Crisis 101: Picking up the pieces after a social media meltdown

Social media is a very powerful tool many brands use today to tell stories and engage with their audience. With this power also comes great responsibility, and brands need to be accountable for the messages they broadcast – be it positive or negative.

We’ve seen brands like Coca-Cola and Oreo absolutely ace at their social media strategy, and then you have a restaurant like Amy’s Baking Company that seem to have fallen miles from grace. While nobody plans for a social media disaster, what’s more important is how to successfully bounce back if and when it happens.

Keep calm and don’t freak out

It’s anyone’s fair game to say whatever they like about you – particularly on social media. Our first instinct will be to get really defensive and we get it, it’s your brand and you have to protect it. But going on a rant on social media is like listening and watching a person scream through a loud-hailer – it’s annoying and embarrassing and can tarnish the brand you’ve worked so hard to build. Be smart, keep calm and breathe!

Check out this classic social media rant from Tinder.

Never claim you were hacked

It’s 2016 and everyone can see through that lie. It’s obvious you’ve just flopped on social media and running away from your mistakes will only anger the public further and escalate the disaster.

Case in point: Amy’s Baking Company

Example of a social media crisis

Example of a bad response to a social media crisis

 

Think before you react

It’s great that your first reaction is to explain what happened. However, it’s important to stop and think carefully about your response as a social media crisis can easily put you in a state of panic.

Structure your official response, be clear and act quickly as a lot can happen on social media in a very short span of time.

Own up to your mistakes

Nobody’s perfect and everyone makes mistakes. Instead of staying silent or claiming that you were hacked, turn it around with a sincere apology. Your fans will appreciate the humility.

Here’s how Expedia apologised and engaged with its customers.

Inject some humour

Trying to turn it around with some humour can work wonders and is a creative way to pick up the pieces. However, it is largely dependant on the severity of the situation and if you’ve hit a nerve on a sensitive issue it’s probably best to handle it with utmost austerity.

Here’s how Burger King handled the negative backlash regarding their fries:

Albeit self-deprecating, the humour was appreciated.

Open up the conversation

In moving forward after the apology, brands can react positively by opening up conversations. In response to a huge social media backlash, Dominos set up a Twitter account to discuss what went wrong. The two-sided communication proved to be a success for them as they were honest and transparent.

 

A social media disaster is not the end of the world for your brand – what really matters is how you handle it. Some brands bounce back from the backlash because of their ability to repair the damage, while others never do. Always be prepared and have a backup plan.

Need help with your social media strategy? Get in touch with us at hello@mutant.com.sg.

 

6 common content marketing mistakes

It’s true, content marketing is one of the more effective strategies used today by modern marketers. A clear strategy helps brands to not only reach their intended audience, but the results also provide helpful consumer insights to improve future campaigns.

The process requires commitment, planning and patience and there are a lot of mistakes that many of us are guilty of making. Here are some of the more common ones:

Failing to plan

Content marketing strategies executed without proper planning and research are bound to fail. Firstly, figure out what your end goal is and then what you need to produce to attain it. Find the right people who can help you create great content and study your market to determine the perfect way to capture attention. 

Not understanding your audience

Understanding the needs and wants of your target market is essential to help you create the best strategy and connect your audience with your brand. Defining this factor will help you come up with more targeted material, which become more effective in attracting potential customers and increasing conversions.  

Producing mediocre content

Creating any old content is relatively easy. But coming up with something which is relevant, informative and worth-sharing is more difficult. Poor content will rarely succeed so it’s important to take the time to carefully plan your strategy – otherwise its unlikely anyone will engage with your work.

A lack of consistency

This goes back to having a clear goal and strategy in place. It’s important to publish content which is consistent with your brand – have you aligned your messaging?, are you using common fonts, colours and imagery? Maintaining consistency helps build your brand and ensure there are no mixed messages.

Overlooking calls-to-action

While the purpose of content is to inform and not directly promote, there still needs to be a clear call-to-action linked to each piece – whether its on your company blog, social media platforms, or whichever distribution channel you choose. This can be as discreet as a link to a landing page or a newsletter sign-up box but is important as it helps directs your readers to your offering.

