March 2020 - E1Media

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5 Brands Positively Adapting Their Messaging Right Now

From large multinationals to small independent retailers, brands impacted by COVID-19 are adapting in a fun, novel or entertaining manner. Here are some of our top picks.

The Hummingbird Bakery

London-based dessert chain The Humming Bakery are encouraging their fans to bake for themselves while in self-isolation by sharing their own secret recipes.

Recipes from their book ‘Cake Days’ are emailed out every few days. Fans are then encouraged to show off their creations on social media.

“It’s our aim to bring the online baking community together at this time” – The Hummingbird Bakery

This gesture not only engages their fans in a positive manner, it promotes their book and boosts the number of mailing list subscribers.

It’s an excellent (and delicious) example of how ‘offline’ brands can adapt their communications and create opportunity from a disadvantage.

Innocent Smoothies

Innocent have always been ‘on-trend’ with social media. Despite being a corporate entity, they continually manage to keep their socials feeling human – which is exactly what is needed right now.

Every day for the last week they’ve been posting ‘Daily Updates’ that have absolutely nothing to do with their smoothies – and people are loving it.

Rather than describe these updates, it’s best you see one for yourself:

DAILY UPDATEMorning everyone. Welcome to yet more things you didn’t know you didn’t need to knowToday is a Tuesday….

Posted by innocent on Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Innocent also invites fans to submit photos of their pets, as well as responding to almost every comment.

Fun, interesting, comical, cute – this approach is a welcome relief from the more sombre approach some brands are taking in response to COVID-19.

It’s clearly working.  The average daily update is receiving 4K likes, 500 comments and 600 shares – all without spending a penny.

Innocent Smoothies can be considered a ‘non-essential item’, but instead of ramping up the sales messaging to counter a drop in sales, they’re focusing on building brand awareness. Other businesses should take note.

Family Store

Family Store is a small independent shop in Brighton (and online) that stocks clothes, zines and artwork from independent artists.

But their size hasn’t stopped them reacting to the pandemic in a manner that conveys their brand values and engages fans.

They are running an Instagram competition where fans send in their art – a select few will be made into apparel and sold at Family Store.

Every day presents a different theme. Family Store will share submissions with their 22K followers on Stories.

Drawing is a classic but increasingly uncommon pastime. Family Store are using their online presence to encourage self-isolators to pick up the pencils and give it a go.

In addition to this competition, they have been honest with their struggles as an independent retailer during this crisis. As we stated in our Covid-19 Communications Advice, transparency is appreciated by consumers.

Headspace

The Headspace app has rapidly gained in popularity as an easy way to get into Meditation and Mindfulness.

They have generously offered all NHS staff and educators a one year premium subscription to their service for free. There is no doubt that these two groups of workers are under immense strain right now.

Plenty of additional free resources have been made available for everyone to use.

For those who haven’t downloaded the app, Headspace are posting useful content on their socials, like this home workout video:

Yes, it’s likely your routines have been totally upended, but no, you shouldn’t abandon them altogether. Try integrating this workout into your morning to get energized for the day.

Posted by Headspace on Monday, March 23, 2020

And have created a Facebook Group:

Digital brands such as Headspace haven’t suffered as much as offline businesses  – but it’s still wonderful to see them doing what they can to help people get through this pandemic.

Dave

The ‘Home of Witty Banter’ (and re-runs of Top Gear) has gathered a large social media following for it’s on-trend humour. 

It should be no surprise that, much like Innocent, their socials have a place to ‘look on the bright side’ of the pandemic.

How to make working from home feel like you’re in the office:

Posted by Dave on Wednesday, March 25, 2020

They’re clearly well-received, as some have garnered over 2.5k shares – showing sometimes ‘less is more’.

Not only are Dave posting hilarious posts like this, they also raise awareness to those who might be struggling – raising money for various mental health charities.

Our friends at The CALMzone have created some simple tips for anyone that is finding things tough in this weird time we are all in right now.Please feel free to share with anyone you know who may need this.

