How to Use Social Media to Connect & Engage

Sharing content is a core component of social media use. There’s certainly nothing wrong with posting selfies, but ideal use of social media involves building a relationship with your communities. Here are top tips for using social media to connect and engage.

Know your Audiences & Where to Find Them

There is no one “best” platform, influencer, or campaign format. You must invest time in researching options and making the selections that best help you achieve your objectives. Accurately identifying your target audience is a critical first step, followed by determining the best platforms for reaching them. Check our previous blog post about the evolution of social media platforms here.

For younger people interested in dance, TikTok is a given. 60% of users are Gen Zers and the two most followed TikTok accounts are young dancers.

Keep It Relevant

Consider what most of the users are doing on that platform. Your chances of successfully engaging increase if you provide the type of content audiences on the platform are actively seeking and consuming, such as video gaming on Twitch. The platform has over 9 million active broadcasters and all of the top 5 are gamers.

Drive relevance even further by segmenting your audience within each platform. For example, on Facebook, you can generate a custom list of people who have previously messaged your business and reengage prospects that have fizzled out.

Make Campaigns Interactive

Social influence marketing provides an agile, real-time communication channel with consumers. When doing IM, like social media in general, brands should engage with consumers and aim for effective two-way communication. Too often brands push out a stream of content to their audiences without bothering to also listen. But interactive campaigns lead to increased engagement, brand advocacy and likability, as well as more conversions and better customer loyalty.

Social media provides brands with the unique opportunity to make campaigns interactive and collaborative. You can turn campaigns from brand monologues into conversations by encouraging participation and interaction, as well as incorporating user-generated content. The close connection influencers have with their communities is ideal for engaging audiences in conversation and making campaigns interactive. Influencers can generate interaction in various ways, including:

Challenges

Contests

Polls

Q&A Sessions

Leverage the Latest Technologies

Technically, the concept of virtual reality (VR) isn’t new, but with the release of the Oculus Quest in May 2019, it has expanded in popularity. VR can enable people to interact with others across the globe, which is particularly important considering the ongoing need for social distancing. Facebook is leveraging the Oculus VR platform to beta-test a virtual world that allows people to explore, connect with others, and play games

Additionally, Augmented Reality (AR) is even more accessible, since it doesn’t require additional hardware beyond a smartphone. AR filters can be used to encourage fan interaction and promote new products. 

For example, popular chocolate brand Kinder’s “Jump into Africa” campaign enabled consumers to discover animated 3D safari animals while in the aisle of Tesco supermarkets in the UK.

Stay Up to Date on Your Chosen Social Media Platforms

Be sure to stay up to date on the various offerings of social media platforms since things change fast. Following Kingfluencers can help you stay current. For example, on 25 Feb 2021 Twitter announced paid Super Follows to let you charge for tweets. “YouTube Shorts,” considered to be a rival offering to TikTok, launched in the US on 18 March 2021.

“The YouTube Shorts product itself was first introduced in September and has been beta testing in India over the past several months, where it has since seen adoption triple.”

And TikTok has launched “TikTok For Business,” providing tips such as info on various elements of brand-building, including notes on creative elements, ad strategy, and key trends. Among the tools for brands is TikTok Ads Manager, a simple, self-serve tool where you can create and launch your ads directly into the TikTok feed.

Prioritize the Human & Use Stories

Human interest stories help the audience relate to your brand and drive engagement. Show people using your product, rather than photo or videos of the product alone. Stories can be powerful in creating emotional connection with your brand and driving purpose. A SocialInsider study found that images in Stories have a 5.65% higher tap-forward rate than videos. Imagery of people using your product within relatable situations can help users connect. Those humans could be hired actors, paid influencers, or happy customers – all of which are beneficial.

Consumers are 2.4 times more likely to say user-generated content (UGC) is authentic compared to brand-created content. Additionally, your employees at all levels are likely advocating your brand already. You should channel and grow that enthusiasm. The people who build your product are highly credible sources.

