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By: Danielle Seaman
Content is having its moment, again. People have been consuming large amounts of it since the advent of the smartphone, and now due to the COVID crisis, are doing so at an unprecedented rate. On top of this, brands are starting to take Gen Z - the ultimate content consumers - seriously as a consumer group.
At this point it is a given that a brand needs a social strategy, but now is the time to take it to the next level. Follower count isn’t enough anymore – it’s all about engagement. How do you get engagement? Content.
With channel algorithms constantly changing, cutting through the noise is key. Let’s take a look at how brands can use owned content and third-party endorsements to drive engagement with their customers.
Have a Purpose
In 2019, the average American adult consumed just over 12 hours of media a day, mostly via digital channels. This number is set to grow exponentially now with consumers largely confined to their homes. Brands have a unique opportunity to cut through the clutter of the digital world and develop a deeper relationship with their audience. However, it must serve a purpose. The below pillars can provide general guidance around developing meaningful content.
Whether from a brand or one of their partners, consumers want an escape. Tik Tok’s popularity is a great example. Leaning into the video app’s dance routines and challenges, Chipotle created the #GuacDance challenge for National Avocado Day, which became one of the most successful branded challenges in the U.S.
Brands and influencers also have the power to inspire others through content. Most recently, Nike came out with its own take on how consumers can stay safe during the current global pandemic, and have used its partner athletes, including Serena Williams and Tiger Woods, to amplify that message:
3. Bring Value
Consumers are also looking for content that will improve their lifestyle. For example, our client Michelob ULTRA is bringing fitness to consumers living rooms by teaming up with fitness studios that have had to close as a result of the COVID crisis. Instructors teach a class and host a happy hour, and attendees donate to a virtual tip jar, which helps participating studios support their staff during this time.
Brands need to have a human touch if they want to see consumer engagement. Being mindful of brand tone is key to reminding your followers that a human is behind their favorite brand’s account.
What does this look like? It depends. In normal times, it looks like embracing a cultural moment – live tweeting an awards show sharing a holiday promotion. As the world battles the COVID-19 crisis, it means pausing and adjusting your content calendar to show your followers that you’re there for them in this trying time. Consumers want to surround themselves with content that speaks to how they’re currently feeling. Brands that are sensitive to that will see their content performance improve.
Tone also applies to brand partners, starting with the influencer vetting process – take extra time to evaluate a potential spokesperson’s follower base and engagement rates. Look at how they highlight other partners.
A word of advice? While a YouTube star might have millions of followers, that doesn’t mean they are the right fit for your product or service. Don’t shy away from micro-influencers. While their follower counts are in the thousands, many are everyday people with loyal follower bases that will engage with content and actually take action based on their recommendations.
As we continue to navigate uncharted territory, the demand for digital content will be one constant. Ensuring that your brand’s content, whether it is paid, earned or owned, has a purpose that will allow for a deeper connection with consumers.
We can help your team develop high-performing content, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.