How to Deal with Negative Comments on Social Media

September 24, 2018 - Reading Time: 4 minutes

While social media allows brands to reach out and connect with a wide range of audiences, the platform also opens businesses up to public scrutiny and derision. Every brand on social media is bound to receive negative comments or reviews on their pages – some of them legitimate, others not so much. Either way, we’ve got some tips to help you tackle all that negativity.

1. Always keep your cool

We know dealing with comments on social media can be exhausting as it is infuriating. For the sake of your sanity, we recommend you find a way to vent that doesn’t involve going online. You could scream into a pillow or punch a wall – whatever floats your boat. Just don’t ever lose it on social media, especially on your brand’s corporate page. Engaging in an argument over social media is a sure way to tarnish your brand image and lose the respect of your customers. This is a battle you cannot win. So take the high road and always be polite when replying to negative comments and reviews, no matter how undeserving you think the recipient is.

2. Never block/delete negative comments but you can hide them

Before we elaborate further, here’s a caveat: comments that are riddled with profanity and inappropriate content can be deleted if you state so clearly in your terms of use. Others that are scathing and unreasonable but don’t violate any terms of use shouldn’t be deleted. However, you can hide them.

Yes, the “hide” function on Facebook allows you to get rid of a comment without actually getting rid of it. Only the original poster and his or her friends are able to view a hidden post, the rest of the public won’t see it. This is a neat little trick because it means that the original poster will never know that you hid the comment, hence keeping you safe from potential backlash.

However, we recommend using this function sparingly and only if absolutely warranted. Hiding all negative comments increases the chances of you getting caught. It also makes your page look inauthentic. You should also refrain from hiding negative comments that are legitimate as they can alert you of problems pertaining to your product or service.

3. Respond to negative comments publicly

In Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers, Jay Baer talks about dealing with “onstage” and “offstage haters”. “Offstage haters” don’t care if their comments get seen by the public, they just want their problems to be addressed. “Onstage haters”, on the other hand, want an audience. Social media is thus the perfect platform for them to air their grievances. In any case, you should respond to the comments quickly and publicly to help your customers overcome their problems as well as to gain control of the situation. When properly handled, you’ll be able to regain consumer trust and even impress enough to earn some diehard fans.

However, if you foresee things getting uncontrollable, you could try to steer the original poster offline so that whatever goes down won’t be public. Politely ask him or her to contact the relevant parties via direct message, phone or email so that further assistance can be given. Make sure they get the help they need or they might return to social media angrier than before.

4. Have a process

Though a lot of social media management depends a lot on the manager’s discretion, it is good to have a plan in place to ensure that they know the proper response to different situations.

When it comes to managing Facebook comments for our clients, we have a set of guidelines that we follow. We’ll usually drop those who post negative comments a direct message on Facebook so that problems can be settled in a more private setting. We will also reply to the original comment to notify them of the direct message. We keep in close contact with our clients to ensure that any issues are properly addressed. Customers are generally appreciative of timely responses, even if it’s just a simple one-liner saying that we’ll work on the issue. People just want to know that they’ve been heard.

5. Don’t forget to respond to positive comments too

It’s easy to get caught up in all the negativity. You need to make sure you’re acknowledging those singing your praises as well. A simple “thanks so much for your support” or “glad to see you’re enjoying our product” shows that you are responsive and serious about establishing a relationship with your customers. This can boost brand loyalty. Customers won’t just return to buy more, they may also come to your brand’s defense online. This is the best kind of defense against detractors – loyal customers aren’t doing it because they’re paid to, they’re doing it because they want to.

 

Tackling these tricky social media comments doesn’t sound too daunting now, does it? If you know anyone who’s struggling with the same issue, feel free to share this article with them!

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Basics of Design Part 2: How to Think Like a Designer

September 17, 2018 - Reading Time: 3 minutes

In part one, we talked about the 5 principles of design. In part two, we will delve deeper into how you can go from someone who knows how to use Photoshop to a full-fledged designer.

