A Hashtag Is Not a Marketing Strategy: How TINT is Shaking Up Social

Posted by Samantha Stallard on June 21, 2017
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Describing your brand as "socially savvy" means nothing anymore. Every brand is tweeting, 'gramming, and Snapchatting, but is it working? Is a heavy social presence capturing consumers' attention and creating an increase in profit? Or are we all so numb to branded content that we've learned to ignore it on billboards, TV ads, and pre-roll before this?

Spoiler alert: We've learned to ignore it.

Enter TINT, a marketing SaaS platform allowing brands to curate and display the best user generated and social media content on their marketing and ad channels. By collecting the best brand photos, videos, and reviews straight from their consumers, marketers can then share those posts live at an event, recurring on their website, or within their Facebook ad campaigns showing the world how people just like them have already had a positive brand experience. After all, consumers trust other consumers who tweet about a positive brand experience way more than they trust a promoted post from a business page boasting about what a great company they are!

I had the opportunity to interview TINT's head of partnerships and business development, Quinn Cox to discuss the history of the company, his take on marketing strategy, some of TINT's coolest clients, and what the hospitality industry has to do with it. Read the full interview below!

Tell us the TINT story. How did the company begin?

About five years ago our three co-founders all met at USC and started what was originally called Hypemarks, a more consumer side content aggregation technology. It was a platform where users could “hype” certain web pages that they wanted to share with friends and aggregate all of their popular links and pages they were looking at online. Then slowly, there started to be an increase in brands that wanted the same functionality, so they did what all startups eventually do, and pivoted to become TINT, a brand-side marketing technology that aggregates and displays the best social and user generated content.

When TINT was born, brands could pull in their hashtags and branded pages to track and redisplay on their websites, screens, and mobile apps.  TINT still has that functionality, but now we aggregate 23 different content channels and have expanded our features to be able to sift through all the content online to find the most effective, trusted content. TINT helps brands tell a better brand story by showing off more authentic user generated content to your customers.

iheart_tint.jpegTINT at the 2015 iHeartRadio Awards

What are the most active content channels?

The most popular ones are the big social networks, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. We’ve recently started pulling in from review sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, Facebook Reviews, and Google Reviews. Also employee generated content from Slack and Cisco Spark. Our text message feature is also becoming very popular.

With all of these changes TINT has been through, how do you define your services now?
The big problem out there that we’re trying to solve is that 92% of consumers trust real people more than brands. With today’s technology, we’re bombarded with advertisements and it’s difficult to know who, or what, to trust. There are tons of people already talking about your brand online. Brands can implement TINT to find this content that already exists, then sift through all of the posts and find relative content, whether it’s posted from influencers or regular people just showing off a brand’s product. TINT allows brands to find the best content that’s already created by the people that other people trust. Brands then take that curated content and display it across all of their marketing channels, generating additional value.
How are brands using that content?

Brands use TINT to display social content on multiple marketing channels. For example, if you go to a hotel’s homepage, you’ll see their guest’s hashtagged Instagram photos - showing them laying by the pool, eating at the restaurants, and enjoying the amenities - right on the homepage. These types of images resonate more with potential guests than branded photos of the hotel that seem staged and untrustworthy.  TINT’s technology has been used on some of the biggest websites, in The London Underground, in-room hotel screens, on mobile apps, and on signage in office buildings.

TINT in a hotel lobby showing real time social recommendations from other guests
How did you get involved in TINT?

My background is in hospitality. I’ve worked at a bunch of hotels around the world, including the Four Seasons in Philadelphia and Dallas and Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and somewhere along the way got the start up bug. I was always interested in technology marketing solutions in the hospitality industry and one of TINT’s biggest sectors is the hospitality industry, so everything just merged into this great opportunity. I really fell in love with the people. We work with amazing brands, but the people at TINT are some of the smartest in the world, actively solving big problems for big companies. I love how quickly the software space changes. Everything moves fast, especially the social networks that are up and coming, so we have to move with them.

What are the biggest changes you've seen in the industry in the last five years?

The biggest change we’re seeing and developing is in “suggested” post technology. Global brands might have one million hashtag posts and need to filter through all of them to find the best content. While we’ve always been able to filter by keywords, now we’re able to sort through everything on the back end and present the top posts that will likely provide the most value to the brand, so they don’t have to sift through all the content manually. Then, the brand’s marketers can send that content to the right audience, whether that’s determined by age, location, or other demographics, at the right time.

Tell us about some of the coolest brands you've worked with. What made the experience stand out so positively?

Last year we started doing some fun things with Atlantis in Dubai. They’re implementing TINT across all of their marketingchannels. When you turn on the TV in the hotel, instead of the typical-branded welcome video, it’s a live stream of social content from guests around the resort. The stream displays consumer-generated advertising for different restaurants, tours, and things like that. It’s now the most watched channel in the hotel and is featured on their websites and mobile apps, too.

Not only does it give Atlantis guests 15 seconds of fame when their social posts and handles are broadcast to the entire hotel, but also provides more authentic recommendations for activities and amenities to take part in during guests’ vacations. Seeing that cool content during check-in inspires a lot of people to make their own post lounging by the pool or having cocktails in the hotel bar.

The hospitality industry is very innovative in how they market. With Airbnb and the sharing economy, they have to stay relevant. Atlantis is a great example of that. They’re not just saying, “This is great social content, let’s put it on our homepage.” Instead, they’re actually brainstorming different ways to utilize that content across marketing channels, whether that’s on the in-room screen, a launch event, or a party at the hotel.

We’ve also worked with the nonprofit Wear Yellow for Seth, which raises money for a young boy with Severe Combined Immune Deficincy (SCID). They hosted a campaign in which a collection of celebrities and influencers all wore yellow on the same day and posted using the event hashtag. We aggregated all the content, including pictures from Ashton Kutcher and William Shatner.

18-X3.pngTINT helped aggregate the outreach from around the world for Wear Yellow for Seth

If you were to advise a brand looking to implement TINT for the first time, what advice would you give them?

When you’re walking around in New York City, you will sometimes see a poster with just a hashtag on it. People walking by don’t know why they’re supposed to post with that hashtag, how to get involved, or what the meaning is. My biggest piece of advice is, you have to ingrain TINT in other types of marketing strategies. Consumers need to be able to see a piece of content and understand what it is, how they can get involved, and why they should get involved. When someone sees your brand, understands your message, and is moved to act, that’s the best thing we can ask for.  Just displaying social media messages on a screen or a web page is not going to be as effective.

Any new updates we can expect from TINT in the back-half of 2017?

Definitely our focus on helping brands sift through all of the messages coming in to find the most valuable posts. As we continue to collect insights, we can better hone in on the types of content that benefits brands the most, in specific industries or from a specific type of consumer, and push that out more, making it easier to create a more trusting and authentic relationship.

Bio: Quinn Cox
Quinn Cox.jpg   Quinn Cox, Head of Partnerships and Business Development for TINT, is responsible for managing and growing strategic partnerships around the world for TINT.  Quinn focuses on finding partnerships that can help global brands generate more value out of their user-generated marketing content and increase customer intelligence via social media. 

A born adventurer, Quinn has summited Mount Kilimanjaro, completed a Half Ironman, and backpacked in Thailand.

Interested in adding consumer-generated content to your next event? 

Get in touch



Topics: interview, technology, partners, brand experiences

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