Social media has quickly become one of the most useful marketing tools to date, allowing marketers to target advertising, receive feedback from customers and even develop behavioural patterns specific to a person (yes that is a little creepy). With over 50% of the world’s population on Facebook, there is a massive amount of potential for marketers to increase brand exposure and interaction.
Although the booming world of social media is enough to make some marketers weak at the knees with excitement, the dynamic world of social media is still changing. A study conducted by marketing services company, Sensis, has uncovered that social media usage has shifted. The uptake of new users on Facebook has now plateaued and Twitter users are decreasing, while visual sites such as Instagram, Pintrest and Snapchat have increased in popularity. The world of shameless gym selfies, kale instagrams and trout pouts is rapidly increasing in popularity and needs to be tapped in to. No longer is a Facebook page going to cut it, businesses need to span out into other forms of social media to reach a wider audience. So how can companies adapt to these changes in usage? Funny you should ask, here are a few pieces of advice based on Kaplan and Haenlein’s tips from 2010 with a twist to suit the social media environment of 2016.
1. Make sure that the company picks the right types of social media to join. If you run a restaurant, a site such as Twitter may not be the right way to go. Not only is Twitter decreasing in popularity as seen in Sensis’ report, but this type of communication also isn’t maximising the potential of social media. People want pictures of those kick-ass blueberry pancake stacks, not a 140-character description. Utilise the right types of social media to make sure customers have a forum where they can enjoy relevant content and engage with you.
2. Choosing an existing social media vs making your own. Existing social media such as Facebook and Instagram offer a wide range of existing users to interact with. However, some companies may opt to create their own social media forum. In today’s environment utilising an existing and established social media may be more effective as research has indicated people are less likely to join new social media compared to existing social media as 14% of users have shut down social media accounts over the past year.
3. Ensuring activity alignment becomes even more important as more social media sites are utilised. Consistency is key! Content and themes should be carried across all social media to maintain a consistent brand image. Having lots of channels to communicate is great but there needs to be a key goal to reduce confusion and maintain consistency. This is even more important today as there is a call for more social media to be used, especially visual platforms such as Instagram and Pintrest.
4. Create a media plan to integrate all your channels of social media. Don’t forget to incorporate different types of media such as TV and viral trends to generate more interest. For example, Vans cleverly used the publicity generated through the ‘Damn Daniel’ viral videos to promote their shoes by giving Daniel a lifetime supply of Vans and therefore tapping into the publicity that was generated by the video.
5. Make sure everyone can access your social media pages. Don’t have privacy settings or restrictions because let’s face it, people will loose interest no matter how great your brand is. This is the age of instant gratification and when people want to follow an Instagram page or like a Facebook group, they want it now! Also make sure that your content is accessible across all devices and isn’t exclusive to particular users. You need to reach as many people as possible so don’t limit your audience through incompatibility, especially in a multi-platform environment.
6. Once your social media accounts are up and running, make sure you actually use them. Engage with your customers and post regular updates to keep them interested and connected with the brand. Ensuring content is fresh and engaging will maintain following and overall increase likability. Remember it’s called social media!
7. Make sure your content and updates are actually interesting. Keep your updates current and encourage engagement. This comes through listening to and interacting with customers. If you find out what they like and what they expect from the brand, this can be incorporated into the social media plan.
8. Take the time to discover the social media you want to enter into and don’t dive straight in. Listening and taking in information are key to correctly using social media.
9. Use casual language. No one wants to follow a Facebook page that sounds like a frequently updated financial report (ughhh), make sure you are conversational and fun when posting and interacting. This helps connect with followers and maintain interest.
10. Remember that your followers aren’t stupid. If you make a mistake, just own up to it and move on! Don’t try to cover up mistakes by blindsiding people, be honest. Trying to cover up a mistake can instantly make people distrust the brand and discourage following. By attempting to cover up a mistake, you are making a bigger issue of what it actually was.
Social media is a really exciting platform for businesses that provides a great opportunity to interact with customers, so log on and get started!