Social media is the most powerful marketing channel available to brands today. You have direct access to your customers and prospects to build a powerful connection. Are you fully taking advantage of all the benefits? Most brands are not. Social media has revolutionized the way we communicate with each other and brands. Everyone now has a voice we can use to engage with brands and give our opinions. The best brands leverage these conversations to create more engagement. Are you?
So let’s take a look at social media marketing best practices and how popular brands are doing them right:
As with any marketing channel, it is essential to set goals for your campaigns. They must be measurable and achievable. Here are some social media marketing goals brands set: Brand Awareness, Web Traffic, New Leads, Sales Revenue, and Engagement. You need to pick the right goals for your organization so they may not be listed here, but can still be good choices for your company. Since brands do not publicize their goals, we will not address specific brand examples here.
Your social media should encompass multiple departments and employees. Social is more than just marketing; it is customer service, technical support and so much more. Empower your employees to engage with customers and prospects on social media. Check out L’Oreal who encourages its staff to use the hashtag #lifeatloreal to showcase the culture of the organization and humanize the brand. Then KLM‘s social customer care which started in the wake of the 2010 Icelandic ash cloud, when many flights were grounded. The airline understands that customers want to be served in the channel they are using, not directed elsewhere. You need to follow this example, do not ask customers to call you, help them where they reach out, they do not like being redirected.
Social media requires a lot of listening. There are many software programs out there to help you listen for specific keywords that are relevant to you. There are several things you should be listening to customer requests, questions, concerns, competition, your brand, products, industry terms, trends, industry, brand influencers, your company name and top company employee names.
Check out how PlayStation listens. Sometimes just by listening to a conversation, you can learn a lot more than when you take part in it. There are times where you will need to join the conversation, so don’t be afraid to jump right in and be helpful.
You must maintain honest communication in order to remain trustworthy and build a following. Nowadays information spreads very rapidly about dishonest campaigns through all social media platforms. Not only can honestly help you avoid crises and mitigate negative perceptions, but it can also help to differentiate you in a crowded market. See how Procter and Gamble learned the hard way. You don’t want to be like them. Then there is Clearasil who was honest and as a result, gained more trust. Be honest and transparent. The rewards are great and there is no downside to doing it.
5. Customer Focused
Social media gives you the opportunity to build relationships. You should engage with customers, answer questions and reply to concerns. Your brand needs to act like a human. People like to interact with brands who respond like real people. Your employees who are on social media need to have the authority to reach out in a real authentic way to connect with your customers and prospects. You need to provide people with what they are looking for from your brand. When you do, more people will engage with you. Here are some great examples of brands that have stayed customer focused on their social media and what a difference it made.
The one thing that scares brands the most are responding to negative feedback. In many cases, they delay the response while trying to come up with what they hope is the best response. People expect brands to respond to social media posts within one hour. The longer you delay, the more angry and frustrated they get. It is ok to respond with a message that you are looking into the problem and an expected time you will get back to them. Solve the problem and use this as a way to show others how great your customer service is, by fixing the problem as quickly as possible on social media. Pepsi had a very controversial ad that was quickly pulled when social media comments started flying. You need to be responsive to what people are saying as quickly as possible. United Airlines did the opposite and is still paying the price for it. Don’t ignore the problem, it will only get worse.
It is extremely important to be able to measure the effectiveness of your social media marketing. You can pick any measurement that works for you. Some common ones used are: Measure awareness with metrics such as volume, reach, exposure, and amplification; Measure engagement with metrics for retweets, comments, replies, and participants; Measure traffic to your website with metrics that track URL shares, clicks and conversions.
Of course, there are many other measurements you can track; the most important thing is to track things that measure if you are reaching your goals. The Share a Coke campaign was very successful. They used multiple measurement tools and so should you.
You can learn a lot from both the mistakes of others and successes. Most of the time mistakes go viral and sometimes even make the news. Don’t be one of those brands. Learn from the mistakes of others what not to do with your social media. Check out Taco Bell who is a great example of a brand rocking social media. They are responsive, creative and funny. You should consider how you can adopt a similar approach to your social media marketing. People enjoy interacting with them on social, do they enjoy interacting with your brand?
Keep in mind that thinking outside of the box really helps you stand out on social. You need to continue to be authentic and transparent even as you get more creative. When you are able to come up with campaigns where people are having fun you will get better results. Creativity really requires experimentation, so don’t be afraid to try new things. Even if they do not work out, all you need to do is apologize and then keep trying other new things. People realize that brands goof up sometimes; you just need to admit it. Remember, to err is human and brands need to be human.
Follow these 7 social media marketing best practices to ignite a fire with your social media. You need to find your brand’s unique voice that is appealing to your prospects and customers. When you do, you will reach more people and increase engagement. Over time you will build up a great social community of brand advocates who are helping you sell your products or services on social media. Just remember that social media marketing is a continuing process that you always need to be working on and should be ever changing over time. Are you ready to get started?