Don’t Just Slap a Rainbow On It: How to Be a Bold Brand

Happy Pride! This past month has been prime time for brands (the cool ones at least) to unfurl their rainbow flags and show the LGBTQ+ community how much they love them – easy, right? Well, hold your horses (or unicorns) – because while everyone is equal and valid, not all Pride campaigns are. Every year during Pride, there are brands that launch campaigns with good intentions, but horrible execution – such as the M&S changing the meaning of LGBT for a sandwich, or rainbow Listerine. Worse than a bad Pride campaign though is a forgettable one, of which there are many.

While it’s easy to be a jaded queen and throw shade at these brands, the way these campaigns are handled speaks to deeper issues of how cynical consumers can be, particularly in hot button issues. This cynicism, of course, has spread to not just brands, but the platforms on which brands connect to consumers, too. Consider the recent passing of the POFMA legislation in Singapore and a whole slew of data scandals (Cambridge Analytica being the most high profile case). It’s pretty clear that people are becoming less trusting of social media. In fact, it’s gotten to a point where one survey found 57% of respondents expected news they see on social media to be inaccurate.

So in the age of the critical woke consumer, how can brands fight through the undertow of cynicism?

Embrace the good, the bad and the ugly

The key to creating trust, particularly over social media, is authenticity. While this sounds like common sense and is easy to do when things are going well, authenticity takes on a whole new meaning when things go wrong.

As communicators, our first instinct when our clients or brands receive criticism is to downplay the negative. However, in the always-on environment of social media, that’s something brands cannot always do. When faced with legitimate criticism, brands need to own up to their shortcomings – and fast. Nothing is quite as loud as the silence of a brand giving “no comment”.

Take the recent Tosh Zhang incident with Pink Dot this year. While it is debatable whether or not he was a suitable candidate for Pink Dot, the major blow to the Pink Dot brand was the delay in responding to the incident. By the time they put out a full statement to apologise, many other more critical voices were at full volume and they were perceived as just being reactive, rather than being authentically apologetic.

Put down the Kool Aid

One of the phrases we throw around in the Mutant office is “don’t drink the Kool Aid” – which has become a mantra to remind us that while we need to put ourselves in our client’s shoes, we must always remember that we never operate in a vacuum, and we’re being hired to give our opinions and share our expertise (even if it’s not what they want to hear).

What this means is that while rainbow-coloured mouthwash might sound like a fun Pride product, when you set it up among the backdrop of all the other corporate Pride initiatives, it might just leave a bad taste in people’s mouths (heh, see what I did there?)

The best way to combat this is to ensure diverse perspectives are always brought in at the planning stage. Going back to the Listerine rainbow bottle example, you have to wonder whether they brought in someone from within the LGBTQ+ community to give their perspective.

Authenticity? “It do take nerve”

Before you flag the typo here, this is a line adapted from Paris is Burning, an excellent film about the ballroom culture in 80s Harlem. Aside from having iconic catchphrases, there are lessons here that brands can apply when it comes to being authentic. The film shows what the gay and drag scene was like in New York in the 80s, and it’s a celebration of people who, despite the costs and risks, lived their lives out loud.

If a brand does decide to share a strong point of view or embrace a community, it needs to do it fully and unapologetically. Take Nike for example, who must have known the pushback they would receive for the  Kaepernick campaign or the more recent plus-sized mannequins, but they still went ahead regardless. Because their messaging is authentic, and the brand is already well-known for its heart-tugging campaigns and strong moral stances, it works.   

But this can be scary for brands, particularly in Asia – not so much because we have vastly different values than more westernised countries, but rather that brands are more wary of being criticized. A great example of an Asian brand that took the leap was Cathay Pacific with an ad featuring a gay couple. There was pushback from conservative voices in Hong Kong, but they stuck to their beliefs and in the end, the campaign was largely positively received.    

Whether your brand celebrates Pride Month, champions a cause, or is just trying to put out a campaign that breaks through the noise, remember to always bring humanity, empathy and bravery into your planning to keep it authentic.

We can help you regain that social media trust. Write to us at hello@mutant.com.sg

Why Brands Need Social Media Community Guidelines

We’ve likely all excitedly published a post on social media and then quickly clicked the comments only to be horrified by an off-colour message. Be it abusive, racist, homophobic, sexually explicit, or plain ignorant, inappropriate comments can feel like a punch to the gut, and are embarrassing to have underneath your post.

Though these comments sometimes come from your always-inappropriate uncle or a friend with a weird sense of humour, they can also come from trolls – strangers who post incendiary comments just to get a rise of others. And though trolls can (and do!) target posts from regular people, brands with name recognition and large numbers of followers often receive much of their focus. Trolls will work to skew the conversation a brand is hoping to nurture online via inflammatory rhetoric that ignites outrage and shifts focus away from the brand’s message or intent.

The implications of trolling on users and brands

Worryingly, these types of comments can cause users to turn not on the brand, but each other. Suddenly, users will attack and bully those with differing opinions, and these comment threads can devolve into virtual boxing matches that turn personal and can result in real mental and emotional wounds.

