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Marta Miranda
– Branded Content Specialist & Producer –

There is no room for doubt: in the last two years, there has been accelerated digitisation of business in all markets. And the presence in the digital world, particularly on social platforms, seems to require a frenetic pace of content creation and communication in search of engagement

As a brand representative, would you risk adopting a communication strategy without social networks? In fact, these days it may seem risky. Content sharing on these platforms seems unquestionably easy to disseminate the services and products of brands. Even if brands constantly discuss the dynamics of the famous algorithms of social networks, for which the impact of the engagement of a publication has been, in recent years, one of the most relevant factors for appearance in the news feed of several users.

Marta Miranda
– Branded Content Specialist & Producer –

There is no room for doubt: in the last two years, there has been accelerated digitisation of business in all markets. And the presence in the digital world, particularly on social platforms, seems to require a frenetic pace of content creation and communication in search of engagement

The algorithm

Moreover, the problem surrounding the algorithm, in which it is claimed that users have no control over what is shown to them on social networks, led to The CEO of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, communicating in January this year that the platform is retesting the feature that will allow users to view the posts in chronological order, if they so wish.

Privacy policy

Another controversy in the management of social networks is related to the European privacy policy and the regulations for the transfer of data from Europe to the USA, location of the company Meta’s servers (owner of social networks), led by Mark Zuckerberg. The question is; therefore, how social networks Facebook and Instagram may work in the European Union countries.

And the likes

Also the likes (known as the “vanity metric”) added on social networks have not only affected society’s behaviors (especially at the level of competition, comparison and popularity among younger people), but also end up interfering with users’ privacy. With the argument of giving more control to the experience on social networks, Instagram and Facebook have actually provided features for users to choose to keep viewing or hide the like count.

Despite the controversies, is a strategic trend arising to move away from the likes boom in the world of communication?

The “blackouts” of brands

The beginning of 2021 was marked by news that surprised the Digital Marketing and Consumer community. Bottega Veneta, one of the biggest luxury fashion brands, has erased its Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts (with 2.5 million followers). A month after the event, the brand eventually explained that it preferred to maintain its indirect presence on social networks through partnerships with ambassadors and fans, “letting them speak for the brand”.

Delete Redes Sociais

instagram da marca balenciaga
Print from the instagram page of the fashion brand @Balenciaga (only with 6 active posts)

 

The ephemerality in the management of posts is another trend that has been seen on brand pages. Celebrity cosmetics brand Kylie Jenner deleted all posts from her profile in 2021, leaving only one photo with a caption acting as a  teaser for a new release of a  collection: “something is coming”. Also, the luxury fashion brand Balenciaga has constantly deleted the publications (technically, the good practice would be to archive the publications and not permanently eliminate them) upon new releases.

Remaining inaccessible and creating mystery seem to be one of the latest fads in the most fashionista markets.

“Priority to people not profit” (Mark Constantine, CEO of Lush)

As early as 2019, Lush – a recognized natural cosmetics brand – had announced its decision to delete its Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat accounts globally. Lush CEO Mark Constantine justified the company’s decision with concern about the damage of current social media algorithms on mental health, particularly for the younger generation, as well as the alleged lack of legal regulation of the platforms.

A mental health issue

The controversy of social networks and mental health has much to do with the impact it can have on self-esteem, especially on that of younger people. The renowned Dove brand did research that showed 85% of girls aged 13 use filters to change their image on social networks, forcing themselves to match unrealistic beauty standards and searching for validation through likes and comments. The brand has even launched the famous campaign “Reverse Selfie” that shows how easily a photograph is digitally manipulated with social media filters, warning of the consequences of these stimuli that devalue the real appearance, consequently reducing self-confidence and encouraging feelings of sadness.

The fact that social networks have changed the way we relate to each other, is something we already know. We can feel ironically more alone and disconnected from each other. Addiction and fomo (fear of missing out) lead us to be connected to the daily scroll of a social media’s feed on a daily average of more than 2 hours. Inevitably, there is airtime stolen from other activities that may be healthier.

Fnac’s campaign in Portugal

In Portugal, the Fnac brand began this year with the launch of its “Disconnect yourself” campaign. With this manifesto, the brand aims to encourage the community to reduce the time when they are active on social networks, especially at the end of the day and weekends.

fnac-campanha-desliga
Image: Campaign published on fnac’s social platforms

 

So, what is the way forward?

Discover the best strategy for your community

It is one of the major challenges in the areas of Branded Content in Digital Marketing. Brands seem to be dependent on social networks to promote and publicize their campaigns and their products and are not willing to rely only on traditional word of mouth marketing.

Decide where to be present

Thus, it is necessary to consider which of the social formats is worth the brand having a presence in and in which other complementary digital marketing platforms they should invest, such as Email Marketing or the creation of a blog / site. The Bottega Veneta brand despite having deleted most of the networks with the most followers, have kept their Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube accounts and have also chosen to create a seasonal digital newspaper.

Determining less demanding engagement objectives also seems, ironically, to be good practice, especially with increasingly communicated Digital Marketing Professional’s argument that the likes and the number of followers should not be seen as the most important success metrics for a business.  Additionally, although engagement is also associated with the frequency of content publishing, this does not mean that you should publish daily, especially if you do not have content that in some way adds to the users’ good experience.

Content is always the most important

It is essential to create a content strategy that is aligned with the brand’s values, whether humorous, informative, or educational content. Even if the strategy is to exit social networks preferring to be present through the genuine sharing of fans or partnerships with ambassadors / influencers. Or even the preference to privilege human contact beyond digital.

Brands must build relevant entertainment narratives that add value to the lives of followers such as Dove or Fnac who have taken advantage of their positioning, respectively, to encourage their consumers to value real beauty more or to disconnect from online to focus more on real-life hobbies.

Brands must mark their individuality in the market. It’s healthy to follow trends and adhere to  marketing’s recent challenges on real time and viral. However, the brands that will stand out in the market will always be those that do not copy and that know how to cause emotions and differentiated experiences with the community.