Being a good designer goes beyond one’s mastery of Photoshop. It is about creating works that don’t just look nice but function as they should. Here is the essential beginner’s guide to thinking like a designer and creating effective designs for marketing.

1. Form always follows function

Michael Beitz’s “avoid conversation” dining table

The first thing you need to know is that your designs should always fit the purpose of whatever it is you’re designing. If you’re designing a cup, you need to remember that at the end of the day, it has to function effectively as something you can drink from. Giving it an uneven base, for example, is not practical and is just bad design no matter how aesthetically pleasing.

This rule of thumb applies to all kinds of design including marketing. A brochure has to be portable, an event poster has to be attractive and they both have to be legible. A pragmatic design doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be boring – a good designer is one who knows how to balance aesthetics and practicality.

2. Pay attention to context

You need to take into account where your design will be placed and how people will interact with it. For example, if you’re designing a billboard where people have just a few seconds to take it in, you might consider a design that makes use of scale to capture attention. If you’re designing a Facebook ad, using movement like simple animations could get people to stop scrolling.

However, you still need to make sure your designs correspond with brand guidelines. This brings us to the next point.

3. Refer to the brand book

Every brand should have a brand book. It details the use of your logo, colour scheme and typeface. If you’re working on a project for a client, you should adhere to the directions stated in their brand book. This helps build and maintain brand integrity. Try to also use brand colours in collateral designs as it promotes brand recognition. Check out Cadbury Dairy Milk’s Facebook page – notice how most of their visuals incorporate their purple brand colour.

Apart from colours, pay attention to brand personality and tone of voice – they should also inform your designs. For example, you shouldn’t use a playful typeface or bright colours if the brand is meant to be serious. Conversely, you wouldn’t use a serious design for a playful, youthful brand.

4. Stay updated on design trends

You can do this by visiting websites such as Behance, Dribbble and Muzli that showcase works of other designers spanning across all subfields – from graphic to industrial design. It’s a good way to get inspired and stay up to date on the latest design trends. Behance and Dribble are also great sites to host your portfolio and share your projects with the online community.

Another way to keep up is to read blogs like Creative Bloq and High On Design which contain a host of information on design – from trend reports to neat tips.

5. Be open to feedback

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.

-Winston Churchill-

You should never shy away from getting feedback – good or bad. We know it’s hard to listen to criticism, especially when you’ve poured your heart and soul into a project but that’s the only way to get better. As beginners, you’re going to create a ton of bad designs before you create a good one. So don’t take negative feedback personally; see it as an opportunity to get better. And you will get better, just keep at it.

So there you have it folks – the five things to keep in mind to become a better designer. Now it’s time to start dabbling and creating!

If you’ve got any other tips, do share them in the comments below.

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Basics of Design Part 1: The 5 Principles of Design

September 14, 2018 - Reading Time: 5 minutes

This is part one of our Basics of Design series. Whether you’re a new designer, a wannabe or a non-designer looking to learn more about the field, this series of articles contains all the essential information to help you get started.

Have you ever wondered how designers work their magic; how they know where to place things, what colours to use and how big to make something?

There are actually core rules to design, or what we call the principles of design, that guide the process. Whether you’re designing a logo, a newsletter or any other material, applying these principles will improve the clarity and comprehensibility of your final product.

Let’s begin with the first principle.

1. Balance

Balance has to do with visual weight. Bigger elements, dark colours as well as bold typefaces tend to be more visually heavy. Balance is achieved when the weight of all design elements across a space is distributed in a way that preserves the equilibrium.

This is illustrated in our logo design for Pedal Vault. The heavier element of the shoe on the left of the logo below is balanced out with the bolded typography on the right:

Apart from just being more aesthetically pleasing, a balanced design ensures that the viewer’s attention is well-distributed across all the elements. In our brochure design for OnePlus, the visuals of the phones aren’t just used to counter the visual weight of the text, they are also positioned in a way that invokes overall visual balance.

