Archive for the ‘Digital’ Category

Three ways influencers can help your business in 2024

Posted on: February 2nd, 2024 by Alexandra Stamp

For at least the 8th consecutive year, influencer marketing continues to grow in investment as it becomes an insurmountably effective (and cost efficient) way to reach and impact audiences. Google searches for ‘influencer marketing’ have risen 400% between 2016-2023.

It’s no surprise influencer marketing is the glint in so many comms and marketeers’ eyes, as countless studies have proven the effectiveness: 

In 2024, 67% of marketers will significantly increase their spending on influencers, and 23% will allocate almost half of their total budget to it.

69% of Consumers Trust Influencers’ Recommendations 

Big trend 1:  Feel and Look

Out with carefully curated, polished aesthetics, and in with the emotion and the substance to influencer content. This is where artful storytelling and authentic emotion combine to create a genuine audience connection. The art comes in choosing the right influencer who can credibly incorporate your message, and bring enough creativity to inject personality and an emotion connection. 

We’d dug into the nuances of how this trend shows up and pinpointed some replicable formats where it’s being applied with great results.

  • The evidence:TikTok and short form, phone shot video means faster and more ‘raw’ content creation is favoured 
  • Cross channel popularity of podcast formats see more demand for ‘real stories’ and focus on substance over style  
  • Human evolution of B2B and corporate: putting the human in corporate and employee influencer content 

Case in point:

The FCA wanted to warn consumers about Loan Fee Fraud in the run up to Christmas: an especially sensitive message given the pressure many feel to ‘keep up appearances’ amidst a backdrop of rising costs. We worked with consumer champion @MisterCarrington to craft a heartfelt piece of content which didn’t give a finger wagging warning, but opened up about this pressure and ways to protect yourself. The video got over 4m views.  

The outtake: Quality over quantity. Choose a partner who can bring an authentic reason to talk about your message, and make sure your briefing is flexible enough for them to inject emotion and storytelling.  

Big trend 2: Crowdsourced content 

Authenticity is often overused as an influencer cliché, but it’s true… we’ve long moved past the days of brands talking AT their audience through the guise of the influencer’s voice parroting their message. People want content for them, about them, and in 2024 BY them.  

The evidence: 

  • 2023 saw ‘street mic’ videos really take off, and we expect this will skyrocket in 2024. This is where influencers take to the street to have honest conversations or ask questions to the public- whether that be how much they earn, their political views, or when they last had a smear test.  
  • UGC or user generated content continues to rise, with brands asking real people and nano creators to share their experiences, often grouped into a challenge or campaign 
  • Any content that feels organic rather than brand led, and invites audience interaction 

Big trend 3: The year of the influential voice  

Say goodbye to your mass following, palatable and filtered content-churn machines of 5 years ago. Make way for influential voices: individuals with a highly niche audience, expertise, or authentic voice who can collaborate with your brand in a strategic and specific. That’s not to say that celebrities and mass influencers don’t still have an important role, but that there are now more opportunities to create impact with highly niche voices -win win! 

Influential voices can fulfil more complex objectives, and targeted impact than the rudimentary #SponCon of days gone – especially for industries beyond beauty, lifestyle, and FMCG.  

Influential voices mean: 

  • New and niche angles: hyperlocal, experts, unique and authentic voices 
  • Longer term and more complex collaboration (as opposed to churned out spon con) 
  • Better diversity  
  • New(er) platforms: the rise of the LinkedInfluencer  
  • Employees take the spotlight 
  • New styles of content e.g. thought leadership   

The outtake: Consider new and niche routes of influence for hard to reach audiences 

What can I as a brand do now? 

  1. Think about your opportunities – if you have hard to reach audiences, want a behaviour/perception change, or want a way to humanise your brand influencers could be the answer
  2. Map your influential voices to look for potential advocates
  3. Mobilise your employee influencers and spokespeople online
  4. Start building a team of long term ambassadors, and collaborate with them to insert some authentic emotion and storytelling into content

Here at MHP we’ve pioneered a lot of work into the Networked Age, looking at the behavioural and social factors that shape communications. We know that we are influenced by individuals like ourselves, and having the right influencer is key for ideas to gain traction. Individuals matter far more than the brands they work for and we tend to listen to experts and voices who share our own values. 