Forgetting social media

In today’s digital age, social media is such a powerful marketing platform. It’s a great channel for content distribution, is very cost effective, and helps drive more attention to your brand. Start creating shareable content and always incorporate social media into your content marketing strategy.

 

Always take time to review your content. Whether you are writing an article or creating a video, everything you put out into the public forum can affect your brand’s success and reputation, so make sure you take the time to get it right.

Need help with your content marketing strategy? Get in touch with us hello@mutant.com.sg.

 

Creating captivating content in a mobile world

In Asia Pacific alone, it’s estimated there are more than 1 billion mobile users – and this is expected to grow to 1.4 billion users by 2019. Over the last five years we have witnessed a massive shift to digital (after all, an estimated 87% of smartphone users regularly have their device near them), which means we have to adapt our marketing communications to fit mobile.

This doesn’t just mean having an app or mobile-friendly website (yes, those are important from a UX perspective), but also maximising the use of content in the mobile space. I’m talking about creating content fit for a small screen that makes a big impact. 

Here are three ways to help get your brand noticed:

  1. Get visual

If you’re anything like me, you get bored and lose interest when reading large paragraphs of boring text that never seem to end. Am I right? Instead, visually stimulating content – images, graphics, video – gets the message across quickly. Time is money and people like to absorb information in quick spurts, so don’t let your content get lost in the digital jungle.

Try mixing up your Facebook News Feed with some cool images or videos to capture interest. People like variety, so shake your content up!

  1. Use emotive messaging

Most purchases are driven by pure emotions. What make you choose one brand over the other? Why did you buy that particular car, or pair of shoes? There is a massive divide between our needs and wants, and most of us opt for the want. Why? Because we experience certain emotions when we own a particular product or experience something new.

To tap into this emotion, you need to create content that pulls on people’s heartstrings. Create a heart-warming video or series of graphics – anything that can ignite a sense of desire for a particular product or service.

  1. Create an immersive experience

No one likes feeling left out. We want to be in the know, and brands today are winning when they allow their audience to feel like they are a part of something.

Social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook enable brands to easily distribute content in a creative and engaging fashion. Take your fans on a journey – whether you are using Facebook’s 360 video feature to showcase your event, or are sharing behind the-scenes snaps of your latest clothing line on Snapchat. Think creatively and develop immersive experiences for your fans.

There are so many ways brands can present content. With our eyes fixated on the small screen, we all need to think about how we can tailor our marketing to meet the demands of our mobile audience.

Need help developing your content marketing strategy? Get in touch with us today at hello@mutant.com.sg.

 

Writing for social: Why one size just doesn’t fit all

It’s extremely easy for brands to build up a library of original content. The real challenge at hand is adapting that content to suit social media. In the age of short attention spans, brands need to keep up and tailor their content to suit each platform’s features or face being seen as irrelevant.

For brands, having a social media presence does not simply mean dumping the same content and format on every single social media channel possible. Doing it for the sake of it is ineffective and a waste of time and resources.

As intimidating as social media seems, brands need to craft content that fits. Results will follow when the outcome reflects consistent brand messaging and meaningful engagement with the brand’s audience.

  • When in doubt, repurpose

When posting articles on social media, always consider the fact that sometimes, less may be more. Because people are getting increasingly visual with their social media habits, brands can meet them halfway and start repurposing content instead.

Even if you’ve got a concise listicle, think about how that can be translated visually. Take a look and see what other brands have done:

HipVan remodels their blog posts into lean 5-6 images that provide a snapshot of the article’s best points. The 500×500 pixel image size gives people a full look at those images without needing them to take any extra action. On the overall, the simplicity and easy access of this format will no doubt increase the shareability on Facebook and other platforms.

Instead of posting a product link, Etch & Bolts made a visually appealing gif that summed up their new collection.
furniture-customisation

 

  • Size matters

Use people’s short attention spans to your advantage. Because people tend to swipe past brands very easily, it is your job to make sure you grab their attention even BEFORE they have a chance to look at the next post – this means you have about two seconds!

