Article

Neel Sinha
Neel Sinha 25 January 2018

Can social media help you accelerate business growth?

Remember the times when the direct mailing was a futuristic concept? Engulfed in the surge of fresh ideas, direct mailing gave way to telecalling and content-rich websites. Now, fully submerged in the tsunami of the digital marketing revolution, they both feel like something from yesteryear. So what's next?

Yes, you heard it! Not just a thing of yesterday, but yesteryear! In fact, telecalling is often likened to fire ants, and excessive content has been relegated to clutter. In the rapidly changing world of social media, it is imperative to stay in touch with the changing times, lest your campaigns face the same fate as the marketing techniques of years gone by.

Social media has lit up the internet with engaging content for people of every kind. Not only has modern news feed become more consumer-centric over time, but the initiation of fresh social media platforms such as Instagram and Quora has added impetus to the trend of personalization. The recognition and appreciation of uniqueness is evolving, while the metaphorical notion of ‘one size fits all’ is on the brink of extinction.

It is not so far-fetched to believe that the inception of social media has heralded the much-proclaimed trend of personalization and customization. Though customization isn’t a recent concept, the surge in its acceptance has changed the course of social media. Bitmoji, an app to personalize a cartoon avatar of oneself, is a perfect advocate of this trend. Such is its popularity that SnapChat’s rise to fame cannot be fully appreciated without acknowledging Bimoji’s hand in its raise to fame. It is quite amusing to note that so many people want to personalize themselves. Such is the virality of this trend, backed by a study conducted during the first quarter of 2017, which showed that Bitmoji was the most downloaded app in the U.S., U.K., France, Australia, and Canada.

The challenge of personalizing marketing for each of your consumers is a monumental task. The following tips are sure to reduce that burden and set you on the path to marketing success in 2018:

Trending Posts

Yesterday’s news gets scanty views. The thumb rule of leveraging social media for your business is to keep your content current. The talk of today’s frigid weather will cause more impact than a post about yesterday’s below freezing temperature. This illustration was put out there with the objective to create relevance.

Weather is too mundane a topic to pique the curiosity of most readers unless it is creating a drastic impact in some part of the world. E.g., snowfall in the Sahara, posted by ‘The Independent,’ got more than 14,000 shares in less than a week. One may ask how snowfall in a desert can be used for marketing a brand. It is not mandatory to connect trending news to your brand. In fact, it is better to provide valuable information for free on a regular basis with the occasional sugar-coated post on selling a product or service. This practice gets people into the rut of reading your posts on a regular basis.

The intermittent inclusion of sales posts is hence read in full before the consumer moves on to the next item. Conversely, a brand which posts product-centric information regularly can lose the attention of its audience very quickly. In the limitless world of social content, your customer can be distracted by clutter in the blink of an eye or the swipe of a finger. MyLnk, a URL shortener, personalizer, and analytics platform, has started using globally recognized special days to engage their audience. E.g., Jan 8th, 2018 was recognized the world over as ‘Clean your desk day.’

Strategic marketers created a post to inform their consumers about this special day and told them to tag their friends with “awesomely clean” desks. “Awesomely clean” can be sincerely or sarcastically interpreted, which tended to both tidy and untidy people. This startup garnered much-needed momentum with such posts. They cleverly included a funny video in the description, which had been MyLnked. Not only did followers enjoy watching the video and tagging their friends, but were tacitly educated about how 

Test and Focus

Out of the 3.5 billion users of the internet around the world, 3.03 billion of them are active users of social media With the ever-growing number of social media platforms; one must test each of them before investing in online promotions. Maybe your product is more suited to the needs of businesses than individual consumers, in which case your product will do better on LinkedIn than Facebook or Instagram.

However, a strategy to attract customers on LinkedIn is very different from other social media platforms. Infographics, whitepapers and such have a better click-through rate than casual consumer-centric posts. It is also shrewd to pay attention to the tone of voice while posting on different platforms. You will have to use a professional tone while posting on LinkedIn, while it will behove you to be more casual and talk like a friend while promoting your brand on Facebook or Instagram.

