If you haven’t heard of BTS yet, I have two questions. First question – are you hiding in a cave? Second question – WHY?!
Kidding aside, BTS is undoubtedly the king of social media. The Korean pop group’s unique use of social media has cultivated a multi-language fan base that is groundbreaking and unheard of.
In a time when the charts have become a sleuth of streams, radio, and music downloads, a sure way of measuring the top in pop might be the Billboard Music Awards’ Billboard Social 50, a sub-chart that measures reach across social networks. BTS has ranked top social artist consecutively since 2017.
Translated as Bulletproof Boy Scouts aka Bangtan Boys, BTS is also the most tweeted about musicians in the U.S. in 2020. A title they have been defending since 2017.
Results like these are insane because they have never released any songs in English. It was only in July of 2020 when they released their first English song, “Dynamite.” And at the time of writing, the Dynamite music video on Youtube already has 1.2 billion views.
BTS: 70.9 Million searches on Youtube
Speaking of Youtube, a look at Google Trends for Youtube, you’ll be able to see that BTS has a mind-boggling 70.9 million searches a month. Approximately 2.3 million people are searching about BTS every day.
In addition to the popularity of the Kpop group. BTS’ Dynamite held the record for most views within 24 hours with 101million views. It was dethroned with 108million by BTS with their second English song, “Butter.” BTS holds five spots on the list out of the top ten most-viewed music videos in 24 hours.
Now you might ask yourself, how can an Asian boy band, who barely speaks English, take social media by storm?
Understanding the struggle of Kpop
South Korea exports a lot of products, from cars to computers to mobile devices. And a Korean Pop song is just another product for them to ship. It’s a tightly controlled big-money game.
And South Korea has already been cultivating its popular music for decades. At the beginning of the 21st century, Korean pop, or K-pop as we call it today, has worked on packaging up appealing pop brands by creating massive factory-like systems.
South Korea perfected this system and produced the likes of Super Junior, Big Bang, Wonder Girls, and 2NE1, to name a few. K-pop grew successful in Asia; however, this success had a hard time reaching elsewhere in the world.
Korea back then was already one of the most wired nations in the world. So when the Youtube era began, record labels in their early development had to get good at Youtube. So it’s just a matter of time for a Kpop artist to blow up and be known internationally.
.The unexpected viral hit
The K-pop industry focused on producing perfectly polished pop dolls, then PSY came along. PSY was not the typical K-Pop star during that time. He’s older, shorter, and less good-looking than his male counterparts in the industry. But he was the answer K-pop needed to capture the world’s attention.
PSY’s Gangnam Style was a cultural phenomenon. The Gangnam Style Youtube music video went viral, and it was the 1st Youtube video to garner 1 billion views in five months. To put into perspective, Justin Bieber’s “Baby” took five years to achieve a billion views.
Everyone mimicked his dance moves, from politicians to well-known celebrities. You might recognize it by the invisible horse-riding dance, which in itself shows just how much of a hit the song was; the standard person can tell what the title of the song was by just its dance.
The theory that K-pop is uniquely and exceptionally video-oriented might help explain how “Gangnam Style” overcame the industry’s weaknesses. It got the world’s attention not by the music itself but because of the video. If the video weren’t as outrageous and hilarious, it would not have gotten the traction it did in Western markets.
With the success that PSY got in the west, you would have thought that other Korean artists would follow in his footsteps and try making American debuts, Right? Yes, they did try, but to no avail.
Big names in Kpop like Rain, Wonder Girls, and Girls’ Generation all tried to appeal to the Americans with English music releases, but all have failed to impact the western public.
So how did BTS break the barrier again, and this time stay on top?
The answer is quite simple; they use the power of social media.
BTS was in the right place at the right time
Today, we know Social Media to be a powerful marketing channel, especially if you have a tiny budget to work with and want to reach a significant number of people.
BTS debuted in June 2013, a surprisingly critical time for K-pop within the English-speaking Internet. The “Gangnam Style” mania had begun to die down; however, social media use among the general public had been slowly building up. And because BTS launched their social media accounts before the Gangnam craze (Twitter made in 2011 and YouTube channel in 2012), they were able to attract more fans.
BTS extensively relied on Youtube and Twitter to promote themselves online, which was a massive contradiction to the standards of the Kpop industry.
