According to Hootsuite, approximately 3.48 billion people, or 45% of the world’s population, use social media, with a million more joining different platforms every day. In a world connected through the internet, social media has upped the ante on the ways in which we communicate through audio, pictures, videos, and more via the ability to connect through and around content. However, social media has not only been embraced by individuals. Hootsuite also reports that approximately 90% of brands also use social media with the majority managing anywhere from four to ten different social profiles.
Social media marketing is popular for a number of reasons. For one, it is significantly more cost-effective than other forms of traditional marketing such as billboards and magazine ads. It can also be easier to track ROI, increase conversion rates in conjunction with other digital marketing techniques, increase overall visibility on the internet, and much more. But, as most people know, once something is published to the internet, it’s likely to never actually go away for good even if it is taken down. And, as people are beginning to see, the internet can sometimes be quick to judge and slow to forgive companies who make blunders on social media.
Social media is a fantastic tool for brands to reach people and drive brand awareness and, of course, sales. However, it needs to be used properly and social media etiquette does matter in being able to get the most from the investment. Below are seven considerations all brands need to be aware of before harnessing social media for their business.
1. Understand Your Audience As a brand, you need to know two things about your audience. The first is who you’re intentionally targeting as your customers and users. The other is who you attract even if they fall outside of the audience you have intentionally targeted. Like all marketing channels, different social media platforms will lead you to various different audiences. For instance, in a 2018 report by Spredfast, 72% of all internet users ages 50-64 use Facebook while only 13% of the same category used Instagram. Different platforms will be more suitable for your target demographics than others so it’s imperative to understand your audience and how they use social media.
2. Stay on Brand There is quite a lot that takes place on social media. You’ll find everything from funny videos to inspirational quotes to industry-specific tips to “questions of the day.” Not only is there a lot of variety in what gets published to social media, but there are also a lot of people who do it VERY well and it can be tempting to experiment. There’s nothing wrong with experimenting and trying out new content ideas. However, in doing so it can be very easy to deviate from your brand. This is particularly crucial with highly-visual platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram where the aesthetics of the entire feed itself can attract and engage new followers who may be unfamiliar with the brand. It can also be confusing for your existing followers who have come to identify your brand with certain elements, to see too much experimentation from you.
3. Post Frequently and Consistently Social media content is constantly being posted by different users which makes it a very crowded space for new content to stay relevant for long. Brandwatch reported that, in 2015, 400 hours of new video was being uploaded to Youtube every single minute. And according to Hootsuite, any given tweet will get about 50% of reactions within the first 24 minutes of being posted. That said, it’s very easy to get your content that you worked so hard on lost in social media without getting too many eyes on it. This becomes increasingly difficult when platforms frequently change their algorithms which greatly influence, if not entirely dictate, the amount of reach or impressions any post may get. The best way to overcome these challenges is to post frequently when your audience is most likely to be online, and to post consistently so they can expect to see your posts.
4. Address Relevant Topics While scheduling on social media makes marketing’s job much easier, from time to time, you will want to address relevant topics while they are trending. Catching on to a trending topic can help you capture a new audience who may be engulfed in that particular piece of news and all the content surrounding it. Additionally, should it be nationwide or international news, such as the Royal Wedding or a natural disaster, posting business as usual may come across as tone deaf to the rest of society who may be observing an event together for better or for worse. For instance, many brands have altered their logos for the month of June to incorporate rainbows in observance of Pride Month. These have been well thought out campaigns that address something relevant to their audiences that many brands want to voice their support for.
5. Stay Away from Controversial & Offensive Topics Most people understand that it’s often bad news that spreads the fastest and, when everyone in the world can be connected via social media, it can be a public relations nightmare for brands to get caught up in controversial topics. Brands have been forced to turn off their notifications, had to deactivate their accounts, have lost partnerships, and have even been boycotted based on content published to social media. In some cases, these were not recently made posts but those that had resurfaced after years that sparked new outrage. It’s better to play it safe and to avoid anything that could be offensive to others, even if they are not your primary audience.
6. Engage with Your Audience When it comes to social media, posting itself isn’t enough. Unlike traditional marketing channels where communication only flows one way from the brand to the audience, social media allows for two-way communication. This can be through likes, shares, retweets/reposts, comments, direct messages, and more. This allows for brands to go beyond reaching their audience for the purposes of being seen to creating individualized experiences with their brand that can range from a happy birthday shout out to resolving a customer service issue. When you take the time to engage with your audience, you make them more loyal to you which will help keep your following engaged and increase the likelihood of purchases in the future.
7. Prioritize Communication Over Selling Most people spend time on social media for a way to connect with others, relax and enjoy their spare time, or to find interesting content. While social media is an excellent way to obtain sales, most people do not want to be bombarded with advertisements while browsing through social media. Instead, companies should focus on brand promotion and communication and, on occasion, focus on some direct sales pitches and advertisements. People who become more familiar with and loyal to your brand will ultimately be more likely to purchase when you do put out something to sell.
Social media marketing is a very rewarding business strategy with a number of benefits to it. However, it’s certainly not easy work to get your brand out there above the noise and congestion of what is already out there. One way to make social media marketing easier is to let professionals take it over. The Vieras offers marketing and social media management services that can help you stand out. Reach out today to see how we can help you build your brand across social media.