The new trendsetting kid on the block, TikTok has taken the media world by storm. TikTok’s explosive growth, compared to other social media platforms, quickly made it the most downloaded app worldwide. Covering 150 countries and regions in 75 different languages across Asia, America and Europe, it gained 1.5 billion downloads quickly across the globe.
With over 178 million active monthly users in India, TikTok emerged as a platform with a continual increase in its user base, and on a mammoth scale. An interesting aspect to consider is that the initial audiences TikTok onboarded were new data users, who were virtually untapped in the digital space. It was an obvious wake-up call to leverage TikTok as a platform to target coveted Tier II and Tier III digital India. Moreover, 48% of the engagement was driven from the top metro Tier I cities.
It’s safe to say that a majority of the Indian Internet user base is now hooked to this entertainment-based content platform where anyone and everyone can become a creator. TikTok’s core objective was to bring the fun back to social media and provide a platform where anyone can be part of the trends or even start their own.
Due to this, TikTok quickly became a hub where India spent their biggest and most meaningful moments. Over 4.9 billion lit up festive seasons like Diwali, Christmas and New Year with groovy dance moves, spectacular AR filters, entertaining skits, amongst many others. A defining example of this was witnessed during the ICC World Cup when over 1 billion engaged with the app.
With the ban of TikTok in Jun 2020, there are a host of TikTok alternatives that have come up in India.
TikTok is India's breakout app in terms of year over year growth. But what’s the secret behind this aggressive growth? The ‘magic sauce’ lies in its wide variety of products that deliver on the promise of bringing back fun! Offering a range of optimizations, products like Branded Takeover, TopView Ads and Hashtag Challenges provide an immersive experience along with a chance at virality, and high impact broad reach and awareness. In-feed Video Ads enhance brand recall and drive brand affinity through its targeting, scalability and cost-efficiency.
There was an increase in the 25+ age group using TikTok - the Indian consumer with high disposable income ready to be tapped in to make the impulse purchase by multiple brands. The common symptoms of the TikTok addiction across Gen Z is that these users open the app more than 6 times a day and consume content for 40 minutes at a stretch. More popular among Android users over iOS, brands offering affordable, aspirational products find it extremely easy to derive ROI from TikTok marketing.
As per the Kantar Survey Data 2019, it was recorded that there was higher purchasing intent among TikTok audiences as compared to other online shoppers, with nearly 50% having shopped online in the last 3 months. The cherry on top of the cake? The TikTok user’s purchasing power was measured to show them spending more monthly on online shopping as compared to non-TikTok users, with the share of wallet for online shopping 17% higher than non-users. This data proves that marketing on TikTok is an open playing field for brands that are heavy on e-commerce, fashion, and retail, while simultaneously remaining scalable for fintech and BFSI.
TikTok is powered by the creation of native content that communicates that the user, not the product, is in control of what they’re watching. Think of it this way: TikTok is seen as a daily dose of video therapy that gives you a break from your everyday routine, available across a variety of content categories. It’s more than dance - it’s entertainment, beauty, music, fitness, travel, and so much more, making it the pandora’s box of native, creative and highly engaging content. Moreover, since the content is in video formats, it enables users to create or consume in their native tongue. The availability of vernacular content itself has been a key driver of app installs, user engagement, and many other important metrics.
Seen majorly as an entertainment platform, TikTok is growing its roots into popular topics like food and DIY, while also setting its base in education. For example, #EduTok is a trending hashtag, that began as an in-app challenge. TikTok encouraged users to create and share videos with educational content to promote learning for the Indian community on the platform. This initiative took off immediately, and till date, continues to be a popular trend among users.
The challenge has seen over 10 million videos created and shared with the hashtag till date and continues to grow rapidly, having amassed over 48 billion views and 1.8 billion shares. This educational initiative has worked well to propel TikTok’s dedication to growing India’s creative economy to reach and contribute to the lives of digital users across platforms.
@parastomarGot your own business ? You need ##khatabook @khatabook.com♬ original sound - Paras Tomar
Customer acquisition was one of the key objectives for a booming fintech startup like Khatabook. We partnered with them to tap into a new audience, and with the help of vernacular influencer videos, we started targeting regional users, which helped establish TikTok as one of the important pillars for customer acquisition.
The TikTok marketing strategy for Khatabook was centred around a robust performance strategy that was executed to drive app installs. We created concepts that communicated the USPs of the app in a clear and concise manner and collaborated with 250 influencers across the country who created videos in 15 different languages. The content was also created around seasonal and festive events like Diwali and the Indian Premier League.
After we implemented the TikTok marketing strategy with vernacular content created by influencers, we saw where our CTR was 0.04%, later increased to 0.8% which led to 60% incremental growth in install volume and 20% reduction in cost per install. Till now we have uploaded more than 200 influencers’ videos in TikTok Ads that give us exponential visibility across channels and more creative assets to use.
We partnered with Bewakoof to target TikTok as a platform and scale it up to convert it as a profit delivering platform. We capitalized on home production videos which Bewakoof had made in-house to target our relevant audience.
We realized that dedicated product videos worked better than collection videos. Therefore, we created videos for the best seller t-shirts that Bewakoof had to offer and started leveraging them for performance marketing on TikTok. Since TikTok is a video-heavy platform, we ran at least 4-5 videos for different products at the same time to ensure zero dip in CTRs, therefore clicks and ergo performance. Using a two-pronged approach, we were able to target users for sales through app and website conversion campaigns.
By marketing on TikTok with influencer videos in regional content, our install to purchase ratio jumped from 3.02% to 26.55% and our ROI increased from 0.78 to 3.11.
Swiggy Starhunt was an exclusive campaign, created to engage with the company’s delivery partners, the true champions who deliver to satisfy our food hankerings no matter what the obstacle, be it traffic or the weather. The campaign was designed with the objective of creating an opportunity for engagement and fun to offer them a break.
With creatives and media like videos, GIFs, posts, and more, in 11 different regions languages, our social media strategy was created with the intention of reaching audiences across India. To give the campaign an extra push and get the buzz going, we collaborated with 7 TikTok influencers to help us out.
The TikTok marketing campaign resulted in an organic reach of 57 lakhs, with the active participation of over 350 of Swiggy’s unsung heroes! Over 1500 videos were uploaded onto the social media platform, with delivery partners showcasing their talents, garnering over a whopping 44 million views! The campaign was a huge success and provided impactful awareness among delivery partners.