Reach out to our digital team if you want to discuss what influencers could do for your business: [email protected]

The brand guide to Threads

Posted on: July 17th, 2023 by Alexandra Stamp

After launching just over a week ago, Threads – Meta’s answer to Twitter – has catapulted to 100 million users, making it three times bigger than every previous Twitter rival combined. A usership that was built by Twitter over years was usurped in hours.  

Whilst it is undeniably the strongest competitor yet to Musk’s tumultuous platform, there still remains some questions for brands to consider when deciding whether to launch into the space.  

Here’s our guide to everything you need to know about Threads, and our expert view on what brands need to do to prepare for the age of Threads. 

What is Threads and how does the app work? 

Threads is a ‘public conversation app’ creating a new space for conversations and ideas. Current key features: 

  • Posts can be up to 500 characters long and include links, photos, and videos up to 5 minutes in length 
  • Posts can be deleted, but not edited once live  
  • It’s linked to Instagram, meaning you need an Instagram account to get Threads. You can easily choose to auto follow the same Threads accounts you do on Instagram, meaning people aren’t starting from scratch. However, this also means you can’t fully delete a Threads account without also deleting your Instagram account.  
  • This means verified accounts on Instagram also start with a verified account on Threads – useful for brands and public figures 
  • The algorithm is currently fairly basic, and Instagram boss Mosseri has confirmed they’re ‘lightly’ ranking content in the platform’s early days, which is why users will see a mixture of content in their feeds – for critics this currently feels a bit random. 

What is Threads vs Twitter? 

What we’re currently seeing is a very early version of the app, so many of these features are likely to emerge soon, but there are significant omissions from other platforms like Twitter currently, including: 

  • No lists (useful for brands and media to curate dedicated feeds) 
  • No content search function, hashtags, discovery or trend feeds 
  • No DMs
  • No drafts or edit button 
  • No alt text (useful for accessibility) 
  • No chronological feed or option to choose a feed with only those you follow 
  • No native option for gifs or polls 
  • No bookmark or save option 
  • No pin (post) to profile feature 
  • No ads 

Zuckerberg has confirmed that they want to ‘get the app right first’, so more advanced functions like paid ads will not be developed until Threads is on a pathway to 1bn users.  

What is the upside of Threads? 

  1. It may sound basic, but one of the benefits of the platform is that it’s not Twitter. Twitter has faced uncertainty for some time under Musk’s reign, as users criticise the unpredictable changes to platform (including penalisation to those who don’t subscribe to Twitter Blue), and Musk’s general leadership and politics. Threads offers similar functionality and a similar promise to facilitate ‘public discussion’, but in a more stable, Musk free landscape.  
  1. It offers potential for longer term connectivity. The fact that it’s from the Meta family, and users could merge followings from Instagram meant that users were able to quickly launch into conversation, rather than start from scratch. The platform has also been built on a decentralised platform ‘Activity’, which means users can integrate their accounts with other (existing and new) apps from the platform… this could be a long term eye on the growth of the metaverse. 
  1. From uptake so far, Threads has been a kinder, more positive space. Some have heralded its launch as a return to the ‘good old days’ before Twitter became so polarised and ‘toxic’, and hope that the community will keep the platform positive. Functionally, the platform also better safeguards against trolling as replies from other users can be hidden and DMs aren’t yet available. 

What is the downside of Threads? 

  1. The flipside of this kinder and more safeguarded community is that critics may feel it’s too sanitised and frivolous, and not able to host political debate. We know that Meta has employed fact checkers and is implementing fact check warning labels on content, and generally Twitter’s culture has become an open field for debate and alternative narratives 
  1. Related to that, Twitter has built ownership of the news, political, media and sport landscape for ‘in the moment’ conversations. The current immaturity of the Threads algorithm, paired with the fact that Threads stems from a heritage of more lifestyle and personal content, means that we predict the corporate/policy/media audience might be slower on the uptake. This is not helped by the fact that the Meta integration may have a downside for these audiences, as they may not want to link with their typically private Instagram accounts. 
  1. The platform’s immaturity does mean there is currently a lack of functions that a brand would want in order to use the channel as a one stop marketing shop. But many of these, such as paid ads, will come in time – and when they do, marketers can hope to drive efficiencies by being able to manage and optimise ads across the Meta business suite in one place.  