There is ample research surrounding the turmoil cyberbullying can bring on a personal level, including increased likelihood to engage in self-harm or suicidal behaviour. But brands, too, can see digital ire move into the real world in very dangerous ways. YouTube headquarters in California was attacked by a female shooter who was upset about the company’s policies in 2018. In the same year, CNN received a pipe bomb in the mail from a man who was disgruntled about their political coverage.

In order to discourage and curtail language that can lead to dangerous behaviour, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr have put into place community guidelines that lay out the types of language and visual content users should not use. If users violate these guidelines, they run the risk of being suspended from the platform.

Though social media platforms do follow through and suspend accounts, trolls and cyberbullies are often barely discouraged by these measures due to the fact that if they are suspended, they can simply set up a new account using a new email address. Plus, it sometimes isn’t clear what does and does cross the prohibited content line because everyone has different personal standards, not to mention the fact that sarcasm and dark humour can be hard to discern online.

Strong social media guidelines curtail online vitriol

In order to keep comment sections from turning into cesspools, brands active on social media are now establishing their own community guidelines.

For instance, in March, the British royal family announced social media community guidelines, seemingly as a response to abusive, hateful and threatening comments made toward both Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex. The family’s guidelines detail their expectations for courteous and respectful engagement, and clearly state that they will use their discretion to determine if someone is in violation of their standards. Additionally, the famous family’s guidelines establish the actions they may take against those in violation of the guidelines, including deleting comments, blocking users and alerting law enforcement if comments are threatening.

Unfortunately, the existence of such guidelines does not mean that trolls will suddenly clean up their act. But the guidelines do provide brands the opportunity to condemn hate speech, communicate to their followers what their expectations are when it comes to engagement and establish transparent protocols for when and why they delete comments and block users.

If your brand does not already have social media community guidelines in place and is looking to establish a set, here are some things to consider:

  • Be clear in your policies: Revisit your company handbook or human resources policies and use the language regarding the sorts of behaviours that are not tolerated to begin drafting your social media community guidelines.
  • Condemn hate, not criticismThough no one enjoys being criticised, criticism can be useful – especially when brands are hearing directly from their audience and learning how they respond to different messaging. For example, when Pepsi released a campaign featuring Kendall Jenner and tying into the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the response to it was swift and the ad was deemed tone deaf – a lesson that Pepsi needed to learn. Though this type of negative feedback can be harsh, it is very different in nature from comments that are abusive and offensive, and should not be discouraged.
  • Enforce your community guidelines: Once your guidelines are announced and in place, do not be complacent. Your social media teams should monitor comments and enforce the guidelines consistently. After all, there’s no use of putting the guidelines in place if they are only there in theory – you have to practice them, too.

Taking a stand against hate speech and cyberbullying is a just cause, and one that your brand can champion. So if you notice that the comments on your posts make you want to log out, then it’s time to get your community guidelines in place to protect both your brand, your message and your audience.

Need help fighting the trolls? We can help: hello@mutant.com.sg

 

 

How to Spot a Fake Instagram Influencer

Ever bought an outfit, switched to a new skincare routine, or experimented with a health supplement all because a reasonably famous stranger on Instagram told you to do so? That’s the kind of power some individuals on social media wield over the masses – and their powers of persuasion haven’t gone unnoticed by brands striving to stand out.

Advertisers are increasingly relying upon social media content creators, especially those native to Instagram, to help drive awareness for their products and business. Popular with teens and young adults who are digital natives, Instagram content creators – AKA influencers – hold considerable sway over their audience, who are likely to follow their recommendations and advice seriously, and attempt to emulate their lifestyle.

To hook this younger audience, brands often look for influencers with large followings – after all, numbers speak to brands. Thus, the higher the follower count, the more likely it is for an influencer to be courted with partnerships, endorsements, and collaborations. Unsurprisingly, learning about this system has led some greedy individuals to resort to unscrupulous methods of increasing follower count while offering little substantive content in return.

Because marketing, and especially digital marketing often relies on agility and speed, executives operating under tight deadlines may not have the luxury of properly vetting the follower lists and accounts of the influencers they choose to work with. However, not implementing strict quality checks does not bode well for brands, as working with fake influencers will dilute brand reputation. Additionally, it will lead to wasted marketing dollars spent on reaching bots instead of real people.

If you or your brand are looking to engage influencers, here is a handy guide on how to weed out dubious social media personalities:

Famous nearly overnight

Did the influencer in question start at the bottom with a humble number of followers, but now boasts of tens of thousands of followers nearly overnight – without having committed any notable acts of internet notoriety? Whatever caused the follower count to skyrocket is a mystery that no one can attribute to anything the person posted, leaving you to only guess. To discern whether a following is legitimate or not, use social media tracking tools, which allow you to check the number of followers gained over time. If there a sudden spike that cannot be explained, it’s likely the extra followers were purchased. Another tactic that several fake influencers employ is the “follow-unfollow” ploy, which involves following people and then immediately unfollowing them once they have followed back.