Marketing on TikTok by adopting a granular approach and leveraging vernacular, your brand would be able to tap into key regions across India and engage them better to create memorable customer experiences.
Matching the brand with TikTok’s native audience and creating content utilising influencer marketing will not only provide your brand with a better chance of being shared and viewed but also provides the opportunity to create viral moments to increase organic traction.
By maintaining a frequency of regular, engaging and entertaining content you would be able to build brand awareness and affinity to ensure that your brand is staying relevant and trending.
Facebook has now launched Instagram Reels which is a 15-second short video post that can be shared on your story, feed or in the explore section. You can also edit the Reels with options like audio, speed, timer and effects.
With each day comes a new trend and also an increase in the variety of products and scalability on a completely dynamic platform, like TikTok. Social Beat uses an array of social media platforms to have a wider impact and reach, and TikTok marketing is that fast-moving bus with drop points in the untappable regions - get your brand on the bus before they miss it!
There are few instances in a brand's lifetime when it encounters a real litmus test. A test to see if the brand values it professes and communicates time and again to its audience are genuine or just marketing fluff. Today, we see ourselves right in the midst of this test. As the Covid-19 coronavirus spreads rapidly across the world with a complete disregard for national borders, class or gender, communities everywhere are seeing a complete overhaul of 'life as we know it'. In this time, marketing, which has always focused on staying relevant by leveraging trending topics, sees itself in a conflict. Not creating posts around the coronavirus might make the brand sound out of touch, but talking about the virus for the sake of it can come across as insensitive.
So how does a brand stay true to its values and build equity during these challenging times? Here are some essential points every brand should keep in mind.
It's clear that the overall public health crisis and the drastic changes in buying behaviour caused by the Coronavirus have led the economy to go into a slowdown. In fact, the economic impact of the Coronavirus is expected to continue long after the last patient is treated. While companies across sectors have been hit, the biggest blow has undoubtedly been to the travel and hospitality industry. The chart below illustrates this best.
If you are noticing a steep fall in your organic and paid traffic, it might be tempting to pause all activities until the situation stabilizes. However, sustaining marketing during the Coronavirus period is important because it ensures that you don't lose brand visibility and recall among your target audience. Pausing your campaigns could mean that you will have to work twice as hard to regain your brand presence once the Coronavirus disappears. We recommend that brands continue to invest in brand marketing, even if it’s at a minimal level.
While marketing your products and services might not result in any impact at a time like this, you can start posting positive and informative content that can help your consumers. Posts that create public health awareness or uplift your audience's spirits during this time can be the best way forward.
With so much false information making the rounds, it's important that brands stay true to official facts stated by the world's leading health organizations. Given the immense reach and power to influence that every brand has, it's crucial that we evaluate every piece of information we put out. Brands should also keep a close eye on the tone of their communications. Doomsday-esque messages might bring in the shares and engagement, but our responsibility as brands is greater than that. Always include credible sources whenever you share a post on Coronavirus facts or safety tips. This could go a long way in ensuring every person takes the necessary safety precautions to combat the virus.
In one survey of what customers expect from brands during the coronavirus period, 28% said that brands should be a trusted source of information, while 27% said that brands should attack the crisis and show that it can be fought and 15% said that brands should offer practical advice that can help consumers face their new normal. Achieving these three goals can help your brand far more than sending out negative messages can.
You can learn more about the survey and other strategies to build a strong marketing plan in times of crisis through this video.
The onset of the Coronavirus pandemic doesn't necessarily mean that brands have to go into damage control mode. This could be one of the best times for a brand to create a lasting positive impression on their audience by providing something of genuine value. LinkedIn is one of the best examples of this, having come out with a number of complementary courses and resources on working from home and maintaining productivity to help those in self-quarantine. You can also use this time to branch into new techniques like influencer marketing and vernacular content, or a combination of the two, to reach your audience and build credibility. For instance, influencers can spread social awareness messages in the various regional languages your audience is most comfortable with to get the word across.
Of course, brands in the healthcare space are best positioned to launch medical marketing strategies during this time. A hospital specializing in the treatment of diabetes can provide content specifically designed to help at-risk diabetes patients protect themselves from the virus. Below is an awareness video created by Dr. V Mohan, which exemplifies this:
But virtually any sector can offer content of value during this time. For instance, an early learning education brand can start offering online webinars to continue a child's education despite schools being closed. These strategies can help users build a positive association with your brand that will outlast the pandemic.
The COVID-19 crisis has shown us that empathy is one of the most powerful ways to connect with your audience. Brands need to listen closely to what their audience is saying and sharing on different platforms and then respond accordingly in a way that builds solidarity. It will also be useful to take a step back and audit your new marketing campaigns and messaging to check if they are having the intended effect. All too often, a well-meaning ad can be downplayed by an insensitive 'Subscribe Now' button that pops up at the end of it.
This presentation covers the blueprint that brands should follow to engage with their customers during the coronavirus crisis and examples of some of the brands who have been most successful at it.
Are there any existing evergreen brand assets like ebooks and whitepapers on your website that need to be updated and improved? Or perhaps, there have been long-standing plans to create new guides, a new video or webinar series or new pages on your website. Most companies have ideas in the pipeline which never go live because of a lack of time or organizational bandwidth. The relative slowdown due to the Coronavirus could often translate into a lesser workload. This means you can finally take all of those ideas off the backburner and actually start bringing them to life! You can approach this time as an opportunity to revamp your existing brand assets and create new ones that will rake in results once the Coronavirus clears up.
Just as important as spreading accurate information about the virus is spreading accurate information about your brand itself. Since most physical outlets are shut, you should ensure that the most accurate information about your working hours is updated on your GMB listings and on social platforms. Change your working hours to 'Closed' if you have a physical presence and are not operational. If you are an e-commerce brand and are unable to ship products, make sure that your database of consumers receives a notification about it and that this information is displayed on your website.
While the situation might be grim now, there's no doubt that it will pass eventually. Brands need to gear up for when this happens by putting in place a contingency plan. This is especially true of the travel, hospitality and entertainment industry. Once the pandemic clears, the world isn't going to go back to normal overnight. Post-Coronavirus consumers are very likely to still be fearful of travel or of visiting crowded locations like malls and movie theatres. Experts postulate that there will be ten major shifts even once the coronavirus pandemic clears up:
This presentation goes into the above ten factors and breaks down how brands can navigate through them to increase their ROI on post-COVID-19 marketing.
