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Is More Data Always Better Data?

Spend $10k a Day host, Steve Weiss, sits down with MuteSix’s CMO, Maria Claudio, to discuss what she has learned from working at Facebook before joining the MuteSix team. In this podcast, you will learn why understanding the socioeconomics of Facebook users is the key to seeing success in Facebook Ads along with other key learnings from Steve who's spent millions on the platform and Maria who has the inside view of what and how Facebook does what it does.

Episode Transcript — Is More Data Always Better Data?

Speaker 1: You're listening to the Spend $10K a Day podcast, brought to you by the performance marketing experts at Mutesix. This is your source for cutting edge insight into the world of online advertising from the team with more Facebook case studies than any other agency on the planet. Here is your host, Susana [Magerey inaudible 00:00:20]

Susana: Hello, Spenders. Welcome back to another episode of the Spend $10K a Day podcast. You're listening to Susana Magerey today here at Mutesix, and with me is Rafael Romis. Rafael has worked with Fortune 500 companies and has spent more than 20 years engaging digital audiences on behalf of the world's biggest brands, like Disney and HBO, and today I'd like to welcome Rafael to the podcast.

Rafael: Thank you for having me.

Susana: Yeah, thank you so much. I'm really excited to talk today because we are going to tap in a little bit through your work with UGC, which is another term for user generated content. I know that you've really utilized the power of UGC, and you've seen a lot of success with that, so I'm really excited too to hear what are some successes that you've had with that, especially with businesses who haven't been able to tap into bigger celebrities?

Rafael: For sure. Yeah, so through through my agency, Weberous, we basically worked with all sorts of companies, like you mentioned some in the Fortune 500 size, but then a lot that are much smaller, where resources are much more limited.

Rafael: So, when it comes to influencer marketing or user generated content, we have to find ways to basically make their dollar spend spread as much as possible. And I find that it's always good to start with the core of the business.

Rafael: It's something that I call the Unicorn Principle, where the idea is that regardless of what product you're selling, chances are that there's another product that's pretty similar to what you have. There are exceptions to the rule, of course, but the idea here is that you shouldn't focus too much on the specs of your product and instead, you should try and focus more on the feeling around your product. Something that really makes it stand out and that really resonates with your audience.

Rafael: And I like to say that people buy with emotion, and then they justify with logic. And I think that holds really true when it comes to marketing. And they'll use that to lead into any kind of social media marketing, including influencer or user generated content.

Rafael: The times where we see the most success, and that's true regardless of whether we're talking about a really, really big company or a small company, when we see the company engaging with their audience in a way that goes beyond just asking them to put a picture of the product.

Rafael: That would be the simplest form where you say, "We'll run a contest, put a picture of our product with a hashtag XYZ. And that's that." What happens then is that the audience that is going to receive, that's going to view that user generated content, is going to perceive it as an ad. That's where it breaks. So, even if you get people to actually post about it ... And that's why I said that it's unrelated to the budget. You can have $1 million to spend on marketing, and you can buy as many of those as you want.

Rafael: You can probably sell it everywhere. You can have huge awards and get thousands or tens of thousands of people to post about it. The bottom line is that if they just post the product, you're not going to get ... It's not going to resonate with your audience. So instead, if you actually tried to get people to get involved and post about an idea, something that is relevant to what you're doing, and I'll give you examples of that. Relevant to what you're doing, but not necessarily about your product or your brand, that really hits home because then it becomes a movement.

Rafael: A great example is a company called Aerie. It's a clothing brand. So they sell all sorts of apparel. And they did this great campaign that they said basically "#AerieREAL." And the idea was that ... You know how there is so much talking about how brands over-Photoshop their pictures and how sometimes you're missing a leg? They go to that extent where they don't even care about things making sense. It's all about really just making something look amazingly perfect, and that is now being frowned upon. And so, Aerie took the opportunity to actually capitalize on that whole concept.

Susana: So, they created like a hashtag around a movement, essentially?

