digital

Millenial Activation

Yesterday I had the pleasure to speak at the ISPO Communication Day in Munich — part of ISPO, the world’s largest sports industry trade show. ispoMy topic was on which social media channel fits your story. And while you cannot be on every single social platform out there, you should at try to do at least 2 or 3 well. But more importantly today with so much happening in the social media sphere, the need to engage with millenials is becoming more and more apparent. They are becoming a major influencing factor for brands, trends, and markets. In the US alone they have close to $200 billion purchasing power each year. With social media being the environment they thrive in, time for brands to start building relationships with them there.

 

Authenticity is key

Ok, we all know that authenticity is key to humanizing your brand. But for millenials it is especially so. Last year, Forbes reported that 43% of millennials rank authenticity over content. The same report found that 62% of millennials are more likely to become a loyal customer if a brand interacts with them on social media. Because of how ingrained social platforms have become in our behaviour, audiences are more informed, aware and empowered than ever before. Social media has made us more cynical and more critical of what brands are doing. We can’t as easily be won over by a glossy ad – particularly digital natives who are increasingly more likely to prefer YouTube content over TV. So brands need to be transparent and honest.

You need to understand “dark social”

Want to market to millenials? Then you need to get acquainted with the term dark social. More and more consumers are conducting their conversations in private and share links away from major social platforms. They are taking to the likes of Snapchat, WhatsApp or other messaging apps. These are becoming new, opportunistic venues where brands could potentially start to engage in conversations that aren’t interruptive. Did you know that there are nearly 4 billion global active users of messaging apps, from WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to WeChat and Kik? In fact, the top five apps in the world in terms of frequency of use are all messaging apps.

Move into unchartered waters

Most of us marketeers know that millenials don’t care for traditional advertising. They’re totally unaffected by it. That’s why social media marketing is such a big deal. The product is almost irrelevant. It’s the brand you have to sell, and social media is one of the best ways to do that. And while Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have been (and still are) highly successful when it comes to brand awareness, none of them offer the same level of value and authenticity that Snapchat does. Snapchat has over 200 million users. With over 7 billion video views per day. Of course you cannot deliver large-scale conversations on Snapchat but maybe we need to follow our audience into unchartered marketing waters even if it would be nicer to stick to platforms we are used to and feel safe on. Maybe we do not know exactly the best way to use these one-on-one platforms yet but there are many brands that are already exploring. Content like product launches, behind-the-scenes. all unfiltered and happening in the now. Making the brand totally transparent and authentic with the potential of creating deeper, more personal relationships. And even if right now we may not have the mechanics to easily track these conversations, I am sure they will be coming sometime during 2016.

Influencers have the power

“People buy from people, not brands” – according to findings 92% of consumers trust recommendations from other users even if they may not know them. That is why it is important to understand how your brand is perceived out there. So think influencer marketing. Influencers have thepower when it comes to marketing services and products. Consumers today trust recommendations from family, friends, and social media influencers more than any type of paid marketing. And when someone is happy with your brand, they will share this with their social networks. The effect is unparalleled to any other marketing tool we have.

And don’t forget the IoT

Today’s world is becoming more and more connected. And millenials are expecting brands to be connected and able to offer them seamless person-to-digital experiences and interactions. Brands will need to move away from being interruptive and seeing themselves as a broadcaster to actually offering personalized solutions. Think of something alongside a reminder being sent to order an Uber to pick up your date for that restaurant reservation you have Friday night. Or which SPF cream to use for today’s sunshiny weather.

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Employers: Social media is your friend

 

socialmedia
It’s the new year and I’ve been having some discussions lately about if companies should allow employees to build a brand on social media.
Should they be allowed to talk about products and services? Will this not take away from our spotlight?

My opinion remains clear. Not only should everyone have an online presence, everyone should also work on it and use it for networking. Companies who limit their employees’ use of social media are losing out on establishing brand ambassadors and creating an employee advocacy network. The greatest thing that can happen to your company (and your brand) is that your employees are enthusiastic to talk about it. According to the latest Edelman Trust Barometer
an employee advocate is two times more trusted than a CEO. Employers have an enormous opportunity to engage and capitalize on these powerful advocates, or risk missing out on an important group of supporters. Allow employees to spread your content – the effect can often be much greater than through your own distribution channels.

But what about drawing the line between private and professional (is the next question I am getting)?

If all you do is post about your company, everyone will think you do not have a life (or a personality). So do a bit of both. The nice thing about using social media as a person is that you have a human face. So write about your interests, post about your travels, your favorite food, your cat (well maybe limit the cat posts 🙂 Genuine posts are more important than marketing language.

Companies should not worry that lines will be blurred. Tell your employees that they should clearly brand their online posts as personal and their own (for instance, on their Twitter profile). And let them know (even though they probably already do) not to post confidential information, legal issues, strategies. For all this (and more) there are social media policies and guidelines (take a look at Dell or Adidas for inspiration).

