It’s hard to remember the world of marketing before social media, but as part of the magical generation old enough to remember that world, yet young enough to be fully immersed in it, I like to remind myself of those old-school times. Businesses these days can be divided into those that use social media as a great marketing tool, and those that don’t. The difference seems to be caused by those who have been able to expand their understanding of what modern marketing is, compared to what it may once have been.
A great social stream isn’t an opportunity for a company to throw out their advertising message and magically make sales. Their twitter stream isn’t an online salesman ready to cold call. A great branded Instagram isn’t a holding bay for every product image they’ve ever taken.
In this gorgeous example, Red Bull don't upload any images of their actual product to their instagram account. Instead they reflect their brand's core values; adventure and adrenaline.
With social media, the clue is in the name: social. And although great social media certainly does increase sales and click-throughs, I believe a great social channel is a branding platform that helps convert customers into fans.
If someone has deemed your brand worthy enough of a follow or a like, you’ve got an amazing opportunity to create a long-term advocate, someone who is more likely to suggest you over your competitor when their aunt asks for a recommendation over Sunday dinner.
This an example of an online fan of a brand, recommending a salon, despite having never visited it. Their online engagement has proved enough for them to be worthy of a recommendation.
You have the chance to develop a trust which will long surpass any discount or offer that may have originally caught their eye. You can become their go-to brand when they’re looking to solve a problem, whether that’s where to eat, find the perfect gift or which toilet bleach to buy. In a world that overwhelms and drowns us with choice, a few friendly tweets can be all it takes to convert a customer when they’re browsing the shelves weeks after their last interaction with you.
Great social media teams also have the opportunity to start learning directly from their customers. Not what they say when surveyed, or when they think the answer matters, but what they truly feel, day after day. Your followers can start to really believe you notice them; that what they say matters, and that trust is hard to fake or recreate.
The social media team at La Perla agree, stating, " The real-time feedback from our Instagram followers on our new products and campaigns is invaluable. Our audience on Instagram are the most active in terms of engagement, providing us with an insight into their thoughts on the brand. "
ReeRee’s top social media tips you can start doing today:
1. Don’t be afraid to sound like a person behind the screen. People know businesses can’t actually tweet.
2. Don’t just focus on your outbound messages, develop a strategy to talk to people (customers and otherwise). It’s called social for a reason.
3. Take time to work out what your clients are interested in. You may sell widgets they buy occasionally, but they don’t want to just chat about widgets. What can you offer to engage them in between purchases?
Social media can be a great way to reach existing clients, finding new clients, and helping solidify your brand's voice and positioning. It's so much more flexible and playful than traditional forms of marketing, and the brands that are smashing their social streams have definitely embraced this.