Article | January 18, 2021
We may have entered a New Year, but we are still living in a world filled with lockdowns and restrictions. Still unable to hug our loved ones, online companionship is quite possibly, more important than ever before.
The last 12 months has shown online communities come together with social media influencers becoming the ultimate lockdown companions.
Amelia Neate, Senior Manager at Influencer Matchmaker explains why companionship is still big on the radar for 2021 and why she thinks it is here to stay.
Since March of last year, most of the population have found themselves spending more time indoors, whether that’s due to lockdown, working from home, furlough or maybe they have been shielding.
But because of that, human interaction has been limited and it doesn’t seem to be on the cards for anytime soon, either. And with a quarter of UK adults saying that lockdown has made them feel lonely, many have turned to social media influencers in a bid to feel less alone.
Helping each other out
Online companionship is much more than simply a one-way street. Whilst it primarily benefits consumers, social media followers and audiences, it also provides rapport for the influencers and brands, too.
Many influencers felt a responsibility to uplift their audiences, keep them company and deliver some much-needed entertainment during a time filled with such despair and crisis.
This, in turn, allowed social media influencers to create a deeper connection with their followers, and the feeling of responsibility provided them with something to focus on and strive for whilst they too, found themselves living a life under restriction.
With the temporary closure of retail alongside many other industries, social media has supplied brands and businesses with an opportunity to establish a brand-new relationship with customers that they may not have had otherwise.
Brands have been able to understand exactly what their customers want by spending more time communicating with them and getting them involved with the content they create and the brands they choose to work with.
As well as this, brands have been able to work closely (albeit virtually) with influencers to provide them with just that.
It isn’t just the relationship between brands, influencers and their audiences, though. Brands have used this time to build relationships with other brands, particularly through the use of social media.
Smaller, local, independent businesses of a similar vein have teamed up with one another to create bespoke packages, combining their products and services as a way to build brand awareness and help gain recognition.
Influencers have also been doing something very similar. ‘Follow Fridays’ have made a triumphant return to Instagram, with many influencers dedicating their time to promoting fellow content creators and sharing their work.
A sense of community
Influencers have worked hard to adapt their content to meet the newfound needs of their audience and to build a community.
The last year has seen an influx in the number of virtual book clubs, Facebook groups and podcasts, many of which have been created as a way to tackle boredom and loneliness - for both the creators and users.
With people forced to embrace daily Zoom calls with work as well as weekend catchups with family members, many have been seeking a distraction that isn’t too far from their norm.
Book clubs such as ‘Beth’s Book Club', founded by Beth Sandland, have blossomed during the coronavirus pandemic. Going from simply reading one book a month, this particular online community has upped the ante and has become a place to discuss their favourite reads and create new friends.
As well as the usual monthly discussion, this book club often features virtual get togethers, Q&A’s with popular authors and even yoga sessions, regularly providing members with something to look forward to.
Such communities have also been welcomed with open arms by royalty. The Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker Bowles, has also launched her very own Instagram book club. The Reading Room features conversations with authors and connects like-minded book lovers.
Facebook groups have also proven to be a popular source of escapism, with many celebrities and social media influencers creating members-only groups for their followers to join.
X-Factor star Sam Bailey created a ‘buddy up’ campaign via her Facebook group, Bailey’s Cuppa Crew. Aiming to help her fans combat loneliness, Sam encouraged them to make friends and even paired people up who would otherwise be spending Christmas alone, providing them with a way to enjoy their festive dinner over Zoom.
Influencers Lily Pebbles and The Anna Edit use a Facebook group to help with their ongoing podcast, ‘At Home With...’. The group enables listeners of the podcast to truly get involved, by sharing detailed feedback and requesting topics for episodes which really places them at the very heart of the podcast.
Similarly, health and fitness app Battle Ready 360, founded by Ollie Ollerton also have a members-only group, allowing users of the app to compete in friendly challenges, make friends and take some time for themselves.
