With the instability of social media platforms and the continued limitations placed on the capacity to target (and retarget), it has become more important than ever for businesses to foster authentic relationships with customers by providing relevant problem-solving content, positive interactions (online and offline) and building their email lists to communicate directly with consumers.
The exponential growth in data-centric martech over the past decade has completely shifted the marketing landscape. Though certainly there are benefits to this, it has also led to the partial abandonment of key longer-term foundations, creating an uninspiring, crowded, and undifferentiated landscape.
And it’s this somewhat dystopian digital reality that has led to a consumer uprising against personal data manipulation and tracking - and ultimately the removal of third-party cookies. Though without doubt challenging, this new dawn is long overdue. Marketers should grasp it as an opportunity to return to more mutual foundations and bring focus back to the two most important elements of any strategy - the customer and the brand.
Web3 is coming for all of us. Loss of the ‘crumbs’ will be great for individual data privacy and a challenge for organizations that have relied on cookies for engagement versus focusing on the outcome and impact of their efforts. Brands with a SMART defined 'why' are already measuring the impact of customer behavior and will continue to evolve their tech stack with the tool(s) available. Based on the percentage of people who understand crypto, compared to the total online population, the democratization and monetization of the attention economy is not in immediate jeopardy.
Transparency is and will be a primary element in the digital world. Regulations with GDPR or similar laws are developing around the world, while on the technology side we see the demise of cookies. More and more users are refusing to be tracked.
Those involved in communications cannot disregard these considerations with the awareness, however, to change course properly should these directions prove inadequate for the market.
Authenticity has become the differentiating marker in the new age of social communication. Economic uncertainty and huge changes in the world of work have made it necessary for content creators to own their voice and demonstrate a deeper understanding of their audiences in order to build a resilient digital presence.
As the world’s largest and most trusted professional network, our members are leveraging LinkedIn to share knowledge and join conversations more than ever before: we have seen a 25% increase in public conversations on the platform just over the last year alone. LinkedIn is the place to be for professionals looking to exchange knowledge and connect with their networks.
Twitter has always been home to diverse voices, perspectives and ideas and our purpose is to serve the public conversation. As a result, we continue to invest in our approach and educate audiences on available tools that help tackle platform abuse, misinformation and spammy behaviors. Fighting spam isn't one dimensional - as spam is not simply defined as human/non-human. The most advanced spam campaigns use combinations of coordinated humans + automation. For context, we typically remove half a million spam accounts each day and lock millions of suspected spam accounts each week. We use a combination of machine learning-based automation and human review to enforce our policies.
Our top priority is to protect YouTube's community from harmful content while preserving the positive power of an open platform. This includes misinformation, hate-speech and deep-fakes. Transparency, which is a core value at Google & YouTube, is integral to our content moderation efforts. Our community demands it, and we see it as an important part of being trustworthy and accountable to them, which is why we release a quarterly Community Guidelines Enforcement Report that gives insights into the volume of flags and actions we take on content that violates our policies, and the impact that technology has in aiding that enforcement.
Most social networks have incentives to invest in fake news, deep fakes, and cybersecurity. I also believe many social network participants in rich countries are familiar with these kinds of abuse (after so many years of bombardment), and will take their own steps to protect themselves, falling for less and less of the obvious mis/disinformation. However, some networks, most notably TikTok, have the opposite incentives: to destabilize governments and make other countries less economically and politically stable. I also don't see strong incentives for networks like Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, Twitter, and others to improve their behavior in many countries that receive less Western media coverage and have weaker penalties and enforcement capabilities. What happened/is happening in Myanmar or Russia or China is still a long-term risk.
Meta has a new COO. Oracle is investigating TikTok. YouTube is the highest engaged social network among Gen Z. And Elon Musk still owes Twitter $44B. Social media is no longer the wild, wild west where uses actually talked to one another and built relationships and lifelong friendships. Where things were social.