During this era, many Kpop artists rely on Korean news channels and tv shows to make a name for themselves. BTS, however, came from a small independent company with a few resources to their name, which makes it challenging to find opportunities in a media sphere that a select few companies have dominated for so long. Traditional media was out of the question.
BTS is a seven-member boy band. Naturally, you’ll assume that individually, members would have their personal social media accounts, right? Wrong. BTS went against the norm and developed their brand identity by sharing social media accounts. Which includes one YouTube account holding their music videos, one TikTok account, one Instagram account, and one Twitter account. Although this may not be standard for other groups, some think this strategy could be convenient for fans.
With this shared Twitter account, members of the group would interact with their fans, AMRYs as they call themselves. Group members share their daily life by posting selfies, videos, and even birthday wishes to other members.
Instead of fans following each member and trying to get info about their Idol, pun intended, ARMYs have a single place where they can find fun, entertaining content about their favorite group. ARMYs read through these posts; like browsing through a friend’s feed, they feel closer to the members.
BTS also updates their life with ARMYs by Weverse, a fan-exclusive website, where members also read and reply to posts by fans.
Also, they do live streaming from time to time through a Korean video website/app, Vlive. BTS has constantly tried to update fans on their activities through planned and unplanned interactions through live streaming. They provide coverage of their waiting time backstage before concerts, spontaneous lives from members, collectively or individually, with or without a defined purpose. Live streaming is exceptionally interactive since it allows members to see and react to the comments from fans in real-time.
By staying interactive with fans on social media, BTS lessens their distance from ARMYs, creating a strong emotional bond.
BTS was already uniquely poised for a global takeover. BTS was at the right place at the right time; they haven’t realized it yet.
One of BTS’s most efficient ways to increase their social media presence and remain visible is by adding different content on their social media pages.
Their YouTube channel, BANGTANGTV, posts a series of videos titled ‘BANGTAN BOMB.’ These videos record what happens behind the scenes, from their hard work preparing and practicing for their performances to heart-warming surprise parties on members’ birthdays.
They also have their own online variety shows, Run BTS and Bon Voyage. Run BTS usually includes games and experience in various themes. For example, they asked to learn how to make coffee from a barista in one episode. Bon Voyage, in contrast, records their trip overseas.
These videos show a different side of BTS off-stage, such as some members’ cooking skills, carelessness during travel, and relationships with members. They present BTS’ charm from several viewpoints and reveal some flaws that attract even more fans as they make the world-known artists less remote.
When presented with a product online or on the supermarket aisle, you probably asked yourself, “What is it in for me?”. The same thing goes with pop stars. See, you can be the most talented dancer, singer, rapper, or producer in the world, but you still have to get people to care about you to have your work seen. What is it in for me?
BTS was formed initially intending to be a hip-hop group that would make music for young people. As a result, BTS has songs about social issues that the youth can relate to. Tracks about love and sadness. Songs talking about expectations placed on young people to mental health issues and the struggle to find happiness.
Adding the content from their social media accounts about them backstage, struggling with choreography, cooking, and overall wholesome, down-to-earth fun makes the fans understand them even more.
Another strategy BTS leveraged with their social media campaign is Influencer Marketing. Oh wait, but they are already famous; why do they need to get influencers?
By collaborating with international artists like Steve Aoki, Halsey and Nicki Minaj, and Ed Sheeran, BTS could take advantage of the group’s exposure from the millions of social media followers these artists have. Nicki Minaj has 150million followers on Instagram; that’s 150million more people that can get to know BTS.
Being relatable and the interactivity and variety of BTS’ social media coupled with good music collaborations enables BTS to show their charm and bond with fans, which builds a deep-rooted connection.
These are the elements that PSY’s Gangnam Style missed. Yes, one power of social media is the ability to go viral. But viral success is short-lived. The life span of most viral content is pretty restricted, and you should review if the total number of traffic you get from viral content is still getting you a parallel amount of quality traffic.
It’s better to craft social media strategies that will help develop real, longer-term connections with your target audience.
And with the case of BTS, it’s a great social media success story.
We at Annelle Digital would like to help set your social media strategies. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now that’s not enough time to have a proper conversation going, but we must make what is due and hope for the best.
A Website is your calling card
Your business’ website is the personification of your company online. It is your brand’s calling card on the internet. This is where your brand interacts with strangers from around the world. People that don’t know anything about what you sell or what you do.
