Do you feel your social game is a bit off? If yes, you’re not alone. According to research done by US-based company Visual Objects, around 93% of small businesses struggle with social media marketing. Of this, 19% of businesses said they struggle with creating a compelling social media content strategy.
This is a cause for alarm and concern since social media is the future of business. Brands that are unable to compete effectively on social media, may find themselves holding the emptier end of their customer’s wallets. If you’re a brand that falls within this category, you’ll need to take quick action to ensure your social media content struggle won’t harm your business.
All’s not doom and gloom
Now here’s the good news. You can extricate yourself from this challenging situation and create a robust social media content strategy that helps you meet your business objectives.
All you need to do is follow the 8 key steps I’ve mentioned below which are instrumental to social media success.
1. Leverage seasonal/holiday marketing
One of the best ways to energize your social media content is to jump on the social media holiday marketing bandwagon. As you’ve noticed, almost every brand offers some type of discount or runs a unique campaign around the holidays. This is because customers feel more generous due to the holiday spirit and they’re more likely to spend on brands that take their fancy.
When doing holiday/seasonal marketing, try the following tips:
- Start seasonal/holiday marketing at least a few weeks in advance. That way, you can keep your brand in the public’s mind from the start. Even if they are last-minute shoppers, they are likely to remember your brand because of the constant exposure to your posts for weeks.
- Create bite-sized posts that show how customers can use your product/services to make their holidays more enjoyable.
- Thank existing shoppers and provide benefits or offers or discounted prices as a way to show your gratitude.
- Give gifts with every order.
- Encourage prospects to sign-up to your email, so they can receive the best offers closer to the holiday.
- Ask existing customers to post pictures of how they used your product during the last holiday season. This can be a great testimony to prospects exploring your brand.
- Use the right holiday hashtags for your posts. For example, #christmasshoppinglist, #newyeargifts, #2022giftlist etc.
- Use post or email templates that use festive colors and designs. That way, you can inspire the holiday generosity and encourage them to spend on your brand.
When doing holiday/seasonal marketing, a tool like Crowdfire can come in handy. Their robust social media management features allow you to create, schedule, and publish your holiday marketing campaigns in advance. Keep the momentum rolling with posts tailored for each channel and audience persona. Plus, Crowdfire has an amazing content discovery tool that allows you to collate holiday-themed content and share it to engage your prospects.
2. Have a well-defined social creation content workflow to ensure quality and consistency
In addition to having customer-driven social media content goals, another must-follow step is to have a reliable and powerful social creation content workflow.
Often, one of the primary challenges that businesses face when creating content, is that they don’t know what exactly is to be done. Individual employees often have limited clarity about their respective responsibilities when creating social media content. Additionally, collaboration is also an immense challenge.
According to a study by Accenture, only 17% of business leaders mentioned that they were able to “declutter” their marketing efforts and achieve strategic alignment between teams. For the rest, doing so is proving to be a challenge because of blotchy cross-team. Having a reliable and powerful social creation content workflow can be a great help in such circumstances.
A content creation and workflow tool like Narrato can be incredibly helpful here. Narrato is a content creation and collaboration tool which lets you consolidate all your content creation ranging from social media posts, blogs, newsletters to sales enablement content (and more!) on a single platform. You can assign tasks, create content using awesome language tools like AI writer and optimizer, find awesome free images and design graphics with Canva, track your content creation and publishing progress. You can also invite people to edit and approve your social content through public links or by inviting them to your workspace. Also, great for managing your content writers and creators team, including freelancer payments. Currently, it’s free to use though they intend to launch paid plans soon — so a good time to grab a free account.
3. Choose social media content goals that are meaningful to your audience
Most brands focus on creating social media content that is aligned with their business goals. For example, increasing site visits, encouraging email sign-ups, reducing cart abandonment, etc. But, for this to happen, you need equal participation from your prospective customers as well. It is only when they reciprocate, can achieve your business goals.
The only reason prospects will actively work with your brand — or even put up with it — is if they are getting value out of this interaction. In essence, your social media content goals should be something meaningful to the people consuming your content.
So, consider creating a content calendar that your audience wants to see. Allow your prospects to dictate your social media content strategy. Some ways to do this are:
Employ social listening tools to capture trending topics and create the most relevant content for the time. A tool like Mention can be of great use here. It offers a variety of brand, competitor, and audience analytics tools to pick up on the most current trends.
