Social media has revolutionized the way we interact on cyberspace. We organize our calendars around Facebook invites, we often get our news alerts from what’s suddenly trending on Twitter, and we cultivate our style and aesthetic through our Instagram feed.
A successful marketing campaign must harness the power of social media to fully realize its branding potential. Just as an artist can express themselves in a multitude of creative ways, corporations can also assert an attitude, an angle, and a specific worldview through its social media presence.
The following strategies are ways in which to create a conversation on your own terms in order to maximize your presence online and in the minds of consumers.
Why spend millions of dollars guessing what the audience might like when you can convince them to produce their own commercials? That’s the root of the argument for UGC – user-generated content. By giving users an “assignment” on social media, your marketing team can harvest the best of your fans’ submissions and edit them into award-winning spots like Lay’s accomplished with their Do Us a Flavor contest. Consumers pitched their best ideas for potato chip variances by shooting videos of friends and family enjoying a snack, and Lay’s used these clips to showcase their foodie prowess to the world at large.
We’re all familiar with #hashtags, but directing your audience to use them in a concerted way can be a bit tricky. By scheduling and promoting a chat session on Twitter, you can make an event of your designated hashtag and ignite a fun, useful conversation with your demographic. For example, your moderator should encourage users to embrace what they love about the product by selecting the appropriate phase, something like #WhySpotifyRocks. Ask the audience their opinion, listen to the responses, and evolve the chat appropriately. If you have an inordinate number of hip-hop fans in your midst, then country music references won’t fly. Rock on!
We live in a visual age, so it’s wise to capitalize on the public’s appetite for imagery by creating eye-popping infographics. These are playful displays that convey data in easy to consume ways and catch your users’ attention. For instance, if you want to sell kale chips, but they’re not exactly flying off the shelves, mock up an infographic that illustrates the joys of a healthy life well lived. The cartoon bunny at the center of the action is more energetic, focused, and productive than her fellow forest creatures, and the accompanying text explains why with a litany of health benefits that kale chips promote. Infographics allow you to entertain and educate simultaneously with one handy social media post!
You’ve made a product that people love, so spread the word… their word, to be precise. Whenever a satisfied customer leaves a positive review, that’s low hanging fruit for a social media post. You can even solicit kind words with a clever hashtag, as with this example from a brash new underwear maker called BN3TH. They asked for testimonials from their customers and encouraged them to use the tag #TestiTuesday, then created a sassy graphic with one of the glowing responses they received. Well played, indeed.
If you have an established product, then your social media strategy should be less about brand awareness and more about reputation management. Case in point: Netflix. The first season of their juggernaut hit Stranger Things made the success of Season Two almost a foregone guarantee, so it allowed the marketing team to have some fun. They reached out to influencers on Instagram and curated posts that captured fans’ anticipation for the premiere. One look at Baby Barb verified that the streaming service had given birth to a sure-fire hit.
Organic Web-Driven Content
As you are concocting your social media strategy, it’s important to remember that you’re not re-inventing the wheel; it’s already on a roll. The greater conversation is ongoing, so you can join the season in progress. Every day, a new trend erupts on Twitter. That’s what the public is discussing, so it’s worth studying. If #NationalIceCreamDay is dominating social media, then show your team members enjoying a scoop in the employee lounge. It adds to the existing trend, it highlights your company culture, and it’s just plain yummy!
Instagram Stories and Highlights
One way to rise above the noise on social media is to literally appear at the top of your users’ feeds. Instagram stories allow you to plant your flag atop the IG screen for a 24-hour period to gain maximum attention to your post. Then, that content lives on your feed as long as you want it to as a highlight. Google Maps are masters of fun stories/highlights, depicting cats behind the wheel of cars intercut with useful navigation graphics proving that literally, ANYONE can benefit from their product.
B2B Content for LinkedIn
While many social media feeds are geared to everyday consumers, LinkedIn is a place where professionals swap tips of the trade and forward the latest industry trends. One company on the forefront of LinkedIn dominance is General Electric. Their posts run the gamut from Earth Day consciousness to the unveiling of epic turbine engines. While this approach might seem contradictory on an Instagram feed, it is perfectly attuned to LinkedIn. One client might need the specs on the aforementioned turbine while another is seeking to partner with GE on reducing their carbon footprint.
Social media can cover quite a spectrum, and staying competitive requires brushing up on the latest trends, saying yes to all of them, and then scrapping everything and starting over again. After all, tomorrow is a new day of discovery, innovation, and social media realness. Log on and leg up.