Trust. Not something traditional advertisers gave a lot of thought to because, frankly, they didn’t have to. But, now it’s 2017. Yelp exists and Amazon reviews are more trusted than the U.S. government. While many businesses are quick to shrink their marketing and advertising budgets based on the assumption that the audience they’re targeting doesn’t trust them anyway, other businesses are making smarter moves–particularly on social media. Brands like Airbnb and Patagonia, amongst others, are putting their marketing focus on branded social media content; not based on blind assumptions, but actual statistics. Kind of like this article.
So, if you’re still interested in reaching your audience and making a profit, follow Marketing Supply Co.’s do’s and don’ts for branded content.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it on our death beds: develop your own tone and voice and roll with it.
No one knows your brand better than you do, so it’s your duty to cut through the noise rather than become a part of it, or worse, fade away into the void. With over 1 billion pieces of content being shared on Facebook alone every single day, developing your brand’s signature voice is step one for creating kickass branded content. Make these choices early on. Are you going to use humor, empathy, logistics, etc. in your branded content? These are decisions that should be made early on and stuck to for the long-haul.
Once you’ve decided on the voice and tone you want your brand to convey, make sure your content aligns. It is undeniable that influencer marketing has taken the marketing world by storm. According to Twitter and Annalect, in 2016 49% of people said they relied on recommendations from influencers when making purchase decisions. Forty-nine percent of people who use social media, so, if you make the decision to include influencer marketing in your digital marketing strategy, make sure to choose someone who truly embodies your brand values. I mean, do you really want Lebron James selling women’s shoes?
Let’s go back to the trust thing for a minute. According to IPSOS, 96% of people believed that the advertising industry does not act with integrity—69% of these people attribute their mistrust to the advertisers’ desire to sell more effectively. Consumers want to buy things, but by all means, don’t tell them to buy things. Hypocritical? Absolutely, but that’s beside the point. That being said, when it comes to branded content, authenticity matters. Consumers want to see how products and services can fit into their lifestyle. As 60-second recipe videos take over our social feeds, food brands like Pillsbury are taking advantage of this trend by creating their own branded versions of these videos. Oh hey, speaking of:
Consumers see their product in use, they imagine themselves recreating these recipes, and when they are at the grocery store deciding on which cinnamon rolls to buy for the cinnamon roll waffle recipe they shared on Facebook, they’re reaching for that Pillsbury tube.
Piggybacking off our last point, in the internet age, the only way to sell your product (or do anything cool at all) is to act like you’re not trying. Better yet, make selling your product be in your customer’s best interest (and/or social causes they’re interested in). This is not to say that you should choose any random cause and donate 3% of your profit to them because, again, authenticity matters. If you do decide to take the charitable route, do it because it is genuinely what you believe is the right thing to do, or, at the very least, choose a cause you are passionate about. Patagonia kills the game when it comes to branded social marketing for social responsibility, and it works because they’re authentic. In fact, their entire mission is deeply rooted in social responsibility, “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire, and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
According to TapInfluence and Altimeter, 71% of marketers believe that ongoing ambassadorships are the most effective form of influencer marketing. If you haven’t had this realization yet, social media is here to stay. What was once considered a millennial trend-of-the-moment is now an integral part of any successful marketing campaign.
Keeping that in mind, one or two branded posts (or one or two weeks of a branded social campaign) will no longer cut it, unless of course, it’s a memorable one or two posts, but as we all know, those happen everyone and a billion. Brands that have completely taken over the branded content game know how to tend to their social campaigns and make the necessary changes and repetitions needed for success. This long-term process also applies to influencers. It’s more than just putting a face to a brand, it’s about giving influencers the time to build and improve their relationship with their audience. The better the influencer’s connection with their audience, the stronger your branded content.
It’s a common misconception for brands to view their branded content audience as the same as those buying their products. Creating buyer and audience personas is not a new concept, but the distinction between the two can be blurry. While there can definitely be some overlap, there can also be major differences. “Marketers need to create buyer personas not just for people willing to purchase the brand’s product or service, but for those willing to consume their content” (Quietly).
Think about it this way: the demographic (or at least part of the demographic that’s buying their groceries from Whole Foods) is inevitably different from the demographic watching a YouTuber’s sponsored Whole Foods grocery haul, but the best part is that this Whole Foods branded content can bring in a whole (see what we did there?) new demographic of consumers. Not just people who live in the vicinity of the grocery store or prefer organic food, but people who want to buy the gluten free popcorn Tyler Oakley is raving about in his latest vlog.
Okay, so there you have it: Marketing Supply Co.’s Do’s and Dont’s for branded social content. If you feel like that’s something your brand can’t or doesn’t want to do on their own (no judgment), let us do it. Your audience will thank you.
Get in touch to jumpstart your kickass branded social content.
MSC has been acquired by branding and marketing agency, Phenomenon.
When I started this journey a little over 5 years ago, the plan was to build a smarter, data-driven growth marketing agency that used a startup mentality to scale high growth businesses. Over that period of time, our model was proven by not only MSC’s growth, but also the growth of our clients. Since launching MSC, we’ve helped our clients raise over 100MM in venture capital, have been the growth team for 5 acquisitions, and have helped scale dozens of well-established companies by utilizing digital strategies to help them stay ahead of the market.
Now we’re partnering with Phenomenon to accomplish a bigger vision–one we believe can be best achieved by joining forces. Combining the brand strategy capabilities of Phenomenon with the data-driven growth strategies of MSC, we’re excited to now provide current (and new) clients access to all the cutting edge services needed to scale their business holistically.
Nothing changes for us at MSC, except our name and expanded capabilities. We’ll still be in Detroit and committed to being a part of the city and community. We’ll continue to offer the same high-end growth strategies for current and future clients, and will stay committed to working on the most exciting projects and companies we encounter.
I’d personally like to thank all of the employees that have worked at MSC over the past 5+ years; all of the companies that supported and trusted us with their brands; advisors, mentors, friends, family, our wonderful Detroit community for the support.