Posted by Dave on Thursday, March 26, 2020

TV viewership is no doubt soaring due to self-isolation, and Dave will only benefit from their balanced but ‘on-brand’ approach to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 If there’s a lesson to be learned here, it’s that now is the best time to illustrate and amplify your brand’s personality.

What We’ve Been Doing For Our Clients This Week

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many businesses’ operations.

We’ve been assisting on planning, creation and execution of digital content for our clients to help them through these unprecedented times.

Here’s a taster of what we’ve been up to.

We Are FSTVL

We Are FSTVL, like much of the events industry, have been forced to rapidly adapt their communications – which we’ve been assisting with.

The E1MA team created a ‘virtual pub quiz’  to build brand awareness and maintain enthusiasm for the festival, which has been moved to September.

To build excitement, we used a combination of social posting and chatbot announcements.

From designing the questions and creating the assets to monitoring the live-stream, E1MA took complete creative control over this quiz.

THE WE ARE FSTVL PUB QUIZ IS NOW LIVE!! Comment your answer below to be in with the chance of winning over THIRTY HUGE PRIZES! We'll be picking winners at random and announcing in the comments every minute. 🤩 You can answer each question as many times as you like so go wild! We'll be following up with all the winners tomorrow too! Good luck! 🍀 We Are FSTVL HQ ❤x

Posted by We Are FSTVL on Thursday, March 26, 2020

As a result it reached over 45k people with an incredible 91K comments.

Offaiah

With most people stuck indoors, now is the perfect time for live-streaming – and that’s exactly what we’ve been assisting Offaiah with.

For Offaiah’s Facebook live-stream with Bacatime, we created the artwork and promoted it across his channels before, during and after the set.

Noisily

Much like We Are FSTVL, we’ve had to adapt Noisily Festival‘s digital communications strategy in response to the pandemic.

In addition to actively communicating the latest festival developments with the Noisily fanbase, we’ve been providing home activities.

For example, we created a fun Noisily-themed word-search.

As the instructions suggest, fans could screenshot the IG story, complete the word-search on their phone and send them in.

Noisily are also curating ‘stay-at-home’ playlists featuring music from various Noisily 2020 musicians:

We’ve got plenty more great content in the pipeline for Noisily and the rest of our clients, so keep an eye on our socials!

In meantime, why don’t you check out the rest of our blog?

Our Guide to Live-Streaming from Home

With most people being stuck indoors for the foreseeable future, now is a great time for you or your business to get into live-streaming. Here’s what you need to consider (5 min read)

• Announce your live-stream in advance to build anticipation

• Excellent live-streams can be made with just a phone, tripod and microphone

• Choose the best format (portrait vs. landscape) for the channel you’re using

• Do a test-run before you go live to ensure there’s no technical errors

• Enable other pages and brands to share your live-stream to boost reach

Getting Started

Before getting started with the stream, let your audience know it’s happening. 

Create a simple but eye-catching post or event announcing what you’re streaming and when, like we did for Offaiah.

To draw in as many viewers as possible, you’ve got to build anticipation and excitement.

Choose a sensible time – most people are now working from home, but this doesn’t mean ‘office hours’ don’t apply.

(Pssst: If you’re working from home too, you might find our top tips useful).

Before the working day (7AM – 9AM), during lunch (12PM – 2PM) or after work (6PM – 8PM) are always reliable options.

Equipment

We don’t expect you to have Hollywood-level film cameras lying around in your garage.

A top-of-the-line iPhone or Android phone will do the job. Besides, it has been suggested that consumers prefer ‘rough-and-ready’ videos rather than polished content.

While modern smartphone have excellent cameras, the microphones are often lacking.

If you have an external microphone – use it. 

If not, position the phone between 6-12 inches away from your mouth and speak clearly. 

Too close and it’ll distort the sound – it shouldn’t sound like you’re eating the phone.

Finally, you might want to invest in a tripod. Especially if your live-stream is more than a few minutes long.

Arms are shaky and get tired – tripods do not.

Small phone tripods are inexpensive and can greatly boost the quality of your live-stream.

Format

There is more to live-streaming than pointing a camera. You should be taking specifications into consideration too.

Portrait or Landscape? 

