popular with Gen Z—the generation that demands transparency and authenticity. By connecting with a host in real time, the younger generation can form an emotional connection to a brand as they relate the host’s personality with it.

Shop the latest deals - Socially Powerful

As this new method of commerce is all about entertainment, the quality of content has to be exceptional. Younger generations are pernickety about quality and won’t sit through a grainy live stream. This will mean additional investment in a good quality camera or smartphone, but as most people use a smartphone, this may not be an issue.

Shop the latest deals - Influencer - Socially Powerful

A risk for shopping entertainment is that livestreaming sits in an odd space between active consumption and passive consumption. The content is enough to lean in and actively listen and participate in chat conversations, but live streams are often long so many consumers multitask and have it on in the background. This means they may not be fully engaged in the content. 

Another risk is that it is only currently actively being adopted by Gen Z. This means the audience is limited and might not even contain an audience relevant to a brand. 

Our influencer and social marketing services are located worldwide, with our agency network based in the USAUKUAE and China.

If you want to receive our industry insights, visit our influencer marketing blog here.

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From Influencer to Entrepreneur

July 28th, 2021 by

For nearly the last decade, influencers have ruled over social media. Starting from sharing photos or videos online, many have been successful in building their own followings. With millions of followers, influencers could be called brands in their own rights. 

Influencer followers are essentially guaranteed customer bases that are hyper-engaged to an influencer’s every move. It’s this loyalty that makes influencers so appealing to pre-existing brands for influencer marketing. 

However, some influencers are taking the steps to become entrepreneurs and start their very own businesses. With a guaranteed customer base, why wouldn’t you turn your passion into a business venture?

Which influencers have started their own businesses?

We’ve compiled a list of our favourite influencer-owned businesses across the beauty, food and fitness industries.

Grace Beverley: Shreddy

Grace Beverley built her audience by sharing relatable, but inspirational, workout tips, food guides and daily vlogs under the social tag GraceFitUK. She was one of the most popular fitness influencers on YouTube before she decided to venture into creating her own businesses. 

Shreddy is a fitness app that was launched in 2019, but before it became the popular app it is today, it started as a gym equipment company called B_ND. Shreddy provides users with home workouts, meal plans and classes for a monthly, quarterly or annual subscription fee. The app offers its own social aspect with a “Club” zone, where subscribers can share their own progress, workout tips and inspiration or recipes and ask questions to other members. 

Shreddy members can personalise their Shreddy experiences by choosing meal plans and workout levels, depending on their skill or time availability. By sharing their experiences and progress within the in-app forum, subscribers have the chance to be featured on Shreddy’s social channels.

 

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A post shared by SHREDDY | Daily Workouts (@shreddy)

Shreddy has two Instagram accounts: one for the general app and another for club members. The general app account posts more general content and fitness inspiration, including positive quotes, aesthetic food pictures, brand collaborations and giveaways. The account is geared towards gaining interest and building brand awareness. 

The Shreddy Club account posts content more relevant to those who have access to the app’s features. It showcases the gym equipment available to purchase, specific guides and meal plans and recommended supplements.

 

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A post shared by SHREDDY CLUB (@shreddyclub)

Both accounts use every Instagram feature available, including grid posts, Stories and Highlights, IGTVS, Reels and Guides. It’s Stories and Highlights are geared towards users by providing branded wallpapers, specific workouts and challenge highlights and results.

 

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A post shared by SHREDDY CLUB (@shreddyclub)

Shreddy is also active on Twitter and TikTok, but both of these have significantly less followers than both Instagram accounts. Shreddy uses Twitter to interact with users and support Instagram and TikTok content. 

The Shreddy TikTok account showcases Shreddy products, workouts as well as videos that are joining in with popular TikTok trends. 

While Grace remains the co-founder and CEO of Shreddy, she doesn’t feature on the social accounts. However, she does keep her followers updated of any key meetings or big updates and discounts coming to the app. 

Jess Hunt: Refy Beauty

Instagram model Jess Hunt launched her beauty company Refy Beauty late 2020. Jess was known on Instagram for her eyebrows, so it was only natural she started her beauty line with an eyebrow kit. 

The brand launched on Instagram with a large number of influencer sponsorships and gifted PR gifts. The partnerships were posted on both the influencers’ pages and the most aesthetically-fitting were posted to Refy’s.

 

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A post shared by REFY (@refybeauty)

The Refy Beauty Instagram page features influencer content, user-generated content, aesthetic images and photos from Jess herself. The heavy influencer endorsement meant the brand grew significantly and quickly. 

The brand expanded its range with a launch on Instagram in June 2021, now offering blush, highlight and bronzers. The beauty brand continued its diverse model casting to showcase its products and relating to more consumers. 

Jess frequently posts Refy content onto her main profile, promoting her brand to her 1.4 million followers. She uses grid posts, Stories and Highlights on her own profile to promote her brand.

The brand is also active on Facebook, which has its own store within the platform. All posts featuring a product feature a link to Facebook users to use to make a purchase. 

Michael Pearce: Clean Kitchen

Ex-YouTuber Michael Pearce started Clean Kitchen in August 2020 in Brighton after committing to a healthier lifestyle. The plant-based restaurant quickly became popular and Verity Bowditch joined Michael as a business partner.

 

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A post shared by Clean Kitchen (@cleankitchenuk)

The restaurant opened different London locations and expanded its Deliveroo options in September 2020. Since then, it has committed to various sustainable and ethical initiatives including planting a tree in Ghana for every meal sold and partnering with Compassion in World Farming to end cruel practices in factory farming. Clean Kitchen currently has plans to open a Clean Allotment, a Clean Arts Fund and to offer loyalty points to customers. 

The restaurant has an active and influencer-filled Instagram page. Alongside showcasing their influential restaurant guests, the account posts aesthetic pictures of its food and restaurant locations, store opening IGTVs and Reels, promotion for the supporting podcast and press snippets.

 

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A post shared by Clean Kitchen (@cleankitchenuk)

Clean Kitchen regularly uses influencer marketing and gifting to support new meals or openings. This content is posted to influencers’ own profiles and curated and reposted to the Clean Kitchen page. They are also stored in Highlights, which gives the restaurant social proof when a new user is searching its page. 

The supporting podcast is called “Get Me to Vegan” and is hosted by both Verity and Michael. It discusses the behind the scenes of building a plant-based business, the benefits of plant-based, fun challenges with influencer guests and sustainability in general life.

 

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A post shared by Clean Kitchen (@cleankitchenuk)


Using a podcast is another audience-building technique that casually but interestingly promotes the restaurant to new audiences. Those who are interested in sustainability and plant-based lifestyles can find the podcast and then the restaurant.

The future of influencer entrepreneurship

As more and more influencers take the leap into entrepreneurship, the way brands work with them is likely to change. Brands aren’t limited to working with influencers on small-scale sponsorships and have begun creating full ranges and product lines as collaborations. 

Moreover, we have started to see some brands collaborate with influencer-owned businesses. Skincare brand Paula’s Choice has collaborated with Sheddy to create two limited-edition skincare boxes that are available both through Shreddy and Paula’s Choice websites. 

As influencer marketing in general continues to evolve, influencers are more heavily focusing on their personal branding to further their careers and audiences. Influencing isn’t limited to simply vlogging or taking photographs, it’s now about turning hobbies and passions into business ideas.

Our influencer and social marketing services are located worldwide, with our agency network based in the USAUKUAE and China.

If you want to receive our industry insights, visit our influencer marketing blog here.

