The 3 Most Critical Social Marketing Concepts (And How to Use Them)
We’ve officially entered the era where being comfortable with being uncomfortable is a necessary trait for successful social marketers. The social and content landscape continues to progress quickly and increase in complexity, making it critical to hang onto the fundamentals of social media that have made it so successful, while adopting the newest tools and technologies along the way.
10 Social Marketing Lessons from Forbes Most Valuable Brands
Continue reading to learn three things that must be addressed as you develop and maintain social programs for brands in this rapidly evolving age.
1. New Technology Doesn’t Mean You Can Overlook Community Management
Technology tempts us to overlook the basic foundation of social: community management. With constant algorithm changes and new ways to squeeze engagement out of a piece of content, it’s easy to race towards updated initiatives while leaving behind any concern on how it will affect your audience.
New tools and outlets such as live streaming, influencer marketing, and interactive experiences all give brands new opportunities to engage with fans, but they also take time, effort, and budget away from your current programs. As part of your social marketing reporting, you’re likely tracking engagement as a KPI. Engagement as a KPI is directly tied to your level of interaction, so if you’re looking to meet your own goals, community management has to be prioritized.
So, how can you adopt the newest trends while keeping your core objectives intact? Below are a few examples:
- Live Streaming: Ensure you have someone dedicated and ready to engage with fans who are viewing and commenting on the video.
- Instagram Stories: Respond to questions and comments that come into your DM queue during story coverage.
- Paid Partners: If sponsoring a post on a publication, brand, or influencer account, ensure you are checking their posts for conversations and opportunities
You get the picture. The takeaway here is to not expect growth if you ignore your communities, new technology or not.
2. Do What Works Right Now (Ahem, Video)
Social is rapidly evolving visually, and videos are key. Consumers want video, and we’re seeing everything from brands overhauling their content programs to invest in video programming to more subtle tricks of making stills into video files to combat platform algorithms. And for all of this, we can blame Instagram.
As a visually-sustained social network, Instagram forced brands to learn how to connect and engage with consumers using only a photo. This disrupted the entire industry, and now we’re all paying the price as consumers expect to engage with their favorite companies through images and, now, videos. Communication technology has kept up as well, and now every single one of your brand’s fans has a mobile device capable of streaming and sharing high-quality video. And if your fans are tech-savvy, they are even replacing their traditional TVs and cable in favor of consuming the type of content brands can create.
If you haven’t figured out video yet, you are at risk for being irrelevant or lagging behind. Social initiatives should stem from larger business goals, so if you can’t afford lots of video, look to leverage internal teams, and work with freelancers or content creators to get the content you need.
3. Be Smart About Where Your Content Is Going…
…and who is consuming it.
As community groups continue to grow, they diversify and reach across geographical boundaries, and you might be asking yourself how to be sure you’re reaching the correct people. The answer is to decide where the content is going. This goes beyond choosing a platform—you need to decide who is going to engage with the content, how it will be relevant to them, and what objective is being met by each tactic.
The risk of pushing content generically to your entire community is alienating a portion of your audience. This becomes even more important when it comes to different brand objectives; if someone has taken the time to follow you on social media and actively engages, they likely know things such as primary products, brand mission, etc., whereas targeting to people outside your fan base allows you to reach new people. It is critical that when you’re developing content and pushing it out into the world, you are being purposeful, whether it be for content elevation, community building, or a different objective.
To take it further, decide if the content needs to be on your own earned channels or a brand partner to reach different audiences. Influencer marketing has lost a bit of its buzzy luster, but is still a valuable tactic depending on your industry, goals, and network.
Remember: when dealing with influencers, you must follow the FTC rules that are slowly but surely getting firmer. Below are a few guidelines to keep in mind:
- Be clear: If you’re trying to be deceptive with cutesy hashtags or burying the brand connection in a caption, you’re doing it wrong
- Rules vary by platform: Each platform is rolling out its own version of branded content resources, for example, Instagram added in “partner” field capability
- There are no rules: There are no universal guidelines. Social marketing, despite its evolution, is still the Wild West
Check the FTC’s latest announcement on influencer marketing for full updates. Whether you’re deciding content needs to be on a specific platform within your earned channels or on an influencer page, it’s important to make sure that content is going to the right audience at the right time, to ensure it’s engaging and relevant.
Here’s the bottom line: It’s vital that you maintain your perspective and priorities as new technologies roll out. Stick to the fundamentals by keeping community management a priority, using what works to visually communicate your objectives and make sure the correct people are seeing your content.
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Tanya Cramp is a Manager of Social Content for Too Faced Cosmetics. As a content strategist, she helps leads the team responsible for producing original, on-brand social content for Too Faced’s social media platforms including Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. Prior to her life at Too Faced, Tanya served as primary content developer and social media content conceptor for Hard Rock International and helped brands like JW Marriott and SpringHill Suites with social engagement and content. When Tanya isn’t making the social world a more beautiful place, she’s hanging out in Southern California with her husband and rescue dog and pretending to be a ballerina at her favorite barre class.