In this scenario, brands need to put in place a holistic full-funnel marketing plan to instil confidence in their audience and reassure them of the safety of their safety. Special promotional activities and offers might be required to help brands gain traction.
The sudden spread of the Coronavirus has certainly come as a shock to consumers and brands everywhere. But with the right strategies, brands can emerge from this trying period with greater brand equity, more engaged audiences and powerful new assets. The most important thing to focus on now, of course, is to stay safe until this tides over!
Marketing is all around us. It is more than the ads we see plastered across billboards, the jingles on our radios, and the ads on our TVs. With new digital platforms mushrooming, marketing has definitely evolved over the first decade of the 21st century. Having said that, there are certain aspects of marketing that form the crux of it and have remained timeless essentials that work to build a brand. Here are three such trends:
The art of storytelling remains powerful and paramount in the world of marketing. Simply because stories serve as effective communication that consumers connect with. Things that move us, be it with humour, emotion, or anything else, leave an impact, and brands have been quick to grasp the many benefits of utilizing this. Using storytelling captures attention and reels people in to see the story through to the end. This increases brand recall, awareness, and more importantly a connection with a brand that consumers can identify with.
This is best understood through stories of how some brands used engaging narratives to set the stage to pack an emotional or meaningful punch, or vox-pop videos to increase engagement. Be it the films that BMW launched in the early 2000s to showcase their cars or the recent Puma campaign on what it is to be a “proper” woman that used the stories of successful women like Mary Kom, Dutee Chand, Anjali Lama, and others, to celebrate and give expression to individuality and women empowerment. The common aspect of both these campaigns is effective storytelling that got the audience’s attention. This is an evergreen trend that will continue to be the most important aspect of marketing.
Our #DearManHoldThePan social experiment campaign with WonderChef used impactful storytelling to address gender disparity, starting in the kitchen, between a woman’s role in the kitchen in comparison to that of a man. Cooking is an essential life skill that shouldn’t be gendered as a role, and this is the story we wanted to bring out. The video sees conversations with different men and women based on their real-life experiences, notably proving that women still bear the brunt of kitchen responsibilities. Garnering over 2 million combined views on Facebook and Instagram, the video went viral upon its launch, with scores of people coming forward in agreement. Our influencer campaign #IHeldThePan had the likes of Jay Bhanushali, Swapnil Joshi and 73 other such famous personalities speak up for the cause, proving that storytelling is not only a great way to showcase your creativity, but also guarantees results.
How many times have we tried a product just because a friend said it worked well for them? We all do this. Hearing from someone else that a certain product worked for them, or about an interesting ad that piqued their interest can do wonders for a brand. This is where influencer marketing comes into play and this type of word-of-mouth advertising has remained a strong driver for customer engagement. Brands have employed influencers and celebrities alike to promote their products for them.
People follow these personalities as they can identify closely with them and want to be like them. Word of mouth creates an image of trust and reliability around the product and serves as first-hand product testimonies.
Case in point, Himalaya facial wipes, which focused solely on marketing through word of mouth, employed influencers from a range of different niches - from lifestyle and fashion. These influencers used facial wipes and created engaging content on both their blogs and social media handles. The content was eye-catching, tailored to the kind of followers each influencer had garnered. By exuding class through the product itself, and reliability through the firsthand nature of its marketing, their facial wipes were featured in images across the globe, helping them to amass a total impression of 10 lakh and a total engagement and clicks of 1.7 lakhs.
With the objective of connecting Bewakoof with the relevant audience, we partnered with 9 millennial influencers from across India on TikTok. We asked them to create content to promote Bewakoof’s merchandise, with a call-to-action encouraging viewers and followers to download the app. The videos used the popular method of displaying before and after transformations, showing them as their most stylish selves once they wore Bewakoof’s line of apparel. This word-of-mouth marketing drove engagement and helped Bewakoof achieve over 25,000 app installs and more than 750 conversions, with a great return on ad spends. These results drive home the fact that consumers are more likely to listen to people they look up to, who vouch for the reliability of a product.
As we mentioned before, people connect with brands more when they identify with them. One of the key ways to make that happen is by creating personalised content for audiences. It is a crucial part of the customer journey and the experience itself. This is why brands incorporate personalisation with three relevant and significant elements in their marketing strategies - geographic, demographic and language. Personalisation, as a trend has remained unchanging because of how fundamental it is in any campaign. Segmenting your audiences and showing them customised messaging based on their likes and interests can positively influence any campaign and the brand connect. Personalised design and content, too, play an integral role in delivering results.
With marketers having access to real-time data and AI coming into play, personalisation is going to become a lot more accurate, making the customer journey much more enjoyable if used the right way.
In order to bring out the long-term rewards of investing in mutual funds, we helped Sundaram run ads that showcased the end results of doing so. We created ads with customized investment journeys for different audience segments. These ads displayed different visuals which implied that by investing in mutual funds, people could reach their financial goals to achieve their dreams. For example, we targeted travel enthusiasts who searched for travel and investment-related brands and competitor keywords by placing ads on travel sites. Similarly, we ran personalized ads for car enthusiasts who had also searched for investment-related keywords. In our targeting segments, we excluded audiences who searched for car parts, servicing or accessories to ensure relevant audiences saw the ads. To add to that, the ads used images customized for a better fit instead of generic stock images. This resulted in a staggering 91% increase in conversion rates, a 32% decrease in cost per lead, and a 39% increase in click-through rates. This goes to show that personalisation gets messages across better, with higher impact.
So while this decade saw some great new marketing trends come up, only the methods that get to the heart of the matter and look at long-term gains really stick their landing. As the world around us changes, these techniques also evolve and grow to accommodate newer inputs. With a whole new decade upon us, marketing in 2020 will see new technologies unfurl and change the playing field, pulling brands to think out of the box.
This article was originally published in Business Standard.