Rafael: Exactly. They created a hashtag around girl power, body positivity, no retouching. And they said, "Here are our pictures. This is what we do. We don't Photoshop. These are our models, and they're real. Show us your pictures. So, nothing to do about our products. Nothing to do with even you wearing our products. Wear whatever you want. Just post the picture, and don't retouch it."

Rafael: And what that does is that it works in two ways. Number one, as a customer, as a social media user, you're like, "Okay, that's cool. It's not advertising." So you're going to post a picture anyway. It's something that's trending right now, being real and showing your true self. So, that's something that's happening right now. That's what's really, really powerful about it. And so you're more inclined to do that. But in reality what's happening is that you're hashtagging it with the brand name.

Rafael: So, Aerie is capitalizing from your posts, and you feel very good about your posts. You feel very good about it. And, in return, so that you feel even better about it, Aerie, I believe, donates a dollar to, I believe, the National Eating Disorder Association, something like that. So there is the donation aspect to it, as well.

Rafael: So, the whole campaign, number one, and these are really important steps. Find what your audience cares about. If you're selling clothes to women, then this is a very, very, very strong and trending topic, what happens with Photoshop. Companies are overdoing it. So, it's a topic that your audience will care about. It's a topic that will resonate with them. So that's the most important thing. Don't just start a hashtag that sounds cool, but try to tap into something that your audience will care about, something that will make them feel a certain way.

Rafael: And then, the second thing is try to make it more about that thing rather than the product. So don't even say ... Most people are going to do it anyway, right? But don't even say that the product needs to be there. Who cares? Just hashtag it with something. Then, you own the hashtag. So then, the hashtag becomes the brand.

Rafael: That's what I think is the most powerful idea that comes out of this is that you see a brand here that started as any other brand, but then they saw this angle. Then, they thought, "Okay, now I become the girl power brand." They become the body positivity brand, and now this is who they are. This is what they're all about. Everything about the brand is about feeling good about your body and not retouching.

Susana: Totally.

Rafael: That's a great example of how user generated content actually took over the whole brand. It became the brand.

Susana: Well, and then they view that hashtag, and now they are a part of a community, and they see all that social proof, other people, a ton of other people, being a part of this movement with them. So then, that further further validates the product, as well.

Rafael: Exactly, exactly. And it's always a cycle. So basically, I like to say that you first have to listen. So, find out ... It all starts from the core, the basics of every successful brand. Define your audience. So Marketing 101. You're not marketing to everyone.

Rafael: Sometimes, you think you do. I always find the fun example of a client that was selling floaties. He said, "Well, everybody's in the market. Everybody can use a floatie." But no, they're not. Because not everybody has a pool. Not everybody lives in an area where they'll ever go in the swimming pool. So, you can definitely zone in and you can actually get very, very specific and granular about who your audience is. And once you know who your audience is, then you have to really understand them. You have to to listen to them. You have to try and follow them, find out what they care about, what they talk about.

Rafael: It's almost never about the product, but rather, about something bigger than the product. It could be a problem that the product is there to solve, or it could be ... I would say that it's almost always a problem that you're solving, but it can be manifest in many different ways.

Rafael: It doesn't have to necessarily be an actual problem. It can just be that you want to look better. And then, makeup companies. Or you maybe want to stand out, something like that. But you have to find what it is that they care about. And then, when you want to run your campaign ...

Rafael: And that's actually exactly the same, whether you're running an influencer campaign or a user generated campaign, user generated content, you want to find content that will resonate with the audience, and that is not super specific about the product.

Rafael: I mean, Apple is the beautiful example that basically [crosstalk 00:11:09] the whole industry about how they're selling computers and phones, and the whole industry was all about specs. Remember how 10 years ago, you would see a commercial and there would be a list of bullet points of the processor speed and the ram and all of that stuff? Apple comes about, and they sell you an old lady, an old grandma, holding her laptop and talking on Skype with her grandchild and you're thinking, "Wow, that's a beautiful moment." And then, Apple. And that's how Apple built such a strong brand by appealing to people's emotion. So that's, I think it's a very, very important lesson there.