Get familiar with universal image sizes that work well on any platform and device. If you’re posting a photo on Twitter, make sure the size is optimised for all devices. What looks nice on desktops might look totally butchered on mobile phones.

Take a lesson from Instagram’s success – Square images/videos tend to do better on mobile displays because it takes up more space on the screen versus a landscape-oriented visual.

  • But…keep it short and sweet

If people are faced with a 300-word long caption on Facebook, chances are their thumbs have already swiped onto the next post. Keep your messages short and straight to the point. If anyone wanted to read that caption, they’d read a book.

Check out @sg_now’s example. The square image is universally friendly on all devices and the caption is snappy but let’s you in on sufficient detail.


TIP: Don’t see Twitter’s character count as a limitation, but as inspiration instead.

  • Sometimes, less may not be more

Though I’ve been preaching the ‘short and sweet’ message, there are exceptions. Take a look at Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times columnist’s Facebook post:

Example of quality social media content

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ll see that the engagement on his post is insane – 13,637 likes and 1,816 shares! Notice his caption wasn’t exactly the most concise yet he still managed to rake in the numbers.

Bottomline? This example shows that there still is a place for in-depth content on Facebook but you need to be knee-deep in your analytics to see if that’s the best way of content delivery.

Suggested read: 5 steps to measure social media success

  • Think long term

Producing viral content isn’t always the solution. Brands need to realise that not everything will go viral. Furthermore, creating content for the sake of achieving the almighty viral status ties up resources and isn’t sustainable in the long run.

Instead of spending time trying to make content go viral, focus on sustainable ways to grow and engage your audience. Brands cannot be built on viral videos but on strategies that focus on long term and sustainable growth.

Don’t see social media as another platform for you to dump all your branded content on. Take the time and see how your content can fit on a particular platform – each one’s different and will help you fulfill different objectives.

Get in touch with us at hello@mutant.com.sg to see how we can help you create compelling content for your social media platforms.

 

Is your brand Insta-worthy?

“What’s your Instagram account?” is probably one of the most frequently asked questions by everyone, everywhere. While Instagram used to be known as a mere trendy “millennial” hangout platform, it has evolved into an incredible social networking and advertising tool for businesses to utilise. In fact, it is the fastest growing social media site worldwide with over 500 million active users, 300 million of which use it at least once a day.

We all know that Instagram offers visual content, but what exactly makes it so successful, engaging, and popular? Here are some compelling reasons why your business should hop onto the Insta-bandwagon:

1) A picture tells a thousand words

Sure, you can always slap on a paragraph of text for your readers to digest, but having your consumers recognise your brand personality through jaw-dropping images effectively takes engagement to a whole new level. Coca-Cola sure knows a thing or two about Instagram – they successfully demonstrate the fun, unique, and vibrant brand through great imagery.

Instagram-cocacola

Source: @cocacola on Intagram

2) We live in a mobile world

Every business is looking for creative ways to produce thumb-stopping content. Luckily, Instagram is one of the very few apps where the interface itself is designed to be optimised on mobile. As such, visual content is the main focus simply because it’s easy to digest. Swiping through Instagram has never been easier and successful businesses can capitalise on this opportunity to directly reach key audiences.

3) In-app opportunities are endless

Instagram provides a whole range of activities which allow you to not only reach out to your audience, but also let them interact directly with you. For instance, one of the most effective Instagram uses is to host giveaways or contests. Lancome launched the #bareselfie campaign to promote its DreamTone serum and the results were miraculous – generating more than 500 fan Instagram photos, 50% of the serum’s sales, and a 4% conversion rate on Lancome’s site. Initiatives such as contests help to increase visibility, and gives your audience a chance to react to and participate in your campaigns.

Instagram-Lancome-competition

Source: @lancomeusa on Instagram

4) Ads are beautiful too

Let’s face it, everything on Instagram is breath-taking, even sponsored ads. Instagram utilises native advertising strategically, where ads are curated to blend in together with the platform’s original posts. People usually avoid ads the second they see one, but on Instagram you probably won’t mind taking a short glance. Ads, such are the examples below, are also paired with an effective call-to-action, helping to further drive engagement and increase website site traffic.

