With media consumption shifting from TV to mobile devices, organisations who don’t yet have a presence on social media, or who fail to engage their audiences online, are missing out on reaping the benefits of the greatest PR tool of our time.
Successful marketing in any decade, requires you to promote and differentiate your brand and product/service from your competitors, but in today’s consumer-led world this can be a real challenge.
With social media’s growing popularity, cost effectiveness and ability to target users, this valuable medium can not only help to grow a brand but it can also support brand differentiation.
Social media platforms are spaces where brands can act like humans, and this is important because people like communicating with other people; not with a faceless logo.
It can give you the opportunity to highlight the characteristics that show how your offer is unique in the market and its now seen as essential for established and emerging businesses alike.
Here’s a breakdown of how the likes of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram can support the goals and ambitions of any organisation in a crowded marketplace.
For established brands:
Use your differences and strengths to your social advantage. Strong differentiating ideas could be around leadership, heritage, market specialty or being the ‘first’ or ‘only’ company to offer a specific product or service.
One way to distinguish is to do something and discuss something that gets the attention of your target market and is of value to them. Then interact with your followers; reply, like, and share comments. This engagement will increase the reach of your content, strengthen relationships and grow your follower base.
Social media provides valuable feedback about your customers, which can be used to measure and improve the effectiveness of your marketing endeavours. Also look at what others in your sector are doing on their channels and learn from it.
Take the next step
If your social media results have reached a plateau, it’s time to think about building a paid-for ad campaign. Social ads are a relatively inexpensive way of reaching new audiences with your content and you can see the outcome of your investment in real-time. They also enable you to target your key audiences based on options such as location, interests, age and job title.
For emerging brands:
Have a goal
It’s essential to create a strategy, and a written plan, which should be linked to your brand values and marketing objectives. If you don’t know where to start, hire a specialist to help you to do this. But, for example, building trust, earning respect as an expert, and demonstrating an interest in your potential customers are important goals of creating a social media presence.
Each day can throw up new social challenges, so businesses need to be prepared through training and awareness of the different platforms and tools. There are a plethora of generic and more specialist training courses and support available – use these as an opportunity to learn and help prepare you for any eventuality.
Test the market
Social media can help you get to know and understand who your audience is and what type of content they want. Look at what relevant hashtags are being used and how other brands are engaging their followers. A lot of social media marketing is trial and error – test things and learn from them.
Don’t fall down the black hole
Although social media can be very reactive, there are resource implications associated with maintaining and monitoring social media profiles; mostly owing to the 24/7 nature of the channel. It can be all too easy to spend hours on a site and see little in return. Decide up front how much time and financial resource you’re going to spend on social and then stick to it!