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Importance of Social Media Marketing for your Business

July 28th, 2021 by

It’s no longer a secret that a strong social marketing strategy is key for businesses to survive nowadays. With more social media users joining platforms everyday, the importance of social media marketing for businesses is more prevalent than ever before. 

An effective social media marketing strategy can increase website traffic, drive brand awareness and sales, improve brand loyalty and provide a location for businesses to connect and service their customers. 

Social media is a vast landscape of platforms. Choosing the right social media platform for your business is easy as long as you understand your audience. The key social media marketing channels to be aware of are: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter and LinkedIn. Each platform has their own social media trends, so it’s a good idea to see which blend best with your business’s tone of voice.

5 benefits of social media marketing

The benefits of social media marketing are endless and can have a real positive impact on your business.

Connect with key audiences

The number of social media platforms and users is constantly growing. While this is beneficial for gaining brand awareness, it can make it a little harder to target specific audiences. In order to connect with specific audiences, you need to make sure you are on the most relevant platforms. For example, to connect with Gen Z, you will want to be on different platforms compared to Baby Boomers. 

Furthermore, being on the right platforms means you can use the platform’s algorithms to your advantage. By providing content that is specific to audiences, algorithms can put your content directly into their native feeds. 

Raise brand awareness

Building brand awareness on social media is a long-term focus and you need to constantly show customers they can rely and trust your brand. Being visible on social media can help you connect with new audiences and build that trust. By producing high quality content you can prove to audiences your business is leading its industry and niche.

To make sure you are maximising your brand awareness, you need to be providing valuable content. Valuable content can increase the likelihood of your content being shared, reaching even more audiences. 

Consistency is also key in raising awareness. Consumers want to be continually updated and shown new content, and giving that to them will encourage them to stay.

Increase brand loyalty

Brand loyalty grows when a company fosters a trusting relationship. Brand loyalty is the key factor that keeps customers coming back each time, leading to higher revenue and customer referrals. 

By leveraging the power of social media, brands can build trusting connections with potential and existing customers. Growing audiences can create a fan base of loyal customers that can act as brand ambassadors on and offline.

Drive website traffic

The importance of social media for businesses needing more website traffic is poignant. Social media has the ability to drive traffic to your website. By sharing engaging forms of content, you can draw audiences into your social media profiles and direct them to your website. 

Posts can easily be shared on social media, meaning your posts can reach multiple users across different locations and time zones. 

Most social media platforms offer linking capabilities, either on specific posts or in biographies. Making a post with a call to action to visit your website can drastically increase traffic.

Provide customer service

Social media has changed the way customer service works. Instead of customers ringing call centres, they have begun taking to social media to contact brands directly. By publicly naming their problem, they give brands an immediate incentive to solve the issue. 

By neglecting social media as a customer service tool, brands are risking their online reputations. By actively and timely responding to complaints, brands can create a positive reputation.

In addition to responding to complaints, brands can also interact with positive and organic mentions from fans. By doing so, they are further fostering a positive relationship and encouraging other fans to create more organic content.

FAQs

Why is social media marketing so important?

Social media marketing is becoming one of the most impactful methods of digital marketing available to businesses. As the number of social media users continues to climb, as does the pool of potential customers and audience members. 

In order to stay competitive against other brands, it is important that your business has a strong business presence. Consumers have begun using social media as a search engine in its own right and regularly research businesses on social media before making a purchase.

What is the role of social media in marketing?

Social media within marketing allows brands to connect with existing and potential customers where they live online. By natively connecting with customers on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, marketers can stay at the forefront of their audience’s minds and further understand their wants and needs.

The impact of social media also means you are easily searchable online. By having developed social media accounts on all major platforms relevant to your audiences, you are constantly able to remind them you are a suitable choice to make a purchase with.

Our influencer and social marketing services are located worldwide, with our agency network based in the USAUKUAE and China.

If you want to receive our industry insights, visit our influencer marketing blog here.

Socially Powerful

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Esports Marketing Strategies and Opportunities for Growth

July 19th, 2021 by

Esports is a young and evolving landscape, but it packs a big punch. Estimated to be worth nearly $1 billion globally and an annual growth rate of 22.3%, the esports market is one to be taken seriously. But what is it?

What is esports?

Esports is competitive gaming or video gaming. It has a huge fan base among Millennials and Gen Z consumers. 

Esports has been around since the 1980s, where Atari organised a tournament for the ever-popular Space Invaders game, but it wasn’t until the late 2000s that professional gamers emerged and were watched by spectators in event arenas and through livestreams.  

By the time the 2010s came around, esports was fully established within the video game industry. Game developers began designing games specifically for tournament purposes as well as sponsoring esports events. 

In the 2020s, esports has grown to be such a popular professional sport it’s under consideration to be included in the Olympics. Professional esports players have their own rigorous physical and mental training regimes, designed to help them perform at the highest level for a considerable amount of time. 

Esports professionals can be experts in any type of gaming genre, but the biggest esports games are: multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), first-person shooter (FPS), fighting, card games, battle royale and real-time strategy (RTS). 

Esports tournaments bring in viewers and teams from all over the globe—the 2021 Free Fire World Series reached 5.41 million global viewers. The top 5 largest esports tournaments are: DOTA 2 International Championship, League of Legends World Championship, Fortnite World Cup Champion, EVO Championship Series and Honor of Kings World Championship Cup.

The Esports Network

As technology advances and becomes a necessity in everyday lives, the younger and current growing generations are naturally tech-savvy and digitally advanced. This digital adoption has led to the esports industry experiencing incredible growth rates. People aged between 18 and 35 are enthusiastic about gaming (both playing and watching) and the growth of the industry has made it an increasingly attractive market for brands seeking to capture this untapped market. 

The esports network is huge thanks to the abundance of contributors including teams, top players, tournament organisers, streaming platforms, game developers and viewers. The global viewership for gaming is increasing each year as a result of innovative esports marketing strategies and esports marketing campaigns. 

The growth of the esports industry has presented non-endemic businesses with countless lucrative esports marketing opportunities. Brands are looking on becoming part of the esports industry rather than disrupting it. Through sponsoring tournaments, teams and players and endorsing gaming elements, non-endemic brands are authentically claiming a share of the esports industry. 

However, the success of a brand marketing to the esports audience is entirely dependent on how they interact with and engage their audience on gaming social media platforms. Social media gaming platforms include Twitch, YouTube, Facebook Gaming, DouYu and Mixer, among others. All platforms have their own gaming influencers and esports teams that create content for audiences to enjoy. 

Twitch is arguably the most popular gaming social platform and is home to its own Twitch influencers that specialise in providing gaming content. In the first quarter of 2012, over 8.8 billion hours of gaming content was streamed on the platform.

Esports marketing strategies and opportunities

We have established that esports is a thriving and growing industry, but what are the actual opportunities and esports marketing strategies available for businesses external to the industry?

Influencer marketing

As with any industry nowadays, esports has its own set of influencers and teams brands can partner with. Partnering with an esports team or influencer can help brands create unique marketing experiences for audiences. In these partnerships, brands are able to advertise whilst audiences connect more with their favourite esports influencers and teams. 

The key to any influencer partnership is to work alongside esports teams and players that align with a brand’s goals, messaging and values. Partnerships still need to be authentic in order to achieve maximum impact. 

GFuel has a large stream team of esports teams and influencers, as well as casual gamers. The energy drink has a continuous (nearly 9 years!) partnership with the FaZe Clan. In return for exposure to over 110 million audience members, G Fuel has created a FaZe Clan range of products.

