Why More Brands Should Jump On The Livestreaming Bandwagon

In 2019, Singles Day broke all retail records with sales hitting more than $38 billion in the 24 hour period. In fact, merchants and brands participating in the online retail festival earned as much as 20 billion USD from livestreaming alone, selling furniture, apparel, beauty, and consumer electronics.

Livestreaming’s roots can be traced back to live television shopping shows such as QVC and Home Shopping Network, where people could shop for, well, anything under the sun. The faces of these shows were enthusiastic individuals who hoped to make the audience believe in the brand and product. Decades later, we have influencers, actors and other social media stars doing the same thing – only this time, we get to carry them around in our palms and pockets.

In China, livestreaming has become a source of entertainment, with many brands and influencers using it as a tool to launch and quickly sell their products. On livestreaming platforms such as ShopShops, luxury brands and independent re-sellers alike have found themselves a dedicated audience that is quick to lap up their offerings.

But just because a bunch of brands are jumping on the livestream bandwagon, should you? Here are some compelling reasons:

To woo your Gen-Z audience 

Young audiences want quality content at their fingertips, and they want it now. Tune in to Instagram, Facebook, Twitch, Periscope – any platform which facilitates livestreaming and it’s easy to see why.

The scope for consumer engagement and interaction is unlimited – people can ask questions, make purchases, receive updates on their favourite brands or insider information about exclusive launches, and send the host love and appreciation in the form of react buttons and stickers. What’s more, all of this occurs in real-time on people’s handphones.

Beauty brands favoured by millennials, such as Fenty Beauty, Glossier and Sephora have been innovating with their usage of livestreams, where they regularly invite influencers, makeup artists and celebrities to create looks and conduct tutorials. Rihanna herself has regularly taken to livestreaming to promote and educate consumers about the latest products.

To showcase your brand and start a conversation

Why fork out precious marketing dollars for a promotional video campaign, when you can just as easily and effectively leverage live-streaming at a lower cost, and ensure that you reach a wider audience. With livestreaming, you can kickstart a long-lasting conversation with fans and customers, and build credibility by having professionals display and vouch for the quality of the products.

Announcing new products and offering exclusive packages and deals during a livestream is also an excellent way to gauge demand for it.  However, live-streams should be more than simply getting your product to fly off the shelves. You want to connect with people emotionally so they keep coming back to watch you.

To increase authenticity

There is also something inherently raw and realistic about live-streaming, which comes across as intimate and authentic to fans. While polished video campaigns highlighting new products in detail are undoubtedly appealing, the spontaneous and uninhibited nature of a live-stream draws in people easily.  

There is no scope for editing, deleting or revising parts of the content — all the action unfolds before the viewer’s eyes. Sometimes, live-streams do not even need to be in a professional studio with perfect lighting. Influencers and indie brands will often film a session from the comfort of their homes. This makes viewers feel as though they are being included in the private world of an Internet personality.

As a brand, you would want to make yourself accessible to customers at all times. Why not turn to a tool which will help you reach a wider audience, and lend you the visibility to grow?

Want to make livestreaming a part of your media strategy? Write in to hello@mutant.com.sg and we’ll make it happen!

 

Here’s How To Get Your Singles Day 2020 Strategy Right

Taylor Swift’s recent mini-concert in Shanghai was nothing short of dazzling. Bedecked in a stunning geometric ensemble and thigh-high boots, the singer crooned her latest singles “Me!”, “You Need to Calm Down”and “Lover”. Some viewed this spectacle live at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, while others watched from the comfort of their television screens.

None of this was a promotional effort to publicise her latest album, nor was Shanghai a stop one of her world tours. No, all of this was to commemorate 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, a gargantuan shopping event that has grown rapidly to become a full-scale cultural proceeding, complete with its own set of rituals and practises employed by zealous shoppers wanting to get their hands on irresistible deals and discounts.

What started as a mega-sale day for Chinese youth who wanted a way to celebrate their lack of romantic companionship has ballooned into a global celebration of consumerism, freedom of choice, and, of course, capitalism. Spearheading this retail revolution is Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba, which earned an eye-watering $30 billion in salesfor this year’s Singles’ Day. Singles’ Day has grown to be so staggeringly massive, that major shopping holidays popular in the Western world, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, pale in comparison.

The event isn’t limited to China: Southeast Asia seems to have caught the shopping bug known as Singles’ Day. Regional ecommerce retailers such as Lazada received a record-worthy 3 million orders within the first hour of 11th November, 2019. Fuelling this consumerist frenzy is the region’s robust Internet economy, which is projected to be worth $300 billion by 2025, and which is led by shopping via mobile channels. After all, APAC is home to more than half the world’s mobile subscribers.

While major Internet-driven sales are generally lucrative for brands, Singles’ Day is the most scrumptious pie – which means retailers both local and international are fighting tooth-and-nail to get a share of. If you want in, here’s what you must understand:

Young people are your friends:

Yes, it is Millennials and Gen-Z kids who are quick to flock to ecommerce sites hoping to get their hands on massively discounted goods that otherwise might have been out of reach for them. Ignoring these groups because you think they do not have adequate disposable income will be the beginning of the end for your brand.