Throughout the entirety of this pandemic, influencers have provided their followers with nothing but positivity, hope and a little inspiration.
A thought for the future
An end is in sight, although it may be a little further away than we initially thought.
But one thing that the pandemic has taught us, is the importance of companionship and the true power of social media influencers.
They are much more than online creators and entertainers, but friends, supporters and advocates for all that we believe in.
And with that being said, I firmly believe that the act of online companionship is something that will stick around, throughout 2021 and beyond.
Article | March 11, 2021
When you’re an expert in something, you forget that not everyone else is. Because website content, user experience and design best practices are like second nature to me, I now realize I was wrong about DIY websites. They are not a good idea.
Unless you are in marketing, don’t do it. You’ll make a mess.
This year, I’ve worked with a few companies who insisted on updating their websites with the new copy I created for them. These are brilliant companies lead by brilliant people who are leaders in their field. They are phenomenal clients, and I respect them tremendously.
But their websites are just … wow. And not in a good way.
Why DIY websites are a bad idea
Would you do your own dental work? Install and landscape a pool? Replace your home’s wiring and bring it up to code?
Now, some smart asses out there would say yes. Dentists, professional pool installers and electricians would say yes. But you get the idea.
The crux of my argument is:
Leave it to the experts.
And yes, I do realize that there are some amazing DIY website platforms out there. They were specifically created to help non-experts build a web presence.
But these platforms don’t let you color outside the lines, so to speak. Once you start changing the design of the theme or template, you are headed into wow-not-in-a-good-way territory.
The most common mistakes DIYers make
The biggest mistakes fall into three categories: content, user experience and design.
The number one content mistake I see is what I refer to as “inward-facing” copy. It’s about the company, not the client. Instead of speaking directly to the clients’ needs and saying, “We do this for you,” it’s more like, “We do this.”
It’s very me, me, me and we, we, we. Which is a big no, no, no. Your clients don’t care what you do. They care what you can do for them.
A lot of companies also write way too much, bunching words in dense paragraphs that no one is going to slog through. And because it’s so hard to write about yourself, messaging tends to be fuzzy. Essential elements, like calls-to-action, are often missing as well.
The list goes on, but if you add up just the above, you are left with a website that doesn’t make a good impression. And that leads me to user experience.
User experience mistakes
User experience, also known as UX, is an important niche within web design. Without a good UX, your bounce rate (how quickly people leave your website) will be very high.
(And yes, I know I’m a copywriter, but I have to understand UX to write good web copy.)
Most UX mistakes that DIYers make have to do with navigation.
For example, I see content broken out into too many pages. Instead of grouping a company’s history, approach, mission and values on one page, each of these topics get their own page. I don’t know of anyone who will patiently click through four pages of a website to learn this essential company information.
Good UX also ensures each page is a “closed loop,” aka, web visitors never hit a dead end. They can always navigate to another page from the page they’re on, whether it’s a contact form, a case study or a blog post. This ensures they always have more to do (and it keeps them on your website, which is a good thing).
Web design mistakes
Even though I was super into art when I was young, I never in a million years would attempt to design a website. It’s an art and a science.
Good web design uses different (but corresponding) fonts, colors and sizes to vary the texture of the copy. It also sizes and aligns images just right, adds contrasting blocks to signal you’re in a new section of content and keeps your eyes engaged and the brand visually coherent.
This is a tough balancing act that requires excellent graphic design skills.
As I alluded to above, I don’t mess around with it. If I did, my website would look like a first grader designed it. And that’s not exactly the vibe I want to give off.
So now what?
If you’re now thinking, “Oh crap, I wonder if my website is a POS,” I suggest hiring a marketing agency to do a website audit of your front end (what web visitors see) and back end (the configuration and apps that are running your site).
You might find out that your website only needs a few tweaks to. Or, you might find out it needs a full overhaul.