Humans also like to see human faces. Research published in the Journal of Advertising Research shows, “Ads featuring human faces and ‘face-like’ (i.e., pareidolian) images capture greater attention and preference than other ads in short time lapses.”

Display your Values 

Consumers want to support brands that embody their own values. As written in Inc., Gen-Zers, “want to see authenticity in marketing, including proof and a culture to back up claims of strong company values.” 67 percent agreed that ‘being true to their values and beliefs makes a person cool,’ and they feel the same about brands.

74% of respondents in a Twitter survey want brands to showcase acts of kindness, and 77% feel more positively about brands that try to support society during this crisis.

While it’s tempting to focus on stats such as follows and likes, remember that engagement is a two-way street. Interacting with your community also helps build trust and credibility. 

Follow Kingfluencers for more tips on making your social media campaigns engaging.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

Succeeding as an Influencer – Tips from Successful Swiss Influencers

Based on the GFM — Kingfluencers webinar from 9.12.2020

Kingfluencers and gfm recently hosted a webinar, “Influencer Marketing – a Glance into The Future.” You can watch a recording of the webinar here and we’ve highlighted top tips from our speakers, along with an influencer best practices checklist. Our featured speakers are two successful Swiss influencers, Antonella Patitucci, Actress, Presenter, Coach, Content Creator, and Steven Epprecht, Founder @ Strategy Leaders, Consultant, Content Creator.
More interested in the brand perspective? Check out our previous article here.

Put the Work in and Be Passionate

First, we asked our influencers what the most important requirements are to being an influencer, which included, put the work in and be passionate. Steven noted that it looks easier than it is. Be passionate about your main topic on your account and let your community be part of that. 

Antonella recommended finding out what kind of influencer you are and what’s the best for you, then sticking with your decision. Select which channels to be active on, taking into consideration different media types, then have a strategy to be present there. “I speak a lot and I know my community likes to listen,” said Antonella.

Build a relationship with the community. Your community wants to somehow be part of your life, so interact and engage with them, which also helps build trust and credibility.

Becoming an influencer is creating a personal brand, including all the factors of a brand. As a brand, you must have a strategy how to be present on the different channels.

Create Value for Brands

Antonella added, “In creating value for brands, the first and most important is that it’s a match. You have to use the product. I believe all the people in my community could feel if I just did it because someone offered me money or if I really use the product. 

“The value is in telling your own story and putting emotion behind it. Give the product a face and so people can relate. Share your unique story and opinion. A product alone is a picture, but with you and your story, it’s like a movie.

“Also, have longer-term collaborations rather than making just 1 or 2 posts. Brands get the most out of campaigns when they’re a longer-term partnership instead of one-offs.”

Steven stated, “The most important benefit an influencer has for brands is that we can reach our community on an emotional level, which can be difficult for brands with traditional media campaigns.“Influencer stories are a credible way for brands to communicate, and influencers can serve as real brand ambassadors. We give the brand a different approach, rather than copying and pasting the media and marketing strategy to another channel. The influencer is in touch with the brand and products and makes up their own story on implementing it in their daily life.”

“The value is in telling your own story and putting emotion behind it. Give the product a face and so people can relate. Share your unique story and opinion. A product alone is a picture, but with you and your story, it’s like a movie.”

Swiss Influencer Antonella Patitucci

Safeguard Authenticity

Recognizing that authenticity is a critical success factor, we asked our influencers how they maintain the trust of their audience.

Antonella advised, “Be yourself, stick to your opinion. If you make a mistake, apologize, and change your opinion. I was against TikTok at the beginning and I made an official statement that it’s shit and just for kids, and I made fun of it. But TikTok approached me and wanted me to do it. I looked at the statistics and saw that the audience is older than I thought. I researched and changed my opinion, I wrote in the caption, ‘First I hated it, then I laughed, now I’m copying.’ Then you stay authentic, but you have to be honest, and share with the community, even your mistakes and ups and downs.”

