Ep 29: Serious Social – with Milly Youngman

In this episode of Serious Social, Katy Howell is joined by Milly Youngman, social media manager across multiple Travelopia brands, to discuss how Milly spins many social media plates whilst maintaining a strategic approach in the challenging travel sector.

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Full Transcript

Welcome to the Serious Social podcast, created by the straight-talking social media experts at immediate future.

KH – Welcome to Serious Social. I’m joined by Millie Youngman and we’re going to take a trip through social media and travel. With a background in digital marketing and content Millie manages the strategy and activations for four social media brands for Travel Opia UK adventure division, including Exodus Travel and Trek America. Over the past three years, she’s created cross-platform strategies for organic and paid social and built social media channels from scratch for a new brand. She’s also a travel writer and blogger, and I’ll put her blog in our comments so that you can see that, with experience working on both sides of the influencer marketing industry.

We’ve seen a lot of unpredictable behaviours on social, but especially in travel over the last few months, led by confusion over government advice, concerns over travel companies in trouble and polarising debate between getting away and travel shaming. It’s the most definitely turbulent of times for travel, yet for many travel businesses there’s also been the chance to build a brand and establish reputation and get much closer to consumers. You may have seen the recent webinar with Suzanne Korff from Princess Cruises, where we talked about managing the now, next and normal on social. Weathering the storm together, her and her marketing team have stayed true to their values, being authentic and honest and got closer than ever to crew and guests alike. It can be done, and it can be done very well. So, having Millie with us opens up a very different discussion, her experience across multiple brands with differing propositions and audiences offers both deeper insight and some meta trends and thinking that will help us all shape our social over the coming months. So, welcome Millie. So, have you been staying at home or go into the office or a bit of both?

MY – Hi, thanks for having me. So, I’ve been working from home, our offices are closed so, everyone in the team is spread out, most of us around London, in different places. I’ve been working from a nice little desk set up next to my bookshelf, which is my kind of cosy corner, just setting up a space where I quite like working really, which is nice.

KH – Very nice, yes, I work in chaos, but today I’m in the office. The travel industry has been really hit very hard during the pandemic with so much change. Is there a limited opportunity for social? Or is it time to really do something different?

MY – Yeah, I mean, it’s quite obvious that, at the beginning of this pandemic it’s impact on the western side of the world particularly, a lot of the things that I was dealing with whether it would be crisis comms, so, having those tours suspension, so, the brands I work across all tour operators and because of all the country closures then we had to suspend a lot of our tours. So, it was really about kind of communicating with our customers, those changes, making them feel safe and reassured. It was kind of a situation where everyone across the company pitched in. And so, we had members of the marketing team kind of answering the phones for customer service, so, it was all hands-on deck really. And then kind of during those middle months, after that initial rush, where we use social for communication channels, we weren’t doing any paid social activities so, it was primarily just organic content and that meant, I really had to kind of focus on creating that organic reach through engaging content. We did actually see an engagement rate increase of 2% during those three months, which I was really happy about, especially because we weren’t getting that reach that we get through paid social, actually the reach was down, but in terms of engagement, we were really up. And I think that was just through the fact that I really focused on creating content that was encouraging customers to share those memories of travel, sharing their photos from trips was a major one. We got a lot of people who’d been on trips with us that are photographers, or just like to take a snap on their phone and everybody loves sharing their own things on social I think, which did really well.

KH – And a bit of dreaming.

MY – Yeah, definitely. I think our kind of big focus was, okay we can’t tell people to go to a destination because they can’t go to the destination, but let’s talk about the amazing experience you’ve had, let’s talk about what travel means to you. And I think so many people, especially during lockdown, when they couldn’t leave the house, couldn’t do the things they normally do. That organic content was a really good way for them to engage with the things that they’re interested in.

KH – Yes.

MY – So yeah, that was really a key thing that I looked at doing over the kind of middle month.

KH – Terrific. It’s really interesting, isn’t it? Because I asked, it’s interesting what you said at the beginning as well, which is that everybody went hands on, everybody and that’s actually, can be a really positive thing can’t it? Because you don’t naturally spend time talking to customers, are talking to customers suddenly, but I asked the team what questions they’d like to ask you because it’s lovely to have some fresh thinking here and my colleague Laurens would love to know where the biggest pain point of the last few months has been? Is it dealing with your own kind of company expectations and crisis comms? Or is it actually being people generally don’t think about being in the travel industry?

