Now’s the time to start mapping out a plan to re-engage with your audience and get your business moving again.
Over the last year, we’ve expanded our capabilities in all areas of digital marketing. From insight & analysis to e-commerce and media buying, we’re committed to providing excellent value to clients during these turbulent times.
We’ve scoured the internet for the very best social media & digital marketing resources so you don’t have to. We share our favourite websites, podcasts newsletters and other hidden gems that will keep you at the cutting-edge of the industry.
Avocado Social Media Club
“A friendly community for those looking to improve their social media marketing.”
The Avocado Social Media Club is a great way to stay in touch with others in the same industry. Members of the community share useful apps, articles, jobs, and help each other out with issues that they may be having with social media platforms. It is a good way to share and keep on top of new trends, work out if you are experiencing bugs within platforms, or find out insights from other people in your industry. At a time where a lot of the population are working from home, communities like this are hugely important – giving another touch point for communication where some people may be alone – Joey, General Manager @ E1MA
Join their WhatsApp for regular marketing bulletins. Text JOIN to +44 (0) 74 9307 2286.
When you sign up to the Battenhall Social Media Broadcast, you receive a short and sweet summary of social media marketing news directly to your WhatsApp messages Mon-Fri. This quick WhatsApp message highlights things that you may want to read, without having a ‘spam’-type nature. It’s quick, easy, to the point and can be really helpful to find out new social media news, without scrolling through a RSS feed which you may have not had time to do in your working day – Joey, General Manager @ E1MA
Buffer is the software that I use to schedule the majority of posts for clients and as such I am signed up to their emails. They often share interesting things, such as webinars discussing their social media predictions for the upcoming year as well as updates to the platform that can be useful for insights and reporting – Joel, Head of Digital @ E1MA
Business Keeps On Dancing
“Bringing together festival and event industry thought leaders.”
The ‘Business Keeps On Dancing‘ webinars provide invaluable insight from industry experts and thought leaders around various topics. The focus on music and events helps bring together a community that is in dire need of support right now, and provide some inspirational discussions and advice.
Following the webinars they started arranging ‘Clubhouse Q and A’ discussions. This opens up the panel to anyone who wants to get involved and has points to discuss – another great way for the community to come together and share experiences or concerns – Joey, General Manager @ E1MA
The Contently blog is a great resource for staying on top of innovations and ideas within the world of digital marketing. They have a lot of great guest writers as well as excellent staff writers who are very knowledgeable and enlightening – Joel, Head of Digital @ E1MA
Naturally, we’ve included the E1 Media Agency blog in this list! Over the past year we’ve written over 50 pieces covering everything from social media strategy to music industry news. Check it out if you haven’t already!
Facebook for Business
Given the amount of work we do on Facebook-owned platforms publishing and advertising, I do end up using this as a resource regularly, especially with new targeting restrictions coming into play this year it has tips to make sure we’re still targeting the right audiences with relevant content – Nick, Managing Director @ E1MA
HubSpot itself is a popular marketing software, but the real gem is their blog. They produce short blogs and in-depth guides for pretty much every digital marketing trend. The website also contains useful tools such as website checkers, email signature creators, and infographic templates. They have a solid newsletter too, but if you find it too ‘sales-y’, then bookmark the page instead – Ben, Digital Marketing Executive @ E1MA
“The World’s favourite Instagram marketing platform”, Later has an excellent blog that’s full of colour and personality. Like HubSpot, their sleek articles cover all the key trends marketers need to know. I recommend subscribing to their newsletter, which is made to a very high standard – Ben, Digital Marketing Executive @ E1MA
Marketing Dive is another good source of general marketing info and updates. It doesn’t seem to be updated in all areas as regularly and most of the focus here is American. But I do like the specific sections on influencer marketing which highlights how brands are using influencers to their advantage – George, Senior Digital Consultant @ E1MA
Technically a person rather than a resource, Matt Navarra is a social media expert and industry commentator. I highly recommend following him on Twitter (@MattNavarra) as he’s essentially an amalgamation of all the best sources. He runs the ‘Geekout Newsletter‘ if you prefer to get your updates via email – Ben, Digital Marketing Executive @ E1MA
Influence.co ‘s newsletter ‘nofilter’ is a great resource for staying informed on what’s going on in the world of influencers. It’s useful because it picks 3 or 4 key articles so you don’t have to wade through a lot of irrelevant information and it’s an easy and bitesize way to stay one step ahead – Joel, Head of Digital @ E1MA
Single Grain is another good one, offering broader tips and insights into marketing trends on their blog. Plus if you scroll to the bottom there’s also a marketing guides section which has loads of marketing info, I particularly like the “31 best digital marketing campaigns you can swipe” article, which not only lists the campaigns and why they worked well – but also offers key lessons to be learnt from each – George, Senior Digital Consultant @ E1MA
Social Media Today
Social Media Today is good as it always stays super current with the latest social media updates, from TikTok to LinkedIn it really covers all bases and provides informative, interesting articles to help you stay on top of all the social updates every day or two – George, Senior Digital Consultant @ E1MA
Although TechCrunch focuses on technology rather than digital marketing specifically, its an excellent place to learn about the wider industry. After all, you can’t really separate technology and marketing in 2021! Their articles are well-written, worldy and diverse – Ben, Digital Marketing Executive @ E1MA
Wired UK always some interesting science & technology reading and they usually feature key social and digital marketing news. The ‘future science’ section is where I usually end up – Nick, Managing Director @ E1MA
It’s a question on a lot of people’s minds – In what capacity could live events return in 2021? We break down the latest industry updates and discuss what’s next.
