The Importance of Transparency in Social Media Marketing

In today’s consumer culture, people often times have several choices at their fingertips, whether it be for clothing, fast food, cars, you name it. Because of this, it is becoming more important than ever for brands to focus on customer retention and customer loyalty.

Transparency is an important way of doing this. In fact, a survey showed that 94 percentof consumers are more likely to be loyal to brands that show transparency in as a part of their marketing efforts. 

“Transparency marketing is all about letting your fans, customers and leads into your world so they know you and feel your brand's human side.”

– Luis Congdon, Guest Writer

Companies are embracing this new tactic of transparency left and right. Here are a few of the most prominent brands that have been successful doing this: 


McDonald's has been known for its poor rumors regarding its food. Between high preservatives and serving meats that are misleading, consumers have been wary of eating there for years. As a result, the brand created the “Our food. Your questions.” campaign, which allowed them to address these rumors head on. 

They even went so far as to post a video from inside one of its beef processing plants, proving that the beef patties they serve are truly from cows, as opposed to cheaper alternatives. The campaign has been widely successful, with more than 42,000 questions posted by consumers and close to 4 million people visiting the site seeking answers to these questions. This shows how much their consumers value this transparency. 


Since the beginning, Patagonia has been very open about its mission of sustainability and push for social change. They are consistently keeping up with the times in terms of sustainable practices, and they are open with their customer base about what they are doing. 

They even go a step further, educating their customers so that the consumers themselves will be better equipped to make decisions that benefit the environment. One of the ways in which they have done this is through their Fair Trade campaign, which was prompting consumers to be more conscientious about where their clothing is coming from. 

This transparency about their mission and dedication to living it out has allowed for consumers to put their trust in this brand, contributing largely to the success of Patagonia. 

“Environmentally concerned consumers trust that Patagonia stands for a higher purpose than making money and are therefore emotionally inspired to support the brand, which embodies their values.”

-Catherine Morin, Writer for

So how can companies work to improve their transparency?

Social media is one of the most prominent ways in which brands can improve their transparency. Social media marketing channels are the best platform for that personal connection. And as people no longer find their connection through products, this is more necessary than ever. Goals resonate with people. Stories resonate with people. Achievements that better the community resonate with people. This is what companies should focus on. 

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In a surveyof 1,000 United States adults, it was established that the top two means of displaying transparency on social media are admitting to mistakes and providing custoemrs with honest responses to their questions. These are the ways in which brands should begin building transparency for their consumers, if they have not done so already. 

Additional Sources:


Influencer Marketing is the New Black

A new marketing channel is entering the category and creating a name for itself. Brands now have to work harder to get the interest and attention of consumers, and with the many different channels available, they must be smart about where they invest their money and efforts. Due to the rise of “storytelling platforms” such as Snapchat, Instagram and Youtube, a new marketing channel has emerged and doesn't look to be going anywhere anytime soon.  That channel is Influencer Marketing.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Some readers may be thinking “isn’t influencer marketing just social media marketing?”, and though it may seem that way, they differ because influencer marketing wouldn’t exist without social media. In simple terms, influencer marketing is when a brand or company partners with someone with a following whose opinion in trusted. An influencer can be anyone, but their following is what makes them so influential. That “influencer” then rates, reviews or promotes the product. This comes in the form of a social media post, a video blog or even a discount in honor of the influencer. It is has been called  a “modern day content-driven marketing campaign”. The main difference between social media marketing and influencer marketing is that the latter is the result of a collaboration between said influencer and a brand. Additionally, the influencer is a brand in and of itself. They have created their own following by expressing their likes and dislikes, opinions and personality. They are not just someone who can push a brand; they are the brand.

Why brands should care:

One of the biggest appeals to influencer marketing is the reach the influencer is able to provide. One influencer can expose your product or brand to millions of people that otherwise wouldn’t have seen it, For example, beauty influencer Kathleenlights has over 4 million Youtube subscribers and 2 million Instagram followers. She gained her following by reviewing different makeup products and brands and giving her honest opinions on them, as well as modeling looks using the PR packages she receives. It is clear from her success that she did a great job of telling us who she is and what her preferences are. One bad review from her can send negatively influence buying decisions. The word-of-mouth that results from this kind of influence is what brands should be focused on. To our point, brands are not only reaching a bigger audience, but an audience that is in the market looking for their product. They are ready and willing to buy because they are actively searching for new products in that market that the influencer recommends.