Today, fake news, disinformation, deep fakes, and cybersecurity are the top of everyone's minds, from your grandmother to sophisticated social brands (not to say your grandmother isn't sophisticated!). The social networks have to keep up to maintain their user bases and stay relevant.
We expect to see more guidelines, more rules, and more litigation for those that don't build toward a new social media standard to keep users and society safe.
Technology companies, such as Google, routinely capture so much data they have been pressured to act as sentinels, examining what passes through their servers to detect and prevent criminal behaviour. Social media is no different with firms like Twitter struggling to walk the narrow line between “freedom of speech” and banning clearly false, antagonistic, and dangerous commentary. This will be the norm as companies recognise that as corporations, they not only have the right to ban anyone they choose, but they also have a moral justification to do that. The issue they will face though, is determining when they should use this power or not. What is inevitable though is that polarizing attitudes that enforce the social media bubble in which people live are dangerous and fall outside the jurisdiction of governments – perhaps only social media giants can police to create a more authentic and trusted source of content.
Digital security is becoming a value for everyone: for consumers, who personally risk more than anyone else, for the public administration that has to chase technology with regulations faster and faster, and for big tech that needs to keep business risks related to these issues low. The role of brands in this is to play their part in keeping awareness high and covering security issues related mostly to their own domain (e.g. health or security for financial instruments). Producing content and information that is usable by users and appropriate for this purpose is no longer optional.
More business leaders will realize the importance of practicing ethics in media by demonstrating how to engage with their good SENSE. Professionals use good SENSE when they ask important questions to avoid propagating misinformation and disinformation:
The leaders who demonstrate good SENSE will share ethically and with authenticity in 2023.
Fake news, scams and cyberbullying are some of the most pressing challenges faced by consumers across Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. This erodes consumer trust in social media, and will ultimately impact campaigning efforts on these platforms.
Brands need to take these issues into account and attempt to make sense of these for their target audiences. Campaigns that help tackle these challenges, or help gain an understanding of how we can make social media a safer place for ourselves, are likely to be appreciated by consumers.
Creator partnerships are the best avenues to achieve this for brands.
With an increase in fake profiles and fake news on social media, it's more important than ever for consumers to demand integrity and authenticity from brands online. Consumers need to be able to trust that the content they are engaging with is both valuable, but more importantly genuine, and this is a trend we're going to see on the rise as we move into 2023.
In a world full of celebrity endorsements, sponsored posts and paid influencers, 90% of Millennials say brand authenticity is the most important. They want ‘real and organic’ over ‘perfect and packaged’. On average, 20% of consumers have unfollowed a brand on social media because they felt their content was inauthentic. Some of the best ways for brands to show their authentic side is by utilizing user generated content and tapping into influencer marketing without overproduced deliverables.
Consumers aren’t looking for picture perfect ads or overly produced digital experiences. They want the authentic and trusted content that their friends, family and peers are sharing on social media everyday – organic inspiration and validation.
BeReal is the ‘Anti-Instagram’ - realness instead of Insta-filter. The idea of the app is quite simple: once a day, at an unspecified time, the app asks for a photo. This must actually be taken with the cell phone, front and rear camera trigger simultaneously, there and then. This is how authentic impressions are supposed to be created, a network in keyhole mode. Nice for circles of friends. But could this also be interesting for teams that show potential applicants their everyday work? We are currently testing this.
This is the promise of the app that more and more people are talking about. According to Google Trends, the number of searches for BeReal is growing steadily!
In 2022, leading payment infrastructure providers like Stripe and PayPal introduced crypto options into their APIs. We'll now see "pay with crypto" options surface in many eShopping and social media sites. We expect crypto-savvy consumers to use these new options and pay with stable coins like USDC or DAI.
With the increasing importance of privacy and data security, decentralized networks seem to be gaining in importance. So far, however, networks have won through innovative functionality rather than "common sense" aspects. Whether decentralized networks win in the end will therefore also depend on the "fun factor" and not exclusively on common sense reasons.