Quality of comments

If the comments on an influencer’s post consist mostly of generalised compliments with dubious grammar or entirely of emojis, they are probably generated by hundreds of bot accounts. While they might seem genuine upon first glance, a few comments repeating the same variation of “great job”, “keep it up”, and “wow” are a tell-tale sign of non-human interaction. Spam accounts also often post comments begging for likes or follows on their own page, and may even ask you to check out a link on their bio (you are strongly advised not to do this as you might be redirected to a compromised website). So how do you know when comments are genuine? Look for positive and negative feedback, or people tagging their friends and interacting with them on the post itself.

Engagement rates

Engagement rates are one of the primary metrics marketers look for when choosing influencers to partner with. While the “magic number” for influencer engagement rates differs from company to company, 1-3% seems to be the generally accepted figure. On the part of the influencers, factors such as type, timing, and frequency of posts also play a role in how often followers interact with their content. If an influencer with a massive following (in the tens of thousands or more) attract a paltry sum of likes (10-20) per post or has a low engagement rate, their follower base definitely consists of bots. For exact figures, tools such as SocialBlade will automatically generate a report card detailing an influencer’s overall ranking, grade, and engagement rates. For more extensive campaigns, brands can also consider tools like Meltwater’s* Social Influencers discovery tool that has more in-depth analytics tools that break down an account’s demographics, interests and other metrics

Quality of followers

To gain a better idea of the influencer’s target audience, look at the kinds of accounts that follow them. Right off the bat, you’ll be able to tell if the accounts are suspect or not. For example, if the accounts have random strings of letters and numbers for names, then it is safe to assume they are spam accounts. Accounts like these be can bought by the thousands for a small sum of money, so if an influencer’s following is impressive, but consists mostly of these types of accounts, they’re probably not the real deal.

Social media presence outside of Instagram

While this might sound counterintuitive, it is not uncommon for influencers to maintain a presence across multiple social media sites. If they are experts in their niche (beauty, fashion, art, design, food, travel) check to see if they have been featured in magazines and newspapers. If they are genuine content creators, it’s likely they will have worked with other influencers, brands and companies. Keep an eye out for any public events they might attend, such as launch parties, interviews or television shows. If these “influencers” are virtually ghosts outside of the colourful pastiche that is Instagram, alarm bells should be sounding off in your head.

By following these guidelines, you should be able to determine if an influencer is legitimate or not. Fingers crossed the ones you have shortlisted are, and that you get to work with them!

Need help finding a popular face to better reach your Gen Z customers? Just say ‘hi’ at hello@mutant.com.sg and we’ll talk.

*Disclaimer – Meltwater is a client of Mutant Communications, but this blog is not sponsored by them

4 things Kim Kardashian can teach us about a solid social media strategy

Kim Kardashian – love her or hate her, you can’t deny that she’s created a massive empire and cult following. Having recently won the Council of Fashion Designers of America influencer award, Kim is truly one of the biggest influencers of our time. With 113 million Instagram followers (that’s the sixth most followed in the world) and 60.2 million followers on Twitter (that’s more than Donald Trump), she is truly the Queen of social media. What really catapulted Kim into fame? How does she maintain such a large following and influence despite an equally notorious reputation, and what can brands learn from her?

Know your audience

Kim brands herself around glam, beauty and luxury. In fact, all of her ventures now are centered around these themes. This is what her audience knows her for and it’s what they expect her to share with them and thus creates personalised content for them. Diverting from this may cause a scattered brand identity that people are unable to understand or follow and result in lower followership. This means keeping in mind integrated marketing communications – a single brand image across all platforms.

Also, always listen! People like to promote products, but Kim thinks it’s equally (if not more) important to listen as well. To engage with your audience makes them feel like you’ve taken their thoughts into consideration. For all you know, your audience just might be your inspiration for the next big campaign!

Capitalise on opportunities

Opportunities don’t always come in pretty packages. Kim once supported a morning sickness prevention brand once and got a lot of flak (even from the Food and Drug Administration!) for not posting the drug’s side effects. However, Kim managed to turn the situation around by taking ownership for her actions. This moment garnered a lot of publicity (negative or not) that made people more interested in Kim’s life.

It’s all about taking the opportunities that have the potential to help you build brand awareness. Kim’s #breaktheinternet moment with Paper magazine was unpaid but was something that created buzz about one of her most famous assets – her butt. If that’s not capitalising on opportunities, I don’t know what is!

Stay authentic

This is a sure way to prevent a PR disaster. When you’re that well known around the world, people will be watching your every step. Post something that’s not true to you and people will immediately catch wind of it. That’s why it’s important for you to endorse items and posts that are true to your brand identity to prevent backlash. Kim always promotes products that she herself loves and uses so that she knows she’s promoting a good product to her audience.

For example, the first product Kim launched from her beauty line was a contour kit. This was done with the vision that she wants to sell products she believes in and uses often. This works hand in hand with knowing her audience. Kim wanted to be able to sell her famous contour look to her audience, who look to her for beauty inspiration.