71% Of Marketers Say The Quality Of Customers & Traffic From Influencer Marketing Is Better Than Other Marketing Sources

Selecting someone to represent your brand is a heavy decision. Therefore, it is important to take the time to select the right identity. While there is now a plethora of influencers readily available, not all of them will fit your look. It is important to remember that influencer marketing is not like a celebrity endorsement. These influencers have created their own identities and their following came to them because of it. It isn’t about finding someone to say good things about your brand, but someone who found your brand to fit in with their lifestyle that can share it with their audience. Influencer Marketing is not a “one size fits all” approach. It takes time to find the right people to fit your brand identity naturally and effortlessly. Essentially, brands should take the time to market to influencers who have made their own identities clear. Therefore, making it easy to see if their likes and dislikes fit seamlessly with the brand.

There are no tricks when it comes to this kind of channel, and that is because it is so transparent with what it is. Having a well-trusted influencer that meshes well with your brand express their interest and opinions can either really benefit or hurt a brand. An influencer can increase engagement, strengthen a brand message through an authentic endorsement, and reach an audience that is in the market for that product. There is already an established trust between the influencer and their followers, so buying decisions are vulnerable to influence.

On average, businesses generate $6.50 in revenue for each $1 invested in influencer marketing .

Here is an example of beauty influencer Kathleenlights, as she reviews her favorite drugstore brand products that i’m sure positively benefited in sales after this was released.



Global Expansion Case Study: Taco Bell

Taco Bell is arguably one of the most famously recognized brands not only in the United States, but on the international playing field as well. The company has worked establish itself as more than just a place for quick meals, but also for snacking and late-night stops, targeting a younger consumer base.

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Taco Bell has made a deliberate effort to utilize their social media marketing channels in order to successfully appeal to this younger demographic. They have been extremely successful with this in recent years, and these are a few reasons why this has been the case.

  1. Personality

The brand is not afraid to be playful across social media platforms They joke with their consumers, or respond to existing posts with clever remarks, which prompts consumer engagement across these channels. Often times their posts go viral as well, which is an added benefit to them, as the public is sharing their content for them, thus increasing their reach without any additional work on their part. Younger generations appreciate this sense of humor, and it shows.
2. Utilizing Social Media Influencers/Celebrity Endorsements

The brand has further widened its social media presence by appealing to various influencers and celebrities. For instance, after Chrissy Teigen got married, the company sent her not only a ring but also a handwritten letter, which she then shared on her personal Instagram account. This allows Taco Bell to reach consumers that are not directly tied to Taco Bell on social media in any way, which is a strong move on their part.

3. Mobile App

Taco Bell introduced its new mobile app in a rather unique way: the company essentially put all of its social media activity on hold, except for a single promotion of the app, across all of their platforms. This ensured that the new app would be the focus of their marketing, and consumers would not miss it. This tactic clearly worked for them, with this becoming one of the most downloaded apps within Apple’s category of “Food and Drink” only a day after it launched.

These are some of the ways in which Taco Bell has increased its social media presence in recent years.

Global Presence

The brand’s presence does not stop outside United States borders, either. Just recently in 2017, the company decided to increase its focus on international expansion in four key markets, as a part of their goal to increase annual sales by $5 billion by 2022. This entailed opening up at least 100 restaurants in each of their targeted markets: Brazil, Canada, India, and China. These markets were chosen primarily because of their high populations, as well as a prominence of youth culture.  

On top of their increased focus on social media, they are attempting to create an community feeling in these international markets by appealing to the local cultures in which they reside, and by utilizing culturally appropriate artwork. They also want to design stores with open kitchens and more digital menu boards.

“Innovation on our menu and building design, along with social experiences, is going to fuel our growth.”

– Liz Williams, Chief Financial Officer of Taco Bell

They also want their menus to remain dynamic and innovative. Their introduction of the famous Doritos Locos Taco has been an example of that in the company’s recent history. They have also started offering healthier offerings, higher quality ingredients, and even breakfast options.

These are the main ways in which Taco Bell intends to grow, both domestically and internationally.



International Marketing Channels

What is an International Marketing Channel?