Long-form video and traditional viewing formats are making way to a variety of short-form video formats. In this year itself, we have seen trends beyond the usual “trackable” hashtag/audio combination, with more trends centered on specific video edits (e.g. “3 images 1 video” combination or having specific text-in-video). Users are becoming more sophisticated with how they interact on social media platforms (esp TikTok), and almost everyone is a creator/artist. Rather than approaching a mass user audience, it would be interesting to see how brands evolve to find ways to interact with this new “creator” audience.
As platforms and formats proliferate, it'll be interesting to see how brand and social teams can find a balance between building platform-first and scaling effectively. We may see, for example, that short-form video can scale across platforms… or that it can't and teams will have to create more assets than ever before. Ultimately, I think brands will narrow down the number of platforms they invest meaningfully in… and I believe the first casualty of this shift will be Facebook.
With the constant development and integration of new features and formats, social media communication must remain more flexible than ever. With decreasing attention spans, changing algorithms, further development of the platforms (e.g. disruption of TikTok) and increasing personalization, the accuracy of content from the user's point of view is no longer a nice to have, but a must - this applies not only to the choice of topics, but also to the preparation in different media types: The perfect opportunity to present one's own brand in an even more diverse way - with channel-specific and appropriate content, communities can not only be inspired, but also loyalized.
Social media has evolved to become very integral to a person’s life. Like with food, consumers expect social media to appeal to multiple senses and almost be umami - useful, entertaining, visual, and experienced in different forms.
A brand needs to cater to multiple needs of a consumer in order to stay relevant today. With attention span reducing to 4 seconds, communicating purposefully in more ways than one is a challenging yet essential task. Whichever stage consumers are at in their journey, brands will need to relate to them specifically in the format of their choice.
Social media platforms leave clues... And when every social media platform is leaving the same clue, Marketers should really take note. What’s the one clue they are all leaving us? Make vertical videos!
Think about it… Instagram’s made every video you post display as a Reel. YouTube is heavily pushing YouTube Shorts. TikTok is solely built for vertical video. LinkedIn is even suggesting advertisers create vertical videos to get better results from their paid ads. The list goes on…
Social commerce is a democratizing force for consumers and small businesses and has profound implications for marketers. 2 billion people purchased on social platforms last year and this is growing 3x faster than traditional eCommerce. The journey is led by spontaneous discovery and inspiration, not the traditional path. Trusted, seamless payments are critical to the experience.
Our latest data reveals that consumers in APAC (with consumers in Indonesia and Thailand leading the way) are most likely to say offers via social media led them to direct purchase of a product – more so than any other form of brand communications.
A YouGov study also found that interacting with social media is the second-most popular media activity for people in the region.
Among today’s digital natives, social platforms have proven to hold both attention and influence. Brands need to engage on these platforms with messages that resonate, which can be achieved with a proper understanding of target audiences’ psyches.
The way consumers are purchasing is constantly developing and has changed massively over the past three years. The pandemic sent shockwaves through most industries but in fashion and e-commerce particularly it changed the way we shop and for a time what we shopped.
The growth of TikTok has led consumers to be influenced by even more micro-influencers and everyday people. We've seen TikTok strategies become crucial to help drive sales for our clients However these perform best when teamed with other strategies such as SEO and PR.
The online shopping experience is poised to exceed the physical shopping experience. By using communications technology through social and messaging platforms, online retailers are breaking through the bricks and mortar and directly connecting with customers (both reactively and proactively) and, in doing so, moving past the one-time transactions to two-way conversations and ongoing engagement for more meaningful relationships.
We are just getting to know all our alternatives and possibilities in the Metaverse. I think 2023 will still be a year of exploration, where many brands will dare to continue exploring and finding ways to join us. The biggest challenge will be finding ways to add value to this platform and not upload us just because everyone else is doing it.