Use smart chatbots to collect customer conversations. Review it later to find inspiration for social media content.
Consult your sales and customer service teams about their conversations with customers to identify pain points, unmet needs, and suggestions.
· Directly ask your audience for inputs about what they’d like to see on social media.
4. Humanize your company and brand
If there’s one sure-fire way of making your social media content stand out from the crowd, it is to humanize yourself and your content. According to a study by McKinsey & Co., brand personalization can increase revenue between 5% & 15%, while simultaneously increasing marketing-spend efficiency by 10%-30%.
The company Braze — which is renowned for its Braze Brand Humanity Index — found that it was able to increase cross-channel and social media engagement by a whopping 844%, by humanizing and personalizing their communications.
So, what does “humanizing” a brand or company mean? Well, it means implementing those characteristics in a brand’s social media presence and interactions, which make prospects feel the brand is a human — a friend — as opposed to a corporate machine. These characteristics typically include requirements like –
- Being sensitive to the socio-political climate of the world.
- Avoid sounding robotic in social media posts.
- Not being overtly promotional and creating value-adding content.
- Valuing customer relationships, even at the cost of not making profits.
- Owning up to mistakes the brand has made in the past.
- Availability to address customer/audience concerns across social media platforms.
- Investing in building an inclusive and accessible brand environment.
- Use robust apps for marketing automation that help ensure your social engagement is consistent and reliable.
Being human as a brand can take many forms. Take Wendy’s #TreatItFwd social media campaign, which encouraged people to sponsor a frosty or a burger to children in the foster care system, while they bought food for themselves. Humanizing could also be like brands using words like “lit” and “bae” in their social media ad copy to sound more like the audience they are aiming at.
Again, social media listening tools can play a critical role in identifying what makes audiences tick and how you can connect with them on a human level. You could also use a Sentiment Analysis tool as well, to make sure your social media posts are spot-on in terms of the emotions you want to portray. Take Social Searcher for example. The tool can help you understand the public sentiment behind a specific keyword, a hashtag, a username, etc. Social Search also brings up a detailed report of how many positive, negative and neutral mentions are there of the search term. With this, it also shows you the top articles/posts that contain these mentions.
5. Promote the same message through different content formats
One of the biggest mistakes brands make on social media, is to have a separate content marketing plan for each social media platform. They may focus on one service on Facebook and an entirely different service on Instagram. Or, they may use different pitches and angles to promote the same product/service.
Doing so can be very confusing to prospective buyers, especially so since many may follow you across different social media channels. This is why you need to have a consistent social media message when marketing your offering.
One way to make sure your message doesn’t seem too boring or repetitive is to repurpose the content format you’ve used. For example, if you’ve written a lengthy post on LinkedIn, consider making it into an infographic for Facebook or a video reel for Instagram. This is a great way to implement video marketing.
Take BBC Earth for example. They sought help from Sir David Attenborough to bring home the message of saving the Earth’s fragile ecosystem. While on Instagram they kept the message light-hearted by showing Sir David’s childlike enthusiasm for the Earth; their Twitter and Facebook messaging was more serious. They promoted Sir David’s speech to global leaders about the need to work together to save the planet. Plus, while the Instagram post was a reel, the Facebook/Twitter post was an article.
The truth is, not every customer may like consuming each type of content format. By using different formats to reinforce the same message, is a great way to capture attention from all target segments.
To implement such content repurposing, consider using a repurposing tool like Designrr. This tool allows you to pull content from formats as diverse as PDF, Google docs podcasts, images, etc. Import your content, select the template of the new content format you want to use, and make the edits you prefer.
6. Rely on the visual medium
In the previous tip, I did highlight how brands use video reels to energize their social media content.
The fact is, visual content always has been and always will be, one of the most powerful forms of content. This is because the information in the form of visuals is retained by 65% of audiences. Especially, when compared to the mere 10% retention rate of auditory messages and 20% of written/printed material.
This is why I highly recommend that you dedicate a large chunk of your social media real estate to visuals. Whether it’s static images or an interactive infographic, you’ll work wonders if you do use visuals in your content.
