We’re already mid-way in season 1 of the Social Trends Show, and I am thrilled to share my inspirations with you. Today we bring you a social expert who will talk through what it takes to stand out as a digital brand. Reaching future customers and building engagement for your brand is nothing that we underestimate. What trends are experts seeing and what should you do to be seen as a human brand that connects? All this and more in episode 4 as we speak to social communications expert, Emily Sidley.
Listen to to the show here:
Social Trends Podcast: Building Quality Human Engagement For Your Brand
Credits of the show/ music: www.purple-planet.com
Production: Brandanew.co hosted by Upasna Kakroo
Show Guest: Emily Sidley is a senior director of publicity at Three Girls Media Inc. and manages social media, blog campaigns and media placements across a wide range of industries (from home design, cooking and wellness to student loans, law and multi-state taxation) for Three Girls’ clients.
FULL TRANSCRIPT OF THE BRANDANEW SOCIAL TRENDS SHOW, Episode 4, Season 1
Hey everyone. Thank you so much for your comments, feedback and suggestions from our last Podcast. We are trying our very best to stay close to our creative super-powers and inspire you by bringing in the most amazing people doing great things in the business world.
Today our guest is the senior director of publicity at Three Girls Media Inc., Emily Sidley. Now, Emily comes with a big background in PR having worked previously for Pacific Lutheran University’s campaign for the American Cancer Society which won her numerous awards. She’s also developed strategies for Veteran’s affairs program in Washington and served on Lute Crew Alumni’s board as a communications director. In addition to managing social media and blog campaigns across a wide range of industries (from home design, cooking and wellness to student loans, law and multi-state taxation), Emily has also worked with media outlets across the country, such as The View, Women’s Health, Prevention and CNET, to secure hundreds of editorial media placements for Three Girls’ clients.
Now, that a great great profile, and I can bet there’s a ton we all can learn from Emily’s vast communications experience. Before we dive into our little conversation, here’s a word from the production team.
The first season of The Brandanew Social Trends show is edited by Upasna Kakroo. Our theme music is called Fingerpoppin’ and our break music is called Celebration. Both of these come to us courtesy of purple-planet.com.
Upasna: Before the break I told you about Emily’s fantastic communications background. But I was indeed curious to know a little bit more about how she began in the social media world. So, I asked Emily to share her path towards becoming a social media expert, with the audience here…
Emily: To tell you a little bit about myself, I have been involved in social media since it began. I had a myspace account back in the day and I had a Facebook account when they first started, when I was in college before they really opened up to everyone. As each new platform has come, I have enjoyed getting to find out what’s different about them and using them for different things from Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ , LinkedIn all of them. Professionally I began working in public relations after college and as the media landscape slowly became more digital, my interests and skills in social media really translated into serving our clients really well and we began talking up more content creation with blogging and social media as well as continuing the media relationships aspects. And those two things really go hand in hand because it all comes down to really people whether you’re relating to them on social media, or telling your story to a journalist or writing a blog post. It’s all about the people you’re communicating with and connecting with them.
Upasna: That’s a strong point Emily just made. It’s not hard to scroll through a ton of company pages on Facebook or twitter and notice their disconnect with potential consumers. Very many brands in the recent past have been seen as “robotic” and have often struggled to maintain an authentic connect with the consumer.
As humans, we have a need to belong to close groups and form close bonds with the community and people around us. It’s what makes us human. People would like to form bonds without being paid to do so, as long as their needs are being addressed. And they get the feeling of comfort and trust.
You customers need to feel that they’re a part of a larger community that has similar values and needs. People like staying in groups that make them feel supported and positive. They like feeling close-knit. As a brand this means, investing in a community that stands up for its values, and incorporates positive communication. One size does not fit all, and you need to ensure that you’re true to your niche.
It’s easy to get sidetracked into thinking about the brand and its products while ignoring the real relationship or the sentiment which speaks to customers. Few brands can safely say that they connect with consumers on an emotional basis.
So naturally, I asked Emily about her favorite digital brands which were doing everything right…
Emily: I think the Humans of New York is a fantastic example of how to use digital media to tell a story. Through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, Brandon Stanton created a brand that started with telling stories of people living in New York and then expanded that brand to cover people all over the world and causes. His followers have really supported him with millions to dollars. From elementary schools or refugees to cancer patients to doctors to homeless centers, this digital brand is a really good example of using the tools to tell a story rather than just being online to keep up. So with this in mind, one key aspect is that you’re targeting humans not robots. So, it’s important to come up with creative ways to show the human side of your business through a digital forum.
