6 ways to harness social media for your brand

qualify-featured
10 simple steps to qualify your clients
October 25, 2016
featured_speed
A tactical approach for faster-loading media
October 26, 2016
featured_social

Social media has become a constant in modern daily life. By now it’s not uncommon for grandparents to have their own profiles on Facebook. This means that marketing on social media is beginning to have less limits on possible target demographics, and increasingly greater reach as the number of users on major social media sites rises.

Designing a successful online brand depends not only on compelling ideas, but equally on adaptability

That said, the social media marketing realm is as dependent on constant change as the social media landscape itself. Designing a successful online brand depends not only on compelling ideas, but equally on adaptability.

Without a dynamic brand, users of new and up-and-coming, or even outdated social networks will be outside the reach of your brand. This is why understanding a few different aspects of the current social media landscape is key to online marketing success.

1) SOCIAL COMMERCE, OR SCOMMERCE

Integrating online shopping and ecommerce into social media has been the logical next step for a long time, but it is only recently that has been done well and reached mainstream levels of adoption. People are now used to the idea of making purchases through their smart phones or tablets, beyond just buying new apps, software, or similar digital items.

Including a web-based sales component can encourage both sales and engagement. Selling a branded t-shirt, for example, is one straightforward way to integrate commerce into social media. With Twitter adding a “buy” button, and other social media sites following suit, this will soon be easier than ever before.

sCommerce options don’t have to be limited to any one realm of social networking — sales are not only possible through Facebook and Twitter, but is easily integrated into a site with one of many available web-store-building platforms.

If you don’t already have a physical product to sell, it’s worth considering — promoting it on social media should come easy after that.

2) AGILITY ISN’T AN OPTION ANYMORE, IT IS ESSENTIAL

The days of long waits for approval and multiple chains of command are over — for good. The speed of the social web means that marketers need to be empowered to act quickly and respond to relevant current events in order to be successful. And their bosses or managers need to trust them; and give them the freedom to execute spontaneous or agile marketing campaigns.

Agile marketing means adapting marketing campaigns to sudden, brief trends, or hyped-up topics on social media. While this seems ultimately hollow in the grander scheme of things, making an effort to stay up-to-date even with fleeting trends will pay off in the level of fun perceived engagement your brand will demonstrate. These are two characteristics your customers will enjoy especially.

Agile marketing means adapting marketing campaigns to sudden, brief trends

Not many people remember the blackout during the 2013 Superbowl, yet blogs arestill writing about Oreo’s ad placed as a direct response to this. The key to success in this case is clearly not content, but response time and relevancy. These factors successfully made an okay tagline into something great.

3) CONTENT IS KING

And long live the king. Content marketing has been an important part of online marketing for years, but its value continues to increase – and it is hardly something that anyone in the online advertising world can afford to ignore anymore. Creating the type of content — whether it is a blog post, video, images, infographic, social media post, or anything else — that inspires users to pass it on to their own social networks is quickly becoming the most important method of marketing in general.

Before creating your own content, it’s worth noting what’s being shared most on sites like Buzzfeed or Upworthy. These sites, along with a few others, have mastered the art of creating viral content.

content goes viral for a reason

You, of course, would like your content to go viral. Competing against everybody else online with this same goal will make it tough, but content goes viral for a reason. It’s something people not only want to see, but want to show other people. Paying attention to the things that are already being widely shared, and trends across each of these items, should provide a snapshot of characteristics that inspire people to share, and can give you a great starting point.

4) PRIVATE MESSAGES = 1-ON-1 MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS

Private messaging on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Whatsapp, and many other platforms are something that most marketers have yet to take advantage of, except perhaps for direct messaging customers who could be posting sensitive info or otherwise need a 1-on-1 follow up.

However, given the latest tech launches and popular platforms, users are starting to expect more of a custom experience even when communicating with huge brands. And community managers and other marketers need to understand and take advantage of that, by offering their own personalized interactions.

Certain functionalities of these platforms allow for privately targeted messages to benefit the public. Take, for example, the numerous “funny” responses left by major brands on Facebook. Don’t be afraid to have a sense of humor, either. Address your customers’ needs first, but if you go above and beyond, your audience will pay attention.