 

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The partnership satisfies all parties involved because the brand receives exposure and the FaZe Clan and its community can connect over products inspired by the esports group.

Sponsoring an esports team

Sponsoring an esports team is a good esports marketing strategy that can help brands directly connect with the gaming and esports community. Brands could find an underrated team on a particular platform and sponsor them. This access to an esports team leads to prime advertising spots (including a badge on a shirt) when the team streams or competes.

Sponsoring an esports team - Socially Powerful

German supermarkets Aldi and Lidl have both entered the world of esports by signing separate partnerships with major teams. Lidl has signed a deal with leading international esports organisation, SK Gaming. SK Gaming also partners with major brands including T Mobile, Mercedes-Benz and Nike, and the supermarket is said to be a “cornerstone” of its teams’ performance nutrition plans. The partnership will last through 2021, and Lidl’s logo will be featured on the team’s jerseys.

Aldi has partnered with French esports giant Team Vitality for three years. The supermarket’s logo will feature across the esport brand’s events and uniforms. Team Vitality’s other main partners are Phllips, Adidas and Orange Mobile. 

The supermarkets will access gaming audiences through the followers of these teams, and those who watch the esports events the teams participate in. These events can achieve over 3 million views, with the most viewed tournament achieving 3.9 million.

Creating an esports team

While sponsoring a team may be enough for some brands, others could create their own teams entirely. Doing this would ensure that each team member accurately aligned with a brand’s own values to create an authentic brand team.

Creating an esports team - Socially Powerful

Gillette created their own esports team for a partnership with Twitch, where they also created the Gillette Gaming Alliance campaign. The team consisted of 11 streamers from across the globe, all of whom created content for the brand. The campaign supported a larger promotion called “Bits4Blades” where fans could earn Twitch Bits if they purchased Gillette products promoted by the team members.

Sponsor a tournament

Esports is hugely profitable for brands that are featured within games and tournaments. Hosting an esports tournament can expose brands to millions of new audiences. 

Doritos is no stranger to the gaming or esports world, and it has further solidified its spot as an official gaming snack. Doritos will be sponsoring the esports event Twitch Rivals Europe. As a result of this sponsorship, Doritis is launching the Doritos Disruptor Series EMEA, which will see Twitch creators host a number of local market tournaments with groups of growing streamers.

Doritos sponsoring Tournaments

The future of esports marketing

The esports industry is growing rapidly and the gaming industry is the largest entertainment industry in the world. Esports presents brands with countless lucrative marketing opportunities that will allow them to directly target and engage with younger audiences. These audiences are actively turning away from traditional entertainment channels in favour of gaming.

Our influencer and social marketing services are located worldwide, with our agency network based in the USAUKUAE and China.

If you want to receive our industry insights, visit our influencer marketing blog here.

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Should Brands be Using NFTs?

July 19th, 2021 by

Technological advancements have been moving at warp speed, and the blockchain has thrived as a result. The letters N, F and T have taken over the internet as the non-fungible token market tripled throughout 2020. There is a booming interest from members of the public who want to invest and trade rare digital assets, so much so that the virtual goods market is expected to reach $400 billion by 2025. 

But what are NFTs?

What are NFTs?

An NFT is a non-fungible token. 

What does that mean? 

Tokens are tradable assets that operate on a blockchain (a database that records every transaction in a permanent public ledger). These tokens have a monetary value and can also be of use to holders by providing them with access to exclusive assets. The value of tokens fluctuates based on demand. 

Fungible means an asset can be exchanged for something of equal or similar value, for example cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency can be traded for goods of an equal value. 

Therefore, non-fungible assets cannot be exchanged or traded at equivalency. 

So, an NFT is essentially a one-of-a-kind digital trading card. Notable NFTs include Nyan Cat, which sold for 300.00 ETH (about £424,000), the Charlie Bit My Finger video that sold for £500,000 and the first ever tweet from co-founder Jack Dorsey that sold for more than £2 million.

NFT Charlie - Socially Powerfull

Most NFTs are part of the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain. ETH is a cryptocurrency with a blockchain that supports NFTs by storing extra information that makes them work differently from an ETH coin.

The popularity of NFTs has resulted in celebrities, new networks and brands creating their own NFTs to get in on the hype.

How brands are using NFTs

NFTs are incredibly versatile. They can be used by brands to represent digital files such as art, audio, video and even virtual worlds or fashion. The versatility of NFTs has given brands a new way to tell a brand story and interact with audiences. 

By using NFTs, brands can create unique brand experiences, increase brand awareness, encourage audience interaction and engagement, and create a trending interest in their brand and products. 

While NFTs lend themselves to premium brands that rely on exclusivity, other sectors and creators with strong personal branding will thrive in the digital space.

Gucci’s Aria NFT

Gucci is no stranger to the digital realm, having partnered with Roblox and dipped its toes into digital sneakers. However, the Italian fashion label has now delved into the online-only art world of NFTs. Gucci auctioned an NFT inspired by its AW21 collection Aria. The four minute film, appropriately called “Aria” was auctioned as part of the Proof of Sovereignty NFT sale hosted by Christie’s.

 

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A post shared by Christie’s (@christiesinc)

The NFT sold for $25,000, but Gucci used the opportunity to show its charitable side and donated the profits to UNICEF USA to support its COVAX program. 

By creating the Aria NFT, Gucci has created a new way to sell a collection’s story, which creates excitement within the Gucci community as it means die-hard fans can buy and own an exclusive part of Gucci’s story. In addition, the fashion house has supported an important cause, contributing to a positive reputation.

Nifty’s x Space Jam: The NFT Social Platform 

Launched alongside a partnership with Warner Bros., Niftys.com is the first social NFT platform dedicated to bringing digital collectables to mainstream audiences. The partnership offers limited-editing NFTs featuring characters from the live-action/animated film Space Jam: A New Legacy. The NFTs include beloved Looney Tunes characters and basketball champion LeBron James.

Space Jam: A New Legacy is one of the first major motion pictures to create excitement using digital collectables. The platform launched on July 12 with over 90,000 collectables available for the film, and within 24 hours they were all sold out. There were 5 rarity types of collectables available: common, uncommon, rare, epic and legendary. Each type had a more limited number of NFTs available. 

After signing up for a Nifty’s account and sharing a social media post, users were given two NFTs of varying rarity. Users could then try their luck at getting a rare collectable by purchasing a $2.99 NFT. 

Proud owners of Space Jam NFTs were quick to share their new digital collectables on Twitter, creating an organic buzz around the upcoming film release and new platform.

NFTaco Bells

Fast food restaurant Taco Bell commissioned a series of GIFs and images based on its food to join in the NFT craze and to support the Live Más Scholarship. Within 30 minutes of putting their NFT(aco Bells) up for sale on Rarible, all GIFs had sold out. The GIFs started at a bidding price of $1 but sold for thousands of dollars each.

By creating and selling NFTs, Taco Bell generated a huge buzz on social media and mainstream media. By driving brand awareness and supporting a good cause, Taco Bell increased their relatability to and likeability from customers. The initial announcement Tweet received over 3,200 engagements, which is significantly higher than its average.

Kings of Leon NFT Album Launch

In arguably one of the most bizarre and creative album launches of all time, Kings of Leon released their album “When You See Yourself” in the form of an NFT. 

Creating three limited-edition types of tokens, Kings of Leon created a tradeable collectible. One type of NFT featured a special album package, the second offered live show perks and the final type of token featured exclusive audiovisual art.