The most important factor that will compel consumers to choose one brand over the other is not the actual benefits of one, but the existing relationship they have with the brand and their perception of it. The most effective digital marketing strategy for FMCG brands is to consistently engage with their customers by reaching out to them through social media platforms. With consumers spending more time on social media than ever before, digital has been driving FMCG sales in India. The Google India Search Insights 2018 revealed that by 2020, $45 billion of FMCG sales in India will be influenced by the internet. Households who have internet access spend 2x more on FMCG products, making them very important for brands. But effective social media marketing goes deeper than merely posting a few updates. Here are the top social media trends that are taking the FMCG sector by storm.
Customers don’t respond well to generalised messages. They want to feel like a brand truly understands their needs and is personally speaking to them. This is why brands need to communicate to their consumers as individuals and not as a homogenous group. Social media offers brands a number of ways to create personalised messaging strategies. Brands can target specific psychographic segments and developed specialised content for them. Retargeting allows brands to showcase products that consumers have already expressed interest in along with similar products. This offers customers a curated selection of products which can improve the quality of leads generated and increase conversion rates.
The biggest advantage digital marketing has over traditional marketing is that it allows brands to have a two-way conversation with their customers. Doing this humanises a brand for consumers, which helps them develop a more meaningful relationship with it. For brands to encourage a conversation with their customers, they need to be active on relevant social media platforms and keep a close track of all brand mentions. Many times, consumers will specifically mention brands they are currently using or ones that they love. Responding to these consumers will help them feel closer to your brand and will encourage brand loyalty, which is crucial for the FMCG sector.
However, not all mentions are positive. When your consumers have a negative experience with your brand, they are very likely to speak about it on social media. Ignoring these instances can do even greater harm for brands. Instead, brands can turn this into an opportunity to improve their brand image and retain customers. By responding to negative brand mentions, offering compensations or special goodies, FMCG brands can change perceptions and turn negative comments into an opportunity for relationship building.
While personalising your marketing strategy is undoubtedly important, the challenge for brands is to do this while talking to thousands of customers. With rapid improvements in AI technology, chatbots have become one of the most popular tools for brands to interact with their customers. Chatbots can instantly respond to customer queries, gain information about them and even guide them towards making a purchase. In the realm of online shopping, chatbots can act as personal shoppers, helping customers finding products related to what they’re looking for and suggesting others that they might be interested in. With chatbots now available on Facebook Messenger, it has become easier than ever for brands to implement them on their pages.
Instagram Stories are one of the most useful features brands need to take advantage of. While the concept of ‘ephemeral content’ first originated on Snapchat, Instagram Stories has quickly overtaken it to become the more popular medium for it. Staying active on Instagram Stories helps you engage more with your customers, tell your brand story in a creative way and promote your products. A key feature which makes Stories more valuable for brands than Snapchat is that it allows you to tag and link to pages. This can help FMCG brands drive traffic to their website or shop for products. Stories can also increase user engagement through polls, contests and user-generated content.
Influencer marketing is one of the most powerful avenues for FMCG brands to explore in 2018 and beyond. It helps brands build credibility, widen their consumer base and even drive sales. A study by Nielsen found that 92% of consumers trust earned media (such as recommendations from influencers) over brand communications. By promoting your product through a network of relevant influencers, you can build awareness in a more organic way.
When Himalaya launched their new facial wipes, they activated a large pool of influencers for their campaign #WipesOnTheGo. These fashion and lifestyle influencers posted extensively about the facial wipes on their social media channels. Bloggers also wrote reviews of the product so their followers could learn more about it. By using influencer marketing, Himalaya was able to build awareness of the product among their target audience in a very short period of time.
A rise in disposable income along with the widespread penetration of affordable smartphones and mobile data have made consumers in tier 2 and 3 cities increasingly important for brands. While these cities have always been major markets for FMCG brands, especially those in the lower and middle segments, traditional marketing for these brands have always focused on traditional mediums like television and print. But as more of these audiences come online, brands will need to reach them through digital platforms as well. A Google and KPMG report found that almost 90% of rural users are more likely to respond to digital ads that are in their local language. Communicating with these users in the language they understand best also helps brands build trust.
One of the best examples to illustrate how powerful bi-lingual content can be for FMCG brands is Kovai pazhamudir Nilayam. With almost all their marketing efforts targeted towards audiences in tier 2 and 2 cities and towns in India, Patanjali has made extensive use of regional content. This could be an important factor in their dominance of the Indian FMCG market.
While brands have primarily used social media for brand building and awareness, the role of social media today extends far beyond that. FMCG brands can now use social media to directly drive sales. Reducing the amount of time and steps required for a consumer to purchase a product can motivate them to complete a purchase. In the traditional marketing process, consumers would gain brand awareness and recall through social media and then decide on whether to purchase the product at a later stage in an offline store. By making products easily available when promoting a product, brands can speed up a consumer’s decision-making process and compel them to actually make the purchase.
Facebook has enabled brands to showcase products used in a video or post along with a link to where users can purchase it. When users click on the link, they are shown a description of the product along with an option to purchase it on the website. Instagram is also rolling out a new ‘Shop’ feature that can help users purchase products that are tagged just by clicking on them. Making your products easily available on digital platforms is crucial for a complete social media strategy.
Videos aren’t just the future of marketing, they’re an important tool brands should start using immediately. For FMCG brands, in particular, video content could directly translate into sales. Surveys have shown that around 74% of users who had watched an explainer video about a certain product, eventually purchased it. Videos can be one of the best ways to help your audience understand your product better in a very short period of time. If you are selling your products online, creating videos is even more important. 57% of consumers have responded that they were more confident about purchasing a product online after watching a video about it.
But it isn’t just explainer videos that convert. Videos with humour content perform extremely well on social media as they connect with consumers on a personal level. They also help you build a relationship with your audience that goes beyond just your product offerings. One of the best examples is On1y, a premium spice brand with a signature grinder to ensure you get maximum flavour. They chose to speak about their product USP in an unusual way and effectively use humour to capture the attention of their audience.
Brands have for a long time kept a safe distance from social issues, for fear of alienating a large section of their consumer base. Doing so today, however, might not earn brands any benefits. Millennial consumers, in particular, are more likely to have a positive perception of a brand if it takes a stand on pressing social issues. According to a study by Sprout Social, around two-thirds of consumers want brands to voice out their opinions on social issues. Showing support for a social movement can help build a brand’s personality and help them form an emotional bond with their customers.
