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

Helpfluencers — Social Media for Good Causes

Today we wanted to highlight “helpfluencers,” influencers who work to support charitable causes as well as other businesses, rather than merely focusing on personal gain and profit. One excellent example is the Family of 5 (F05) Travel Blog. Last month, F05 offered support to the many small businesses impacted by the pandemic. While acknowledging that they lack the advertising reach of huge media or Instagram accounts, the travel bloggers sought to help however possible and created a special page on their blog to promote small businesses in Switzerland as well as some throughout Europe. The #F05support web page features numerous businesses organized in eight different categories.

Kingfluencers interviewed Family of 5 blog creators Jean and Camilla to learn more about this initiative as well as their influencer journey.

Positive Responses to the F05Support Campaign

Camilla explained, “The participating businesses have been very happy and grateful, and each has shared with their own followers. While it’s hard to quantify how effective the campaign is, my sister is an illustrator for example and recently got a commission from a new client in Switzerland, a sale she attributes to this campaign.”

What the couple has found most surprising is the diversity.

A wide range of businesses have been interested including services, people selling things from home, and shops on the street.

The Family of 5 has been receiving one new submission every two to three days. When asked if they’ve had to reject any applicants, Jean was surprised to reflect that they have not yet had to do so.

Unintentional Influencers

Jean and Camilla didn’t intend to become influencers. Camilla remembers, “We went on some hikes, each with a child on our back, and were almost in tears by the time we finished. These hikes weren’t realistic for us, so we started a travel blog writing reviews and specifically sharing places that were easy to walk with children. We also have a disabled son, so our blogs talk about accessibility for those with limited mobility, and we didn’t think too much beyond that. We were surprised when people asked us to visit for free, and then it snowballed.

Over time, the blog grew beyond traveling to also include products and services and has collaborated with Kingfluencers. Now one primary goal for the couple is to remain authentic.

How to Convey Authenticity

When asked the couple how they can demonstrate their authenticity, Camilla replied, “it’s uncomfortable for us to be in such a position and our gratitude is really heartfelt. We’ve toured Switzerland and most stays were paid for. People can see us taking expensive train trips, and we know it’s not accessible to many of our followers.

We’re delighted, we pinch ourselves that we’re so lucky and we convey to our followers that we don’t take this for granted. We know it’s not normal for most — it’s not even normal for us. That’s all we can do to make sure people know, and also give something back when we can. We’ve also asked for tickets to offer to our followers.

Jean added, “Authenticity is something that has been important to us since the early days. We don’t do it for money. I work in a private bank, and Camilla has a small business. We can criticize if we want, and if someone doesn’t want to work with us afterward, no problem. We have the choice, and we decline a lot of offers.”

Travelers Adjusting to Lockdown & Promoting Charities

Jean stated, “With the COVID-19 pandemic we are stuck at home and not traveling, and we didn’t want to bombard our account with pics from 2018. We wondered what we could do except encourage people to stay home.”

Camilla continued, “But we also have a part on our page which is dedicated to charities, including our own charity for our son’s condition, the Children’s Vestibular Disorder Association. Advertising related charities is another way to shine a light on people.

We’ve also built a good relationship with an association in Switzerland called Planète Enfants Malade that helps provide joyful experiences to children. We met when we happened to be sitting next to their director in a restaurant. Promoting the charity on Instagram helps, so the budget goes to things more worthwhile rather than marketing since that’s not the best use of donations.” [As marketers, we worked to transcend the knee-jerk reaction to balk at the implication that marketing is not a “worthwhile” expenditure, because, yes, Camilla is correct here!]

Advice for Instagrammers?

Jean replied,

Be yourselves. You can’t build an account pretending to be someone else. There will be limits to that. Be authentic, and people will read your story. Your life will change! (Only joking) And don’t do it to become popular.

“For example, the hashtag #Switzerland is all too perfect. You might be inclined to accept a lot of collaborations just to show that you have them, but I don’t think you’ll go far with this attitude. Instead, find your own angle. Bring something to the table. Offer little tips that can be useful. Don’t repeat what others have said. What’s different for you?

“There are many family bloggers out there, but we had a different vision for Family of 5. It’s given us more humility as well as encouraged us to try and approach the topics differently.”

Author: Yoeri Callebaut, Chief Growth and Marketing Officer at Kingfluencers

Turning social media into a force for good — A shared responsibility of all?

Edit 06.04.2021: Following the ongoing social media bans even after former President Trump’s term has ended, Trump has launched his own website, where he plans to update his fans with news from his wife, Melania Trump, and himself. According to The Guardian, the former US president will soon launch his own social media platform. “And this is something that I think will be the hottest ticket in social media, it’s going to completely redefine the game, and everybody is going to be waiting and watching to see what exactly President Trump does. But it will be his own platform,” claimed Jason Miller Senior Adviser to Donald Trump.

President Trump’s notorious Twitter account was suspended permanently on January 8th 2021. (Source: TechCrunch)

As it is known worldwide, current United States president, Donald J. Trump’s Twitter account has been suspended just two days after his supporters stormed the US Capitol last week. He is also banned from using other social media platforms such as Facebook, InstagramSnapchatYouTube, etc. at least until the end of his term. This has prompted an overall discussion about the impact of social media and how to act responsibly.