Either way, you’ll end up with a more functional website that better serves your clients. At the end of the day, it’s all about them anyway.
Article | March 4, 2020
Ads, AI, and social media have become the holy trinity of sales. Perfecting all three will help you become an unbeatable sales master whose path leads only to excellence. The road can be bumpy when you’re just starting out, but even the greatest masters were once apprentices. Patience, resilience, drive, and the following tips will help you reach your goals and supercharge your sales. There are numerous tactics for boosting sales, some more effective than others. Unless you’re just starting out, it’s safe to say you’ve already used some tried-and-true methods to keep your sales high. But times are evolving; new technologies keep emerging; consumer behavior and needs keep changing; all this is pushing you to transform as well.
Article | March 24, 2021
Who would have thought one-year ago that popular high-street stores would now be closing their doors for good? Or, that some of the country’s biggest brands would decide to focus solely on ecommerce?
Well, neither did we. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, that is exactly what has happened for many businesses, particularly within the fashion industry.
Now, we are living in a world completely dominated by social media and ecommerce, but what exactly does the future hold?
Here, we speak to Amelia Neate, Senior Manager at influencer marketing agency, Influencer Matchmaker, where she shares her predictions for the future of shoppable social media and social commerce.
The rise of ecommerce
As we have seen throughout the last 12 months or so, there has been a huge influx in the number of ecommerce businesses coming to the forefront of their respective industries. And this probably wouldn’t have happened without Covid-19. In fact, it definitely wouldn’t have.
The effects of the coronavirus pandemic have had a tremendous impact on several industries and sectors, many of which have been negative. However, it has accelerated the growth of ecommerce by approximately four to six years.
And, following the closure of numerous brands within Arcadia Group and physical stores in the form of Debenhams, it is proof that brands must ensure they stay relevant and adapt to the ever-changing needs of their consumers.
Social commerce: why is it so important?
Not only has ecommerce taken a front seat recently, but we have now welcomed a new industry trend aboard. A similar concept to ecommerce, social commerce consists of the buying and selling of a product or service within a social media platform.
With the number of social media users continuing to rise, and with 53 million active social media users in the UK alone, it is no surprises that brands and businesses have implemented a brand-new strategy to help boost sales.
And, with 75% of businesses intending to dedicate an entire budget to influencer marketing throughout 2021, it makes perfect sense for them to be targeting their consumers more directly - which is exactly what social commerce does.
Social commerce was well on its way to success in 2019, way before the pandemic had even hit, having generated an impressive $22 billion in the US alone. Social media is no longer simply a place to be confronted with tailored and personalised ads, but is a destination to shop and make purchases, too.
Currently, Facebook and Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) have a shoppable feature within their apps. This allows brands, businesses, and anyone else with a business account to link directly to a product within their image, taking consumers straight to the product page of their website.
What’s more, they are able to do all of that without even leaving the app they were originally on! Brands such as Zara and John Lewis are just two of the huge names that are utilising the apps and their new shoppable features.
In doing so, this allows consumers to shop and purchase products without having to sacrifice their time on social media.
We are all familiar with the likes of Instagram Stories and their popular swipe-up links. Well, this is taking it just that little bit further, and I don’t think it is going to stop there.
The future of social commerce
Shoppable social media is only going to become more widely used, and before we know it, we will be able to purchase an item with just one click – making it even more streamlined than it is currently.
With features such as IGTV, Guides and Reels becoming increasingly popular on Instagram, it won’t be long before we are replacing hyperlinks with direct purchase links here, too.
It comes as no surprise that currently, video is the preferred way to consume content, so just how long will it be until such features are integrated into the likes of YouTube and TikTiok?
My thoughts? It will happen sooner than we think.
Brands are continuing to steer away from traditional marketing methods and are working hard to build relationships with social media influencers to focus their budgets and campaigns on influencer marketing.
This is just the beginning for shoppable content and social commerce, and I for one, can’t wait to see where it takes us.