Bolder Thinking Blog

Part 2: Social audience strategies in the age of digital marketing

August 6th, 2019 | Nick Batt

In this two-part series, Comperemedia analysts break down the importance of effective social audience strategies for the modern-day marketer. 

Part one addressed engaging with consumers on social media and becoming part of their community. Here, we look at how brands can use celebrities and influencers, as well as drive engagement through user-submitted content.

Popular persona-driven marketing is useful, but messages need authenticity.

An effective way for brands looking to communicate with young adults on video-forward platforms, such as YouTube, Snapchat, or Instagram, is to leverage engaging influencers and celebrities. Millennials and Gen Zs are likelier than previous generations to pay more attention to ads seen on social media than elsewhere online. Engaging in content from a familiar figure they may already follow increases the brand message’s entertainment value and memorability to these generations.

Brands must be cautious, however, as Millennials and Gen Zs can sense inauthenticity from a mile away. Brands must ensure that influencer-collaborated posts do not appear contrived and that the connection between the celebrity/influencer and the brand is authentic.

The Chicago Cubs’ YouTube channel is one example of effective persona-driven marketing. Since interest in baseball has been declining among Gen Zs and Millennials for years, the Cubs realized they needed a way to connect with these consumers. They revamped their YouTube channel, posting content led by players with big personalities rather than just game highlights and recaps, as they had previously done.  They grew their subscribers nearly 400% from April 2018 to April 2019.

Chicago Cubs YouTube channel

Inviting followers to generate content boosts social engagement.

On Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, brands can connect with users in an impactful way by giving them the opportunity to submit their own content. Since users find content from their peers most inviting for likes, comments, and shares, user-generated content (UGC) posted by brands can also generate more buzz, show their connection to their customers and increase authenticity. 

Airbnb employs this strategy well, evoking wanderlust by frequently posting user-submitted photos of accommodations as the main feature of its Instagram profile. This connection to its audience has paid off in generating social buzz among them, with “#airbnb” being used more than 3 million times on the platform.

Key takeaways

More and more, consumers expect a personalized experience. Content must be authentic, but also convenient and relevant.  Understanding your audience is crucial to engaging them, getting click-throughs, and, ultimately, running an effective campaign. It requires a deeper, broader understanding of your target audience — not just who they are, but their motivations and barriers. Ultimately, audiences who feel heard are more likely to convert.

Nick Batt

Nick Batt

Nick provides marketing insights through syndicated and custom reports in the telecom, financial services and sports marketing sectors, with a focus on emerging trends and new product innovation.