A blog series for Monash University’s Digital Marketing unit.
‘Exploring the Art of Digital Marketing and creating a Golden Instagram, as told by young Marketer, Elysha L Lall’
A blog series for Monash University’s Digital Marketing unit.
‘Exploring the Art of Digital Marketing and creating a Golden Instagram, as told by young Marketer, Elysha L Lall’
Since the advent of social media platforms, more and more I’ve been asking the question, are we all transforming into Marketers? We advertise our lives, curating fragments of our reality to paint a picture that’s usually very from what goes on behind that screen.
Everyone is a part of at least one form of social networking, whether it’s for professional purposes through LinkedIn (or even a blog/ online folio) or your classic Facebook or more famous for its reality distortion, Instagram. We raise awareness of our personal brand. Marketing is about communicating certain ideas, values, and benefits, personal brands are just that.
No matter how true you are to not giving AF about what other people think about you and the things you do, a part of you is actively conscious about what you share and reveal online. You’ll probably now archive the Instagram posts that had little to no engagement and deep down you know what time you should post that new Dp or job promotion to get the optimal amount of likes and comments.
The older generation would have you believe that it is only to give us a boost in our self-esteem and yes that is a big part of it. But now, those of us, who are savvy, use social media to network and promote our personal brand. What many Baby Boomers don’t understand, because as far as they see, there is no short-term gain in a selfie of you eating an acai bowl, you are carefully sculpting your public image, aesthetically and around content topics that showcase who you are.
Branding is long term. Let’s look at a potential scenario.
When the person you meet at a bar casually drops that they are launching a pressed juice company and are looking for the perfect candidate for a social media manager, you will proudly share that you are looking for a new job and your passion is in juices, smoothies, photography and you love Instagram. The next morning they will go to your social media, see that you have dozens of photos of your fruit smoothie recipes, lifestyle photos of your weekly yoga classes and that you are currently working as a receptionist, but your current job, or even lack of experience, doesn’t deter them… They see how your brands align and your passion oozing through the screen.
So, I pose the question to all of you. Are we all becoming Marketers? And is it a good thing? Or a bad thing?
In a world where knowledge is a commodity, being at our fingertips and accessible in seconds, we have more information readily available to us than the King’s & Queen’s of 100 years ago. This means that skills can be learned virtually overnight. And learning useful skills from practitioners, through YouTube and Lynda, means a lot of what we are being taught at universities are becoming outdated faster than ever.
The younger generations know more about the changing digital world than our elders, so it’s no wonder we can be cocky. We theoretically know so much more. We have seen first-hand how online businesses grow and transform our peers into successful entrepreneurs. We can easily navigate social platforms and use apps without someone over our shoulder directing us.
When we are pulling all-nighters we need to realise getting those HD’s is not going to get us the job anymore. The world is changing. Big companies like IBM, Google, EY, Penguin Publications and Apple, are dropping their requirement for degrees! This is a huge trend from when our parents told us we couldn’t get a ‘real job’ without that piece of paper. Not only that if they haven’t dropped it all together companies like PWC are all offering in-house paid education programs that last 1 year and you’re left with a Diploma and guaranteed graduate position with the firm.
What we need to understand that employers aren’t just looking for the brightest anymore, they want the ‘grinders’, the ‘hustlers’, the ones that are swallowing their pride and offering their services for free just for the exposure and experience. The ones that if they didn’t have a job they would find a way to use their skills to be paid because they would know how to freelance or offer their skill set in unique applications.
So from first year we should already have a resume of ‘extra curriculars’ that help us stand out, that show we can do. Not just sit behind a piece of paper that shows we can spit out theory.
This weeks lecture was an interview (my favorite type of learning if you haven’t gathered) with Dan Monheit, “Strategy Guy” at Hardhat Digital (http://hardhatdigital.com.au/). He went into detail about starting a marketing agency but no one wanted to hire two kids essentially. So they had only a few clients and had to find other jobs to make money. Now imagine if he and his business partner already had a portfolio before they even started their agency. They could already showcase clients work and campaigns. They would have had credibility.
