Senior figures from both of the popular social media platforms took to the stage at last week’s Advertising Week APAC conference in Sydney, unveiling insights into their respective platforms and offering advice on how businesses can best utilise them as a marketing channel.
Here is what each had to say about business marketing and social engagement.
‘Bring products to life in a fun, casual way’: Instagram
Instagram’s global head of product marketing, Susan Rose, said that some 9 million Australians — or around one in three of us — use Instagram each day.
And when it comes to the things most commonly posted or commented on via the platform, she said there are a few standouts in 2019 so far:
- Christmas in July
- NRL State of Origin
- NAIDOC Week
These examples, Ms Rose suggested, help to illustrate her point that 91 per cent of Australians on Instagram use the platform for following personal interests.
“They are coming to Instagram to find and discover and deepen their interests,” she said.
And while some 200 million people globally visit a business profile on the platform each day, Ms Rose said, two-thirds of those visits are by people who are not followers of that particular business.
This, she said, demonstrated the ability for businesses to engage with and capture new customers based around their interests.
Locally, the Instagram director said that these interests primarily revolve around:
- food and drinks
In a bid to demonstrate how businesses can capture and engage with consumers via social media, Ms Rose pointed to the likes of retailer David Jones and Australian Hollywood star Chris Hemsworth.
She suggested that David Jones has used the stories function on Instagram as a means of “bringing products to life in a fun and casual way”, playing up positive and aspirational lifestyle factors that incorporate their fashion items and other products, instead of a more direct product-centric push.
Meanwhile, Ms Rose said that actor Hemsworth — who has amassed more than 37 million followers — uses Instagram more as a branding exercise, portraying himself as raw and authentic using behind-the-scenes footage and images of his life and work to shape his overall image.
Doing so, she suggested, can help to shake off the potential for him — or any individual or brand — to be seen as being unapproachable or distant.
Meanwhile, Krispy Kreme Australia and New Zealand’s chief marketing officer, Russell Schulman, explained how the donut chain has used the stories platform for brand positioning, by creating content that is fun and engaging and easily shared.
Stories only last for 24 hours on Instagram, making for a decidedly short, sharp campaign.
“It’s 24 hours and you move on,” he said.
This approach — such as the creation of an arcade-style game to tap into people’s nostalgia — has often delivered views much higher than the business’s 131,000 followers, and associate the brand with happiness and laughter.
The arcade game example was rolled out immediately after the federal election in May, Mr Schulman said, in a bid to overcome seriousness.
It was so effective in reaching non-followers and generating time on its profile — time spent playing the game averaged around three minutes, but for some individuals was considerably higher — that Krispy Kreme is now looking to bring the game back again as well as roll it out internationally.
‘Nostalgic renaissance’: Facebook
Facebook’s vice-president of global business and culture marketing, Australian Michelle Klein, presented on the topic of “building ideas that thrive in a connected world”.
Addressing business concerns at the pace of technological change, she told the audience that, “as human beings, it’s in our DNA to resist change”. But that inevitably we all adapt to change.
Ms Klein said that resistance to change was not new, citing everything from the printing press to the introduction of television and eventually mobile phones.
However, she suggested that businesses can use this sense of uncertainty to their advantage as a powerful marketing and engagement tool.
One example, she outlined, relates to a “nostalgic renaissance” by creating both products and services — as well as marketing around them — that taps into nostalgia, such as a growing interest among America’s youth for audio cassettes and filters on Instagram that give photos a more old-school appearance.
Carmaker Subaru used this approach to create its #onelittlemoment campaign, Ms Klein explained. It began internally with the company asking its employees to recall and share a positive, powerful moment each day for 30 days, before being extended publicly across Australia.
The moments were then used to create a video campaign, capturing the emotions of employees and consumers alike about the emotions tied to some of those moments they had shared.
Other businesses — even small businesses — are using the reach of social media to contribute to topic debates or news stories, in a way that creates a powerful message and reflects positively on their own brand, Ms Klein said.
She cited the example of the GoBacktoAfrica.com video campaign, which she said was developed by a small US travel agency, Black and Abroad.
The video — which can be seen below — tapped into a negative racial expression and used it to highlight the cultural and scenic wonders of the African continent that are available to tourists.
The overarching point, according to Ms Klein, is that businesses should look to the ways technology can create meaningful experiences for their existing and prospective customers, and use these to turn uncertainty into opportunity.
“We have to accept that it’s never going to be easy, it’s going to be challenging... but we have this opportunity to be the change,” she said.