Using NFTs to create limited edition collectibles is a creative way to foster brand loyalty. Alongside this NFT album launch, Kings of Leon created a series called NFT Yourself where people could bid on one of six “golden ticket” experiences, which offered fans four front row seats to the show of their choice during each tour for life.

RTFKT Digital Sneakers

Designing an NFT can, understandably, help brands disrupt a market. RTFKT was a little-known Chinese virtual sneaker brand before it designed an NFT sneaker for Chinese New Year and became a digital fashion powerhouse.

The virtual, pure gold sneaker was auctioned off on Chinese digital marketplace Treasure land and sold for over £20,100. While this is impressive in itself, it doesn’t even touch the £2+ million generated in another NFT collaboration with artist FEWOCiOUS. 

Limited edition NFTs are a great option for creating limited memorabilia to celebrate special milestones or holidays. Brands can use these NFTs in marketing campaigns around those seasons.

The opportunities from NFTs

Brands, celebrities, bands, news networks and films have all begun testing out how NFTs can work for them. From becoming a new revenue stream, building brand awareness to supporting causes from token sales, what can NFTs do for brands?

NFTs are a great way to deliver quirky and exclusive brand experiences for your customers. By creating limited edition NFTs that contribute to brand experiences and provide access to collections, brands can foster a loyal fanbase and create an illusion of individuality and exclusivity. 

Although NFTs are being used more frequently, they are still a novelty to many people and are considered quite exciting. This means they have the potential to create a huge buzz online and on social media for general brand awareness, campaigns and product launches. Brands can create enthusiasm for a launch by giving users access to limited tokens. For online or in-person events, brands could offer customers different levels of access. For example, for 300 tokens customers would be granted general admission to an event, for 500 tokens they would receive a gift and for 5,000 they could have exclusive backstage access to the event space and products. 

Brands can tell a brand story through collectible assets that are in short supply and exclusive. People have already shown they are willing to pay large amounts for exclusive NFTs, so die-hard brand fans will jump at the chance to own a part of their favourite brand’s history. In addition to this, brands could monetise their best performing ads again and again by turning them into NFTs. Popular and funny ads perform well online, so customers would want to buy and own a notable ad in a brand’s history. 

Fashion, footwear and accessory brands could create digital versions of their most popular products and sell the NFTs on digital fashion marketplace. Brands could collaborate with digital creators to sell digital items on marketplaces such as Artisant.

Creating an exclusive digital collaboration satisfies brand super fans as they have a new way of supporting a brand. In addition, by collaborating with a digital artist they are authentically entering a new type of market and opening a revenue stream that supports a niche.

Considerations for Branded NFTs

While the NFT market is incredibly tempting at present, if too many brands attempt to enter it, NFTs could become tiring and boring. Only projects that are created well will stand out against the masses. How can brands guarantee their NFTs are a success?

As with any campaign or launch, brands need to build NFTs authentically. Any NFT created by a brand needs to be a digital representation of its values, whether it’s the digital collectible itself or donating to a relevant cause. NFTs need to be carefully thought out so they can provide real and additional value to customers and community members. Building an authentic brand NFT could take time, but it will undoubtedly solidify a genuine connection with true fans and audience members. 

Brands also need to make sure an NFT is what their communities really want. Positive connections drive sales much more effectively than the prospect of owning a cool digital item. NTFs are generally well received on social media platforms, but brands should still make sure NFTs are relevant to their community. A way to make NFTs relevant to a community is to collaborate with creative influencers and artists. Not only does this expose the NFT to a whole new following and audience base, it reinforces that NFTs are suitable for the brand. 

Any campaign, event or launch needs a build up. Even if a brand is creating an NFT for the purpose of promoting an event or launch, the announcement of the NFT itself should be a focus for a brand on social media. Suddenly dropping NFTs could seem random and out of place to audience members, but by creating a hype, audiences will be excited and more inclined to check out the digital art.

The future of branded NFTs

NFTs are still new and exciting, but their practical use is somewhat limited. Initially NFTs seemed like an art fad, designed for people to show off their crypto-knowledge and money. However, people have shown interest in them and are willing to spend huge amounts of money on them, indicating NFTs will be sticking around for a while.

NFTs give brands a new avenue to create memorable experiences for customers. They’re an exciting way to engage and interact with new and current audiences. The new economic model allows both consumers and brands to benefit from success in a way that hasn’t ever been available. 

While NFT technology is still new, brands should keep a close eye on it as those who truly understand the benefits of NFT marketing will come out on top.

Our influencer and social marketing services are located worldwide, with our agency network based in the USAUKUAE and China.

If you want to receive our industry insights, visit our influencer marketing blog here.

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Weekly Marketing News, 16th July 2021

July 16th, 2021 by

This week we’ve seen a TikTok pop-up store, Jackie Weaver gets zombified, Instagram tests new comment limits, the ‘photo dump’ trend, giant Burberry bag on The Thames and Saudi Telecom hires ‘Content Creating Camel !

What is this?

Each week, Socially Powerful get together and share industry news and what is inspiring us from The World of Social Media, Advertising, Influencer Marketing, Gaming and more…

PLATFORM NEWS

  1. TikTok is opening a pop-up store in West LondonTiktok News - Socially PowerfulTikTok will host an immersive pop-up store concept for creators and platform enthusiasts to experience in Westfield Shopping Centre in London. The #ForYou experience and creator space is a 4,000 square-foot pop-up store, distributed over two floors and 4 themed rooms and will provide a physical space where visitors can get close to the brand, immerse themselves in its trends, participate in workshops, and compete in creating unique content.
  2. Instagram tests new comment ‘Limits’ to help reduce the impact of targeted abuse by groups

Instagram is rolling out a new option to combat on-platform abuse, this time focused on limiting actions from groups of users, as opposed to muting or restricting individual profiles. Some Instagram users are now seeing a new ‘Limits’ option within their Privacy settings, which enables you to temporarily limit unwanted comments and messages from selected groups.

TRENDS

3. Everyone you love is doing it: How the ‘photo dump’ took over Instagram

Instagram Trends - Socially Powerful

The pandemic made people appreciate the small things in life, and even that had to be shared. Now those moments live on Instagram as a new kind of slideshow – a carousel post of random pictures tied together by one nonchalant caption. During quarantine — when no one had any Instagram-worthy events to attend or dress up for — photo dumps became especially popular.

WORK WE LIKE

4. Internet sensation Jackie Weaver gets zombified for Disney+ Campaign

Disney + has turned the internet sensation Jackie Weaver into a zombie to launch the arrival of all 10 seasons of the popular TV show The Walking Dead. Jackie Weaver went viral late last year when she shut down squabbling Handforth Council members during a video Council Parish meeting. With Disney’s help, she’s putting an end to the endless meetings by unveiling her horrifying new look as part of the ‘working dead’ stand in service.

5. A giant Burberry bag has been spotted on the Thames

Giant Burberry Bag

It’s not every day that you see a giant Burberry handbag sailing along the River Thames on a float. But on June 25, that’s exactly what was spotted by a group of unwitting passers by, as they walked across London’s Tower Bridge.

6. Saudi Telecom hires ‘Content Creating Camel’ to take photos in unseen deserts

Content Creating Camel - Socially Powerful

On Mars, there’s the Perseverance rover. Saudi Arabia’s equivalent is Sarha the camel, snapping photos in places no human has ever stepped foot on. As Saudi Arabia welcomes tourism for the first time, Saudi Telecom hopes to convey the scope of its coverage by enlisting the world’s first “content creating camel” to test it out.