MY – Yeah, I mean, I think there’s probably quite a lot of pain points as they have for everyone in pretty much every industry. I think one major one for us that I can think of is I think you briefly mentioned it before, but like the changing government guidance around travel. So, since the travel corridors began to come into place we were originally looking at doing something with air bridges because you thought that was going to be in the name, but then we had to change that to travel corridors and as we know the turnaround on a lot of these government decisions have been quite haphazard at times. We never really know what’s going on until 10 o’clock on a Thursday evening when we’d all be normally having a drink, but now we’re jumping on to social media to change campaign. So yeah, I think that’s been a big pain point for us, especially in terms of like planning in advance marketing campaigns, so we’ve really had to, I’m saying kind of we in the sense the entire marketing team within part of this, just pivoting and turning around content really quickly. So, for example, as soon as Portugal originally left the quarantined list, we quickly turned around a really strong Portugal campaign that got us loads of bookings. Obviously now Portugal’s back on the list, but we’ve got a lot of bookings for next year, which is a really good sign for next year. It’s really been about, I guess, being reactive and quick thinking with these decisions and I also kind of describe it as being prepared to be reactive. So, kind of knowing that something’s coming and being ready for that. So, for me being about, having those social campaigns prepared, so now we’re using a bit more paid social again, I’ve been running retargeting campaigns to site visitors, people who’ve shown interest in different places and being able to have those campaigns ready to switch on and switch off based on the country has been really helpful, so I don’t.

KH – Oh, that’s smart, that’s smart. So you’re getting ready. And that is when people talk about agile marketing having, I think in social we’re agile anyway, because the world is always shifting regardless. If it isn’t the platforms changing things, it’s people’s behaviours changing and then as you rightly say, there’s, I think the big challenge is that you really are truly pivoting when the government changes things and I love the fact that you’re getting yourself organised, in order to turn things off and on, I feel like you’re orchestrating, you’re like the orchestra conductor sitting behind all this activity, just turning the right, pushing the right buttons to get the right activity.

MY – I think my Facebook ads manager has never looked as organised as it does now, it’s amazing.

KH – I’m quite jealous.

MY – I was going to say, you kind of mentioned another thing as well, that kind of relates to that is as the Exodus brand, we actually work globally, which has kind of thrown another step into the issues with what countries are open, what countries are quarantining. So, we’ve got audiences in North America and the APAC regions too, so one thing that’s been really important to us is actually for me, working with the teams, the marketing teams in those areas, actually making sure that we’re maximising our campaigns. So, creating a campaign around the booking promise we’re offering, that needs to then go to the North America and APAC teams to be kind of adjusted for those markets. So, I think if you’re working in a global brand right now, making sure that you’re aware of what’s going on in these different territories that you work in, is super important as well.

KH – Yeah. And I think that’s really important because it’s, for many of the brands that we talk to, they are managing their social on a global basis and when that’s challenging in itself, but when we’re in a process where every country is doing a different thing, that can also, is keeping on top of all that news 24-7 is yes, I’m surprised you’re still awake. So, in all of that, is there any time to try new things? It’s really interesting, in some industries people are really innovating and testing and learning, and it would be great if you could share anything or stuff that you’re finding because you’re in this intense period, you’re learning. It’d be really interesting to hear that.

MY – I think there was a definite period where I still finally had the time to actually sit down and do probably what I’d call, getting my house in order a bit, so all those things for the past couple of years with wanting to do, so things to do like creating more growth reports and really kind of organising all the stats that we have in place, I’ve actually found some time to do, which has been quite refreshing. And looking back at past campaigns, kind of pulling all that information together and then getting some data that can really inform our future campaigns moving forward. It’s probably not the most exciting and new and innovative thing, but I think having the chance to sit down and look at that without the distractions of having to do a million other things has been really helpful to me.

