Social Media has become a key component of business development and brand engagement for companies across industries and of every size. Because business models and objectives are unique, there are logically a wide number of strategies employed to attract attention, create opportunities and connect with the target audience.
While we fully expect social interactions and activities to be different, there are tactics and trends that can benefit all kinds of organizations in pursuit of brand lift and higher profitability.
Tip #1 A Bridge, with no Toll
Use social media as a customer journey bridge. As you develop touch points and test campaigns, use social platforms as a means to bring people from one interface to the next. A barrage of email reminders or website pop-ups can be annoying, whereas creative social posts that are boosted and shared will have greater appeal. The more visually compelling the better.
Tip #2 Love Thyself, and Social Media
Smart marketing has a foundation of evolving strategies, utilization of influence and persuasion to garner attention, balancing efforts across channels, and continually aiming to strengthen relationships.
The primary value of social media includes:
- create moments that delight, inspire, inform and engage
- opportunity to listen to customers
- build credibility
- develop a community around your passion and purpose
- turn customers into advocates
- expose your brand to new customers
- offer ease of actions (to shop, to access, to request assistance)
At the start of every week, set tasks that will advance each of these values. Progress in a brand’s social presence and potency is a measure over time and offers significant long-term gains.
Tip #3 Being Off-Balance is a Good Thing
While making a sale is a prime business objective, it cannot be the leading purpose of your social endeavors.
Adhere to the 80/20 rule:
- 80% non-promotional engagement
- 20% promote products and services
What should constitute the 80%?
- Content that initiates discovery, curiosity and sustained interest
- Diversity in types of social engagement
- Recognition of contributions and connections
- Powerful spacial and immersive experiences
- Telling stories, creating a series or developing videos that connect
Design social campaigns for easy consumption, meaning succinct, short and well showcased.
For that 20%, social shopping opens up avenues to capture impulse buys and expedient transactions within your social platform. Explore Pinterest, Instagram and other channels to determine which best aligns with your products.
For social selling, consider these tips:
- Use an organic voice
- Make the information visually enticing
- Stay away from a ‘pitch’
- Be strategic in your engagement by narrowing the reach
The advantage of social media is that you can observe behaviors (preferred platforms, likes, follows, shares) and utilize both demographic and psychographic data to know who is most likely to buy your product. You can get very specific, for example, not only finding people who follow cosmetic companies and purchase makeup, but those who shop mascara explicitly.
Tip #4 Say What?
Establish a content strategy that includes these best practices:
- create posts that are customer-focused
- be uniform in your publishing and timely in your replies to comments and criticism
- craft content that is evergreen (valuable and germane beyond a single point in time)
- identify opportunities to refresh and repurpose content across channels
- be thought-provoking and insightful
- be brief
One more point, don’t underestimate the power of dynamic ads. You can go deep in personalizing ads with tailored messaging that reflects the person’s social behaviors, activities and preferences. Be sure an ad is designed to spark interest, distinguish the brand, and trigger an action. This is a good pathway to test ideas and measure results.
Tip #5 On the Docket
Make a social media calendar and be committed to it. A calendar will establish consistency in scheduling posts, as well as chart out the right mix of content and variation of engagement.
Topics to feature:
- expressions of appreciation or recognition
- experiences that resonate
- profiles of people and places
- showcase a customer achievement or milestone
- trending conversations
- beacons of light and of levity
- seasonal content
- holiday high-lights
- special occasions and events
- contests and competition
- empowerment and emotional growth
Tip #6 Getting in Bed (with Strangers?)
Endorsements should be done sparingly and agreed upon by multiple leaders. Any kind of testimonial, recommendation or quote could possibly have damaging consequences, simply by the association. Even a modest praise or plug will tie your brand to that other entity. Any misstep on their part then reflects upon your hard-earned reputation.
Also, social media content must be consistent with your brand values, culture and promise. A social voice should be as distinguishable and crystal clear as the sales and marketing voice. To gain confidence in your audience, make a commitment to being socially unambiguous, familiar and essential.
Tip #7 Rolodex of Recommendations
[a] There are several social media software solutions and messaging technologies. Select carefully so that you don’t invest in unnecessary capabilities nor prevent steady growth as you work towards building your program through refinement, efficiency, targeting, creative expression, experiments etc.
[b] Recognize that every word that you post has the potential of causing frustration, anger or disappointment. Be careful in what you say, how you say it, the tone and attitude, and most especially the context. People often ‘read into’ a post with an outcome that may not be the true meaning or the actual intent. Proofing by multiple people is critical.
[c] Think about less popular social platforms to test campaigns, create connections and pursue market expansion. To drive exposure means putting a portion of your time and resources into some of the niche channels.
[d] Have a symmetry between public and private engagement. While reaching a broad audience can be impactful, studies have shown private groups and communities are often favored for being more relevant, personalized and familiar.
[e] Have one or more social positions that the brand not only takes, but advocates and champions (on and offline). Have a game plan for the social issue in which you express an authentic viewpoint, stand with others, and demonstrate your ongoing commitment to the cause.
Social Media shall continue to have a dominating role in digital branding and commerce. Invest in a strategy that can be planned, mapped out and regularly measured, yet leave room for spontaneous experiences and an impromptu approach. Avoid getting caught in a routine that may become tedious or stale over time. Challenge the team to be creative and forward-thinking. Infuse the E’s: Enthusiasm, Entertainment, Energy and Empathy.
And if you are not having fun with your social program, don’t look for others to share a smiley emoji (with a mask, of course!)