Effective Marketing in COVID Times

The COVID-19 pandemic has, of course, raised many challenges, including some unforeseen issues, such as the coin shortage in the US and excess in the UK. We’ve probably all grown weary of hearing empty platitudes about “how we’re all in this together.” But some good news is that business hasn’t stopped, but rather shifted and marketers need to shift with it. In this article, we’re sharing some specific examples of a few marketing tactics, such as social influence marketing, which can help during “these challenging times” and give your brand an image and revenue boost.

The New Life Online

The pandemic drove people to move even more of their daily lives online, beyond shopping and work. A New York Times analysis of internet usage published on April 7, 2020, revealed that our behaviors shifted, sometimes starkly, as the virus spread and pushed us to our devices for work, play, and connecting as well as discovering novelties. Even prior to COVID, social media played a huge role in our lives With almost 4 billion users worldwide, the role of social media in our lives is constantly growing. Social networks have surpassed search engines as the go-to product research channel for Gen Z since 2019.

The Challenge of Less Foot Traffic

As stages of lockdown and reopening vary worldwide, businesses everywhere are challenged with less direct contact with their customers. As consumers shift to making purchases online via ecommerce and social commerce, the online space is becoming increasingly crowded. The shift to online eliminates geographic boundaries, which provides consumers with increased options, but also increases competition for businesses. These changes make it harder for brands to stand out and get their message across.

Social Media, the Rising Storefronts

Now more than ever a brand‘s social media profiles have become one of their most essential storefronts. Making sure the brand pops out and appeals on social channels is more important than ever, and not just to maintain and enhance the brand image. With the ongoing fast rise of social commerce especially among millennials, and even more so Gen Z, social media is becoming a prime sales channel. In the fashion sector, for example, social media in Germany already generated sales of EUR 3.4 billion in 2018. Social commerce usually takes place on the move, i.e. via smartphone or tablet, as social media offers are preferably used via mobile devices. Especially brands that target these consumer segments can win a lot by making sure their social media presence is optimized to cash in on the movement and avoid losing out to competitors. Revising one‘s social media strategy and tactics all the way to the inclusion of clever shoppable features and creative influencer marketing for example is bound to be a very rewarding exercise when done properly.

Connecting with Consumers is Key to Standing Out

Successful brands are those that are able to connect with consumers and create a relationship. Telling stories to create more emotional connections drives a stronger, more appealing social media presence.

Building such connections is crucial to standing out from the crowds. Connections lead to conversions short term, as well as long-term loyalty and even advocacy. This cycle of turning customers into advocates is described by Hubspot as the “flywheel,” a circular process from attract, to engage, to delight, where customers feed growth.

Creating Connections in COVID Times With Fitting Content

In hard times people look for hope, support, strength and leadership. Strong omni-channel (digital) content that captures people‘s emotions and showcases a brand‘s social engagement can be a powerful tool to make your brand stand out and win over the hearts and minds of consumers just that little bit more. Some marketing during COVID undeniably fell flat when a company’s message just wasn‘t credible. However, there were also admirable examples, such as Ford. The auto manufacturer created a series of ads to explain how they have met global-scale crises in the past, creating an image of solidity and reliability. Some of the new ads also beautifully conveyed how the brand is fighting COVID-19 by manufacturing medical equipment in short supply.

Say It With Influencers for Increased Impact

Influencer marketing can make people feel closer to your brand and develop a strong preference for it.

Influence marketing provides an agile, real time communication channel with consumers. Additionally, brands are mainly discovered online, through influencers, making this an important part of your marketing mix. Even more powerful is the combination of emotion-driven storytelling and content creation by influencers, adding authenticity and credibility to the mix. This successfully drives traffic to your social channels and website, generating valuable opportunities for lead generation and sales.

Aligning with Consumers’ Values

As consumers search for purpose, they’re increasingly looking for brands that align with their values. Like many challenges, this can also be an opportunity. Brands can use influencer marketing to get their purpose and value proposition better known and stand out, while successfully promoting new sales channels. By clearly demonstrating their unique values, brands can connect with an expanded group of consumers and build strong relationships with the potential to last.

