What’s the first thing you do in the morning? Check your phone to see if you had any tweets on Twitter? Post a wake-up selfie on Facebook? Have a peek at who else has been posting? Today’s consumers are more ‘always on’ then ever before and this means that brands should be rethinking the way they interact with consumers online. Gone are the days of the big creative campaign. Brands should now be planning an ongoing dialogue with consumers to drive long-term engagement with timely and engaging creative content, because when consumers are active online every minute of every day, the brand conversation never ends.
The traditional approach to marketing to consumers online relied on being interruptive and then hoping it’s memorable enough before seeping out of consumers’ lives until the next spike of activity is planned. However, the brand-customer relationship has now been redefined and conversations never end. Customers are more market savvy than ever before; they know their relationship value to brands and want more in return. Because of this, there’s no point speaking at consumers and the days of pumping out messages on a Facebook feed are long gone, brands need to tread carefully so they don’t end up impacting on consumers’ lives like a wrecking ball. A brand can have a few comfortable silences, all the best relationships do, but it’s when there is too much of a gap or the brand is too intrusive that a customer is likely to start talking to someone else.
To engage the always on consumer, brands should connect with customers in their world. This means adding value, sharing, curating and entertaining to build love and interest around the brand. We see some brands achieving this well, by harnessing and adding to conversations happening in the world. A great example of this is #Bendgate, when a number of brands created posts to jump into the chatter around Apple’s iPhone 6 bending in people’s pockets. The most successful of which was KitKat’s ‘we don’t bend, we break’, which was retweeted more than 23,000 times and lifted the brands followers by several thousand. Such initiatives can work well for brands, but it’s important to create common threads to seamlessly stitch the brand into the fabric of customers’ lives and know when the time or topic is right to comment on.
There is a tendency for brands to only post during the working day, when actually research shows that customers have more time to read content over the weekend. Any strategy that strives to capitalise on consumer behaviour has to have insights like this at its heart, otherwise great content is being shared with customers that aren’t there to receive it. Indicia’s research shows that blogs posted between 10-11pm have the most interactions and it’s these important nuggets about online consumer behaviour that a digital strategy needs to built around. With a more demanding customer and the growing need to engage on their terms, brands have to think about when and how their customers want to engage – from the time of day, to how the content should be delivered and on which platform.
While the big creative campaign still excites customers, a better approach is: sometimes think big, always think small. If brands get the day-to-day conversations right with customers, the big campaigns will have a much greater impact and are more likely to be shared and engaged with. Through tapping into relevant conversations and posting shareable content in a continuous stream, brands can ensure they build a long-term following and relationship with customers online that will reward other marketing campaigns.
In an always on digital world, it is now necessary to consider the bigger picture or the long tail effect. Campaigns will come and go; they may peak interest and be successful at creating brand awareness, but it will be the regular brushes with a brands personality that will engage customers and build advocacy in the long-term.