While getting involved in political issues can still be tricky, there are many social and environmental issues that brand can and should take a stand on. But this doesn’t mean that brands should voice their opinion on every social issue that crops up. The key here is to ensure that your message is in line with your brand offerings and that it doesn’t seem opportunistic. Nothing can alienate consumers faster than a brand that appears to be using a social movement for profit. You don’t have to look further than Pepsi’s controversial video that trivialised social protests to understand how insensitive communication can backfire on a brand.
If a customer’s relationship with your brand is on a purely transactional basis, then they are unlikely to develop any loyalty or emotional connection to your brand. These social media trends can help brands create a personalised, user-centric marketing strategy which will help create a lasting connection with consumers.
With the quick rise in demand for Influencer Marketing, there is a need for tools and platforms to aid brands identify the right influencers and engage them. Many platforms have cropped up that either aid you to identify the influencers yourself via a DIY tool or connect you to the right influencers for your brand based on your requirements. Some of them are free while others are either freemium or paid platforms. Let us take a look at the top platforms to discover Influencers for your brand and help you connect and engage them in your marketing campaigns.
Over the last decade, digitisation has transformed the travel industry quite dramatically. Gone are the days where travellers visit the counter to make a booking. To plan a travel is now a click away; right from the research for the trip to booking the tickets and hotel accommodation. Driven by digitisation, the travel sector, now an online sector, feels the constant need to build and foster relationships with its customers. This practice provides them with seamless experiences to retain customers and sustain themselves in this competitive marketplace. Since the travel industry is a highly competitive space, it is essential to keep up with the latest trends for greater success.
Here are five most trending digital marketing developments in transforming the travel industry.
In today’s fast-paced world, everyone prefers getting information on-the-go. From finding a cab to booking tickets, the internet has taken over our lives and has given us the convenience of getting things done right from our phones. This revolutionary trend has led to the increase of mobile first approach.
Travel companies, too, are making effective use of device-optimized solutions in fresh ways to draw more and more guests towards their travel services. They have observed how users find it a lot easier to Google search destinations or travel portals on their mobile phones or at most on iPads / tablets. They know mobile-responsive websites is the up and coming trend. If your travel company website is not mobile optimised, you are out of the radar and you are losing out on a large chunk of the audience.
A classic example is that of a Business traveller. Business travellers have traditionally made their travel decisions and hotel bookings online. Due to time constraints, they seem to be switching over to their cell phones to do these bookings. These travellers are constantly checking out new, attractive travel packages and affordable hotel stays. They then try their best to align them with business trips to convert their business trips into leisure (Bleisure). They are on the constant lookout for seamless experiences on their mobile phones.
Sterling Holidays one of India’s leading holiday experience companies have optimised their website to connect with their potential customers.
Today’s digital times has seen the emergence of Facebook as a household name. Gone are the days when Facebook was just considered as a networking site to keep in touch with family and friends. It is now a highly effective marketing platform to showcase your product or service. It even has the power to influence users and inspire them to travel and explore new places.
Online research and studies have shown that travel companies that engage with online audiences on Social Media, tend to leverage their brand image more effectively. This leads to an increase in the number of followers, reviewers and influencers which, in turn, results in higher ROI. Travel companies are regularly making their presence felt on influential digital platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter through creative posts, carousel ads, canvas ads and Call to Action (CTA) ads, depending on the nature of the advertisement.
Let’s take a quick example of Thomas Cook. They run ads with strong CTA that not only reaches out to their target audience and promotes favourable brand identity but also boosts online sales to a great extent.
Your brand too can be a preferred choice for travellers, if you have adequately engaged audiences on your social media pages. Be active on your social media handles to create an engaging post, which inspires your followers to travel. Do not forget to use relevant hashtags to increase the visibility of your brand and make the post go viral in no time. Twitter users generally tend to create a positive buzz around travel brands by sharing good travel experiences. Most travellers today, post pictures while on vacation on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. You can simply repost them on your page to showcase your credibility to prospective targets.
Recommendations work wonders in influencing most people’s spending habits. It can bring in more leads than expensive promotional digital advertising as nearly everyone today wants to check the reliability of the travel services they are planning to purchase online. However, you need to ensure that your services are always up to the mark and are of top quality as a single negative comment can take your entire marketing strategy downhill. Online reputation management can make or break your brand so when such an unfortunate event occurs, the key to spring back up is to respond to the customer immediately and do the needful as quickly as possible. To know How You Can Efficiently Track And Respond To Feedback On Social Media, See Our Detailed Blog.
Retargeting is a foolproof strategy to generate quality leads for your business. In this technique, travel companies create a custom audience of travellers who have either visited their resorts or posted about their services online. From check-ins to reviews, all the users who have remotely been associated with the brand are clustered into a custom audience. Ads are then generated keeping this target audience in mind. Since these users are already familiar with your brand, converting them into long-term customers is easier than approaching first-time users.
It’s also quite interesting, how booking portals have begun to integrate social media profiles of passengers to offer personalised deals. They use pop-up questionnaires as a medium to ask customers their preferences. The customers too, don’t mind filling up a couple of questions if they were to receive customization in their bookings. Scanning through social media profiles of passengers, to seat them next to people of similar interests on flights, is the latest development. This analysis is usually done at the time of bookings itself. The right data helps travel companies in assessing their customer needs, based on interests, demographics, possible budget range, desired vacation destinations, etc. and ultimately creating a better travel experience for them.
Content is the backbone of all the digital marketing efforts undertaken by a travel company. Just like how reviews and recommendations can bring amazing results in generating leads, securing a top rank for your travel website through SEO certainly helps your business grow further and increases your popularity among other holiday companies. Content plays a significant role in SEO efforts in the form of blogs, infographics, videos and imageries. It is important to create content which your target audience will find engaging. As far as travel companies are considered, relevant videos work as the best SEO strategy.
The videos used to market a travel company can feature panoramic views of the hotels (exteriors/room interiors), the amenities offered, local attractions and the things to remember before visiting places, to name a few. These low-cost videos can tell your brand story and can be as simple as white board clips, GIFs, simple animations or even a series of beautiful pictures. Sterling Holidays have attracted thousands of viewers through simple but innovative videos.