Susana: So, what happens to the content in the hashtag? Does it sit there or do you guys repurpose that content?

Rafael: You always want to work with your content, meaning that ... There's a lot of different things. You can run a different campaign along the same lines. Or if the campaign becomes strong enough, then you stick with it. Starbucks, for example.

Rafael: Granted it's a gigantic company, but you know the rule is still the same, the pumpkin spice latte. It's something so generic, but you say it and you think Starbucks. And that's all user generated content because Starbucks created, or rather, capitalized on something that already existed. It's not like Starbucks created the drink. But because they used it on social media, and because they really pushed it hard, it took a life of its own. I believe it even has its own Instagram account today.

Rafael: So I think what you need to do is once you launch your campaign, once you ... One step back. Once you find your angle, once you launch your campaign, there are a lot of steps in launching the campaign that we can dive into, as well.

Rafael: But once it's out there and once you're getting the content, you need to be part of that conversation. Because people are taking the leap here, and they're posting something. They're following your direction and doing what you told them to do. So now, if you also engage with them in a very friendly manner, even just complimenting them on the picture that they posted or saying something funny, then they become much more engaged with the brand to the point where we have a lot of cases where they feel like they're part of the brand. They feel like they want to promote it more. And that's something really special. We actually had a startup that we worked with. It started about five years ago. The name is Melt Cosmetics, and it started by two makeup artists. And so, they launched the brand, and they were very, very vocal on social media.

Rafael: A ton of photos they were posting of their own customers where they were using their makeup. And what they did is that they really basically called their fans and told them to be bold and to really show what they do, how creative they can get with their makeup. And it got so busy, they got so many people posting that, originally, when we were working on their website, we were showing pretty much every picture with the hashtags. And then, we had to build a solution so that they can filter and segment the pictures because there was just so many coming in. So it almost turned into a contest. Post, and then some of you will be featured on the website. But it just goes to show that it's less about having the money to spend. Granted, if you have money, it's easier because you have a bigger reach. You can get more visibility, so it will happen faster. But, the bottom line is still the same.

Rafael: If you don't do it right, then it doesn't matter if you spend a ton of money on it, it's just not going to work. But if you do it right, then it will work, and it will take a life of its own. Because the great thing about this is that if I, me personally, were to start something right now, post something on social media, then let's say that I have a circle of maybe a thousand people. But then, those 1000 people are going to see it, and maybe some of them, let's say 10, just for the sake of example here, might do something about it. They might share it, or they might post their own picture that is relevant to what I started. And then, they might have a thousand people [inaudible 00:16:22].

Rafael: So now, all of a sudden, I'm reaching 10 thousand people, and so on and so forth. So, the fact that I am starting from a small baseline does not mean that I don't have the capability to grow without necessarily investing a ton of money.

Susana: Yeah, the UGC essentially sells for you and here ... So, it's interesting that you stay on the platforms. You're gathering ... The way you're gathering people to these hashtags or to this movement is not through paid advertising or-

Rafael: It can be both. And I think that's where the budget comes into play. I would say that when you're starting a UGC campaign, you have to look at your budget and you have to make certain decisions.

Rafael: You have to start by understanding your audience. Once you understand your audience, then you have to come up with a great campaign that resonates with them. If that's all your budget right there, then that's where the budget has to go. But now, if you have more budget, then definitely, you can advertise it because it will return, It will give you a good return on investment because it will eventually turn into sales.

Rafael: So it's not going to be as direct as advertising a product and trying to create a sale on the spot. But, the effect that it has can be substantial in the longer term. And when I say longer term, I don't necessarily mean several months. It could be a week. It could be a couple of days. It's just a matter of creating a ripple effect where you go for one, and then that one turns into 10, and then those 10 turn into 100. That's the power of user generated content.

