The greatest love story of this century is between Myself and My Audiences!

Yes, We did have all that chemistry, quarrel, intimacy & hardships!
The greatest love story of this century is between Myself and My Audiences!

Yes, We did have all that chemistry, quarrel, intimacy & hardships!

I love you — My audiences never said it out loud like most one siders. But, I’m their secret crush. Oh, wait let me tell you why? I do Social Media Marketing at Stan Ventures and my one year journey was filled with a lot of experiments, desired results and disappointing results (most of the time). I did a lot of marketing activities to gain the interest of my audience and every time I do something, they like, react, dislike and rarely appreciate me for what I have done. This sounds nothing different than everyone’s love story. Hence, I jokingly started telling my colleagues that ‘The greatest love story of this century is between Myself and My audiences.’ and I finally decided to tell the same story to all of you.

Let’s talk about all the chemistry, quarrel, intimacy and hardships one by one in this article.

The Intimacy: I Love You, My Dear Audience:

One of the very first things I was asked to do on my day 1 as a Social Media Marketer is to frame the Buyer Persona for my brand. What I found on google for Buyer Persona is a little frustrating:

“A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”

I hate that semi-fictional part of this definition and I want it to be 100% real. Our audiences are real people out there and not the fictions we think they are. So, I decided to find the real buyer persona through various on-channel experiments. I got a basic understanding of the market and its demands and created a lot of post variations and published them on various social platforms. I did observe a few things on each post:

  1. Who reacts to what posts
  2. How they react to the post
  3. Time they react
  4. What they comment and what they share
  5. The engagement rate of individual posts

This takes time but I know Rome was not built in a day. Hence, the paramount importance of my first 3 months is to observe and understand how the audience react to the posts than just decide for myself that they are my audience and running A/Bs. With all these series of activities, I found the real people who wanted to engage and buy from us. Most importantly, in all these experiments, I never sold anything. I share stories that solve the problems with them! That’s why I’m able to double the engagement of our buyer persona to our tweets — The platform where our most potential buyers are hyperactive.

The % of audiences has been doubled for our target regions —The United States & India.

The Chemistry: Our Audiences Raved Our Design-Storytelling Trait:

I always have a habit of listening to my intuition. When I start preparing the content calendar for the first month, I got a hunch that storytelling through designs will attract the customers in social media. Hence I urged my team to test it out without any second thoughts. Because, I believe in this equation.

Data + Intuition > Data

After several experiments, we get surprised because our audiences liked our new approach to social media marketing. Hence, this habit inherited into our marketing DNA and I named it Design-Storytelling!

So, what is Design-Storytelling and How We Nailed It:

After my little man pounded on my stomach, I researched a lot about the human psychology of consuming information. I did understand about two fascinating things.

Observation 1:

According to the Visual Teaching Alliance –

  • Of all the information transmitted to the brain, 90% is visual.
  • As opposed to text, visuals are processed 60,000x faster.
  • Humans are capable of getting the sense of a visual scene in less than 1/10th of a second.
  • The human eye can register 36,000 visual messages every hour.

Also, Dr. Lynell Burmark, an education consultant says, our short term memory processes words and can only retain about seven bits of information. Whereas, images are directly processed by our long-term memory, where they get indelibly etched.

Observation 2:

We, as marketers, already knew that the human mind is hardwired to listen to stories and we have come across a lot of ‘Power of Storytelling in Marketing’ kinds of books.

So, I want to infuse storytelling into designs and see how both of them combined together will yield results.

Experiment 1:

A value-added content with a story in design. Check this to understand the story in design.

Experiment 2:

A value-added content with no story in design. Check the post.

Experiment 3:

A live screenshot with the most-needed insights and solutions in the caption. But no story in design.

Experiment 4:

A boring design with no story and less attention to texts.

I have taken the CTR as a metric to check which posts resonate well with the audiences and I found that the ones with the Design-Storytelling approach yields us better results. Then, we adopted this approach in our social strategy. Our engagement ratio has got a surge because of this in the month of May.

The image shows the spike in the engagement rate at the month of May.

Note: One of the important lessons I learned from all these experiments is ‘psychographics’ is very important for any marketer to understand his/her audience better.

The Quarrel: Creativity is Always a Matter of Fight Between Us!

I always put smart to work than just doing smart work. Meaning, I use tools like Hootsuite, TweetDeck, Fan Page Karma, Hashtagify, etc. to automate repetitive tasks like posting, reporting, etc and use most of my active hours in daydreaming — that’s when my creativity brews! I came up with a lot of creative concepts. Sometimes, my audience supported them and sometimes they never liked them. That’s what I call as quarrel (Me to my audiences: You don’t like my creativity, huh?)

Here’s what I brag as my creativity:

  1. 1-minute hiring challenge:

My hiring team wants to roll out a campaign that brings them a potential candidate for interviews. In this digital world, the attention span of Millennials and Gen Z has reduced to 4 seconds approx. The challenge for me is to convey the hiring concept within 4 seconds. Here’s what I came up with. Result? My recruitment team is occupied with interviews, day in and day out for a month!

2. International Yoga Day:

I don’t want us to just wish and share the benefits of yoga on this day. I want us to try out something unique and then the gnaan came! How about infusing daily work time activities with yoga poses. I shared the idea to my team. They loved it and helped me in all things execution .

3. 10 Years Anniversary Ideation:

As an SEO Agency, my company has faced a lot of stereotypical talks. Over all these years, our spirit to provide excellence never dies and that helped us deliver a constant growth to all our clients. I want to narrate it in a short interaction. I put my creativity into it. Let’s watch what I have done differently!

4. Hiring copywriter:

My hiring team has come up with yet another hiring post requirement to me. But, I do not want to post something that people see as ‘yet another hiring post’. This time, I worked on the copy and you know what, our VP, Marketing was impressed by this concept!

Social Media Trends:

Social Media is in the breaking news in recent times. Let’s break them on Mobile Phones for once. Hence, we did it!

After all, I learned that taking the fear of rejection away from my mindset and turning all rejections to motivation is the secret to being more creative.

The hardship — Building Media Labs with all my learnings:

This is one of the most toughest and the most enjoyable tasks I have done at Stan Ventures. I put all my learning to thrive at a physical space what I name it as Media Labs. The purpose of the lab is to break and analyse all our crazy ideas and ensure whatever come out from it is just WOW. I focused on building the empowered humans who eat data and breathe creativity to provide greatest human experiences in the digital world. All the great things that are happening on Social Media of Stan Ventures are the collaborative effort of the people behind Media Labs. I wrote the framework of it which later turned as our testament!

  1. “Of the humans, by the humans, for the humans” is what social media is all about. So, we should focus on building relationships than selling.
  2. From ideation to execution, we should use a lot of tools. Hence, we get plenty of time to feed our creativity.
  3. We should believe in Market Intelligence and hence we transform our data into intuitive insights and better decisions.
  4. We never cease to believe that failures can speed up our success. Hence, we break, fail, learn and most importantly never repeat them.
  5. We should take care of everything, even the minute details like a craftsman does, to create amazing digital experiences.

I personally thank Senthil Kumar Hariram, VP, Marketing, Stan Ventures for providing me this billion-dollar opportunity to learn and grow. Also, my thanks for all the support from my team members — Mayilsamy, Aaron, Dileep, and Soumika.

Originally published in Medium.

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