As a rule of thumb, it’s best to design mobile-first – this means using Portrait (4:3)

But it depends on both the platform you’re streaming on and the content of the video.

Instagram/IGTV live streams should almost always be in portrait mode – it’s mobile-only after all.

Facebook is used on both desktop and mobile. Here you can be more versatile with your live streams, as both portrait and landscape modes are effective.

YouTube and Twitch host more long-form content and are typically watched in landscape.

Ultimately, it depends on the content.

Portrait mode is great for spontaneous live-streams that only focus on one or two subjects.

If the main focus of your stream is audio (such as a DJ mix), then landscape might be more suited.

Testing

This important step is often overlooked. 

Unless your live-stream is completely spontaneous, you’ll want to test, test and test again.

Film a short video – then ask yourself three key questions:

1. Can you be heard clearly?

You don’t want your viewers to have to turn the volume up to maximum. Ensure there is no clipping or distortion

2. Are you framed correctly? 

Make sure you’re not cutting off an important part of the frame, such as your head or your DJ equipment.

3. How is the lighting?

If the natural light is behind you, move – unless you want to look like a shadow. Consider using artificial lighting.

Send it to a friend for a second opinion.

Showtime

Make another announcement right before you’re about to go live across ALL platforms – even if you’re only streaming on Facebook or Instagram.

These two platforms also send notifications out to users alerting them that a live stream has started (unless they’re switched off).

Do you have any associated brands, labels or pages that are interested in your stream?

Then enable cross-posting so they can share it on their pages. Collaborating with a carefully-chosen broadcasting partner can greatly boost brand awareness.

For Noisily Festival, we formed a brand partnership with electronic music page Mr. Afterparty, which massively multiplied their reach.

Eelke Kleijn at Noisily Festival 2019

Throwback vibes to Noisily Festival of Music and Arts last summer with Eelke Kleijn… Looks like a special one!! 🌳🌲🌳

Posted by Mr. Afterparty on Thursday, January 30, 2020

All that’s left is to go live – produce an entertaining live-stream that engages your audience and compels them to come back for more.

Our Tips for Working From Home

The ongoing crisis is forcing many businesses to work from home, including our own. We share some of our top tips:

1. Pretend you are still going into the office

This might sound like a strange idea, but the mental association you make between ‘working’ and the office is powerful.

Wake up at the same time you usually do and get changed into regular day clothes – even your shoes.

Have your morning coffee, check the weather (even though it makes no difference) and walk the dog.

Maintain your regular morning routine.

2. Use the extra time productively

One clear benefit of working from home is the lack of commuting. But how are you spending that extra 30, 60 or even 90 minutes you have at your disposal?

The temptation to sleep-in is great, but you should try and stick to the same sleeping pattern.

You could instead use this time to make a healthy breakfast, engage in light exercise, or read a book (or all three, if you have a commute as long as Ben’s).

Alternatively, you can use this time to get ahead at work. Plan out your working day, sift through your emails, or catch-up on the latest industry trends.

3. Create a distraction-free working environment

Whether it’s your study, the spare bedroom or your living-room table, create an ‘office-space’ for yourself and exclusively work there.

This means no working on the sofa or in bed. These seem like great ideas at first, but it won’t be long before back pain and sleeping troubles arise.

You need to keep your ‘work’ environment and ‘home’ environment separate.

Consider investing in a comfy desk chair and noise-cancelling headphones (especially if you live with others).

If you’re in need for music suggestions, check out our new ‘Working From Home’ playlist, curated by the fine taste-makers of E1MA:

Decorate your desk with houseplants – they help you relax.

Put your phone on silent and turn the TV off – it can be easy to get distracted by the minute-by-minute coronavirus updates.

4. Keep collaborating

Trading your open-plan office for a living room might make collaborating with your colleagues slightly more tricky, but by no means impossible.

We should be grateful to live in an age where vast quantities of digital tools are available at our fingertips.

Most modern messenger softwares have both text and video chat options: Messenger, WhatsApp, FaceTime.

But for speaking to your entire team, Slack, Zoom or Skype might be more suitable.

The E1MA team find Slack particularly useful, as you can create separate channels for separate projects.

