Digisemestr #5 (2019-03-23) – Social Networks & Influencers + Mark Ritson

These are my notes from the 5th Saturday of Digisemestr, Thirteen-Saturdays-long study program of Digital marketing. Why Digisemestr? if you find any mistakes, please let me know, thanks!

This lesson was all about social networks, community building and influencers. And guess who stopped by to talk about brand strategy? Mark Ritson! He’s master Yoda of marketing. What an honor! Even though there was a lot of swearing.

Mark Ritson – Brand strategy

Mark showed us his credentials. He was teaching and worked…like everywhere! And he has been writing a column for Marketing Week.

There are 3 parts of managing a brand. These parts are multiplicative. What does it mean? If one of the parts is done poorly, then the rest gets multiplied by zero and you get zero.

Diagnosis x Strategy x Tactics

Diagnosis is stepping back, doing market research. Having an opinion is useless here. It’s finding what consumer thinks, how are you different from the market, etc.

Strategy is a non-action thing. It gets confused with tactics a lot. And that’s a problem ie. tactification. This is one of the reasons why Mark’s presentation was focused on strategy.

Tactics can be further broken down to distribution, price, product development, and communication.


We can compare it to general looking at the battle plan in his tent. If a random soldier asks him at that moment where he should shoot his arrow, the general is going to cut his head off! Strategy comes before tactics.

There are 5 questions to ask yourself in a tent:

  1. Which brands will we operate?
  2. What customers will be targeted?
  3. What is our position to those targets?
  4. What are the brand codes?
  5. What are the strategic objectives?

Which brands will we operate?

Creating new brands is expensive. That’s why Veet, hair removal cream, didn’t launch a new manly brand for men after finding out they were using it. Why are men using it? Porn. Hairless porn.

The trend is actually quite the opposite. Killing brands. Why? Because it’s profitable. Too many pups sucking on mother company mean nobody survives. Only the most profitable brands should be kept. Eg. top 2 brands who make up >90% profit, kill the rest. Yes, even the brand which makes $40 million if it’s just 2% of total profit.

Brand relationship spectrum goes from Branded House (eg. Google Photos) to House of Brands (eg. Picasa). Nowadays, things are shifting towards the former. Basically, it says how closely is the brand connected to its mother.

Source: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Brand-relationship-spectrum_fig2_226846703

What customers will be targeted?

One way to target them is to say: “That thing you hate? I hate it too.” Mark recommends How Brands Grow by Byron Sharp.

Targeting is a spectrum from microtargeting (enabled by social networks), traditional targeting, sophisticated mass marketing to mass targeting. Mark and Byron actually had an “EPIC *RAP* BATTLE [archive.org]” about what is the most appropriate level of targeting.

And what about short and long-term activities (sales activation vs brand building)? Sales activation is eg. when a customer gets a discount coupon. What’s more important? Going long makes you more money, but you need to sell to survive. You need both. The recommendation is to put 40% of the budget in the short term (segmentation, targeted) and 60% into long-term (consistent multi-year, emotional, mass). More in this book: The Long and the Short of it: Balancing Short and Long-Term Marketing Strategies.

Westpac: Moustache is an emotional campaign targeting everyone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tifoHT2GYY

Don’t be ashamed of wanting to make money.

What are the brand codes?

Differentiation vs DIstinctiveness. Differentiation is standing for something different. Being distinctive is appearing different and whether my brand comes into mind when mentioning a topic or type of a product (eg. car => BMW, xmas => Coca Cola). Brand codes are distinctive elements such as shape, sound, color. It carries characteristics of us. Red color, flower, Asian, Paris -> Kenzo.

People don’t remember which brand was an ad for. Codify your ads with distinctiveness. Make it really obvious. Marketing agencies want to be free & creative instead of codification. Make sure to make it obvious, it’s your brand. Yellow, meteor, anchor -> Veuve Clicquot.

Sephora goes even further and uses its brand codes (black and white stripes, flame, a touch of red) to differentiate (what I meant to say was “distinctify”) their shops.

What people think about when they think about your brand? “I need to buy a perfume”. Do they imagine a Sephora store in their mind? Visit their shop and check it out.

Mark recommends this book about strategy: Good Strategy Bad Strategy.

Tereza – Social networks potential

Tereza showed us statistics about social networks in the Czech Republic. Youtube and Facebook are the biggest and Instagram is growing. LinkedIn leaped forward. Young network for young people is TikTok. Her presentation was focused on Facebook and Instagram. The advantage of IG is that you get more engagement than on Facebook, but there is a smaller audience. Are organic posts dead on FB? Sort of. Well received organic posts will do great when promoted. Realize you are in your bubble, don’t do the marketing for yourself.

The line between online and offline is blurred. Change of lifestyle (more eco). Personalization of services. User-generated content and co-creation.

Why are social networks great? Immediate real-time feedback. Social listening. You need to be fast! For example, people could choose the energy drink flavor they want to be made.

Optimize for the mobile first. Make sure visual assets have square or portrait ratio to occupy as much as mobile screen space as possible.

The video is on the rise on mobile. In 2020 80% is going to be video. Video can carry emotions.

There are 4 elements your visuals should have (aim for at least 3 out of 4):

  • Attract – Will people stop scrolling to check it out?
  • Brand – Does this post support my brand?
  • Connect – Does it connect to your target audience? Is there an emotional connection?
  • Direct – Is there a potential for sharing? Does it include CTA?

We talked about a lot of different ad formats. I’m skipping some.