About social media responsibility

Since long time there has been a common understanding that all users are responsible for their own content and have to follow the platforms’ rules. Generally, it is prohibited to post anything that is disruptive, hateful, offensive, discriminatory, threatening, harassing, or defamatory. For a long time therefore social media companies have left most of the responsibility for the content that is published with the users and interfered almost exclusively in the case of very clear infringements such as sexually explicit or clearly violence-inciting posts.

The most newsworthy example of a public figure whose social media actions have caused nationwide as well as worldwide unrest is the current US president, Donald J. Trump. With 88 million Twitter followers and an account that was the 6th most followed on the platform before the ban, it is clear that his message has a wide reach, whether you agree with President Trump’s policies and beliefs or not. Furthermore, in 2020 he was the #1 most tweeted about person worldwide, according to Twitter. But for many, he is also the clearest example of how social influence can be misused. His actions, and those of others in his sphere, have sharpened the debate on what the rules or guidelines for responsible behavior on social media should be, particularly for politicians, and which role platform providers should play in enforcing these rules and hold users accountable. A good solution could be to increase awareness among social media users through constant education efforts. At the same time, there is a call by a large part of the population that more fact-checking, moderation, and monitoring by the social media platforms would be a good step forward, albeit without dictating too much how one is able to use his or her profile and which information a person can share — as long as no harm is being done.

The dangers of misinformation

One of the biggest potential dangers of social media is without a doubt the possible spread of misinformation, especially in areas where this can cause significant harm. When creating or sharing content on social media, integrity is always key. Not everyone has the best of intentions however and some even go as far to use social media and their influence to advance their own agenda, no matter the consequences.

A blatant example — COVID-19 and President Trump

Yes, Trump again. But here is why… From his 36 daily tweets, many of his devotees have taken every word as an official government statement, including his factually wrong tweets about the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to openly refusing to wear a mask (despite US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation to wear masks since March 2020), these actions have caused nationwide protests against government policies to fight against the pandemic. After three months of refusing to wear a mask and his staff pleading him to set an example, President Trump has finally posted a picture of himself wearing a mask for the first time in public in July 2020. He also tweeted:

“We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance.”

President Trump first wore a mask in public on July 11th 2020. (Source: France24)

But was it too little, too late? There is little doubt that the misinformation campaign has tremendously worsened the outcome of the pandemic so far. After the nationwide divide that President Trump’s tweets about COVID-19 have caused, Twitter took action and started monitoring his account. The social media platform started adding fact-checks on Trump’s tweets about the virus in May 2020.

The positive impacts of social media

Dispite the misusage of some people, we cannot forget that social media has had many positive effects on society and need to recognise its enormous potential for good. Certain movements have brought society together to strive for positive change. Social media gives people with good intentions and ideas a platform to unite and collaborate in order to try build a better society together. Influencers, people with a significant audience base, can thereby become powerful catalysts to advance the noble causes they embrace, no matter how big or small the cause is. Here are some examples:

#BlackLivesMatter

One incredible example is the #BlackLivesMatter movement which was started by George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chaivin who pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes. Since then, the world has come together on social media platforms to fight against Floyd’s injustice. In the year 2020, the second most popular hashtag was #BlackLivesMatter and George Floyd was the third most tweeted-about person in the world. Numerous influencers, including celebrities, around the world, have also come together and shared their support digitally and on their cities’ streets, protesting against the injustice. Even our Swiss influencers have taken action to bring awareness to the movement.

Many Swiss influencers, including Xenia (see above), have shown their support for the Black Lives Matter movement by posting completely black posts on June 2nd 2020 with the hashtag #BlackoutTuesday (Source: Instagram)

#SupportSmallBusiness

Another movement that has started since the global pandemic was the Support Small Business movement. With currently over 26 million Instagram posts under the hashtag #SupportSmallBusiness, influencers have shared awareness of the negative impacts of the pandemic and government regulations on small businesses, especially in the gastronomy field. An ideal example is the Family of 5 (FO5) Travel Blog, who started a #FO5Support initiative that supports small businesses in Switzerland through social media exposure. To learn more about the initiative, click here.

The Family of 5 Travel Blog shows support for Swiss small businesses in these tough times (Source: Instagram)

#StayHome

An additional movement that has started since the global pandemic is the #StayHome movement. Since the first lockdown in spring 2020, many of our Swiss influencers came together to encourage the importance of social distancing and staying at home by setting an example.

Zurich native Adriana Pokus de Leonhart took part in the #ZüriBliibtDihei campaign in March 2020 (translation from Swiss German: Zurich Stay Home), encouraging others to stay home in order to enjoy the summer ahead. (Source: Instagram)

Kingfluencers founder Fabian Plüss showed here how one’s home office can still be a productive and attractive workplace (Source: Instagram)

#Mask

Furthermore, numerous Swiss fashion influencers have promoted the wearing of masks by showcasing how stylish masks can be, like Luisa Rossi.

Stylist Luisa Rossi showed how stylish masks can be, especially when combined with chains. (Source: Instagram)

Responsible behavior tips

There are many creative ways to show social media responsibility and still have a voice and stand up for what one believes in. It is important to always maintain the highest level of integrity no matter how big or small one‘s audience is. All stakeholders have a role to play in this matter and users with significant influence need to set a leading example. Companies like Kingfluencers are also picking up the torch in the debate with an active effort to provide guidance to influencers and other players in the eco-system, in order to help realise the true potential of social media and social influence for people and brands alike. To learn more about how, stay tuned for some very exciting updates coming soon …

Author: Sherriene Redha, Marketing and Social Media Officer at Kingfluencers