Susana: Yeah. And so, it's really interesting because here at the agency, we work a lot with UGC content. And the way I can see this really working for us is taking that content that's created through this movement, and then piecing that into a story into a video. So essentially, weaving a story of all this social proof, and then running that as an ad.

Rafael: Yeah, I love that. I love that. Yeah. Because people love to buy from people. That's another great rule of marketing. It's much better if I show you a video or through another, however I managed to show it to you, that shows other people using my product than it would be to show you a video of the product. Because then you're not taking it from me. I'm clearly biased because it's my company, but you're taking it from other people. So I think that, yeah, that's a great way to do it, for sure.

Susana: Yeah, we've seen a lot of success that that works really well for us here at the agency. We're able to turn ... With UGC, we're able to turn around accounts that come to us who need help, who've been struggling, and they come to us to help them turn things around. And UGC is such a great content play for us in facilitating that. So, this has been really great. Do you know what we can expect to see moving forward? Like where is UGC headed?

Rafael: I actually think that UGC is the future of marketing, and we're seeing a little bit of that already. It's becoming very, very well widespread. But, if you look at what has been happening with marketing in general, we're seeing a trend towards emotion and towards moving away from matter-of-fact and more towards some ... Yeah, I guess emotion is the best way to put it.

Rafael: So, it started with seeing commercials even on TV or social media or everywhere that were very, very, very specific about, "This is the product, this is what it does. Buy it. This is the price." Then, we moved to much more about emotional content and how products make you feel. I think the next step is to make it all about people and no longer would you see companies advertising their product, but rather companies promoting people using their product. Because it's just a huge ... And this is on a personal level, as well.

Rafael: Imagine how you feel when you see an ad from a company, especially being in that space. I feel like a lot of times we're almost immune to it versus seeing a friend of yours or even someone you don't know, but some other person talking about how something had an effect in their life. It's just so much more powerful.

Rafael: So, I think that it is going to be the future. I think that we're going to see more and more of it, and I think that it will become the new normal where there are going to be incentives offered, maybe discounts. "Post about us and you'll get a discount." It's already happening, but I feel like more and more companies are going to jump on board and adopt a strategy along these lines.

Susana: So then, there's always fear of saturation. So, what are some ways that we'd be able, as more and more people hop on the UGC marketing bandwagon, how do you differentiate yourself?

Rafael: That's a good question. I think that the key will be to aim for something bigger because the bigger it is, the more established it's going to make you. Actually, the best example of user generated content was what happened with ALS. The whole idea of, "Either give us a donation or you take an ice bucket and drop it on yourself." And it just became such a movement. Everybody and their mom, their grandma, made a video dropping the bucket, even though some of those people also donated. So, I think what happened there is that it's very cutting. It was very, very smart on the family idea. And what they did is that even though it's a very, very serious organization and a very serious disease that they're trying to help with, they transcended and they went beyond that, and think made it much more easy to digest. But it still stays a very, very big moment.

Rafael: So, I think that it will come down to content. Content is king. Just making sure that your campaign is not ... First of all, I think that authenticity is very, very important. So, if you don't really believe in XYZ movement or XYZ cause, if you're going to go that route, don't do it because that's going to be the thing that will make a little brand stand out and others not. Because I think that people are becoming very, very aware. They're seeing more and more stuff, and sometimes, when you try to do something and it doesn't really seem like a good fit, it looks like you're trying to capitalize on something that's bigger than your brand, it can totally backfire. Are you familiar with the whole Pepsi fiasco with the Kardashian commercial?

Susana: I'm not. What? Share.

Rafael: Yeah, so that's a good one. They did a commercial with a Kendall Jenner. So, they were able to get such an amazingly powerful celebrity to run the campaign. What they did was they tried to recreate the moment with the lady that went in front of the police with the whole Black Lives Matter movement.

Rafael: So, what they did is they used a lot of different people of all sorts of ethnicities, and they had Kendall Jenner leading the pack as they were heading towards the policeman. And then once they get to the front, Kendall hands a Pepsi to the police officers. So, it was so fake, basically. And they missed the spot so much because they had a very privileged white girl leading what was hinting towards the Black Lives Matter, and people just hated it. They blew up. It took a life of its own in a negative way. There was so much user generated content bashing how bad it was that they just took it down.

