All brands want loyal customers but building that community can be challenging. While different budgets also decide the breadth of audiences and content quality, don’t let it deter your success. As Shark Tank’s Lori Grenier puts it, “As an entrepreneur, you can always find a solution if you try hard enough.”
If that isn’t enough encouragement, here are essential strategies to start making a social media legacy for your brand.
Choose your platform, or use them all!
There’s a well known fact that everyone including your grandma is on Facebook now. What does that say about Facebook? It means your audience has no limit to growth or content. However, being accessible to all does not necessarily make Facebook a right fit for your brand.
Think about the image your brand conveys and solutions it provides. Is it a fashion brand for teenagers? Try a combination of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Recent research by Pew Foundation shows teenagers preferring image and video focused outlets, and feel more comfortable without some of their Facebook-only contacts viewing their activity. With fashion, image and style leaps to the forefront compared to a more niche brand, such as an IT firm.
Want to connect to more business opportunities? There’s LinkedIn groups for that. Want your funny music video or cute pooch to go viral? Vine or Youtube. Have a human-rights campaign that needs large followers? Twitter.
Online social media tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer have also essentially become free and available to all; the only catch being knowing which platform(s) to leverage on and building offline precedence and engagement.
Listicle (List articles) conglomerate Buzzfeed has built a reputation of directing all their social media networks to their main website. This is a huge achievement for a company that is just going into middle school and still going strong.
Be a content sage
Taking a digital page from Buzzfeed, learning when to lead with relevant pop culture or political sentiment is vital to keep your audience engaged. All of us thrive on connection, and content that is interesting enough to encourage engagement attracts more followers. Plan ahead with a mix of your products and tie them to current trends. However, don’t plan too ahead — today’s news can easily become irrelevant tomorrow. Host competitions, polls, Q&A sessions and post frequently to remind your community that you are still around, especially on time-sensitive networks such as Twitter and Facebook.
Keep it simple (KISS)
Jason Fried, author of Rework, once said: “It’s simple, until you make it complicated.” Many decades before that, Albert Einstein agreed with: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
Simply put, keep your content short and digestible. Confusing regular and new followers with any jargon or long-winded paragraph of how your visionary product would reinvent the way breakfast sandwiches are made drives them away, no matter how awesome panini makers are.
See what I did there?
Keeping content simple, however technical the industry, does the fussy organization for your readers and helps them feel good and informed in an already complicated and disruptive world.
Inspire your audience
Lead with inspiration, not discouragement.
The best way to inspire your audience is to involve them in your process. Treat your audience as your friend, let them into your world through your eyes. While this sounds hard, remember even a daily work instagram is frequently relatable. Spend some time daily to reply them or troubleshoot any product issues, and start earning brand loyalty.
Something as simple as choosing between a blue or white dress led to the now infamous ‘Dressgate’, where a dress photo was seen as a different colour by people globally. Whether you were either in the #whiteandgold or #blackandblue camp, there was no stopping the impact the dress made in both pop culture and scientific circles.
Always give a reason for your audience to like and share your content. MVMT (‘Movement’) Watches exemplifies this with their high quality and tongue-in-cheek content on multiple social networks. Their watches are placed in various environments — sports, day-to-day activities, couples holding hands, extreme shots, which show how easily MVMT fits into anyone’s life. Their Instagram tag #jointhemvmt is smart, inspiring and encourages a call to action — to join the MVMT.
Every platform works differently and what you share on one you might not be able to share on another. For example, your characters might be limited on Twitter but they are not limited on Facebook. Also, you can post longer videos to Facebook than you can on Instagram so you should plan your content accordingly. Likewise, make sure that you don’t upload excessively. Even if you are planning on uploading content to several different sites, it’s important to stagger your uploads, or you will spam your followers. Keep your eyes open for trending content and don’t be afraid to share it for all of your followers to see.
#Love thy hashtag
Learn to love the hashtag, and it will love you back.
While overused in the past, often for Search Engine Optimization purposes, hashtags have attained a significance in progressive movements and making headlines.
They can trail blaze important social movements, lives in need, citizen journalism, silly cat memes and everything in between.
Besides ‘Dressgate’, #LoveWins, the hashtag following SCOTUS’s ruling for same-sex marriage led the movement for marriage equality worldwide. President Barack Obama’s simple tweet and single hashtag has garnered over 450 000 retweets since it was posted on 26 June.
What else needs to be said about the power of the perfectly crafted hashtag?
Lastly, if all else fails, there’s paid advertising.
You must be thinking — Paying for people to like me? What do you take me for, ‘easy’?
Paid advertising has become a sort of black sheep, so much so that many social media platforms have sequestered them away under a set of marketing tools. However, if things aren’t working out for your brand; whether you’re not getting enough shares, comments or awareness, consider a small weekly or monthly fee to get the engagement you need. Paid advertising allows you to target specific demographics for a period of time to reach the community you need. Having an attractive ad with a strong advertising message also helps to boost its success.
By combining paid advertising analytics with your current social media tactics, you have more time to sift out what’s working and what’s not.
Crafting a social media legacy may be easier said than done, but its results are both rewarding and eye-opening. Connecting with strangers globally on a intimate level, strangers who love your brand and spend their time interacting with it is nothing short of a two-way commitment worth sharing.