Our influencer and social marketing services are located worldwide, with our agency network based in the USAUKUAE and China.

If you want to receive our industry insights, visit our influencer marketing blog here.

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What is Social Media Marketing?

July 16th, 2021 by

Social media has been a driving force behind reshaping consumer behaviour, driving brand awareness and creating loyal brand communities. It’s benefits to businesses have been discussed regularly online, yet many businesses still struggle to wrap their heads around social media marketing. 

Often, many businesses will pass their social media marketing over to employees of younger generations simply because they use it constantly, so surely they should know how to market a business? 

However, in today’s competitive social media landscape, businesses need to do more than just post and hope. Every business active on social media needs to have a structured social media marketing strategy in order to succeed.

 What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing is any form of marketing that takes place on a social media platform. This includes a wide range of activities that all have social media in common; it can be anything from promoting a blog post, running a recruitment drive or hosting a social media marketing campaign. If it is on a social media platform, it’s social media marketing. 

Social media marketing is all about connecting with your target audience and customers where they live natively on social media. Social media marketing in general is hugely valuable to business growth, but your social media marketing strategy will vary from platform to platform. 

Depending on your audience, you may not even need to focus on certain platforms. If a platform doesn’t resonate with your audience, there’s no point spending resources on creating content for it.

Types of social media

There are a variety of social media marketing channels available for marketers to use for their social media strategy. The types of social media channels you choose depend on your business, industry and audience. But what types of social media platforms are available and what are they appropriate for?

Facebook

Facebook - Socially Powerful

Facebook has the most daily active users of any social media platform, standing at a massive 1.79 billion. It has a strong global presence, but is particularly impactful for targeting Gen X and Millennial consumers. Facebook has its own Facebook Business Manager that brands can use to monitor and track all Facebook marketing assets. 

Facebook lends itself to paid advertising and building brand awareness.

Twitter

While Twitter doesn’t quite have the number of daily users as Facebook, it still has an impressive 186 million global users daily. It is a good platform to target Millennials and Gen Z, but is also impactful for B2B marketing. 

Twitter is a great platform to provide customer service. It lets brands directly engage with audiences and respond to queries and organic mentions.

Instagram

Instagram - Socially Powerful

More than 1 billion people use Instagram every month, and around 90% follow at least one business. Instagram has evolved from a square photo-sharing platform to become a hub of entertainment and business activity. It should be a go-to platform for businesses looking to target Millennials or Gen Z. 

Content on Instagram performs best on Instagram is authentic. While users used to favour idyllic and edited content, this is no longer the case. Instagram is a hub for organic UGC and is a good space for brands to show transparency.

Instagram has an abundance of business marketing tools available for brands looking to create a social media marketing strategy.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a professional networking platform designed for businesses. It has more than 756 million members in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. It’s a great platform for targeting Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and the older Gen Zs. 

It’s not necessarily the best platform for B2C marketing, but is best for building B2B relationships and employment marketing.

YouTube

Youtube - Socially Powerful

With over 2 billion monthly active users, YouTube is a platform designed to entertain. It has an incredibly diverse user base, but each age group uses it for different purposes. While the platform is mainly popular with Millennials and Gen Z, Baby Boomers have begun using the platform as a source of entertainment. 

It’s a good platform for building brand awareness, providing entertainment and sharing tutorials and live reviews.

TikTok

The newest but hottest platform of the decade is the place to target Gen Z. With natural and organic content, brands can target the majority of Gen Z and younger Millennials by creating their own content, working with influencers or paying for advertising. 

Due to its huge user base and daily active users, TikTok is one of (if not the) best platforms for building brand awareness and followers.

Other platforms

More social media platforms available include Twitch, Snapchat, Discord, Pinterest and Clubhouse.

Benefits of social media marketing

The impact of social media on businesses can be exponential if done correctly. Here are some benefits of social media marketing:

Increase brand awareness

Social media is a cost efficient digital marketing method that can increase your business’ visibility. Implementing a social media strategy will increase your brand recognition as you will be engaging with a broad audience of customers and leads.

More inbound traffic

Social media is a great place to encourage more inbound traffic to your website. Without it, you may be stuck with your existing customers only. Social media makes it easier for you to reach potential customers outside of your existing audience. Every social media profile you have acts as a gateway to your website and every piece of content is another opportunity to gain a new customer.

Establish brand authority

Social media marketing allows you to demonstrate the authority of your business. Brands that are active on social media are able to increase their authority through constantly pushing our content and becoming more noticeable on the platform. The more visible your business becomes on major social channels, the more likely it is for your audience to seek information and guidance from your brand.

Learn about your competitors

Social media marketing allows you to analyse your competition. If your competitors are active on social media, it is easy to see how their posts drive engagement. When observing your competition, focus on the content that receives the highest and lowest engagement in order to get a better idea of what will work best for your own business. However, every business is different, so bear in mind that some things that work well for your competitors, may not necessarily work as well for your business.

Build relationships with your audience

A huge benefit of social media marketing is that it allows brands to initiate conversations with their target audiences. The majority of online consumers expect brands to interact with their customers, so it is vital that you actively reach out to your audience. Whether it’s replying to questions in the comments section or reposting their Instagram Stories and tweets, you must show your audience that you value them. Another way to connect with your audience is to create Instagram Polls and Q&A sessions to your stories in order to boost interaction with your content.

How to build a successful social media marketing strategy

There are 5 key steps to building an effective social media marketing strategy, excluding setting overall social media marketing goals.

  1. Research your audience and create buyer personas

The first step to creating a successful social media marketing strategy is to know exactly who your audience is so you are able to hyper-target their needs and interests. To help you with this, you should create different personas for the key types of consumers you want to reach. 

When creating your buying personas, you should consider your audience’s age, location, disposable income, interests and jobs. This will help you paint an accurate picture of exactly who you are marketing to and help you create a strategy accordingly.

2. Determine which social media platforms you need to market on

Social Media Platforms - Socially Powerful

Once you know who your target audience is, you will be able to identify the key social media platforms you need to be active on. You need to be on platforms where your audience is organic. 

Creating content for a platform your audience isn’t is a waste of time and resources.

3. Create unique and engaging content

The social media sphere is highly competitive so it’s vital you have unique and engaging content to hook in viewers to follow you over your competitors. However, to help with your creative thinking, looking at your competitors is a good place to start. You can see the types of posts your audience find most appealing and engaging, and which types of content perform less well. 

Social media platforms have many types of features you can use to maximise your engagement. 

You can also use user-generated content to provide variety, social proof and to encourage other users to create their own content.

4. Make a content calendar

One of the best social media marketing tips is to create a content calendar. Creating a content calendar is a social media management tool that will help you track the content you have posted and content you plan to post. You can write captions, prepare pictures and videos and schedule posts in advance. 

A content calendar ensures you are posting a variety of content. Social media users need variety in order to stay interested. Posting too much of the same content can get boring quite quickly.

Analyse your results

Potentially the most important step in creating a social media marketing strategy is analysing results. By monitoring key engagement metrics, you can identify the types of content that perform best with your audience and the types of content that don’t. Knowing both lets you tailor your future content strategy to guarantee the highest performance possible.

Our influencer and social marketing services are located worldwide, with our agency network based in the USAUKUAE and China.

If you want to receive our industry insights, visit our influencer marketing blog here.

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LinkedIn for Business: The Ultimate Guide

July 16th, 2021 by

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional networking platform and one of the most influential social media networks, with more than 756 million members in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. 