KH – And it’s interesting as we talk a lot about optimisation and particularly in social, we also talk a lot about data, but we also find when campaigns or uplifts or activities come to an end, nobody wants to take them apart. We take them apart because we’re desperate to know what’s worked and what hasn’t worked, but it’s really interesting because that is truly how you do your ongoing optimisation through the year, because not everything is about driving traffic for a sale today. And you mentioned something earlier, which is retargeting, that by being smart and seeing an uplift in traffic to your website, even if people aren’t booking then retargeting them for bookings is it seems like the bleeding obvious, but you wouldn’t know that if you’re not looking at the data.

MY – I think for me, one thing that I’ve done quite a lot of over the past year is actually really looking at that customer journey and the different stages people will go to. So, I’ll start with the prospecting audience and show them some really destination content, inspirational content, following up with something a little bit more in depth once they’ve kind of come through, either engage with that content or come through to our site from that. And then once they’ve kind of seen that more informational content it’s then following up again with the slightly more sales push, so showing some tours that they’d be interested in from their activities on say that video and a blog post. And I found that was really helpful in our peak travel campaign, our peak booking campaign, which was January and February of this year, a time when yeah, things were maybe a bit easier, but that strategy, I’ve looked back at how that’s worked during the past couple of months, and that strategy worked really well for us in terms of finding new audiences and actually getting them further along that funnel and customer journey, so yeah.

KH – Yes and it’s the – I always think is the most wonderful thing about social having worked back in the day in TV, I’ve worked everywhere. But the reality is that social is, can push all the way through the funnel, but it really plays in awareness and consideration. And then you can drive it out through your search through your websites or your CRM, all of these elements as well as obviously social, I was talking to somebody the other day and I said, the thing is, it’s the closest you can get to a customer because you are sitting in the palm of their hand most of the time it’s such an intimate experience that you can really develop good experiences. And it’s why people get so outraged when social isn’t right for them, when it’s the wrong content or it feels wrong. Let’s talk about your audience a little bit more because you don’t just have one audience. You are glutton for punishment. Let’s talk, firstly. So, whilst almost 25% of people in the UK say they prefer a holiday in the UK, almost the same percentage, say they want to travel abroad for a holiday, again, as soon as they can. How are you adapting your content plans to meet what are very, two different kinds of demands from your customer?

MY – Yeah, I think that’s definitely been a challenge and probably represented in comments that we’ve got on some content. I’ve very much, particularly with organic social and also our prospecting based paid social, it’s been very much about being quite gentle and sensitive to the differences in customer needs. So again, it’s focusing on that dreaming concept. It’s not saying you have to travel to this place, and you have to travel now. So recently we had an offer on some tours and making sure that I included that the offer was on departure until July next year. It was quite an important thing because otherwise you get that response like, Oh, why would I want to go now, there’s a pandemic? But actually saying “you don’t have to travel now but if you’re thinking about travel in the future, here’s how we can help you” and I think has been a key part of my social messaging and the brand’s marketing outlook overall. And I think, yeah talking about, we’re really focusing on how travel brings people together and also, how the meaningful impact that travel has on the world. So, talking about sustainable travel is a great way to engage people with our brand without saying, go travel straight away. And we’re doing quite a lot of content around our sustainable projects, fits really well with also how our communities that we operate in are recovering in the Covid crisis because it is a global crisis that has affected everyone that we work with, we travel with there’s nobody who’s been exempt from this, so yeah.

KH – And that’s, I mean, that’s quite interesting, because we talked a little bit about how the government changing everything and just everything changing everything, but how do you keep on top of consumer behaviours? We’ve not just faced the pandemic, we faced activation, you touched there on the need for ethical brand, sustainable brands, we’re in a cancel culture. It feels like that on a big scale, you can very clearly see the behavioural change, but how are you keeping on top of travel audiences? And are there any nuggets, are there any insight which you found, which you think is worth sharing?

MY – Yeah, I think one thing that was really helpful for us is a couple of months ago when the world began to reopen again, we actually ran a customer survey about our customer’s expectations and their concerns for the travel after lockdown and really unsurprisingly, a big focus was around safety, around cleanliness and booking flexibility. So, off the back of that, I actually ran a social campaign using this data to form the creative. So, for example, imagery that showcased that such and such percentage of our customers are concerned about this and then using the captions or a secondary Instagram story slide to actually answer those concerns using our book and travel with confidence charter. But I think it was a really good way to kind of firstly find out what our audiences are thinking and then look at how we can like alter our comms to really push those, yeah, those key elements. And also, it was a really good way to represent visually what our audience are thinking and their concerns and somebody can see that say 74% of people are worried about this and they’ll think, Oh, I relate to that and then they’ll engage with the content. So, I think using data in that way was a really big success for us.

