In just the last 6 months, your audience’s needs have drastically changed and their behaviors with it. You must evolve with those changes to meet them where they are – not where you want them to be. No matter the product or service they might purchase, they’re looking for reassurance with your safety procedures as a way to find peace of mind.
You need to be empathetic to what they’re experiencing and avoid being tone-deaf at all costs.
This starts by understanding that users are consuming information and content differently now and with better functionality from the platforms, they want that information quicker and easier. The pandemic and the current political and social climate are dominating headlines and news feeds. As you think about your own social media content, focus on creating strategies to help you capture some of that attention.
Keep Your Audience Up to Date
What’s going on at your company? Are your hours changing? Do you have new products? Tell people on social media!
Use Clear and Concise Communication
More people are turning to social media than ever before to stay up to date on how brands are handling the current climate. They expect change, but they also expect you to share it immediately.
Yelp, Google My Business, Bing, and Apple are key drivers for local traffic. Most businesses don’t think of these sites as social media, but with reviews, Q&A, and appointment requests happening on these local sites – they are very social.
Treat them like social media! If things change, make sure you’re updating your information as it happens. You should also proactively engage and respond to any messages sent your way, as this can shift the impact of a review.
Show Your Heart to Your Audience
This is a new one for some companies, but we recommend adding faces to your brand. The pandemic and recent social justice issues have changed how people do business with brands. Customers want to do business with brands that are like them, that share their values.
Take People Inside Your Walls
Your followers want to see how you keep your employees safe, as an example. If you ship or deliver products, show your customers the precautions you’re taking.
A recent study showed that 89% percent of buyers are paying more attention to how companies treat their employees during these unsettling times. Caring for your people (which you should already do) is now a factor in whether or not a customer decides to do business with you.
Communicate Your Altruism
If you give money, time, or resources to any charities and community efforts, talk about who you support and why you made that decision. Think of it as sharing your humanity, not bragging about how you’re helping others.
Don’t Be a Copycat
It’s natural to monitor your competitors. It’s crucial to keep your eye on them, but you also have no idea if they know what they’re doing. Instead, you must differentiate your value by providing an original take or perspective.
Using the ideas of your competitors as a guide or inspiration is fine, but you must eventually create something that is specific to your company, product, and audience. You must find a way to stand out from the crowd.
One up your competition by being better. Communicate more clearly. Providing higher quality and more immediate service. Understand your customers’ needs more thoroughly. Deliver more effective solutions to their problems.
Social Media is an Investment
Social media is not optional. Your brand must have some sort of intentional presence on social media, or it will negatively impact your brand and business.
Social Media Isn’t Free
There’s plenty you can do on social media that won’t cost you a dime, but finding success on your platform of choice comes with a cost. Get comfortable with the idea that it will be an investment – at the very least, it’s an investment of time from you and your team. And if you want to use social media as a growth tool for your business, there will usually be a monetary investment.
Social media companies are a business, after all. These platforms are designed to engage users and make people money. Their algorithms are designed to maximize their profits. There is nothing altruistic about the most basic functions of any social media firm.
Stay Disciplined with Your Paid Social Campaigns
You should think twice before creating paid campaigns aimed solely at growing your social following. With the way it works now, especially for Facebook (thus Instagram), you pay for each follower, and you must continually pay to reach that follower when you need to.
The current Facebook organic reach is 5.5%. IG is now less than 20%. That means you’ll need to boost and create ads around your content to continue to reach the person you’re already paid for. Follower growth campaigns rarely meet an acceptable ROI. Natural and sustainable follower growth will happen as you roll out a solid social media strategy filled with content that appeals to your audience.
You should also keep empathy in your messaging. There have been numerous times this year where it made more sense to completely shut off your social media advertising to avoid looking clueless and tone-deaf regarding current events.
Be intentional with your investments. Treat your social ad campaigns like you would any other marketing channel. While they still need to have a positive ROI, you must understand it’s not an immediate ROI. You’re developing a relationship with your audience via quality content, and that relationship is built on trust.
Use Social Media to Grow Your ‘Owned’ Lists
Even as you invest all this time and money into growing your audience and following on social media, remember that you’re operating on “real estate” you don’t own. Whatever you post on Facebook, Facebook owns it. Whatever you tweet on Twitter, Twitter owns it. Thus, you must use social media as a way to get your audience onto your “real estate.”
Give your audience valuable content for free in exchange for the opportunity to speak to them later. You have a variety of ways to get a prospect into your CRM tool and your communication flow, whether it’s a formal newsletter, email group, or something similar.
Depending upon what your audience likes and what your business creates, that gift could be free advice, a white paper, or a free eBook. What matters is that it’s something with low cost to you, low risk for them, and potentially high return for you both.
Don’t Multi-Platform Blast
Don’t send the exact same post with the exact same message out to all of your platforms at once. What works on one platform may not work on others. Character limits might be different. Hashtags are relevant on some and not the others. Moreover, since your best customers are probably on each of your social media platforms, they will probably get miffed at you for posting identical messages that don’t provide them extra value.
Also, image requirements are different across the board. Take the time to tweak your creative to match the platform, and you’ll see more success and engagement.
Make It Move
65% of all people are “visual learners,” and 90% of all information is consumed visually. It’s crucial that your content stand out and catch the attention of your audience.
Engagement goes up on every platform when you use not just imagery, but motion graphics and video. You should create ads with some movement. It can be subtle, something swooping in, something appearing, something twinkling.
It doesn’t have to be an overly produced event that requires heavy lifting. You just need a little action. Luckily, you don’t have to be a graphic artist to make this content come to life. Just find a tool that works for you, such as Canva or GIFMaker.
Do It Live
80% of audiences would rather watch a livestream than read a blog post. They want authenticity from the content and the delivery. If the rise of TikTok “celebrities” is any indication, the modern audience doesn’t care about production value – they want a message of value.
This makes livestreaming a perfect tool for important announcements, especially during the pandemic. To entice you even more, livestreams are prioritized in the newsfeed and get 6x engagement.
Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter, and YouTube all have “live” functionality, so you don’t need to be a video expert to make this content come to life. Just make sure you save your live content so you can edit later, share it on other platforms, and post to YouTube.
Social Media is On the Move
Just like most digital marketing efforts in our world, social media morphs and evolves on a regular basis. It’s up to you to grow with it if you want to make it a successful part of how you grow your business.
If you need help or inspiration putting any of these tactics into use at your company, reach out to Integrate Agency today. We are always excited to talk shop with people who want to explore just how far social media can go.