Unless your business exists under a rock, it has its own Facebook page. And if it has a Facebook, it is probable that you have a Twitter account for it, as well. But are you using the platforms correctly? And how else can you utilize the vast world of social media for marketing purposes?
First and foremost, let’s review the social media accounts that you likely already have. There’s Facebook, which is ideal for telling a story of sorts. You should be talking to people on Facebook as though your company is a human being itself and it is the consumers’ friend. The content shouldn’t be too long, and especially not boring. According to author and media consultant Gary Vaynerchuck, Facebook content needs to be interesting to a variety of people—something they would want to tell their friends about.
“On Facebook, the definition of great content is not the content that makes the most sales, but the content that people most want to share with others,” Vaynerchuk said.
Twitter, on the other hand, is like speed dating. You only have a certain amount of time (or characters, in the case of a tweet) to get across what you want to say. Content on Twitter comes in small bursts of quick-fire conversation and idea exchange. DO NOT solely use Twitter to retweet others’ positive comments about your company (that’s called “Birdie Bragging”) or just as an extension of a blog. Your tweets need to make a statement, stake out a position or establish a voice for your company. Twitter is great because it gives you built-in relationship starters. Utilize trending topics, or hashtags, to relate to others in an unexpected way, and then jump into the conversation. Be creative with the hashtags that you do invent, but make sure they aren’t so “corny” that they don’t catch on.
In his book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World,” Vaynerchuck said, “Creating content that allows us to share our experiences, thoughts, and ideas in real time is becoming an intrinsic part of life in the twenty-first century.” But he was not referring only to individuals. Companies and brands do have a much more complex process to go through when utilizing social media for marketing purposes.
“Today, getting people to hear your story on social media, and then act on it, requires using a platform’s native language, paying attention to context, understanding the nuances and subtle differences that make each platform unique, and adapting your content to match.”
That statement is especially true when looking at some of the lesser-known social media outlets. Take Instagram, for example. On Instagram, you can create your own works of art, but they must fit within the parameters of the platform’s photo block. “Native content” on Instagram is artsy or “indie”—definitely not commercial. Be authentic, act human; customers will appreciate that and use your hashtags to further discover your brand, just like on Twitter and now Facebook, as well. Just a head’s up, though; Instagram is mainly infiltrated by a younger generation, so walk a fine line with your content and its context.
Tumblr also has a distinct demographic. Used by a slight majority of women, those on Tumblr are mostly 18 to 34 years old. Tumblr does have the benefit of giving administrators complete artistic control over the design of their pages, so you can customize your theme to represent your brand entirely. Another advantage to Tumblr is that it suggests followers based on INTERESTS, rather than mutual friends, which helps visibility. The idea of Tumblr is to use animated GIFs, which store information for multiple images and present them in sequence to create the illusion of video, to get your point across. This is important from a marketing standpoint because video, and therefore GIFs, are more engaging to consumers than plain text or static pictures.
Pinterest is another social media platform that you may be wondering how to infiltrate. Pinterest gives you the opportunity to set your brand’s personality free by exploring aspects that in other formats you might avoid for fear of confusing the customer. To do so, you can create “pinboards” that are related to your brand in oblique manners, but make sure they are easily categorized so consumers don’t have to consider too much when repinning to their own boards. People hate thinking! Similarly, give your own boards creative titles that explain how they are related to your brand, and how they may feed into the consumer’s dream. For this platform, as well as all that were previously discussed, any photo needs to be branded with your logo. Pinterest, especially, needs to include a hyperlink that goes DIRECTLY to the product page. Again, consumers get bored and frustrated when they have to do any work.
There are a few other networks that you can explore, such as LinkedIn, Google+, Vine, and Snapchat. For all social media, throwing out a few light posts that make people smile, think, etc. before posting a call to action will garner trust in your brand. “There is no sale without the story; no knockout without the setup,” Vaynerchuck explained. Finally, as with anything, putting in the EFFORT is what will contrast your brand from others. Don’t be afraid to try a novel approach; it could raise your company’s worth in the eyes of the consumer.