Rafael: It was so, so bad. There were so many hashtags. I don't remember the exact hashtags, but there were so many hashtags about how bad it was and how it felt, like they're almost making fun of such a serious movement. And I think that obviously, it's just a miss. It happens. But I think that it happened because it was a company with a ton of money that tried to capitalize on something that really has nothing to do with them. It's not a clothing company trying to use Photoshop manipulation. It's a drink trying to use a racial movement. It's just really day and night. It has nothing to do with it. So I think authenticity and being genuine as much as possible is huge.

Susana: Yeah. That's great. I mean, it's almost ... It seems like the movement, you may want to keep it relevant to your audience. Or sort of in the case of the bucket, the water bucket, just a little something quirky that's not so much a current event.

Rafael: Exactly. Yeah. There are many ways to do it and it really all comes down to content. But I would say that the ice bucket, I think, is one of the most genius campaigns ever done. But, at the same time, that's a risk. Because people could see it and be like, "Okay, what the hell is this?" It worked, but I think that's much harder to decode, how it worked and why it worked.

Rafael: But what's easier is something like what Aerie did. Not that it's easy, but I can understand the logic and how and why it worked, after having seen it work. And it really comes down to listening to your audience, seeing what they care about. You're selling clothes. You want to wear clothes because you want to look beautiful. So, if they're [inaudible 00:27:40] you, then that's a topic that really hits home. It's very, very relevant and it's right on the spectrum of what is related to the brand. So it makes perfect sense.

Rafael: Or, again, bigger company, but we have National Geographic. They did a #MyClimateAction, and the idea there was they were asking people to share pictures about how they see the climate change affecting the world around them. So, people are going to post their pictures anyway. Now, you're giving them a chance because you're such a powerhouse, right? National Geographic has so much visibility, so they obviously capitalized on that. But you're giving them an avenue to get more visibility on their photos. So that's another good approach there. Nothing about National Geographic, but they own hashtag MyClimateAction. So now, indirectly it is helping the brand even more.

Rafael: I think that's really what it comes down to, finding something that's really important to her audience. You can do that by seeing what they talk about, seeing what are the topics that spark more conversation, what are the topics that ... They might talk about a lot of different things, but maybe if there's a certain topic and it has five comments and then there's another topic and it has 50 comments and a lot of back and forth, clearly the one with the 50 comments is something that is much more important to them.

Rafael: So, that's what you want to find. You want to find topics that spark conversations, topics that people are very passionate about. Then, assuming that your brand is relevant to that, you want to capitalize on that. You want to start a whole campaign on that rather than, "Okay, so what is my product? I sell candles, #MyFavoriteCandle." Yeah, that's going to be so much harder to make that work than it would be if there's something different about it. The product is almost irrelevant.

Rafael: In this day and age, you obviously you want to have a good product, but the whole idea is besides that. Because there's a lot of great products out there. Some of them, I've never even heard of. The whole concept is that you need to find something that hits your audience hard, and they start paying attention. And user generated content is the best way to do that. And the way to spark that is by appealing to a certain topic that makes them want to talk about it.

Susana: Yeah, I think that's great. I mean, we're all about UGC here and we definitely ... We understand the importance of UGC, and I think this conversation has been really, really great. I'm not sure if you have anything else to add. I'd love to hear any more input you have.

Susana: But so far, we've talked about creating a hashtag around a movement that can spark a conversation, and how did decide on the movement, and the importance of authenticity. And then, we talked a little bit about how, here at the agency, we repurpose that content, and then dove into some examples with these UGC movements that big brands are using. Is there anything else you'd like to add, Rafael?

Rafael: Yeah, and this is less on the actual campaign, more about the people running the campaign. Sometimes, you find there is a good concept, but it doesn't work because it's not ... After you launch it, then there isn't enough follow up. So I like to say that one of the most important things ... You know the steps, right?