Use every platform

Different platforms have different strengths and Kim capitalises on that to maximise the use of different social media outlets. According to Kim, each platform has a purpose to serve.

Facebook is good for click-throughs, snapchat showcases more of your private side, Instagram is good for showing the actual product and twitter is good for having a conversation with people. Based on what you are trying to accomplish with your brand, it’s important to keep this in mind while curating social media posts and do what will work best with your audience and keep them engaged.

Still not sure how to create content for your brand? Check out some tips here on how to create digital marketing gold.

Want to break the Internet like Kim? Drop us a message at hello@mutant.com.sg

3 PR Lessons We Can Learn from Bey And Jay

Recently, Beyoncé and Jay-Z dropped their first fully collaborative album, The Carters. Critics and fans alike immediately embraced the tracks and hailed the LP as a celebration of Black art, excellence and legacy.

Over the years, the Carters have managed to exert an ironclad control over their public image despite their humongous stature. The four-pronged strategy of largely staying clear of public squabbles and scandals, carefully curating their social media feeds, rarely giving interviews and not hyping their new projects before they’re released has only deepened the mystery surrounding hip hop’s foremost family. This decision is no accident – the couple is notoriously private and this strategy has infused intrigue into their reputation. Because they are rarely in the public eye, when they do pop up, it seems that the whole world sits up and takes notice of them.

From a business perspective, this type of PR strategy seems impossible to implement. But there are some lessons that can be gleaned – here’s what we can learn from the Carters:

Controlling the Narrative

When rumours of trouble in the couple’s marital paradise broke out in 2013, neither party added fuel to the fire. Unlike other celebrity couples who rush to give a statement when their relationships hit rock bottom, the Carters remained mum on the state of their marriage. They addressed the hearsay when Beyoncé released Lemonade in 2016, an entire album peppered with lyrics and visuals that suggested the possibility of marital strain. The endless speculations that ensued proved to be massively profitable for both Jay-Z and Beyoncé.

While controlling the narrative should be a basic skill for any company’s PR team, in this age of hyperconnectivity and non-stop streaming, firms will find themselves with a very small window of time to prevent crisis situations from becoming communications disasters. Whether it’s appeasing a crowd bent on obtaining answers or addressing unsavoury gossip, it’s imperative to weave a story that sets the tone for all future conversations surrounding the topic at hand. That way, your narrative will drown out all other chatter.

A Well-Oiled Social Media Machine

Both Beyoncé and Jay-Z are known to shun traditional PR paths when announcing new content. For albums Beyoncé and Lemonade, Beyoncé decided to bypass mainstream media outlets and release the albums digitally via an announcement that came from her own account. By doing this, she broke the fourth wall and gave the content directly to her fans via social media. The result? Unprecedented success for both albums. For Lemonade specifically, the release of the album was timed at a juncture when social media was rife with conversations surrounding racial tensions and feminism, and the album’s messages on both topics seemed especially poignant. The couple also demonstrates a deep understanding of curated visuals in today’s social media landscape, as reflected in the multiple music videos of Lemonade and Jay-Z’s 4:44.

It’s no secret that combining social media and highly creative visuals is a winning combination. But to ensure the success of your client’s products upon launch, you must leverage social media to reach your target audience. Follow up with a steady stream of high-quality visual content that’s shareable, accessible and most importantly, relevant.

Authenticity

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a recent Beyoncé or Jay-Z interview. Instead of relying on the media, or even social media, to give fans an inside look at their lives, both Bey and Jay prefer to pour little details of their life into their music. Beyoncé’s mastery of social media is impressive – she occasionally posts rare snapshots from her day-to-day life, puts time and effort into creating a spectacle when announcing milestones and hardly ever adds captions or hashtags, letting the images speak for themselves. As a result, fans interpret and discuss the images, and are left wanting more.

Audiences are smart and can easily discern an inauthentic brand. So cut through the clutter by staying true to your brand’s core values and identity; be honest and daring, let your voice ring true in all your communications and never be afraid to weigh in on issues that are pertinent to your business.

Though you may encounter 99 problems, PR should never be one. A good PR strategy is irreplaceable – so why not invest time and energy in creating a fail-proof communications game plan? Reach out to us if you’re in the dark about how to get started.

Need help crafting the ideal PR strategy? Drop us a message at hello@mutant.com.sg

(Cover photo source: Pinterest)

How to Get the Most Out of Your LinkedIn Profile

In this social media-driven world, it’s easy to set up accounts on every single online platform and then only truly engage with one or two. Many brands are attracted to Facebook and Instagram because of their high user numbers and often end up neglecting LinkedIn, which can be incredibly powerful if used correctly.

When we ask why LinkedIn is often overlooked, the usual response is that they either don’t have time to devote to it or are unsure of what to post – LinkedIn is, after all, career-focused, so uploading that photo of your pet or snaps from your holiday don’t seem entirely appropriate.

So, what is?

