Growth hacking, Influencers, Content Marketing at Zalando Bar Camp

From Wikipedia: “An unconference is a participant-driven meeting. The term “unconference” has been applied to a wide range of gatherings that try to avoid one or more aspects of a conventional conference, such as fees, sponsored presentations, and top-down organization.” Last Thursday I’ve participated to the Zalando Online Marketing Camp in Berlin, without any doubt an unconference. After a short presentation of each participant -your name, occupation and 3 hashtags to define yourself- everyone could propose a topic she would like to present and discuss with peers. My key takeaways:

Superfans vs. Influencers: how do you define a superfan and who is an influencer? The easiest way is by number of followers, someone with 5 millions followers is an influencer. Obviously you should consider the context -is the person influential for your product/vertical-, the channel, the reach, the actionability — the influencer’s ability to cause action by their audience. Promoting your brand via an influencer is not the only way and, in some cases, not even the best approach. Influencers usually receives many sponsorships requests, they can be quite expensive and you need to compete with many other brands to get visibility. Superfans are naturally enthusiastic about your brand, they are loyal and authentic. Don’t neglect your superfans: they’re probably your most valuable marketing tool. Who wins the prize for the best conversion rate? Everyone agrees. YouTubers.

K-factor: it’s a fancy name to define the viral value of an influencer. Indeed, we had a debate about KPIs and conversion. For some people influencer marketing is useful mainly for branding. Someone else found his way to get an acceptable ROI. Few are (sadly) calculating the K-factor and including it as a KPI. The classic formula is the following:

i= number of invites (post/picture…) sent by each influencer

c= percent of conversion of each invite

K= i*c

It’s probably simplistic, but it could be at least a starting point.

Instagrammable packaging: the creation of the L’Oreal bloggers League raised a debate this summer, anyhow a former L’Oreal social media manager revealed that one of the secret for guaranteeing a good conversion is to deliver the right assets as PR and packaging. An influencer receives a set of products. It’s often a gift. It’s the first contact with your brand. The packaging should magnify the products. It should be seductive, immediately recognisable and portray the brand’s DNA. And it should be easily Instagrammable.

Which channel? the crowd recognised that Twitter advertisement is not a good investment (sorry Twitter!) someone even told “better organic than Twitter“, at least for conversions. Everyone seems to agree that Facebook advertising platform is still a valuable tool, anyhow Instagram seems right now the best channel both for branding and conversion, even if it has an higher CPL than Facebook. Snapchat can be valuable for branding, but the experts reported a low ROI. Facebook Live killed Periscope. Telegram was reported to be not only a good way to chat with your own customers, but also an high conversion/low bounce rate channel, mainly thanks to Channels. Telegram Channels could be compared to newsletters: you can send your messages to multiple users through a permanent URL. And it’s all for free. More on Telegram here. Someone suggested to monitor Pornhub content marketing strategy to get creative and new ideas. An example? Insights used as a powerful marketing tool. Since “everything can be a story” and “nothing in publishing is sexier than data” Pornhub released a collection of stats and infographics about porn consumption. Results: a brand that’s strictly not safe for work (NSFW) got Quartz, Mashable and lookalike magazines telling the story of Pornhub, and of it’s users. If you’re in gaming or geek products advertise on Twich, the world’s leading video platform and community for gamers. If you’re pushing a tech product you can share it on Reddit, either they’ll troll or they’ll love you. If you’re keen to follow questions and spend sometimes in producing good replies, try Quora, you’ll get a truly engaged audience.

And now my favourite: content marketing. Your content should be journalistic or SEO driven? Google Panda algorithmically assess websites quality. Your content should be EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness), provide information about who is responsible for the website and have a positive reputation. Avoid copying from an encyclopaedia or paraphrasing content, share commonly known facts or write too many words to express basic concepts. And category text is not anymore relevant. It means that Google Panda prefers good professional journalistic content over exclusively SEO driven copy. As digital professionals, we do know that SEO still matter and high quality journalistic content could be expensive and SEO unfriendly. So how to produce high quality but SEO friendly content? Start from defining your high ranking/priority keywords — sales, search, volume, performance…consider differences country by country- and divide your keywords in 3 clusters: A, B, C. For cluster A hire professional editors, train them to semantic diversity and SEO, for B rely on medium quality/ freelancers, for C it’s ok lower quality, but avoid pure mass production. The next step is content personalisation, you can use personas as semantic types and produce your A content accordingly. What about the headline? Well, the general advice is to stay away from the clickbait Buzzfeed strategy “5 things successful people do every morning”. The clickbait approach usually brings results only in the short term, as number of clicks. A fancy title for an article not delivering on the promise of the title can only damage your brand image. There are even chances that Google bot will penalise you. Headlines influence performance directly. Your editorial USP should drive the selection of 3 or 4 types of headlines (VICE is a good example). When possible run A/B testing on the headlines. Timing is everything (Nielsen confirms it!). Search on Google Trends when is the peak time for your keywords, check competition, measure social signals, identify where there is a knowledge gap: niche topics always help. A good tool for content ideas: answerthepublic.com. Remember “you are just 1 piece of content away to change your life”.

Pictures of the event on Flickr

This post was originally published on my blog vegashark.com