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

What Are the Strengths of Social Influence Marketing?

Ecommerce and social commerce can open your potential customer base to the entire planet. Unfortunately, they also expand your competitive landscape by the same margin. Influence Marketing (IM) can help you tackle such challenges and generate positive ROI. We’re diving into how and why.

Earning Consumers’ Love, Respect, and Adoration

IM has the power to help brands generate awareness and earn consumer loyalty. Consumers use social media to discover products and services and make purchasing decisions, often with the help of influencers as reliable sources of information. When it comes to brands, products, and services to buy, consumers seem to trust shopping recommendations more from influencers than from family and friends according to a study from gen.videoAll studies into the topic also conclude that almost all consumers trust influencers significantly more than advertising.

Social Media, The New Storefronts

90% of online shoppers are also using social networks today. Shoppable features on social media are growing, helping drive an ongoing rapid rise in social commerce, particularly with younger generations. A brand’s social media profiles have become some of their most essential storefronts.

Among millennials and Gen Z, social media is becoming a prime purchasing channel. In the fashion sector, for example, in Germany, social media already generated sales of EUR 3.4 billion in the fashion sector in 2018. On average, each user in Switzerland spends 1 hour 18 minutes per day spent using social media.

To capture sales opportunities, it’s vital to stand out on social channels. Brands that target these consumer segments stand to gain by optimizing their social media presence to cash in on this trend and avoid losing out to competitors. You can optimize by including clever shoppable features and working with influencers to boost reach.

Influence Marketing is Authentic and Impactful

Throughout the customer journey, IM can be used to effectively nurture your leads and customers. By providing depth, creating meaningful connections, and inspiring trust, IM drives measurable results instantly as well as overtime. IM can provide ongoing, credible nurturing, as opposed to most marketing touchpoints along the consumer journey like regular advertising or agency visits. From creating awareness and enhancing your brand image to boosting consideration and pushing conversion, IM nurtures your audiences in a uniquely effective way.

Influencers are deeply connected to communities and are more trusted. In fact, 92% of consumers trust an influencer more than any form of advertising. The credibility of influencers makes their contributions impactful in these communities. IM also showcases real-life examples as opposed to staged ads that consumers understand are fabricated.

Additionally, influencers can activate and maintain engagement in communities through various formats such as videos, contests, challenges, games, and even leading live events that encompass memorable, consumer-engaging brand experiences, and even sampling actions for new products.

Tip: Use social influencers to increase and improve your online community engagement. From growing the number of followers on your social media accounts to boosting reach and ensuring your audience remains engaged with your brand, influencers can provide a tremendous boost to your success on social media. Why not do an influencer Instagram take-over for a week or stimulate online conversations with influencers as moderators or post authentic and creative fan- or employee-based product tutorials?

Influence Marketing is Effective at Targeting Your Audience

Influence marketing can make people feel closer to your brand and develop a strong preference for it. 87% of consumers made purchases based on influencer recommendations. Social media platforms can effectively target a variety of demographics, such as moms on Facebook, millennials in Instagram, Gen Z on TikTok, and professionals on LinkedIn. When combined with the ability to select specific influencers, IM provides exceptional targeting capabilities.

IM is particularly effective at targeting Generation Z.

  • 85% of Gen Z learns about new products on social media.
  • 45% of teens use Instagram to find cool new products
  • 75% of Gen Z prefer to buy online, including directly on social media
  • 73% of Gen-Z shoppers want brands and retailers to connect with them about new products and promotions through Instagram

It’s also becoming increasingly easy to measure attribution of social media investments in order to accurately calculate ROI. With influencer marketing showcasing best-in-class ROI figures, it is becoming increasingly attractive for companies.

Influencer Marketing Captivates

As consumers strive for purpose, they seek out brands that demonstrate shared values such as fair labor practices, social responsibility, and environmental sustainability. Brands must work to earn consumers’ trust and build favorable public opinion. These values must be communicated clearly, while consistently remaining authentic.