KH – Yeah, I can so see that, it leads into my next question, to be honest with you, which is, is there a need right now for more personalised and niche content that is, or should we be going out with the big brand messages, the big we’re a trusted brand? What’s your balance?

MY – I think my balance is a bit of both just to be that kind of sitting on a fence type. I think both have worked for us in different ways like different segments for our audiences. So, for kind of the sections of the audience that are familiar with us, it’s been about re-igniting and inspiring them to think about their future travel. So again, using that sort of dreaming of travel element, that’s been really prominent across our feeds. And also, we’ve been using, in paid social so pinpointing the customers interested in specific niches. So, people who are interested in walking and cycling, it’s something we kind of already did, but that’s, I think even more important now is really personalising our message. So that small budget that probably everyone’s working with now gets the best ROI.

KH – And that’s yeah, I mean last year we identified it. I know you helped me shape the report for travel which is, just because holidays are just not a blanket purchase. We have become more and more specialised looking at the holidays that we want and in fact, we’ve drilled into active holidays and adventure holidays because they are a growing market. I suspect they will come back with further once we’re able to get out and about a little bit more. And that kind of brings us nicely onto content and CJ, our managing director says, he’s very curious about what insights you can offer into the content and channel strategy you deploy across the brands that you work with and does your content, do you have to really work hard at making your content really different from, across each different channel because or do you tend to put out the same stuff?

MY – It’s very, very different across the brands that I worked across for the past four years now. So, I think it’s really important identifying who your audience are, it’s like a really basic kind of part, I think any kind of marketing, but I think sometimes people forget that and think more about the message that they want to push rather than who their audiences are, what their audience wants to hear. I can’t remember where I picked it up from, but I listened to a talk once and somebody did a little diagram and then there’s the two kind of circles, is it the Venn diagram with the circles?

KH – Yeah, yeah, yeah.

MY – And you’ve got one that says what your customer wants to hear and then you’ve got one that’s what you want to say as a brand. And then that little bit where they meet in the middle is the sweet spot you need to aim for. And you can’t have that without having a clearly defined knowledge of your audience, but then also a kind of clearly defined brand message. So, having both of those elements and looking at how they fit together for your individual brand is really important. And then there’s also the element of thinking about what platforms that audience will be using. So, for example, for Exodus, the majority of our target customers tend to use Facebook more than any other platform, but Instagram also engages the kind of younger end of that audience and we speak to Instagram in a different way than we would on Facebook. And then in terms of Trek America, which has kind of an 18 to 38’s youth brand, those audiences really engage on Instagram stories and much more so than with the Exodus Instagram, despite a similar following. So, identifying that and then focusing on using the in-platform tools like quizzes and question boxes really drove amazing engagement for the Trek America brand. So yeah, identifying your audience, finding out where they are, and who they are, really simple, but absolutely vital to anyone starting a social strategy.

KH – For those who may be listening to this on a podcast, I am grinning so broadly, I promise you. I have not teased Millie up at all for this, but this is what we say again and again, you are not creating social for the platforms and you’re not creating social for yourself. If it doesn’t resonate and if it’s isn’t relevant and you’re not following your audiences, it’s just music to my ears. So how do you deal with, given that, because that’s is a volume of content, isn’t it? So how do you deal with managing all that different? Do you have a kind of a process that you work through?

MY – I have a really big spreadsheet. Anyone who’s worked with me, anyone in the marketing team or I used to have an amazing intern. Any of them will tell you about my spreadsheet, which is basically all of my content plans across all the platforms. I’ve got a tab for each brand and yeah, I have to be super organised and some things I plan quite a bit in advance but then I always leave space for sort of more ad hoc content, like reacting to things that are happening that week, things that are trending. So yeah.

