During my 22-year career in marketing, I’ve seen the way brands communicate with customers change dramatically. Gone are the days when a monthly magazine ad or a weekly newspaper ad was all a company needed to reach customers. And remember the annual phone book ad?!
Social media makes it possible for every brand to reach virtually everyone. However, staying on top of the rapidly changing trends and dizzying landscapes of social media can be daunting. Yet, U.P. brands can realize huge benefits from social media, so I’ve prepared a few simple tips to help get you into the game.
Quality of Connections vs. Quantity of Followers
I’ve watched many U.P. companies and sales teams focus on the pure quantity of followers as their measure of success. In most cases, sales and marketing teams should focus on the quality of the connections. How do you accomplish this? By publishing personalized, genuine content. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Don’t sell things
- Tell your brand story, values and culture
- Educate your customers
Technical note: Please note that news feed algorithms for most platforms sort content and posts based on relevance. What defines relevancy? See personalized content below to find out…
Social media is full of unfocused “noise.” But consumers are tired of the noise and demand personalization and customization. While social media companies strive to control content noise, the best thing you can do is localize your content for your audience or geography. For example, the blog you’re reading right now was personalized by geography as I am writing to the region we serve.
Technical note: You can further strengthen your digital presence using hashtags (#), @mention symbols and location tagging. If you don’t know how to use these, ask someone who does or research online.
“The Big 3” Have Some New Competition
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the big three social media players, hands down, while YouTube ranks a close fourth. But during 2016, we saw Instagram and Snapchat grow to take prominent positions. Chances are, not all six platforms are right for your company. But you should pick a few to start, and do a great job on those. Depending on your goals and audience, here are a few platforms used most successfully by industry:
- High-tech companies – LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook
- Manufacturers – LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook
- Retail – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat
- Non-profits – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter
- Events – Facebook, Twitter
- Products – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest
Video is the Internet Star!
Video content has experienced meteoric rise. But we see realistic challenges with some U.P. companies’ capacities and budgets to create compelling videos. This is a real problem. Video isn’t for everyone, but for those who want to incorporate it into social media — remember, you’re not producing a Stephen Spielberg movie.
First, decide how you want to use video: Factory tours and instructional video can be recorded with a cell phone and a few inexpensive stabilizing and recording tools. This can give your video that “live and in-the-moment” feel that’s trending with consumers right now.
Facebook – Your New “Call Center”
The entire purpose of social media is to connect people. Companies across the world are finding ways to sell, support, and service customers 24/7 through social media. Sit up and ask your teams: how can YOU do the same in your company?
Often, you simply must make the commitment to stay active and responsive to Facebook comments and messages. After all, it costs less money to retain a customer than find a new one.
Technical note: Facebook tracks and ranks your response time, so be sure to stay on top of incoming communications!