Personal Career Updates

It may feel a bit uncomfortable to shout about your own workplace achievements, but if there’s any place for it, it’s LinkedIn. For example, when you’re promoted, in addition to updating your profile with the new role information, you should write and publish a post conveying your excitement for this next step in your career. Likewise, if a project or product you’ve worked long and hard on is announced, debuts or receives great media coverage, you should absolutely post about that. If you’re worried about the tone of your post, just keep it short and simple, and stick to the facts – your network of contacts will be pleased to hear about your achievements, so don’t hide them.

Industry News

If huge news about the industry you’re in breaks, you can be sure that everyone in your office will be talking about it. Additionally, everyone in your industry will be talking about it online, and LinkedIn is a great place for you to add your two cents about the announcement, whether it’s a simple sharing of a news article, a comment on someone else’s post about the news or a post containing your thoughts on the matter.

Engaging with Others’ Content

As with other social media platforms, one of the main features of LinkedIn is connecting with other people. Your LinkedIn timeline will likely be filled with posts, articles and news that your past and present colleagues and industry contacts have shared, so why not scroll through once a day to check in on the online chatter? LinkedIn allows users to like, comment on and share posts, so if something resonates with you or sparks your interest, giving it a like or leaving a comment is never a bad thing – plus, if it’s from a contact, the engagement will perhaps create a dialogue that leads to business opportunities. Win-win.

Publishing Your Own Articles

If you aspire to be a thought leader within your industry, then LinkedIn is the perfect platform for sharing your insights. Be it career advice, your take on trends or a deeply researched piece, writing and posting an article on LinkedIn is a great way for your voice to be heard and shared. If you’re unsure of the calibre of your writing skills, have a trusted friend or co-worker read over your piece, or – if you’d really like to beef up your LinkedIn profile and following – engage a content management team who can work with you to develop and execute content ideas.

Need a hand with your social media appearance? Drop us a note at hello@mutant.com.sg 

My company is profitable! Do I still need marketing?

According to a recent report, the success of SMEs is essentially like flipping a coin – there’s an estimated survival rate of 50%. This means that establishing a strong and profitable core business is more crucial than ever before.

Since survival is a major focus for SMEs, investment in other aspects that may not seem to have immediate trackable results on business performance are often highly scrutinised. But even when SMEs manage to survive and find their stride, becoming profitable without the help of marketing, content, public relations or social media, many decide to continue without these things. Why would they need them even if they are profitable? Let’s dive right in.

Marketing

With the view that only large, multinational organisations have dedicated marketing teams, many SMEs outright dismiss the idea of hiring dedicated marketing staff. If SMEs do have a staff member focused on marketing, the scope of that role is usually tied up with additional tasks, such as business development.

Without the attention and focus of a true marketing professional, marketing initiatives usually end up in the form of more traditional activities, such as developing collaterals or organising events, which often do not drive easily trackable business results. A dedicated marketer will be able to identify broader business issues and create solutions to fix them, whether that be an online lead generation, sales team support or employer brand management to help bring in the best talent.

Content

Content is on the radar for many organisations, but often only in the form of a few commissioned articles for the company website. The truth is that content has many more practical uses for a business than most business owners realise. Content can be presented in many ways – think text, infographics and videos – and have the ability to engage potential customers across a wide array of platforms, ranging from the company’s website to social media channels to content-led PR campaigns.  

A singular piece of content, such as a research report, can be reworked into different pieces of satellite content, including infographics, toolkits and short, digestible videos that can be shared on different channels. Lead generation, client relationship management and sales support are all business-focused goals that can leverage content to deliver measurable results.

PR

Crisis management and spin-doctoring are often the first things that come to mind when thinking of public relations, but these functions are usually back of mind when it comes to successful businesses who are focused on growth.

Public relations can do much more than just clean up sticky situations. Good PR will play a key role in stakeholder management, putting the business in the midst of relevant discussions happening in the industry and the media, and positioning key people in the company as thought leaders. Strong PR can boost the visibility and credibility of the business and open new doors for the company in the process.

Social media

If you think that social media is simply a Facebook page for consumer brands to deal with angry posts, think again. Social media can act as a multi-platform ecosystem that can be used to engage with different types of audiences. By using specific targeting, businesses can reach new and relevant customers from literally all around the world.

From customer support and sales to employer branding and community management, every employee can learn to use social media in a way that influences the business, no matter if it’s a B2C and B2B operation. It’s important to establish goals and outline clear roles that each social media platform will play for the business, though; only then can a business truly start to see the benefits of a social media strategy.

Do you want to find out more about what marketing, content, PR and social media can do for your business? Drop us a line at hello@mutant.com.sg

How to jump-start social media when no one knows your company

It’s easy to make noise when you are the head of state. Both Lee Hsien Loong and Donald Trump are two (good and bad) examples of how to engage millions of people.

                                                                   

While the impact of social media is undeniable, not every business enjoys the reach of someone in the limelight. Though it’s hard to make noise when no one knows about your company, inaction is infinitely worse.

Before you jump the gun, you have to make a commitment to regularly update your business’ social media accounts. Ideally, appoint someone to be your social media manager, as it’s something you have to consistently work at to see benefits – ranging from direct communication with your customers to reaching people that never heard of your business.