Building your ‘resume’ on free work, better yet building a portfolio of work that is being showcased, through relevant social platforms is just as important as your degree. So imagine all the kids that haven’t taken the subject or met the right role models to teach them this. Not enough marketing kids realise… if you’re a copywriter then blog on Medium, if you’re a content creator then take photos of anything and everything on Instagram, if you’re a strategist then start a Tumblr and curate content. Apply your skills and double down on them in practical and measurable ways.
“Anything that is self-teachable, we love to see, people that have taken initiative” – Dan Monheit
Just a quick one. I spend a lot of time with my gorgeous ‘nephew’. And it is amazing to see that before he has even learned to talk he can use an iPhone. And even crazier than that, he can navigate Snapchat!
He loves Snapchat filters (especially the dog, knows when to stick his tongue out). You can only imagine that augmented reality will start to become a part of everyday life when you see a child, not even 2 yet, interact, engage and immerse themselves in something we only thought possible in movies.
His generation will be the one to teach us about VR, AR and AI developments, software, and devices. In the same way, we’ve taught our parents to use smartphones and apps.
Last year I had the pleasure of meeting a fellow Monash gal (graduated), Cheryl Law or as she is better know @lawstore (https://www.instagram.com/lawstore/).
Discovering how our uni lives had and are similar and connected I had to call on her to ask a few questions for the Golden Gram blog series.
Cheryl now has a 15.2k community on Instagram, following her journey “of self-discovery, a willingness to go wherever the road may lead” (http://lovelawstore.com/philosophy/).
Are you now a full-time influencer?
I’m not a full-time influencer, I still work full time in Institutional Banking at ANZ. I’ve worked here for the last 5 years and it’s a job I love and continue to enjoy doing every day. I believe that having it “all” can also mean having a “normal, corporate job”. I love that I get to be challenged in different ways daily and that my working environments are so different, from corporate to creative!
Would you consider transitioning into a full-time influencer?
I’ve had many instances where I’ve considered if I could be a blogger full time, however, I’m so grateful my work life at ANZ still allows me to have the flexibility to do both.
What advice would you give you your first-year self?
Everything will change! When I started uni I was someone who “always knew” I wanted to do banking. So being in Institutional banking at ANZ was exactly where I wanted to be when I graduated. What I’ve learned since starting on the Graduate Program is that coming into the bank, I actually had no idea what part of the business I wanted to be in. I took a role which I enjoyed and aligned with my working style. Since then, I’ve been able to develop the skills and type of work I truly enjoy which leans more to the marketing and creative side – this I wouldn’t have seen coming in first-year!
What advice do you have a fellow Monash students?
Be content with doing what you want to do even if it’s not what everyone is doing or it’s not what the world is saying is what’s cool (e.g starting your own business or working for a startup). It’s a fantastic training ground to be part of a large organization when you first start your career because there are so many development opportunities that you will be given that will set you up for life.
What is one thing you want people to understand about being an influencer?
Being an influencer or blogger might seem like it’s all fun and no work, however, I hope people know that it requires just as much self-motivation and discipline as running an other small business. You are the only one responsible for making sure you have content to post and you are in charge of every aspect of running the “business” – business development in negotiating new and regular opportunities to work with brands, keeping to deadlines, responding to emails, keeping up interaction on Instagram to have a real and genuine engaged audience… it goes on and on!
Do you think it will soon be the norm to advertise the brands you use on social media?
Absolutely!!! It is such a powerful medium already with brands selectively choosing and working with influencers who represent them best, the curated audiences they are looking to target. It is especially unique because it is an interconnected channel that paints a beautiful story through images and also connections. It’s wonderful seeing who knows who and who and working with who!
If you could go back would you have focused more on marketing at uni?
I wouldn’t necessarily choose to focus on Marketing. I studied Banking and Finance at Monash with a second major in Management. This life I know live I don’t think I could ever have planned for it or studied for it. I’m a self-trained photographer who takes all her own photos for Instagram. Working in a corporate banking environment has likely been the most helpful factor in being business minded about Instagram.
I guess my next question from all this is do you think we are all becoming marketers?
Groupon and Scoopon have alway fascinated me, I’ve wondered how much money would a salon or spa actually make from the treatments they basically give away. It is so cheap! And a lot of the places available to have treatments aren’t your shady, cheap, dirty salons either.