And when a prospect happens to land on your page, your site needs to make that good first impression. If your website fails to do so, your prospects might leave and go to websites that do. Remember, a tenth of a second is all it takes.
Content is not always king
Content is King. But that isn’t always the case. When it comes to making the best possible first impression on the web, I say Design is King.
Have you ever landed on a website and the site’s spinning wheel keeps on turning and turning? I am sure you have at least once. What do you do? Do you stay or do you just search for a different website that matches your query?
Or have you landed on a page and the layout’s a mess or the color is just wrong and you can literally hear your eyes screaming.
In preparation for Annelle Digital’s third year anniversary, we planned a redesign of our website. Our previous web design is already okay, but as the saying goes, you can always find room for improvement.
Annelle’s team decided to go for a minimalist design for the new website which tends toward more whitespaces, better typography, grid layouts, and less color. Not only does it look better aesthetically, but a minimalist web design helps with SEO.
Web design affects SEO
Quality visual paired with great content leads users to stay a little bit longer on your site. When users take part and dive into your content, this signals search engines that your site is reputable and rank-worthy.
With the help of web design best practices, balanced with a good-looking site, web crawlers can index your site more quickly, boosting your rankings.
A simple and clean feel flows throughout Annelle’s website. From the Services page to the About section.
When designing a website, you need to keep both the users and search engines in mind. It is advisable to invest in a good web design at the beginning.
What is your first impression of our new website? Let us hear in the comment section below.
Not sure how to combine a good web design and SEO? Message our team and together let us build a strategy in taking your business to the next level.
It’s hard to imagine that it has already been 3 years. We started Annelle Digital as a means to improve our craft for SEO – learn and earn at the same time. Being in the SEO industry for almost 8 years at the time, starting a small agency would be another feather in our cap.
My husband and I, together with a very close friend, all with an SEO professional background, started Annelle Digital, a digital marketing agency in the Philippines. We talked to friends and family to ask for referrals to find clients for our small business.
3 years later here we are, 8 employees strong, with international and local clients under our belt. We started with SEO, link building, and web development services, and now Annelle Digital handles social media management. It is fun to think that it started as a side hustle.
Every company event during our initial year was special. It was our first in everything. From our first meeting as an agency to our very first company outing. Every second was savored and cherished, it was sheer bliss..
On our 1st year anniversary, the whole Annelle Digital team traveled to Singapore. We spent 4 days and 3 nights taking in all the tourist spots Singapore has to offer – Little India, Chinatown, the iconic Bugis Street, and Gardens by the bay. Universal Studios Singapore was a whole day affair, to be honest, a whole day is not enough to go on all the rides.
And it is not a vacation in Singapore without a photo at the Merlion, Singapore’s Merlion is known to be the official mascot of Singapore, showcasing a mythical creature with a lion’s head and fish’s body.
We planned our next anniversary celebration to be as fun as the first, but faith has something else in mind.
2020 kicked off rough, with the Coronavirus pandemic and all. We had to cancel any travel celebrations due to Covid restrictions. But it didn’t stop the team from celebrating. Yes, we celebrated still, virtually that is. Be it the 2nd anniversary, or the Christmas party later that year, video conferencing bridged the gap for us to have fun.
Even though the year started not as planned, we are still blessed. Our families are still healthy. We helped a couple of businesses with their SEO. We also gained a new team member.
This year’s third-anniversary celebration will be no different, the pandemic has not yet passed, travel restrictions are still imposed, gatherings are narrowed to a minimum. But we will still have fun and celebrate virtually. And with the distribution of the vaccines, we are optimistic that the future will be brighter for all.
We at Annelle Digital would like to thank everyone who has been a part of our journey. We are always striving to create better services and help more businesses to reach their goal. Our grit and dedication are reflected in our appreciation for quality service. We look forward to working more with you!
I often see various people on social media groups who are new to marketing, people starting a freelance career, or people starting a business and all of them ask the same line of questions.
The who-what-when-where-why-how of marketing.
These are all valid questions, and I understand that people shifting into marketing are unfamiliar where to start. And I’m glad that there are people in these communities who help and guide these newbies with all their concerns.
However, I feel like there is a topic that is frequently overlooked. And in my opinion, this should be the foundation of all our marketing efforts. It’s called “Branding”. And believe it or not, having a branding strategy is vital for any business.