An international marketing channel is the channel used in order for a firm to get the message of their product or services to foreign consumers. Because marketing is an interdependent process, this may extend the length of the marketing channel as there may be more intermediaries necessary to accomplish the goal. The manufacturer and consumer of the same product may be in the same country or in different countries, but the same process is otherwise followed through, in terms of marketing. However, there are many more factors to consider when entering an international market.

“International marketing involves coordinating the firm’s marketing activities in more than one nation.”

Deciding which channel to use on an international scale is a very important decision that must take many factors into consideration. Just as a dometic strategy, a company must choose an international marketing strategy based on which channel will deliver their content in the most suitable fashion. Heavy research should be conducted in order to select the right country or region for your company to expand into. After finding a market that can receive your message well, then marketer’s can focus on how best to deliver the message. The marketer must be clear on the message the company wants to convey, and the obstacles that may impede the delivery of this message.

  • Be aware of the Culture

It is important to be aware of the consumer culture of the market your company is entering. A common misconception in the marketing practice is that the country a company originates is the correct or master way of doing things, therefore they base all their decisions on that way that company operates. Having experts from the chosen market come in and help with the strategy will ensure a more successful delivery of the company’s marketing message. They will be more familiar with things that may offend customers or things that will not translate over well. They will also connect better with the consumers and know how they receive content. It is vital to the success of the message that is it understood the way it was meant and that it actually reaches customers.  

  • Be aware of the Market

Some markets are not as advanced as others, therefore making it a challenge for firm’s to deliver their message in the most suitable way. For example, a less developed country will not do well with email marketing if the Internet or computers are not commonly used or necessary within the market. It is important to consider the market when deciding where to expany a company. Whereas email marketing may work in one market, social media marketing may work better in another. Each region has different norms and behaviors when it comes to marketing messages. It is important to understand the environment wholly before committing a large investment in a chosen strategy.

How to move forward?

Develop a custom marketing strategy

Simply translating one message from language to language is not an effective way of marketing globally. Your efforts in a foreign market must be consistent with the domestic efforts. Customizing a strategy to ensure your company goals and objectives are met is the first step. Questions such as “What is our message? What are we looking to achieve?” should be answered prior to selecting a channel. It is important to keep an open mind about adjusting dometic efforts to make them work internationally. Speak to the needs of people in the market chosen and tailor the message to them.

Cultural dimensions always change, therefore it is important to stay on top of all the markets your company is in or may want to enter. How people receive your content will be the determining factor on if they will purchase it or not. Being culturally aware is a big step in finding the best way to deliver your content to an international audience.



Multi-Channel vs Single Channel Marketing

There is an abundance of choices out there for consumers to gain access to different companies. That being said, it is important to maintain a presence in more than one channel to reach said audience. Companies need to be where their consumers are, and therefore, they should be investing in a multichannel marketing strategy, as opposed to single channel marketing.

According to the study conducted by Forrester research, 97% of marketing decision makers said they had experienced an increase in revenue due to their multichannel marketing efforts.  

What is the difference?

Single channel marketing is exactly what it sounds like; when a companies uses one channel as their way of communicating their message to consumers. All of their marketing efforts are invested in this one approach. Multichannel, or integrated, marketing is when more than one channel is used. A single marketing plan is used through many channels, distributing the same message across them all.


The biggest pull of this style of marketing is that it is presumed to be the most cost efficient way to market. It is also seen as more focused since efforts are going in one direction through one platform. However, in this day and age, one channel will simply not keep up with current technology. Certain organizations rely on quick response rates, therefore some channels are not as speedy as others, and if that is your sole channel then one can really hurt his or her business.


There are a few things to keep in mind when trying to implement a multichannel marketing approach. Firstly, each company’s leadership should identify their main goals. Then, they can determine which channels will help achieve these goals, without wasting money on unnecessary channels. They should aim for the most relevant channels that work best for their brand. Secondly, the company must be proactive about making sure their message is consistent across all the channels they use. The biggest feature of multichannel is the ability to reach significantly more consumers easily. There is an increased chance of gaining more of a following if your message is given in different ways to different people. Also, you are reaching your customers through their preferred channel, making it easy for them to receive your information. The simplicity of it all should contribute to an increase in activity. Multichannel marketing will also provide companies with more overall data, which can be beneficial to the operations and management side. Other specific benefits may include better tracking of the companies own performance, less of a cost in the long run and faster marketing campaign execution.