Think of the metaverse as the intersection of a few trends. Immersive reality, Web3, which covers digital assets via NFTs and blockchain, and most importantly, gaming – the first metaverse showcase combining these trends. We see consumers immersed in 3D worlds, represented by avatars dressed in bespoke gear, spending virtual currency.
This space demands a new approach from brands – non-interruptive ads, co-creation and value exchanges are key. The metaverse is not when everyone puts on their VR goggles – this will never happen. It’s when our virtual lives begin to overtake our physical lives in importance. We call this the Play Economy.
In 2022, the word “metaverse” became a staple in the marketing dictionary with many brands exploring possibilities in the space. While still at a nascent stage, we think that the arena will only grow and mature over time as brands find their footing around it. No doubt, there are still many unanswered questions around measurement metrics and engagement in the space, but forward thinking brands with their eye on the future are already experimenting and finding their ground in the space so as to have first mover advantage.
Communities, rather than technologies, are the heart and spirit of the metaverse. To win over consumers in the metaverse, global brands will have to create better fan experiences by telling stories together. This means co-creating heartfelt experiences with their consumers, and sharing the ownership of the brand in a meaningful manner. In the open metaverse, users are free to participate in more than one community. This makes it imperative for brands to play the long game by inspiring community members, and enabling authentic connections.
As humans we have always longed for connection, whether with our loved ones or at work. So far connections were built around documenting and sharing our experience as images or videos, but with the metaverse we can create and live shared experiences where we are fully immersed, connected, and beyond the physical limitations.
The metaverse is a magnetic future narrative with huge monetization potential. While Meta, Pico, Google, and Apple are positioning their platforms for the immersive web aka metaverse, the crypto industry pied pipers are pouncing on tokens. Their promises of decentralization and democratization cannot disguise what they are: Capitalist leeches ticking their way into brand departments with Ponzi schemes, fraud, and a disastrous eco-balance. What brands should do instead: Digitize their assets and processes to prepare for the age of immersive media, and understand what the metaverse actually is - a chance to correct the mistakes of Web 2.0.
With consumers expected to soon spend hours a day working, playing, and shopping in the metaverse, brands need to engage with their communities in these new worlds. The metaverse is the next, great frontier for customer service and experience. It is filled with enormous challenges - and opportunities.
How many times as marketers have we wished for a crystal ball to peer into the future to ensure success? Well, that’s exactly what predictive analytics has begun to do. Marketers have worked tirelessly to understand past performance in an attempt to better plan for tomorrow by piecing together historical data, reviewing articles/news, and manually coming to some conclusion.
Predictive analytics finally uses the power of AI to automate this, at scale, with the most reliable industry data, and in real time. It might seem like a pipedream, but predictive is already used in everything from insurance to shipping. 2023 will be when marketers get to join in the fun.
Chasing trends is something instinctive, and there are many brands chasing this kind of perspective. However, the challenge for sustainability and inclusiveness, as for all social issues, is to be able to incorporate these themes not simply into communications to position oneself, but into one's corporate culture, so that it becomes authentic and effective in terms of marketing and value proposition.
In this way, brand marketing can make itself coherent and integrated to the overall identity, and not simply a matter of circumstance.
As more Millennials, Gen Z, and Gen A bring their values-driven expectations to the brands they interact with, the success (or failure) of these organisations will increasingly hinge upon their integrity. Whatever the industry, if brands want to capture the imaginations and purchasing power of this cohort, they will have to demonstrate that they can uphold what I call the Four Cs: commitment to a set of values or ethical principles; congruence in word and deed; consistency of ethical behaviours over time; and coherence in intention and action (doing the right thing for the right reasons, and not just because it looks good).
Companies' success will depend on having a defined purpose, consistent and clear across all communication channels to create a connection with their audiences. It must ensure a balance between financial growth, respect for the environment, and the social well-being of the communities in which they operate.