These are tough times for businesses to operate in – bringing the whole team together (digitally) is the solution.

5. Look after yourself

Carrying out tasks for your business is important, but looking after both your physical and mental health is more so.

Don’t feel guilty about taking regular breaks during the day to go outside for some fresh air.

If you were considering taking up Yoga, Meditation or Mindfulness – now is the perfect time.

Apps like HeadSpace can work wonders. Alternately, there are countless free tutorials on YouTube.

Working alone gets lonely. Continuing ‘water-cooler’ chats with your colleagues as if you were still in the office. 

Create a ‘random’ channel in your Slack in which you share gossip, memes or inspirational quotes – whatever keeps your spirits high.

Call your family & friends and see how they’re faring.

We’ll all in this together during these unprecedented times.

Our Covid-19 Communications Advice

Every single one of our clients is being affected by the Covid-19 outbreak in some way or another. We specialise in supporting festivals, venues and artists on their digital marketing activity, and we are sharing our clients’ pain, worry and shock at how the events economy as a whole is being affected by the outbreak.

This is the advice we’re offering to our friends and family in the events industry, and anyone in the wider business being affected by the outbreak.

1. Stay Safe!

We’re not doctors. Please check and follow government and medical advice on the situation. Be sensible, look after yourselves and your friends and family. Your health and the health of your loved ones is more important than any business activity.


Please check the NHS website and the Prime Minister’s Office website for the latest official advice.

2. Maintain Focus

We are deeply involved in promoting events, festivals and recorded music with our clients, so we have a broad view of the challenges the industry as a whole is facing.

The no.1 piece of advice we’re offering right now is maintain focus, be one step ahead and be ready to pivot your digital footprint quickly to react. Don’t get caught without a plan if restrictions on movement and public gatherings are going to affect you. Have a party line ready and be ready to put it out there.

3. Maintain Communication with your Audience

Be transparent

At a time like this the importance of communicating with your audience is paramount. All of our clients inboxes on all platforms are inundated with questions from ticket holders about whether or not their event is happening, and what the cancellation and refund policy is. Have your answers ready and ensure your FAQ’s are up-to-date.

If your public-facing policy is to follow government guidelines and your event is still happening – say it.

This means if people are trying to decide whether or not to buy a ticket, they will have the necessary information to make that call.

Maintain engagement

At this unprecedented time, a lot of people are at home, online and looking for alternate things to do within the walls of their own home. Utilise this time to keep your fans and customers engaged, make sure they keep you in the forefront of their mind.

Change your objectives – there should be less emphasis on selling tickets and more on building brand awareness and connecting with your audience.

Live streams, Spotify playlists, new mixes, previous content – this is a window to really interact with your fans – it may not be selling tickets to events, but keeping them engaged will inevitably work in your favour in the long run. It could also be a chance to gain new fans in the interim. 

EXAMPLE: Maceo Plex had to cancel a multiple shows at the weekend, so live streamed one instead for those who have missed out. 

Diplo is promising daily live streams in the wake of the quarantine situation. 

Tom Hanks’s wife and musician Rita Wilson has made a fun Spotify playlist whilst they’re both in self-isolation, transforming the situation into an opportunity to promote her music.

Basically don’t stop talking to your fans, keep them engaged, think outside the box, and maintain your social presence. 

4. Stay Positive!

Don’t let the virus infect your confidence and affect your ability to manage your communications effectively. The crisis is going to affect sales, so it’s important to make sure that when the crisis is over that your followers remember who you are and you can move back to a sales strategy – stay positive and keep talking to your followers.

How to Sell Tickets to Your Event (Part. 2)

In Part 2 we outline how to use Paid Social to help you sell more tickets to your event. (5 min read)

• Know your audience inside and out

• Choose the right objective

• Good creative draws attention

• Compelling copy drives clicks

• Monitor and tweak the campaign if necessary

1. Know your audience

Who do you want to buy your tickets?

You’re probably thinking “anyone and everyone, it doesn’t matter”.

But it DOES matter.

Advertising to consumers who have no interest in your events is a waste of time and money. That’s why it pays to research your target audience prior to launching paid ads.