LinkedIn has historically been used by recruiters and job seekers who needed a location to publicly show their CVs, professional career history and highlights, skills and education. Businesses created LinkedIn profiles where they could list current vacancies. 

In recent times, LinkedIn has been actively building out its platform to be more than jobs. While it is still a go-to location for users to scope out businesses, current and potential employees and clients, it has become a location for users to build their own personal brands and for brands to fortify their positions as industry and thought leaders. 

LinkedIn is designed for businesses, so conversations on the platform are productive and can make buying decisions easier; it is a platform that dominates lead conversions. The most successful brands on LinkedIn are the ones who are utilising engagement strategies that ensure they are in front of their target LinkedIn audience. They do so by making full use of all (and the newest) features LinkedIn has to offer including live broadcasting, Stories, images and videos, sales insight tools and product pages.

How to Create a LinkedIn Business Page

In order for a business to succeed on LinkedIn, it needs a LinkedIn company page. To create a LinkedIn business page, visit the LinkedIn Pages section on the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions website and click “Create your Page”. Alternatively, click the “Work” dropdown in the LinkedIn tab bar, and click “Create a Company Page” at the bottom.

How to create a LinkedIn Business Page Step 1

Then, select the appropriate Page type for your company. You have a choice of “Small business”, “Medium to large business”, “Showcase page” or “Educational institution”.

How to create LinkedIn Business Page Step 2

Once you have clicked the appropriate category, fill in the company details page. Ensure you have no spelling errors in your name, tagline or website links. LinkedIn provides a page preview as you add content to give you an idea of how the final page will look. When choosing a LinkedIn public profile, you should try and have the same handle as your business does on other social media sites. This will make you easier to find on LinkedIn.

How to create LinkedIn Business Page Step 3

Although not a necessary step to LinkedIn, it is highly recommended that you upload a logo and tagline to your Page. LinkedIn business pages with a logo receive six times more visits than those without. 

Then, press “Create page”. Now you have the bare bones of a LinkedIn business page. While you can stop here, it’s not a good idea to. You should complete your page by adding more detail about your company. This will give visitors information about your company and improve your ranking within LinkedIn and Google search results—complete LinkedIn business pages receive 30% more views. 

To complete your business page, click the pencil icon on the profile under your company’s name.

How to create LinkedIn Business Page Step 4

The company description is where you can tell visitors about your mission, values, vision and offer an overview of your products and services in a few short paragraphs. The description should continue your brand voice to provide authenticity. Include SEO keywords in your description as Google’s results preview up to 156 characters of your page’s text. 

You can add multiple locations to your LinkedIn page. If you have global locations, make sure you add them all. This will increase your search rate and visibility on the platform. 

Using LinkedIn hashtags will make your LinkedIn business page more searchable. Ensure you are using hashtags specific to your industry but are still commonly used. 

To make your business page look as professional as possible, you should add a cover photo. This image should reflect your business and remain on-brand. It’s best to avoid images that are too cluttered as this can detract from the information available on your page. The recommended size is 1584 x 396 pixels. 

LinkedIn offers business pages the chance to add buttons. These buttons can call viewers to action and include examples such as “Visit website”, “Contact us”, “Learn more”, “Register” and “Sign up”. Make sure any links and URLs applied are correct and will lead users to the right landing pages. 

LinkedIn is a global platform, meaning it allows brands with global audiences and locations to be location-specific. You can change your name, tagline and description into over 20 different languages.

How to Build a LinkedIn Marketing Strategy

Now you’ve built a LinkedIn company page, how can you use this to perfect a LinkedIn marketing strategy? LinkedIn can help build brand awareness, increase website traffic and generate leads. However, as it is primarily geared towards B2B marketing, it requires a different marketing strategy than other social media platforms.

1. Define your goals

Define Your Goals - LinkedIn

As with any social media marketing strategy, you need to know why you want to use the platform and what you want to gain from it. Once you have outlined your ultimate LinkedIn marketing goals, you can begin to build the steps needed to complete the goals. 

Some examples of goals are:

  1. Build brand awareness
  2. Generate qualified leads
  3. Strengthen brand reputation
  4. Engage your target audience
  5. Sell your products or services

2. Know your LinkedIn audience

Once you know your LinkedIn marketing goal, you need to know your LinkedIn target audience. Knowing exactly who your target audience is will help you develop the type of content to post on the platform. 

For LinkedIn, you should outline your audience demographics based on job title, location, industry and other career/business relevant information. 

To understand your existing audience, use the analytics section within your LinkedIn company page. This tells you more information on your followers and page visitors. Knowing this, you can tailor your content strategy and posting times to your audience’s needs.

3. Optimise your LinkedIn company page

We have already discussed creating a LinkedIn business page and the importance of aesthetics (uploaded brand logo, title, tagline and cover photo), but you should also optimise your LinkedIn business page for search. An optimised company page can give you increased visibility on and off the platform. 

One of the best ways to optimise your LinkedIn business page is to provide links to your page. These links could be across your website, blog, newsletters or other social media profiles. Additionally, you should encourage your employees to update their own personal LinkedIn profiles to include your company. This adds an extra link someone could click through. Creating more links to your company page boosts your inbound link profile, something that heavily dictates the search engine ranking of a page.

Optimise your LinkedIn company page

Keywording is vital to ensure high-quality SEO rankings. They are just as important and influential on a LinkedIn page as they are on a website or blog post. Identify key terms and phrases your target audience is likely to use when searching for products or services within your industry and incorporate them into your company description. 

Aside from encouraging engagement, posting relevant content regularly can improve your search engine rankings. Everything you upload, and share will be indexed by Google and other search engines to help your page climb the ladder of search results.

4. Analyse competitor pages and activity

Benchmarking yourself against competitors is important when building a LinkedIn marketing strategy. LinkedIn provides a feature called “Companies to track” that shows a list of companies on LinkedIn that are similar to yours and reveals their key metrics. You can benchmark total followers, follower growth and social media engagement. 

Monitoring these can help you understand what type of content performs well, when the best time to post on LinkedIn is and where you need to develop your own business page.

5. Promote your LinkedIn company page

It’s all good and well having a beautiful Linkedin business page, but what use is it if no one is looking at it? Promoting your business page and encouraging people to follow it is crucial to a successful LinkedIn marketing strategy. 

Promoting your page guarantees all your updates will show in your audience’s LinkedIn feed. This, alongside a high follower count, increases the reach and credibility of your company. 

The fastest way to gain followers is to have your employees and colleagues follow the company page. You could also add a “Follow” button linking to the business page at the bottom of email signatures, newsletters, blogs and websites.

Benefits of LinkedIn Marketing

You can accurately target your desired audience

A key benefit of using LinkedIn for business is that it has advanced targeting capabilities. You can narrow your target audience down by location, job title, company name, industry, education, interests and more. BY using “And/OR” statements, you can find potential audience members easily, no matter how niche a market. 

In addition, LinkedIn offers Sponsored InMail where you can send personalised messages to chosen audience members. With this, you can encourage them to download exclusive content, sign-up or register for an event or motivate users to find out more/purchase a product.

You can tailor your LinkedIn budget

Tailor Your Budget - LinkedIn

As with other social media profiles, you can tailor your budget for each campaign. You are able to edit your budget and bids in response to your campaign’s performance to ensure you are seeing the best return on investment possible. However, it is important to note the minimum spend for LinkedIn ads is $10 per day.

