Fanbytes are making digital waves with their award winning social media campaigns for some huge global brands. Their secret weapon? Gen Z influencers and unique data insights to what makes consumers stop scrolling.
Ocean Clarke, account director at Fanbytes, shares how their data tools are matching brands with both creators and their social media audiences, whilst Stacey, Sprout’s dedicated social media agony aunt, helps a clinic balance content creation against privacy-conscious customers.
Get in touch with Stacey with your own social media dilemma by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and continue the conversation with Fanbytes by connecting via @Fanbytes across all social media channels.
Cat: Welcome to Social Creatures, a podcast from Sprout Social. I’m Cat, and I’m here to explore some of my favorite success stories from the world of social media. This is a space for everyone and really, nearly anything goes.
But what makes an account successful or popular? Honestly, it’s hard to know, but that’s what we’re here to find out.
Throughout the series, we’ll talk with the brands behind the accounts you know, and some that you don’t. To explore the weird and wonderful ways that businesses, organizations, and individuals have achieved success on social media, all with tangible insights that you can apply to your own social strategies.
And we’ll be heeding the advice of Stacey, our social media agony aunt, who’s here to guide you through some of your trickiest digital dilemmas.
This week, I’m joined by Ocean Clarke who’s an Account Director at Fanbytes. Fanbytes is an award-winning social media and influencer marketing agency. Specializing in TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat, Fanbytes creates what they call scroll stopping campaigns, using Gen Z influencer talent from the UK.
They’ve worked with loads of brand giants, such as Deliveroo, Clinique, Vestiaire Collective, McVitie’s, Universal Music Group — that’s just to name a few. And their success has reached even bigger heights over the past few months. So, I am dying to hear more.
In the meantime, you can take a look at Fanbyte’s work by connecting with them by using @Fanbytes on all of the usual social media channels.
Ocean, lovely to have you here.
Ocean: Lovely to be here. Thanks for having me.
Cat: So, perhaps, first of all, we can start with the basics. We spoke a little bit in the introduction there about what Fanbytes does, but where might I have come across some of its campaigns, and how do they look, and what makes your content so distinctive?
Ocean: Sure. So, in terms of the type of campaigns that we run, generally, every campaign is quite different and will kind of primarily depend on the client’s objectives for that campaign, their goals. Generally, it will be across platforms like TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat.
We also do account growth for our clients and content creation. And often, our campaigns also involve an element of paid media. So, I guess we try and take a more integrated approach in the campaigns that we run.
What makes us generally quite different? I’d say is we don’t necessarily like to work on campaigns whereby we’re working with influencers who are like holding a product up next to their face. That kind of heavily promotional ad-heavy content, we find doesn’t really work as well.
So, one thing for us is just really making sure that we are driving value within the campaigns that we run. So, whether that’s providing educational content, inspiration, entertainment, a bit of light-hearted, comedic relief on TikTok, for example — that’s something that’s always super important to us.
And the other thing would be just kind of making sure that the creative is at the heart of the content that we are creating. So, we tend to be quite bold in the terms of the influencers we work with and also, the creative ideas that we utilize within our campaigns.
Cat: I feel like you’ve mentioned a few real key terms here. So, bold (check), creative at the core of everything that you do (check) — all of these, probably slightly more emerging platforms, all of it kind of aligns with Gen Z in the house.
This is something that is pretty integral to Fanbytes, isn’t it? Like how much is Gen Z and the magic of that particular generation part of your team and the company identity?
Ocean: I’d say it’s a pretty key part actually. So, if we take our founders, for example, they’re within the Gen Z demographic themselves. So, yeah, I’d say it’s definitely part of our identity. It helps us to shape the way that we think, the way that we strategize and also, the way that we approach campaign briefs.
I’m lucky enough to work with some really inspiring Gen Z colleagues as well. So, I think that’s really important is actually just being able to bounce ideas off each other and it always helps in terms of our campaign planning as well. So, yeah, I’d say it’s definitely an integral part of our company.