According to multiple online sources, experts highly recommend the key to a successful multichannel approach is consistency across all channels. Additionally, this approach allows for the marriage between older marketing strategies and new marketing strategies created by advances in technology. This combinations allows for the opportunity to engage a variety of consumers, no matter their channel preference. A last key takeaway is to ensure your company is implementing a multichannel marketing strategy, as opposed to simply marketing through multiple mediums. It is important to use these channels in order to benefit the company in the most efficient manner.

The video below can help explain these two strategies with some examples:



Expected Trends in 2019

Social media marketing has become one of the most important marketing channels at this point in time. Its rising popularity is evident, despite the rapidly changing popularity of various platforms and strategies. Because of this, we have decided it is important to dive a bit deeper into how this type of marketing is changing with time. Social media manager and trainer Tereza Litsa has analyzed patterns and strategies from 2018 and subsequently identified 12 social media marketing trends to follow in 2019, which we will take a look at below. 

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Engagement now goes beyond suggesting that followers leave a comment, or like or share a post. Instead, platforms such as Facebook are turning to their own algorithms in the push for more engagement by favoring content that prompts consumer involvement. This in turn incentivizes marketers to provide more engaging content for their followers. 

Influencer Marketing

This type of marketing not only includes widely established influencers, which are becoming more and more costly, but now encompasses “the rise of micro-influencers” as well. Micro-influencers often have followers that meet a specific niche, and tapping into those markets can be much more beneficial for small or medium sized brands that cannot afford, say, celebrities with tens of millions of followers.

Social Media for Sales Enablement

According to Mary Meeker’s study of internet trends found here, 55% of consumers who discovered a particular product through social media in 2018 ended up purchasing said product. This shows that social media is now becoming a platform to enable the discovery of new products, and we can expect to see brands capitalize on this in the next year. 

Artificial Intelligence and Customer Service

Expectations about quick response times between brands and their consumers are rising, and artificial intelligence is already starting to help with this. For example, having automated messages for frequent questions can save the company significant amounts of time. This is why brands are likely to continue finding ways for artificial intelligence to improve their customer service. 


Even though there was a time when 24-hour stories were exclusive to Snapchat, they now appear on several social media platforms, including even LinkedIn. This global trend has over 400 million viewers per day on Instagram alone. In addition, they are fairly simple advertisements to create, they are visually appealing, and they do not require much further editing before being posted. And with so many millions of viewers watching stories on a daily basis, it is smart to assume that at least for 2019, stories are here to stay.

Ending Fake Followers

To increase the legitimacy of social media marketing, platforms such as Instagram are taking steps to eliminate fake followers. This ensures that brands are prompting genuine engagement, which makes brands more inclined to use them for their marketing. 


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Messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp allow for more personalized content, and current trends show increased usage that is expected to continue to grow in the upcoming year. 


When it comes to privacy concerns, a lack of trust is what has prompted the increased usage of messaging apps mentioned above. As such, social media platforms are working to lessen these concerns and build more trust by being more conscientious of how they are using data collected from their followers. 

Narrowing Focus

With so many social media channels to choose from, brands can (and should) utilize these differences to go after specific audiences, and tailor their content accordingly. 

Ad Spend

Ad spending has shown an increase in recent years, and this is expected to continue throughout 2019. We can expect to see more brands utilizing this method of marketing, particularly on Instagram, as popularity has increased on this platform specifically.  

Videos, Podcasts, and Live Streaming

Video content has become increasingly popular, as it engages consumers and makes them feel more connected to the brands themselves. Because of this, platforms such as Facebook are altering their algorithms to ensure that video posts pop up on news feeds more frequently than written text or still photographs, which means we can expect to see an increase in video advertising.

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Augmented Reality

As augmented reality gets perfected, brands are using it more and more to engage their customers. Facebook is trying to capitalize on this as much as possible, investing in it heavily and ensuring that the camera can engage in augmented reality through Messenger. 


The Marketing Super Bundle That Will Teach You Everything You Need to Know About Digital Marketing

As we mentioned in our previous posts, digital marketing is a relatively new and progressive channel of marketing. One of the main sources of digital marketing that allows people to access millions of audience members is through email marketing in particular, and MailChimp is offering a way for users to become well versed in this practice. MailChimp’s team has come up with a set of  9 courses, or 57 hours, of instruction to get users well versed in Digital Marketing. The course sheds light on how the different distribution channels can drastically expand users’ marketing skills for their respective businesses. This product in particular emphasises learning “how to build your brand with the world’s largest automated platform.”

