Let consumers engage directly with a brand on social media

When selling during special occasions, think about interaction. FILE PHOTO | NMG
When selling during special occasions, think about interaction. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

In a sea of me-too social media marketing, Kenyan companies such as Dairyland Products are seeking to differentiate themselves by using creative and innovative themes that appeal to target markets and in influencing purchase decisions.

In this drive, Dairyland’s digital team used a puppetry show as a first by a Kenyan brand to engage with consumers on Facebook on Valentine’s Day — a day in which most brands want to reach the same market with a similar message of love.

Dairyland’s innovation and differentiation in such a flood of ‘love’ information saw it increase its online audience by 20,000, gaining more than 450,000 impressions, more than 250,000 views, and lifting its sales by 11 per cent over the Valentine’s period.

“The show was a Facebook Live drama series called Every Love Has A Story. It ran from February 7-14 and had five episodes. It was about the mutual love between children and parents. Our aim was to make Chocolart, Dairyland’s chocolate brand, top of mind for consumers when it came to a Valentine gift,” said Saddam Suleiman, the founder of Dragonfly, a creative agency that handles Dairyland’s digital content.

The puppet characters were based on the Chocolart flavours, being Father – Martin Crunch, Mum – Raisin Mary, Daughter – Daisy Crunch, and Son – Kevin Mint.

To get consumers to engage with the brand, they gave them a chance to act as directors of the show, dictating the content and its flow live on Facebook.

“We also engaged the audience by asking related questions on each episode and the most humorous comment won a Chocolart gift pack. We also went to some of the busiest roundabouts in Nairobi and gave out roses and Chocolart to people on the roads. The Chocolart bars had an augmented reality code that the audience could scan and watch all the episodes to our series without having to log in to social media.”

In using puppets as a different approach to communicating with consumers online, rather than the usual posting of pictures or videos of the brand, Dairyland sought to evoke warmth from its consumers, and engagement as they participated in the show’s creation.

Consumers were allowed to participate in the campaign, a factor that can influence their purchase behaviours. Both these emotional connections can increase purchasing.

Research by the National University of Singapore found that the positive impact on sales from a consumer engaging directly with a brand on social media translates into around $25 per consumer in extra spending.

“Marketers’ positive statements of a brand on social media create a favourable product reputation and image to influence sales. Hence, we posit that the impact of marketer-generated content is similar to that of persuasive advertising, positively influences consumers’ purchase behaviour,” reported the National University of Singapore.

“Apart from marketers’ diligent preparation of their own persuasive content, marketers should conscientiously design campaigns to encourage informative, and especially, persuasive communication among consumer themselves on social media platforms.”

Another Kenyan company seeking to differentiate itself by innovating on social media is RBGT Group.

As a new entrant in the Kenyan cosmetics market, owned by four men, RBGT this month launched its range of products.

In a female industry dominated by established local and international brands, it chose to use micro-influencers, who have less than 500,000 followers on social media, to reach its market, and, specifically, young Kenyan women, rather than macro-influencers, who have more than 500,000 followers and are the most sought after by big brands.

Under the brand name BIW BIW, it unveiled its first product, a 4-in-1 Face Cream on February 1.

It piloted its marketing campaign with Sylvia Monayo, also known as BintiPretty, on Instagram who has 102,000 followers on Instagram.

“The video garnered over 10,000 views and 2,300 likes; this enabled the company to sell one carton, which contains 36 tubes of cream, selling each at Sh3,500, in just one month, generating a return on investment of over 250 per cent from online marketing,” said Sebastian Wafula, a digital consultant and a director of the Wafula Corporation, which is handling RGBT’s digital marketing.

“Whereas other companies opt for paid advertisements on social media, it chose to do product demonstrations, letting the influencer incorporate it in their daily lives.”

RBGT is now seeking to scale the campaign by recruiting more than 100 micro-influencers to grow its customer base and awareness.

- African Laughter