Rafael: We said find what makes your brand stand out. Find something your the audience is talking about. Try to combine the two. Try to address that hot topic through your campaign. But then, you also need to have a team. You need to organize your team, and each person needs to have something very specific that they need to do as it relates to the campaign. Because you have to create it, you have to run it, you have to engage in conversations, you have to track it, you have to see how it's doing.

Rafael: Because sometimes, there are small tweaks you can make. If something does not seem to work well, maybe a certain platform does not seem to work for what you're trying to push on it, then switch to another platform or try many platforms and see which one seems to perform better. Then, focus on that.

Rafael: So, if you don't track it, then you might as well not do it because you're just making guesses. And I always say this. It might sound like something that one person can do, but it's not. Create a team, create specific tasks, and have assigned stakeholders do each task so that you can make it happen smoothly, happen well, and happen with genuine value and authenticity.

Susana: Cool. What are some insights that you have from running these campaigns? Like what have you seen in terms of numbers or any other insights?

Rafael: What we're seeing is that there's a lot to be said about engaging with the audience. We find that you're going to make that initial push and then people, some people are going to respond. Depending on your budget, depending on the follower count that you have right now, depending on how engaged your audience is, it may be more, it may be less people.

Rafael: But what do you do after those people start engaging can make a huge difference. We've seen campaigns that started slow and that because the brands engaged with the people that did take part in it, then more people started joining in. So,. I would say that that's one. Engagement is huge. You want to engage with your people. You want to make sure that they know that they're heard and seen. Number two is track everything. And if you need to adjust, adjust.

Rafael: If something happens ... If you're having a campaign and it doesn't seem to work great, and then something happens and you're like, "Okay, maybe this other thing could be a home run," try it. I always say that sometimes you're not going to hit a home run. It happens. So, you don't want to try and really, really make it work because maybe it's not the right approach. So, change it, and try something else. That's what I would say.

Rafael: We've seen that happen, as well, where you start with something and doesn't really click and then you tweak it and, all of a sudden, it becomes something major.

Susana: So, essentially, the main metric that you're looking at is engagement?

Rafael: Engagement and also the effect that you have on the bottom line, like you're going to see your follower account, you want to see how many people are coming to your website.

Rafael: So, yeah, it all comes down to engagement, but you want to track all kinds of engagement, whether it's in the form of a like or comment, or an action that they take such as following your account or visiting your website.

Susana: Yeah. Great. And then the opposite, too. I mean, keeping track of that negative feedback, as well.

Rafael: Definitely, definitely.

Susana: And it tells you so much. Great. So, Rafael, where can people find you?

Rafael: They can find me on generateculture.com. There's also a Weberous. Weberous is my agency. Generate Culture is a new venture through which I help beauty brands on a one-on-one basis to do all the things that we talked about.

Rafael: I basically help them find their unique value proposition. I help them understand their audience and see what they talk about. And then, we use all of that to create a consistent brand through social media, website, and marketing. And then we engage with influencers, engage with user generated content, and we grow.

Susana: Awesome. Great. Rafael, this has been wonderful. I really enjoyed, and I think a lot of our listeners are really going to enjoy this one, as well.

Susana: I think this is also really helpful for businesses who are trying to break through the ceiling. This is definitely a strategy that can help with that, utilizing UGC content and repurposing the content, as well. So thank you-

Rafael: Yeah, I was going to say that I find that it's one of those things that you can do regardless of your size versus advertising, where sometimes you need to have a certain budget or otherwise you're not going to be able to advertise efficiently. But when it comes to user generated content, you can actually spend some time and work it out.

Susana: Absolutely. Well, thank you so much.

Rafael: Alright. Thank you for having me. I really enjoyed our talk, too.

Susana: Me, too. And listeners, if you are enjoying this episode and you've enjoyed our past episodes, as well, please subscribe to our podcast and leave us a review if you've enjoyed us. Thank you so much.

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