One of today’s trends, particularly with younger generations, is convenience. People can turn to the internet for quick information at ease, and they like it this way. MailChimp has recognized this and has remained in line with it, as users are able to learn while in the convenience of their own homes, on their own time.

What's Included?

This course in particular is quite comprehensive,  diving into many different aspects of digital marketing including:

Facebook Ads

The most important and widespread medium of advertising is through the Facebook platform. It is so important that experts have studied it to a science, and it is now available through this online bundle. In this section, you can learn how to create your own Facebook Ad, and optimize it to create conversations and lower costs, all of which are successful aspects of running a successful digital marketing campaign.

Google Adwords

We all use Google as our primary search engine to find new products or to answer any questions we have, which is why knowing how to use Google and optimize its Adwords is a vital marketing tool. This course will have you set up your own Adwords account from scratch, use keywords to your advantage, and learn how to navigate around the system, ultimately teaching you how to use keywords to strengthen your advertising campaign.

The remaining lessons include a retargeting & remarketing guide, a lesson on building the perfect SEO-optimized wordpress website, the complete SEO & Blacklink Mastery Course, and even a course that deals with Amazon website traffic for marketers and consumers.

As you can see, this course ranges for people who simply want to brush up and learn a few new tricks to people who want to completely dive in to the digital marketing world. MailChimp recognizes how valuable this will be for its users, and is likely anticipating a high demand for product, as it is charging only $37 for the course on

Furthermore, they are providing lifetime access and revising content with the changing times, so that skills will remain  up-to-date. Additionally, users will be exposed to specific MailChimp strategies straight from experts. All the while, they are discovering how to optimize content, build email lists, and other necessary email marketing skills. There is also a platform for users to ask questions, to which instructors will respond.

Products like this are increasingly important in this digital age, providing users with a better understanding of how to run a business through key metrics on this platform.

You can find this Super Bundle and more information here.


Digital Marketing: Johnson & Johnson

Last week we talked about various aspects of digital marketing, and so this week we thought we’d continue to look into that, with a case example: Johnson & Johnson. 

Johnson & Johnson is one of the most well-known brands in the world, evidenced by its spot as #100 among the 2018 Fortune 500. Their products, which can be categorized between pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and consumer products, are sold in roughly 175 countries around the globe, and the company has been in existence for over 100 years. 

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Some of Johnson & Johnson's Products In Stores

So how have they remained so successful? 

Johnson & Johnson has been sure to keep up with the times in terms of their global marketing strategy, and they have built up a solid distribution network. They have penetrated beyond just major cities in the countries where they have a presence, making sure to spread out to less populated areas as well. 

Furthermore, they have roughly 230 subsidiaries worldwide, which are operated by employees that are local to those areas. This ties into our discussion last week, where we contemplated the balance between Americans and locals for Disney’s executive teams abroad.

In Johnson & Johnson’s case, having the subsidiaries operated by locals has certainly proven successful, allowing the company to maintain their significant presence around the globe. 

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In addition to this, recently the company “has adopted a social-first strategy, meaning that each campaign begins with social media channels in mind.”

Longer ads intended for other platforms are a “secondary consideration,”built to compliment the messages displayed on their social media. This allows them to reach consumers quickly and efficiently, while staying relevant for their customers. 


Across all of their platforms, Johnson & Johnson has also made it a priority to focus on storytelling throughout their ads. 

One of their most noteworthy ways in which the company utilized both storytelling and social media for their ad occurred after a recent Miss American beauty pageant, where one contestant replied that her talent was simply being a nurse. Initially the contestant faced some heat for such an answer, however Johnson & Johnson saw an opportunity once the online environment turned to support nurses with the hashtag #nursesunite.

Johnson & Johnson campaigned that they would donate $1 to help educate nurses worldwide for every photo shared to their online platform, prompting customer participation and putting the company in the headlines for their campaign. They further utilized this momentum and stuck with their tried and true storytelling marketing design to create a longer, two-minute ad showing support for nurses. 

You can view this ad below: 

These are some of the major ways in which Johnson & Johnson, a major global player, has utilized various digital marketing channels to remain relevant and successful throughout changing times and across a wide array of various cultures.