There was a time when companies could just publish their website, open their storefront or company doors, and focus on traditional advertising to get customers. But in a world filled with consumers who live and breathe social media, Corporate America and entrepreneurs have had to adjust.
While Millennials and Generation Z are glued to their smartphones for personal and professional reasons, there can even be a learning curve with them when it comes to utilizing social media for business purposes. If your team struggles to connect with users online, consider what tactics you need to use to create content that they care about. What messages can you send that will make them want to follow, like and subscribe to your social media channels to see what’s next?
Here are seven ideas to inspire your creative content excursion.
1. Evaluate what worked and what didn’t with quantifiable evidence.
Establish achievable and quantifiable objectives that are informed by your marketing and business goals. Put a timeframe on how long they should take to achieve. Find the right key performance indicator (KPIs) and tools to evaluate your progress, and don’t be afraid to change your tactics if something isn’t working.
If you’ve done something in the past that worked well, think about how and why it worked, and let it inform your strategy as you move forward. Similarly, reevaluate past failures. How have your past social efforts missed the mark, and how can you avoid these mistakes going forward?
2. Get familiar with your audience.
Identifying and empathizing with your demographic and how they spend their time online makes a huge difference in making your voice heard. Picture your ideal customer. What interests them? What are they passionate about? What do they read, watch and talk about with their friends? What are their goals, and how can the things you do help to achieve them? The better you know your customer, the easier it will be to find people like them online and speak to them with your content.
You should also be willing to take in feedback, both good and bad, from your company and your competitors. Listen to your audience and their conversations online about your industry in general and your brand in particular.
Find keywords, hashtags and phrases in these conversations. Learn how they’re used, and put them into practice in your own content. These keywords, which can include anything from industry jargon to misspellings of your company’s name, make up the language that your customers speak. Your business needs to be able to talk their talk.
Finally, knowing the social media influencers your audience follows and engaging with the things that interest them can put you straight into your audience’s line of sight. Learn from what influencers do to engage your audience, and put it into practice in your own social media strategy.
3. Make storytelling fun for them to hear.
Use your social media channels to build a narrative around your business that shows how it got to where it is today. If you have a niche audience, personalize your brand with their interests. How can the things your business does change a person’s day, or change the way they live their lives?
4. Treat social media like a lunch break.
Social media is a two-way street, and driving engagement with your brand means taking hold of the reins and engaging with your audience. Make your business part of the conversation online by asking and answering questions, finding cool customers to follow, and taking note of who follows you. Social media doesn’t always have to be about advertising and sales: share holiday greetings, discuss local events and start a dialogue about current news stories. Keeping your ear to the social media “streets” creates engagement, and you will learn more about your target demographic.
Most importantly, share with your audience and encourage them to share with you! Ask your audience about what they want to see, take the feedback and deliver on it. If you see someone doing something cool with your product or sharing a success story, like it, retweet it or tag them. When your audience is engaged with your brand, you become a part of their network, and everyone gets to see how your business fits into the lives of people just like them. This widens your audience and compounds your chances of generating engagement.
5. Go live on social media channels.
Livestreaming has quickly become a powerhouse marketing tool for the biggest brands. Your followers are notified the moment you go live, and they can join at any time to watch you broadcast things that matter to the both of you. Is your company reaching a milestone or releasing a brand new product? Has your warehouse just received a long-awaited and much anticipated shipment? Go live, and share the moment with your fans. Hold a live Q&A session, give fans a sneak peek at exciting things in the works or simply broadcast a day in the life of an employee. When your fans see the real people behind your products or services and share in their successes, it lays the foundation for a fanbase that is engaged, loyal and eager to see more.
6. Create a call to action.
Twitter’s 280-character limit is an obvious example of getting straight to the point, but Snapchat’s ephemeral photos and videos and Instagram’s bite-sized Boomerang and Stories features are more recent examples. These limitations allow you to create captivating copy and striking visuals that inspire interest. Visuals and videos keep their attention, too. Once you have their attention, encourage users to follow up by clicking a link, signing up for an email newsletter or looking through a complete product line to get more of the content that hooked them.
7. Never get so comfortable that you don’t test new ideas.
Finally, always make room for improvements. Don’t focus on a single successful formula and stick to it. Variety is the spice of life, so keep an eye out for new trends, new conversations and new mediums to get your message out there.
The art of the social media connection
With these seven tactics above, your company should be able to organically connect with your consumers. The point of social media is literally to connect with people. Use your social media channels as a platform to connect to and grow your audience, not just as a megaphone to talk at them. Create a give-and-take conversation that’s enjoyable for all of you.