What’s Changed Since Last Summer?
Quite a lot. We last assessed the situation in August, with ‘What’s Next For Music Venues?’. This was a cautiously optimistic period. Bars & restaurants were open and small, social-distanced events were taking place. We were “Enjoying Summer Safely” and “Eating Out to Help Out”. Day-to-day life had made an improvement.
Sadly, the situation took a turn for the worse. We’ve since had two more national lockdowns and countless lives irrevocably damaged by the pandemic, both directly and indirectly. As bleak as the things look right now, most of us are quietly confident that 2021 will be a better year.
Why? Because of a critical development that could restore the world to normality: a vaccine. Not just one vaccine in fact, several. This is an immense achievement of global co-operation and despite concerns over new virus strains, will be prove to be an absolute game-changer.
Let’s bring this back down to the ground: what does this mean for businesses, and particularly the live events sector? We’ll start by looking at when live events could return.
When Could Live Events Return?
Much of this depends on the vaccination programme. Only once the most vulnerable are protected could we see a ‘return to normality’ . The rollout has been a great success so far. More than 12 million people have received their first jab at time of writing. The government’s goal is to offer the entire UK adult population a vaccine by autumn.
So live events could return around September, if everything goes as planned. But one thing we’ve learned during the pandemic is that it’s difficult to plan ahead. It’s an ever-changing scenario, and there’s a number of factors that could cause this target to be pushed back – namely, the impact of new COVID-19 variants.
In an ideal world, live events would return as soon as possible. The industry is on its knees. It’s been nearly a year since venues and nightclubs could open and operate on a consistent basis. According to the NTIA (Night Time Industries Association), 80% of nightclubs won’t make it past February. The situation is just as dire for festivals, many of which haven’t ran since the summer of 2019. Confidence within the live events industry is shaky at best. Especially after Glastonbury, one of the UK’s most enduring festivals, announced it will not take place this year.
Countless venues, nightclubs and festivals missed out on the Cultural Recovery Fund. £1.57 billion sounds like plenty to go around, until you realise it’s shared with museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas and heritage sites. But the live events industry doesn’t just need handouts. They need a clear roadmap from the government, and an investigation into the possibility of live events before autumn. This preliminary date would mean missing out on the all-important summer season, which this year could be make-or-break for many businesses in the industry.
Now we’re going to explore which key factors could influence how live events run in 2021.
New developments in rapid testing could be a potential lifesaver for live events and festivals in particular. A diagnostics firm in Derby just announced its producing 20 million rapid tests for the government. These tests are being offered to workplaces with more than 50 employees and can produce results in just 30 minutes. They’re being rolled out to key industries where employees can’t work from home, such as transportation. But it’s not a far reach to imagine they’ll be available for ‘non-essential’ sectors such as live events in the near future.
Rapid tests would allow festivals to vet their attendees upon arrival, temporarily quarantining them until the results come in. With a test time of 30 minutes, this could work for other events as well. Concert-goers already expect long queues that snake around the venue prior to doors opening. It’s safe to assume they wouldn’t mind waiting a little longer if it meant the return of live shows.
Even with a rapid testing system on entry, we expect social distancing to play a part in the live events experience. It’s an issue that concerns many indoor venues, especially those with capacities in the low hundreds. Many events simply wouldn’t be viable with social distancing restrictions in place. What’s needed is a certain level of support from the government that could partially replace the revenue lost to enforced restrictions. This could be in the form of VAT exemptions or lower business rates. We need to hammer home how important these institutions are to the country, both in cultural and economic terms.
On a more positive note, it’s already been proven that outdoor events can be successfully run with social distancing in place. Let’s not forget the Virgin Money Unity Arena, which spread 2,500 fans across 500 spaced-out platforms.