                                                      Instagram 4        Instagram 2

Sources: @magnum and @beautifullovewedding on Instagram

It’s time to strip away the stereotype that Instagram is only for attention-seeking teenage users.

This increasingly popular platform can do amazing things for your brand’s presence, visibility, and overall performance. If your brand is not already on Instagram, it’s time to jump onboard.

Follow our Instagram page @mutantcomms and drop us a note at hello@mutant.com.sg to see how we can help build your social media presence through great content.

 

Have you been using Facebook the right way?

With 1.65 billion monthly active users, it won’t come as a surprise that Facebook is the most-used social media site across all age groups. I also bet this won’t be the first time you’re reading an article on utilising Facebook to increase brand awareness through social advertising.

First of all, ask yourself why you even set up your Facebook page in the first place and why it is helping you achieve. Your followers are fed with a continuous stream of content as they scroll through their News Feed so how can you make sure that they stop to look at yours?

1. Share timely content

Pokémon Go is the hot topic of the town this week. And it’s likely to stay this way if it continues to cause more trouble than it already has. Multinational fashion retailer Topshop was one of the many brands to jump on the bandwagon. You should always be on the lookout for opportunities to drive traffic to your site by creating and sharing trending content.

timely-content-Facebook

 

2. Join conversations

Engagement, engagement, engagement. Facebook is one of the best platforms for you to hold two-way conversations with your audience. Stay in the loop and know listen to what your followers are saying. Make your brand more ‘human’ by replying to comments when you see them. There’s nothing fans like more than a personal message directed solely to them. Skyscanner is a great example as they are always very consistent with their replies to followers on Facebook and use a very personable tone that in-turn helps create loyal fans.

 

join conversations

 

3. Point to your own content

To help spark curiosity try referencing a point of interest from your article or blog. You have a very short three-second window before users decide whether your content is worth reading so opt for something catchy. Take a look at this example from Buro 24/7 when they gave their followers a sneak-peek into an interesting statistic about Singaporean women.

 

4. Use emojis

Be creative! Text alone may be boring and limits expressions. Of course, you shouldn’t fill your entire sentence with emojis because a) we get your point, and b) it’s annoying.  Instead mix it up a little.  Make sure that your emojis are relevant, don’t put them there just for the sake of adding cute little images to your captions as it doesn’t work. Take this example from Hostelworld’s Facebook page where they have a healthy balance of text and emojis that are both fun and relevant.

use emojis

5. Mix it up

Imagine following a fashion brand on Facebook and finding out that every single one of their posts features its own fashion products in the same manner – photos. Isn’t that boring? If every piece of content you put up follows the same format, chances are your audience will probably scroll past most of it because they’ve seen it before. Add variety to your page by posting your content in different formats be it videos, articles or questions. Make it even more engaging by holding contests or dishing out tips to your followers.

6. Get creative and mobile-friendly

Paint your brand story on a mobile-friendly platform. When Facebook promised that advertising would be immersive, they weren’t kidding! Canvas ads fill the entire screen of your smartphone and exists within Facebook (instead of annoying pop-ups that take you to another app). Skincare brand L’occitane used texts, videos and images to capture its audience by sharing its brand story and used call-to actions (CTA’s) to promote their gift sets.

loccitane

Brands should be making use of these great features to help share content that really stands out and drives action.

7. Go live

You’re a business operated by humans so show that to your consumers. Facebook Live allows brands to share a more personable side with fans, and Dunkin’ Donuts was one of the first brands to utilise this platform to engage with their audience. They provided a tour of their test kitchen and streamed the construction of a donut wedding cake live. Who doesn’t like an exclusive behind-the-scenes look?

Make sure the content you put up live is relevant and appropriate to your audience. You can hold live Q&A sessions and get fans to tune in, and you’ll also be able to see who’s watching your video. Promote your live sessions in advance to ensure that people are aware it will be happening.

 

Remember that visibility of your brand on Facebook depends on the content you post and therefore the engagement on your Page. Make the most out of Facebook and what it offers, and capture your fans by tweaking your content strategy to suit their interests.

