Whether it’s the comments across a wide-ranging social media thread or it’s the one-to-one personal interaction of a Messenger chat, the conversation has never been more central to marketing.
In 2021, the technology that empowers these social and messaging engagements has evolved into an always-on channel. From conversation-starters to content moderation, social teams are leveraging platforms and AI to drive efficiency and effectiveness across comments and other online interactions. It is part of a shift from the incremental to the fluid — a way of conducting marketing no longer bound by older notions of “when” and “where.” However, it is an approach that requires care and attention to authenticity — plus tools to scale.
“This always-on approach is what has really shifted,” said Danielle Mentink, digital marketing specialist at Amplify.ai, adding that user-generated content and the ability for anyone online to become an advocate for the products they love has altered the playing field for brands. “In the age of the creator, if I really like something, I’m going to go on social media and talk about it. And if brands don’t capitalize on that engagement, then they’re going to be left behind. Where messaging plugs into this is, you have to find when it’s right for you to let the community drive the conversation. And then there’s going to be times where you absolutely need to step in and drive the conversation — or at least take the given insights and use that to create an innovative products calendar. And you have to start the conversation in order to gather the data to get to those insights in the first place.”
From starting the conversation to navigating and shaping the ones that have already begun, case examples of brand advertisers getting the all-powerful conversation right in the social media and messaging space abound. Recently, for example, beauty brand and lashes mogul Glamnetic drove new levels of visibility, and off-the-charts positivity, among fans of its products.
Glamnetic’s content moderation plan proved a magnet for loyal customers
Glamnetic knows that its customers are part of the online conversation, and the company has created a space for them to make its magnetic lashes and other beauty products part of what they’re sharing. With its Glamnetic Fam Facebook group and a “Glam Fam” on Instagram, the ways customers interact with the brand have become increasingly in-depth. For instance, beyond hyping each other up and sending good vibes within the feeds, one member recently wrote a senior thesis on the Glam Fam virtual community.
It’s just one fan-fueled outcome for a company that founder and CEO Ann McFerran started without a single dollar of venture capital and that she then helped grow to $50 million in sales in 2020. Glamnetic has moved more than 500,000 products to customers and its staff has expanded to 70 since hiring its first employee (beyond McFerran herself) in 2019. One thing that McFerran started doing, and that Glamnetic’s employees do still to this day — prompt new-customer conversations on Instagram and Facebook, complete with special offers for their friends.
However, all this growth for Glamnetic means those conversations have had to scale, and that’s taken some new approaches. Notably, it has taken AI-driven automation. Partnering with Amplify.ai on a content moderation program, Glamnetic’s online social flow is now 97% automated on Facebook and 30%–50% on Instagram.
“Amplify.ai’s AI-driven automation provides us with the most forward-thinking tools available today to manage comment moderation around the clock more effectively and efficiently, and it has allowed our small social team to focus on high-touch priorities needing human interaction,” said McFerran. “This approach also allows us to do one-to-one, personalized engagement with brand advocates and in turn helps aid in the conversion journey.”
In Glamnetic’s case, the artificial intelligence in play allows the company to personalize a message down to the customer’s eye shape, for example, or see that the customer has previously shown an affinity for the brand’s Enchanted collection, enabling precisely matched recommendations. And those are interactions that Glam Fam members then turn around and celebrate online. The conversation becomes part of a virtuous cycle, reinforcing the relationships that have turned, especially for one student of marketing, into an actual lesson on brand messaging.
Lessons across brands: Glamnetic’s success story is one of many
Getting messaging right — whether in Messenger or in the feed — is critical to brand advertising success. The model applies to ways that any consumer brand can turn the marketing funnel into a continual circle of engagement.
For example, in four months, Mike’s Hard Lemonade’s automated “mikeBot” drove an 84% increase in positive consumer sentiment and a 400% lift in response volume when answering customers’ questions. Interacting with the mikeBot, built in partnership with Amplify.ai, became a lot like carrying on a conversation with another fan of the brand in Messenger. Customers mostly wanted to know where they could find the beverage in stock during the pandemic, throughout 2020, and mikeBot delivered. It also told jokes and converted customer photos into shareable Instagram images.
Whether it’s a beauty brand such as Glamnetic or a CPG player, advertisers looking to build technology into their online conversations are looking for certain assurances around getting the outcomes right.
First and foremost, the marketing team needs to ensure that the partner building their solution can project their brand voice. And then, they must have the skill sets required to build the features and conversation flows that align with what the brand’s social initiative hopes to achieve.
Getting to these assurances can take time, and iteration — it’s not always zero to 100. Some integrations are a crawl, walk, run, process. However, with strong partners, brands are putting a future-forward faith in two elements of online shopping that their customers are comfortable using every day: conversations via social and messaging, plus technology to help it all work together.