Is this online network actually a good marketing strategy for the beauty industry? I got a chance to sit down with salon owner Luckia Mora.
Why did you choose use Scoopon?
It was a heavily advertised platform at the time, and we mainly decided to use it because we had new staff who didn’t have a client base yet and needed to familiarise themselves with our products and treatments better. We also have a few quiet times during the week that we really wanted to fill so the girls weren’t just waiting around for their next client.
What was the conversion rate?
It wasn’t very high I think we had maybe two customers who came in again for a treatment. We did offer our lower-priced treatments on there as a lot of our facials and beauty treatments are high priced for the clientele coming from this site who are looking for a good bargain.
Did anyone buy other products?
Quite a few did buy products, which was great considering the treatments were so heavily discounted. I guess that’s the trick and what it comes down to if you know they aren’t going to become a regular customer.
Would you do it again?
Look if we were a new business and just starting out, didn’t have a regular client base, yes, or if we had regular quiet periods and new staff then maybe but you have to be super savvy using this type of promo. You can end up losing money, they take around 25% plus you are already discounting a treatment by so much.
So all in all? High-end salon/spa forget it! Need to train staff or are a new business this is a great avenue for you to consider.
At work, I was asked if we accepted Bartercard… I admit I had no clue what it was. But I think it is important to know about when venturing into the business world after uni, in case you’re ever stuck in a situation like me.
Bartercard is basically a digital currency used by small businesses around Australia with some international members. It is “a barter-trading system where you can barter your goods and services within the Bartercard cashless business network” (http://www.bartercard.com.au/).
If you’re starting a business and you don’t have a huge marketing budget, Bartercard can be a useful tool, for a very B2B orientated business eg stationery supplies or commercial printing. Great for networking, especially at Bartercard events such as their annual Oaks Day Marquee to meet other business owners. Or as Bartercard highlight, if you’re looking to expand your business Bartercard is an avenue for other business members to be introduced to your services, “to help increase your sales and conserve cash through a community of like-minded businesses”.
Sounds great, however going into a trading currency like this means you have to ensure this is the right step for your business, at the end of the day there is not always cash involved.
As I’ve learned at work if you navigate this system well and show these Bartercard members that your products or services are high-quality, exciting brand and create brand loyalty, then you can start to slowly convert them into full paying customers. At the end of the day, many of our clients wouldn’t have even known about some of our brands if it weren’t for this network.
Another key consideration when using a tool like this to market your business is whether or not there will be enough interest in your services or product to bring new customers through your doors. Because you still pay cash to Bartercard to be apart of their B2B network. There are start-up fees, monthly fees, transaction fees and tax to pay. It will only be worth investing in if you see a gap or potential in the network to utilize to your advantage.
As a growing network if you navigate the system and use it as a tool oppose to a money making scheme Bartercard can be a very effective digital marketing tool for B2B companies.
I don’t care how many people think blogging, full-time content creation and social media management is a ‘bull-shit job’ – it is hard.
Take Instagram twins Marissa and Rebecca from @twiceblessed (https://www.instagram.com/twiceblessed_/) who dove into this exact topic on how people view their job – ‘What it’s Like Being a Full-Time Blogger’. They express themselves so openly on their personal section of their blog (https://www.twiceblessed.com.au/category/personal/) and how people view their industry. “Probably the worst thing about this job is that our hard work and skills aren’t valid enough in the ‘real world’. Never having an ‘Off’ button. Social Media never stops, and the emails never stop – so we guilt ourselves into thinking that we should never stop.
It is a tough gig to create content and engage 24/7 on social media and it isn’t as easy as it looks. Your posts will be looked at for a fleeting second, used as inspiration or lead to actual engagement and sales.
The work that goes into creating your concepts for flat lays and shoots, editing, planning, choosing a captions,creating blog posts, ensuring they represent your brand or a brand, making sure you have an appealing overall theme and consistency, scheduling, posting and engaging sounds like a pretty simple process – but hey, most of the time it’s a one or two man operation, with small or no budgets. Even I struggle to write these blog posts, let alone content create and engage on Instagram for the brands I manage on top of work and University.