KH – Do you know what? I used to train at the IDM years ago and in my training session, I used to say, “let me just be really honest with you, social is about spreadsheets. One way or another excel will feature in your workloads.” A recent study found that 86% of people said they’d become interested in a specific location after seeing user generated content, not surprising really, is it? Now, you and your customers are not out and about so much UGC and in the moment content must be a bit of a challenge. How have you adapted or how have you adapted?

MY – To answer your question in terms of UGC, which is something that we use quite a lot historically, and I think I talked about it, we did a panel last year and I talked quite a bit about the importance of UGC and how it really, that drives customer interest. Yeah, it has been a big challenge kind of finding that content during, particularly past six months, during the lockdown period when no tours are running. One of the things that we did for Exodus was actually looking to our tour leaders in country to create that inspiring and engaging content. And that’s spawned our tour leaders at home campaign, which was focused around our leaders, sharing what they’re up to lockdown, fun content for country, to give an example, our tour leader of the year, Zanya, she sent us some really amazing Italian recipes with some pictures, which we tend to blog post and she created a cooking tutorial video, we posted on social channels and our guide and photographer, Paul Goldstein, shared his photography tips during lockdown and they got some really good engagement too. It’s the kind of content that really resonates with the audience, I think for people who’ve been on our trips, our tour leaders are so well loved by the costumers and such a big part of what we do. It’s also been really helpful to reassure some people who are quite rightly concerned, about what kind of people employed in tourism industries are doing, whether they’re safe, whether they’re okay. And that’s quite reassuring for them to see that we’re supporting, working with those leaders and also, just really kind of bringing out the elements of our leaders, which are knowledgeable, really personable and engaging and fun to be around. And I think that was a really good way to showcase what we do as a brand, by using the people who actually make the brand what it is, yeah.

KH – Yeah and absolutely inside out. And as you rightly say, there is you know, your tour leaders are as important in the process of people buying a holiday with you as the holiday destination itself and what a great opportunity to, to showcase them. It’s just fantastic. I think it’s a great idea. As you know Millie, I’ve always been a bit noisier about people having a little caution in working with influencers it bothers me a little bit that, true influencers is not what we look at, but people who just have large followings and the influencer campaigns are often not measured very well. Recent research from Stacker though suggests that 38% of people say that influencer content never impacts which hotel or resort they choose to stay at when traveling and only 12% reference a celebrity. I’d love to know what your experience is and what your views are.

MY – Okay, yeah this is definitely something I could probably talk quite a lot about. I’ve actually been on Twitter earlier today having kind of a bit of a conversation around this too. So yeah, it’s sort of front of mind at the moment. I do think influencer marketing can be really successful, which we’ve seen through our Trek America brand. Having a lot of people calling up and say, “Oh, I saw this YouTube video by such and such Or I saw this Instagram story by so and so and I’m really interested in knowing more”. I think the main thing with influencer marketing and one of them is that you really need to identify your goals and how you can achieve those at various stages of the customer journey. So, if you’re selling, for example, low-cost impulse-buy purchases, say your cosmetics brands, sending a lipstick, something like an Instagram story with a swipe up is a really good way to kind of get that quick win sales, build the brand awareness as well with any product launches. And it’s also very good for inspiring a regional interest in a destination. But I think when it comes to a product like our tours which are usually a much longer journey to purchase, you’re talking six months to even years for some people between finding out about a destination or a company and actually making that purchase, they spend a lot of time researching the destination or the company and in that situation, I think where Instagram has kind been the go-to for influencer marketing, I think there’s still a lot of places for things like blogs and YouTube videos, which have that longevity in terms of sticking around, they’ve got search value, so, I think when you’re thinking about your social influencer campaign, it’s really important to think about that funnel and that customer journey and exactly what you want to achieve. Some campaigns will do so well with big blast of lots of influencers sharing a product in one go at the same time, whereas some campaign names may benefit better from the initial destination push and then following up with SEO posts, videos that are easily found. So yeah, it’s really thinking about your goals and how you can achieve them. And I think the second thing is, like I’ve probably talked about this a lot before, is really making sure that the influencers that you are targeting, are A, will give you the proven ROI based on whatever your goals are, so there may be somebody with an amazing follower number, but their actual reach for those posts, maybe similar to somebody with a much lower follower number, but a really engaged audience. So, one thing I always make sure to do from running an influencer campaign, is asked for real proven return on investment. So, I asked for examples of previous campaign results. This could be as much as, show me some messages where people have sent something to you saying, “Oh, I booked this because of you. I bought this because of you.” And looking at sentiment in their comments and their engagement, are people saying, “I’m going to do this, I’m going to buy this because of you” It’s kind of a lot beyond looking at basic stats and numbers and I think analysing sentiment is actually really important when you’re looking at influencers too.