LinkedIn boasts a variety of ads

When advertising on LinkedIn, you can use text, images and videos that are available in different ad formats including carousels, email ads and more. Each type of ad has its own benefits so it’s best to test out a few different types of ads to see which ones resonate with your audience and brand messaging. 

The list of ads available include:

  1. Sponsored content: these are the ads that are “Boosted” posts within your news feed. They typically include carousel ads, display ads and video ads. 
  2. Sponsored InMail: a personalise inbox message
  3. Text ads: similar to Google search ads in the sidebar
  4. Dynamic ads: a personalised version to promote jobs, content downloads, LinkedIn page or drive traffic to a website. Also appears in news feeds.

Tips to Boost Your LinkedIn Presence in 2021

Don’t overload on posts

Consistency is key when creating a content plan, but posting too often on LinkedIn can be detrimental to your presence and engagement. 

Businesses and LinkedIn influencers who less than 30 times a month see the most engagement, when compared to those posting 50+ times. 

Posting high-quality and valuable content 2-3 times a week is optimal for engagement. The best time to post on LinkedIn is usually in the morning. This gives the post time to build engagement throughout the day, so when most people are online in the evening, the algorithm will show your post more.

Share visual and video content

Audiences are drawn to visual content—articles with images receive 94% more views than those without. LinkedIn allows posters to share images, videos, slides, podcasts and even documents. 

When uploading to LinkedIn, the platform favours content that is uploaded directly to LinkedIn, rather than posting a link to another site that hosts it.

Host your own events

LinkedIn is an ideal location to promote your business as an industry and thought leader. Hosting your own events (online workshops or seminars, for example) on LinkedIn can help solidify your position. LinkedIn Events can be used to find communities, grow audiences, network and learn or share new skills.

Go live

Livestreaming has become popular across the whole social media sphere. Brands can use LinkedIn Live can lead to more authentic interactions from audience members. You could host an open conversation with LinkedIn influencers and other thought leaders relevant to your industry. 

Live videos on LinkedIn receive more engagement compared to regular video uploads. There are 7X more reactions and 24X more comments.

LinkedIn for Business

LinkedIn continues to evolve to become a more influential platform. As we move to a new normal, new opportunities will form on the platform. Brands seeking to improve their LinkedIn presence should begin to maximise their potential on the platform now.

Our influencer and social marketing services are located worldwide, with our agency network based in the USAUKUAE and China.

If you want to receive our industry insights, visit our influencer marketing blog here.

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A Beginner’s Guide to SEO

July 16th, 2021 by

If you work in marketing or social media, write a blog or own your own business, you’ll definitely have come across the acronym “SEO” at some point. But what is it? We’ve pulled together an SEO starter guide to help with SEO basics.

SEO Basics: What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is one of the most relevant and impactful marketing tactics to improve your business’ rankings in search engines and social media platforms. It is the process of optimising your website with the aim of improving your website’s rankings in search results and achieving more organic traffic. Mastering SEO can help drive relevant traffic, leads, sales and revenue and profit for your business. 

To effectively ensure your SEO is accurate, you need to understand what your key audience is searching for online, what answers they are looking for, the keywords they are using and the types of content they want to consume. Knowing these will allow you to connect with relevant audiences who are seeking the solutions you offer. 

While running and updating your SEO is something you can do yourself, there are expert agencies and consultants that provide SEO services. However, it is best practice to have a solid understanding of SEO before reaching out to SEO professionals to ensure you are receiving high quality SEO services.

The basics of search engines

Search engines are essentially answer machines. They crawl through and index billions of pieces of content and evaluate which content is most likely to answer your query.

SEO - Basics of Search Engine - Socially Powerful

Search engines crawl and index web pages, PDFs, images, videos and more content types before ordering it by how well it answers the query in a process called “Ranking”. 

So, search engines work through three primary functions:

  1. Crawling: search engines scour the internet for content and look over the code or content for each URL they find.
  2. Indexing: search engines store and organise the content found whilst crawling. As soon as a page is indexed, it can be used as a potential result to relevant queries.
  3. Ranking: search engines provide content that will best answer a search query, ranked from most relevant to least relevant.

Factors affecting your website’s SEO performance

There are three main factors that affect your website’s SEO performance:

  1. Technical SEO factors: these include technical aspects such as hosting, indexing and page loading speed.
  2. On Page SEO factors: these include factors such as website content, target keywords, titles, URLs and related terms.
  3. Off Page SEO factors: these include backlinks and outside references to your website from other websites. 
  4. SEO Audit - Socially Powerful

You can conduct a technical SEO audit to assess the health of your website’s SEO and identify SEO improvements. SEO is something that is constantly changing, so it is important to keep all your keywords up to date so your website has the best chances of ranking highly. Neglecting to update your SEO can run the risk of losing organic traffic to competitors. It’s important to monitor and update all three SEO factors regularly.

White hat vs Black hat SEO

White hat SEO vs Black hat SEO is essentially honest vs dishonest SEO techniques. 

White hat SEO refers to SEO best practices that abide by search engine rules and its primary focus is to provide value. 

Black hat SEO refers to SEO techniques that aim to fool search engines. While it does work, websites using black hat SEO are at risk of being de-indexed and penalised. To summarise, black hat SEO is risky and unethical.

The benefits of SEO

The benefits of SEO can be some of the most impactful on your business. However, it’s important to note that SEO is a long game and it may take a while before your business reaps the rewards. It may sound like a hassle, but it is definitely worth it.

SEO leads to better user experiences

Working on perfecting SEO can improve your website and the experience visitors have. This includes creating relevant content and information, photos and videos that support text content, easy website navigation and mobile friendly configuration. 

Better user experience results in more clocks, leads, better brand recall and higher conversion rates. Website visitors and search engines value good user experience, so delivering it will improve your ranking from people staying on your website for longer.

SEO results in higher conversion rates

Having a website with a high ranking in search engines will improve your conversion rate. Maintaining a high position will make your target market more aware of your business and high quality content. This increases your credibility and reputation as an authority within your industry. 

As customers become more familiar with your business, website and product or service offerings, the more likely they are to invest in your offerings.

SEO builds brand credibility and awareness

Having a high ranking website gives searchers the idea your business is one of the best in the industry and suggests your offerings are better than your competitors. If you are at the bottom of the search rankings, searchers may not even find your website or expertise.

SEO ensures your website is mobile friendly

While SEO doesn’t improve your website’s mobile friendliness, in order to rank highly in search engines, your website needs to look good and function well on mobile devices.

SEO Mobile Friendly - Socially Powerful

Nowadays, 66% or all web traffic comes from mobile devices. A website that isn’t optimised to work on mobile is only effectively targeting 34% of traffic. 

As of 2021, Google has started mobile-first indexing. This means websites that aren’t mobile friendly will lose their visibility in organic searches.

Social media SEO

Social media SEO refers to the way social media activities can aid your website’s organic traffic through search engines. While social media doesn’t directly influence SEO and SEO rankings, it has an indirect positive effect on a page’s search ranking. 

YouTube SEO and LinkedIn SEO can positively impact a website’s search rankings. By providing keyworded descriptions and valuable content, and categorising pages into specific industries and interests can help searchers find your website.

Our influencer and social marketing services are located worldwide, with our agency network based in the USAUKUAE and China.

If you want to receive our industry insights, visit our influencer marketing blog here.

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How Beauty Brands Are Targeting the Gaming Audience

July 14th, 2021 by

The gaming industry has seen dramatic evolution over the last decade. There has been a surge of new gamers from all types of demographics as a result of consumers finding new methods of entertainment during particularly challenging lockdown restrictions. In 2020, there were 2.69 billion active video gamers globally. A notable change in the gaming audience is the rising number of female players. 