Engaging doesn’t just stop at liking and commenting a few posts before you yourself post and then again a little bit later. You have to be on it almost every hour and every day.
Instagram is flooded with millions of accounts. Why would someone follow you? How do they find you? How do you make yourself be seen in a sea of images?
I have so much respect for bloggers such as Twice Blessed, they know who they are and do what they love regardless of what people think and say. And more importantly for you to remember is never dismiss someone’s profession because you don’t understand it or it’s not a structured and ‘typical’ 9-5 job. Women like Marissa and Rebecca have worked more than you probably ever had in a typical workweek because they are doing what they are passionate about and have built their brand in a soon to be a conventional way. The world is changing so embrace it rather than dismiss and hurt the people who are.
But, there are a few questions that have been on my mind. Is this a long term sustainable job as more and more ‘Influencers’ are popping up and we are becoming quite flooded with Influencer marketing and content as everyday Instagram users?
We can’t all be Twice Blessed so are people creating unrealistic goals because they think blogging and content creation is easy?
It’s interesting to note that some of the World’s emerging brands have started from a simple blog, great examples are Groupon, WPbeginner, app.net and Silencer. The companies began with building an audience first and added the business around them later for monetisation.
Probably the most notable blog turned business is Glossier (https://intothegloss.com/), because of the way in which they are able to maintain the blog they started, cultivate their community and simultaneously launch skincare products. It is remarkable to watch how they have maintained such an ‘effortless’ balance. As one of my favorite Instagram accounts (https://www.instagram.com/glossier/), aside from their general aesthetic, I really connect with the story of how it started and how they are able to retain the trust developed from the blog (minimal conflict of interest) yet promote their products through the blog.
Brands that are building community first, introducing their personality and core values before making a market offering seems to be the new age way for Entrepreneurs.
Creating a hardcore following is usually by accident for many of these original blogs turned into companies. They were just doing what they loved and telling the online world their take on life and products. long before we were saturated with content. Emily Weiss posted her thoughts and opinions on beauty products, she formed a large community and before she knew it ventured into creating her own line of beauty products.
But they are the founders of a new type of online business model. We see many Instagram accounts posting content and gaining a solid following first before launching their brand and a product. From watch brands to body scrubs hardcore communities are gained when consumers feel they can relate to the founder, wanting to create something that fits them as an individual, not a mass market.
But I want to ask you, forging this community first, as a consumer have you felt mislead by what you thought were genuine reviews and opinions on products, while unknowingly you were being groomed to fall in love with this company’s product long before it was launched?
Or do you commend this type of approach to starting a business? Is it a way for you to feel if you like this persona and what this ‘new’ company stands for?
I commend this strategy to test waters for a potential product and branding idea, however, finding a genuine way to transition into a company from a blog is a skill that many are yet to learn in this new age digital world…..
We are living in a world where television is disappearing and internet TV is here to stay. Virtually anyone can create a web series, whether or not anyone will watch is another question…
In a flood of YouTube series, one has triumphed. An Aussie show true and blue.
With a hard core Facebook fan base of over 240k followers (https://www.facebook.com/rosteredon/),78k YouTube subscribers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ejl3_mK2t6c) and their 1st episode viewed over 326k times (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ejl3_mK2t6c), Rostered On has become a phenomenon that is has sparked a fire for Robot Army (https://www.robotarmyproductions.com.au/) and a new generation of web series.
Living in a digital world as the saying goes, I had to know, was the success of Rostered on all on purpose or down to good content and a bit of luck?
The brains behind Rostered on, Ryan Chamley answered all our marketing questions. Moving into a new world where theory is changing too quickly to produce textbooks our only source is studying the success stories on our own.
As director, producer and scriptwriter of the show Ryan Chamley has created a community which is the only way to survive in a sea of videos.
Why retail as the focal point of the show? It has been a hot trending topic of viral videos – was it intentional?
I worked in retail for years before I became a filmmaker, and as I was starting out. I used to get so incredibly angry with how I was treated by customers, and with expectations of head office, and the stereotypes of the co-workers. I am a very sarcastic person, so I guess that was my way of venting, by writing a script about it. The decision to make it came from me thinking people could relate, as a lot of people work in retail, I didn’t think this many people would relate though. It has definitely gone internationally. Some of our short videos have been re-uploaded by unilad, ladbible, viral thread, pretty52 and one clip, in particular, has been seen by over 40,000,000 people all over the world.
