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Category : Digital Strategy

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“Under Promise, Over Deliver”

Also know as “surprise and delight”. Expectation setting is a huge part of being successful not just from a client perspective, but internally in the workplace. Deliver everything on time, and deliver your best work, every time.

Amanda Carreiro is a Senior Digital Content Manager at ruckus Digital.

Need help with your social strategy? Drop us a line.

Using YouTube video to educate modern home buyers

Problem

For our RE/MAX client, it’s important to educate modern home buyers about the value of an agent, especially as digital-only real estate services are expanding within the Canadian market. With Canadian Millennials making up half of the home buyers in the coming years, RE/MAX wanted to experiment with new communications channels to inform, educate and entertain this audience about the value of using a real estate agent.  

For millennials, YouTube was the most used platform, with Canadian Millennials spending 8 hours a week, above watching live TV (4.1 hours), scrolling Facebook (7.3 hours) or binging Netflix (7.4). Millennials grew up with technology and were very aware of advertisements. They want control over their ads, with 69 per cent preferring “skippable” functions. To reach and engage with this audience, we knew we had to do it on the platforms they loved with people they watched and trusted.

Solution

Developed in collaboration with RE/MAX and APEX PR, we created a five-part content series to offer a behind-the-scenes look at real Millennial homebuyers in their very early search process. The series – hosted by YouTuber and social media personality Ashley Bloomfield, launched in October 2019 on RE/MAX Canada’s YouTube channel and was promoted via Facebook and Instagram.

Each episode focused on the beginning of the home-buying journey, as the featured buyers consider liveability factors and weighed them against other variables, such as price. “Liveability” is the satisfaction a homeowner gets within the context of a neighbourhood (such as proximity to public transit and schools) in addition to the home’s features (such as layout or number of bathrooms). Homebuyers featured included a range of narratives including newlyweds, moving close to work, new parents and first time moving in together.

#HomeGoals by RE/MAX depicts inevitable compromises and choices that real Canadians face when looking to begin the process of buying a home. The participants featured in the five-episode series discuss their decisions in the context of the neighbourhood, their budgetary constraints and their liveability goals. It offers advice from RE/MAX to assist on their journey.

Results

To drive video views and audience retention, this campaign leveraged YouTube and TrueView In-Stream Ads to highly target the home buying audience and ensure the right audience was receiving the right message, affordably and quickly. In the past, media channels like TV made it a challenge to reach a specific demographic quickly and cost-effectively. Overall, the #HomeGoals programming was able to reach out to the Millennial segment, earning over one million views (+ 500% of our benchmark) and saw an average watch time of 1:48 per episode.

See the #HomeGoals series here

Katie Boland is an Account Director at ruckus digital.

Read more of our favourite work from 2019.

The Importance of Community Management

Over the years, social media has become people’s primary method of communication, entertainment, and even shopping. It’s a little known fact that social media has changed the way consumers shop, and the way businesses advertise, and while brand recognize the importance of reach and engagement on social media, many marketers seem to be missing the value of dedicating resources to community management on their brand social media channels.

Before social media, when consumers had questions about products and services they went in-store, made calls into customer service lines, or went on websites to use a company’s “live chat” feature. But as consumer behaviour has changed, so has the way consumers look for information.

Individuals now look to social media for answers from companies, but between chatbots who have limited responses and companies who have a slow response time, there is a lot of room for disappointment. Companies need to look at social media as not just an advertising tool, but also as a customer service tool – a line of communication that allows them to speak directly to customers, educate them and engage them – in turn selling to them.

In addition to using social media as a customer service tool, companies should also be using social media as a conversational tool. Companies need to start using the comment sections of their posts as an opportunity to engage with users and tell their own brand stories. While this can be as simple as thanking users for positive comments, there’s also an opportunity to use brand voice as a method of further entertaining and engaging users. (Think Wendy’s famous clap backs for example)

A more recent example of a brand that could have applied good community management to “win” social media, was Tim Horton’s recent tweet offering Megan Markle and Prince Harry free coffee for life. This tweet received a lot of hate. Instead of embracing the hate or using it as an opportunity to open a dialogue with users, Tim Horton’s remained silent.

A brand can manage a crisis with humility and acknowledge their mistake by communicating with their audiences and acknowledging errors or any inaccurate information. Community management is not about pleasing everyone or responding to every message but giving brands the opportunity to converse with consumers and hear their stories.