Get in touch with us at hello@mutant.com.sg to find out how we can craft targeted and effective social media content.

 

How Pokémon Go hit the marketing jackpot

Yesterday, a friend pulled into my parking lot to drop me off and asked to ‘sit for a while’. I thought he had to tell me something personal, as that’s what most ‘parking lot chats’ entail. He pulled the break and points his phone out the window, “DAMN”.

He did not catch the (common) Rattata he was looking for.

That’s a Pokémon that looks like raging mouse.

Without a big budget marketing campaign, Pokémon Go gained more users than Twitter in just a matter of days. Advertisers should take cues from this app that lets you ‘catch’ a variety of monsters (both cute and hideous) in real world mobile GPS locations. The success of the simple game is proof that some classic marketing rules still apply no matter how much tech and user habits evolve.

Here’s what you can do to mimic the success of Pokémon Go :

1. Solve a problem before selling

The thing about good marketing, is that it’s indirect, and passively helps the consumer. The Go campaign wasn’t ‘Hey here is an app where you can see Pokémon through your phone with x, y, z using augmented reality, and GPS’, it was ‘Use your phone to find Pokémon in the real world.’ The app turned into a free tool, not a product.

2. Evolve with your consumer

Pokémon used to be just cards, then it became a show, now it’s a mobile game. In the mobile market, gaming is king.

Global data and consumer insights firm, NewZoo predicts that gamers worldwide will generate a total of $99.6 billion in revenues in 2016, up 8.5% compared to 2015. Pokémon Go took off because it targets the most powerful group of mobile users in the world: Gamers. The most watched person on YouTube is PewDiePie, a video game reviewer with over 46 million subscribers. And Kim Kardashian is currently on the cover of Forbes for making $45 Million of her mobile video game, Hollywood.

As a result of resurrecting the brand onto mobile, the social discussions of the game have penetrated into mainstream social media causing a worldwide takeover.

3. Make it free and social

Nowadays people are sold on a product the second they see a positive review first, or hear a discussion about it. So make your product or service as free and as accessible as possible for the launch to build an audience base, and ensure that every single step of your marketing plan is easy to communicate online.

Sticking up a product next to a model on Instagram might get it likes, but seeing people truly engage with your product will get real conversions. The internet is bubbling over with Pokémon memes and reports, one of the main reasons is how easy it is to share an experience. You don’t need a fancy explainer video, you just need to connect with your audience.

Pokemon Go is living proof that no matter how much digital trends have changed the marketing game, traditional marketing still works and should still be a part of your brand’s overall strategy. In Singapore the game was only turned on momentarily before going back on the long wait list of countries yet to have it in their app stores. This explains my friend’s disappointment for not seeing a virtual rodent in my parking lot.

Need help with your brand strategy? Get in touch with us at hello@mutant.com.sg.

 

Are you adding those snaps to your brand story?

You’ve realised the potential of building your brand’s presence on social media. You’re running a great Facebook page and you have an Instagram account with a massive following. Your Twitter page is updated every ten hours and engagement is high. Everything seems perfect…

Or so you think.

The idea of Snapchat was born half a decade ago and its founders turned down Facebook’s offer to buy it over for US$3 billion in 2013. Today, Snapchat is the fastest growing social network for millennials.

If you’ve not jumped onto the Snapchat bandwagon, you’re missing out on reaching the 100 million active users around the world. You might argue that you’re not trying to target Millenials – but hey, don’t all kids grow up? Trust me, the majority of them have friends or relatives of all ages and can surely share your content with them.

If you haven’t began your Snapchat journey, its not too late to start. Heres’s some tips to get you going:

1. Offer time-sensitive deals

A post on Snapchat, or more commonly known as a ‘snap’, lasts for a maximum of 10 seconds and is available for only 24 hours. This initiates a sense of urgency and FOMO (fear of missing out) – which means more people are likely to view your content.

Here are some brilliant examples of how to surprise your followers with small perks – a sure way to build brand loyalty. Better yet, get them to screenshot the snap (you can see who screenshots your posts). It makes your post more shareable and this stretches the reach of your content.

time deals

2. Rock behind-the-scenes

You don’t need to look pretty on Snapchat – save those filters for your Instagram feed. Build your brand’s personality into each snap and offer your followers exclusive content.