KH – Spot on. And because ultimately, it’s like all your content quality, quality, quality, you just can’t get away with putting out stuff half-assed, for want of a better word. And we see it again and again, that influencer campaigns that work are where the relationships are built, where the questions are asked, which is what you’re doing and the goals are there, exactly as you said, where they’re not, and somehow fairy dust could be sprinkled by an influencer, it tends to fail. Not always but tends to. So, I think, I’m with you on that and I think my challenge with influencer relations has always been, do it properly otherwise actually it’s a kind of a form of spam. And I won’t say any more cause I could go on.

MY – I can add one more thing on influencers if you like.

KH – Yeah.

MY – I think one thing as well is looking at what influencers are already using, like your product or using your brand. So, I’ve worked with influencers who’ve, for example, already booked a Trek America trip but I’m aware that they’re kind of talking about that brand so speaking to them about, “okay, you’ve put the trip in return for some, either content on your channel or a takeover on our Instagram stories” for example, “we can offer you something on the trip” and that tends to work really well. So, there’s sometimes thinking about looking outside the box, especially if you’re a travel brand where offering, press trips could be quite expensive, but looking at what influencers are already using your product or part of your brand and how you can work with them and I think that’s really important too.

KH – Yes, and I think there is a kind of subsection of influencers which are advocates and knowing how to spot them. And I think you, Millie, live and breathe your brands through social. You see that happening when somebody is advocating the brand, it’s much harder to do when your social is much more automated or you’re distant as an organisation from what’s going on. Let’s talk about Avatar, so according to GWI, which is global web index, 82% of vacationers, approve of brands showing ads that explain how they’re responding to the pandemic, even now. How’d you keep on brands while communicating messages about safety, which you’ve just done as you’ve told us and travel changes in social? Do you find your voice has to change? That’s the bit I’m really interested in, so you have to adapt your brand in order to be more either instructive or to deliver clarity? Or can you still be as inspirational as you normally are?

MY – I think for Exodus, I think we’ve always, our kind of tone of voice has always been knowledgeable and engaging. So, the fact that we can kind of lean on that our tone of voice is like to be a trusted brand to be a voice in the industry for adventure travel to kind of be a market leader, that’s actually worked really well in our favour in terms of communicating our safety messages, because it’s somewhere we’ve kind of always placed ourselves. And I think there are ways to make messages that are more functional, still fun, but fun and functional. That was really, really bad pun, you cut that one out, but yeah, I think when it comes to brands who maybe don’t have, who maybe are considering how to put across those useful messages in the tone of voice, I think creative is a really good way to do it. So, like with our data-driven survey communications using that visual to represent some of the numbers and the stats is a really good way to make it more engaging. And so, you’re using like visuals, video content, anything like that, which you’re maybe using as a brand already, you can keep that look and feel of how your brand is but still weave in those kinds of messages of reassurance.

KH – And you shared those stats, didn’t you, even though they potentially at first glance might look quite negative?

MY – Yeah, I can’t remember I put them now.

KH – But I think that’s really smart, because you did something, you called it out. You said, “we know you’re worried about traveling, or we know that you’re worried about getting on a plane” you know, blah, blah, blah. “But here’s how we solve it” It was just a very clever sharp, as you rightly say, knowledgeable way of hitting people where that pain point is and making it better. Just really, really clever. I’m really impressed that you managed to keep everything, kind of why I asked you the question, but keep everything on brand. I have to ask this, mostly because I am obsessed with Tik Tok, I mean every webinar and podcast I’m on, I’m talking about Tik Tok. I know I shouldn’t be, but I just find it so funny, but there you are. So, have you started trialling Tik Tok?