2. Repetition

Repetition is the reusing of visual elements throughout a design to create continuity and unity. It can be in the form of a pattern as shown below in our design for FWD:

Repetition can also be injected with the use of the same colour. This is particularly relevant to designing marketing collaterals where brand colours should feature strongly for the purpose of maintaining brand integrity. Check out how we incorporated Fibonacci’s blue into every page of their brand book:

3. Contrast

Contrast is the juxtaposition of opposing visual elements in the same space. The simplest illustration of contrast would be how you would use black text over a white background and white text over a black background. However, contrast isn’t just limited to colours. It also applies to textures (rough versus smooth) as well as sizing (big versus small).

Contrast is a good way to emphasise certain visual elements. In our newsletter design for Keat Hong Constituency, the stark contrast between the saturated colours of the photographs and the light green aesthetic draws the reader’s attention to the photos. A complementary colour and a much larger type are used for the header so that it stands out from the body.

This is also an example of how contrast can be a good way to create hierarchy.

4. Hierarchy

Hierarchy guides the reader through the space and informs them of the sequence in which to view it. Examples of this concept can be found in brochures, newsletters and any other collateral that is information-heavy. In order to improve clarity and to guide the reader through the content, information is usually segmented by headings and columns as shown in our poster design for Kevin Murphy:

Contrast is essential to creating hierarchy. If all the visual elements in a space were of the same size you wouldn’t be able to tell where to look first. The tent card below shows how you can use scale to create hierarchy as well as attract attention:

5. Emphasis

This ties in with the concept of contrast. Emphasis tells the reader what to pay attention to. Elements that you want emphasised can be made to stand out by increasing its size; or using a different colour or style.

Take a look at the web banner and bus shelter ad that we designed for FWD and see how we made “2.02%” jump out by playing with scale and contrasting colours. This makes the ads especially effective at attracting the attention of site visitors and passersby.

Emphasis also lets readers know what they should look at first or focus on as shown in our envelope design for FWD below.

 

We hope these guiding principles have enlightened you a little and have made design seem less intimidating. This is just the first step. In part two, we’ll give you more insights into the actual designing process so stay tuned!

If there are any other tips you’ve found useful and would like to share, be sure to leave a comment below.

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Why Storytelling should be part of your Marketing Strategy

September 11, 2018 - Reading Time: 5 minutes
Category: Tips & Tricks

A young man stands backstage and watches as the school dean goes up to the podium to speak. He draws in a nervous breath – this is it.

The dean mentions his name and a list of academic achievements to them but he barely hears her, only his heart thudding in his chest.

“Please welcome your valedictorian,” she says and turns to him, arm outstretched to beckon him on stage. 

Applause greets him as he steps out into the spotlight and onto the podium.

He searches the audience for her, glancing past the bored faces of his schoolmates who are eager for this dreary commencement ceremony to end.

Finally, he finds her, face glowing in a sea of dull expressions.

She’s never been prouder of her son.

His life flashes before her: the moment he came out of her womb, kicking and screaming; the moment he uttered his first word – “mama”; his days as a toddler when they would sit at the breakfast table enjoying their individual beverages – a cup of coffee for her and a glass of Brand X’s milk for him – while enjoying each other’s company.

Now, compare what you’ve just read to this:

Brand X is a great source of nutrients for early childhood development because our milk contains prebiotics, probiotics, nucleotides, DHA…

Which one would you pay more attention to?

Stories are an integral part of our being – it is fundamental to how humans communicate and share experiences with one another. That’s what makes them so captivating and such a useful marketing technique.

Benefits of Stories

Stories humanise your brand

“Stories from the Airbnb Community”

We share stories so that others get to know us better; likewise, we listen to others’ stories to get to know them better. It is inherently human. By telling stories, your brand is engaging in an age-old practice fundamental to building bonds within our species. It is a good way to humanise your brand as well as to build a relationship with consumers.