Cat: And why do you think Fanbytes decided to focus specifically on Gen Z influencers and targeting Gen Z audiences? Is it a case of we are Gen Z, so we know how to speak to these people or was it a gap in the market, or maybe a combination of both?
Ocean: Sure. Yeah. So, I feel like Gen Z consumers are a pretty fascinating consumer group. And I think for a long time, businesses have really struggled to actually understand the behaviors of that group, to learn how to successfully engage them.
Gen Z make up around 30% of our world’s population. So, they have also massive spending power, so super important to brands. I think one benefit that we have is actually being able to understand how Gen Z consumers behave online and how this relates to the kind of content that they want to consume.
And I guess understanding the way that Gen Z think, behave, act is so important. So, as a consumer group, they are digital natives. They’ve grown up with technology, they’re very used to using their phone for absolutely everything they do in their everyday life.
Whether that’s ordering their dinner to turn up at the door within 20 minutes, ordering something for their home that arrives the next day; the way that they behave is very different to other generations. And I think that’s something that’s really key when looking to actually advertise to that group.
They’re also the most diverse generation in history and that’s in terms of race, gender, sexuality. So, yeah, they definitely expect representation from brands and also, within advertising campaigns too.
So, I think in terms of the way that this audience behaves, it’s quite different to other generations. And that’s, I guess, why it’s a key focus for us. Our founders are also Gen Z, so I think there’s definitely kind of a gap in the market there in terms of knowing how we can engage these audiences where other brands or companies might really struggle.
But that being said, we do also manage campaigns that target other consumer groups. So, not every campaign we manage is Gen Z-focused, but it’s definitely, I guess, we have kind of expertise within that.
Cat: It absolutely is a gap in the market, and honestly, just listening to your answer, I feel like I got the echoes of the hundreds of times people have asked me like, “Oh my goodness, how on earth do I reach Gen Z?” Like it just seems to absolutely bamboozle so many companies and brands. So, I think what Fanbytes is doing is really bang on the money.
And with that said, I’d be interested to hear a little bit about who are the influencers that you work with? Like how do you select influencers to work with? And also, I’d love to take in a little bit more to your point about how just holding up a product and saying like, “Ooh, I love this” is a bit nuff and doesn’t work.
So, maybe you can tell us a little bit about how do you get influencers involved in these campaigns in a way that feels a little less icky?
Ocean: Yeah, for sure. Like it’s always going to be a challenge. And I think to be honest, even the word “influencer” has been a bit of a dirty word within the industry. I know there’s a lot of people that don’t actually like being called influencers. They’d prefer to be called creators or key opinion leaders, or just experts within whatever their niche may be.
So, I guess in terms of the way that we work with influencers, I think a lot of the time within the industry, there’s been this view that influences means, for example, reality TV stars, Love Island celebrities. But the influences we work with are quite different to that.
So, it’s anyone that’s managed to organically grow a following across whichever platforms that may be. So, in terms of the influences we work on campaigns with, they tend to be quite different depending on what the individual creative is, which platforms we’re activating on.
We’ve worked with musicians, dancers, athletes, sports stars, core enthusiasts, comedians, artists — anyone that is an expert within their niche, or has something to say that resonates with the audience.
What we look for when partnering with influencers? There’s so many elements to consider. So, I guess originally, kind of looking at the content that they create, will that resonate with the audience, will the creative work on that channel, need to look at the data. So, in terms of their own demographic, who we actually going to be hitting by working with this influencer.
We need to look at the quality of content, the type of content that they create about. And also, I guess, just kind of more in terms of the actual influencer themselves, what are their own values? Does that align with the creative? Does that align with the brand? So yeah, lots to consider, I’d say.
Cat: Yeah, for sure. But it all sort of makes a lot of sense having that more holistic view of what’s likely to work and looking at the data, that’s how you approach all other types of marketing. So, it totally makes sense to do that with influencers.
And I think that it’s a part of the industry that is still really developing. So, what Fanbytes is doing, this signs streaks ahead of what a lot of other companies are actually doing, which is exciting.