MY – As a brand no, but I have so many things I can enthuse about Tik Tok personally. I absolutely love it. Grandparents on Tik Tok is my thing, I just love it. There’s one of a guy, like bouncing down the stairs to Sweet Caroline and it just absolutely cracks me up so much. There’s so much rubbish on Tik Tok to be quite frank, some it is like why am I watching this? But then there’s some stuff on there that’s genuinely really innovative, it’s funny and sometimes you have some really basic stuff that’s not really relatable that you just look at and go, yeah, that’s me.

KH – Yeah, absolutely. And as a perfect for me, it’s a perfect accompaniment to watching telly, because we’ve sort of run out of Netflix now that we want to watch.

MY – Completed Netflix, done.

KH – So, we started watching repeats of things we’ve already seen and Tik Tok being alongside them.

MY – I feel like I’ve done that. I’ve watched Hamilton on Disney+ a horrendous amount of times during lockdown.

KH – So actually, one of the areas we haven’t touched on, but it’s worth just mentioning is dark social, such as WhatsApp because many of us who arranged to go away will, or even with most high-ticket items, will start to have conversations with friends and family around the purchase and that often is a conversation that drifts from very public social profiles and feeds into WhatsApp and Messenger and potentially Slack and all sorts of private groups, which we can’t see and it feels like that private group, that darker group of smaller community has really accelerated through the pandemic. Have you thought much about how your content travels between the public and the private?

MY – It’s something I really, to be honest want to look a lot more into, I mean, because I know for me personally, probably a lot of my communication, I don’t tend to use, I mean I use Instagram, but in terms of like conversation and most things, I will now have conversations on WhatsApp on Messenger. And I think there are things like, so really basic. You can get Messenger advertising on Facebook ads manager and my other tip is to use all your placements when you’re doing Facebook ads manager and get the right creative for them because that’s something that I’ve seen to work really well, is letting Facebook do the automatic placements for you. That’s just like me going on a little tangent there.

KH – It’s all right.

MY – But yeah, in terms of actually looking into how it can work for a brand for our Exodus Edits brand, which is, we launched in November for kind of like thirties to forties, like adventurous, short trips to fit with busy lifestyles. We’ve kind of been talking about how we can use kind of WhatsApp, for example, to create groups around that brand is something that’s kind of been put forward because obviously, not been able to run new trips this year but it’s something we are looking at and seeing how we can get into those spaces without being a brand barging into those spaces, which I think is quite dangerous. So, it can happen. It’s happened with pretty much all social platforms as soon as they get popular and people, normal people using them, brands come in and I think a lot of brands come in without that understanding of how the platform works. One of my favourite sayings that I’ve heard this year, is being not just on the platform but of the platform. So, when you come in to using a platform, you really have to understand the audience there like the way they interact. So, in terms of more like dark social platforms, people are there because they want to be private. They don’t want to be bombarded by brand messaging and looking at from that perspective. It’s about subtlety and not just throwing a brand into people’s faces, I think will be a key thing, that I’ll think about moving forward.

KH – Yeah, I’m with you 110% on this one. I think it’s a fine line. A lot of thought needs to go in and some gentle trialling to see where you personally, as a brand fit in that conversation. So, I’m with you. You have been utterly amazing Millie. I’ll have to say, you’ve given so much insight. Are you getting away yourself this year, and if so, where?

MY – I haven’t got anything planned abroad wise, which is very weird for me because usually I’m just trying to go to as many places as possible. I’m trying to do the UK a bit more. I went to Whitstable on Sunday, proper like seaside town, fish and chips at the beach, cider plenty of cider, so yeah and it was just a really nice to get away from London for the day, get away from my house office for the day. It’s not been too weird over the summer I think because normally I’m such an off-season traveller anyway. I like to travel when there are no children and it’s not expensive so yeah, hopefully I can try and get something in maybe abroad over the summertime, be nice, yeah, let’s see.

KH – I have yet to take my holiday, but I am going in two weeks and I am desperate.

MY – Where are you going?

KH – Cornwall but that’s been booked since the beginning of the year, so it was, just two weeks fabulous place. So, I’m looking forward to that. So, thank you Millie. You have actually given us a huge amount of insight. Really appreciate it and thank you for joining us on Serious Social. We’ll be back next week with yet another interview with one of my colleagues and I look forward to seeing you in a couple more weeks. Thank you for joining us. Bye.

MY – Bye.

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