People are more responsive to emotions rather than hard facts

Imagine you’re in a situation where you have to choose between products of similar quality but one is more expensive than the other. Now, logic dictates that you go for the cheaper one but there’s just something about the more expensive one that speaks to you so you get that instead.

We’ve all been there.

Logic is, quite frankly, not very reliable when it comes to buying decisions. Emotion is the basis upon which all decisions are made – positive emotions toward a brand have greater influence on customer loyalty than other factors. Stories can help create these positive feelings and help you build a relationship with your customers.

Stories make your brand memorable

Stories are useful memory devices that enable us to store and retrieve information. Marketers tend to think that numbers and cold, hard facts are the only factors necessary to win consumers over. However, humans are wired to remember stories better than numbers. A study found that when people hear statistics alone, they retain only up to 10% of the information given. In contrast, participants remembered 70% of what they heard when the same information was delivered in a story. Numbers are important but stories make them a lot more palatable.

All this talk about stories may sound intimidating but don’t worry – it’s not as hard as you think. You don’t have to be J.K. Rowling or George R.R. Martin to create an effective story, just follow these tips and get your creative juices flowing.

How to incorporate storytelling into your market strategy?

Understand your target audience

You can’t create a story that will resonate with your target audience if you don’t know what they care about. It all boils down to market research, and understanding their pain points and concerns.

If you’re selling milk formula like in the example above, your target audience would naturally be parents. Think about some of the major concerns they might have. What are they most worried about when it comes to their kids? Now see if you can come up with a story concept based on that theme; it should answer this question: what is your story about? Don’t forget to show how your product or service can help them reach their goals.

Follow the basics of story writing

After you’ve come up with the concept of your story, it’s time to develop a structure around it. It should follow this basic story arc:

Check out Budweiser’s Super Bowl Puppy Love commercial and try to identify the three components of the story arc.

Exposition:

A puppy befriends a horse from the farm next door but their efforts to hang out are constantly thwarted by their individual owners.

Climax:

The puppy is being adopted by a man and has to leave the farm. This threatens the friendship between the horse and the puppy. The horse watches as the car drives away with the puppy.

Resolution:

The horse stops the car with help from the other horses and the puppy gets to stay at the farm and live happily ever after with the horse.

Apart from the emotional journey that it takes you on, another reason why this ad is so good is its ability to balance storytelling and selling. Viewers might not even realize they are watching an ad until the last frame appears with the Budweiser logo. The success of this ad shows that you don’t have to shove your brand into your audience’s faces to be memorable.

Channel your empathy

The best stories are based on universal emotions and experiences so put yourself in your target audience’s shoes. Ignore the facts and figures and take a moment to think about how your brand fits into the context of everyday life. How does it relate to human experiences?

A great example of this is another Super Bowl commercial, this time from Volkswagen. The ad centers around a kid donning a Darth Vader costume trying to use “the force” on every object he comes across only to be disappointed until his father steps in with his VW Passot remote start.

The ad went viral. When asked for his thoughts on the popularity of the ad, the CEO of the creative agency behind the ad had this to say in an interview with Adweek:

“But even more than that—people saw themselves in it. I think what made this thing go unexpectedly viral prior to the big game was that so many people saw their own child in the role of little Max [Page, the child actor who played Mini Darth], or saw themselves in the parent’s shoes.”

The ability to put yourself in your target group’s shoes and to read their hearts and minds is key to creating a good story. Thankfully, we are all naturally equipped with empathy and we should use that to connect with our target audience.

So the next time you are crafting your marketing plan, try thinking of it in terms of a story rather than a statistics report or a list of benefits. There are stories waiting to be told in every product and every service, you just have to look hard enough.

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5 Misconceptions about Social Media Marketing

September 5, 2018 - Reading Time: 3 minutes
Category: Social Media

Most marketers are no stranger to the term “social media marketing” and its potential benefits for businesses. However, there are still some misconceptions surrounding the subject. Establishing a presence on social media requires more than simply creating an account. Unsure whether you’re doing it right? Let us help clear the air by putting some of these misconceptions to bed.