After all, it is the people who grew up on the Internet who can expertly navigate even the most cluttered ecommerce interface and emerge triumphant with a big shopping basket. Remember why Singles’ Day exists in the first place – for youth people to celebrate their independence.

Mobile is everything:

If all customers can do is access and browse a smaller version of your brand’s website on mobile, you need to rethink your mobile strategy. Simply offering a mobile-optimised website is not enough in this age of technology, when bigger players are devising novel ways to enhance the consumer experience.From immersive multimedia journeys to virtual reality, interactive games and live-streaming, companies are pulling out all the stops to ensure consumers lose themselves in the story that the brand experience is trying to convey. Several Chinese brands have found success in live-streaming, with a beauty brand earning 100 million yuan in a matter of six minutes. In fact, to get a jump on the excitement for 11.11, beauty brand Estée Lauder used live-streaming campaigns to entice people to buy its products as early as October.

In 2018, more than 90%of Singles’ Day sales were made via a smartphone. And given that Southeast Asia’s penchant for handheld devices is well-documented, it would be wise for you to start perfecting your brand’s mobile experience.

Strong brand image:

Keep in mind that during Singles’ Day, most people are usually searching for the best deals. This means that their loyalty can go out the window and their purchases will go to the brands that can give them the most bang for their buck.However, if you can tie brand loyalty to great deals, you’ll find yourself on the winning side of the shopping event.

Instead of trying to please everyone with grand marketing efforts and deep discounts, use data and insights to help you focus on satisfying niche consumer segments that have patronised your business from day one. Work to boost greater brand loyalty amongst people who would naturally gravitate towards your brand, and make sure they are incentivised to find the right products at the right prices at the right time.

Singles’ Day 2020 will likely be an even grander, more extravagant affair than 2019 saw, with brands and businesses going head-to-head in order to grab precious consumer dollars. Bump up your digital strategy, know your consumers, and success will be yourself.

Start planning ahead NOW – write to us at hello@mutant.com.sg for a kickass Singles Day 2020 strategy. 

How To Kickstart A Social Media Presence For Business Executives

Nobody expects business leaders to take selfies and post Instagram Stories about their day-to-day work. But, that may be exactly what they picture (and maybe even fear) when their marketing team suggests they leverage social media as a professional communication channel. And that’s where the conversation usually ends.

But…let’s embark on a thought journey that imagines what could happen if business leaders did agree to become an active  LinkedIn user.

Perhaps you, the marketer, suggest that LinkedIn is a platform where they can directly communicate their professional thoughts, opinions and business success to thousands of industry connections, government stakeholders and prospective talent at the same time. 

You point out that, sure, a keynote presentation at a regional industry conference could have that effect – once. But you emphasise that regular posts on LinkedIn, be it original blogs on a topic of expertise, status updates about business milestones or quick articles shares and comments on industry news – can have the same effect over a sustained period of time.

Most leading companies executives will have thousands of industry connections, but not even a proper profile picture (or in some cases none at all).

Why should any business executive be active on LinkedIn?

If they still aren’t convinced, you’ll likely say something like, “Do you want to inspire your employees to be ambassadors for your company or brand? Yes? Well, this works best when led from the top.” Maybe you even come up with an analogy – something along the lines of, “Hiding in the corner office, avoiding employees and customers, was once the sure-fire way to reinforce a leader’s unapproachability – not being on social media or LinkedIn specifically is the 21st-century equivalent.”

Need some stats in your arsenal?

  • Employee profiles get a 2X higher click-through rate compared to when a company profile shares the same content
  • Employees’ networks are collectively about 10X larger than the company’s followers
  • 75% of users on LinkedIn will start following a leader or business based on the quality of their thought leadership 
  • 92% of LinkedIn users say good thought leadership will increase respect
  • 60% of LinkedIn users will stop following a business leader if the writing isn’t good enough
  • Prospective talent are 40% more likely to apply for a job if they are familiar with the company
  • 87% of business decision-makers believe thought leadership increases trust in an organisation, while 89% believe it enhances brand reputation

You could go on to say that being active on LinkedIn and other relevant social media channels is not about likes and clicks (although tracking is important), but rather about inspiring your team, amplifying your perspective on industry topics and highlighting your company’s success.

But the problem is…

To be fair, most executives we at Mutant work with and talk to don’t necessarily have the time to kickstart their presence on LinkedIn, while others simply don’t know where to begin.

Let’s look at the facts:

Linkedin for business executives 02

What does that mean?

Missed opportunities.

Even though it may seem daunting, the truth is that getting started is actually simple. Here are the first steps any company executive who wants to be active on LinkedIn needs to take (and no, it doesn’t include posting selfies):

  1. Update their profile

Most leading companies executives will have thousands of industry connections, but not even a proper profile picture (or in some cases none at all). In all honesty, even those executives who don’t want to be active on LinkedIn should clean up and update their profile periodically. After all, it’s their professional shop front. So here’s what to advise them to do:

  • Add a recent professional headshot (and perhaps even a relevant cover image)
  • Add a short and concise headline. This could be a  job title and/or what they want to be known for (i.e. serial entrepreneur, bitcoin investor, FMCG veteran)
  • Craft a summary paragraph that goes beyond a job description to highlight who they are and what they are interested in (professionally)
  • Update their experience section, including recent job titles and affiliated companies, and a short description for each position
  • Create a custom LinkedIn URL (i.e. linkedin.com/in/yourname)
  1. Build their network

Don’t accept every invite received. Make sure connections are validated, and advise the executive to only connect with people they actually know, people who are relevant to their industry, their professional work or who are other stakeholders.

