Businesses have long known the power of using stars to raise brand awareness. Believe it or not, the first celebrity endorsement was in 1882 when actress Lillie Langtry appeared on a poster for Pears Soap. Yep, companies have been leveraging the influence of famous personalities for over 140 years.
Today, using personalities to increase awareness and engagement in your product remains as effective as always. What has changed, however, are the platforms used to advertise – and with good reason.
The last two decades have seen the meteoric rise of social media as one of the most effective ways to advertise your products, and with the rise of social media has come a new kind of star: content creators.
Modern creators have an influence and reach beyond anything the stars of the past could ever have imagined, with the most followed YouTuber, MrBeast, reaching a staggering 185 million subscribers. Hot on his heels is top TikTok creator Khabane Lame, who has an equally incredible 161.9 million followers.
In this article, we’ll look at how you can use creators to help increase awareness and engagement with your products and boost satisfaction across your business.
Screenshots taken from TikTok, image created by author
The Rise of the Creators
The rise of social media creators has been undeniably meteoric. Twenty years ago, to create something unique, you had to take your idea to a TV network and try your luck pitching it to an executive. So, you better be sure that your idea is commercial and, crucially, something relatable to a middle-aged white man in a gray suit (because, let’s be honest, it probably was).
Ten years ago, technology began to democratize content creation. Virtually everyone began carrying the equipment needed to start creating in their pockets. With just a mobile phone, a good idea, and an internet connection, anyone could upload a video to YouTube.
This democratization of content creation opened up new opportunities for individuals and created global audiences for companies as people began to visit sites from a variety of countries and different domains.
Now, with the rise of TikTok, the trend has only continued. The simple fact is users love interactive content. Perhaps that is why YouTube and TikTok top the list of apps users spend the most time on. Maybe that’s why social media is now considered one of a company’s critical sales enablement tools.
Image sourced from wearesocial.com
TikTok has another trick up its sleeve, too: its algorithm. When a user logs into TikTok, they first see their ‘for you’ feed. With every video watched and liked, the algorithm provides a unique, personalized feed for them and others.
The algorithm makes it far easier for TikTok videos to trend than on other platforms. It also means that creators can find specific niches, with the algorithm working tirelessly to pair creators with users who will enjoy their content. The short video format helps, too, meaning users watch more videos, which drives more likes and creates more star creators.
Creators as brand ambassadors
Perhaps the greatest strength of social media creators is how their audience perceives them. The combination of the composition of social media content, often with the creator speaking directly to the camera, combined with the fact that users ‘discover’ new creators (with a bit of help from the algorithms), means that users often feel a deep personal connection to creators.
They’re not just presenters; they’re friends. Often, they are “friends” that you can talk to as a variety of platforms or softwares now allow for more real-time interaction. Whether a presenter is using an outbound dialer software to manage multiple audience calls or they’re simply responding to live YouTube comments, creators are completely accessible. Making sites like YouTube and TikTok one of the best ways to start a conversation with your customers.
In short, one key reason creators are so good as brand ambassadors is trust. Users trust creators because they aren’t untouchable stars, separated from the rest of us; they are us—just ordinary people who happen to create content. Tom Cruise may ooze charm, but it’s hard to imagine having a drink with him after work. People don’t feel the same about creators.
Of course, trust has to go all ways, and it can be scary to reach out to creators, especially if you need to share data when starting a partnership with a creator. However, there are ways to make sure you stay safe.
Amplifying Brand Awareness
Screenshot taken from TikTok
There are two reasons for advertising. The first is to drive sales, with a direct return on investment (ROI) you can see after every ad goes out. The second reason is more subtle: to build awareness of your brand. Product branding is now a critical part of marketing campaigns. Fortunately, it’s also the area where creators shine.
We have already seen that one strength of creators is the trust of their audience. Part of that trust comes from the format itself. Yes, it is possible to produce video productions that cost thousands of dollars. Still, most creators become famous for their ability to connect to their audience.
This sense of authenticity is a crucial factor for your business because, with the right relationship with the right creator, you can share in this sense of genuineness. Find a creator who can make you part of compelling and exciting stories.
It isn’t an easy trick to pull off. With a traditional advert, you control the message you put out into the world. When you build a relationship with a creator, you must trust them because they know their audience. The right creator will understand how authenticity unlocks success for content strategy. Trust them; after all, it’s the creator you’re paying for.
If done right, the brand awareness you build via association with creators can convert into loyal customers who return, time after time, because, to them, you aren’t just a brand selling something they want; your brand becomes part of their identity.
Creators may excel in raising brand awareness, but that isn’t to say you won’t see a direct ROI. One real benefit of working with creators, especially on TikTok, is the chance to go viral. While it doesn’t happen every day, it’s fair to say there is no better ROI than a video that goes unexpectedly viral.