Habits are more profitable than transactions. The future belongs to companies that help people thrive through positive behavior change and better habits. Our Positive Behavior Change Index research shows a very high positive correlation between being perceived as good for people’s behavior and growth of market share. In other words, good for you is good for the bottom line. This holds true for social media platforms as well. Platforms that are good for you grow faster.They spend less to grow more. Social media, as a result, will also become more pro-social over time. Marketers will best build mental availability, relationships, and brands through omnivorous engagement, experimentation, and having a positive impact. Humans have five senses plus inner senses such as thoughts, intuitions, and emotions. Media that is powerfully social will engage with all of these. A recipe for success – map the habit you want to help your customer create, continually evolve your advertising and content on the platforms that work for your brand, be among the first to pioneer new forms on new platforms, and always keep positive behavior change in the center of your strategy.
The increasing focus on the three core aspects of sustainability - ecology, economy and social issues - in social media fundamentally reflects society's increased awareness of this topic. This development is to be welcomed without any hesitation. Net zero is more than just a buzzword: climate neutrality is the standard by which every company will have to be measured in the future. We experience the effects of this in the behavior of our consumers on a daily basis: we are confronted more and more frequently with questions about the carbon footprint of our projects and financial activities, and with good reason. We see this increased interest as an opportunity to take on board new impulses and communicate our work as a digital transformation and development bank
Today, customer-to-brand communication (through social media, primarily) is neither new nor unexpected. For many global brands, there is little distinction between a “regular” or “real world” customer and a “social media audience” – they are often one and the same. However, their attention is also unevenly distributed across their individual channel touchpoints or ecosystems. Therefore, brands are – or should be – constantly testing (and, hopefully, learning on) new channels, digital spaces where the connected customer lives.
Customer Service is not only about performance. It is also – even mainly! – about people. Searching for information or having a problem, no one wants to talk to companies. Corporate Influencers are active just where those needing help look for it: in Social Media. They can engage in conversations and build lasting relationships in a way brand managers can only dream of.
Never has a smooth collaboration between Social Media and Customer Experience teams been more important. Workflows between customer support agents, social media managers and CX experts need to be 100% defined and adhered to - otherwise unhappy users will pile up and make themselves heard, leading to deteriorating brand perception.
The same applies the other way around: brand promoters who are not being treated the way they deserve, or who are not being given any air time, are a lost opportunity for any brand to shine in moments when it matters most.
Volkswagen is famously “the people’s car” so putting our customers first drives our marketing strategy and even more so on social media. Social media for us is a two way street, yes it’s an important channel in terms of advertising but it has to be more than just advertising, it’s also a channel where our customers can engage with us as a brand – whether this includes making it easy to book a test drive through chat functionalities, highlighting existing customers through UGC or showcasing the potential lifestyle customers can unlock when they are behind the wheel of a Volkswagen.
In all areas of the world, the influencer economy is taking precedence as the premier form of communication with customers. We are seeing long-format content productions taking a back seat to the vast number of short-form content creators who are captivating audiences for longer periods of time, and this means a major shift in relationships between brands and audiences.
Simply put, eyeballs are now squarely pointed in the direction of social media channels, and the trend continues to accelerate post 2021 when TikTok became the most widely downloaded mobile application on Earth. This means that brands everywhere are wise to incorporate social media channels and short-form content as a primary customer experience - especially at acquisition and retention touchpoints.
For most people today, providing social media customer service is not a nice-to-have - it’s a must deliver. When customers have poor experiences, they no longer wait for resolution in a private channel. Instead, they turn their experiences into a public affair with expectations that brands will deliver fast, delightful resolution. If you’re not willing to have conversations where your customers are, you not only miss opportunities to provide efficient resolution, but also improved education and delightful experiences that bring customers back again and again.
Customer Experience will get even more social, and that's a fact. Brands are comparing themselves not just to their own benchmark but to everything that is going on around the digital world, an environment that is changing every day for the better. In that context, users judge brands not only by their products but mostly by their user experience and we must be very interested in this trend in order to continue developing our 360 strategy around our clients.
