CASE STUDY || Using Instagram Questions to Drive Engagement

When the Instagram Questions sticker was first released, we were excited to see a new venue for us to engage our client's fans and followers and utilized it as part of our 'Summer Hiking Challenge' campaign for The North Face Vancouver. 

The Hiking Challenge invites our followers to join us in person for a hike to notable scenic spots in Greater Vancouver, and attendees are given a gift as a token of appreciation. We used the Instagram Questions sticker as a teaser to engage our followers prior to launching our Hiking Challenge campaign, asking them to guess where the pictured hike was in our Instagram story (IG Story). 

The Benchmark

Compared to our regular IG story posts, which receives 150 - 200 views, this IG story generated 781 views and 72 responses from our followers trying to guess which hike it was. The follow-up stories where we shared some of the responses from our followers also got 560 views. It also helped to drive impressions to our Instagram content, where we saw an increase of 3322 impressions from the week prior.

How can you use IG Stories to increase your engagement? 

  1. Ask your followers timely questions. For example, "Heading to Montreal next weekend - what's there to do in town?" OR "On a hunt for the best pasta for tonight's dinner, where would you recommend?"
  2. Make it relevant to your brand. If you run an ice cream shop you might want to engage your followers to help you name the new flavor. "Name our new flavor with these ingredients: Rum, Hazelnut and Vanilla" with a photo of the new flavor as the visual.

In short, people are open to sharing their ideas with you, but it's up to you to make it fun, inquisitive and engaging. As social platforms make it harder and harder for you to get organic engagement, these stickers are a great way to get some insightful feedback from your fans on your products and services!

Got Questions? Let Us Answer Them On IGTV!

Have more questions regarding Instagram marketing? Get in touch with us on our Contact Us page to suggest a topic for our one-minute marketing videos that are posted on our IGTV channel each week!

CASE STUDY || How Lexus Leveraged Popular Weibo Platforms to Market Their Hybrid Vehicles

Read our case study on how we leveraged the power of a large Weibo social media platform to promote Regency Lexus' fleet of hybrid vehicles.

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PHOTOGRAPHY || Beauty in the Raw

As we explore the various realms of photography, we have come to realize that our expertise lies in food and lifestyle photography, not because we lack the skills or tools to engage in architecture or landscape photography, but because we are passionate about the beauty in a raw image, where items are placed naturally, where light falls naturally, and we the emotion captured in a candid shot feels like we've immortalized a moment. 

The photos above were taken for Pendulum Magazine, capturing moments of people quietly enjoying their food, service staff interacting with a customer...there is a different type of raw beauty in capturing such everyday moments; while we admire photographers who have perfected their product / sports / landscape photography skills, it is such everyday moments that stir our creativity. 

We take great joy in using our photography to tell the story of a restaurant, not just through the food, but also through the stories of people who dine there, the story of the owner, and the story of the food and menu through its design. 

The above photos are from our visit to Anh and Chi restaurant on Main and 16th, where co-owner Amelie shared the story the restaurant's startup phase, the building of the tight-knit team who treat each other like family, and the numerous hours her mom spends perfecting each family-style dish in the kitchen.

If you want us to tell your brand's story through photos, get in touch here. For more samples of our photography, head over to Pendulum Magazine, where our photographers capture the stories of brands, entrepreneurs, artists and interiors. 

CHINESE INFLUENCERS || How Can They Build Your Business?

Collaborations with influencers on western social media is maturing, as platforms rush to put in  regulations and policies to manage the flurry of sponsored content appearing on their platform. 

With our recent blog post on the uprising of WeChat Pay, with its astonishing over $12 Trillion transactions in 2017, retailers outside of China must consider WeChat marketing and WeChat Pay as an integral component of their marketing strategy, as China tourists, along with their mobile WeChat wallets, are making purchases in retail stores and online shops around the world. 

Today we take a look at how your business can market your business online to the Chinese consumer by collaborating with Chinese Influencers. Just like western influencers exist on Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest amongst other social platforms, Chinese Influencers are active on WeChat and Weibo - the main social media platforms in China. 