Again, it is essential to trust your creator. They have a knack for trendsetting content. That’s why they’re creators. That’s why you work with them. Take a chance on a video you wouldn’t usually go for – Your creator might just hit upon the next big challenge to sweep TikTok, and your company might be swept along for the ride.
A great example of this is e.l.f. Cosmetics, who created the #eyeslipsface Challenge in which TikTok users posted videos of themselves dancing to a song created for the campaign. It got over a billion views in just three days.
Three million videos have now been posted by users, including celebrities such as Jessica Alba and Terry Crews, and the hashtag has been used 10.2 billion times. To get that level of exposure using traditional advertising would require 90 Super Bowls… and cost a cool $630 million.
Screenshot taken from TikTok
As we’ve previously mentioned, social media has opened up communication to the point where it’s become normal to watch content from all over the world, from a variety of different cultures, in multiple languages.
But, the reason creators are particularly strong when it comes to helping your business reach across the globe is that they provide a level of local and cultural knowledge that you’ll struggle to get anywhere else.
It’s the combination of their reachability and authenticity that means they’re able to show your brand to people from all walks of life in a way that they’ll connect with it. By having a local guide, you’ll increase your reach and ensure you avoid any cultural mishaps or translation mistakes.
Image sourced from textappeal.com
Businesses have long been aware of the importance of engaging with customers. That’s why companies still invest in salespeople to chat with customers, send out email campaigns to keep people talking and maintain customer service lines. Companies know the importance of conversation.
Well, social media has the advantage of being two-way, too. Yes, you can get your message out there, but your customers can also speak to you. The best creators know this – they got their followers by engaging with people, and now you can be part of the conversation, too.
A two-way conversation is fantastic, but social media can go further than that. The best creators don’t just interact one-on-one in the comments. They foster a whole community. People talk to each other, share, and maintain a connection throughout the marketing lifecycle.
Creating a community can have a huge impact, for example, it’s one of the reasons Nike’s ”You Got This” campaign is so successful. They not only have a powerful message of overcoming obstacles, but they support it with plenty of community engagement as creators and users are invited to share their stories and download their Run Club App. Ultimately creating a campaign that highlights women in sport and brings people together.
Screenshot taken from youtube.com
From your sales force and call centers to chatbots and AI improving customer experience every day, we live in a world where technology has gifted us a thousand ways customers can get in touch to give feedback. The problem is people can be too polite to say what you’re doing wrong.
Creators, on the other hand, might represent you, but crucially they aren’t you. They are in touch with their audience in a way you can’t replicate as a business. However, you can use this relationship to get honest customer feedback.
Listen to what creators tell you about your brand and use sentiment analysis to analyze user comments and reactions; then, you can adjust your message in real time. Don’t wait to hear the impact of a campaign when creators can tell you its impact right off the bat.
Elevating Customer Satisfaction
Lastly, creators are a fantastic resource to boost customer satisfaction. Trust and accountability can often be hard to create when users are increasingly bombarded with products and ads throughout the day. Creators are a great way to cut through that noise with a better, more customer-focused experience that provides customers with relevant and objective information that they can trust.
Screenshot taken from youtube.com
One of the other critical ways creators can help with customer satisfaction is by demonstrating your product for you. Tutorials, run-throughs, Q&As, comparisons.
These interactions give your customers a better idea of what they are buying, pushing up your customer’s satisfaction with you and your products. They can also be great for fostering communication and understanding amongst your customers, especially if your product is a little more specialist.
For example, a data company could use creators to produce FAQ content that covers questions like “What is machine learning Ops?” and “How can I collect alternative data?”. Creating a much more engaging way to answer questions as well as promote your product.
A personalized experience
The types of interactions creators can have with their audience on your behalf create a unique experience for each customer. As you’ll know from developing marketing strategies, customers have less patience and higher brand expectations than ever. Therefore, a personalized experience is a great way to ensure people will feel that your brand isn’t produced by a faceless corporation but by people like them who are part of their lives.
This means carefully choosing the right creators for your brand and ensuring you support any social media content with 1-to-1 communication channels. By also having well-equipped call and support centers that use tools like acd (automatic call distribution), you’ll be able to ensure that calls are routed to the person with the right skill set and provide a personalized experience at every level.
Creators offer something unique in the world of advertising. Yes, you can reach millions of people. Yes, you have the chance to go viral. But more importantly, they offer you an opportunity to engage with customers on a deeper level and create an authentic brand persona. That engagement builds a sense of loyalty to your company you can’t replicate in other ways. Ultimately, that loyalty will show itself in your company’s revenue.