Steven added, “The most important thing is, if I collaborate with a brand, it’s crucial that I can stand behind the product, and it’s not just for the money. There are people doing it like that, which contributes to the negativity about influencer marketing.“I even differentiate the type of work that I do. I’m quicker to accept jobs as a model because it’s my face, not my name. But on my own channels, I’m saying I recommend it and I have a responsibility towards my community. It’s like a relationship with a friend. I consider if I’d recommend this to my mom or a friend. They trust you and you have credibility and shouldn’t play with that, otherwise it won’t work out in the long run. Only do what is you.”

“I even differentiate the type of work that I do. I’m quicker to accept jobs as a model because it’s my face, not my name. But on my own channels, I’m saying I recommend it and I have a responsibility towards my community. It’s like a relationship with a friend.

Steven Epprecht, a swiss influencer in Zurich

Move with Marketing Trends

It’s important for influencers to move with the trends, including interactivity. Social media enables consumers to get more involved and interact, resulting in trends like brands hosting polls or soliciting consumer feedback on issues such as new product development. Employees using social media can also serve as brand ambassadors.

Influencer Best Practices Checklist

  1. Be passionate about your main topic.
  2. Find out what kind of influencer, select your channels, and stick to your decisions.
  3. Interact and engage to build a relationship with your community.
  4. You have a responsibility to your community. Treat it like a relationship with a friend.
  5. When promoting brands, tell your own story and put emotion behind it – don’t just copy and paste the brand’s marketing strategy!
  6. Maintain trust and credibility – only promote brands you truly stand behind.
  7. Aim for long term brand collaborations.
  8. Be yourself & stick to your opinions.
  9. If you make a mistake, apologize.

Top 6 Ways to Make Influencer Marketing Work: Practical Tips from Universal Switzerland

Based on the GFM — Kingfluencers webinar from 9.12.2020

Influencer marketing has the potential to deliver exceptional returns for brands, from awareness and emotional connection with consumers, to conversions to sales. But like any marketing initiative, it needs to be properly executed, which must involve a tailored approach for your unique brand.

On a recent webinar, Martina Klieber, Publicity Manager, Universal Pictures International Switzerland, GmbH, shared lessons learned on making influencer marketing work. You can watch a recording of the webinar here and following are the highlights.

Incorporate Influencer Marketing into the Marketing Mix

As Influencer marketing emerged as a distinct discipline, it was often isolated, although many attributes make it highly complementary to other components of the marketing mix. A holistic and integrated approach to marketing disciplines is ideal. More organizations are understanding this and therefore start connecting the dots, having IM interact with and impact other marketing initiatives. The result is efficiencies and increased impact, enabling brands to achieve more with the same resources. Especially when influencer marketing content is repurposed in other marketing areas, the ripple effect of this integration can be very fruitful.

“Each brand has to find out where IM works best in your campaigns. Over the years, we’ve experimented with and implemented IM in our mix. It has proven to be a very effective and efficient way to reach out to what we call our ‘persuadable audience.’ This is usually a group that is harder to reach with linear TV or other advertising media, with maybe a shorter attention span, but with a great acceptance of personalized and targeted advertisement,” explained Martina.

Campaigns to Enable Connections

Universal Switzerland doesn’t promote Universal Pictures as a brand, but rather single titles or film franchises such as “Fast and Furious.” Martina, explains, “Social media and influencer marketing have replaced the common gatekeepers between brands and consumers. Recent studies have shown that IM can be a powerful tool. For us, this means IM as an integral part of our marketing campaign provides us with an opportunity to promote an experience rather than a product. IM is an emotional, personal, and credible approach that is widely accepted by a younger target audience.”

Synchronize Influencer Marketing

“Influencer marketing is never a standalone measure. For the best outcomes, it’s crucial to carefully sync timelines between media and IM campaigns. Each and every touchpoint ideally links to a campaign tentpole, picks up some hot new AV content, and supports a specific campaign goal.

“You have to be aware of the narration of the story you want to tell. You can’t just have gaps in it. Find the space where it fits in best,” said Martina.

A Second Life for Content

If done right, IM content can provide additional value and be used in a second lifecycle. It can culminate in another campaign by creating press coverage, being used in a brand platform in an owned community, or even as advertising or even communication material. Influencer marketing can enable you to succeed with secondary or tertiary goals. Using the content wisely bring a range of wins and advantages and boosts ROI even more.