You have numerous tools available to create visual content for your social media marketing. For example, image creation apps like Canva, which allow you to add photos, videos, and text to make a variety of visual content pieces. There are programs like Canva that work just as well. Take Animaker, which allows you to make compelling videos with audio support. Those who prefer other types of visual mediums can consider ThingLink, which allows you to build a variety of interactive content like infographics, clickable maps, 3D models, custom web design, and more.
7. Create and use branded hashtags that are unique to each campaign
Another way to up your social media content game is to make smart use of hashtags. I cannot stress enough how important hashtags are in getting your content found on social media. With platforms rolling out complex algorithmic changes which actively suppress content, your hashtags may be the only thing standing between content visibility and content anonymity.
When creating a branded hashtag, follow these tips:
- Narrow down on the goal you want to achieve using this hashtag. Your hashtag will be more focused and effective that way.
- Don’t overcomplicate. Simplify the wording so people can easily read it and understand it.
- Try to play with words to infuse some humor — your audience is more likely to use the hashtag then.
- Avoid using any word variations that may resemble or have been used by your competitors.
- Be careful about spelling & grammar — they matter, even if it’s a hashtag.
- Identify possible problems or misinterpretations and fix them.
If you follow the above tips, you’ll be able to create smart and well-performing branded hashtags like Lay’s #DoUsAFlavor, KFC’s #NationalFriedChickenDay, Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke, Oreo’s #OreoHorrorStories and L’Oréal Paris’s #WorthSaying. Otherwise, you may risk creating hashtags that were epic fails because of how ridiculous or terrible they were. A few failed branded hashtags are — #RIMJobs by Research In Motion, #susanalbumparty by Susan Boyle, and Entenmann’s flawed & insensitive #notguilty.
Using a hashtag-generating tool like All Hashtag can be helpful here. This free tool allows you to generate numerous options based on a single-word search. You’ll pull up a list of most-used tags and similar tags. This can give you sufficient knowledge about the type of tags your competitors and audience are using.
Based on this, you can build your branded hashtag off this list.
8. Use negative comments as opportunities for marketing
My final recommendation that is a sure-shot way to energize your social media content, is comment marketing.
The reality is, your prospects will judge you based on how you manage your comments. In particular, negative comments. When you have bad feedback or an angry outburst by an audience member or customer on social media, do the smart thing and engage. Not in a self-righteous way. Rather, in a magnanimous manner.
A few ways to turn your negative comments into excellent promotional opportunities are:
- Accept you’re in the wrong — Prospects love engaging with brands that show themselves to be accountable.
- Share a contact address where customers can reach you — This could be an email ID, a telephone number, or a social media account handle.
- Empathize — Try to understand from the perspective of the buyer and offer solutions that can add real value to them.
- Offer to replace, repair, or refund — When you actively offer solutions to their problems, customers will often back away from confrontation.
- Ask for suggestions on how to improve — This proves to those reading your comments that you care about what they want and how keen you are not to repeat these mistakes.
- Don’t neglect contentious comments — If comments are particularly nasty, try to get the commentator to communicate with you privately to sort the issue. This includes those comments you may receive during live videos on social media or during your webinar. Some tools, which are often Zoom competitors, have a robust comment management feature that you can use for comment marketing.
- Use facts, not emotions to disprove wrong accusations — To err is human and customers may make mistakes when accusing you of something. Instead of getting mad about it, use available evidence and facts to show why your brand may not be fully in the wrong. Still, offer to give them a discount to pacify upset customers.
- Post a statement about doing better — If you’ve been getting particularly nasty sets of comments regularly, it’s always better to be front-and-center about any controversy and tackle it before it tackles you.
Here, a comment management tool like Disqus can help you moderate your comments with ease. The tool also supports effortless commenting by users. Your audience can use Disqus to comment across platforms. You will be able to moderate and prune any comments (such as spam) you don’t want showing up on your feed. You can also capture leads by sharing opt-in links in the comments. There’s also an analytics tool to help you understand how much traction a comment sparring session brought your social media post.
Social media will continue to be the world’s chosen platform for brand-buyer engagement for decades to come. The great thing about the above tips is that they are implementable across all platforms. So, go ahead and give them a try. Let us know in the comments below how these steps helped you.