For example, Kingfluencers worked with the oldest insurance company in Switzerland to create a campaign in which sympathetic influencers created their own damage sketches and included calls to actions for the community to participate. More than 500 sketches were created, resulting in over 550,000 impressions and 80,000 website visits in a short time-frame, along with a 3.01% engagement rate.

Social influence marketing is quick and agile. Such a campaign can be developed and launched in a matter of weeks to drive revenue prior to the end of the year.

Stay Agile and Expand Your Reach

Social influence marketing delivers reach and real impact on consumer decisions fast and efficiently. Give your brand a face people can relate to, elevate your advertising spending by adding credibility and authenticity to your message. Social media channels also enable you to reach audiences that aren’t easily reached via traditional marketing. The reach of Instagram is well known, and TikTok is particularly popular with Gen Z, the generation brands are struggling to connect with.

Holistic Approach to Influence Marketing

Social influence marketing is a broad area that includes more than professional influencers and content creators. A wide range of individuals can serve as effective influencers and contribute to your marketing efforts, such as:

Employees

CEOs and other leaders

  • Your leadership team is part of the face of your brand. Their role as social influencers is becoming increasingly important

Consumers

  • User-Generated Content (UGC) from brand fans and advocates can be very valuable, and boost community engagement

Each of these groups can be powerful influencers, but, when effectively combined, the result is synergistic, delivering a massive impact.

Leverage Your Existing Advocates — Including Employees

Example of a real-life success story

One tech company chose Kingfluencers to run a workshop for selected employees who were passionate about their work and active on their own social media. Kingfluencers taught the 15 influencers how to optimally stage the products on social media and create emotional textual content to achieve the highest possible performance. The results included 89 content pieces posted with a 23.44% engagement rate and more than 62,000 direct impressions.

What are the strengths of influence marketing? How and why does it generate positive ROI? Read this article providing a deep dive into why brands should do social influence marketing and learn more about the topic.

Time-limited promotion: Reach out to our experts before November 10. and the Kingfluencers team will provide you with a clear promo strategy:

Social influence campaign ideas (incl. 3 creative concepts, SoMe channels, influencer suggestions), tailored to your budget
A detailed implementation plan
Outcomes forecast
… all for just CHF 1’400.-

Get the most out of the end of 2020 and beyond. Our team is here to support you.

Author: Yoeri CallebautChief Growth and Marketing Officer at Kingfluencers

Build Trust & Humanize Your Brand with Personal Branding

By elevating their personal brand, CEOs and other senior business leaders can become powerful brand advocates and make a valuable impact on the organization they work for. In this article, we’ll cover what businesses need to think about to effectively leverage personal branding at the executive level and further build trust with their target audiences by ‘humanizing‘ the brand.

Engage in Conversations to Drive Results

While social media can enable you to take control of your narrative, the digital landscape is full of noise, with millions of brands — and even more individuals — competing for attention. Some of the keys to successfully connect to your audiences and outpace those who compete for their attention are relevance, timing (right content at the right moment), message clarity, and ease of message absorption. However, none of these keys will open any doors without the most important one needed to captivate people and drive results: trust. Simply having a company profile and posting quotes or other content won’t effectively build trust. Instead, it’s important to differentiate your brand and build relationships with stakeholders in the market. One effective way companies can do so is by leveraging people to humanize their brands. Especially when these people have extensive reach and relevance, their impact can be very significant.

People connect with people, not logos.

Social media isn’t just about making noise yourself, but also engaging in conversations and dialogues with your audience. You have to be in the weeds to build trust and connect to people. People are craving authentic and real content as well as advice and even guidance in multiple areas, and look for people and brands they believe in to provide this. Cultivate genuine relationships and build trust so that if your audience is ever in need of a solution, you’ll be top of mind. Once you have the trusting ear of your peers, partners, clients, and people in general, it becomes so much easier to get any message across, making your communication much more effective, achieving your goals more easily.

Making A Brand Human

Marvin Sangines, CEO & Co-Founder of notus and personal branding advisor at Kingfluencers, emphasizes starting withclear goals in place.