Take a look at these snaps from Free People. If you’re a fan of their clothes, wouldn’t you want these little sneak peeks? Well, I certainly would. They don’t have to be shot in great lighting or filtered perfectly. Be authentic – you’re showing your followers what goes on behind that six-hour photoshoot and we know it’s not all rosy!

3033793-inline-i-7-the-best-brands-on-snapchat-so-far

 

3. Go live

Yet another way to provide an element of exclusivity – give your followers access to live events that happen right there and then. Leverage on your Facebook or Twitter accounts and tempt people to tune into Snapchat.

Vanity Fair got up-close-and-personal with celebrities at the 2015 Oscar Party, and of course its followers did too.

oscars_vanity

 

4. Tell a real story

Like most social media networks, the main purpose of Snapchat for brands is to engage viewers and ideally convert them into consumers. Boring content only leads followers to move to another story and You don’t want that to happen to yours!

Great tip: Ask your followers a question in one snap, and answer it in the next. Keep them on their toes and make the process fun and interactive.

GrubHub did a fantastic job in leveraging Snapchat to convey a message. It doesn’t shout for followers to purchase, but centres its snaps around the main product offerings. Check it out:

 

tell a story and engage

5. Empower influencers

Influencers rule social media and Snapchat is no stranger. Partnering with Snapchat influencers is more commonly known as a ‘Snapchat Takeover’. This is where influencers sign into the brand’s Snapchat account for a period of time, and post content aimed to increase followers, reach and engagement.

Disney approached Shaun McBride (@shonduras), a Snapchat influencer renowned for creating sophisticated art works on his snaps, to promote a Frozen-themed event. Fans got a chance to follow him go around Walt Disney World on Disney’s Snapchat story.

 

influencer

 

 

The best feature of Snapchat is that your story is always fresh. Vertical videos now allow brands to capture audience attention by taking up entire screens, which means that your audience is completely focused on your snaps without any distractions.

How do your followers find you?

If you’ve got a mailing list, let your subscribers know that you’re on Snapchat by including your username and reasons why they should follow you in your next emailer. Alternatively, you can add your Snapchat username into your bio on your various social media platforms, or share your Snapcode as an image on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Need help deciding on the best social media strategy for your business? Get in touch with us at hello@mutant.com.sg.

 

Emoji Marketing: Using tiny images to send a big message

The way we communicate with each other is constantly changing, thanks to technology. I mean, 10 years ago, would you have been able to decipher this sentence?:

OMG, IDEK. LOL IDC… actually, IDGAF TBH. BRB, TTYL.

Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but the way we speak to each other is constantly evolving. Abbreviations are one thing, but in today’s social landscape emojis are taking over, too.

The popularity of social media has promoted the use of visual media. Our words are becoming substituted with small emojis, or digital images, that represent faces, animals, fashion, accessories, hearts, weather, food, sports…and the list goes on.

Emojis can tell a story. In fact, you could send a message to a friend filled entirely with emojis and chances are they would understand what you were trying to say.

Take a look at this creative text message:

A great example of the new way to communicate for content marketing

Source

A new way to communicate

Could our shortening attention spans and love for visual media be the cause of this phenomenal obsession with emojis? Is this the future of content?

A picture says a thousand words and as we all seem to be so time poor, it just seems easier to use pictures instead of words.

Emojis have only previously been used for social purposes, but nowadays many brands are beginning to adopt emojis to add flavour to their communications.

A great and effective content example for outdoor advertising
Domino's recent tweet consisting of emojis to convey the message - a great content marketing example

Why are we so obsessed?

These miniature images suddenly appeared in our phones and, as a society craving constant change and new ways to communicate, we pounced. It simply proves that great content is about so much more than just words.

In fact, some of the most lucrative content out there is solely emojis. Kim Kardashian changed the game when she released the ‘Kimoji’ app you can buy from iTunes. Even bad boy Charlie Sheen has released his own ‘Sheenojis’. It’s truly becoming an obsession led by many famous and influential figures.