But speaking of what user up to, obviously, in the introduction, we mentioned some of the amazing brands you’ve been working with, but I’m interested; could you tell me, maybe what’s been your most successful campaign so far? And I mean, I can’t help. I’m like an old crusty millennial.
I did see that there was one that involved George Michael, which caught my attention. I was like, “Who doesn’t love George Michael?” So, I don’t know. Maybe you could tell is what’s been your most successful campaign so far that people might have seen.
Ocean: Absolutely, yes. So, in terms of the campaigns that we’ve run generally, I guess, it’ll kind of depend on what the client’s goals and KPIs are for that campaign in terms of how we deliver success.
But yeah, the George Michael example was a really great one actually. So, we partnered with Sony. The kind of challenge of the campaign was to re-release George Michael’s song, Careless Whisper, which was actually released back in 1984. So, basically, predates oldest Gen Z by over a decade.
So, the way that we did this was by partnering with macro comedy and lifestyle talent across TikTok. So, like really relatable profiles who could basically use the song within their content. And in terms of results, we managed to achieve over 14 million views, which is incredible. We also partnered with meme pages across Instagram to basically reshare the content, so great for views.
And then we managed to achieve over 125,000 pieces of user-generated content. And I think the reason that we were able to do that was just by really making sure that the creative was relevant to that Gen Z audience group. So, we had lots of people, including the song within their content that they’d be creating kind of on a daily basis.
By doing that, we managed to make the song relevant to Gen Z audience, which is, I guess, exactly what we wanted to do with the campaign. And we’ve seen this happen quite a lot with songs that were released in the eighties actually becoming popular on TikTok in our day and age, which is really exciting.
So, yeah, I think TikTok has a real connection to the music industry. And we were able to kind of capitalize on that within this campaign.
Cat: Also, Careless Whisper is a banger, like an absolute banger of a tune. I love that. And I think that trends are like the new viral really. Like it used to just be that like a tweet could be shared and liked so many times or a YouTube video could be watched so many times.
But I think the way virality has moved into platforms like TikTok and Snapchat is that people will jump in and get involved and get engaged. So, it’s like way more powerful for a brand to kind of be tied up within that.
I think a lot of the work that you’re doing also signs very much like brand awareness, which as you correctly say, can be difficult to measure success from. But it would be completely remiss of me to not mention that you do have data at the heart of everything that you use because you have your own tool called bitesights.
So, maybe you could tell us a little bit about your data tool bitesights, and how that helps with your campaigns.
Ocean: For sure, yes. So, in terms of the way that we approach campaigns, we always want to be data-driven. We want to use as much data points and insight as possible when planning our campaigns. It’s something that’s incredibly important.
In terms of our bitesights tool, so it basically allows us to track things like hashtags, influencers to seeing like who’s up-and-coming within the space whose accounts are growing quickly, who should we work with on up-and-coming campaigns.
It also helps us to look at topics that are being discussed on particular platform. So, which conversations can we tap into when working on a particular campaign? So, it’s great for, I guess, also tracking trends before they blow up on the platform, and working out how we can actually utilize those trends within our content.
[Music Playing 00:13:50]
Cat: Now, here at Sprout Social, we know that social media is a wild and wonderful beast. It can surprise and delight, but it can also confuse and perplex, even the hardiest of social media users.
Who better to turn to for help than our social media expert, Stacey Wright, who’s here to answer your questions over a cup of tea and some biscuits, in the part of the show we like to call, Sound Advice.
Stacey: I’ve got my cup of tea and I’ve got my letters, which can only mean it’s time for us to take a break and cozy down together.
This is the part of the podcast where I, your social media agony aunt, Stacy, guide you, our dear listeners, through your trickiest digital dilemmas.
Right, let me see what social media conundrums you’ve sent my way today.
Dear Stacy, we’ve been a little late to the party on social media as our business has relied heavily on word-of-mouth referrals for decades. We are a discreet little salon that focuses on hair loss and hair replacement, priding ourselves on the confidentiality of our client base.