With social media, you can tell stories to create more emotional connections that drive a stronger, more appealing social media presence. IM has the power to unite people and drive engagement, in particular, through contests and challenges.

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.

IM also allows brands the possibility to work with many diverse groups, providing access to a wide variety of audiences, including niche audiences. This can boost a brand’s image and increase appeal to the diverse range of people many brands serve today. The powerful effect of ‘giving your brand a face people can relate to‘ helps to explain the success of IM.

Influence Marketing is Effective at Driving Sales and Brand Loyalty

IM is uniquely advantageous in having measurable performance stats that are at least as good as traditional advertising, but with many additional benefits. CPM and cost per lead can be very effective and competitive with other online marketing. As an example the Kingfluencers team ran a campaign in autumn 2020 in Switzerland for a leading consumer electronics brand, obtaining a CPM of CHF 19.06 with a reach of over 2.5 million and almost 291.000 consumer engagements.

Contrary to traditional online ads, IM also helps you develop credibility and trust. Regular advertising is often not trusted and disliked. It’s outright hated by Gen Z. However, IM remains effective. According to the State of Influence 2020 Report, “Despite the decrease in the overall quantity of sponsored content, audiences remain engaged with these posts, especially on Instagram and TikTok.”

Generation Z account for 40% of global consumers, and about 32% of the global population, edging ahead of Millennials already

Influence Marketing is Fast and Agile

Some big consumer spending moments are still yet to come in 2020, including Black Friday, Christmas, and New Year’s. Brands have numerous opportunities to boost revenue but must prepare now to capitalize on these times.

Fortunately, a creative strategy for an IM campaign can be developed, set up, and implemented in a matter of no timeHere at Kingfluencers, we collaborate with all social media platforms and create smart, omni-channel and multi-format campaigns in less than a few weeks.

One excellent example of an agile approach to IM is Chipotle. The American restaurant chain was already active on TikTok prior to the COVID pandemic and worked with influencers to promote their delivery service. Their keys to success included a steady drumbeat of challenges on TikTok, partnering with young influencers with large platforms, and aligning content with relevant culture references.

Rich Choice of Formats

Social media platforms offer an ever wider variety of options both in terms of types of posts that are possible as well as content formats that are supported. From images to stories, video, live streaming, Instagram TV, and so much more. This gives influencers a rich arsenal to captivate their audiences with. But it doesn’t stop there, the options allowing people to interact with content as well as convert reach to sales have seen a real boom recently. With features like swipe up, linked shoppable product catalogues, interactive contests, temporary flash promotions, etc. it has become ever more easy to make the link between influencer content and revenue generation.

And with Kingfluencers, IM is Predictable!

With most marketing efforts, it is very difficult to accurately estimate results. But machine learning technology is changing that. Leading providers like Kingfluencers understand that combining the power of IM with innovative campaign management technology can substantially increase campaign efficiency and drive improved outcomes. Kingfluencers took this a step further with the predictor module, part of our in-house, state of the art IM platform. This module can accurately predict the outcomes of campaigns on parameters such as estimated impressions, reach, engagement, interactions, and conversion, based on unique campaign parameters.

Influence Marketing Fits Perfectly in Your Marketing Mix

Influencer marketing can fit in with your other marketing disciplines, especially social media and even performance marketing*, and elevate your key messages. This high level of compatibility is valuable, as it can reinforce all your marketing efforts in driving traffic to the content assets and web presence you’ve already built. Content creation can flow both directions, as you can reuse and repurpose content created by influencers as part of your IM campaigns. Increasingly, brands are seeing that content generated from IM campaigns can enrich or even replace traditional content across various channels. The IM-generated content has higher engagement levels and more positive consumer reactions than other content types. It can also very well help gather new leads, just like in the case of a campaign done by Kingfluencers for one of the oldest insurance companies in Switzerland, where the efforts generated over 80’000, convertible, campaign landing page visits.

Time-limited promotion: Reach out to our experts during the month of November 2020 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

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