It's undeniable that Social Media has become the essential tool in modern marketing. According to a report on Media Bistro 87% of small businesses say social media helps their business. The report goes on to state that 74% of brand marketers saw an increase in web traffic after investing just 6 hours per week in social media.
However, creating social accounts is far from the only step. The biggest struggle companies face is how to manage and keep up with the trends of each fast-paced news feed, timeline, and social app. Every form of social media has a different aesthetic and environment and must be approached in different ways.
Content is moving at an unprecedented rate, and with how quickly the content is created, consumed and shared, it's exceedingly difficult to get your brand noticed and to build a stable online presence. In 2014, the next step in affectively marketing brands is through interactive and communication-based content. We focus on the top 4 social media sites and show you how to best utilize these sources for audience engagement and business growth.
We know pictures are worth a thousand words, but on Facebook, pictures could be worth more than that. In 2013, 52% of marketers have said to have found a customer via the social network. The best way to get noticed on Facebook News Feeds and generate sales is through graphics and photos. Visuals are far more engaging and is quickly becoming the most common form of how we consume news. Photo posts on Facebook get 53% more likes and 84% more click-throughs than text-based posts.
- Instead of typing out a basic status, design an infographic to relay news or facts.
- Attach a photo of a new product instead of simply posting about it.
- Sharing a web or video link? Be sure to attach a photo or graphic first and insert the link to click on the status.
Visuals instantly make a post more shareable, increasing the exposure and view count to your content beyond just those who 'like' your brand's page.
Captivate your followers with interactive content. Word scrambles, Fact or Fiction games, and fill-in-the-blank options are fun ways to entertain followers while also spreading awareness of your brand. Take a look at how Clorox easily engages their customers with a simple graphic poll:
We've emphasized the importance of images on Facebook, and on a purely visual app like Instagram, the stakes are even higher. When posting a photo, it's important to evaluate 'shareability'. Images should be high quality and one-of-a-kind. What can you show your customer that others can't?
- Post a snapshot of a product in development.
- Tease fans with behind-the-scenes “trailers”.
- Utilizing the 15 second video capability to promote an upcoming product or hint at a new item reveal.
- Use apps like Over to easily include text or graphics right onto your pics.
Participate in the trends. Hashtagging on Instagram allows for viewers to search for a relevant topic. Include related keyword hashtags onto your photo caption (we'd limit the usage to 3 hashtags max per caption to prevent eyes from glossing over the text all together).
A popular Instagram trend is the coveted #throwbackthursday (or #tbt). Indulge in the trend and include older brand photos or share fan-submitted photos. 2013 was also the year of the selfie, so why not encourage it? Repost customer photos taken at your store/restaurant or of your product found through the geotag link or hashtag.
Pro tip: Credit back to the customer by linking to their Instagram page within the caption or use free app 'Repost' to automatically include a username banner to their image before posting.
Twitter is the fastest social content mover with about 5,700 tweets sent per second with only 140 characters to boast. How then to get noticed through all the twitter clutter? Talk back! Twitter has personified brands, becoming the primary place for consumers to voice their opinions and criticisms directly to a company.
Look no further than @Oreo's account for an example of successful engagement. The cookie company dominates the social media game as they continuously respond to their fans and find clever ways to insert their brand into current pop culture news.
Respond to fan replies – both good and bad. Retweet positive remarks or particularly significant mentions. Follow back those who took the time to tweet about your service. The more active an account, the more responsive the return.
Not only engage with consumers, but begin Twitter conversations with social influencers. Individuals with a large amount of followers provide a big influence. Their good word (or tweet) becomes an instant advertisement for your company and exposes your service to a whole new demographic.
Taco Bell sent 'taco bell' jewelry rings to eight social-media gurus and online celebrities who had tweeted about them before. The influencers immediately posted about their gifts on their various social feeds, and followers were instantly abuzz about it. The unique marketing move became a promotional hit for the brand – with hundreds of retweets and a bump in follow count and customer engagement.
Pay particular attention to what's a buzz. Note the worldwide or regional based trending topics and see how you can organically join the conversation. Be mindful to not sound too pitchy or sales-y in tweets. Customers see right through companies attempting to go viral. Generate organic conversations and show genuine interest and the response will be mirrored.
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