Amanda Carreiro is the Senior Digital Content Manager at ruckus Digital.

Need help with your social strategy? Drop us a line.

What is TikTok and how is it engaging Generation Z?

If your parents were on Facebook and Instagram, wouldn’t you want an alternative platform to connect with friends? It’s a no-brainer that Generation Z does. Enter the new social platform – TikTok.

To be exact, 41 per cent of TikTok-ers are between the age of 16 and 24 according to Globalwebindex. Many of which likely don’t appreciate the original TikTok song by Kesha as much as I do.

It’s a great reminder that social platforms are made and perfected by their daily users. It’s the users that wanted a new way to share and engage with friends. It’s also these creators that are developing a new community to share, connect, and entertain.

I’m optimistic that the platform will hold on throughout 2020 but the power behind giant companies like Facebook and Google won’t let this little company capture audiences without a fight.

Here are the five things you need to know about the platform:

1. TikTok content should entertain: Content getting the most attention entertains first. With music at the center of the app, TikTok gives users access to the most popular music on the charts, making it easy for individuals to recreate topical content. As users easily scroll through 20-30 videos within five minutes, the content should be creative and attention-grabbing. These users don’t like any content that interrupts their experience or feels like it doesn’t fit.

2. Adapt your content to the community by leveraging what users expect to see. Combine different elements like challenges, trending music and jump transformations to tell a unique story. Stay tuned on the discover page to see what’s trending in the community.

3. TikTok campaigns can drive sales: Users like a good challenge that’s why brands like Chipotle or Kroger took to the platform to challenge fans to join them. Chipotle held a #GuacDance challenge and received over a quarter of a million content submissions and 430 million video plays during its first six days. Kroger held a #TransformUrDorm challenge which asked users to post before and after videos of their dorm makeovers using products from Kroger’s.

4. Influencer exists here too! Check out Influencer Grid to search for the most popular TikTok creators based on followers, video views, topics or engagement rates. In Canada, the most popular users are Eric Struk, Sophia Diamond or Anna McNulty. These influencers can drive crowds of teens like the Beatles or Elvis used to do, as a few influencers recently took to the Eaton Centre to show how to draw a crowd.

5. Organic engagement won’t last long: For many of these platforms, their objectives are driving daily active users and then monetizing them. With an advertising page and a growing Canadian account team, if you want to take part in the early adoption phase of this community, act now.

Katie Boland is an Account Director at ruckus digital. Drafted with notes from APEX PR coordinator and huge TikTok fan, Jesse Cecchetto.

Need help with your social strategy? Drop us a line.

2019 Reflection Blog Post – The Pivot

2019 was the year of podcasting for me. As one of APEX’s in-house podcast producers, one of my favourite projects was producing our very own podcast The Pivot, based on the CMO Lab research we conducted in 2018.

The Pivot is the qualitative aspect of the CMO Lab to further peel the onion on why 53 per cent of Canadian marketers haven’t shifted their strategies in the last few years, even though 98 per cent of CMOs believe that brand and organizational reputation have only become more important.

What a year we’ve had with The Pivot! From growing the producing team from 3 to 7, to chatting with some of Canada’s top marketers about strategy and the shifts along the way, it has certainly been an enriching project. The year ended with a bang – with season 3 wrapping up with a discussion about Canada’s cannabis sector with Andrew Rusk of Canopy Growth.

We had the chance to delve into some great campaigns – Lori Davison of the SickKids foundation walked us through the process of the VS. Limits campaign and the team at Hershey Canada chatted with us about the Oh Henry 4:25 campaign. My personal favourite is our discussion on reputation management with Brad Ross, chief communications officer at the City of Toronto.

Going into this podcast, I hoped for the episodes to be very conversational and insightful, without being too dense or disingenuous. With season 3 now wrapped up, I am happy with how each episode turned out. Each one was indeed conversational and light-hearted, with the guests sharing their own experiences in the industry and offering insights on their own approach to face disruption.

We also have a little fun with our guests – every time a guest says “authentic” or “authenticity” in the conversation, our host Ken Evans will stop and ask them to define it. Why? Because it’s an over-used word that can be very vague!

