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Crystal Ball 2019: The significance of word of mouth in the era of information overload.

With 2019 ramping up, expect new trends throughout the news, social media, technology and more. At APEX and ruckus digital we will be sharing our predictions on some of these trends that we think will define 2019 (or at least part of it).

Vy Do, Digital & Creative Content intern, shares her view on how people are influenced and the power of word of mouth in 2019.

Bookstores are the main place where I learn about which books are most popular, which genres they belong to, which ones are staff picks; but, ironically, none of this information contributes to my purchase decision.

I have heard about “Educated,” “Becoming,” and “Small Fry” – all of them are from notable women, but I didn’t really pay attention to the praises they received on social media and in the newspaper.

Instead, I was influenced by a stranger on a subway who devoured “educated” in the early commuting hours.

I was influenced by my friend on “Goodreads,” the world’s largest site for book recommendations, who gave the book five stars.

I rely on these people because they have nothing to gain from suggesting a book.

When presented with so many choices, people seek advice from those they trust because it is too risky to listen to someone who may have received incentives for promoting something.

People are influenced by their friends of friends, too. Something like “I haven’t tried it but my friend Bobby said that…” may be just enough to be taken into consideration. Word-of-mouth is the oldest, yet most effective form of marketing.

We are bombarded with too much information daily, including fake news, so I believe people will turn back to people they know for advice.

Social content and paid ads may raise awareness for a product/service, but user-generated content and communities/forums are where consumers will test what they see and read.

So what is the implication for advertisers?

Care about what your audience may think and feel about your product. Spending money promoting something is not enough, think about how anyone your audience comes into contact with could influence your customer’s ultimate purchase. 

Vy Do is a Digital & Creative Content intern at APEX Public Relations. Learn more about what influences consumer’s purchase decision by visiting our website or emailing us at

bigger@apexpr.com

Check out more of our Crystal Ball series to know what other trends to expect in 2019.

2019 Crystal Ball – Brands creating real action in 2019

With 2019 ramping up, expect new trends throughout the news, social media, technology and more. At APEX and ruckus digital we will be sharing our predictions on some of these trends that we think will define 2019 (or at least part of it).

Ella Singleton, director, creative strategies at ruckus Digital, shares her view on what will happen to brand campaigns this year.

There will always be those brands that are fast to co-opt the latest causes the media has rallied behind. They do it and are then either applauded, debated, despised or awarded (or usually a mix of all four) by consumers and industry peers.

But can brands action change for the good of our planet and humanity in 2019? Can they move things forward in a tangible, results-driven way, versus creating statements only to gain short term press headlines?

The question is what defines real action? What are results? 

Is it a campaign that lives in the media? Is it a story trending in your social feed for a week? Is it a hashtag to rally behind and track conversation?

Is it increased sales first, or social change?

Historically, by positioning ‘change’ in that way has been counterproductive. Conversations driven by brands is great for awareness, but has it ever really changed policy or human truths and behaviours?

What it has done is spike insincere, ineffective social action and then inevitably exhausted the masses shortly after.

The shift in thinking for major brand players in 2019 is what I am beginning to see in my crystal ball, and I see inklings of it. Foundational change is being discussed at the top. Thought leaders are realizing what will and will not move the needle, for their business and social responsibility.

False pretense of action is in the past — donation matching, co-opting conversation etc.

Actionable and innovative thinking in a business model is the only way forward. For example, the coalition of some of the biggest players in CPG moving to a zero waste platform is going to revolutionize how other brands think and act.

How can brands move beyond the false pretense of action to drive real and sustainable outcomes? Well, let’s see.

Ella Singleton is a Director, Creative Strategies at ruckus Digital. Looking to real action for your brand? Visit our website or email us at info@ruckusdigital.ca

Check out more of our Crystal Ball series to know what other trends to expect in 2019.

5 tips from Facebook PR Agency Day

The APEX and ruckus teams had an opportunity to visit Facebook this month for their Facebook PR Agency Day, which brought several leading PR and social media agencies together to outline what’s new and upcoming for Facebook and Instagram. 

Here are our top five key tips on what communicators need to do to get the most out of Facebook and Instagram in 2019:

  1. Measure by business objectives over engagement: 91 per cent of a social media post’s brand impact is from those who never engage, that’s a large percentage of your audience from which you’re not measuring impact if you just focus on engagement. Before starting any programming review your business objectives and select the social platforms that will align to those business objectives.
  • Get influencers to follow Facebook’s creative best practices: The average person scrolls through 300 feet of content per day (that’s the height of the Statue of Liberty!) When building influencer programming, educate influencers to consider the following best practices from Facebook user behaviours:
    • Design for sound off as 85 per cent of video is viewed without listening to audio
    • Design for vertical video as 90 per cent of smartphone users hold their phones vertically
    • Capture attention quickly as consumers can process a thought in 0.013 seconds
  • Select a publishing option to match video consumption habits: People engage with mobile video in two different ways: on-the-go or captivated viewing:
    • On-the-go viewing is typically seen in Stories or within the news feed
    • Captivated viewing is typically seen in FB Watch, FB Live (watch parties or premieres) or IGTV
  • Know that #sponsored doesn’t impact consumers trust: The rise of influencer content comes from audiences not trusting traditional advertising, however consumers are open to the small everyday influencer being a spokesperson as they trust their recommendations more than traditional ads.
  • Extend content to the right audience: Organic reach, even for the influential, only goes so far.As the usage of social platforms increase, the need to have paid media support becomes even more important to meeting objectives.

