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Elevate 2018

This month our Head of Strategy, Jessica Rouse, chaired a panel session at the UK’s largest fitness and physical activity trade show, Elevate. With hands-on experience and real-life examples shared by an expert panel, the session provided practical advice on getting the most out of social.

Accompanying Jess on the panel were the fitness entrepreneur Katie Bulmer-Cooke, Head of Customer Engagement at Xercise4Less Joe Hall and the author of the blog Bangs and a Bun, Muireann (Bangs) Carey-Campbell, who is also the Head Instructor at BOOM Cycle. We took a moment to consider some of the key takeaways from the session:

What’s working in the world of social?

  • Embrace new social features such as Instagram Stories
    Everyday, over 300 million people use Instagram Stories, which is rapidly overtaking SnapChat. This innovation is making Instagram one of the fastest growing platforms within social. This means there is a lot of potential brand reach opportunities using this type of content. Instagram launched this functionality in 2016. Although consumers were quick to embrace it, the same can’t be said for brands and those that have, are reaping the rewards. Organisations shouldn’t be afraid to utilise these key features. We heard from Joe Hall, Head of Customer Engagement at Xercise4Less:
    “Don’t wait until other brands have integrated new social functionalities into their content plans, be one of the first to embrace them.”
  • Get personal and exclusive
    Consumers engage most with personal content. They want to see what really goes on behind closed doors. Brands should provide content that allows the viewer an exclusive view into the office, the gym, or an Instructor’s routine before class for example. The most “user-generated” the content feels, the better.
  • Video. It’s the most engaged with form of content
    Pre-recorded and live video content is heavily engaged with by consumers. Over 500 million people are watching video on Facebook every day. That’s half a BILLION. When creating video content brands should care less about the background, the setup and overall polished look of the content. Viewers want video that is “snapped in the moment.” We heard from Katie Bulmer-Cooke, Fitness Entrepreneur:
    “When creating live content, don’t wait for people to join the live video, entertain your audience from the word go!”

How do we effectively use influencers?

Discussions moved towards how brands can engage with and work alongside influencers, some key takeaways were:

  • Don’t get sucked into the numbers
    It’s easy to be swayed by the number of follower’s different influencers have. But it’s important to take a deeper look at those followers. Understand which audience groups follow this particular influencer, what demographics and importantly, why are they following this person. Ask yourself, are these the consumers we are trying to engage with? 
  • Find your brand’s micro influencers
    Rather than finding an influencer with a large following, who might share the same values as your brand but is not currently engaged with you, look at your current fan base and those that are following you. It will feel more natural for this type of micro-influencer to support your brand and they will have an honest, real following.
    “Find your loyal fans who have a medium sized following and engage with them as a micro-influencer.”
    Joe Hall, Head of Customer Engagement at Xercise4Less.
  • Be specific on what you want to achieve
    Create an influencer strategy. You need to have a plan of action. Once you’ve identified the right influencer, be clear from the beginning what you want them to do and be clear on the outcomes. Have a solid Service Level Agreement (SLA), which will ensure all parties involved know what’s expected from each other.
    “Telling your influencer to, “just, do some stuff” is not good enough. You need to be very clear from the beginning what is expected of them and what the outcome of this relationship is.”
    Muireann (Bangs) Carey-Campbell, Head Instructor at Bangs and a Bun / BOOM Cycle.

How do I build my brands following?

  • Get a loyal following, not a mass following
    Quality and quantity are important when it comes to followers but discussions moved away from the numbers towards engagement. The focus should be on ensuring your brand has a point of view and has something that it’s passionate about. Focus on this when generating content. Create quality content and you will grow a following that’s loyal to you and what you stand for.
    “If you build it, they will come. This is something I’ve always stood by. Focus on the quality of your work and creating great content. Your followers will grow. And importantly, they’ll be the right followers.”
    Muireann (Bangs) Carey-Campbell, Head Instructor at Bangs and a Bun / BOOM Cycle.
  • Be patient with your strategy
    Building a quality, loyal following takes time. Know who you are and what your brand is about, generate content that is true to this and accept that you’re in this for the long game.
    “Focus on the value and the metrics will come. Not the other way round.”
    Joe Hall, Head of Customer Engagement at Xercise4Less.
  • Don’t shy away from scheduling your posts
    Live content is one of the biggest social trends and something that’s used effectively by numerous influencers. However, for organisations it can be difficult to find resources to generate this type of content consistently and hard to govern from a brand perspective. Our Head of Strategy, Jessica Rouse spoke about the benefits of scheduling posts and the practical tools available:
    “For organisations, scheduling your social media ahead ensures that no matter how busy your team gets new posts are going out consistently. It also helps brands to share posts at optimal times of the day. Tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer are effective in simplifying this for brands or organisations and are definitely worth investigating.”

What can we expect in the future from social?

  • Emphasis on privacy and wellbeing
    We’re going to see a continued effort by social media platforms to improve privacy legislation and make it easier for users to control their privacy settings. It’s likely these platforms will also be placing more emphasis on wellbeing when using social media. The negative impact of social is making some real noise in the press and there is a responsibility on these platforms to address and support this.
  • Look out for the next platform and more functionality
    It’s only a matter of time before the “next big thing” hits the social media scene. Our panellists felt it was likely to come from Facebook who now own both Instagram and WhatsApp, but it could come from somewhere completely new. Make sure your brand is not behind the curve when it arrives.
  • We’ll be doing everything on social
    With Instagram launching shoppable posts earlier this year, it won’t be long before we’re doing everything on social; buying products but also watching catch up TV, even Live TV. Watch this space, the next update is literally just around the corner.
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Natasha Clarke