Looking back, the biggest hurdle in this project was scheduling – I’m sure every podcast has experienced this at least once! Let’s face it – marketers are BUSY! Nailing down a date for a recording can get tricky.

Overall, I’m very proud of this podcast and happy with the outcome. Each episode continues to get more downloads over time, and I’m looking forward to producing season 4 in the new year!

Ashley Villarroel is a Senior Consultant at APEX PR. How do you define authenticity?

Check out more 2019 highlights here!

2019 Reflection: Planet Fitness Awareness Campaign

Back in 2017, ruckus Digital successfully launched the Planet Fitness Canada social channels. While new locations are regularly opening across the nation, as a newer gym in Canada, there is still a level of education and brand awareness required for the Canadian audience.

December and January is a busy time for the fitness industry as Canadians look to join gyms and fulfill fitness New Year’s resolutions. To put Planet Fitness at the forefront of Canadian minds, we needed to create an awareness campaign that would tell social media users who Planet Fitness is and why they should join.

Since Planet Fitness’ brand voice is fun and sassy, we wanted to develop a campaign that not only boasted Planet Fitness membership perks and prices (which are extremely competitive), but that also stayed true to their unique tone. As an added challenge, we wanted to attribute as much of our budget as possible to paid social advertising to maximize reach, which meant we wanted to create assets without the use of production studio.

The result was a “Reactions” campaign – a series of overly and comically expressive stock models in Planet Fitness branded imagery with captions that spoke to Planet Fitness features in relatable, meme-like ways.

There was a moment during the ideation where I found myself feeling genuinely concerned we were going to have a hard time finding a winning idea – but when the idea came, it felt so natural and obvious, and one of those few times where you toot your own horn and think “genius!”

Once the base of the idea was created, the captions came easily, and it’s a campaign I’m very proud of.

The campaign ran from the end of December 2018 until early 2019 and resulted in over 1.75 million impressions and an average engagement rate of 12%, compared to an average engagement rate of 5% on always-on content.

A big takeaway I got from this project is realizing how a simple can idea can have a maximum effect. Despite brainstorming bigger ideas that would be more complex and harder to execute, the winning idea ended up being the one that was simplest to execute – meaning we could put those dollars directly back into media spend, which our team and the client team was very happy about.

Amanda Carreiro is the Senior Digital Content Manager at ruckus Digital.

Check out more 2019 highlights here!

2019: Tasking YouTubers with an Interac $100 Challenge

Problem

Interac is a world-class debit payment system and one of Canada’s leading brands. On average, it is used 16 million times daily and is a market leader in payment technologies. With a concern that new technology platforms and often-enticing credit card reward-programs could encroach as the preferred method of payment for Millennials, the brand wanted to remind their key targets why Interac Flash is the safe, secure and convenient way to pay. 

Roughly 60 per cent of consumers were being influenced by social media, according to Collective Bias, the brand saw this as an opportunity to speak to their targets outside of traditional media. Based on eMarketer research, YouTube was the most used platform, with Canadian Millennials spending 8 hours a week on the platform, above watching live TV (4.1 hours), scrolling Facebook (7.3 hours) or binging Netflix (7.4). Millennials grew up with technology and were very aware of advertisements. They wanted control over their ads, with 69 per preferring “skippable” functions. To reach this audience and show savvy young shoppers that using Interac Debit is the best way to own their financial future, we knew we had to do it on the platforms they loved with the people they watched and trusted.

Solution

Developed in collaboration with KIN Community and APEX PR, we created a six-month content strategy, leveraging YouTube creators to increase consideration for Interac Flash as THE choice payment method among Millennials. We knew that Canadian Millennials were highly engaged with “challenge” content in the lifestyle space, so we created a challenge that would link all YouTuber content so viewers could continue engaging with the brand through multiple videos. To do this, each creator was challenged to complete a task with a $100 budget. Why $100 dollars? Because it aligns perfectly with Interac Flash, reminding people that for under $100 you can touch and go. Every week, this “travelling concept” leveraged the audiences of established creators across their different YouTube channels, and across their social. The creators rose to the challenge!  And they inspired their audiences to #owntheirworld…

Trends were studied each month and we worked with each creator to tailor their content to these trends to remain top of mind and relevant with our target audience. For example, November and December’s research showed that gift guides were in high demand. This was capitalized on and amplified a core value for Interac in the process, supporting local businesses. In a unique twist, the YouTubers and local media experts created local, curated gift guides across the country that showed their viewers their favourite stores and gift ideas. Fans loved it and begged for more local guides! Proving that the Interac content was providing real value and solving a consumer need. 