Content creation through imagery has also proven to be very effective for many digital marketers. Coloured visuals increase people’s willingness to buy. For instance, Instagram and Pinterest are all about visually appealing content through pictures, GIFs and videos. This resonates well with the travel industry. Akbar Travels is the perfect example of how to make your content stronger to attract more visitors to your travel website. Their Instagram page has a mix of beautifully captured images and GIF videos that are visually appealing. This inspires users to travel which in turn leads to a higher rate of conversion.
Few of the top travel-related searches performed on Google are as follows:
If your website, blogs, or videos address any of these concerns, you have nailed it. However, there is a catch here. Curating content is not a one-time effort. Google algorithms change time to time, which makes it crucial to keep your travel website as updated and as optimised as possible to maximise the relevance and generate higher revenues.
Influencer marketing, as the name suggests, is marketing your brands through specialists whose opinions, reviews and testimonials draw the attention of the press and public. Travel influencers are specifically those, who are avid travellers either to a particular destination, specific resort or a type of destinations (mountains, beaches, holy, spiritual places). They also include profound travellers who have a huge fan following on Instagram or Twitter and those whose profiles reverberate with demographics of your target audience. They are paid for curating content for travel holiday packages. Their words are generally taken at face value as their content is constructed to strongly fit in, contextually. If you are looking at using influencer marketing, read our blog on tips for your first Influencer marketing campaign.
However, to ensure that influencers hired to write for your brand are making a mark, it is important that they know what your brand stands for, its aims and objectives and whether your brand reflects well with their style of writing. For instance, if you aim to lure readers into a strong call to actions (CTAs), it primarily will require you to look for an influencer who invites followers to experience the travel adventures for themselves. On the contrary, if you are only inclined towards promotions, you can explore a range of influencers to engage with your brand and post images with captions on your company’s social media handles.
For example, Sterling Holidays were on the look out for an influencer to promote their latest resort in Goa. We approached renowned travel blogger Anuradha Goyal and offered her a two day stay at the plush new resort. She wrote about her memorable time at the spectacular location in her blog and posted the same on all her social media handles.
Though these top five trends are few of the most effective digital trends a travel company can take up, there are a plethora of other strategies which can also be used for a guaranteed increase in ROI. With endless nuances coming up in the online environment, new additions are always welcomed to the existing lists at any given point in time. To illustrate this, let’s take an example of the newest trend that can overwhelm travellers before they make purchase decisions – Virtual Reality. This trend has begun to show its effects in technologically advanced parts of the world and will soon be replicated around the globe.
We are glad to Partner with the Orange Flower Awards, organised by Women’s Web. The Orange Flower Awards are India’s first awards for women for digital excellence. The initiative aims at recognising women who are digital creative superstars. This encompasses women who are writers, cartoonists, social media mavens, photographers.
The Women’s Web is an online platform that enables women around the country to talk about their real stories and experiences. The organisation is the largest online community of women in India with 8 million readers since 2010. An inspiration to 800+ women entrepreneurs, the platform hosts 1500+ writers and bloggers. There is a wide diversity in the kind of topics that are featured on the platform. One can find women’s views on social issues, parenting advice, relationships, entrepreneurship, travel, lifestyle and even Tech and Finance! Started in 2010, Women’s Web has been growing with the love and readership of women in India and has been applauded by The Hindu, Deccan Chronical, PepperTV and won many awards such as the Women Icon and Biz Divas award.
The premise behind hosting the Orange Flower Awards is that women in India are continually innovating and reinventing to change the digital world we live in. Any woman above the age of 18 years can nominate themselves or someone else for the Awards. Although the awards are meant to recognise the work that women have done in this field, nominations from men are also welcome in specific categories where their work has empowered women in some form.
The Jury panel comprises of renowned journalists and authors like Gita Aravamudan, Kiran Manral, Ashok Banker, Mita Kapur, Samhita Arni and Sowmya Rajendran. Other panellists include Archana Doshi, Natasha Bhadwar and Aparna V Singh, who is the Founder and CEO of Women’s Web. The structure planned is going through digital and also has on ground events in 5 cities – Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Kolkata and Hyderabad. The gala awards night is scheduled to take place on the 8th of January, 2017 in Bengaluru.
By now, everyone knows what Instagram is – the social media platform that enable its users to take pictures and short videos and share them in the app (and on multiple other platforms as well, but that is a completely different blog for another day). Nevertheless, a new day is on the rise… Instagram is not only hashtags and pretty pictures. Over the last few years, the app has evolved from a teenage forum where girls would hit like when their BFF uploaded yet another selfie, to becoming a platform of huge potential revenue when it comes to all sorts of business.
As of now, Instagram drives sales with a high average in orders, and according to Shopify, Instagram referrals actually results in an average order value of $65, which is second only to Polyvore’s $66.75. Even though most visits will not end up resulting in a purchase, the ones that do, will result in considerably higher revenue than other social networks –take for example YouTube’s $37.63 average order value. Another major piece of the puzzle is the number of active users, and seeing as the user base for Instagram in India alone is estimated to be almost 6 million active mobile users every month the question should no longer be “should your company have an Instagram Handle”, but rather “how do you maximize your income through your Instagram”? E-commerce, Fashion, Real Estate, Hospitality, Medical Care… you name it, every single industry can profit from Instagram, when used correctly. Read on, and we will make sure that you are fully prepared to dive into the ocean of endless possibilities by teaching you how to leverage Instagram to build relations that ultimately can help to drive conversion with this unique social media platform.
Just like the key to any good fairy tale is to start it off with “once upon a time” and end it with “and they lived happily ever after”, the key to crack the Instagram code, is your pictures. They are easier to digest than text, and they are more effective for evoking emotions, which will enhance the chances that your message will be remembered. When it comes to visuals on social, Instagram is supreme. You want to use images that drives sales, and studies show the first real data on Instagram’s capability to drive sales and perhaps more important, the essentials of a picture that boosts sales conversions. The University of Wisconsin conducted a study and learned valuable insights, which we are more than happy to share with you. Here follows a list, in random order, of what their study showed was important when it comes to what type of pictures that drives sales:
This knowledge can be seen as somewhat of a hurdle for some, since the elements that used to inspire engagement (likes and comments) are not the same as the ones that now trigger sales conversions. No need to worry though, this simply means that one must now use a mix of criteria when creating Instagram photos.
You can use multiple tools for Instagram including some focussed on e-commerce.