Here’s how to get started:

Where is your audience?


With an array of social media platforms out there, you don’t need to be everywhere. To get your social media presence kickstarted, you’ll need to know where your audience is. If you are a B2B company, you are more likely to start conversations on Twitter or LinkedIn, while an e-commerce can better engage with users on Instagram and Facebook.

If you are unsure about what you should do on your social media channels, check out these do’s and don’ts of social media. This is where you’ll learn about how to reach your target audience and the tangible results you’ll be able to reap from it.

What are your goals?

                                                             

Bear in mind that you’re just starting out – so don’t be unrealistic with your goals. For newcomers like you, it’s recommended that you focus on consistency and growth to really make your social media game work.

For consistency, work on:
– Lock in a set number of days to plan posts and work on your social media presence. A good start will be 3-4 days a week.
– Create new content at least once a week to beef up your content library. This can be a new set of photos, a blog post or a video about your business.

For growth, work on:
Setting a goal for how many followers you want to gain by a certain date. Every business grows differently, so plan accordingly. Having a number to work towards will make things clearer.

If you want to start with a bang, you should consider working with social media influencer – Increasing engagement for your posts. Instead of asking your family and friends to share your posts to get the algorithm working, you might want to do a giveaway to start getting shares and traction.

What’s in your content library?


Gather all of your content into one folder that your team can access. This will be your content pool where you’ll go to find images, old news clippings, videos or anything relating to your business. If you make it a habit to populate this folder, your planning will be easier in the future. A good way to start your content pool is using your website’s content. You can always repurpose and use it for social content. While doing this, you’ll also probably start to visualise what sort of content you’ll want up on your social media channels.

Other content ideas:

  • New product updates to keep people interested
  • Introduce new team members to make your brand more human
  • Insights from conferences to show you are a thought leader
  • Behind the scenes snapshots for a positive image
  • Giveaways and contests to expand your reach
  • Photo albums for the user’s visual pleasure

Which brings us to the next point…

Have you created a social media calendar?

It doesn’t have to be anything too complicated. All you need is a handy excel sheet that keeps track of the content that you’re planning to post, or have already posted. This will also come in handy when you’re brainstorming for new social media ideas. It also makes it easier for everyone to share ideas. A well-kept calendar will also help you to plan your social media campaigns more efficiently.

What conversation are you joining?

Now that you’re sorted, it’s time to be part of all that social media chatter. Have a look at what’s trending by gathering some data and see where your brand can be part of the conversation. Controversial topics aren’t a strict no-no and may sometimes help your brand to stand out. But make sure that your company has actually something to offer or say about the topic. You have to remember that the social media world can be harsh and controversial topics can easily backfire. But in the end – it’s still up to you to decide if it will work for your organisation or not.

Need help with managing your social media campaigns? Drop us a message at hello@mutant.com.sg.

 

Turn user-generated content into Digital Marketing gold

Is your social media strategy starting to feel a bit stale? Do you feel like you are running out of content to post? More importantly, are you having difficulty connecting with your audience? User-generated content (UGC) is any type of content that is created for a brand by its fans – ranging from online reviews to customer photos on Instagram. While the brand gets free content and promotion, users are rewarded with discounts or similar offerings. Consumers trust peer recommendations more than any other type of advertising, so your audience is more likely to trust your brand if the content is user-generated. Simply put – it’s marketing gold!

But how do you incorporate it into your existing strategy? Carrying out a successful UGC campaign requires a thorough understanding of your audience and a well thought-out strategy. Stumped on ideas? Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

Create a buzz

If you want people to be speaking about your brand, you need to give them a good reason! From Coca Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign where they swapped their logo for random names, to Starbucks’ festive ‘Red Cup Contest’ campaign, there’s a number of different ways you can create a buzz for your brand with products. One of the more recent UGC campaigns that got everyone talking was #castmemarc

Popular fashion designer Marc Jacobs took to social media, announcing that he’s casting models for his next advertising campaign from Twitter and Instagram submissions. The campaign generated over 15,000 submissions in just 24 hours from fashionistas around the world! Needless to say, this led to a trend of ‘selfie-casting’ with companies using social media to discover the next face for their campaigns.

UGC idea for your brand: Create a campaign completely bespoke to your brand that has not been done before, think outside the box!

Suggested read: Writing for Social: Why one size just doesn’t fit all

Leverage the power of the #

A hashtags is the most popular way of initiating UGC. Used effectively, it can spread like wildfire. A brand that’s slaying the UGC hashtag game is the renowned online retailer ASOS. Creating a curated page on their website for #AsSeenOnMe, customer could submit their images via Instagram or upload them directly.

While that already created a lot of buzz, ASOS went a step further making every shared image shoppable, linking it to the product item featured in the image. 

UGC idea for your brand: Add customer photos to product pages

Offer cool rewards

You don’t have to give out discount codes or pay anyone? It can be as simple as sharing the content of users. When it comes to UGC, the smallest gesture of appreciation of a ‘like’ or a ‘share’ can go a long way. In 2015, National Geographic launched their ‘Wanderlust Contest’ campaign, encouraging users to post photos with the #WanderlustContest hashtag, for the chance to win a National Geographic photo expedition to Yosemite National Park.

