Using social media effectively for business purposes can be challenging. There are an ever-growing number of platforms and options. What trends do you need to pay attention to and implement? How important is social media to your overall marketing strategy?
Don’t Forget the “Social” in Social Media
The overwhelming majority of internet users spend a couple hours a day (or more!) on their favorite social media platforms interacting with both friends and strangers. Social media is not a passive medium. Your customers, both potential and active, are out there wanting to be engaged by something that catches their attention. They want to interact and co-create.
Above all else, remember that social media is social. Knowing your customers is crucial in all forms of marketing, but forms the basis of all social media strategies. Each person you reach is a friend you haven’t met yet, not simply an anonymous part of your target demographic. Personalized content is critical.
The Trust Factor
Mark Zuckerberg became the poster boy for social media trust issues when he testified before congress on Facebook’s mishandling of their user’s private data. Twitter has their own problems with countless bots and fake accounts. While there hasn’t been a widespread rush to cancel accounts, there is a lingering distrust of social media among users.
Combat this with transparency and quality.
- Create small Twitter communities where passionate users can interact with each other while you stand back and moderate.
- Build your brand by developing a branded hashtag on Instagram to attract those interested in something your business represents. If you sell hiking shoes, you could have a group dedicated to discussions of the best hiking trails.
- Learn about and develop micro-influencers. Check out our recent blog on this topic: The Growth of Influencer Marketing.
Tell a Story
There seems to be nothing social media users like better than a good story. Snapchat began the trend with short-lived videos created to share an experience. Stories are already the primary sharing method used by a billion people on Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat and Instagram.
Learn how to use Stories to reach users. One quick tip is to shoot your videos vertically since that’s how people watch them on their phones. Although you may put a lot of thought into your videos, don’t try too hard to achieve a slick, professional look. The amateur “doing it now” feel is a big part of the appeal.
If you want your video to be available for longer than 24 hours, post it on Highlights. This works well for special campaigns or for videos you’ve got a lot invested in and want to have available long-term.
Messaging – 5 Billion and Growing
Every month, 5 billion people use some form of messaging on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype, WeChat and QQ. About half of all businesses are either using messaging already or plan to do so shortly. Today, online customers expect to be able to chat with someone if they have a question. If you don’t offer this feature, you’re putting an unnecessary roadblock between you and the sale.
Messaging helps grow and build trust in your brand.
- Use Facebook Messenger on your business account. Set up an instant reply with your hours or other info to cover periods when it’s not being monitored by an employee.
- Use bots to answer FAQs. Here’s a brief guide on Facebook Messenger bots.
- Add messaging plugins to your website.
- Messaging can be used for contests and ads. Here are some tips on creating ads for Facebook Messenger.
Whatever your personal feelings on the growing importance of AI, it’s here to stay and can be enormously helpful to your brand. AI can deliver a personalized customer experience that helps strengthen your bottom line.
Today, this opportunity is largely being underutilized. The one exception is online customer service. Predictions are that by the end of 2020, AI bots will power four out of five interactions with customers.
WhatsApp Business API is worth taking a look at if you’re not already using it. Use this very popular channel to respond to customers faster.
Your social media presence can be seamlessly integrated with email and other marketing campaigns. On Pinterest, product Pins are growing in popularity, allowing the user to click on a Pin and be connected to the vendor’s site to purchase the item. As social media continues to evolve, the focus on the individual should become increasingly significant.
Social media management is one of the many marketing services we offer at BXP Creative. We’ve found that while our clients appreciate the importance of social media to their business, they don’t have the time to handle everything on their own.
Let’s talk about how we can assist you in using social media effectively for your brand. We can collaborate with your in-house team or handle everything for you.