The use of emojis is relentless – but it’s simply a representation of our need to not only “tell” content, but “show” it. While emojis have become a ubiquitous part of social media and Internet language, it’s worth considering how you might be able to incorporate them into an appropriate campaign or messaging.

(PROTIP: Just be sure you know what the emoji means so your message doesn’t backfire! For example, the eggplant emoji does not simply represent an eggplant anymore… be careful!)

It’s fair to say emojis are here to stay, and we will continue to see them evolve in content both online and offline.

Now, go ahead and take this test and find out which emoji best represents you. Have fun!

Do you need help creating some crafty content? Drop us a note at hello@mutant.com.sg.

5 simple rules for using #hashtags

Before 2007, no one would’ve imagined that the hash symbol, most commonly used to denote numbers, would become such an incredible part of social media.

Put simply, hashtags are used to categorise content and make your own content discoverable amidst an overwhelming load of information. They allow brands to reach out to a very specific target audience who are interested in your content and would like to be a part of your network.

The hashtag is one of the most effective search functions on a multitude of social media platforms – but only when used correctly. Here’s our tips to make the most of your hashtags:

Different platforms, different purposes

Most social media platforms utilise hashtags to organise data and provide a more seamless social media experience. However, each network has its own unique way of optimising them. For example, ‘trending topics’ on Twitter are based on the number of times a particular hashtag is used and on Instagram, hashtags take you to pictures of the same subject.

Be clear with what works for each platform, otherwise your efforts will be pointless.

Go unbranded

Trust me, you don’t need to hashtag your own brand to be noticed. Keep up with the latest trends by monitoring what your target audience are saying – events and occasions such as #Ramadan, #NationalFriendshipDay or #SharingisCaring. But remember, stay relevant. Don’t hashtag something that happened last week. Social media trends change at lightning speed, and so should you.

Here’s a great example from Dominos:

Dominos Post with useful hashtags

 

What goes better with football than pizza with your mates? Dominos leveraged on #CopaAmerica16 to offer its audience a special discount.

Here’s one from Sephora:

Sephora Twitter hashtag

Although they may not be directly selling anything in this post, cosmetic giant Sephora received a lot of attention with the hashtag #NationalBestFriendsDay.

 

Hashtags < words

The rule here is to never have more hashtags than words. Too many hashtags make it difficult for users (and yourself) to understand. Don’t spam, you look desperate for likes.

In the case of not being able to insert hashtags into your sentences, you can always add them in at the end of your caption. This post from Fresh is a great example of how to use hashtags effectively in an Instagram caption:

A great example for using Hashtags in an Instagram post

The key is to choose hashtags that are relevant to your brand.

Simplify, and simplify again

Don’t hashtag #every #single #word #in #your #caption. Be selective and choose hashtags that best describe your content. If you can weave them into your caption without it looking like spam, do it to minimise the number of characters (in the case of Twitter).

National Geographic gets it right in their captions on Instagram. They simplify the hashtags to focus on the main subjects of the picture.

Content marketing and social media example on Instagram

Follow the discussion

Your hashtags should be #searchable. You don’t want your post to be buried under another 350,986 posts with the same hashtag. Instead, create hashtags that have a purpose. You want to be able to click on them and scroll through what your consumers are saying about your brand, engage your audience and strike up meaningful conversation.

Reply to tweets, whether they’re good or bad, like your followers’ pictures on Instagram and comment on their Facebook posts, especially when they are relating to your brand. These small actions can create brand loyalty and increase your customers’ lifetime value.

Hashtags are one of the best ways to understand your audience on a more personal level. You’re missing out on a whole lot if you’re not already capitalising on them in your social posts!

Do you need some help getting your social media into shape? Get in touch with our team of experts at hello@mutant.com.sg.

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3 easy steps to speaking fluent Instagram

The subtle difference between a double tap and a scroll-through could lie in the caption. Instagram is full of well-lit, pretty images, but it’s the caption that anchors the image to your audience’s life

Using the right voice

The voice is the personality behind the account. The trick to achieving the right pitch is by establishing who your target audience is and mixing that with the nature of your business. You need to establish your own voice and Instagram is a social platform, so be social!