The idea took flight – the campaign photos were featured on their website with their hashtag still generating over 60,000 posts. Campaigns of this nature underline the power of the hashtag, in conjunction with a creative, shareable reward.

UGC idea for your brand: Offer rewards to customers who write reviews

Make its easy for users to generate content

Having a UGC strategy is a great idea, until it becomes complex. Keep your platforms easy to coordinate, straightforward and fuss-free. This way you won’t be putting off your users from engaging. Take GoPro as an example, the GoPro product is literally a content creation machine, coming from the better-known phrase it’s a ‘video camera’. Yes, this is a given advantage, but, as much as GoPro’s product lends itself to UGC, you still need to make it happen. GoPro recognised this and made it happen, introducing their DIY product to the world allowing us to share our experiences, like those in the below GoPro user-generated clip:

Similarly, creating tools and platforms to enable your customers to share content without the fancy software makes a world of difference to encouraging UGC for your brand. Empower users to capture, create, share and enjoy their own work with others – to your brand’s benefit.

UGC idea for your brand: Introduce a platform that is easy to use with simple guidelines to follow for your users

Get in touch with us at hello@mutant.com.sg to see how we can help you create your own user-generated content.

 

 

 

3 things to note about influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is shaping up to be one of the most effective ways for businesses to get their message and products across. Scrolling through your Instagram feed, you see beautiful models wearing boutique swimwear in the Maldives, fitness junkies posing in new athletic gear or beauty gurus praising a new cosmetic product in a 20-second video. The likes and followers of these influencers are compelling enough for many companies to invest heavily. On the surface, influencer marketing may seem like a no-brainer, but we often see brands falling into common traps, doing more harm than good. Influencer marketing done right needs more than a pretty face with a decent following.

At the end of the day, influencer marketing is about your audience and your strategy to engage the right influencer. Before diving into sending out lots of DMs, there are some key things you should understand.

1. Is your brand the right fit?

Knowing your brand and field is the starting point for good influencer marketing. Although you can find influencers in almost every category, influencer marketing might not be a right fit for your brand. Take juice brand Marigold and influencer Naomi Neo’s fiasco last year, for example. The campaign fell apart, and criticism, mocking and parodies rolled in. Real influence comes from authenticity, but her caption stating she’s “always carrying around a carton of my favorite MARIGOLD PEEL FRESH juice” does not sound authentic at all. Naomi is a popular influencer in the lifestyle space with over 369k followers, but an influencer known for their healthy lifestyle, fitness or juicing recipes would have been a better fit for Marigold.

Although the beautiful brunette can sell swimwear and dresses, she might not be a good fit business. Depending on what category your business is in, you need to find the right influencers that can authentically represent your product.

When you get it wrong, the audiences may not be as receptive to the product. Hopping on the bandwagon with the assumption that influencer marketing is a sure way to achieve your goals can easily catch you out. It might even backfire and give you a negative reputation. Take a step back to consider who you are and what your brand stands for.

2. Numbers are not the be-all and end-all

It can be tempting to go with those influencers that have the largest following. However, don’t be seduced by the big numbers. Get over the obsession with followers – it’s a terrible representation of an influencer’s actual reach. Instead of mere follower size, you should also be looking at engagement rate and follower quality. Even users with a few hundred followers receive a couple of comments, so someone with hundreds of thousands of followers should also have a proportionate amount of comments. If this isn’t the case, it’s a sign the followers may be bought or are not engaged. Either way, it’s not beneficial for your brand.

To avoid the follower quality trap, scan the influencer’s followers to see if they are genuine. Look for inactive accounts with few posts or a vastly disproportionate amount of followers and accounts they follow. Be wary of comments like “love it!”, “super cool”, “Amazing :D” paired with random emojis that don’t seem aligned with the post. These are most likely bots that comment on behalf of accounts. Don’t be misled by such bot responses – genuine comments mean genuine followers.

3. Allow artistic freedom

Remember that influencer’s authenticity is key, so don’t treat them like a mercenary soldier if you want your campaign to really flourish. Avoid giving them strict criteria, providing a script or overseeing every single tiny detail. The influencers will know their audience better than you do, so let them inject their own unique voice and perspective into the project. Don’t be that brand that gets exposed when influencers simply copy and paste, forgetting to remove the instructions.

What you want instead, is to achieve a balance between micromanaging and giving complete artistic freedom. You want to ensure that the overall brand message is still relevant and aligned with your objectives while leaving room for the influencer’s creativity. Let them have the freedom to speak in their own voice that feels natural to their audience. Using an influencer to market your product should not indicate a lesser process strategy. The truth is that simply paying an influencer will not help you meet your business needs. The content creation process involving influencers can be a bit more complicated than typical campaigns. Prepare to put in the legwork to truly make an impact.

The key to effective and successful influencer marketing lies in building quality relationships with your audience. Choose influencers who resonate well with your brand image. Zero in on people aligned with your brand’s core values and stories. A great strategy involves a mix of influencers with both large and small followings.

