Social media has been used as a business tool and marketing ground for almost two decades. In this time, we have witnessed all manner of platforms emerge and battle for our attention. From blogs and forums to video-first or image-driven platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, our modern world is now totally intertwined with social media.
Build Your Social Strategy Today
Organisations and businesses have been adopting social media platforms as part of their strategies for years, focusing on building customer engagement and brand awareness with every post or Tweet. Yet, in a world where sales advertising dominates our digital space has the communicative essence of social media been lost, and how will this affect your business?
Absolute Digital Media recently attended an inspiring Hootsuite webinar focused on this very question. ‘Ahead of the Curve: What a Sophisticated Enterprise Social Strategy Includes in 2021’ called businesses to invest in their social media value chain and to focus on the large-scale relationship development of their customer base. So, what does this mean for your social strategy?
Social Media's Value Chain
Your businesses’ social channels need to foster a deeper relationship with your customers to convert your social media following into valued customers. By applying your brand values to the social media value chain, you can build a social media strategy which will support and uplift every aspect of your business.
Hootsuite research told us that 78% of Digital Marketers agree that social lifts the performance of all your channels, giving social media development the authority to drive your overall brand value and ensure a customer centred experience is achieved.
The customer experience and relationship with your brand should be the centre of your social strategy moving forward. This is because, at its heart, social media is by its very name social. To access this hub of potential customers, you need to apply the social media value chain to your brand values and invest in the connective, relationship building of social. To start, ask yourself this central question – Are we actually engaging with our customers?
Why is Customer Social Media Engagement Important?
Focusing on your brand social media engagement is important for customer relationship building for two core reasons:
- You need to understand what your followers want to engage with and how they view your brand.
- Engaging directly with your followers is an organic sales lead and opportunity for customer conversion.
Let’s tackle the first hurdle, understanding what your followers and customers want to see from your brand. Pause for a moment and think back to the last time you were scrolling through LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter, now think what made you stop your scroll, consume the content, engage with the post and share that content with your followers or friends. As a brand, you need to ensure that your social content ‘stops the scroll’ and reaches out to your followers.
To achieve this, you need to understand exactly who it is your communicating with when you create social content. Let’s brainstorm some key questions to get you thinking about your social audience:
- What platforms are they using?
- Why do they care about your business?
- What do they want or need from your company?
- What do they associate with your business?
- Why would a follower want to see this on their feed?
By channelling your social strategy through the lens of your audience, you can build an acute understanding and knowledge of what your social interaction should look like on each platform. The foundation of a deep customer relationship is rooted in how the business views their audience – if you value what your customer wants to see and gain from your business, this value and appreciation will be reciprocated.
Understand Your Social Audience Today
Once you’ve developed a comprehensive, customer-focused social media content strategy, you can shift your focus to building on the leads of customer engagement. For example, if you share a company blog and provide some insights to its content on Twitter and a potential client responds to this, you can build a simple and organic B2C communication line. As the conversation continues, you can formalise the lead by offering to email or call the client to discuss your services. Once contact has been made, a traditional sales pitch can take over, turning social media engagement into a customer conversion.
Organic sale leads from social media demonstrate that social media connects all aspects of your business, showcasing why investing in your social should be a critical part of your digital strategy.
How to Integrate Organic and Paid Social?
Social strategies are currently commanding 13-24% of business’ total marketing budget, and a large part of this is directed to paid social.
When developing your deeper relationship with potential customers integrating paid social can initially feel jarring as you don’t want to be seen to be ‘hard selling’ your business to your organic audience. However, these fears can be eradicated when you prescribe the social media value change to your paid social.
Integrating organic and paid social will boost your social engagement and brand awareness. Return to your social media audience review and consider what your audience wants to consume. This very principle can be applied to both organic and paid social content – keeping this as your focus is the key to ensuring your paid and organic social content work together and present the same brand values.
Build Your Audience with a Paid Social Plan
When you foster your organic audience and provide your following with content they want to see on their feed, you are building a warm target audience for your paid social content. This will help blur the lines between organic and paid posts, bringing the two channels into the same conversation to inform your audience. It is important to remember that organic and paid social are not two different things, they overlap, and this can be used to your advantage to build a consistent, trusted and valued brand campaign.
Top Tips for Blending Organic and Paid Socials:
- Keep on the same page: Plan your organic and paid social strategy side-by-side so that the content works together and keeps within the same themes.
- Consistent imagery: Consistency across brand colours, fonts, messages, and images is crucial for building strong overall brand awareness and consumer trust.
- Combine targeted engagement and brand awareness: Be mindful of having both brand messages and specifically targeted content weaved throughout your strategy to cover all basis.
- Link your messages: Combine message themes across both paid and social ads, never repeat something word for word, but create a mutual topic between your paid and organic content to build on the conversation.
- Have a clear content plan: Planning your content will ensure you’re consistent with your posting and themes and allow you to plan your paid posts in advance.
How Should the Social Team be Targeting Customers?
Ultimately, an enhanced customer relationship experience will translate into a targeted customer base, as well-considered social posting will create a community of brand trust and value. When it comes to directly targeting customers to deepen this relationship, you should combine targeted engagement and brand awareness. Consider investing in personalised, targeted ads to social media users who fit your brand and would benefit from being a part of your brand community; these ads are likely to have a higher success rate if users are aligned with your brand message.
Targeting customers is all about ensuring the right message is sent to the right people at the right time. Track your social media analytics to see what your audience engage with most and build this into your targeted approach. Cracking the code with customer targeting boils down to an acute understanding of your brand audience.
Connect With The World
Achieving a perfect targeted ad campaign won’t come quickly; it’ll take some trial and error, so experiment with what brings results and find the right fit for your business.
Jasmine has been a member of Absolute Digital Media’s team for almost five years now, having started her journey at the agency as a Digital Copywriter and progressing onto become read more.