Brief #107: Turning strangers into advocates

This content originally appeared on April 14, 2022 as part of the Future of Marketing weekly email series. Subscribe here.

Welcome to Future of Marketing.

Each week, we send you the most relevant trends, resources, and strategies in social and user-generated content (UGC) from leading marketers and brands around the globe. 

Today, we’re discussing:

  • Be intentional and engage! 
  • How we can improve your experience
  • #BrandCrush: National Geographic 💘

Let’s dive in, shall we?

Be intentional and engage!

People go on social media to feel inspired, learn, and connect with others – not feel like they’re being sold to. Yet, fifty-two percent (52%) of brand discovery happens within social media, which means the more intentional you are with your content – and the more you engage with others the more likely you’ll turn passive visitors into brand advocates. 

Calm does a great job at staying true to their values by teaching mindfulness and mental health techniques. For example, you may have seen Calm’s breathing exercise circulating around social media or television ads – where they encourage people to pause for 30 seconds, listen to nature sounds, and take a moment to be present (which we should probably all do). 

A breathing exercise on Calm's Instagram page ft. a video of a waterfall with nature sounds and a 30 second timer Calm doesn’t just create intentional content – they engage fans by responding to constructive feedback in the comments. 

A fan giving Calm constructive feedback by saying they love the video, but the counterclockwise bothers them vs. counting up to a sense of calm. Calm responded by thanking them and letting them know they're sharing this feedback with the team. Takeaway: Be mindful about the content you share by aligning it with your company values, and treat social media as a communication tool to build relationships and improve people’s lives – whether that’s by educating, motivating, or inspiring others. 

The point is: make people feel something – something good.  

Tip: If you’re not sure where to start, try asking your existing audience (i.e. customers and team) for feedback. What would they like to see from you? What’s their favorite type of content? How can you help them improve? A little social listening can go a long way. 

On that note…

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What we’re learning 

#BrandCrush: National Geographic 💘

Each week in #BrandCrush, we highlight exceptional brands that are channeling 
their customers' voices to connect more authentically with their audience.

Did you know National Geographic is the second most-followed brand account on Instagram – after Instagram? What even makes National Geographic so successful? 

For starters, they don’t just post content for the sake of posting – they’re incredible storytellers and they use a combination of striking photography created by their community and powerful captions written by the photographers themselves. This brings a unique (and genuine) perspective to each post that you simply cannot replicate if you’ve never experienced that moment yourself. 

A striking image of a boy and a donkey in the night ft. on National Geographic's Instagram page alongside a caption written by the photographer “Through @NatGeo we help people experience the planet and cultures as seen by our photographers—a special, unfiltered view,” shared Patrick Witty, National Geographic’s deputy director of digital photography. They also use content to educate people about science, exploration, and adventure – and raise awareness on important global issues. 

An Instagram post on National Geographic's Instagram page ft. a stingless bee and the words "this stingless beee makes medicinal honey in the Amazon. Some call it a "miracle liquid."" TIP: Identify 3-5 topics that align with your mission and brand values – and use them as your north star when creating content. What are you known for? What can you teach? Why should anyone care? Even better, if you figure out how to effectively amplify user-generated content

We hope today’s words and examples have inspired you to create more impactful content – just like these brands have done for us. Thanks for reading this far.

Until next time!