A likely indicator of the most receptive social media platform is your target market. E.g., Instagram is the best platform to engage consumers, if your target market is centered around millennials. Recognize what works best for you before investing in talent and online promotions.

Presence of mind to build presence online

When you are a global brand, your online presence is will primarily define your success. 97% of people search online for local businesses, according to a study conducted by Google. An attractive website is just the beginning of your online journey. It is more prudent to invest in garnering followers on social media to up your credibility. It is a common practice for people to find your brand online through posts, ads, etc., which will lead them to your online page and hence your website. So, heavy investments on a website without adequate social media presence can lead to the quick demise of a start-up.

Create Customer Personas

Marketing campaigns known for their impact have always begun with understanding customers and their needs. It is near impossible to indulge in personalized marketing without creating customer personas. The most effective way to bucket attributes of people to create personas is to interview them personally or collect information through survey groups. Make sure you have clear personas, based on the desires and requirements of present and potential customers. This is vital to ensure that any social media campaign that is launched after that is hardwired to produce maximum return on investment.

Employ a convenient analytics platform

The simplest method to test the efficacy of online campaigns is to subscribe to a premium analytics platform. There are the tools to track clicks on your link, but give you other vital click related information such as the time, date, city, country, social media platform, browser type and much more. With such in-depth link analysis, any layperson can pinpoint the best cities to promote a campaign, pick the best time to post when followers are most active and choose the platform that works best for online campaigns. Without a tool as such, it is extremely tedious to determine the success and hence the ROI on any online marketing campaign.

Influencer Marketing

All the reviews and ratings that float around social media platforms are intended to help consumers make the right choice. However, many a time ratings and reviews are rigged. Consumers are wise to this ploy and often disregard reviews completely. To fix this issue, businesses have started employing social media influencers to propagate their brand. These influencers are recognized by consumers to be knowledgeable and honest. To maintain this trust, influencers do not rate or review products that don’t live up to their expectation. Set a worthy product for review, compensate the influencer handsomely and you can change perceptions within minutes.

Most people agree that eating habits are the hardest to alter. Since 2014, Leonardo DiCaprio has championed the cause of climate change and urged people to stay away from meat. How are the two interconnected? Deforestation, which is necessary to accommodate excessive livestock farms, is the primary stimulant of climate change. Not only are trees cut to provide land for livestock, but more land is required to grow feed for them. The release of carbon dioxide from meat farms also contribute to climate change.

To counteract these causes of global warming, Oscar winner, Leonardo DiCaprio, took to the streets to educate people and encourage veganism. His influence has turned a horde of followers to refrain from meat and dairy products. From a meagre 1% in 2014 to a 500% rise in 2017, influencers have changed the dietary culture in a land of meat lovers. Brands use a similar tactic to promote brand awareness, sales, and brand loyalty.

Social media is the most inexpensive way to reach a wide range of audiences. When implemented prudently, it can act as a catalyst to raise your brand to the top. On the other hand, it can annihilate your brand in an instant. Social media is the voice of the people. If you want your brand to flourish you’ve got to take good care of your people. Be as responsive as possible to questions and comments.

In February of 2007, the north-eastern part of America was pounded with freezing rain, which made it impossible for JetBlue to fly their passengers. JetBlue, then a carrier is known for its reasonable fares and the touch of humanity, was in the midst of a full-fledged crisis when their passengers were stranded for hours, some even days. Over 1000 flight were canceled, and it left a sour taste in the mouths of irate customers. However, five days after the disaster, JetBlue’s CEO released a video on YouTube with a heartfelt apology to all their customers. Of course, the responses weren’t all supportive, but people appreciated the proactive spirit of JetBlue.

Some comments even read “I still love you jet blue and I’m not handing in my true blue card anytime soon.” Such is the power of social media. It is easier to lose a brand loyal customer when you ignore them than to garner a casual follower. Social media marketing is all about building relationships with customers that will stand the test of time.

 

 

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