If they want to proactively grow their network, they can also include their custom LinkedIn URL in their email signature and on their business card.

  1. Define who they are on LinkedIn

Being active on LinkedIn doesn’t mean someone should like and comment on every post. It’s important a business leader define the topics they want to engage with and talk about. They should select a few topics they care about, feel strongly about – especially those related to their field and that they are perhaps an expert in. 

To do this, they should think of themselves as a brand and define their own basic content pillars (i.e. sustainability, IT innovations, IT infrastructure, business efficiency) in order to select topics they want to talk about related to their content pillars.

  1. Plan ahead

Company leaders are busy, their calendars feeling up months in advance – this means it should be easy for them to create a basic calendar including company events, conferences they’ll be attending, significant dates in the industry and more – with these in mind, posts can be drafted ahead of time and saved, ready to deploy when the right date rolls around.

When it comes to commenting on trends, executives should try to spot emerging topics in their industry and talk about them early. For example, if they know that a particular conference is going to generate a lot of buzz around a particular topic, they could publish a LinkedIn blog about what to expect from that conference and their personal take on these topics.

  1. Be consistent & unique

One of the biggest roadblocks preventing business leaders from being active on LinkedIn is the perception that it takes a lot of time and effort to have an impact. However, publishing 2-3 posts every month doesn’t take up too much time once the steps above have been followed.

The truth is that consistency and regular content are key. But, it’s not necessary to write a new blog every week. Instead, choose a frequency that is manageable and then stick to it. 

Remember that quality insights in one blog will have a stronger impact than daily posts. In fact, decision-makers say the majority of content they come across isn’t new, enticing or shows unique opinions. Rehashing someone else’s ideas isn’t the way to create an impact.

What sort of content should business executives publish on LinkedIn?

  • Original blogs highlighting thought leadership and expert opinions 
  • Status updates about company events, conferences, awards and other successes
  • Reposting news bylines or media mentions (including their point-of-view)
  • Sharing news from the company’s LinkedIn page (including why this matters to them)
  • Share interesting articles related to their field (including their opinion on the topic)

LinkedIn for business leaders examples

(Left to right: original blog post, status update about awards, resharing company highlights)

So where does this leave us?

Should business executives be active on LinkedIn?Yes

Do they need to post about irrelevant topics to stay in the feed?Of course not

Can they be impactful and credible at the same time?Yes

Does it take some effort?Yes, but not as much as they think

Is LinkedIn an effective communication channel where you can control your content and reach a highly-valuable audience?Yes

Do you have more questions? Ask away! Mutant has worked with numerous business leaders to establish their LinkedIn presence, amplify their thought leadership and increase their company’s reputation. 

Do you want to know more about how we did it? Need help to convince your boss or want to boost your own LinkedIn presence? Send an email to hello@mutant.com.sg and our content team will get in touch!

Don’t Just Slap a Rainbow On It: How to Be a Bold Brand

Happy Pride! This past month has been prime time for brands (the cool ones at least) to unfurl their rainbow flags and show the LGBTQ+ community how much they love them – easy, right? Well, hold your horses (or unicorns) – because while everyone is equal and valid, not all Pride campaigns are. Every year during Pride, there are brands that launch campaigns with good intentions, but horrible execution – such as the M&S changing the meaning of LGBT for a sandwich, or rainbow Listerine. Worse than a bad Pride campaign though is a forgettable one, of which there are many.

While it’s easy to be a jaded queen and throw shade at these brands, the way these campaigns are handled speaks to deeper issues of how cynical consumers can be, particularly in hot button issues. This cynicism, of course, has spread to not just brands, but the platforms on which brands connect to consumers, too. Consider the recent passing of the POFMA legislation in Singapore and a whole slew of data scandals (Cambridge Analytica being the most high profile case). It’s pretty clear that people are becoming less trusting of social media. In fact, it’s gotten to a point where one survey found 57% of respondents expected news they see on social media to be inaccurate.

So in the age of the critical woke consumer, how can brands fight through the undertow of cynicism?

Embrace the good, the bad and the ugly

The key to creating trust, particularly over social media, is authenticity. While this sounds like common sense and is easy to do when things are going well, authenticity takes on a whole new meaning when things go wrong.

As communicators, our first instinct when our clients or brands receive criticism is to downplay the negative. However, in the always-on environment of social media, that’s something brands cannot always do. When faced with legitimate criticism, brands need to own up to their shortcomings – and fast. Nothing is quite as loud as the silence of a brand giving “no comment”.

Take the recent Tosh Zhang incident with Pink Dot this year. While it is debatable whether or not he was a suitable candidate for Pink Dot, the major blow to the Pink Dot brand was the delay in responding to the incident. By the time they put out a full statement to apologise, many other more critical voices were at full volume and they were perceived as just being reactive, rather than being authentically apologetic.

