Social media is not merely a fun place to ‘hang out’ with your friends and family and share pictures of your vacation, or merely a platform for debating political and humanitarian issues. Today it is one of the largest platforms for marketing various goods and services for businesses of all sizes across industries. With the number of netizens on social media expected to touch 3 billion by 2019, not leveraging the potential of this tool could prove to be a costly mistake. Businesses can build and increase brand awareness, tap into new markets, retain existing customers, boost sales, increase revenues, and laugh all the way to the bank – with some shrewd social media strategies.
Social media marketing is a lot more than establishing your presence of all available networks and inviting random strangers to like your page, pictures, pins, tweets or posts. You need a structured approach, and get the right people to market to – through the appropriate channels; something a professional branding agency can provide.
Digital marketing is extremely flexible – there are numerous approaches and methods to launch and execute campaigns, and moreover, the results can be recorded, measured and analyzed – allowing marketers to pinpoint shortcomings in the strategies, and correct them. For this very reason, we can safely conclude that digital marketing will continue to be around for some time. It’s possible of course, that even newer forms or methods of digital marketing will continue to make their appearance. Here’s what we predict for digital marketing in the near future:
1. Choose The Appropriate Social Networks
It’s imperative to understand that each social media platform works in a different way, and appeals to a certain type of user. For example, LinkedIn is used by serious professionals and B2B; Instagram appeals to millennials; Pintrest works great for D-I-Y stuff; Twitter is used more by people who are busy, follow celebrities, journalists, and so on. Facebook has a wider appeal, but the more serious type of people may not be very active on this platform. So you need to do your research: who is your target audience? Which social media platform appeals to them? Which platform will be better for pitching your particular product or service? You need to find answers to all these questions. Once you do so, you can shortlist the most effective channels, and then select 2 or 3. A single platform may not get you the desired results.
2. Social Media Advertising
Branding agencies opine that organic reach on many networks has reduced drastically; you need to seriously consider paid ads. Social media marketers use them when they want to promote certain posts (boosted or sponsored posts). Targeting features can be used to ensure that you reach the right users; make sure that the ads created appeal to your target audience as well. Twitter offers promoted tweets so that your tweets are displayed at the top; LinkedIn offers ads to display your name at the top when users search with your keywords; Facebook ads are displayed in between friends’ posts – and AI ensures that users are shown ads that are relevant and targeted.
3. Social Proof
You can wax eloquent about your products and services all you want, but your target audience will still view you sceptically. What you need is to put your user testimonials on your social accounts – that is the social proof, and it’s one of the most important brand building activities of all. People always find it easier to believe what other people like them – customers – have to say about the product rather than the maker or seller; and with good reason. Why do you swear by iPhones, Pepsi or Ray-Ban sunglasses? Millions of people worldwide use them and have given their thumbs-ups, that’s why! When users endorse a product, others find it easier to believe them, and want to try it for themselves. That is human psychology. Share written and video testimonials and ratings; try to get influencers to endorse your products; if you’ve reached an important milestone, like X customers (number depends on the size of your business), share that news as well.
4. Reward Loyalty
Customer loyalty programs are potent tools that can help you retain customers, and attract new ones too, say branding professionals. Incentivize your loyal brand followers with rewards that they find valuable. You can announce incentives for:
- Regular feedback given
- Referring other customers
- When you show your customers blogs that are the most relevant to them, products they are most likely to buy, or shows and movies they would love to watch – you have a winner.
- Sharing your content
- Purchases made
You can also run simple contests and announce attractive prizes for the winners. The rewards can be in the form of giveaways, (products or samples), free demos, free stay at a hotel, free tickets, heavy discounts on certain products, make your biggest fans your brand ambassadors, offer them product previews, free access to content they love, and so on.
5. Be Social and Engaging
It’s not enough to merely create your accounts on social media networks and post stuff and boost them. According to brand building service providers, you need to post regularly, and you need to ensure your posts are unique, relevant, and up-to-date; a little research will tell you what kind of content your audience likes to see. Encourage them to share feedback on not just your products and services but also your content; request them to share posts they really like, and to comment or like them as well. Leverage social media monitoring tools to check on your target audience’s discussions and activities in real time, and respond to their feedback.
- Respond in a timely manner – consider using a chatbot so that you can offer response round the clock
- Thank them profusely for praise
- Apologize for the negative comments and ask how you can serve them better. Or justify your actions politely and professionally
- Share or repost positive feedback from customers; appreciation begets appreciation
- Ask them questions – like instead of asking to write a review, provide questions, and options, like: Would you say our checkout process is 1. Excellent, 2. Good, 3. Average, 4. Poor. (you get the drift)
6. Be Unique And Consistent
Not only do you have to stand out from the rest of the madding crowd, you also need to maintain a style and tone of the content you provide on social media. Let it be your distinct identity. For example, if you’re a women’s fashion pride, you obviously need to appeal to women’s vanity; you need to be flattery and personal – and maintain this tone; if you’re cajoling one day, and cold and aloof the next week, it’s going to confuse your audience. Uniqueness and consistency will help you build trust among your audience, train the focus on the brand’s mission, goals, and values.
- Get a unique, attractive and powerful logo, and use it consistently on all your marketing materials
- Use the same font type everywhere – whether on digital channels or printed material.
- Ensure the same feel across all social networks, and offline channels.
- Use the same image sizes and filters
- Define your tone
IPIX Tech Services has been helping businesses in Asia and the U.S to enter new markets and boost sales through astute brand building strategies for more than 15 years. If you’d like to leverage our expertise, knowledge of local conditions, experience and customer commitment, just get in touch with us, and we’ll respond with more details and pricing packages.