The brand experience is generated through the different contacts between the company and its consumers. Social networks are a vital channel to provide exceptional and differentiated experiences to customers, in addition to mapping the entire social journey of the consumer to build understanding, provide value and improve their lives.
The secret to social media success is to think and act like a member first, and a marketer second. When brands meet customers wherever they are – whether that’s a public space or the array of private DM boxes – and engage like a normal human, this can make all the difference to a stellar customer experience.
Big and small companies alike are beginning to have a new understanding of brand. More and more, marketers see that brand is everything – from classic million-dollar broadcast campaigns to every interaction on social channels. Because of this, providing consistent and intentional customer service in the public space of social media is more essential than ever. Not only does this create a positive person-to-person customer experience, but the interaction is visible for all time. Truly, that is brand – and these interactions are going to continue to take new importance going forward.
Word of mouth is a core power that continues to stand the test of time. Brand affinity is built in every interaction between customer and brand, with its receipts shared on social media for all to see. While brands have the ability to use social media as a distribution channel, their audience and customers are able to use the same tool to hold them accountable or praise them.
Take care of them, and their word of mouth will take care of you.
People trust people, not brands. For brands to still be heard and seen, they need to foster relationships and connections with the people others trust. Talking heads and follower counts are no longer the litmus test for trust. Community and a sense of belonging help build trust. Create a safe space for your customers and audience to connect, share needs, and help each other; all while the brand listens to provide the best possible experience for them. Brands win when they make it about their community and not about themselves.
Community building today is shifting towards a process of co-creation where there is a mutual exchange of value and feedback between the brand and its audiences.
This exchange of intellectual, emotional and transactional values enabled by technology and social media, goes a long way in evolving a future-ready brand, and nurturing brand love. When done masterfully, the product’s value sits right at the heart of these like-minded communities.
It is no coincidence that Social Media was born to connect people with each other and that even today the most followed accounts are personal and not Brand accounts. People have always sought human contact, a mutual exchange of ideas. Therefore, stimulating and engaging one's consumer community in the right way is essential to be relevant in the Social world. However, only now are companies beginning to understand its potential, leaving aside the canons derived from traditional marketing. Using Influencers, Content Creators, UGCs and employees is the best way to convey the values associated with one's Brand as genuinely and spontaneously as possible, while acting locally allows for tailored messages and activities by making the consumer himself more involved.
Communities have been there for a while now and we’ve seen brands adopt them to their marketing and conversation strategies. In 2023, brands will have to rethink strategies to not only build engaging communities but also to actively involve their communities by inviting them to share their experiences about the brand. Brands will also involve the community members a chance to share their ideas, feedback and what they expect of the product or service.
One of the smallest yet most impactful changes in 2022 has been the rise in "private" conversations on social media. DMs (direct messages) have been used for lead generation, as a customer service tool and even to sell products. So much so that Instagram wants to make it as easy as possible to purchase by offering the option to buy in DMs. The one-to-one experience with the loyal community on social has become as important as the content we produce, so a strategy for your DMs is in order!
Over the past few years, we’ve seen the advertising industry as a whole move from talking at their consumers to talking with them. Creators and creator marketing have played a huge role in this move, and the way advertisers navigate their relationship with their consumer base. Meanwhile, TikTok has changed our perception of the way advertisers should understand their audiences; moving away from demographics and towards values, interests, and mindset. As of 2023, consumers have thus been reimagined as communities; groups who should be understood, and advertised to, based on a more human, modern frame and it will be advertisers who take this approach, who win in the coming year.
When founders of brands like Shamil Thakrar (Dishoom), Saasha Celestial-One (OLIO) and Ben Francis (Gymshark) state that they can’t imagine growing a successful business today without creating communities, then you know that ‘Community Based Marketing (CBM)’ and ‘Community Led Growth’ are much more than marketing buzzwords.
As well as creating the ‘reputational moats’ these consumer brand leaders mention, CBM in B2B is as valued for lead generation as much as ABM (Account Based Marketing).