Put down the Kool Aid

One of the phrases we throw around in the Mutant office is “don’t drink the Kool Aid” – which has become a mantra to remind us that while we need to put ourselves in our client’s shoes, we must always remember that we never operate in a vacuum, and we’re being hired to give our opinions and share our expertise (even if it’s not what they want to hear).

What this means is that while rainbow-coloured mouthwash might sound like a fun Pride product, when you set it up among the backdrop of all the other corporate Pride initiatives, it might just leave a bad taste in people’s mouths (heh, see what I did there?)

The best way to combat this is to ensure diverse perspectives are always brought in at the planning stage. Going back to the Listerine rainbow bottle example, you have to wonder whether they brought in someone from within the LGBTQ+ community to give their perspective.

Authenticity? “It do take nerve”

Before you flag the typo here, this is a line adapted from Paris is Burning, an excellent film about the ballroom culture in 80s Harlem. Aside from having iconic catchphrases, there are lessons here that brands can apply when it comes to being authentic. The film shows what the gay and drag scene was like in New York in the 80s, and it’s a celebration of people who, despite the costs and risks, lived their lives out loud.

If a brand does decide to share a strong point of view or embrace a community, it needs to do it fully and unapologetically. Take Nike for example, who must have known the pushback they would receive for the  Kaepernick campaign or the more recent plus-sized mannequins, but they still went ahead regardless. Because their messaging is authentic, and the brand is already well-known for its heart-tugging campaigns and strong moral stances, it works.   

But this can be scary for brands, particularly in Asia – not so much because we have vastly different values than more westernised countries, but rather that brands are more wary of being criticized. A great example of an Asian brand that took the leap was Cathay Pacific with an ad featuring a gay couple. There was pushback from conservative voices in Hong Kong, but they stuck to their beliefs and in the end, the campaign was largely positively received.    

Whether your brand celebrates Pride Month, champions a cause, or is just trying to put out a campaign that breaks through the noise, remember to always bring humanity, empathy and bravery into your planning to keep it authentic.

We can help you regain that social media trust. Write to us at hello@mutant.com.sg

Why Brands Need Social Media Community Guidelines

We’ve likely all excitedly published a post on social media and then quickly clicked the comments only to be horrified by an off-colour message. Be it abusive, racist, homophobic, sexually explicit, or plain ignorant, inappropriate comments can feel like a punch to the gut, and are embarrassing to have underneath your post.

Though these comments sometimes come from your always-inappropriate uncle or a friend with a weird sense of humour, they can also come from trolls – strangers who post incendiary comments just to get a rise of others. And though trolls can (and do!) target posts from regular people, brands with name recognition and large numbers of followers often receive much of their focus. Trolls will work to skew the conversation a brand is hoping to nurture online via inflammatory rhetoric that ignites outrage and shifts focus away from the brand’s message or intent.

The implications of trolling on users and brands

Worryingly, these types of comments can cause users to turn not on the brand, but each other. Suddenly, users will attack and bully those with differing opinions, and these comment threads can devolve into virtual boxing matches that turn personal and can result in real mental and emotional wounds.

There is ample research surrounding the turmoil cyberbullying can bring on a personal level, including increased likelihood to engage in self-harm or suicidal behaviour. But brands, too, can see digital ire move into the real world in very dangerous ways. YouTube headquarters in California was attacked by a female shooter who was upset about the company’s policies in 2018. In the same year, CNN received a pipe bomb in the mail from a man who was disgruntled about their political coverage.

In order to discourage and curtail language that can lead to dangerous behaviour, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr have put into place community guidelines that lay out the types of language and visual content users should not use. If users violate these guidelines, they run the risk of being suspended from the platform.

Though social media platforms do follow through and suspend accounts, trolls and cyberbullies are often barely discouraged by these measures due to the fact that if they are suspended, they can simply set up a new account using a new email address. Plus, it sometimes isn’t clear what does and does cross the prohibited content line because everyone has different personal standards, not to mention the fact that sarcasm and dark humour can be hard to discern online.

Strong social media guidelines curtail online vitriol

In order to keep comment sections from turning into cesspools, brands active on social media are now establishing their own community guidelines.

For instance, in March, the British royal family announced social media community guidelines, seemingly as a response to abusive, hateful and threatening comments made toward both Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex. The family’s guidelines detail their expectations for courteous and respectful engagement, and clearly state that they will use their discretion to determine if someone is in violation of their standards. Additionally, the famous family’s guidelines establish the actions they may take against those in violation of the guidelines, including deleting comments, blocking users and alerting law enforcement if comments are threatening.

Unfortunately, the existence of such guidelines does not mean that trolls will suddenly clean up their act. But the guidelines do provide brands the opportunity to condemn hate speech, communicate to their followers what their expectations are when it comes to engagement and establish transparent protocols for when and why they delete comments and block users.