How are brands and creators already using Threads? 

Many brands including Monzo, The Royal Mail , Bloomberg Business, the Financial Times, Netflix, TFL, and Dominos have quickly adopted the platform. Whilst many have just claimed their profiles and sat dormant, others have launched into conversations. Main themes of content include: 

  • Memes and ‘reactions’ to the platforms launch. So far the platform has fostered a more informal, humorous, and personal tone with many first posts giving witty remarks about being new to the platform, or ‘breaking the fourth wall’ by writing from the POV of the social media manager getting to grips with the new account 
  • So far the platform has been much more two way, with many posts directly asking for audience engagement with questions like ‘what content do you want to see here’, or asking questions about the brands service or products. There does seem to be a healthy appetite for audiences to engage positively with brands. 
  • Cross posting usual Twitter content – many organisations, media outlets in particular, have begun simply lifting their usual Twitter strategy and applying it to the Threads 

Some of our highlights have been from Monzo, The Royal Mint, Royal Mail, Bloomberg, and Quorn 

Our recommendations for brands on Threads 

It’s too early to say whether Threads will ‘replace’ Twitter, but it’s clear to see it’s a force to be reckoned with.  

For the coming weeks, brands should make sure they have someone on the ground exploring the app and understanding its tone, functions, and community. 

For those with the resource and an established presence used to interacting with audiences, you stand to gain by trialling the platform with some low investment test and learn. Early adopters will benefit from a less competitive algorithm and set themselves out as frontrunners on the platform, but should consider whether they’d have the resource ready to invest into a longer term Threads strategy and content programme should performance go well.  

For now, where Twitter is a part of your strategy: maintain it and closely monitor any fluctuation in results.  

In the coming months, we’ll have a clearer idea of the place Threads will fill in the social sphere – here is when brands can start to make calls on whether Threads should become an always on part of their comms mix, and whether it should replace Twitter. 

The key to any good brand social strategy is understanding first where your audience are and what they expect, and then building engaging content that feels native to those platforms and styles. 

In short: have fun with it for now but don’t immediately pivot completely away from Twitter. 

MHP Group And DeepSeer Team Up To Map The UK’s Leading Health Influencers

Posted on: March 15th, 2023 by Morgan Arnold

MHP Group’s Digital and Health teams and analytics partner DeepSeer collaborated to create ‘How influencers are reshaping health communications’ – a guide to the 23 top health influencers across 5 critical health areas; cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, mental health and women’s health.

Outlining three critical influencer roles – megaphone (scale), micro (depth) and maven (expertise) – on health campaigns, the research highlights the key role health influencers now play.

The Health Influence 23 list includes well-known names from across the heath space, such as Dr Alex George, the UK Youth Mental Health Ambassador, and Claire Murdoch CBE, NHS England’s National Mental Health Director, through to more unconventional voices in the health space, such as actor Gemma Atkinson, ambassador for The British Heart Foundation. It also includes those highly influential expert voices, such as Professor James Chalmers, Asthma and Lung UK Chair of Respiratory Research at the University of Dundee.

It also found that whilst discussions around health disparities and overcoming health inequalities are progressing at a pace at national policy level, health influencers from ethnic minority communities in the UK are relatively scarce – a gap that may exacerbate health inequality and gaps in health information.

Commenting on the research, Jaber Mohamed, Health Communications Specialist, MHP Group explained:

“The impact of influencers on the public health conversation is growing exponentially. We only have to reflect back on how governments employed influencers during the COVID-19 pandemic to note this catalytic point in the evolution of social influencers in public health.”

“But as the influencer opportunity grows, so do its nuances and breadth. Reach is no longer the only metric. Audiences are adept at filtering content, so it’s about working with the right people to access your audience, quality (and compliant) messaging; and engaging content.”

Kerry Sclater, Digital Health Analyst, MHP Group, added:

“With the growing omnipresence of social, and nearly half our population using social media for news, identifying the most effective ambassadors and advocates has never been more essential.

Even highly regulated industries like pharmaceuticals are embracing the power of influencers, so now is the time for all players in health to quickly map the opportunities influencers present, from better understanding patient issues to activating powerful campaign content.”

Download How influencers are reshaping health communications’ guide here.