Initially you’ll want to know their basic demographic info such as age range and location. 

But more advanced audience information is what will sell tickets. What are they interested in, which events do they attend, who are their favourite artists?

This wealth of audience data can be found in Facebook Business Manager under ‘Audience Insights’.

A safe option is to target consumers who already connected to your page. They’ve already displayed interest and are therefore more likely to purchase a ticket.

If your event has just launched, you may want to consider creating a ‘lookalike audience’. This is where Facebook creates a new audience for you to target, based on your previous customers (in this case, event attendees).

As you learn more about your potential audience, you’ll want to create several ‘sub-audiences’ that hone in on particular interests, for maximum effectiveness.

For example, you can funnel down your “electronic music” audience to “fans of [headline act A]” and “fans of [headline act B]”.

2. Decide on your campaign objective

Once you’ve set up your audiences, the next step is establish your marketing objective for each ad campaign.

Facebook Ads Manager gives you several options. As expected, the most important one for driving ticket sales is Conversions.

(Another popular option is ‘Brand Awareness’ which is useful for growing your social following, but not for selling tickets).

These options aren’t just namesakes – Facebook’s algorithm targets specific segments of your audience depending on your choice.

No doubt you’re thinking: why wouldn’t I always choose Conversions if the goal is to sell tickets?

Because Conversions campaigns are costly, and only effective once Facebook’s algorithm has been given time to learn about your audience.

In other words, they have to proceed through the ‘Awareness’ and ‘Consideration’ stages first.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter which option you pick if you don’t have an eye-catching creative.

3. Prepare your creative

The ‘creative’ is marketing-speak for the image/video that accompanies the text (or copy).

The creative and the copy are, without a doubt, the two most important elements of an ad.

It can be easy to spend too much time on targeting. Even if your ad is displayed to the right audience, without good creative and copy they aren’t going to pay attention.

It’s down to personal preference whether you work on the copy or the creative (the image or video) first but in our experience, the creative is far more important.

After all, visual content increases the desire to read text by up to 80%.

Most consumers only skim through posts on social media – an eye-catching creative makes them stop scrolling and pay attention to your message.

For Platform, we work with professional photographers to gather images and videos for use in our ads (and organic social).

Have specific outcomes in mind when carrying out these exercises – if you plan to run ads showcasing your new drinks menu in the future, take these photos well in advance.

Videos typically out-perform images (by at least 20%). Videos are more eye-catching and auto-play by default on Facebook and Instagram. 

Combining this with an in-app ticket link is a recipe for success.

You always want to make the customer journey as streamlined as possible.

If you run events regularly you should already have a bank of content taken from previous events.

If you’re low on content, you can use the creative from your organic posts, in your ads. This works best if you’re targeting an audience that doesn’t already follow your page.

4. Craft your copy

You’ve grabbed your audience’s attention with the creative, now the copy needs to convince them to purchase a ticket.

First and foremost: keep it short.

Rewrite your copy, making it as concise as possible without losing the key message.

Here’s an ad we’re running for Phase Live:

The 5-star review gives the event credibility. This follows a brief description of the event, dates and finally the all-important link to tickets.

It’s often best not to mention the ticket price in the copy (unless you’re running a special promotion). 

If you convince consumers that the event is ‘unmissable’, they’ll be less influenced by the price.

5. Monitor the campaign’s progress

Once you’ve done all the hard work and your ads are running, you need to keep an eye on their progress.

We’re not suggesting you have to look at it every hour, but at least once a day you should check on their performance.

If you find they aren’t producing the results you hoped, consider tweaking the creative or copy. 

Paid Social is all about trial and error, over time you (and Facebook’s algorithm) will learn more about your audience, which form of creative resonates most and which copy drives ticket sales.

You may want to look into A/B testing: this is where you have two similar ads running simultaneously. 

For example, you could learn that your audience converts from messaging like this:

As opposed to messaging like this:

On the other hand, if you find your ads are already driving strong ticket sales, consider increasing your budget, or running the same ad with a separate ‘lookalike’ audience.

Follow these tips and you’ll be selling more tickets to your events in no time.