Hair loss can cause a lot of anxiety, self-consciousness, and can be very traumatic. But when our clients come in and have treatments, they leave beaming with confidence.
So, my question is how do we create more brand awareness on the quality and uplifting nature of our work when our clients want to remain anonymous?
We have a few clients who don’t mind us taking before and after photos, as long as their face is covered or unrecognizable, but this is infrequent. And so, we struggle to have content to update our profiles very often.
How do we put more volume and oomph into our social like we do with our clients’ luscious new locks? Look forward to hearing from you, Jess.
Thank you, Jess. And firstly, I would say, start communicating who you are as a brand. So, create some introductory content that is always pinned to your profile. Maybe stories, highlights on Instagram or pinned posts at the top of your Facebook feed.
When I say this should focus on you as a brand, that’s because not everyone will want to have the exact same results. So, it should convey the experience they have when coming to the salon as a whole.
So, content could be meet the team, have interviews with you and the other team members, what they can expect from an initial consultation, frequently asked questions from other clients, video tours of the salon, or even product explanations and benefits.
This content could be created as simple DIY videos that you produce on your phone, just yourselves presenting to camera, or they can be professionally produced depending on the budget that you have, but the more authentic, the better. Share your personality and how you make your clients feel at ease.
If you’re struggling to get photos from clients, maybe focus on their reviews, telling you and your audience how it feels to come into the salon. So, how does it feel to work with the team? And most importantly, what is the effect of the treatments on them emotionally?
You can sign it off with just initials for discretion, but ask them to add a location to so you can share the breadth of how far people actually travel to come and take up your services. You can present these little quotes on design templates, again, either really simple ones, using free mobile design tools or have them created professionally.
If they’re even wary of giving you a full review, maybe you can just ask the client how they’re feeling at the end of a treatment and just focus on one word. Even just highlighting the word “amazing” alongside a teammate’s name and the treatment that you gave, it forms a regular content stream for you to have like reaction of the week. Something that has a regular cadence, which can be really valuable.
But do continue to ask and collect those before and after pics. But you could also try new formats of them. So, stuff that will give you extra reach and views more than static content will.
So, this could be short, close-up videos, showing the transformation, or maybe even carousels, showing the whole process of the treatment so that users have to scroll through.
So, Jess, I hope this helps you reinvigorate your social feeds as much as you boost your client’s confidence. Until next time listeners, stay strong and stay social. And back to the interview.
Cat: I just wanted to pick up on a point you said earlier about how Gen Z is the most diverse generation in history, which is obviously, absolutely fantastic and exciting, and presents a really cool opportunity. But I wonder does it make the works that you’re doing significantly harder?
Ocean: I think so. Yeah, because there’s a lot of cultural sensitivities that we need to be aware of when managing campaigns and looking to target Gen Z groups in terms of the way that those audiences think, like they expect brands to work with influences who represent multiple groups. And that’s in terms of ethnicity, sexuality, genders.
So, it’s something that we always need to be aware of when working with our clients, is actually making sure that our campaigns are representative. There’s also, when you look at the actual opinions and behaviors of this group, they’re very passionate about politics and environmental issues or sustainability, whether that be racial injustice.
So, we definitely need to be quite sensitive in terms of the brands that we’re working, and within our creatives as well.
Cat: I love that though, but it’s also like being sensitive is one thing, but it’s also that Gen Z is pretty aware of what’s going on and will not give any brands any leeway for bad behavior really. Like I think it’s really good that Gen Z really holds brands accountable. Would you agree?
Ocean: I would, yeah, 100% agree. I think the way that Gen Z could even see it now is that brands should understand and know that these issues might exist. So, they need to be very aware within the way that they advertise to these groups.
And yeah, they absolutely, Gen Z audiences absolutely will hold brands accountable if they feel like they’re not stepping up to the mark, which I personally love. I think they’re one of the most fascinating generations and yeah, I kind of love that they won’t let brands get away with it nowadays.
