Consumers’ time spent on social media has spiked since the dawn of the COVID-19 outbreak. Gartner research shows this holds true for a whopping 80% of consumers in the U.S. and U.K., suggesting an enormous opportunity for brand marketers.
Social media marketing is a complex landscape where consumer expectations of a consistent and seamless journey often clash with disjointed social planning approaches. This is heightened by the lack of data transparency from social platforms and continuously changing algorithms. It’s also why marketers must establish cross-functional teams to ensure their social presence is unified across paid, owned, earned and shared media.
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Start with these four principles.
No. 1: Develop the necessary guidelines and processes for a consistent brand presence
- Consumers demand consistency from brands, which requires very intentional planning and orchestration, even when ownership of social media communications is disjointed within the organization.
- The key to a successful content pipeline is to plan smarter. You want to ensure the right content appears on the right channel in the right format and at the right time.
- Break down the silos across your social teams and beyond. Host weekly, or even daily, stand-ups to confirm that what you want to say is still relevant. Use shared editorial calendars so cross-functional teams have a holistic view of planning and publishing.
No. 2: Engage and empower your community
- Strive to provide entertainment, utility, conversation or some combination of the three to remain relevant.
- Listen to your audience and be part of the conversation that matters to them. If they want to talk about environmental sustainability, for example, create content plans around environmental sustainability.
- Give your customers a voice in your brand and leverage user-generated content (UGC) to build trust. People want to hear about how great your brand is from their peers, not from you.
- Explore which influencers are right for your brand and why. Can they help you reach diverse audiences? Do they create eye-catching content? Is their voice naturally aligned to yours?
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No. 3: Get in sync with the customer journey
- Aligning social media throughout the entire customer journey helps to reinforce your brand as authentic and dependable, which in these times of uncertainty is more important than ever.
- Consider how far your customers can get using social media. They may not always be able to buy on-platform, but you can design posts and use CTAs that help them get closer to a decision before driving them to your website or retail partner.
No. 4: Meet your audience where they are
- Brand-engaged consumers — those who use a given social platform at least once a week — say they like seeing content from and follow brands. The percentage of brand-engaged consumers doubled from 10% of all users in January 2019 to 20% in April 2021.
- Give these users content that is helpful in that it speaks to their needs and pain points. The greatest opportunity in social lies in the ability to be extremely specific in responding to the needs of your customers.
- To ensure the content doesn’t get stale, quickly test and optimize it to determine whether it still resonates.
This story was originally published on the Gartner Blog Network.