Social media has easily become one of the most important fixtures within a company's marketing strategy in 2020. No matter the size of your company, social media has probably been discussed as a means to speak directly to your customers, and (hopefully) generate sales. In fact, companies that attract 10% or more of their sales online, spend on average 17.6% of their marketing budget on social media.
Unfortunately building a winning social media strategy can be somewhat overwhelming (2.7bn hits on google overwhelming!), which is why we decided to pull together our top-line advice for brands looking to not only thrive, but stand out in this space. Whether you’re an established business looking to re-evaluate an existing strategy, or a start-up learning the ropes, Genflow have you covered.
Know your Audience
As we mentioned in our previous post, understanding your audience as a brand is of the utmost importance. Most likely your aim is to generate sales though your social media presence. Knowing who your customer is, their age, gender, values, interests, income, lifestyle and so forth, will allow you to tailor every inch of your business platforms - from your tone of voice, content, running ads and using hashtags more effectively.
If you’ve already identified the primary characteristics of your audience, great! The next step is understanding how to reach them. Beginning with the platforms you choose to be present, and focusing on where your audience are most active. For example; if you’re looking to target those aged between 50-65, Facebook will be your primary short-form network, with 57% of this age group regularly using Facebook, compared to only 23% on Instagram and 17% on Twitter, according to Sprout Social.
Communicating with consumers as an established B2C can prove difficult, with longer production, turn around and launch times. As a D2C (direct to consumer) brand, you’re in a unique position to speak directly with those who are buying your products/services, understanding their wants, needs and vital feedback, which will propel your business forward. Operating as a D2C provides a high level of control over your customers experience through social media, one which is attainable but difficult to achieve in the B2C world.
The bottom line: The more detailed description of your target audience, the easier it will be to reach them (via ads and boosted content), and more importantly, for them to find you.
Boost Boost Boost!
Most businesses today are placing higher volumes of their marketing budget towards digital advertising, with more traditional ‘out-of-home’ campaigns becoming increasingly dispensable to a brand's overall marketing efforts!
According to Statista, social ad impressions are up 20% in 2020 thus far, showing no signs of slowing down. On platforms such as Instagram, 90% of their 1bn users are following brands, which has led to an increased ROI from ad spend alone - jumping from £18bn in 2018 to a predicted £26bn ad revenue in 2020.
As a new or established business, the results from a focused social media advertising strategy paired with, clear, quality content can be highly rewarding, but it’s not all about the financial gain...
Genflow’s Head of Digital Marketing, Rob Saunders explains “A lot of companies fall flat due to having generalised goals, such as sales and revenue, via ads. For long term growth, you need to also focus on how your brand will reach new people in your target market, whilst driving revenue from existing consumers”.
This ties into understanding WHO you are targeting, and WHY. Aligning your pre-established consumer profile with your ads spend can lead to a generous ROI through sales and consumer base growth.
Simple Content Wins
The simple option may actually be the most effective… At Genflow we are continuously running ads for our client brands, testing new ideas to fine tune the process. As experts in this field we’ve come to realise what content works, and what falls by the wayside.
We recently ran two similar ads for a fitness client, one saw the client chatting naturally to the camera whilst walking down the street, the other a more highly produced video, cutting between fitness shots and voice over. The simple, chatty video saw a 40% increase in clicks over the highly produced content.
Rob continues “Many people don’t like feeling ‘targeted at’, they prefer to feel as though they’ve discovered something themselves, organically. A more natural, conversational ad provides the viewer time to actually listen to the message, without the feeling of being pushed towards making a purchase.”
Tech savvy consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the ads appearing on their screens, with 30% of internet users now implementing ad blockers to side step these efforts. The more organic and simple your post, the more appealing your brand will seem. Applying the same methodology captions too, talk to your target audience as though a peer, writing engaging and conversational copy.
Short Form vs Long form… Or Both
Many digital marketers will place their brand on every possible short-form platform (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat), for maximum visibility in a world of short attention spans and fast thumbs. Utilising short-form channels is the perfect means to reach your desired audience, who want quick, concise content at their fingertips.
But, How do you pick which one is right for your brand?... Follow your audience, If tech savvy millennials are your core demographic, 67% are actively engaging on Instagram and 87% use Youtube regularly, according to Sprout Social. Focusing your strategy on one channel, producing quality content and running ads to target this group will be more effective than blanketing your brand across all the social media channels.
Alongside your short-form network, long-form content can add more value behind your brand. Owned media is a powerful source when used correctly, and providing free content to your audience, through a podcast, a blog (like this one!) or a Youtube channel can leverage you above competitors, and allow customers to get to know your brand on a personal level.
Utilise Social Media Automation Tools
It goes without saying, automation tools are your friends.
There are a wide variety of tools, apps and softwares out there which are designed to make your job as a marketer much easier. Using these tools will help you schedule and put out better content, show you what is performing well and monitor how your audience is responding to your brand in the digital world.
Tools such as Hootsuite and Sprout Social are widely popular, but can come at a hefty price for a new business, there many alternatives on the market which not only offer like-for-like assistance, but at a much lower cost. Our social media team at Genflow regularly use Facebook owned ‘Creator Studio’, which allows you to edit and schedule your posts in Facebook and Instagram (for IGTV and feed), all for free! We also highly recommend Social Blade if you work with influencers, it’s a great tool to track user statistics across YouTube, Twitch, Instagram, and Twitter.
Be Active in your Community
The best way to break though that screen and really speak to your audience, is by doing just that, speak to them! Social media has a tendency to make us appear cold or impersonal, and as brands it is important to show our followers and potential customers our personality, in order to really connect.
The first and most important step is replying to DM’s, many of these messages could be customer service related, replying promptly in a friendly manner will show your followers you care and are keen to be of assistance. The same goes for comments on your content, answer questions, and reply to those who have taken the time to just show appreciation!
Engaging with similar accounts, hashtags and liking content within your community is a great way to be proactive, and further draw in your audience. Use niche hashtags which really relate to the content you’re uploading, chances are those searching that hashtag will engage what you’re posting too.
Finally, running competitions and even including your followers in the decision making process of a product… e.g. running polls on what colours or fonts to use. The more involved your followers feel, the more invested they’ll be in the end result, driving new sales.