If your brand does not already have social media community guidelines in place and is looking to establish a set, here are some things to consider:

  • Be clear in your policies: Revisit your company handbook or human resources policies and use the language regarding the sorts of behaviours that are not tolerated to begin drafting your social media community guidelines.
  • Condemn hate, not criticismThough no one enjoys being criticised, criticism can be useful – especially when brands are hearing directly from their audience and learning how they respond to different messaging. For example, when Pepsi released a campaign featuring Kendall Jenner and tying into the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the response to it was swift and the ad was deemed tone deaf – a lesson that Pepsi needed to learn. Though this type of negative feedback can be harsh, it is very different in nature from comments that are abusive and offensive, and should not be discouraged.
  • Enforce your community guidelines: Once your guidelines are announced and in place, do not be complacent. Your social media teams should monitor comments and enforce the guidelines consistently. After all, there’s no use of putting the guidelines in place if they are only there in theory – you have to practice them, too.

Taking a stand against hate speech and cyberbullying is a just cause, and one that your brand can champion. So if you notice that the comments on your posts make you want to log out, then it’s time to get your community guidelines in place to protect both your brand, your message and your audience.

Need help fighting the trolls? We can help: hello@mutant.com.sg

 

 

How to Spot a Fake Instagram Influencer

Ever bought an outfit, switched to a new skincare routine, or experimented with a health supplement all because a reasonably famous stranger on Instagram told you to do so? That’s the kind of power some individuals on social media wield over the masses – and their powers of persuasion haven’t gone unnoticed by brands striving to stand out.

Advertisers are increasingly relying upon social media content creators, especially those native to Instagram, to help drive awareness for their products and business. Popular with teens and young adults who are digital natives, Instagram content creators – AKA influencers – hold considerable sway over their audience, who are likely to follow their recommendations and advice seriously, and attempt to emulate their lifestyle.

To hook this younger audience, brands often look for influencers with large followings – after all, numbers speak to brands. Thus, the higher the follower count, the more likely it is for an influencer to be courted with partnerships, endorsements, and collaborations. Unsurprisingly, learning about this system has led some greedy individuals to resort to unscrupulous methods of increasing follower count while offering little substantive content in return.

Because marketing, and especially digital marketing often relies on agility and speed, executives operating under tight deadlines may not have the luxury of properly vetting the follower lists and accounts of the influencers they choose to work with. However, not implementing strict quality checks does not bode well for brands, as working with fake influencers will dilute brand reputation. Additionally, it will lead to wasted marketing dollars spent on reaching bots instead of real people.

If you or your brand are looking to engage influencers, here is a handy guide on how to weed out dubious social media personalities:

Famous nearly overnight

Did the influencer in question start at the bottom with a humble number of followers, but now boasts of tens of thousands of followers nearly overnight – without having committed any notable acts of internet notoriety? Whatever caused the follower count to skyrocket is a mystery that no one can attribute to anything the person posted, leaving you to only guess. To discern whether a following is legitimate or not, use social media tracking tools, which allow you to check the number of followers gained over time. If there a sudden spike that cannot be explained, it’s likely the extra followers were purchased. Another tactic that several fake influencers employ is the “follow-unfollow” ploy, which involves following people and then immediately unfollowing them once they have followed back.

Quality of comments

If the comments on an influencer’s post consist mostly of generalised compliments with dubious grammar or entirely of emojis, they are probably generated by hundreds of bot accounts. While they might seem genuine upon first glance, a few comments repeating the same variation of “great job”, “keep it up”, and “wow” are a tell-tale sign of non-human interaction. Spam accounts also often post comments begging for likes or follows on their own page, and may even ask you to check out a link on their bio (you are strongly advised not to do this as you might be redirected to a compromised website). So how do you know when comments are genuine? Look for positive and negative feedback, or people tagging their friends and interacting with them on the post itself.

Engagement rates

Engagement rates are one of the primary metrics marketers look for when choosing influencers to partner with. While the “magic number” for influencer engagement rates differs from company to company, 1-3% seems to be the generally accepted figure. On the part of the influencers, factors such as type, timing, and frequency of posts also play a role in how often followers interact with their content. If an influencer with a massive following (in the tens of thousands or more) attract a paltry sum of likes (10-20) per post or has a low engagement rate, their follower base definitely consists of bots. For exact figures, tools such as SocialBlade will automatically generate a report card detailing an influencer’s overall ranking, grade, and engagement rates. For more extensive campaigns, brands can also consider tools like Meltwater’s* Social Influencers discovery tool that has more in-depth analytics tools that break down an account’s demographics, interests and other metrics

Quality of followers

To gain a better idea of the influencer’s target audience, look at the kinds of accounts that follow them. Right off the bat, you’ll be able to tell if the accounts are suspect or not. For example, if the accounts have random strings of letters and numbers for names, then it is safe to assume they are spam accounts. Accounts like these be can bought by the thousands for a small sum of money, so if an influencer’s following is impressive, but consists mostly of these types of accounts, they’re probably not the real deal.

Social media presence outside of Instagram

While this might sound counterintuitive, it is not uncommon for influencers to maintain a presence across multiple social media sites. If they are experts in their niche (beauty, fashion, art, design, food, travel) check to see if they have been featured in magazines and newspapers. If they are genuine content creators, it’s likely they will have worked with other influencers, brands and companies. Keep an eye out for any public events they might attend, such as launch parties, interviews or television shows. If these “influencers” are virtually ghosts outside of the colourful pastiche that is Instagram, alarm bells should be sounding off in your head.