The Importance of Good Matches

Martina described a campaign to promote the newest installment of a large franchise. “The campaign was particularly successful because of the perfect match we made. We challenged top influencers to create their own trailer, engaging their community and activating them to go see the film. The selected influencers were huge fans of the franchise and went above and beyond to create top content. Our confidence in their capability and creativity, combined with their enthusiasm for the project resulted in a massive overperformance,” Martina explained.

Universal’s success shows that you can have great success when the influencer and community are a good match for your brand, and the influencer is excited about your brand and tells the story properly.

Additionally, Martina noted that when creating marketing campaigns for local theatrical releases using local influencers makes sense for credibility and local language, especially in Switzerland. The influencer help bridge the gap that international stars cannot.

Influencer Marketing Best Practices List

Martina first stated, “Let me assure you, we’ve done it all wrong and right,” and then proceeded to state an exceptional list of IM best practices based on years of experience.

1. Make the Perfect Match

Make perfect matches with not only the influencers, but the community. It’s worthwhile to take a closer look into the statistics of influencers, their community, and their account. It’s nice if you can afford an A-list celebrity, but your money might be better spent by choosing a smaller or more homogenous community.

2. Access Expertise

There’s no way to tell who’s the “best” influencer, so invest time in making the perfect match for your brand. Agencies offer expertise and data to help you source. Hit lists aren’t a substitute for expertise.

3. See the Content Creator, Not the Platform

Influencers are more than just a number on their profile. Use the expertise and creativity that content creators are willing and able to bring to the table. They know their community very well. Give them a precise briefing, but as much freedom as you can.

4. Influencers are Not a Media Buy

You might be able to pay them to say a specific slogan into the camera, but communities can be very harsh with content creators who do that. If they tell you that won’t work, listen to them. Maybe they have a better idea, but maybe they’re not the perfect match.

5. Let Influencers Do What They Do Best

Don’t tell them how to do their job. IM has massive potential to sell complicated brands and experiences. If you think about the story you want to tell with your brand, influencers can offer you a targeted, personal, and credible voice to tell that story.

6. Be Creative and Be Bold

Work with influencers that bring the right amount of creativity to the table, independent of their size. Make IM an integral part of your media mix to target audiences that are otherwise harder to reach. Carefully synch the timelines for the rest of your campaigns for the best results.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

The Magic of Creativity and Authenticity in Content

We’ve known that “Content is King” for over a decade, but content must be creative and authentic to effectively captivate and engage audiences. By taking a creative, authentic approach, brands have the opportunity to connect with their audience and drive measurable results.

Authenticity is Vital and Consumers Notice It

Consumers want to support brands that embody their own values. They expect brands to be authentic in their operations as well as marketing. As written in Inc., Gen-Zers, “want to see authenticity in marketing, including proof and a culture to back up claims of strong company values.” 67 percent agreed that ‘being true to their values and beliefs makes a person cool,’ and they feel the same about brands.

Additionally, brands must not only show authenticity but also operate in accordance with the values they espouse. “If a brand advertises diversity but lacks diversity within its own ranks, for example, that contradiction will be noticed.”, explains McKinsey and Company.

Connecting with authentic influencers is one effective way to engage audiences. Influencers can also help your brand to be more creative, bringing fresh ideas no one else inside your organization may have thought of before. According to the Swiss Influencer Marketing Report 2020, about half of the marketing managers surveyed estimate the return on investment of their influencer campaigns to date to be higher than with alternative forms of advertising.

Experiment and Determine What’s Most Effective

Experimenting is vital in the quest for authenticity. Marketers cannot just assume they know what people want to hear — they must get the facts. Test ideas and gather input from a representative sample of your audiences. As you test, vary not only the content of your message, but a wide variety of attributes, such as:

  • Channels: Email, social media platforms, Point of Purchase (POP) displays
  • Themes: Current events, holidays, leisure activities
  • Topics: Individuality, environmental sustainability, social justice
  • Media: Text, videos, images
  • Social media formats: lives, stories, IG TV, Tiktok and reels videos, interactive polls, forums

Step outside the box.