In 2014, the average gamer was a young male adult aged between 16 and 24. Nowadays, the average gamer is anyone around the age of 35. This market growth has made the gaming audience appealing to non-endemic brands, particularly those within the beauty sector.

How are beauty brands targeting the gaming audience?

Makeup Collection Collaborations

One of the most frequent ways beauty brands target the gaming audience is through collaborations and makeup collections. 

MAC Cosmetics has been incredibly active and successful in partnering with various mobile and desktop games to create physical and digital makeup collections. MAC’s collaboration with mobile game Honor of Kings sold out in China within 24 hours and even pulled in a massive 14,000 pre-orders. The collection’s success in China resulted in MAC taking the collaboration global, and the success was only matched.

Makeup Collection Collaborations - Socially Powerful

The collaboration led to many beauty and gamers fans using the Honor of Kings products for cosplays. The game is very popular among average users (those between the ages of 20 and 30), meaning the collaboration is a huge success with a die-hard niche of gaming fans.

MAC x Sims4 Collab - Socially Powerful

MAC Cosmetics has also collaborated with The Sims 4 to create a real-life palette and the first-ever in-game makeup collaboration. The beauty brand worked with The Sims 4 developers to create a range of eyeshadows, eyeliner, blush and lipsticks in game. The in-game makeup was made available to all users in a base game update and was inspired by some of MAC’s best selling makeup shades.

Aside from MAC Cosmetics, other beauty brands getting involved with beauty collaborations are ColourPOP and Tatcha, both of which collaborated with the globally successful Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

MAC x Animal Crossing Horizon Collab - Socially Powerful

Similar to MAC, ColourPOP isn’t new to animated collaborations having already created a sell-out collection with Sailor Moon. For its Animal Crossing collection, ColourPOP created a range of 11 new products, all inspired by colours, animals, plants and currency of the game. The four eye shadow palettes, three tinted lip sets, two powder blushes, shimmery Super Shock Shadow, and glitter gel was heavily anticipated by fans and received a large number of organic reviews by beauty influencers and gaming fans. 

Tatcha went for a different route to ColourPOP and created its very own island within the game. To launch its new Rice Wash cleanser, Tatcha worked with influencer Claire Marshall to design Tatchaland. Inspired by Kyoto, the self-care get away offered players a Tatcha robe or hoodie and guided tours around the onsen spas, tea houses and bamboo forests. The island offered users educational areas too; players could visit rice paddies to learn about product inspiration, hang out with Tatcha founder Vicky Tsai or even play a scavenger hunt in the game where players could have won a free travel-size The Rice Wash in real life.

 

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GIRLGAMER Esports Festival

The GIRLGAMER Esports Festival’s 2020 world final in Dubai was sponsored by three cosmetic companies: Johnson & Johnson’s Carefree, L’Occitane, and Benefit Cosmetics. All three cosmetics brands hosted on-site activations during the competition. The activations would have allowed the brands to showcase their product offerings and offer attendees a more immersive beauty experience. 

GIRLGAMER Esports Festival - Socially Powerful

Benefit Cosmetics has become a repeat partner for the festival, reminding attendees and viewers of its relevance. The festival hosts tournaments for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends and features appearances from top female-only esports teams.

How are beauty brands using Twitch?

Twitch may have launched with the goal of satisfying the entertainment demands of the gaming audience, but it has since expanded to interest the beauty audience. The platform was founded in 2011 and was quickly acquired by Amazon in 2014. Today, Twitch has over 9.36 million active streamers and 140 million unique monthly visitors. Not only does it have a huge active user base, Twitch is responsible for 1.8% of peak internet traffic, beaten only by Netflix, Apple and Google. 

With 15 million daily users and a growing female audience (45% of the European gaming audience are female, and 41% in the US), it’s no surprise that the platform is steadily seeing more beauty partnerships and dedicated streamers within the beauty category.

E.L.F Cosmetics on Twitch

E.L.F Cosmetics is credited as being the first beauty brand to create a branded channel on Twitch. It created elfyou with the idea of being a space where gaming and makeup collide harmoniously in “Game Up”; it would host weekly streams that would uplift female gamers and host contents with valuable prizes. 

The channel launched in May with a 3 hour live stream hosted by gamer and special effects makeup artist Autumn Rhodes and other gamers, beauty influencers and musicians. To support the launch e.l.f also ran a competition on TikTok to encourage users to post how they put on makeup to get ready for livestreaming. The winners would be gifted makeup and tools needed to create their own livestreams as well as the chance to appear on e.l.f’s own Twitch channel.

E.L.F Cosmetics on Twitch - Socially Powerful

However, whilst the brand had every intention of supporting and uplifting female gamers, it was hit with hard criticism for not having a diverse representation of influencers on their channel. The influencers chosen were all white women, so understandably viewers and underrepresented communities were frustrated. 

E.L.F’s move to Twitch is unsurprising considering the results of a social survey conducted by the beauty brand. It found that 70% of e.l.f fans play video games, while 65% enjoy watching others stream gaming content.

EM Cosmetics on Twitch

EM Cosmetics is owned by the original beauty guru herself, Michelle Phan. Phan made an early entry to the Twitch community and hosted a livestream to help launch a new product for Em Cosmetics. Whilst playing League of Legends, Phan promoted the new Daydream Cushion foundation by programming ads for the new product to show during the stream and in breaks. Em Cosmetics sold nearly 250% more units compared to previous launches and the 3.5 hour livestream accounted for 17% of revenue that day.

Benefit Cosmetics

Benefit Cosmetics has recently joined the streaming platform alongside a new campaign called “Game Face”. Benefit plans to use the global program to continue supporting and empowering women in gaming and to engage all beauty lovers across the gaming space. 

The Game Face campaign was initially launched in the US and Australia in 2020, but was expanded to a global scale after its successful launch. At the end of June, Benefit hosted streams on Twitch partnering with 20 gamers from the US, UK, France, Canada, Brazil, Australia, the Middle East and Germany. The livestreams showed gamers recreating their “Game Face” routines while discussing confidence as a female gamer. The gamers also unboxed special Benefit hauls for viewers.

Benefit Cosmetics x Game Face Collab

Benefit has also opened the campaign up to the masses and invited all gamers who love beauty and makeup to send in their Twitch IDs to feature on Benefit’s Twitch channel. To further solidify its place on the streaming platform, Benefit will be offering financial support, sponsorships for makeup streams and merch giveaways for streamers’ fans. 

Benefit’s main aim is to create a safer space for women to game online. Women within the gaming community face harassment and underrepresentation consistently, so Benefit is providing a space they are recognised.

The Future of Beauty and Gaming

The traditional gamer has evolved to have interests that appeal to wider markets. With a large increase in female streamers and viewers, beauty brands need to become more innovative with their marketing efforts. 

The popularity of livestreaming is only set to grow. Livestreaming through Twitch allows streamers, brands and users to connect in real time and with no delays. This means creators are more accessible than on other platforms where content is pre-filmed and edited. 

Whilst beauty brands have begun experimenting with Twitch channels, we are yet to see one be hugely successful, suggesting they are missing an opportunity to take the market lead. Social media is a highly crowded and competitive marketplace, so having a competitive advantage in the right marketing channels to target a lucrative audience can do wonders for a business.

Our influencer and social marketing services are located worldwide, with our agency network based in the USAUKUAE and China.

If you want to receive our industry insights, visit our influencer marketing blog here.

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