By following these guidelines, you should be able to determine if an influencer is legitimate or not. Fingers crossed the ones you have shortlisted are, and that you get to work with them!

Need help finding a popular face to better reach your Gen Z customers? Just say ‘hi’ at hello@mutant.com.sg and we’ll talk.

*Disclaimer – Meltwater is a client of Mutant Communications, but this blog is not sponsored by them

4 things Kim Kardashian can teach us about a solid social media strategy

Kim Kardashian – love her or hate her, you can’t deny that she’s created a massive empire and cult following. Having recently won the Council of Fashion Designers of America influencer award, Kim is truly one of the biggest influencers of our time. With 113 million Instagram followers (that’s the sixth most followed in the world) and 60.2 million followers on Twitter (that’s more than Donald Trump), she is truly the Queen of social media. What really catapulted Kim into fame? How does she maintain such a large following and influence despite an equally notorious reputation, and what can brands learn from her?

Know your audience

Kim brands herself around glam, beauty and luxury. In fact, all of her ventures now are centered around these themes. This is what her audience knows her for and it’s what they expect her to share with them and thus creates personalised content for them. Diverting from this may cause a scattered brand identity that people are unable to understand or follow and result in lower followership. This means keeping in mind integrated marketing communications – a single brand image across all platforms.

Also, always listen! People like to promote products, but Kim thinks it’s equally (if not more) important to listen as well. To engage with your audience makes them feel like you’ve taken their thoughts into consideration. For all you know, your audience just might be your inspiration for the next big campaign!

Capitalise on opportunities

Opportunities don’t always come in pretty packages. Kim once supported a morning sickness prevention brand once and got a lot of flak (even from the Food and Drug Administration!) for not posting the drug’s side effects. However, Kim managed to turn the situation around by taking ownership for her actions. This moment garnered a lot of publicity (negative or not) that made people more interested in Kim’s life.

It’s all about taking the opportunities that have the potential to help you build brand awareness. Kim’s #breaktheinternet moment with Paper magazine was unpaid but was something that created buzz about one of her most famous assets – her butt. If that’s not capitalising on opportunities, I don’t know what is!

Stay authentic

This is a sure way to prevent a PR disaster. When you’re that well known around the world, people will be watching your every step. Post something that’s not true to you and people will immediately catch wind of it. That’s why it’s important for you to endorse items and posts that are true to your brand identity to prevent backlash. Kim always promotes products that she herself loves and uses so that she knows she’s promoting a good product to her audience.

For example, the first product Kim launched from her beauty line was a contour kit. This was done with the vision that she wants to sell products she believes in and uses often. This works hand in hand with knowing her audience. Kim wanted to be able to sell her famous contour look to her audience, who look to her for beauty inspiration.

Use every platform

Different platforms have different strengths and Kim capitalises on that to maximise the use of different social media outlets. According to Kim, each platform has a purpose to serve.

Facebook is good for click-throughs, snapchat showcases more of your private side, Instagram is good for showing the actual product and twitter is good for having a conversation with people. Based on what you are trying to accomplish with your brand, it’s important to keep this in mind while curating social media posts and do what will work best with your audience and keep them engaged.

Still not sure how to create content for your brand? Check out some tips here on how to create digital marketing gold.

Want to break the Internet like Kim? Drop us a message at hello@mutant.com.sg

3 PR Lessons We Can Learn from Bey And Jay

Recently, Beyoncé and Jay-Z dropped their first fully collaborative album, The Carters. Critics and fans alike immediately embraced the tracks and hailed the LP as a celebration of Black art, excellence and legacy.

Over the years, the Carters have managed to exert an ironclad control over their public image despite their humongous stature. The four-pronged strategy of largely staying clear of public squabbles and scandals, carefully curating their social media feeds, rarely giving interviews and not hyping their new projects before they’re released has only deepened the mystery surrounding hip hop’s foremost family. This decision is no accident – the couple is notoriously private and this strategy has infused intrigue into their reputation. Because they are rarely in the public eye, when they do pop up, it seems that the whole world sits up and takes notice of them.

From a business perspective, this type of PR strategy seems impossible to implement. But there are some lessons that can be gleaned – here’s what we can learn from the Carters:

Controlling the Narrative

When rumours of trouble in the couple’s marital paradise broke out in 2013, neither party added fuel to the fire. Unlike other celebrity couples who rush to give a statement when their relationships hit rock bottom, the Carters remained mum on the state of their marriage. They addressed the hearsay when Beyoncé released Lemonade in 2016, an entire album peppered with lyrics and visuals that suggested the possibility of marital strain. The endless speculations that ensued proved to be massively profitable for both Jay-Z and Beyoncé.

While controlling the narrative should be a basic skill for any company’s PR team, in this age of hyperconnectivity and non-stop streaming, firms will find themselves with a very small window of time to prevent crisis situations from becoming communications disasters. Whether it’s appeasing a crowd bent on obtaining answers or addressing unsavoury gossip, it’s imperative to weave a story that sets the tone for all future conversations surrounding the topic at hand. That way, your narrative will drown out all other chatter.