Did you have a solid marketing plan going into this?
I had a solid concept rather than a plan. I really didn’t want to put all this effort in and have it sit on YouTube with 100 views. I also knew I didn’t want to beg people to watch it. Facebook is an amazing tool but has become a sea of people begging to watch their film, come see their band, vote for their kid in a Bonds ad etc.
I also knew people would be viewing this in their personal times, mixed in with posts from friends, pictures of family etc. a time when people really don’t want to be bombarded with advertising.
So, I decided the only way people will be interested, is they need to relate, and if they relate, they will probably (hopefully) share, and organic reach is far more powerful than paid promotion.
So I started making videos that didn’t have any branding except for a logo at the end, which was scary af as there was so much effort put into the production, what if people just thought that was it? It doesn’t say anything about the show, what it’s about. This is a very common problem/ challenge companies run into when running a campaign that’s outside the box.
We started with 15-second videos that had text with things like “tag a mate who is always late for work” or “Share if you hate your boss”.
I sponsored each one for $50 in a 24 hour period.
They started getting comments, shares, likes from people that weren’t connected to us, so it was working, we were blown away by the response.
The one that really blew up though had the sponsoring rejected, as it had too much text for the add, but it was organically shared hundreds of thousands of times and I knew we were onto something. Of course, this lead to page likes going up, and a small proportion of people realising it’s a show, and started to become fans of what we were doing.
Why did you opt for facebook over any other social media?
Everyone is on facebook, billions of people, it’s the only platform in which you can tag & share, which is basically getting people to market for you.
Do you have any marketing background?
Not formally, but my company Robot Army is a video production company and we do a lot of advertising videos. We act like an agent at times, coming up with concepts that will best promote who our clients are.
All you shorts on uni lad who made them? Is it paid promo?
UNILAD (Along with ladbible, pretty52, viral thread etc) just downloaded the videos we posted, put their own caption and titles on and then re-uploaded to their sites crediting us. It wasn’t paid, they all contacted us requesting permission to share our content. We are now a preferred content provider of UNILAD.
Have you made any progress from Netflix? Did those posts work? Or any other offers?
Netflix is a work in progress, we have connections there, and will be meeting them soon, the Netflix posts were more of an experiment, and if it pays off it would be amazingly hilarious.
What were you doing every day to engage and get views?
It’s not a daily thing for Rostered On, more a weekly thing (one or two days ahead), we tried to release a video every week, with some status updates from time to time asking people to tell us how their day at work was etc. Trying to get interaction with our audience.
At the moment we are releasing one episode per week on Tuesdays, and a trailer on Thursdays, and a meme kind of whenever lol.
What was that explosion point and you realised this had become bigger that an indie project?
Probably when one of our videos got 8,000,000 views in three days, that’s when we knew we were onto something.
What have you been doing since to really foster this hype and engagement?
Basically more of the same, the episodes are performing well and people see it as a show now. We live stream from time to time letting fans chat with the cast etc. But the focus has become on the show trying to get funding.
Did you expect to go viral? Was it a hope or did it even cross your mind?
It didn’t for one second even cross my mind, I try not to even hope for things like that. The one goal I had was to get 10,000 views on the pilot episode, and for people to “notice” us as a production company in the industry.
What would you pass on to someone trying to promote themselves the way you have?
It’s all about people relating! It’s scary, but it’s all about emotion, not information, so many people try to blast information down people’s throats, but if people relate to you, they will seek the information themselves, and also tell people about it, doing your marketing for you.
Don’t be afraid to take your brand out of your advertising, if you do it right it will pay off big time!
So it was all down to good content. People connected in the way they do with every viral video but Ryan Chamley was able to foster the community that was gathering. Utilising his instincts and understanding people has made Rostered On a hit Aussie web series that I can’t wait to see where it goes next.
P.S Shout out to Ronn AKA Winston for being the best dude out and letting me fangirl the marketing & production genius behind Rostered On!