In addition to organic distribution, we implemented a paid media strategy to target Canadian Millennials with Interac messaging. We ran full-length videos, up to 18 minutes in length, as TrueView to ensure our audience was being exposed to the messaging in a format native to the audience. Knowing that Millennials often choose to skip ads served to them on YouTube, we optimized videos to reduce the odds that viewers would choose to skip through introductions and editing styles that we knew would catch the attention of Canadian Millennials.

Results

To drive video views and audience retention, this campaign leveraged YouTube and their TrueView In Stream Ads to highly target the home buying audience and ensure the right audience was receiving the right message affordably and quickly. in the past, media channels like TV made it a challenge to reach a specific demographic quickly and cost-effectively. Overall, the Interac $100 Challenge delivered 20 million impressions, 7.3 million video views and 124K engagements across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Our colleagues at APEX PR delivered 11.3 million traditional media impressions across 46 stories from highly trusted outlets such as Breakfast Television Montreal, The Global Morning Show and CTV Morning Live Ottawa.

Katie Boland is an Account Director at ruckus digital.

Read more of our favorite work from 2019. Need help with your social media approach? Drop us a line.

#SMWTO – Providing LEGS for Real Time Community Influencer Moments

Earlier this month, the ruckus team had an opportunity to attend Social Media Week Toronto, which brought several leading social media marketers, influencers and social media platforms together to outline what’s new and upcoming for social media marketing. We live-tweeted, laughed, cried, and learned from the best.

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

1. A Moment Like This

FOMO and inclusion are the two main drivers in why individuals join social media. There is a large fear of missing out with an equally large drive to be included and feel part of a movement. Various speakers touched on the fact that to understand social media is to understand your audience. Challenges such as the ice bucket challenge, planking, and the kiki challenge give your audience the ability to be “cool” by partaking in a trending topic. They can then share their “entry” and be part of something bigger— a specific moment in time.

2. Community is King

We’ve all heard that content is king, but during the course of the week, it was all about community reigning supreme. Posting content for content sake is not going to earn you much engagement or clout with your followers. A few speakers hypothesized that the best method of creating content comes from seeking out your community and asking what they want to see. Conduct searches to see what accounts are saying about your brand, not just those who tag you, but the individuals who hashtag your organization or just write it out. By engaging with your community, you give them a voice, make them feel heard, and increase the chances of them sharing. Word of mouth is just as important online as in person.

3. Does your content have LEGS?

Yes, you read that right, but no, we don’t mean will it walk away. Creating content for the ad-averse is a real day challenge, and in order to grab those eyeballs, content should include at least one of the following elements:

Laugh Out Loud – If your content incorporates humour, individuals are willing to overlook the fact that it’s an ad for the reward of a good laugh.
Edgy – Pushing boundaries sparks conversation.
Gripping – Does it grab and hold your attention?
Sexy – make it visually appealing.

If your content doesn’t have legs, it needs to offer personal value in the forms of being inspirational, educational, or thought-provoking.

4. Real-Time

The theme of time and trends was woven through presentations on Twitter, 5G, Pinterest, and TikTok. Audience users expect immediate results and interactions. Whether it be in conversing online or partaking in a TikTok trend (which on average lasts about a week), they expect immediate response and reaction. With the development of 5G phone networks, we’ll be able to download and process information in 3-second increments. With Pinterest’s new lens, you can point your phone at an object and find out exactly where it’s from and purchase it on the spot. This is going to mean content creators (and everyday individuals) will have to work quickly to produce timely content while the idea is still fresh. On the flip side, this also means we’ll need to pay closer attention to real-time analytics in order to pivot in the moment.

5. Nano Influencers

In the era of fake news and bots, a lot of brands and agencies are shying away from influencers with large followings for nano influencers with more authentic reach. Much like brands, audiences don’t like the feeling of being duped when a piece of content gets thousands of likes and thousands of the same comment within moments of a post going live. Nano influencers offer more niche targeting with a higher likelihood of your branded content resonating with audiences leading to engagement.