When you hear the names Apple, Coca Cola, Nike or McDonald’s what comes to mind? Did you think about the products or services they offer? Did you think about an experience you had with them? Did a person, commercial, piece of advertising or a specific color come to mind?
If you associated a combination of elements, a color, a product, an experience or an identity to any one of those businesses, you have an idea of what a brand is.
History of branding
The term Brand derives from the Old Norse word brandr or “to burn,” and refers to the practice of branding livestock, which dates back more than 4,000 years to the Indus Valley.
Cattle owners would brand their mark or name into their cattle. This would help them tell one cattle from another.
Branding evolved and eventually this method of distinguishing the maker of a particular product became important when a craftsman or producer would want their goods to stick out on a store shelf. They would put their name, logo or signature on it.
As time passes, consumers would come to know and trust a producer’s product over another.
Today, a brand is much more than a product with a name on it.
“A brand as the intangible, sum of a product’s attributes, its name, packaging and price, its history, its reputation, and the way it’s advertised” – David Ogilvy, the father of advertising
And that’s exactly what brand is, a summation of attributes associated with the business that make up an experience about that business. A brand can consist of the products or services it offers, a brand is the feeling you get when you step into that business’s location or log on to their website, their logo and the colors or images they use, the words they use and the voice in which they communicate, the stories they tell about what they do, the principles or the values they stand by, the connection they make and how it makes the consumer feel in relationship to them.
Ultimately, creating a brand is creating a personality or identity for your business that differentiates you from your competitors in the marketplace.
“Brand is a name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors” -AMA, Keller (2013)
Why you should have a Brand
We as consumers may think to buy a product mainly on how it tastes, how it feels or what it does, but there’s a lot more association going on at a deeper, experiential level than we think. Let’s look at some of the reasons why you should have a brand,
Brands build trust. Brands tend to have a history connected with them. And people who had positive experience with a product or service will probably trust the brand as well.
You wouldn’t trust a condiment or a toothpaste, but you would trust Heinz or Del Monte, or Colgate because it’s quality consistency.
A brand connects through believes it communicates, and draws in customers who share the same beliefs. An example would be the global outdoor lifestyle brand – Timberland.
Timberland announced in 2019 a new commitment to plant 50 million trees around the world by 2025 as part of its pursuit of a greener future. This bold goal builds on Timberland’s longstanding commitment to make products responsibly, strengthen communities, and protect and enhance the outdoors.
Those who want to purchase apparel but also want to connect to a bigger story will be drawn to Timberland.
Brands are a signal to consumers about what they can expect from the product and who it belongs to. Disney is a great example. Disney is considered as one of the most recognizable brands in the world. Disney’s brand is so well known that if you see three interconnected black circles you probably think of Mickey Mouse.
But brand recognition does not only help big name companies. It can be as simple as knowing that a second location of your favorite restaurant will have the same quality, feel, products and services as the first.
Ease of selection
Brands also create an ease of selection for a consumer who has had positive interactions with that brand before. You may always buy Del Monte ketchup because it is a trusted brand, or you may always buy coffee from a local cafe because you grew up buying coffee there.
Branding benefits both the business and the consumer, and it takes the guesswork out of choosing a product on the consumer side and solidifies a returning customer for the business.
Consumers may want to be like the people that will typically use the brand because they want to signal that they have the values or lifestyle that a brand presents.
People may want to purchase Under Armour basketball shoes because they want to be like Steph Curry and revere his Christian values with Steph’s bible verse mantra printed in his signature shoe.
A brand nurtures loyalty that become sticky enough that your customers will follow you to new products and innovations. If your business decides to sell new products or offer new service, consumers will be more accepting of it’s release.
Reduces price sensitivity
Customers loyal to a brand may also have less pricing sensitivity as well. You see this with Starbucks. Even though their coffee costs 10 times more than a cup of Nescafe, loyal customers to the Starbucks brand will readily pay for their coffee.
A nutty twist to snacks
A very good example of a local business that happens to establish a strong brand is Nutty.SelectionsPH. Nutty Selections is a local seller of healthy snacks such as nuts, seeds, and dried berries.
Since most healthy products in the Philippines are costly, Nutty Selections’ aim is to promote a healthier lifestyle and snacks to each and every household at a much affordable price.
By sharing their customers nutty selection stories in their instagram account, the business fostered a connection with consumers wanting to live a healthy lifestyle. They also created loyal customers, that in turn, became brand ambassadors for their brand.