Contributors to this piece include Katie Boland, Amanda Carreiro, Vanessa Cuartas, Marc Dodsworth, Vivian Kwong, and Nicole Pomeroy. Need help with your social strategy? Drop us a line. 

Five takeaways from Social Media Week Toronto

From algorithm adjustments to the ever-changing video formats. Social media is constantly evolving, and as digital strategists it’s important we keep on top of these changes to better optimize our content for any platform.

The ruckus team had an opportunity to attend Social Media Week Toronto, which brought several leading social media marketers together to outline what’s new and upcoming for social media marketing. 

This piece highlights our key takeaways from the conference and what inspired us the most:

1. Select influencers that matter to your message

Brands often select influencers based on their reach with a goal of getting their content in front of a large audience. However, algorithms are customizing social feeds based on user behaviour and the most relevant content users engage with and brands need to adapt. These four considerations are the key to selecting the right influencers for your brand:

  • Relevance: How often does the influencer talk about topics and information that are relevant to your brand?
  • Resonance: How well does the content resonate with the influencer’s audience? What is their engagement rate?
  • Reference: How big is their influence? Do other key influencers follow them as well?
  • Reach: Make no mistake, reach still matters, but the above considerations are far more important to maximizing your campaign’s results.

2. Don’t count out other platforms

Facebook is a very cost-effective medium and it’s easy to funnel all your social marketing here. Especially if you’re a new brand or a new product, it’s a no-brainer to reach as many as 75 per cent of Canadians. However, this platform might not be the only platform depending on the audience or marketing objectives that your brand could explore.

Platforms like Reddit and Pinterest were profiled as platforms to reconsider for your marketing strategies for these reasons:

  • Reddit has a community of strong opinions and could be a place to help drive traffic – however beware of the content leveraged here and speak in reddit-lingo to engage better with this audience.
  • Pinterest is full of lifestyle content with a strong base of users looking for wedding inspiration or meal prep ideas. Advertising on the platform has been getting easier and just as sophisticated as Facebook – they even launched a Toronto office!

3. Prepare for and embrace the chaos

To keep on top of the high volume of engagements during election night, CBC Toronto built a control room entirely for social, and an equipped team of social media producers to fill it. This amount of preparation and support benefited CBC as their team was able to:

  • Ensure that things ran smoothly.
  • Bring questions from online to their team of reporters, at the venues throughout the city to get answers by the candidates themselves.
  • Respond to each comment and reaction in real-time, which played a huge part of their live-coverage success as CBC’s Digital Producer, @vvalido explained, “it really helped to keep people interested.”

4.   Cannabis is here to stay – even if you can’t market it

At a session with Josh Lyon of Tokyo Smoke and Amanda Marino from Herb we learned the background of marketing in cannabis (even though you pretty much can’t). To begin with, did you know that the word “cannabis” is politically correct – and that we shouldn’t use marijuana? Regardless, both agreed that education is the key for cannabis in the future, how they reach their audiences and promote their brand is done in a different way.

  • Tokyo Smoke – Working for a company that sells paraphernalia and cannabis products, they are unable to promote their brand on any social channel. They are not allowed to use images or videos that show people using their products – Tokyo Smoke can show their shops and pictures that may help people learn about cannabis, but none of their products. Since they can’t advertise, their social media and coffee shop methods are a great place to educate.

5.      Herb –Their social media accounts are all about improving the image of cannabis and its users, while also being educational. They mainly play on YouTube, where they have both fun and educational videos – whether it is moms getting high and playing Fortnite, to learning about the history of 4/20. They try to use a lot of comedy as they say people always like to laugh. LinkedIn is In

LinkedIn is often thought as a networking tool rather than a social platform with capabilities beyond job hunting and connecting with peers. After Goldie Chan’s Unpacking the LinkedIn Influencer session we saw LinkedIn as a platform that can add value to any social campaign, especially in the B2B sector.

6. LinkedIn is In

LinkedIn is often thought as a networking tool rather than a social platform with capabilities beyond job hunting and connecting with peers. After Goldie Chan’s Unpacking the LinkedIn Influencer session we saw LinkedIn as a platform that can add value to any social campaign, especially in the B2B sector.

This is LinkedIn at a glance:

  • It currently has 565 million users worldwide, 40% of which are daily users
  • 57% of its traffic is mobile
  • 44% of LinkedIn users make more than $75K USD annually

LinkedIn users have a deep understanding of their industries and will engage with highly-targeted and in-depth content, making it possible for brands to hyper-specialize their messaging to respective audiences.

Working with influencers on the platform has also a proven successful. Consider partnering with LinkedIn influencers to build brand awareness for a B2B company, amplify a B2C product launch or to grow a company executive’s brand.

Finally, here are some individual profile LinkedIn tips from the session:

  • A professional headshot is a must
  •      Optimize your profile copy for SEO and include links to your other social accounts and websites
  • Post content that is specific to your industry
  • Include high-quality video in your strategy
  • Improve your SEO with strong written content
  • Add a personal note to your connection requests

 

Katie Boland, Amanda Carreiro, Vivian Kwong, Nicole Pomeroy and Kevin Behar are all a part of the APEX/ruckus digital team. Need help with your social strategy? Drop us a line.