Cat: I know in my introduction as well, I mentioned that you’ve had quite an exciting time recently, and I know there’s been some awards, but also, that you were actually acquired by Brainlabs, which is a digital-first agency in May of this year, which is really exciting.
I’d love to hear about all of the excitement of the past six months or so, but I’d also like to know how did that development come about and what did that mean for the business?
Ocean: Yeah, I think we’re in a really exciting time at the moment. Actually, it’s still quite new for us. So, Brainlabs offer kind of performance marketing and they are absolutely brilliant at what they do.
We, I guess, are bringing our own kind of creative expertise within the influencer piece. And the idea is that we can really kind of work quite closely together in order to deliver campaigns that are far reaching.
And take, I guess, a bit more of an integrated approach in terms of the work that we do for our clients. So, yeah, I’d say being able to utilize the incredible products that the Brainlabs team has built over the years will help us to think more strategically when planning campaigns.
Cat: Another exciting project that I saw is that you’ve launched a fund to support black creators and businesses, which I’d absolutely love to see. Could you tell us a little bit more about that and why that was a focus for the company?
Ocean: Yeah, for sure. So, the initial reason that our founder, Tim, launched the impact fund was to break the cycle of underrepresentation of black businesses and black creators, basically by providing marketing support.
So, if we look back to 2020 in terms of the Black Lives Movement, and there was loads of conversation around underrepresentation and racial injustice and inequality within the industry; this is particularly so within the advertising industry as well.
It’s something that has always been really important to our founders who are incredibly passionate about actually helping the industry and kind of giving individuals a step up within the influencer marketing industry as a whole.
The conversation around diversity and inclusion is definitely stepping up, which is brilliant to see. We all know how important it is, but I do feel like a lot of the time, there’s more kind of being discussed than is actually being done. And the way that it works is we basically give £5,000 campaigns to black business owners and we partner with black creators on those campaigns.
So, we’re able to actually provide value to both the creators by paying them and also, to businesses as well to kind of give them a step up within the industry.
Cat: I think that’s absolutely fabulous. And you’re so on the point. I don’t think that there’s anybody who would disagree that encouraging more diversity in pretty much every single industry is a good thing.
So, it’s great to see that you’ve taken such an active step in making sure that this value is actually realized in the work that you do. So, kudos to that. I think that’s absolutely fabulous.
Well, Ocean, we’ve got to our final question, and it’s a question that we ask everyone on the podcast, which is if Fanbytes had to delete all of the accounts that it follows on social media leaving only one, which would it be and why?
Ocean: I feel like this is so tricky because this is literally what we do, is social media. But I’d have to say, and this might sound like quite a dull answer, but it would probably need to be some kind of informational resource that we could use to basically know what’s going on within the world and within our industry.
So, accounts like The Drum are brilliant for this. We can look at what’s going on, on different platforms, what’s going on in terms of the marketing industry. Cause the one thing about our industry is that it changes so frequently. You really do need to keep up to date with what’s going on in the social space.
So, that I think definitely helps us to be able to stay ahead within our space.
Cat: That’s so funny. Do you know of all the answers that we’ve had, I think sometimes people are like, we’re going pick our best pal or an account we really like. But of course, it makes so much sense for you to be like, “Well, this is mission critical. We can’t afford to not have access to our social media points.” So, I love that yours is a very strategic answer.
Ocean, thank you so much for taking the time to chat to us today. I think the work you’re doing is super cool. And yeah, it’s been really interesting to learn a little bit more about how you go about absolutely charming Generation Z. Thanks so much.
Ocean: Thank you so much. Great to chat.
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Cat: You’ve been listening to Social Creatures with me, Cat Anderson. Many thanks to Ocean of Fanbytes for joining me today, and to Sprout Social for making this podcast possible.
Make sure you catch the rest of the series by subscribing on your favorite podcast platform, where you can tune into a new episode every two weeks.
You can continue the conversation around today’s episode by getting in touch on our social media at Sprout Social or by sending your social media quandaries to our agony aunt Stacey, by emailing email@example.com.
Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you in two weeks.
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