Every business is built on a foundation of values and meaning. Today, customers are seeking to engage with the brands they use, so it’s important to articulate what you stand for.
Start Marketing on Social Media
Considering there are billions of people on social media today, it’s easy to see why so many businesses and marketers use the channel to promote their products and engage with customers.
If your company’s social media course of action seems intimidating, Annelle Digital is here to help. We are a team of digital marketing professionals with extensive experience managing local, regional, and global campaigns.
Let us know your business objectives and we’ll create a bespoke digital strategy to help you grow your business.
Upgrading your website is not as simple as changing the template or your color scheme then expect for traffic to come in from social media and search engines.
The best way to put it, redesigning a website is like renovating your home. And just like any major home renovation, it is not a walk in the park. First, you tear down what is not up to code, then you set the foundation in place, then you finally start building.
Renovations may take weeks or even months. It’s not as simple as seen on TV. After a brief video montage and poof! your home is finally done.
Renovating a website may also take time to complete. Especially if your goal is to optimize SEO
This is what we did for BellyBind.com, a wellness business based in Hong Kong that is dedicated to the overall well being of mothers and their child. Supporting clients for over 15 years, the owner Rhy employed the services of Annelle Digital to revamp her website and make it more searchable on Google.
BellyBind’s website is already pleasant to look at by us humans, but that is only one side of the coin. It should also be easily readable by Google spiders.
A new logo
Rhy wanted to redesign her logo first and foremost. She wanted to convey her brand of helping pregnant women. However, she doesn’t want to erase her butterfly logo which she loves so much.
After a few iterations to the logo design, we retained the butterfly wings and added a vector of a pregnant woman. Rhy loved the end result.
BellyBind’s owner Rhy wanted to target keywords that could bring in more traffic to her business. And for small businesses targeting the local market, long tail keywords are more suitable as they are easier to rank for and lead to a higher conversion rate since the search intent is easier to predict.
Targeting long tail terms with search demand will be the first step for Belly Bind and Babies by Rhy then eventually more competitive queries will be targeted when the website gains more authority.
Title tags, Alt-tags and Meta description
BellyBind’s title tag length and meta description should be unique for every page and are ideally within the character limit so as not to have this element truncated. These page elements including headings should be keyword-rich for search engines to understand the page and associate it to various queries.
All of the images in BellyBind’s original website are missing alt-tags. Alt Tag is a short text description of your image and it’s used to give context to search engines regarding the said image
We updated the title tag based on keyword research and meta description for all pages. We also added alt tags for all images on the website. We properly set the H1 for the pages to represent what the page is about.
We found internal linking opportunities to the site. Search engines use links to find out what content on your site is related and the value of that content.
Adding internal links helps search engines understand the relevance of pages, relationship between pages and value of pages. Using the target keywords as anchor text can help the landing page to be deemed relevant to the keyword by search engines.
The website restructure can further allow us to add keyword-targeted internal links
The bulk of the redesign of the website fell on the services page. There are no dedicated pages for the services that should have allowed the page to rank for the specific name of the massage services being offered
To improve the services page, we created 5 new pages for each of the services of BellyBind. Added a service from the existing as well. Not only will Rhy explain her services better to clients, we could optimize to target keywords.
Service Page Before
Services Page After
Each service, once clicked will send you to a separate page describing the service in more detail.
A blog page in my opinion is one of the important parts of a website. A blog is the most effective way to build brand awareness, while providing relevant and useful content to your target audience through consistent blogging.
BellyBind is missing out on this opportunity to connect to their audience.
Blogging is an inexpensive way for small businesses to drive traffic to their site, enhance inbound marketing efforts and attract more prospective customers.
We added a blog in the menu and wrote 4 articles related to the business in order to build authority in the industry and have a chance to rank for more keywords.
Renovating a website, like renovating a home, one must be prepared for delays. A Lot of factors can go wrong. And most of the time you don’t have control when things go south. Having a contingency plan is a must.
Annelle Digital forecasted a 3 month timeline for the project. Good thing everything fell into place and we delivered ahead of schedule. We also threw in 4 social media posts for each of the blogs as a bonus.
It has been a great learning experience to work with Rhy on this project. Who knew pregnant women can get a relaxing massage too? Not only is it safe, there’s a lot of benefits as well.