Posting user generated content is one of the most powerful ways to boost the credibility of your company. As consumers, we tend to perceive content originating from our peers as being authentic, because we trust that the everyday community has less of a vested interest in making a corporation look god compared to its employees. Keep in mind that consumer decision making is not always driven by price or quality, but in fact, a lot of consumers choose brands they associate with a lifestyle that sits well with them.
For example, if you buy a BMW, you are not just buying a car, you are buying into a lifestyle. Visual user generated content, which basically is the foundation Instagram is built on, is all the more impactful, as it allows us to see products being used in real-life situations, which again makes it easier for us to imagine ourselves using these products or services. So re-post your followers content if it aligns with yours, because not only does this help to create a bond with the consumer through shared interests, it also portraits the product in real life. The emotional bond that is created when using UGC is exactly why ads with this content converts better on Instagram than the refined studio shots created by professionals.
Another very important tool to use is to leverage the reach of influencers on instagram. It is a known fact that consumers are more likely to trust a recommendation from friends and family as opposed to a brand or a vendor. This is why it is good business for companies to use social media Influencers and user generated content to get the word out about their product, offer, service or whatever they wish to convey to their online audience. Influencer marketing has the power to drive sales, sign ups and app installs by using links and promotion codes which can be tracked. Tracking and analysing the data and ‘Call Per Click’ are numbers that are going to help you modify your spend in order to generate revenue from Instagram. Instagram also its own analytics tool now.
Determine what metrics you care to track and make sure you keep a weekly or maybe a monthly report to monitor your progress. You also have to take advantage of targeting since Instagram now has the same targeting, creative and measurement abilities as Facebook. It is up to you to use the features and get the best possible results from your Instagram ads and campaigns.
Brands are excited about the success they have seen with website conversion ads on Instagram and the potential the platform has to offer –and quite frankly, so are we! Tell us what has been your experience in using Instagram. Click here to continue reading blog articles around Instagram.
The sixth edition of the Digital Chai Pe Charcha was held at our office on 27th August 2016. It received an excellent response with about 15 participants including entrepreneurs, professionals, digital marketers and social media influencers taking an active part. The topic of discussion was the secret to a successful Influencer marketing campaign.
Here’s a quick summary of the key takeaways from the session:
Word-of-mouth advertising has always been the most powerful tool, and influencer marketing is WOM Advertising 2.0. In simple terms, it means shaping the opinions about your brand using the most influential people amidst your potential customers. If you are a brand, you make friends with the most influential people at a place where you want to sell. Now, they talk about your brand and recommend you to their followers (potential customers).
The main reason that brands are looking at influencer marketing are:
Given that word of mouth, marketing generates more sales than paid advertising; more brands are beginning to think about influencer marketing as part of their branding strategy. In the last 12-16 months, we have seen many interesting influencer marketing campaigns in India run by the likes of Cadbury, Allen Solly, Ford & much more.
For any influencer campaign, selecting the right influencer and partnering with them is crucial. Checking the influencer's reach is the first thing you would need to do. This can be measured in terms of the number of followers/fans or the number of visitors to their blog/posts. Always remember to choose quality over quantity.
The following are the parameters you should be using while choosing the right influencer.
What ROI to expect?
Based on our interactions with influencers, the survey we ran amongst influencers, and learnings from various events such as Social Media Week Bengaluru, there are a few challenges in influencer marketing.
Those of you who missed the first four editions of the Digital Chai Pe Charcha can check them out below:
You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter! Check out the hashtag #DigitalCPC for more details on the next Digital Chai Pe Charcha meet.
It was an interesting evening spent at MDI Gurgaon with students of Consumer Behaviour. We were talking about the role of Communities, Content & Influencer Marketing on Consumer Behaviour. See the below slide share for details on the discussion we had.
The students had a lot of questions, especially around influencer marketing and its ethics. Many of these can be found in the FAQs of Influencer Marketing here.
It was a full house at the Social Media Week, Bangalore this year! A great line up of speakers and interesting mix of panel discussions kept us all hooked to our seats. The event was organized over two days and witnessed some great industry experts share their knowledge and experiences with the crowd. Be it two 18-year-old drop outs building a child-caring app - ‘MyChild’ which is now used in more than 135 countries or a ladysingle-handedlyy fighting against one age-old social stigma – Menstruation by using comic books and social media - It was everything a Social Media Week should be.
The event started on a high note with India’s Ad Guru, Prahlad Kakar’s session on Brand Building Through Story Telling. He took us through a journey we would never forget. Sharing stories from his personal life and experiences captivated the audience. A maestro at storytelling, he gave away some important tips on how to build a brand by telling its story in a manner that makes the brand a hero!
Following Kakar’s session, we had Arnav Ghosh from Blippar India talk about Visual Marketing and Changing Consumer Context. The session addressed the scope of Visual Search and how we’re moving towards a future where Physical reality and augmented reality will blend into one. He was highly lauded for his talk and presentation of Blippar, an app that turns everyday objects into consumer-centric interactions. We will be writing a blog post later this month on how Visual & Voice search are going to change digital marketing forever.
Speaking of Visual and Voice, how can one not mention one of the most interesting sessions on cricket by cricket journalists Prem Panicker, Gaurav Kalra and Bengaluru-based popular Twitter personality Ramesh Srivats. Cricket has not only changed as a game but also how people look at it now and what they have to say about every little aspect. Apart from taking part in debates and writing out blogs, Twitter has become the new medium to express or oppose one’s opinion. Though Twitter is infamous for its social media ‘Wars’, it has also given an option for fans to follow the game through live-tweeting. Ramesh agrees saying, “Discussions on cricket are like everything else on Twitter; part stupid and trolling, part insightful and intelligent.”
There were a couple of more interesting talks on People Intelligence and Monetizing Digital Content by Amartpreet Kaur and Mahesh Narayanan, Saavn respectively. There was a very interesting panel discussion with Ganga Ganapathi, VP, Ogilvy as the moderator and Anshul Chaturvedi, G.M, Wohoo and Anjali Gupta, IBM as panel members discussing on ROE (Return on Engagement). They talked about how digital has become an integral part of marketing strategies for brands and what engagement means to the brands. The three of them shared their views and thoughts on how to measure engagement and the effectiveness of campaigns online. Many a times engagement is a great short term goal before arriving at return on investment (which for many brands is leads, sales, revenue and referrals).
