Our culture has reached a social media saturation point. In 2017, 81% of the U.S. population had a social media profile. Hashtags are everywhere, from hotels to grocery stores. For marketers, this means a paradigm shift – and a need to adapt to take advantage of this marketing opportunity. It may seem daunting for an established brand to enter the social media arena when previously catalogs and postcard mailings were enough. But it’s easier than you think. Here are some tips we have learned while conducting social media analyses and brand studies for some of our clients.
1. Know your audience to grow your audience
It may seem obvious, but whenever you are writing anything you must first consider the audience. The first thing to do with social media is to listen. If you are a new brand or a start-up, listen to your prospects by filtering social media searches according to key demographics like age, gender or geography. Find out what your customers are already talking about. If you are a growing or established brand, find out what your followers are talking about and how they mention you in posts (what context and what tone). C+R’s social listening analysis can tell you not just what consumers are saying about your brand, but how they are saying it and what that means.
2. Meet them where they are
If you are someone who uses social media personally, think about how you choose where to post. You may post on Facebook because your friends or relatives haven’t adapted to SnapChat yet, and you want the broadest audience. Your brand is no different. If you meet your followers where they are, they will eventually follow you anywhere. SnapChat is a great example. If your customers tend to be younger Millennials or Gen Z, then engage with them on SnapChat. If they are Boomers, engage with them on Facebook. Our social listening analyses can also help identify where your followers are and where most of your brand mentions are coming from.
3. Make it memorable
If you use social media, you know scrolling through your feed, there has to be something quite interesting to make you stop. The posts written for your customers should be that kind of memorable. Your brand’s story is unique, and your social media posts should be as well and reinforce your brand’s image. And, our research shows that Millennials love a brand that has an interesting story to tell.
4. Get competitive
Contests and sweepstakes are a fun and effective way to engage with your social media followers. Incorporating an element of excitement is critical to creating positive buzz about your brand. And, if they win something, your followers will be even more loyal to your brand in the future (and a bonus – they are likely to spread the word to their network of people about it, too).
5. Make it personal
The backlash of the social media frenzy is also something to consider. Research has shown that younger generations (think Gen Z and the Alpha generation) are starting to rebel against digital interaction as a main method of communication. There is evidence that engaging in in-person social interactions is more beneficial emotionally and psychologically, too. Generating positive experiences through in-person events, and then linking them to social (e.g., in-store promotional events with their own hashtags) could be a win-win for creating good vibes about your brand online without losing that personal connection your customers crave.