In today’s day and age, consumers are attracted to brands that are real, and in order to retain them, loyalty is key. The driving force of a winning social media strategy is trust and honesty. According to the 2020 Sprout Social Index:
According to ZDNet: “While marketers prioritize memorable content (46%) and compelling storytelling (45%), consumers are focused on transparency (45%) and strong customer service (44%).”
“Transparency may be the most disruptive and far-reaching innovation to come out of social media.” – Paul Gillin, speaker, writer and B2B content marketing strategist
Many brands were forced to be sensitive and agile in 2020 due to COVID-19. As we move into 2021 and beyond, relationship building is more important than ever. When building a social strategy, your focus should be on customers, employees, and influencers alike.
Furthermore, the way you interact with your customers, whether in person or online, can truly make or break your business. Social media provides a unique outlet for you to build your brand and a way for customers to engage.
Standing out on social
With marketers fighting for the spotlight on social, what makes a brand’s social presence stand out? Marketers and consumers agree on the top three reasons: Creativity, memorable content, and impact.
- Creativity: When it comes to creative content, you’ll want to first ensure that you identify your audience and understand their needs. Keep it simple and smart. Are they seeking humor or looking for more serious commentary? Remember that variety is the spice of life, so be sure to mix up your content to keep your followers interested.
- Memorable content: Content that is memorable comes from an authentic brand voice. Be sure to write headlines that are engaging and capture the audience’s attention. High-quality also includes top notch images and engaging videos. Pro Tip: Use short, branded links. This makes it easier for users to share and remember.
- Impact: Similar to creativity, the greatest impact is made on social media when you discover who your audience truly is. Outline your goals, establish a plan/strategy, and stick with it. Impactful social media marketing is all about having intent, purpose, and making the most of the data you have to work with.
Know the trends
It’s important to know what some of the most important and current trends are in the social landscape and why.
- Engagement: This is the measurement of comments, likes, shares, and overall social platform activity. The goal is to produce compelling content that will foster engagement. Every time an individual interacts with you on social media, overall awareness of your brand increases.
- Storytelling: Telling stories about your brand, product(s), or services, helps you to draw in and captivate your audience. Stories help us to better understand concepts and many people learn “visually.”
- Customer service: Having a customer service strategy in place on social media is a quick and convenient way to reach customers and vice-versa. If you do this well by being available and quick to respond, you will boost your brand’s reputation.
- Transparency: This allows your brand to show its human side and to be more “customer centric.” Research finds 81% of people believe social media has increased accountability for businesses. Increased accountability elevates the role transparent and authentic social strategy plays in successful brand-consumer relationships.
- Personality: This is one of the driving forces as to why people choose to follow brands on social media. Personality is something that people can relate to. When consumers engage, they want the experience to be both enjoyable and beneficial.
- Relevance: What you share on social media needs to resonate with your followers. Successful content should be both relevant and of interest to your target audience.
Creating a winning strategy
With so many tools available, how do you truly create a winning social media strategy? It helps if you start out putting the right team in place. Having a strategist, community manager, copywriter, etc., will allow you to utilize the talents and skills of a diverse team. This helps maximize impact and effectiveness.
The following steps are additional tactics to keep in mind when it comes to creating your social strategy.
Establish your goals
What do you want to get out of your social media? Your goals might include generating leads/sales, increasing website traffic, boosting engagement, and/or gaining new followers. This should be the first call to action, as your goals need to align with your overall marketing objectives.
Pro Tip: One way to make goals achievable is by following the SMART Goals model. The acronym SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
Define your target audience
Think about who your audience is. One way to do this is by creating a buyer persona. This is a representation of your ideal customer based on market research and data. Once you’ve identified who your target audience is, you’ll know what type of content to create.
Choose your social media platform(s)
When you know who your audience is, selecting the right social media platform(s) is easy. If your demographic is younger, they may be more active on Instagram. If they’re a bit older, they may be spending more time on Facebook. Pew Research Center’s Social Media Fact Sheet is a great reference for learning who is using social media in 2021.
Research your competitors
What are your competitors doing on social media? You don’t want to copy their efforts, but it’s important to know their strategy so that you can find a way to differentiate. Consider conducting a competitor analysis so that you can evaluate others’ marketing strategies against yours.
Create a posting plan
After you collected all the data above, you’ll be ready to build a content calendar and start posting. It’s important to curate content that is relevant, engaging, and informative. Today’s best producing content is interactive in nature. An example might be a quiz or video.
The competitive advantage
In summary, it is fair to say that building a social media strategy focused on authentic engagement is the winning formula. The statistics speak for themselves as 61% of consumers say brands that are best in class on social know how to engage their audience.
As a marketer on social media, it’s important to prioritize all of the above: compelling content, storytelling, transparency, and customer service. Following COVID-19, almost every industry must increase their social media presence. People are rapidly becoming more connected digitally, making relationship-based marketing a necessity. That’s precisely why your strategy should focus on building close relationships with your customers.
Remember, that social media has the power to reveal your company’s culture, and your culture is your brand. When you invest in social media, it will translate to improved sales, marketing, and most importantly, customer service.
“Social media is about the people! Not about your business. Provide for the people and the people will provide you.” – Matt Goulart, founder of Ignite Digital