Abby Radovski is an Account Director at ruckus Digital. Need help with your social strategy? Drop us a line.

Dear Abby, Tell Us About Yourself…

Abby Radovski joins ruckus as an account director, digital integration. Abby’s role will focus on senior client counsel and leadership on all digital aspects, and she will also support new business growth. Abby brings more than seven years of experience from numerous multi-national agencies, with a robust background in social media management, content creation and influencer relations.

1. How has your past work or volunteer experience helped you in your current position?

“I’ve been a member of Girl Guides of Canada for more than 20 years.  For the past decade, I’ve been a leader within the organization, mentoring girls of all ages to try new things, communicate effectively and believe in themselves.  My experiences as a guider have helped me hone my skills of group work, team leadership and exploring the unknown. The Girl Guides motto is to Be Prepared, and as a communicator, I can’t think of a better motto to apply to the PR world. While the media and digital landscapes constantly evolve, we research, anticipate, and prepare ourselves for the future. It also means I always have an extra phone charger, pen, paper, and band-aids in my purse.”

2. What are you most passionate about professionally? Personally?

“I’m a social butterfly by nature and this translates into my passion for all things social. If there is an event, festival or new social platform, I’m there! This passion is what drove me into becoming a dog and cider influencer. Managing two accounts, Instagram offered me the opportunity to flex my creativity, share photos and be part of an online community where I can be an over-enthusiastic dog mom and cider drinker. From a professional perspective, it also keeps me up to date on new features and what types of analytics are offered to influencers.”

3. What moment or accomplishment in your career are you most proud of?

“There are many milestones that I look back upon proudly. The first time I landed a media hit, introducing social media into a workplace and winning my first Silverleaf award all come to mind. That being said, it’s the relationships I’ve built over the past decade that I’m most proud of. From my classmates at Seneca’s corporate communications program, to individuals I interned with when I first entered the public relations world. Relationships are a key aspect of public relations both traditionally and digitally and I’m very proud to have maintained mine with people from all over the world.”

4. How do you stay up to date on industry trends and best practices?

“There are a variety of ways to stay up to date on industry trends. I subscribe to newsletters, attend conferences and conduct social media audits for my clients on a regular basis. However, I think the best way to keep your finger on the pulse is to actively use the tools and platforms and try the updates as they happen.”

5. Three interesting facts about yourself.

  • “I previously lived in Madrid, Spain for three years. During my time there I partook in all Spanish festivals from La Tomatina to Carnaval.
  • I initially studied criminology in university before switching to a double major in anthropology and sociology in my third year.
  • I’m a dog mom to a large Cane Corso rescue named Knight who I frequently dress up for holidays.”

Check out our other blogs and podcasts

Crystal Ball 2019: Year of authentic and unfiltered social stories

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).

Katie Boland, account manager at ruckus Digital, shares her view on the growth of social stories.

It’s time to move on from fake news, fake followers and fake photos. It’s time for us to start being real on social media. My crystal ball prediction for 2019 is that it’s the year of real, authentic social stories.

I believe you’ll see the rise of people sharing imperfect pictures and videos in a new way that is different from the traditional news feed sharing. I think pre-sets, filters and perfecting the picture Instagram picture will be the exceptions in 2019.

Stories started with the disruption of Snapchat as a new channel for audiences to share content privately. Then stories were adopted by Instagram, which brought audience growth and expanded features. Now in 2019 stories are rolling out to Facebook and YouTube.

Stories generally disappear after a day and are focused on more real-time sharing within the moment. These photos or videos fill the entire mobile screen in a vertical format and allow consumers to focus on the content in front of them, rather than scrolling through a social newsfeed.

Consumers are rapidly moving to the stories format with more than 300 million daily active users. Of those daily users, 47 per cent feel that the format helps them be more authentic with friends and family.

This new format has changed the average engagement from the standard “like” or “comment” engagement we’re used to on social platforms, to adding polls, questions and emoji ratings to allow individuals to feel more connected to each other, brands or celebrities.

In fact, it could be the year my mom uses Facebook Stories to share pictures of her cat rather than just keeping an eye on my social networking activity.

Katie Boland is an account manager at ruckus digital. Check out more of our Crystal Ball series to know what other trends to expect in 2019. Need help with your social strategy? Drop us a line.