There are formats for raising brand awareness, which are supported by Facebook because people aren’t leaving FB. There is a 20% limit for text in visuals – check it with Text Overlay Tool. Grids on IG are cool but hard to make. Also, does each tile communicate your brand when viewed individually? Video ads should have clear CTA within 3s, an amazing thumbnail and subtitles. Livestream format is great for real-time feedback and people get a notification when you go live.

The second category of ad formats is meant to drive traffic to your website. Facebook doesn’t support these much because it drives people away from the platform. An interesting format is Canvas = Instant experience. It’s like a microsite directly on FB. People can scroll around in all directions. This format is only available on mobile. People spend a lot of time in Canvas (and with your brand / content). It’s like a dream for marketers! And let’s not forget about chatbots.

How to hack social networks advertising?

One of the dirty tricks is to reach people in a moment when it’s the most relevant. Like telling people who are still at work in the late afternoon that maybe they could look for a new job. Or target those who have a birthday that month. Or catch ‘em by surprise while they are mindlessly swiping through stories that they might be doing something more productive.

Community management

Underestimated. People expect answer fast (within an hour). It can be alleviated by an automatic response and with bots, but the crucial ingredient is an empathetic and reliable community manager. If you solve their problem they will become loyal and this increases retention. And you will learn about your fans. This can be helpful in growing your biz. Style of communication matters. Your witty reaction to comments can get more engagement than the main post. Hijacking is when you comment on a post which belongs to another brand. Be prepared to deal with silly questions. People are dumb! But you can make funny screenshots.

Vaclav – Social networks as a Business

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to pay much attention during Vaclav’s presentation. It was right after lunch.

Keep It Simple Stupid ie. KISS principle. Facebook offers a lot to tweak, it’s easy to get lost. Use common sense. Don’t overcomplicate things.

Affinity is the suitability of media for the target audience.

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facebook.com/business is full of great educational content.
business.facebook.com – ad manager.

Trump invests a sh.it load of money into ads on Facebook and Google. Much more than any other candidate ($4.5m vs $600k).

On Facebook, everyone can buy ads in the auction. Another option is reach and frequency. This option is not available to everyone. There are pros and cons for each approach (eg. ad set can be edited anytime in auction, reach and frequency has guaranteed impressions).

Auction formula:

Value = Bid x Probability of user activity + Ad Quality

Both bid amount and the probability of user interacting with the ad are very important (that’s why there is a multiplication). Quality is only additive.

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You can do targeting to your target audience. Basically, select users based on some criteria. Or you can limit it. Do the opposite. Exclude certain users by criteria.

You need to understand that social networks are on 24/7. React fast. It’s a two-way communication compared to PPC or billboard (even though people can draw on billboards). It’s a highly dynamic environment, always changing.

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Have some fun. Look at sexistické prasátečko awards for the most sexist ads.

The ad says: “DOUPE, bikers’ ice-cream, lick her at our place.”

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Have a brief. Don’t cook with plain water, that’s how you make soup. Not your campaign.

Peter – Influencer marketing

Peter works at Lafluence, a platform for connecting brands with influencers. Influencer marketing is on the rise. You can reach a specific target audience through an influencer. Only about 40% of fans will be reached (so an influencer with 100k provides only an audience of 40k). Engagement decreases with the number of influencer’s followers. With smaller influencers, it’s about 4-6%, larger only 2-3% (here you also pay for their “famousness”). CTR median is 2.3%.

Set up success metrics based on your goals. Do you want brand awareness? Count impressions. Are you selling? Count number of views and CTR.

Often influencers come up with their own ideas so you don’t have to tell them exactly what to do. Popular formats are product placement and unboxing.

Ways of working with influencers:

  • Single campaign – The most popular way (66%)
  • Long-term cooperation – 33%
  • Mix

Currently, IG is the most important channel for influencers (80%).

Pay attention to the quality of influencer’s fans. There are tools to give you an estimate. Before approaching any influencers, create a brief. Write what’s your brand about, so they can understand you, your goals, how do you want your collaboration to look like (long-term vs single campaign), list any hashtags, whether you want to approve their content before they publish it and their compensation.

Jakub – TikTok

The reach on Facebook has fallen down to 1.5%. Jakub was able to get 360% on TikTok. It’s a social network for young to share mostly music videos. Content on this social network lasts longer. There are no timestamps. Default feed shows algorithm recommended content, not what is user subscribed to. Content creators are rewarded with hearts. Hearts are the main metric. It’s a bit like karma on Reddit. As you submit content, people give you hearts. They add up for everything you’ve posted. Hashtags and live-streaming are supported. People get a notification when you start streaming. It’s a gamified and playful network (Live-Ops). You can earn hard cash on TikTok, but be prepared to give ⅓ away (to TikTok). An interesting feature is duets. Users can take an existing video and add their reaction to it. Imagine singing along to your favorite artist and sharing it further. Each video is limited to 15s and there are a bunch of tools like filters, cutting and effects available. The core audience of TikTok is roughly 8-16 yo. So be prepared for a lot of emotions both good and bad. Various ad formats are available.

Daniel – Streetwear and IG influencer

Daniel works at Queens. They sell cool clothes for cool people, hoodies and stuff. It’s a great fit for IG – photos of people wearing clothes. People on their own hashtag and share their photos, it’s easy to repost. It’s no longer viable for them to promote on FB.

How does Daniel work with influencers? He is looking for long-term friendship. They sponsor young rappers (eg. give them money to record a video clip) and in return rappers wear and promote brands which sell at Queens. They help these young talents to break through. It’s hard to find great young people. They need to watch trends.

Limited series of clothes for rappers earn money which they reinvest back to support them. Fans of rappers buy these clothes to help them out too. They usually sell out within an hour. People don’t want to miss out!

And that’s all for the 5th Digisemestr. Want some more?


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