And remember:

People build relationships with people, not companies.

 

Gen Y and Gen Z – what’s the difference

As a marketer, understanding your audience has a big impact on customer loyalty. And so it is also important to understand the next generation of consumers: the Gen Y millenials as well as Gen Z.

A recent report from Refuel Agency shows that much like millenials, Gen Z also do nearly everything from their mobile devices. Both approximately spend an amazing 17 hours a day on some kind of mobile device. And interestingly enough they look more for content than social networking. When it comes to advertising, Gen Z more attention to online video ads and mobile banner ads is paid than Gen Y.  We may see these generation as “kids” but we always have to remember that they are the next consumers.

Gen-Z-Teens-Digital-Explorer_infographic

Infographic by Refuel Agency

Social Media requires integration

Social media has not only had a major influence on society, but also on business, disrupting organizations for the past 10 years. Today, more and more companies have integrated social media into their marketing communications as a means of customer engagement. Now that the basics have been mastered, it no longer is about scaling social engagement but rather about focussing on partnering inwards as well as outwards.

Social media requires leadership

A social media strategy needs to work across the organization, across silos, support the company’s digital vision and requires new levels of employee engagement and advocacy. To be able to do this, strong leadership is needed to move social media beyond marketing communication and to create a true social business vision.

Altimeter has released a new analysis on “The 2015 State of Social Business: Priorities Shift from Scaling to Integrating” based on interviews with thought leaders, brands, technology vendors and a survey of 113 strategists (social, digital and/or heads of social) at companies with more than 250 employees.

Here are the most important findings in one infographic:

infografik-social-business-2015

 

 

Smartphone Jealousy

ChinaWe Are Social updated their annual Digital Statshot on China this week. And it does not look like the pace of digital adoption is slowing. Believe it or not – China now has more social media users than the US and Europe combined.

When I look at China’s digital landscape, I realize that we are not using our phones to their full potential. China’s great firewall may mean there is very limited access to services like Twitter, Facebook or Google but when you see how much messaging services like WeChat can do that sort of can become irrelevant. WeChat is not only a messaging service. It lets you play games, check into a flight, call a cab, make money transfers and soon also a stock trading function.

Not only is cheap technology an advantage in China but also with it being the largest internet culture (some 668 million wired people, 89% on phones alone!) make a great test market. And in China, mobile payments are much easier to use because it is more widely accepted. No need for merchant’s to have special terminals because they have accounts within social networks like WeChat. Imagine if you could pay for your pizza delivery in Europe using your WhatsApp service! And not to ignore giant Alibaba that has expanded their service for online cash for anything like paying your rent, bills etc. You can even earn better interest with them than with a regular bank and get a loan if you need it. Financial disruption at its best.

You can read the full report here:

The growth continues

Summer is in full swing and we have crossed the first half year mark. Time to look at some digital stats (kindly provided by We Are Social).

Facebook is still the dominating social media platform with almost 1.5 billion users. They are adding more users every day or impressively put ‘6 new users per second’. What is interesting is that what follows Facebook are messenger platforms like WhatsApp, WeChat or Messenger. This is particular interesting development in the mobile social world. People seem to prefer chats to the conventional social networks. Ads on WhatsApp soon?

socialmedia
What also fascinated me is that the statistics show that 225 million people around the world used the internet for the first time in the past 12 months. According to telecommunications giant Ericsson, cellular subscriptions will continue to grow to almost 8 billion active subscribers over the next 5 years. That’ll be more than the world population. And remember: not every world citizen is connected yet!

mobile vs people

What does that mean? As I have written here in the past, as marketers we really need to place more effort on smart mobile devices. Not only are they part of our everyday life, for many people around the world is it their “first screen”, their only device. And they use it for everything from communicating, browsing the web, watching TV to shopping. This is the place where brands need to make an impression because it is becoming more than just a channel.

Speaking of marketing, mobile and social, I really like Talenti’s new ‘Flavorize Me’ campaign that uses social media profiles to create a personalized ice cream flavour. An algorithm analyzes the key words you have in your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram profiles, breaks those down into tastes and then into ingredients that match those. I ended up with “Marmalade Green Chili Biscuit”. Sounds very interesting. Talenti is only available in the US so unless they decide to take my personalized flavor and use it for actual production (which btw according to their website they will let me know by September 15), you will find me eating gelati in Italy this month.

gealti

 

Blockchain – a good financial disruptor

Blockchain is the financial industry latest disruptor. Many startups are using the digital-currency technology to tackle financial companies’ slow, antiquated back-office operations. For banks, the blockchain has the potential to become a technology model for a low-cost and transparent transaction infrastructure.But not only startups are embracing the revolutionary potential of the blockchain and other digital innovations, so are regulators like ESMA. They’ve just started a call to hear from all those involved, from existing financial institutions to startups and investors. Pretty cool.