Against the decline of cookie-based marketing, creating brand communities and generating private, actionable first party insight, voice-of-the-customer/prospect/audience intelligence for campaigns, content, CX and innovation is a mouth-watering prospect for smart, data-hungry marketers.
In 2023, brands need to move away from the fixation of creating ‘authenticity’ in Influencer Marketing and focus on community building through creator partnerships. Creators have the power to build deep, meaningful, parasocial relationships with their audiences. When brands engage with creators’ communities, content needs to be carefully crafted. It must show that they understand and relate to the audiences - and understand their world and priorities - to build affinity, purchase consideration or drive sales.
Today, brands need to believe in something beyond shareholder value. They need to stand up for those beliefs, too. Their stakeholders expect them to do so and will reward those who do so honestly. Creators are well placed to humanise these brands. When brands work long-term with creators who share the same beliefs, behaviours and world-view it helps the brand remain relevant and works towards achieving sustained long-term profitability. Effective creators are community guardians. They know what their community wants, and what it doesn't care for. Communities hold the creators they follow to account. If a creator acts in a way contrary to their declared values and beliefs they'll be called out. But, if they remain true to what they believe in they create a tight bond with their communities that brands can tap into.
Communities are an essential tool in building trust. They give a human face and voice to a brand but also a direct, unfiltered channel of authentic communication. Community building is a great way to make customers feel heard, valued and rewarded, and from there, trust will grow.
Communities also help keep your brand accountable. Having a group of consumers rallied behind your brand is an excellent source of motivation, but also brings into play some checks and balances. A strong and engaged community will lead to more loyalty, greater product innovation and higher growth.
In a digital world where our lives are increasingly cluttered and superficial, most companies are missing something tremendously powerful: genuine human connection. The relationship we build with our customers is often more important than the products and services we sell them.
For Vans, creating a closer bond with those who are related to the brand is a priority. Our community is made up of diverse audiences, from those who seek a product that reflects their style or functionality, to those who connect with the brand's DNA: creativity and self-expression through Vans pillars. Our consumers are ultimately our community; therefore they are a key element for the brand's growth, that is why of great relevance to be aware of their interests and offer them a unique experience to strengthen our ties with them, create a united community and reach more people.
More and more brands will hire content creators in-house who:
1.Have built-in audiences;
2. Have audience + platform expertise.
These content creators will become the faces of the brands they represent, especially in B2B. People trust people more than companies. Expertise is key to building trust with your audience. Investment in creators will need to continue to grow.
We buy from those we know, we like, and we trust. It’s as simple as that. Marketing’s challenge for the last 70+ years has been how to establish that one-to-one relationship at scale. Social media has for the first time made that possible. Now there is an immense opportunity to activate employees to advocate for their company on social media. Not only does every employee have a network, they have a stronger bond with the people in and around that network than a brand will ever be able to achieve. There’s no question that the marketing winners will be those that empower the people in and around their organizations–employees, customers, partners, etc.–to strengthen their connection with prospective buyers.
There's a transformation that has happened and the continuum is shifting from branded entertainment and long form mass content, to more experiential community focused connections. While brands have begun working closer with defined Influencers, in reality the new influencers are the consumers that make things viral, get things trending and create the “trends.” Brands must focus not only on communities of interest, but also shift the measurement, credit and narrative from the brand to the audience. The observers are as important as those they observe.
When building a community as part of your business brand, the need to speak truthfully and authentically is vital. A misstep can present itself in two ways: disingenuous or disconnected from what you stand for. Now more than ever it's key to be truth keepers at heart and build trustful relationships with your customer.
In the last two years, we have witnessed the rise of micro and nano communities - and with it, micro and nano influencers who are seen by their followers to be more authentic, trustworthy, and dependable.
The question for us marketers therefore is (a) How do brands find these communities and their influencers, and (b) How do brands scale them to a critical mass without these communities and influencers losing their authenticity?