The evening continued on an exciting pitch and witnessed digital expert Kiruba Shankar shared his knowledge on the future of communication and how podcasts play an important role in it. The session was interactive and had a lot of guests sharing their thoughts and ideas. Kiruba himself has multiple podcasts which can be seen here.
Day one of the Social media week ended on an exciting note and anticipation for the second day was higher. Sandy Carter from IBM shared her views on Social Intelligence and how important it is for a marketer to identify negative and positive sentiments. She is responsible for IBM’s worldwide focus on startups and having her kickoff day 2 at the event was an absolute delight. She spoke at length at about how even startups are starting to leverage big data and actionable people intelligence to connect with consumers around the world. She gave an example of Chocolate Jhony who has been able to leverage SnapChat and other social media channels to expand to multiple geographies.
Following Sandy Carter’s sessions were various more interesting sessions on Influencer Marketing, Snapchat and on breaking a taboo through social media. A gripping debate on “The ugly face of influencer marketing” amongst some of the industry experts like Kiruba Shankar, NanditaIyer, Karthik Srinivasan and G.Nivedithwas probably one of the best sessions of the day. There was a lot of discussion on whether influencers should sell their soul by reviewing and writing about topics that they don’t personally use. For example, should a technology blogger partner with a beer brand or a fashion brand. Challenges faced by influencers were also covered and many of these are similar to the Influencer Industry Report we had launched earlier this year.
There was also a stand-up comedy by Satish Perumal whose rib-ticklers cracked up every single soul in the room! His joke of the day had to be - In a city where people are dying because of potholes, the only person who can use a helipad has left the country!
A jolly-good week with people from all walks of life coming together to tell their story on how social media – a medium – is more than just Sharing, Liking or Commenting, was what SMW’16 was all about. While leaving the event with the same enthusiasm was one thing, learning to ‘Tell A Story To Sell Your Brand’ was another insight that we take back to our working desks.
For those who could not make it to the event, here are some key bytes from the sessions from both the days –
“Storytelling is the heart of every communication” – Mr. PrahladKakar
“Visual Marketing is the bridge between the physical and digital worlds” – Arnav Ghosh, Blippar
“Content is always paid for, either the brand pays for it or the users pay directly to consume the content” – Mahesh Narayanan, Saavn
“A brand is the strongest when it is clear about what it has to offer to its customers” – Ganga Ganapathi, VP, Ogilvy
“As the industry matures, most Influencers will have disclosures and be more true to their identity” – Kiruba Shankar
Social media gives you a new kind of surround sound from cricket matches. – PremPanicker
“Social intelligence moves the needle of your social media presence to social business”. – Sandy Carter, IBM
“Occasional trending does not build long-term emotional connect with consumers” – Alokedeep Singh, Titan
For those who attended the event, do share your experiences and highlights in the comments below!
Have a particular interest that you are extremely passionate about? Then blogging is the perfect way to start exploring your interest. Blogging is a hobby or a way to build your brand. It is a powerful tool, which can be a great PR for you and your brand. A blog is a simple, easy-to-use platform for connecting with and sharing timely and relevant information with customers. It’s your direct communication channel.
From an online journal at 1,000 words per post to a simple 140-character Twitter feed, blogging has taken center stage largely because of how useful it has proven itself to be in almost all areas of business. If successful, blogging can be a good way to make money and a full time career path as well. However, before we start talking about making a career out of it, the first step is to determine a topic of interest and set up the blog.
To set up your blog hardly takes 30 minutes. If you are planning to start the blog, then here the various top blogging platforms that you can use.
The latest buzz word in the digital marketing world that is steadily catching up with brands is ‘Influencer Marketing’. Western companies have leveraged this strategy of marketing for the past few years and the trend is quickly catching up with Indian brands as well. Brands in India have actively come up with successful influencer campaigns for the past 2-3 years.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is a term that has risen from the realization of brands about the power, peer influence and customer recommendation has over other forms of marketing. Especially in a time, where consumers have started using social media in huge numbers and have been public about their views about brands and products. Brands have realized that people are largely influenced by second-hand information from opinion leaders and this has led to a lot of brands identifying top influencers in their respective fields to try and reach out to consumers better.
Voice of the Brand or Customers?
Social media marketing has brought about a quantum shift in the way marketing is done. It has moved the focus from “The Voice of the Brand” to “The Voice of the Customer”. The balance of power in the purchase funnel is now more skewed towards the customer & his peers, slowly changing the way brands market themselves. Earlier, the entire focus used to be about roping in a brand ambassador and roll out your story. Today, your story is okay but what really matters is the story that’s going on between the millions of bubbles on the social cloud. Add to that, the “bigger bubbles”- the social media influencers, and you are in for a different game altogether.
Word-of-mouth results in 200% sales in comparison to paid advertising
Yes, the above statistic is true, according to a McKinsey study. To delve deeper, they also result in 37% higher retention rate of customers1. Riding this trend of word-of-mouth/recommendation marketing, a form of marketing has gained prominence – Influencer Marketing.
What is Influencer Marketing?
The term “Influencer” in itself can be defined in 10 ways by 10 different people. And, each can be vindicated. A 2014 study by Augure2revealed the following:
Riding on the social media wave, #Influencer #Marketing has emerged as the next big thing. We have also recently launched our new initiative for Influencer Marketing in India which can be seen at www.influencer.in. In this context, the Social Beat Influencers’s Meet was held at the Hotel Vestin Park today. The guest list included content marketing experts, bloggers and social media influencers, as follows:
The agenda revolved around content marketing, its evolution and future trends. The key discussion points that came up for discussion are briefly mentioned as follows:
The meet ended on an enthusiastic note with demand for more such events in Chennai. We are equally excited about the next Influencer meet. Watch this space for more updates.
Firstly, thanks for the positive response to our article on top digital marketing courses and top venue booking websites in India. Now, we have come out with the list of top lifestyle bloggers in Chennai, as part of our series ontop bloggers & influencers in India. So, here goes the list, in no specific order:
This blog, aimed at individual travelers, inspires you to cut your strings holding you back and go out exploring. A great array of experiences and cultural perspectives from her travel. The visual aesthetics of the blog is worth mentioning. The lines – “Come wander with me”, aptly describe the essence of the blog.