Lo-Fi Social Media Makes for Hi-Fi Performance

Amiee Bolger

One of the hottest social media marketing trends right now is lo-fi content. Content that has rejected the usual means of high-quality, high-production value, too good to be true results that takes a lot of time and money in favour of lower quality, minimal production content. Is it just me that can hear a chorus of cheering?

The trend of marketing that makes it seem like the product being advertised has been made by and for people with massive amounts of money, is too high-end for the ‘average joe’ to find in their everyday lives, let alone afford, has seemingly passed. Consumers want to know that the creators of the products they’re interested in are just like them. They want the behind-the-scenes, all-access, no-frills look into the startups they support. They want to be represented, listened to, and feel like this startup is for them and their every day.

Lo-fi social media is the answer to their (and your) prayers.

As a startup, one of your most powerful marketing techniques is the ability to relate to your customers. By showing your authenticity and humanising your startup, your target audience are far more likely to turn into loyal customers.

There is a myriad of ways to achieve this, so let’s dive in.

Shooting content on smartphones

Smartphones are pretty hi-fi these days. With each new version of the world’s most well-known phones getting released, their capabilities also get better. We all expect our phones to do basically everything now. We want to be photographers, videographers, producers, and editors without spending the big bucks on the kit for it. Even though smartphones have been getting closer and closer to the real thing, they still have their limitations; and it’s these limitations that consumers are living for.

If the footage you get has dodgy sound, grainy images, and slightly shaky, it doesn’t mean it’s not usable for your campaigns. Videos that are shot on phones have an effectiveness rate of 164.5%, a percentage not to be ignored.

Casting yourselves

One of the main problems’ audiences have had with hi-fi advertising is that they can’t picture themselves as the model, actress/actor, or all-round personification of perfection who has been cast in the promotional images and videos. If you are, or someone within your company, is the star of these videos and images taken on your smartphones, you’re representing your target audience better than spending an extortionate amount on casting a professional. Rather than staging a ridiculous perfume advert (you know the ones), making a simple advert featuring an everyday person doing an everyday thing with your product will have more affect.

Use user-generated content

Users trust content created by other users 50% more than content created by startups and influencers, so why not utilise their content and create with them? User-generated content (UGC) counts as lo-fi media as it has not been created with the knowledge of your marketing campaigns, startup story, or even the equipment you might have. There is no startup control over UGC, which is why it’s trusted so much.

You can use their content to inform what you make. The main platforms for users sharing their content are namely Instagram and TikTok. UGC goes viral on there, meaning only good things for your startup if you’re lucky enough to be the feature. By watching content about your startup on these platforms, you can study which ones have had the most impact and you can gain inspiration for branded content. What filters have they used? Which challenges have they taken part in? What stickers and gifs have they utilised? The hashtags? All of this is important research to undertake.

Simplicity is key

Lo-fi social media is effective when it is simple. There are limitations to shooting content through a phone or with a limited number of people there to help, so simplicity is the way forward. Take doughnut company Dunkin for example, their popular content is their Instagram Reels which feature a knife, a cutting board, and a small selection of their products, which in the end gives users inspiration on what they can make with the same items.

Another popular example is the advert for iced coffee brand, Jimmy’s. It featured a shot of the beach, taken on a phone, with the waves lapping in the background which are then broken by the sound of a can of Jimmy’s being opened. It ends with the off-screen coffee drinker running into the sea after being freshly caffeinated. Simple, yet effective. The whole thing, from script to finished product, took a week and the advert has now been shown on Sky.

It goes to show that as a startup, you do not need a big budget or fancy equipment to make effective, relatable, and authentic content audiences are craving. Lo-fi doesn’t mean low quality content, it means connecting to your audience and humanising your startup for better results.