@thefashionfraction for Samsung Switzerland Campaign

The accessibility of measurable results enables marketers to shift gears quickly and further boost the most successful campaigns. Additionally, working with creative experts such as Kingfluencers can infuse additional creativity into your experimentation repertoire and boost your outcomes.

Highlight Sustainability

According to a Facebook-commissioned study of 11,300 people across 11 countries, 68% of Gen Z expect brands to contribute to society. Influencer marketing can be an effective medium for brands to highlight their positive efforts, such as environmental sustainability. Kingfluencers ran a campaign with Evian highlighting the brand’s sustainability efforts with the hashtag, #bottlesmadefrombottles. Posts from influencers including Elvira Legrand achieved engagement rates as high as 4.15%.

@elviralegrand for Evian Water #BottlesMadeFromBottles campaign

Patagonia, an American manufacturer of outdoor clothing, pays a “self-imposed Earth tax,” 1% of sales, to support environmental nonprofits working to defend our air, land, and water around the globe. The company also leverages user generated content to build strong connections with consumers. As one Patagonia fan writes on Medium, “I love when brands use photos from their fans or ambassadors. I think it does a really good job of creating a relationship between the brand and the consumer, and makes them feel like they are appreciated by the brand… By posting the photos and giving credit to the photographer they [Patagonia] are not only getting breathtaking photographs, but also making their customers feel like part of the family.”

Make Campaigns Interactive and Collaborative

Brands that are more creative achieve better results, specifically:

  • Increased engagement
  • More conversions
  • Better customer loyalty

Social media, in particular, provides brands with the unique opportunity to make campaigns interactive and collaborative. By incorporating user-generated content and encouraging participation and interaction, campaigns become conversations rather than brand monologues.

For example, CoverGirl partnered with eight TikTok influencers to boost product awareness among Gen Z. The campaign encouraged audience interaction with the content by incorporating lip-syncing, one of the central engagement drivers on TikTok. The #CleanFreshHype branded campaign generated over 6.5B impressions and a 5.7% engagement rate.

User Generated Content and Other Sources

While influencers are an effective vehicle for connecting to your audience, they can also contribute their subject matter expertise and collaborate with you to develop creative campaign ideas. Creative ideation can be done either independently by an influencer or together with brands.

Additionally, social influence marketing includes more than professional influencers and content creators.

A wide range of individuals can contribute to your marketing efforts, such as employees, CEOs and other leaders, and consumers.

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

Most influencers have a high degree of specialized expertise. Their dedicated focus helps them earn big followings. As subject matter experts, they’re uniquely qualified to bring fresh, creative ideas to your brand’s marketing.

Creativity thrives on many platforms such as TikTok, helping the most creative users rise to the top. By tapping into their creative energy, you can collaborate to generate content that hits the right notes and truly engages.

Influencers Can Generate Content, Connect with Your Audience, + Both

And, of course, influencers can serve as channels to connect with your audience, sources of content creation, or both. For International Women’s Day, Microsoft leveraged one group of renowned adventure photographers for content creation and another group of established social media accounts to distribute and promote the images. The campaign, which aimed to encourage young girls to work in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), featured photographs accompanied by authentic stories. The posts were sponsored on five of National Geographic’s Instagram channels, reaching 91 million total followers.

Kingfluencer’s own Chief Influence Officer Anja Lapčević, commented on the role of influencer marketing in making connections and forming relationships.

The nice thing about our work is that we always create relationships. The same principle applies here as in a love story: if the chemistry and values are right, the result is love. Love from the influencer for the brand and back results in the love message to the consumer. We want to work with this principle, and I look forward to many more love stories at Kingfluencers. But as it is in love, the way there is not always easy. Not every relationship has a happy ending and therefore we are constantly working on it. Because we believe that in the end every pot will find its lid.

Author: Yoeri CallebautChief Growth and Marketing Officer at Kingfluencers