1. Social media can be done on an ad hoc basis

Social media is neither a magic pill nor a wish-granting genie – it’s a tool. It’s not enough to just possess a social media account and post something when you feel like it. Like any form of marketing, marketers still need to do their due diligence. This means conducting research to find out what your target audience wants to see and planning a social media strategy around it. As we debunk the rest of the social media myths, you will start to see how important content planning and market research is.

2. Success is determined by my number of followers

It’s natural to look for validation – we are only human after all – but we shouldn’t be looking for it in the number of social media followers our brand has. Followers can be bought and they don’t say much about your target audience’s perception towards your brand. What you should be focusing on is audience engagement. How many people have liked, shared or commented on your post? How many people have clicked on your ads? The more relevant or interesting your content is to your target audience, the higher your engagement rate will be.

Posting relevant content that is of interest to your target audience will naturally lead to a rise in your number of followers. South West Community Development Council’s (SWCDC) Facebook page is a case in point. We helped SWCDC build their page from scratch by posting various content, like event reminders and policy updates, that are highly relevant to South West residents as they help residents stay connected to the rest of the community. The result is a steady 2% growth in their Facebook followers every month.

3. The more content I post, the higher my sales will be

Social media isn’t just about achieving short-term sales goals; it’s about building a relationship with your target audience which will benefit your brand in the long run. Furthermore, content is not about quantity, it’s about quality. Your content needs to be relevant to your target audience in order to be engaging and effective. In fact, posting too much might annoy your followers, especially if they find the content irrelevant or repetitive. This is counterproductive to your marketing efforts.

4. Social media is free

Creating an account might be free but in order to ensure your content reaches your target audience, you need to be willing to invest – we are talking about time, resources and money. Most of the major social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have mechanisms in place to help businesses advertise and reach out to their target audience. Brands, especially those just starting out, should take advantage of these opportunities.

Despite being a small company, AVERBRITE worked with us to implement a Facebook ad campaign to increase brand awareness. Their investment paid off in the form of an increase in leads generated and greater consumer trust. AVERBRITE’s case shows that these short-term social media costs can have long-term gains.

5. I can post the same content on every social media site

You wouldn’t behave at a wedding like you do at a funeral. Likewise, brands shouldn’t “behave” the same way on every social media site. LinkedIn is more for professional connections as opposed to Facebook and Twitter which are more casual platforms. The content you produce should always be consistent with the nature of the platform and catered to the type of audience on it.

Keep these five points in mind when you’re crafting your social media marketing plan and you’ll be on the right track. If you’ve got other pointers to share, don’t be shy – leave a comment below!

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How Brands Should Leverage Instagram’s New IGTV

September 4, 2018 - Reading Time: 5 minutes
Category: NewsSocial Media

On 20th June this year, Instagram announced the launch of its new platform, IGTV, which is dedicated to long-form video content.

If you’re thinking: “That sounds like YouTube”, you’re right but also not quite.

With IGTV, Instagram is going head-to-head with the king of long-form video. Built with content creators in mind, the app is meant to be an alternative to YouTube where users can share and follow interesting content.

Key Features of IGTV

One of the key differences between IGTV and YouTube is that IGTV supports vertical videos only. You can use either a phone or a DSLR camera to shoot your videos as long as it’s in the aspect ratio of 9:16. Instagram justifies this feature by saying that “it’s built for how you actually use your phone” – users don’t have to go through the hassle of flipping their phones sideways to watch a video. This sounds great at first but since IGTV users can upload content ranging from short 15-second clips to an hour-long video, we can’t help but question whether users will want to watch a 60-minute video in vertical mode.

Another difference is that IGTV starts playing videos uploaded by accounts you follow as soon as you access the platform, either through its standalone app or the built-in one on Instagram. Creators can also add multiple links in their video descriptions as well as “swipe up” call-to-actions which can help brands increase web traffic.

