Once a bolt-on to campaigns, social is slowly inching its way to the centre of brand marketing strategiesData released in January by GlobalWebIndex showed that 34% of Facebook’s 1.8 billion users had visited a brand’s Facebook page in the previous month and 24% of users had shared some brand content with their friends. These statistics prove that anyone doubting the importance of social media marketing for brands is wrong.
The sheer numbers prove that there is both an audience and an appetite for brand content on social networks. Once a bolt-on to campaigns, social is slowly inching its way to the centre of brand marketing strategies. Here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your brand’s social campaign is ahead of the pack.
Your followers are your greatest asset. Not only are they the metric by which your social campaign’s success will be judged, but they are also one of the best sources of content. In the analogue world, customer stories were written up into case studies. In the social sphere, your users can share their own stories of how they use your products or services. Much of this will be organic – users sharing their good and their bad experiences as they go. But you can also curate and facilitate this content, as HSBC did earlier this year with good success.
They gave two of their customers mobile phones so they could make a short film about how they use the HSBC digital banking services. One of the films, made by an 87-year-old man who uses HSBC mobile banking to check his balance on the move, is a heartwarming story that has had nearly 400,000 views on YouTube.
Try to take a holistic approach with your marketing. Siloing your social team can lead to missed opportunities. Consumers are increasingly second-screening, such as surfing on a social network as they watch TV, so ensuring your marketing campaigns are joined up across channels will make them far more impactful. Think of one channel as acting as a trailer or a teaser for another and by seeing a campaign echoed across several different media, the message will be reinforced. Bear in mind that the content will need to be adapted though – users don’t watch a video on Facebook in the same way as they would on TV, so be sure to make your social media videos short, and include subtitles as they’re muted in the news feed by default.
There are new technologies rolled out on an almost weekly basis in social media, so you can be forgiven for sticking with the products you know. But fortune favours the bold, as the saying goes, so get ahead of the crowd and embrace new products before your competitors do. Snap’s Spectacles have huge potential for brands. Send them out to power-users, and they can generate fun and fresh content for your followers.
Instagram went head-to-head with Snap last year when it released Instagram Stories. Brands were undecided on which was the market leader with Nike claiming that Instagram Stories had proved more successful for them (garnering 800,000 views in 24 hours to Snapchat’s 66,000), while Burberry’s MyBurberry campaign stuck with Snapchat, just pointing users to Instagram Stories from the Snapchat experience.
‘The more authentic, the better’ is one of the key tenets of social media, and what can be more authentic than live-streamed content? While brand ambassadors engaging with your product in real life – like the HSBC customers referred to above – is extremely powerful, live interaction with your brand takes it one step further. A raft of products are available for live streaming, Facebook and YouTube Live being the latest, so it is time to get involved.
While engaging content is king on social media, rewards are apparently queen. Global Web Index research revealed that the high brand advocacy among 16-24-year-olds was simply down to high-quality products for 50% of young people, however, for more than 40% the trigger was some kind of reward. Free gifts, vouchers and discounts are all extremely useful when encouraging your followers to endorse you so don’t forget this powerful carrot. This is even more important among the older age group – only 24% of 55-64-year-olds said they’d endorse a brand just because they love it, compared to 40% of 16-24-year-olds.
With each month, a new tool or gimmick will emerge. Some will sink, and some will take off. Follow the five tips above, however, and your engagement levels should rocket.