A Well-Oiled Social Media Machine

Both Beyoncé and Jay-Z are known to shun traditional PR paths when announcing new content. For albums Beyoncé and Lemonade, Beyoncé decided to bypass mainstream media outlets and release the albums digitally via an announcement that came from her own account. By doing this, she broke the fourth wall and gave the content directly to her fans via social media. The result? Unprecedented success for both albums. For Lemonade specifically, the release of the album was timed at a juncture when social media was rife with conversations surrounding racial tensions and feminism, and the album’s messages on both topics seemed especially poignant. The couple also demonstrates a deep understanding of curated visuals in today’s social media landscape, as reflected in the multiple music videos of Lemonade and Jay-Z’s 4:44.

It’s no secret that combining social media and highly creative visuals is a winning combination. But to ensure the success of your client’s products upon launch, you must leverage social media to reach your target audience. Follow up with a steady stream of high-quality visual content that’s shareable, accessible and most importantly, relevant.

Authenticity

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a recent Beyoncé or Jay-Z interview. Instead of relying on the media, or even social media, to give fans an inside look at their lives, both Bey and Jay prefer to pour little details of their life into their music. Beyoncé’s mastery of social media is impressive – she occasionally posts rare snapshots from her day-to-day life, puts time and effort into creating a spectacle when announcing milestones and hardly ever adds captions or hashtags, letting the images speak for themselves. As a result, fans interpret and discuss the images, and are left wanting more.

Audiences are smart and can easily discern an inauthentic brand. So cut through the clutter by staying true to your brand’s core values and identity; be honest and daring, let your voice ring true in all your communications and never be afraid to weigh in on issues that are pertinent to your business.

Though you may encounter 99 problems, PR should never be one. A good PR strategy is irreplaceable – so why not invest time and energy in creating a fail-proof communications game plan? Reach out to us if you’re in the dark about how to get started.

Need help crafting the ideal PR strategy? Drop us a message at hello@mutant.com.sg

(Cover photo source: Pinterest)

How to Get the Most Out of Your LinkedIn Profile

In this social media-driven world, it’s easy to set up accounts on every single online platform and then only truly engage with one or two. Many brands are attracted to Facebook and Instagram because of their high user numbers and often end up neglecting LinkedIn, which can be incredibly powerful if used correctly.

When we ask why LinkedIn is often overlooked, the usual response is that they either don’t have time to devote to it or are unsure of what to post – LinkedIn is, after all, career-focused, so uploading that photo of your pet or snaps from your holiday don’t seem entirely appropriate.

So, what is?

Personal Career Updates

It may feel a bit uncomfortable to shout about your own workplace achievements, but if there’s any place for it, it’s LinkedIn. For example, when you’re promoted, in addition to updating your profile with the new role information, you should write and publish a post conveying your excitement for this next step in your career. Likewise, if a project or product you’ve worked long and hard on is announced, debuts or receives great media coverage, you should absolutely post about that. If you’re worried about the tone of your post, just keep it short and simple, and stick to the facts – your network of contacts will be pleased to hear about your achievements, so don’t hide them.

Industry News

If huge news about the industry you’re in breaks, you can be sure that everyone in your office will be talking about it. Additionally, everyone in your industry will be talking about it online, and LinkedIn is a great place for you to add your two cents about the announcement, whether it’s a simple sharing of a news article, a comment on someone else’s post about the news or a post containing your thoughts on the matter.

Engaging with Others’ Content

As with other social media platforms, one of the main features of LinkedIn is connecting with other people. Your LinkedIn timeline will likely be filled with posts, articles and news that your past and present colleagues and industry contacts have shared, so why not scroll through once a day to check in on the online chatter? LinkedIn allows users to like, comment on and share posts, so if something resonates with you or sparks your interest, giving it a like or leaving a comment is never a bad thing – plus, if it’s from a contact, the engagement will perhaps create a dialogue that leads to business opportunities. Win-win.

Publishing Your Own Articles

If you aspire to be a thought leader within your industry, then LinkedIn is the perfect platform for sharing your insights. Be it career advice, your take on trends or a deeply researched piece, writing and posting an article on LinkedIn is a great way for your voice to be heard and shared. If you’re unsure of the calibre of your writing skills, have a trusted friend or co-worker read over your piece, or – if you’d really like to beef up your LinkedIn profile and following – engage a content management team who can work with you to develop and execute content ideas.

Need a hand with your social media appearance? Drop us a note at hello@mutant.com.sg 

My company is profitable! Do I still need marketing?

According to a recent report, the success of SMEs is essentially like flipping a coin – there’s an estimated survival rate of 50%. This means that establishing a strong and profitable core business is more crucial than ever before.

Since survival is a major focus for SMEs, investment in other aspects that may not seem to have immediate trackable results on business performance are often highly scrutinised. But even when SMEs manage to survive and find their stride, becoming profitable without the help of marketing, content, public relations or social media, many decide to continue without these things. Why would they need them even if they are profitable? Let’s dive right in.

Marketing

With the view that only large, multinational organisations have dedicated marketing teams, many SMEs outright dismiss the idea of hiring dedicated marketing staff. If SMEs do have a staff member focused on marketing, the scope of that role is usually tied up with additional tasks, such as business development.

