Our latest guide to the most interesting things happening in the world of advocacy marketing

1. COVID-19 and its surprising effect on influencer marketing

It’s easy to assume with coronavirus forcing millions to stay home that social media and influencer marketing would be thriving. But, not even influencer marketing is immune to the huge cultural shift caused by the pandemic. In such serious times, creating culturally appropriate sponsored content can be a fine line to walk. Influencers risk looking oblivious if they carry on business-as-usual and insensitive if they try to incorporate the virus into their content. And, given the current economic climate, brands are reluctant to invest in strategies that may not pay off. In response to this change, top-tier influencers are lowering their rates in their quest for work, and micro-influencers are now going up against larger influencers for partnerships, creating competition that’s bad for influencers but good for brands. Meanwhile, some industry insiders are more optimistic: a new report from Influencer Intelligence revealed that spending on cheaper goods and luxuries usually increases during times of economic crisis. And, with online spending and social media use up, there’s no shortage of customers looking for entertainment and escape. So while influencers will have to deal with canceled events and limited content opportunities, the current situation could just spark a new wave of influencer creativity. Read the full article.

2. Ten creative ways to leverage customers reviews on social media

It’s fair to say that social media has revolutionized how brands receive customer feedback. Before this, brands had to work hard for customer reviews using long questionnaires or cold calling. Now it’s as easy as pressing send on a tweet or Instagram comment. With brand communication at an all-time high, having some best practice to help leverage good reviews to attract new customers has never been more important. This includes creating a branded template for the platforms your customers use the most, encouraging user-generated content that taps into your customers’ creativity, or leveraging feedback in a way that focuses on the customers’ happiness rather than solely on the brand or product. But, be strategic. It’s not enough to just repost a positive review. Share why you’re proud and what it is about your brand that has made that customer happy. The bottom line is that people believe other people over brands. It’s all about finding new ways to turn happy customers into more customers. Read more.

3. How to increase brand awareness in a competitive landscape

When new brands are popping up every day, setting your brand apart from the rest is key for survival. The tried and true way of standing out in a crowded market is through brand awareness. In the eCommerce space, one of the best ways to set yourself apart is to highlight what your brand does best. And while it may seem obvious, thinking about what you want customers’ key takeaway to be when using your product is nevertheless crucial. Having a consistent message and brand image is important for increasing customer trust and loyalty. After all, up to 90% of purchasing decisions are made subconsciously, so customers’ impressions of your brand need to be consistent and positive. It’s also important to bring that consistency into your product across different channels and platforms. With customers browsing and buying more on mobile devices, brands need to offer a consistent, seamless, and on-brand experience no matter where your customers are. It’s all about putting your best foot forward in a way that serves both your customers and you. Check it out.

4. Could influencer fatigue usher in a new age of creator marketing?

While influencers initially redefined marketing through their ability to create content that felt more genuine and relatable than your typical advertisements, the days of consumers associating influencers with authenticity are over. Studies show that the influencer market is oversaturated and losing some of its efficacy in marketing products. Cybersecurity company CHEQ found that 15% of influencer ad money is spent on fake followers, a fact that costs brands $1.3 billion a year. So, while micro-influencers may be a short-term solution, creators might just be the long-term answer. The difference between a creator and an influencer being that creators focus their content around a certain topic, and thus any products they promote align with their brand identity. But the biggest difference is that creators produce content they care about because it’s related to their real-life interests, and not just to get paid. Some companies are already investing in this new wave of marketing: Rihanna’s Fenty recently revealed the Fenty Beauty TikTok house, a space where beauty-focused content creators can test out new looks and ideas. It’s one example of a brand enabling creators to create and build a partnership around shared interests and values. It’s a strategy that might inject some much-needed innovation into the influencer marketing world. Read more.

5. Three keys to context marketing

We live in a world of infinite content. If you want something, there are probably dozens of people out there who offer something similar. So when content is no longer the issue, the problem consumers face is sorting through an endless supply of products and services to find what they’re actually looking for. Enter context marketing, a new form of marketing where brands tailor their products and services to meet their customers’ specific needs. Take Oreo’s #myoreocreation campaign. The company asked consumers what new flavor of cookie they should make. Oreo received hundreds of thousands of responses, sparked extremely high customer engagement with their brand, and created built-in demand for the product by letting customers into the creation process. Like Oreo’s campaign, context marketing is about rethinking traditional marketing and how you approach your customers. It’s working with your audience, not for them. It’s taking an omnichannel approach to guiding your customers along their journey, and not simply offering them a product. It’s unique and it’s the kind of thinking that has the potential to both build brand loyalty and drive demand. Read the full story.

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