 

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What types of influencers are there in China?

Within the Chinese Influencer category, there are the expected groups such as celebrities, lifestyle and fashion bloggers, groups who share common interests, and Wanghong. The last category deserves special attention.

Wanghong, Popular Online Personalities, are a special Influencer segment in China. They represent the new generation in China who have a plentiful disposable income, outstanding physical appearance, showcase a unique personality, and want to broadcast their life story to their followers. They do this through online streaming of their daily lives via social apps such as 17, Mei Pai, and other platforms. Followers are content watching these Wanghong go about their daily lives, consuming their breakfast, lunch or dinner, and sharing their opinions on lifestyle, travel, and the latest trends.

 

Why should I work with Chinese influencers

In China, to say that influencers have a strong impact would be an understatement. They exert influence on their hoards of followers, who want to mirror their actions and style in every possible way.

Influencers are seen as authoritative figures in China, especially when it comes to dictating what their followers will consume, whether it's luxury goods, beauty products, or where they go for dinner. Influencers bridge the trust gap between businesses and customers, as they provide live, educational demonstrations of various products on their popular social accounts. Much like how Youtube stars create beauty tutorials, makeup and fashion styling tutorials, Chinese influencers create similar content on Chinese platforms; knowing where to find them and how their business process works is the challenge.

Influencers are careful about the companies they associate with, as they work to carefully craft and maintain their public image. An international Chinese celebrity was once involved in a fake promotion scandal where they represented a shampoo brand, triggering the repercussion of China advertising laws. 

 

An Exclusive Influencer Program

We've done the legwork for you, as Chinese social media platforms are not the easiest for international brands to navigate, especially when the internal team is not familiar with the language or the business methods and expectations of a Chinese Influencer. We have curated our roster of Chinese influencers from fashion, lifestyle, food, travel, cosmetics, luxury goods, and more. For brands looking for an extra boost for their new product launch or sales event, our roster of influencers can help your brand reach the right audience within the vast sea of Chinese consumers.

 

Why An Influencer Program?

Catalyst Agents is a Canadian marketing firm. Our client categories are extensive, ranging from high-end international retail brands, to luxury hospitality, premium real estate and art exhibitions. We have helped many Western companies successfully enter and promote themselves in the Chinese marketplace.

Our influencer program is a win-win for both our client brands and social influencers, and our goal is to help the world-class brands build successful long-term relationships with influencers.

Amongst our Chinese Influencer marketing services, we offer: Influencer Talent Management, Influencer Marketing Strategy, Influencer Event Management, Influencer Live Streaming Campaign Management.

 

Our Criteria for Selecting Chinese Influencers

Our Chinese Influencers all have a verified following of over 10K followers on Weibo, WeChat, or other Chinese social media platform. The Chinese Influencer maintains an active profile and draws high engagement from their following by posting original, attractive content. 

For those interested in applying for our Influencer program, please visit Influencers.catalystagents.com to fill in an application form to get the process started. Our team will be in touch to go through the verification process with you. 

 

Want to Work with Chinese Influencers?

Send us a message with your marketing requirements at http://catalystagents.com/contact/ and our team will be in touch to help connect you with the right Chinese Influencer to market your business!

CASE STUDY || Using Instagram Stories to Market Your Business

Have you noticed lately that your instagram photo posts aren't getting as many impressions and reaching a smaller audience? Part of the reason may be the increasing popularity of Instagram Stories, which are displayed more prominently across the top of your Instagram feed. 

Instagram Stories are short, 10-second videos or photos you can post from your phone. The quality of the videos and photos can be from your phone, so the content is more friendly and approachable. Have you been using this feature to market your business?

Here's how we utilize a mix of newsfeed posts and instagram stories to market Pendulum Magazine on Instagram. 

ENSURE YOUR PROFILE IS ACTIVE

For the profile posts we post up to 6 times per week, with photos that are high resolution and adheres to the brand colours and tone of the overall Instagram profile. A visually appealing profile is a major factor in driving new followers. 