From personal experience the E1MA team know what’s possible. We worked with Greenwich Comedy Festival, who moved their 2020 edition to the lawns of Greenwich Maritime Museum. The carefully spaced outdoor seating arrangement has replaced the Big Tops of previous years, and was a tremendous success. With staggered entry times and a drinks-to-your-seat service, the festival was a shining example of how events can be held during the pandemic.
Harnessing the power of our technological age will be paramount if live events are to return. After a disastrous start, the NHS Track & Trace App has been greatly improved – checking into venues is now seamless. E-tickets will become the absolute standard, with the days of the traditional box office numbered.
Even minor details like cashless bars and merchandise stalls will become almost mandatory to decrease the risk of transmission. There is talk of new technology being implemented into venues, such as misting disinfection systems and UV air filtration. It could ultimately be technology that saves this intrinsically offline experience of attending live events.
The mood of the live events industry very much reflects that of the nation – a mixture of concern and optimism. There are still a number of pressing issues that need to be addressed in the short-term. Vaccinating a significant portion of the general public would open up a lot more opportunities for all sectors, including live events. We need a roadmap that outlines the path the industry will have to take, including what safety measures will be required. Rapid testing has the potential to change everything, but doesn’t go hand-in-hand with social distancing.
What we’re trying to get across here is that everything is still up in the air. However, we remain confident that 2021 will see the return of the large-scale live events that bring joy to countless fans up and down the country.
Here’s why building a community around your brand will be crucial for success in 2021.
Communities in 2021
The power of community has gone from strength to strength throughout the pandemic. Support for local businesses has increased, and groups such as Scrub Hub have been making a meaningful impact on society. But communities don’t have to be built around a social cause – most brands have some form of community, including yours.
Those that regularly shop with you or interact with your brand can be considered fans. You offer something unique that means they pay attention to your business more than the thousands of others vying for screen time. Your business doesn’t have to be in e-commerce either.
Intrinsically offline experiences like festivals often have informal communities run by fans on Facebook. The social media giant is continually pushed aside in favour of younger platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, but it remains the best place to find and build communities. Over 1.8 billion users are in a Facebook group.
The Benefits of Having a Community
Mark Zuckerberg has steadily gearing the platform towards ‘meaningful interactions’, with an emphasis on groups. The Facebook algorithm now favours posts from groups and friends as opposed to business pages. Building a community group around your brand combines all three elements in a way that is agreeable for both you and your fans.
There are more benefits to having a community than just a higher spot in your customers’ news feed. Having all your most loyal and dedicated fans in one place provides excellent opportunities for product promotion and up-selling. Your marketing efforts won’t be in vain as you already know existing members possess a strong interest in your brand. Think of it as a social media mailing list, only with much more interactivity and content diversity.
From a consumer behaviour perspective, humans are social animals. We like to find people with similar interests and form tribes. We also dislike being ‘sold to’. Communities provide a happy medium – members can connect with fellow fans, and you can gently promote your business through ‘soft-selling’ techniques such as branded content and Q&As.
Discussions between group members can be the perfect place to gather candid feedback about your products, services or experiences. It’s also an excellent way to acquire user-generated content (UGC), which is becoming increasingly important as the appeal of highly-polished content wanes. If you plan to use such content, ask permission from the author first – a key reason why communities are on the rise is due to their more personal, private nature. Your interactions as the brand should feel this way too – don’t just post the same content you use on your public channels. Make the community feel especially valued through sneak-peeks, exclusive discounts and more.
Case Study: Noisily Festival
We know all about community management here at E1MA. We supported the creation and growth of the Noisily Festival of Music & Arts Community. The group has grown by 15% to 5,000 members since the start of the pandemic, despite the event being postponed to 2021. This perfectly encapsulates the draw of Facebook communities in current times. People aren’t just joining and ignoring the group either – 3.5k members actively engage with community content, which includes Noisily videos, mixes and industry news & discussion. It’s a space where the most dedicated fans can share memories, mixes and discuss all things Noisily.
The benefits for Noisily Festival themselves are clearly to see. It gives members a chance to air their concerns and provide feedback through interactive Q&As. We can promote the latest Noisily merchandise directly to the loyal fans. It allows Noisily to share important festival updates that would otherwise be ignored by the Facebook algorithm. Most importantly, it’s fun for everyone involved!
In their own words, the Noisily community contains “big characters, big ideas, dynamic dysfunction and enthusiasm that knows no bounds”.
Communities are the future of social media. Mark Zuckerberg certainly thinks so, and so do the E1MA team. The end of highly targeted advertising is coming. Google is phasing out third-party cookies, and Apple plans to block apps from using personal data for promotional purposes. Soft marketing techniques are on the rise. This includes influencer marketing, branded content and community management. If you still need convincing, let’s not forget Pareto’s principle – 80% of your profits come from 20% of your customers. Make sure they’re a part of your community.