 

Need help involving influencers for your brand? Drop us a note at hello@mutant.com.sg

How to combat fake news

There’s no news like fake news! While fake news has been around for a long time, the 2016 US presidential election showed the lightning speed at which it goes viral on social media. And brands aren’t spared either – the rise of malicious content and alternative news sites means that brands have to protect themselves, now more than ever. That’s exactly what a Washington DC pizzeria discovered when it fell victim to fake news reports that led a man to open fire in the restaurant following claims of it being a child-abuse ring.

For brands, combatting the menace of fake news means getting back to the basics of PR and developing a crisis communications plan. Here are some tips for brands to counter fake news effectively:

Stop feeding the trolls

If you’ve fallen prey to fake news, assuring people by making official press statements would only grant a short-term relief. Take this opportunity to turn a crisis around. Instead of replying to negative messages with negative response, focus on spreading positive news. Be diligent in your response, leaving no room for interpretation. Explain why the news is incorrect, state your brand’s position in that context, and distribute your content accordingly.

Don’t over react

Recognise the difference between fake news and sarcasm as some media outlets may take a contrarian view. Identifying this can be crucial and should be tacked with good humour as opposed to being defensive!

Make employees your brand advocates

In times of a communication breakdown, it is key to ensure every employee is equipped with the right message. To do this, everyone in the company should know what happened and where the truth lies. An employee may take to social media to express their own opinion about the firm, and if this opinion is ever based on fake news – a small spark is enough to start a fire.

Active monitoring and response

Implement robust monitoring for all social channels, sub-brands and key spokespeople. Get rid of auto-responses, instead respond proactively and in real-time. Moreover, investments in paid search and promotion on social media sites can go a long way to countering fake news. Have adequate skills and budget in place for paid planning and targeting.

Publish more often

Written content has the ability to combat a fake news story, alter a negative situation, and reinvent your brand in a positive light. Do not republish attacks. Instead, share positive content that counters fake news via owned, shared media channels and influencers including traditional media in the form of blogs and thought leadership.

Facing troubles tackling fake news? We can help! Reach us at hello@mutant.com.sg

What the Trump vs Clinton debate can teach us about live tweeting

Whether you live in Singapore or the United States, the Twitter play-by-play of the Trump Vs Clinton presidential debate had more jabs than a school-wide vaccination. Between the Trump as a Godzilla and the Clinton victory memes, the public craves news and opinion in real time.

Despite rumours that Twitter (the company) isn’t growing, live-tweeting is still an excellent way to share  news about your brand. If you’re attending or hosting an event, updating quotes, pictures, and funny thoughts gives your fans a chance to hear the brand’s voice. Simply check out the flutter of activity on Trump’s  and Clinton’s Twitter accounts over the past 24-hours.

Live tweeting may seem stressful at first, but gaining traction is much easier than you think. Here are our top tips for live-tweeting:

1. Get the whole team involved

The designated tweeter can’t be everywhere at once. Get the attending team on a #livetweets mobile Slack channel and ask them to post quotes or questions to this channel for the designated tweeter to pick up. For consistency, there should only be one designated Tweeter per team to have oversight on the page.

2. Prepare good visuals

Come prepared with some stock images and if you hear a good quote, overlay it on the go with a meme generator or inspirational quote app. Take photos before tweeting to make sure you have something good to pair a post with.

3. Engage with gifs

 Twitter’s gif features are totally underutilised by corporations that have strict brand guidelines. If you’re a small team, run it by a manager and share a gif or align one with your quote or update.

Here’s a funny interpretation of the live debate:

Then there was this:

4. Use one easy hashtag

It should be something easy like your company and the event, i.e. #Mutantatrise.

5. Tag everyone and everything

There is almost no point to putting up a tweet without mentioning a company handle, someone’s handle, or using a hashtag. Twitter is designed to link up people in a community, so don’t be lazy with tags!

6. Trend trends trends

 This is the main thing journalists look for on Twitter. At an event more often or not you’ll hear that some big investor has invested billions in a technology no one is using right now, that might point to a trend. Keep your ear to the ground and ask lots of questions.

7. Find the official hashtag of the event

This is a no brainer,  but you’d be surprised how many people don’t look for this. It’s the number one way to get discovered by a journalist or someone else at the event.

#debatenight was the official hashtag of the debate:

8. Use vines 

Getting a live feed on Twitter isn’t as easy as it is on Facebook. What’s better than a quote? Getting a quote Vined or Periscoped from a notable speaker and uploaded it on Twitter.

9. Pick a good quote

 Pick a quote that is on brand,  offers simple business advice, or even something funny and post it.

Here’s an example from Camp Clinton:

10. Be cool

Save the corporate riff-raff for when you have word count.

Live-tweeting makes your company look on the ball, and most importantly helps your fans know the latest news and trends in the industry. By using a real voice, you’ll be able to connect with your fans.

Need some social media advice ? Contact us at hello@mutant.com.sg

 

Header picture credit: www.thedailydot.com