Upasna: What a great example indeed. I don’t know about you, but I’ve actually also been moved with the Humans of New York page and contribute to a recent cause- where they shared stories of doctors and patients in a Children’s cancer hospital in the US. The stories were heart-breaking and hopeful and spoke of human values of appreciation, gratefulness and strength. All with a small quote and a powerful image. It is hard not to get influenced by and be moved into action with those authentic and often emotionally surcharged narratives.
Storytelling as a term has seen a strong growth in the past couple of years. Over 90% customers wish for brands to create adverts that sound like stories. Marketers are trying to create brand stories to engage, connect and convert their communities. Storytelling is helping brands create stronger brand recall, a unique consumer centric value proposition and a loyal community of followers.
Everybody is talking about it and sharing their views on how storytelling techniques and frameworks would lace the future of the brand experience. It’s something that I strongly believe in as a brand marketer myself. However with so many brands trying to create more stories and content, I asked Emily about how she saw the future. How could a regular brand try and stand out in this crowded space?
Emily: In the next two years, the online world is going to continue to grow. It’s going to be even more important for businesses to have a strong online and social media presence and the emphasis will continue to move towards more visuals especially video as well as longer form content. And when you’re producing these videos and longer form content, it is going to be important to emphasize quality. This is a consumer trend that’s really important to take note of. Companies that create entertaining or high quality content and publish it through their website and social media platforms are really going to excel and standout in the digital world.
Upasna: Now this is quite interesting. I am certain that quality is a clear differentiator for any brand, but it also puts a question on scaling. With so many multiple channels, maintaining brand tonality and staying consistent as a brand is also an element of quality content. If you create a high quality video, repurposing that same content across platforms and channels will require you to optimize it for those platforms. And it will also be important as a brand to focus not just on utility that you bring to the community, but entertainment and engagement. As we also heard in our Podcast with Zoho’s Meera Sapra, consumers are expecting you to entertain them and wow them with new brand experiences and nuanced storytelling. Extreme transparency and the sheer networked strength of digital media allows your consumers to comment, interact and also hold you accountable for the content you create. You can not pretend to get away with anything that lesser than they expect, or doesn’t quite deliver what your brand promises. To question you have to ask yourself as a brand is, what experiences you trying to create? How are you planning to attract, entertain and engage with a loyal community?
I asked Emily some of her top tips for brands trying to build authentic digital and social communities. Hear her response after this short comment from the production team.
You’re listening to the first season of The Brandanew Social Trends Show. Our theme music is called Fingerpoppin’ and our break music is called Celebration. Both of these come to us courtesy of purple-planet.com
If you’re interested in social media and digital marketing trends, don’t forget to check out the content marketing 101 eCourse listed on brandanew.co. Invest in your own learning and stay ahead!
Upasna: Welcome back everyone. To recap, we are talking today with Emily Sidely, Senior director of publicity at Three Girls Media Inc. Before the break, we asked Emily her tips on how a brand could build and attract a strong loyal community on a digital or social platform. These community members would potentially be future customers too and become potential leads for businesses. This is what Emily had to share…
Emily: I think there are three key necessities for an organization to reach future consumers: Clarity, Ease and Connection.
- First of all clarity: What are you about? Why should your customers care?
- Ease: Make it easy for them to learn more and see why your business is different. Have a clear website, include your contact information, put everything upfront and make it easy for them to find
- Connection: Appeal to them as people by showing them your personality and tell them your company’s story. Visuals are fantastic way to do this. Include pictures of yourself, include videos of behind the scenes. Show them that you’re not robots and giving them a way to connect with you, even if you’re not literally right there next to each other.
Upasna: Digital media has opened up a whole entire world of connections and businesses that can effectively be set up in your guest room or a garage. The tools and empowerment that comes from working on the Internet and digital media platforms is astonishing. It is tempting to stay behind the tools and infrastructure that is designed to help us, and forget key human psychology of what makes us click, as people. Technology and machines may give us the freedom and power to have anywhere, anytime connectivity and create pathways for the future. But we a civilization, we’ll always emotionally respond to kindness, care and human values that make us who we are. Content, social media and all the other digital channels bring in efficiency and scale, but nothing makes others trust your brand like an authentic connection.
Building authentic communities allows you to have loyal customers and that’s an immediate win-win. Not only do you improve intangibles like brand perception, recall and overall experience. You can directly make a difference to your bottom line. Connected and happy customers help you directly with:
- Customer Referrals
- Social Sharing
- Press-Worthy Testimonials- or getting your earned media game all sorted and
- Customer Retention- people who like you stay longer with your brand. They are even willing to pay a little extra for the value you bring in as a brand.
I hope you take some time out to reflect on your humanness as a brand. Don’t forget to send us your happy smiles, feedback, questions and love over social media or email. All the details are posted on our blog at brandanew.co. Till next time then, stay human!
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