Think about the last time you searched for a restaurant review before heading to dinner. Have you ever stood in a store aisle, with your phone in hand, traversing the web to see how other people are talking about the products that are lined on the shelves in front of you? Most likely, you’re nodding along. In addition to seeking trustworthy recommendations from friends, most consumers today search online to learn more about brands before committing to a purchase. With technology at our fingertips, the customer journey begins and extends beyond the first encounter with your brand.
Modern technology has empowered companies to develop strategic insight, but this reliance on digital interactions also increases the number of third-party channels that mention your brand. Luckily, an informed social media marketing strategy can help brands develop and protect their major online channels. According to a recent survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Ambassador, 67% of Americans say they’re at least a little more likely to purchase a product after a friend or family member shared it via social media or email. Consider how your brand can stay ahead of the curve using these 10 super simple social media tips.
1. Have a plan
Your company’s online presence is the digital equivalent of gathering your friends, fans, and followers into an auditorium to make announcements on a loudspeaker. If you want to keep these conversations alive and convince your audience to come back for more, you’ll need to own the space and present compelling information. With a flexible yet substantial strategy and a dedicated schedule, your team can be equally equipped to direct online conversations about the brand and jump in on trending conversations. Social media outreach should be fun, but it’s also a big opportunity to influence your audience.
2. Produce valuable content
As we progress further into the age of social media, audiences of customers are discovering that some of their favorite brands have authoritative knowledge on an array of topics. Think Whole Foods’ Whole Story blog or General Electric’s GE Reports. Chances are, customers may not be searching for your company’s latest update or feature within their personal social media networks, but they’ll be more willing to engage if your brand offers a thread of compelling content, interesting images, and insightful discussions.
3. Have a consistent brand identity
Don’t let hours of drafting an internal style guide go to waste! Do you have a preferred color scheme or a memorable email signature? Consider how these elements can appear within your social media profiles. A simple way to preserve your brand identity across various social media networks is to use the same username, biographical description, and header image across sites. Syncing platforms like Instagram to display on Facebook and Twitter is a great cohesive approach as well. Madewell, a womenswear retailer, does a great job of threading their brand identity across social media platforms through thematic colors, a signature tone of voice, and expert visual inspiration.The goal is to allow your customers to quickly identify your brand based on the content and voice of your online presence.
4. Keep it simple
Minimize the need to hop into every conversation that’s happening online, by selecting a list of the topics that fall under your brand’s umbrella of expertise. You can simplify each of your social media platforms by dedicating each platform to specific interactions. Perhaps you save customer success stories for Facebook and address customer complaints on Twitter while your Instagram showcases how customers are interacting with your product. We’ve reached an era where companies are encouraged to be everywhere at once, but you must make sure that you’re contributing value to each platform as well.
5. Focus on quality not quantity
The quickest way to upset your audience (and alienate customers) is to overload each of your company’s social media accounts with new posts and updates. As social media sites and users abound, creating one-of-a-kind content is a more reliable way to get a leg up in the quality vs. quantity game. Instead of sticking to a certain number of published posts, commit to tracking the way that your audience engages with compelling content.
6. Diversify your content
Chances are, the ideas that you’ve gathered into a blog post can exist just as easily as an infographic, animated video, or podcast segment. Diverse content allows your brand to showcase information in interesting ways and spark conversations with a range of audiences. Offering a mixed bag of content creates new ways to add value and earn your audience’s trust.
7. Engage with your followers
Your social media accounts shouldn’t be a bulletin board of all of your accomplishments. Instead, think of your platforms as a mosaic that details the experiences you have as a brand and showcases the relationships that you have with your customers and clients. Social media platforms like Instagram are starting to let engagement dictate the user experience. By prioritizing engagement with valuable content from the beginning, your brand can interact with your network while gaining authority within individual feeds.
8. Make it easy to connect
No one likes going on a social media scavenger hunt to track down their favorite brand. Instead of burying social media information on your company website, make sure each platform is listed and linked on all high-traffic pages. Customers should also be able to find adjacent social media profiles from any of your official profiles. This is where having a regularly updated and public profile to comes into play. If you’re in the social media game, don’t make your customers chase you.
9. Tackle negative comments head-on
Once your brand has an established online presence, you’ll open a pathway for various customer interactions, including customer grievances and negative comments. It’s never a good idea to let negative comments sit in your mentions or allow customer questions to go unanswered. Develop a standard way to respond to these conversations in a transparent, prompt, and respectful way. Being proactive in times of online tension is a responsibility that comes along with developing a vocal and visible presence on social media.
10. Measure your results
We’ll let you in on a not-so-little secret: your social media channels can drive revenue. Of course, they’re great for friendly conversations with customers but thanks to the magic of modern marketing, you can attract leads and monitor their engagement with specific pieces of content. To get started, determine the desired outcomes for your content and measure success based on the progress toward this goal. Are followers, subscribers, downloads, conversions or email captures the most beneficial for you? Decide which platform will nourish this goal and cater your schedule to incorporate this metric.
Succeeding at Social
Since today’s customers have grown accustomed to interacting with companies in a variety of realms, modern brands are judged beyond their tangible products, speedy service, or in-person expereiences. Each touch point that your customer encounters on their journey should contribute to a cohesive and informative representation of your brand that invites them to interact.
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