CREATE STORIES THAT TIE BACK TO YOUR CONTENT

For each week there are 4-5 new articles that go up on pendulummag.com, and we promote these new articles using designed Instagram Stories like the ones below. this highlights for our followers what new content they can view on the website and through our profile. An impressive majority of over 80% of website visits are generated from Pendulum Magazine's social profiles. We update the link in bio as we promote a new article on the magazine, ensuring that traffic we are driving to the profile shows the latest content we want readers to see. 

Design a unique look and feel to make your instagram stories instantly recognizable. Remember your brand's social profile is an extension of your other marketing channels, such as your website, mobile app, print advertising, direct marketing - the look and feel should be consistent across all channels.

Conduct an objective audit of your current Instagram content, are you posting frequently enough? Are your Instagram Stories used to either drive traffic to your profile for more followers or to your website for new customer leads? 

Feel like you need professional help to design your Instagram profile and Instagram stories? Reach out to us using our contact form and our team will be in touch within 24 hours to assess your marketing needs!

CASE STUDY || Tailoring WeChat Content and Layout for Luxury Retail

We have stressed more than a few times in our past article posts that WeChat operates as a distinctly different beast, thus it requires tailored content for the platform. 

While most of the popular WeChat platforms you see may be news-oriented and push out articles on a daily basis that are text heavy, with numerous paragraphs of copy supported by 5-6 visuals, the opposite is true for high-end brands, where the tendency is to focus on the visual design and the product versus large amounts of copy.

Our client Maison Birks, Canada's Diamond and Fine Jewellery Leader, recently started to market their presence on WeChat, and our team helped them craft a content strategy tailored for the affluent Chinese audience, which is their key target demographic. 

We prepared 3 advertorial write ups for 3 different brands, the Birks Iconic and Snowflake collections, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Chaumet Paris. Princess-to-be Meghan Markle has been a long-time fan of the brand, and we leveraged this great endorsement to showcase her wearing Birks jewellery to numerous royal outings and for her official engagement announcement. The article was very well received by the audience, outperforming the average number of views by as much as 3 times. 

For Chaumet Paris we featured various top-tier Asian celebrities wearing their Joséphine collection for their wedding vows. The most revered couple followed by millions in China was Angelababy and her husband Huang Xiaoming, where Angelababy wore a vintage Chaumet tiara and necklace along with a Joséphine collection wedding ring. The article outperformed average articles by 3 times the normal traffic.

For the Birks brand we ensured the article layout and design adhered to the brand standards for each brand, working with Birks and their brand vendors to obtain approval at each step. An understanding of the work process for our clients and appreciation for the importance of brand presentation on different platforms is what helps our work perform better than average. 

Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help your brand build a successful presence on WeChat!

CASE STUDY: Timely WeChat Topics to Improve Article Performance - Regency Lexus

One key success factor to using WeChat advertorials is to make your content a timely and welcomed read for the target audience. For example, our client Regency Lexus had recently launched their branded WeChat account, and was wondering how they could build a presence on the platform.

After an analysis of the client brand and values, we determined we would focus on their core strengths of after sales service and helping their clients make an informed decision on their car purchase. Making an informed decision means taking the time to explain pertinent details of the car and giving recommendations for the benefit of the client instead of making the car purchase transactional. 

With this in mind, we crafted a WeChat campaign explaining the difference between snow tires and winter tires and how the two perform differently in winter weather conditions. As expected, the article was shared over 70 times with only one advertorial placement, and read over 1600 times. When we released this article, the city was worrying about upcoming subzero temperatures and a snowstorm. Releasing an article on the topic to educate readers on the benefits of getting proper tires for the season proved to be timely and relevant. 

This increased our client's following tenfold, and acted as a great springboard for their subsequent content. The advertorial also spurred other competitors to follow suit and begin writing on topics to educate their car clientele, which means even the industry was in agreement with the approach. 

Contact our team today to see how our WeChat Strategists can help launch your brand on WeChat, the #1 Chinese social media platform.