It’s easy to get blinded by vanity metrics such as big numbers of views and followers. It’s not about the number of followers you have. What matters is the quality of the connections you make. At the same time, know yourself, your values, and your purpose. Define clear goals and ensure that your communication strategy feeds into those objectives. Once you’ve defined your position in the market and optimized the relevant profiles accordingly, you can start to distribute content across social media and build stronger connections with more engaged followers.”

The 4 Content Pillars

Marvin outlined his proprietary “Content Archetype” framework which Kingfluencers applies when working with personal branding clients. He categorizes content as follows:

  1. Tactical: Actionable, implementable advice, relevant to your target audience
  2. Aspirational: Results, case studies showcasing the transformations your customers went through with your company // Stories of growth and hyper-specific outcomes.
  3. Insightful: Analyzing industry trends and extracting insights from your expert perspective
  4. PersonalDiscussing personal anecdotes and stories

When building executive profiles, the human element is very important. It’s up to each person or company to decide how personal they want to make their brand and find the right mix. Additional best practices for CEO profiles include:

  • Engage with other employees
  • Don’t just repost links — give your two cents and contextualize what you’re sharing
  • Communicate company purpose — what’s your purpose?
  • Share behind-the-scenes content
  • Collaborate with other professionals

Before posting content, define brand guidelines and dos and don’ts, for example, you might decide that emojis are a no go. Once guidelines have been defined, it’s important to make sure people move within those guidelines. Marvin recommends, “If you have a slip-up, be fully transparent. Communicate proactively and own your mistakes.”

Growth of Personal Branding Services

Yoeri Callebaut, Chief Growth and Marketing Officer, Kingfluencers, stated, “Kingfluencers has partnered with specialist Marvin Sangines as part of our efforts to bring personal branding services here to Switzerland. Switzerland is also home to many regional and international organizations and senior business decision makers who have a lot to gain from developing their personal brand following our program. We’ve seen how personal branding can make a significant difference, particularly as part of coordinated branding, positioning, and social selling efforts. As the leading social influence marketing firm, we aim to be the absolute point of reference for personal branding services in the region.”

Impersonating the CEO?

It’s often difficult for CEOs to find time to engage on social media every day, but you need to avoid a sporadic and inconsistent approach. Marvin explains, “People will realize if you make a half-assed effort. You should have quality standards and be strategic about what you post.

“When working with ghost-writers, it’s important to first consider how to capture the executive’s authentic voice. Our process involves interviewing clients to get to know them and how they speak, as well as their answers on relevant subjects and trends. We use this insight to fuel the content engine, while making sure we capture their tone.

It’s normal for traditional communications, such as press releases and conference presentations, to go through a dozen hands for approval, and it’s still the CEO’s view. This also applies to social media. Think of social media posts as a short form of press releases on behalf of the CEO or senior executives.

So What’s in it for the Brand?

“Investing in one’s personal brand creates all the obvious benefits, from increased visibility to growing one‘s network and boosting perceived expertise and relevance. But the benefits for the company should not be underestimated, when done properly,” says Yoeri. “A first example is clearly the additional attention the company will receive thanks to the initiatives of its senior staff investing in personal branding and proactive public communications. Moreover, as it makes the brand more human and emphasizes the organization’s purpose and values, it is an effective way to get people to connect more to the organization and improve the perception of the brand. Think of the classic example of Apple and Steve Jobs!”

Targeting Prospective Employees and Building Trust

Personal branding can also help organizations in the battle to recruit top talent. Gen Z, in particular isn’t consuming traditional news, but rather using social media to engage with companies.

“Forward-thinking companies are gradually adopting this human-centric approach to marketing. They leverage employees and executives as important distribution channels to attract top talent. When employees share content on their personal profiles, it reveals company culture, enabling the audience to see behind the scenes of large corporations. This human touch can give prospective employees an idea what it’s like to work for the company and what the company stands for in a real way, which is what younger generations are really interested in,” stated Marvin.

Interested in finding out how personal branding can help elevate your brand?
Get in touch!
Yoeri Callebaut, Chief Growth and Marketing Officer at Kingfluencers