Although Instagram has yet to introduce a monetisation scheme and advertisements in the app, IGTV still offers a pool of opportunities for brands. It definitely has the potential to help brands boost audience engagement.

So how should brands go about using IGTV? Given that this platform is still very new, many marketers are still trying to figure out what works best. We’ve been doing some homework so that you don’t have to (you’re welcome). We looked at what early adopters are doing and compiled two lists – things we think they’re doing right; and things we feel could be improved on.

Let’s start with the latter list.

What brands could do better on IGTV

Re-uploading content directly from YouTube

As mentioned, IGTV is a platform that hosts vertical videos whereas YouTube is a platform for horizontal videos. Directly uploading videos from your YouTube channel to IGTV without editing it to fit the 9:16 aspect ratio is a bad idea. If you think people won’t notice, you thought wrong – it is painfully obvious. It also leaves a bad impression – you don’t want to be perceived as a brand that cuts corners, especially if you rely heavily on customer trust.

You know what they say: if you’re going to do it, do it well. Take a look at how Tasty edited their YouTube video for IGTV so that those brownies look equally delicious in horizontal and vertical.

     

Treating IGTV exactly like YouTube

It’s probably the newness of the platform but many brands on IGTV are populating their account with the exact same content from their YouTube channel. There’s nothing wrong with that. It makes sense to have similar content on your IGTV account, especially if most of your audience are already on Instagram.

However, the content you would produce for YouTube is usually more polished but with IGTV, there’s more room for raw footage. The reason why Instagram Stories is so successful is because it allows users to see the informal, laid-back side of an influencer or a brand. There’s so much potential in IGTV to build upon this intimacy with your audience. Brands should take advantage of it by producing content specifically for IGTV.

“What kind of content?” you might ask. Our second list below contains some examples of the kind of content you could create.

What brands are doing right on IGTV

Behind-the-scenes

IGTV is the perfect platform for behind-the-scenes videos as it allows for less polished content. These videos are great for building intimacy and fostering trust between you and your target audience. It gives your audience an inside look into your process.

Some brands who are already doing this include Victoria’s Secret. They even have an introductory video to summarise the kind of content followers can expect to see on their IGTV.

Local brand, Troops on Print, are making use of IGTV to showcase the illustration process behind their designs. Though the execution could be improved, they’ve got the right idea.

Getting their followers involved

With IGTV added to the mix, Instagram now boasts a wider variety of functions for users to share content. Now you can post photos or videos in short- or long-form; either ephemerally or permanently. This gives marketers a greater variety of choices for content marketing and allows us to develop a more holistic marketing strategy on a single platform. It also gives brands new ways to interact with their target audience.

Bacardi came up with a creative way to take advantage of Instagram’s multiple features. As part of their Do What Moves You campaign, Bacardi collaborated with Les Twins to give the superstar dancers’ followers a chance to direct their new video.

Followers could use Instagram Stories’ voting function to select the choreography, lighting, location, camera movement and even the title design of the video. Les Twins’ fans were thrilled at the outcome of the final video and appreciated being a part of the project. Just look at how much positive engagement this video generated.

By making use of Instagram Stories, IGTV and influencers, Bacardi is one of the few early adopters that really made the most out of the new platform.

Get experimental

Since IGTV is still a new platform, there is room for brands to get experimental with their content. You never know what will work.

Some of the brands that have uploaded seemingly strange content and gotten significant amount of attention are Netflix and Chipotle.

Hey, as long as your target audience enjoys it, right?

In summary, don’t just re-upload content from YouTube. If you must, be sure to edit it so that it fits IGTV’s aspect ratio. Try to create some content specifically for IGTV, like behind-the-scenes snippets or content that will take engagement one step further. Make use of the social nature of the platform. Like any marketing strategy, remember to keep track of how your content does in terms of engagement and pretty soon, you’ll discover what kind of content is best suited to connect you to your target audience.

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