PHOTOGRAPHY || Using Shadows to Your Advantage

When the sun is shining bright, you usually hear photographers say that it's not optimal lighting, because they feel the sunlight is too harsh, leading to overexposed photos. However, if you are able to learn how to work with light and shadow, you can create some great photos showcasing great contrast. 

For example, take a look at the photo below we took for Pendulum Magazine, it was high hour for sunshine, and outdoors the sunlight would have been much harder to work with, but in this open-air hotel corridor, sunlight worked with the shadows, creating sharp lines that add to the moody feel of the photo. 

Shadows help to create sharp lines and silhouettes against the wall.

Another example would be the photo below, also from The Kinney Hotel in Los Angeles, where the shadows add texture and depth to the photo, enriching the composition. If the sun had been shining from behind our camera lens, the photo would just show white walls, resulting in a much flatter composition.

Shadows add depth to a photo.

So the next time you feel like the lighting is too harsh, try to find opportunities with a combination of indoor and outdoor settings, using shadows to your advantage.

WeChat Brochures for Real Estate Project Marketing

Reality check. Most WeChat users don't like to leave the app, so asking them to click a link that redirects to another browser is the same as committing 'conversion suicide'. 

So what are some innovative ways for real estate developers and marketers to get through to the desired audience to see if they are interested enough to engage in additional 'clicks'?

On the WeChat platform, QR codes are king, so that's the first thing you need to wrap your head around. So how can you use QR codes to track the additional layer of engagement beyond just reading your WeChat advertorial on the platform? 

Choose an action! Do you want them to:

  1. Scan a QR code to add your salesperson on WeChat for sales inquiries?
  2. Scan a QR code to visit your website? Which may be in English and not Chinese? Understand that if you are advertising on a Chinese-only platform, your landing page should be in Chinese. 
  3. Scan a QR code to view a WeChat brochure? We're going to expand on this one. 

WeChat Brochure - Why Real Estate?

Avalon 3 by Wesgroup Properties - WeChat Brochure.

Realtors often make up the majority of the people who attend the project previews and grand openings, taking photos on their phone and the showrooms and distributing these photos to their sales prospects via WeChat. Most realtors are good at selling, and aren't photographers, so the photos wouldn't have the optimal lighting, composition, etc. that you, the developer or the project marketer would have in mind. 

Beautiful lead in pages and mobile optimized, legible writing.

The WeChat Brochure is one of the methods for you to gain back control of your brand on WeChat. 

With a WeChat Brochure, it functions within the WeChat platform, isn't a PDF brochure where readers have to zoom in and out to see the details, and most importantly, allows you to provide WeChat-friendly materials for distribution on the platform.

Legible floor plans with easy-to-read descriptions.

Visitors to your sales events and/or sales centre can scan the QR code to get the WeChat Brochure, and they can then forward this to their clients, friends, colleagues via WeChat message or on their personal newsfeed. 

An efficient and elegant solution for real estate developers to market presale projects and retain control over the brand on WeChat - the #1 Chinese social media platform. 

How It Works

To see how a WeChat Brochure looks, simply scan either one of the QR codes below using the built-in QR code scanner in the WeChat mobile app to view brochures for Avalon 3 by Wesgroup and Polaris by Transca Development.

Readers can then share this brochure on WeChat in private chat groups, messages, and on their personal newsfeed to help promote your brand on WeChat.

What to Include in Your WeChat Brochure

So what should be included in a WeChat Brochure? We recommend the following elements for a WeChat brochure.

  • Company / Developer background - brief paragraph
  • Architect Bio
  • Interior Design Firm - brief paragraph
  • Feature floor plans - Chinese investors like to see one bedroom, one bedroom + den, and at most 2 bedrooms because beyond that it's harder for them to rent out. 
  • Starting prices - the numbers
  • Ways to contact your sales team - insert the QR code for your Chinese sales personnel so they can scan and get in touch.

Beautiful integration of showroom photos and renderings, making the most of your visual assets.