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 | February 23, 2020
Apart from the exciting filters on Instagram and cool stickers that help you out every time for your stories, we are about to tell you what else social media can do. The trends that are on-trend in 2020. There are many platforms where you are spending your time, but it is time to invest. Everyone wants followers and something pays off in their social media lives, right? That is why they are here. Now, we get to know how marketers use social media trends effectively.
The most important and basic thing about social media is the more connection you have, the more powerful the game is. If you are a blogger or owner of the brand, and you don’t have anything to post on your social media. Why would people follow you and stays on your profile? The time is about to make more and more new connections. You need to figure out the two main things, your audience and what they like. What are they finding? Connect with your audience and find what they want.
Article | February 10, 2020
We all are surrounded by Artificial Intelligence. From Siri to Alexa to Google Home, it’s influencing the age we live in and giving higher prospects to execute every task smartly. Most of us nowadays rely on voice search for help even in the simplest tasks. So, how Artificial Intelligence is competent in SEO? How can it manipulate Search Engine Rankings? Have you ever come across the use of Artificial Intelligence in SEO?
Article | February 17, 2021
In today’s world, brand marketing goes much further than marketing campaigns and advertising.
When it comes to brand advocates, we typically think of social media influencers and the more traditional brand ambassador. However, what better brand advocate than your very own employees?
Matthew Hayes, managing director of brand agency Champions (UK) plc, explains the importance of using employees as brand advocates and the benefits to both the brand or business and its staff.
What is a brand advocate?
A brand advocate is somebody that shares the same values and ethos as a brand, representing them in a positive light, often helping to increase brand awareness and even sales.
Typically speaking, a brand advocate is often a social media influencer, a brand ambassador or there is some sort of mutual, or contractual agreement in place.
However, who are the most powerful spokespeople for a brand or business? The people who work there, of course. These people are often the living embodiment of the brand and front-line representatives that can make or break that brand interaction.
It may not be the most traditional concept or the one we necessarily think of first, but it definitely makes the most sense. Particularly in a time where employee retention and communication are so important.
Brand advocates are a way to drive organic and authentic traffic to a brand or business. Whilst the Internet and social media are incredibly powerful tools for raising brand awareness, nothing quite beats word-of-mouth marketing.
In 2016, a global study found that 50% of employees share something on their own social media channels about their employer. And given that social media has upped the ante over the last few years, I expect this figure to be significantly higher in today’s climate.
So, with that in mind, brands should be working towards improving their internal communications to create a better relationship with employees, promote their vision and mission, and raise brand awareness through organic brand advocacy.
Brand advocacy builds brand love
When done correctly, brand advocacy can build brand love and there are a number of ways to do that.
Whilst many brands focusing their attentions to external communications, however, many neglect or overlook the importance of internal communications and training.
Internal communications are a phenomenal way for brands and businesses to collectively communicate with their employees. Whether this is done via training courses or conferences, internal Intranet or even an email newsletter, this can help improve employees’ knowledge of the business, the brand and the products or services.
Not only that, but internal communications help boost staff morale, providing them with motivation and detailed information ensuring they are involved and up to date with all aspects of the business.
They also provide a sense of togetherness, connecting employees through a series of shared visions, missions, goals and objectives.
Here, is where consumer and employee sentiment is key. Consumer sentiment has always been an important variable in businesses, allowing owners to forecast production, plan ahead or adjust their output depending on popular opinion – and the same goes for employees, too.
And if brands aren’t entirely sure how to turn their attention to employee sentiment, the first step to make is investing in a brand audit or brand value proposition. These can help to educate and ensure stakeholder and employee perceptions are aligned, as well as making sure people are communicating the same messages, vision, mission and values of the brand.
A brand vision is simply intent. The vision should support and reflect the long-term business strategy and help guide the future. And a brand mission, is a statement that communicates the purpose and objectives of a brand.
And with the vision and mission of the brand in mind, it is important for brands and businesses to consider both employees and consumers to ensure values are shared across the board.
Employees are key
Employees are a pivotal part of any business. And quite simply, without them, businesses wouldn’t be able to function. It is the employee’s business just as much as the employers, so it is only right for them to play a part and get involved.
We are beginning to see more well-known brands implementing this strategy and using their employees as a face of the brand, rather than just working their magic behind the scenes. Disney are a great example of this as its employees have been the embodiment of the brand and its ethos for years.
The likes of Sass and Belle, Lindex and Zoella are all putting staff at the forefront of their brands, getting them just as involved as main stakeholders.
Sass and Belle, for example, have a website filled with images of their employees and often share quotes and content from them, too. This in turn, creates a more personal and emotional bond between the brand and the consumer, as the brand is no longer faceless.
Similarly, in 2015, Lindex launched an underwear campaign and instead of tapping into their network of professional models, they used their own employees and have continued to do so. Again, this improves their position in the market by appearing more relatable and creating that all-important emotional connection.
And Zoella often shares content, crediting employees for their ideas, allowing them to take part in social media takeovers and truly getting them involved. By doing so, they are adding personal and humanistic elements to their branding – and it’s paying off, too.
In doing this, the brand achieves an even wider reach as employees share the brand’s content across their personal channels, get to know their online connections and create organic relationships with potential consumers themselves.
Not only that, but this creates reputation, making brands come across as a desirable employer and recruiter, as well as helping to retain current staff and employees.
Listening to new ideas, accepting criticism and being transparent is also paramount. Your employees may well be your consumers too, and as they say, the customer is always right.
After all, employees are the ultimate representative of a brand, and Amelia Neate, Senior Manager at Influencer Matchmaker says, “It’s important to remember we’re living in a social age where employees are becoming micro-influencers in their very own right.
“For example, Emily Rose Moloney started out as an employee for ASOS and now, working as a fashion influencer, is promoting them on her social media channels, with her Instagram account gaining almost 80k followers.”
What employees think of a brand or business they work for speaks volumes. And employees help to drive brand awareness, so empowering them through a plan of brand advocacy is a sure-fire way to achieve great results.
So, next time you are seeking to boost stats and see results, consider the power of your employees and come together to create your very own culture.
Lead by example, work together and invest in your employees.