Consistency in format (both photos and choice of language)

Look at big companies like @generalelectric, you’d notice that there is a strong consistency in how the photos are all professionally shot. More importantly, there is consistency in how the captions are crafted. In the case of GE, their Instagram is all about inspiring people and sharing their research work to the world.

Ask the right questions

Look at @Sharpie’s instagram. There is a lot of art, which is great because it shows what the product can do – but the captions are conversational and show a personality behind both the brand and the images.
Here’s an example:

The picture is not great, and well that filter should be reserved for a Lana Del Ray music video, but the caption opens up the creativity of the reader and it follows the most important branding lesson we learned this year: advertising is about your audience not you.

Using the right lingo and hashtags

No matter who your audience is, Instagram is about getting people talking. There is a ton of Instagram lingo out there, and we don’t know where it comes from (either Reddit or the Kardashians) but it goes viral quickly, with short life cycles. Here are a couple we came across just looking today:

  • #transformationtuesday: self-explanatory. Used for weightloss but you could get creative with it for companies if you have a new product update.
  • #smh: shake my head
  • #fam: your peoples, someone you would consider family member
  • #wyd?: what would you do? Hypotheticals used to create conversation
  • #squadgoals: aspirations with your crew
  • #af: as heck

By now you should be speaking Instagram perfectly. If you’re a business that needs help speaking this foreign language get in touch with us at hello@mutant.com.sg.

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Your brand sucks: Part 2

If you’ve just joined us, this feature is part of a regular series giving you a brutally frank yet realistic look at the startup world. In ‘Your brand sucks: Part 1” I talked about realising that effective brand communication is key to success. This second part will continue with some more honest truths.

  • You are not Steve Jobs

You just aren’t.

Don’t make subtle comments in meetings about what Steve Jobs’ approach to marketing was. Don’t make sly comments about Steve Jobs’ attention detail when you are ripping apart plans or copy. You just aren’t him!

But don’t worry. You are you, and that’s awesome. You can have your own vision for your brand. Use that to justify your decision making processes instead of having input simply for the sake of having input.

You are building your own empire, and that means there are a whole new set of rules that you decide, and which marketing students in 30 years’ time can marvel at. If you don’t know what the vision is, then that’s also ok. Plenty of amazing leaders have built billion dollar companies by knowing their strengths and collecting the right people around them, who can help them to articulate, communicate or even develop a vision and brand.

  • Don’t go cheap

This makes me want to cry. I see it most often from the types who transition from a bigger corporation into startups. They are used to these things simply happening in the background without understanding it. They usually react to the discovery of cheap offshore outsourcing like they’ve discovered a life hack no one else has ever stumbled across before.

They’ll proudly pull out their branding decks at a first meeting and exclaim how they got it done in Thailand for a few hundred dollars (often followed by a series cocky statements reminding us that our prices need to be dirt cheap, or they’ll simply get that done offshore as well.)  

Firstly, I take this as an insult to me, my colleagues and the craft we’ve spent our working careers learning and developing in. It’s not a great start to any partnership to insult the other person. If you talk to me like this at the beginning, I will simply tell you to go elsewhere. Why would I pour my energy into your brand if I think you’re an arse?

Secondly, the “great deal” you were offered probably sucks. Nine times out of 10 you’ve gotten something I would slap a high school student for submitting. This is particularly true if you’ve just asked them to come up with something without a brief or concept.  

If you fail to see the problem and refuse any input, I’d write you off as a lost cause. No one’s got time for that, and I’d prefer not to associate my agency’s brand associated with you. As a startup you are already up against the odds. Throwing in an amateur, cheap-looking brand and poor strategy just makes your own life so much harder.

Like any rules there are exceptions, and people love to cry out in outrage pointing out the inaccuracies of it all because they can point at a handful of companies it doesn’t apply to.

And to be honest I don’t care. Ignore it and make your business journey 10X harder than it needs to be.

It’s not about spending money, it’s about using your brain.

Need help? Drop me an email at hello@mutant.com.sg.