Without the attention and focus of a true marketing professional, marketing initiatives usually end up in the form of more traditional activities, such as developing collaterals or organising events, which often do not drive easily trackable business results. A dedicated marketer will be able to identify broader business issues and create solutions to fix them, whether that be an online lead generation, sales team support or employer brand management to help bring in the best talent.

Content

Content is on the radar for many organisations, but often only in the form of a few commissioned articles for the company website. The truth is that content has many more practical uses for a business than most business owners realise. Content can be presented in many ways – think text, infographics and videos – and have the ability to engage potential customers across a wide array of platforms, ranging from the company’s website to social media channels to content-led PR campaigns.  

A singular piece of content, such as a research report, can be reworked into different pieces of satellite content, including infographics, toolkits and short, digestible videos that can be shared on different channels. Lead generation, client relationship management and sales support are all business-focused goals that can leverage content to deliver measurable results.

PR

Crisis management and spin-doctoring are often the first things that come to mind when thinking of public relations, but these functions are usually back of mind when it comes to successful businesses who are focused on growth.

Public relations can do much more than just clean up sticky situations. Good PR will play a key role in stakeholder management, putting the business in the midst of relevant discussions happening in the industry and the media, and positioning key people in the company as thought leaders. Strong PR can boost the visibility and credibility of the business and open new doors for the company in the process.

Social media

If you think that social media is simply a Facebook page for consumer brands to deal with angry posts, think again. Social media can act as a multi-platform ecosystem that can be used to engage with different types of audiences. By using specific targeting, businesses can reach new and relevant customers from literally all around the world.

From customer support and sales to employer branding and community management, every employee can learn to use social media in a way that influences the business, no matter if it’s a B2C and B2B operation. It’s important to establish goals and outline clear roles that each social media platform will play for the business, though; only then can a business truly start to see the benefits of a social media strategy.

Do you want to find out more about what marketing, content, PR and social media can do for your business? Drop us a line at hello@mutant.com.sg

How to jump-start social media when no one knows your company

It’s easy to make noise when you are the head of state. Both Lee Hsien Loong and Donald Trump are two (good and bad) examples of how to engage millions of people.

                                                                   

While the impact of social media is undeniable, not every business enjoys the reach of someone in the limelight. Though it’s hard to make noise when no one knows about your company, inaction is infinitely worse.

Before you jump the gun, you have to make a commitment to regularly update your business’ social media accounts. Ideally, appoint someone to be your social media manager, as it’s something you have to consistently work at to see benefits – ranging from direct communication with your customers to reaching people that never heard of your business.

Here’s how to get started:

Where is your audience?


With an array of social media platforms out there, you don’t need to be everywhere. To get your social media presence kickstarted, you’ll need to know where your audience is. If you are a B2B company, you are more likely to start conversations on Twitter or LinkedIn, while an e-commerce can better engage with users on Instagram and Facebook.

If you are unsure about what you should do on your social media channels, check out these do’s and don’ts of social media. This is where you’ll learn about how to reach your target audience and the tangible results you’ll be able to reap from it.

What are your goals?

                                                             

Bear in mind that you’re just starting out – so don’t be unrealistic with your goals. For newcomers like you, it’s recommended that you focus on consistency and growth to really make your social media game work.

For consistency, work on:
– Lock in a set number of days to plan posts and work on your social media presence. A good start will be 3-4 days a week.
– Create new content at least once a week to beef up your content library. This can be a new set of photos, a blog post or a video about your business.

For growth, work on:
Setting a goal for how many followers you want to gain by a certain date. Every business grows differently, so plan accordingly. Having a number to work towards will make things clearer.

If you want to start with a bang, you should consider working with social media influencer – Increasing engagement for your posts. Instead of asking your family and friends to share your posts to get the algorithm working, you might want to do a giveaway to start getting shares and traction.

What’s in your content library?


Gather all of your content into one folder that your team can access. This will be your content pool where you’ll go to find images, old news clippings, videos or anything relating to your business. If you make it a habit to populate this folder, your planning will be easier in the future. A good way to start your content pool is using your website’s content. You can always repurpose and use it for social content. While doing this, you’ll also probably start to visualise what sort of content you’ll want up on your social media channels.

Other content ideas:

  • New product updates to keep people interested
  • Introduce new team members to make your brand more human
  • Insights from conferences to show you are a thought leader
  • Behind the scenes snapshots for a positive image
  • Giveaways and contests to expand your reach
  • Photo albums for the user’s visual pleasure

Which brings us to the next point…

Have you created a social media calendar?

It doesn’t have to be anything too complicated. All you need is a handy excel sheet that keeps track of the content that you’re planning to post, or have already posted. This will also come in handy when you’re brainstorming for new social media ideas. It also makes it easier for everyone to share ideas. A well-kept calendar will also help you to plan your social media campaigns more efficiently.

What conversation are you joining?

Now that you’re sorted, it’s time to be part of all that social media chatter. Have a look at what’s trending by gathering some data and see where your brand can be part of the conversation. Controversial topics aren’t a strict no-no and may sometimes help your brand to stand out. But make sure that your company has actually something to offer or say about the topic. You have to remember that the social media world can be harsh and controversial topics can easily backfire. But in the end – it’s still up to you to decide if it will work for your organisation or not.

Need help with managing your social media campaigns? Drop us a message at hello@mutant.com.sg.