5 Ways to Create an Authentic Social Presence
Today’s consumer is immune to traditional marketing techniques. Gone are the days when advertisements were photoshopped beyond recognition. Instead, authentic photos and videos of happy customers are driving conversions.
How to Create a Conversion-Based Social Campaign
Whereas TV commercials and print ads used to reign, social media now controls the narrative around a brand. This shift has created a divide between brands thatunderstand how to effectively reach today’s shopper and those that do not. Successful social media strategies can help you form a lasting relationship with your customers, but only if your content is authentic. Here, we explore five ways to build an authentic social presence.
1. Listen to Your Customers
Brands are at a unique advantage in today’s social media landscape. 6,000 Tweets per second are published on Twitter. Today’s consumer has a lot to say. Do you want to find out what your customers love and loathe about your brand? Social listening is crucial to understanding your customers.
Think of social media as a giant focus group: use it to learn how people are using your products post-purchase. Ask your customers to submit photos of them wearing your products, then use this content to gently nudge a customer toward the checkout with an abandoned cart email!
Spot trends more quickly by listening to what your customers say about your brand and products online. Fewer than 3% of customers directly @ mention brands on Twitter, so it’s important to monitor mentions of your brand and associated hashtags even if the tweets aren’t directed to your brand’s handle.
This gives you the chance to get ahead of trends, help shape the narrative around your brand, and even discover a new hashtag to use in your next campaign or contest.
2. Invest Resources in Social Engagement (Not Just Publishing)
People are talking about your brand. Talk back! Respond to all posts and use each interaction as a way to increase brand loyalty. Celebrate and share positive posts, but it’s important to keep it personalized. Customers who engage with companies over social media are more loyal and spend 20 percent to 40 percent more with those companies than other customers do.
Social media is a good way to scale one-to-one marketing. Customers want to know they’re being heard – so respond to the negative posts, too. According to a Harris study, which tracked customers that posted negative feedback, 68% of them posted a negative review and received a response from the brand. Of those, 33% turned around and posted a positive review, and 34% deleted their original negative review.
Responding to customers on social media helps to humanize and validate the brand’s online presence. Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants knows exactly how important social media engagement is to fostering brand affinity.
They encourage tweets, pins, posts, grams, and shares of all sorts by their customers, using contests and fun hashtag campaigns like #adoretheselfie to showcase their brand through the eyes of their most passionate customers.
3. Be Honest and Transparent
In addition to honest interactions on social media, honesty within your marketing is incredibly important. 85% of consumers are more likely to support brands that they consider to be honest. User-generated content gives an authentic view of your brand and its products and allows you to build a following and community among your most loyal customers.
2017 Digital Marketing Predictions From the Experts
You can host Snapchat takeovers at events to give customers a behind-the-scenes look into something that’s normally exclusive. Instagram stories also allow you to show a more authentic side of your brand. Don’t over-edit; in fact, share imperfect shots. 92 percent of people trust recommendations from individuals (even if they don’t know them) over brands. This is one of the many reasons that influencer marketing is so crucial: people trust their peers. Let your customers be your loudest voice!
4. Support a Cause That Your Customers Care About
What constitutes authenticity varies among different age groups. Corporate social responsibility, for example, is deemed important among millennials, with 48% of millennials agreeing that they prefer to support brands “that are active in supporting social causes.” Showcase your brand for a good cause, and your customers will be able to feel good while buying your products.
Both TOMS Shoes and Warby Parker utilize a “Buy One, Give One” model, donating a pair of shoes/glasses to someone in need with every pair of shoes purchased. Patagonia, which typically donates 1% of all profits, decided to donate all of their Black Friday revenue to grassroots non-profits working on environmental issues. The result? A record-breaking $10 million in sales and a wildly successful #loveourplanet hashtag campaign. When you give your customers the chance to support causes they care about by buying your products, it’s a win-win-win.
5. Stay Consistent
To build an authentic social presence, you need to keep your message consistent across all marketing channels. Make sure your website, social media, email campaigns, and in-store messaging are all sharing the same brand story. Consistent brands are dependable brands. Kevin Plank, CEO of Under Armour, once said:
Trust is gained in droplets and lost in buckets.
You work hard to build a marketing strategy that works and a brand message that resonates with your ideal customer, so it’s important to stay true to that message, regardless of the medium. The most resilient brand-customer relationships are centered on an authentic brand story, one in which your customers can see themselves.
GoPro Founder and CEO Nicholas Woodman wrote,
GoPro helps people capture and share their lives’ most meaningful experiences with others – to celebrate them together. Like how a day on the mountain with friends is more meaningful than one spent alone, the sharing of our collective experiences makes our lives more fun. The world’s most versatile cameras are what we make. Enabling you to share your life through incredible photos and videos is what we do.
That is a brand story that resonates with consumers – consistently.
All successful brands know that building trust, loyalty, and brand affinity is important, and that authenticity is the cornerstone of it all. Harness the power of social media and word-of-mouth marketing to create an authentic brand presence and engage with your customers. Give them a behind-the-scenes view, encourage them to be brand evangelists, share in their celebrations of your brand, address the issues they have at various touch points, and work with them to support a good cause. Doing all of these things consistently will lead to a more authentic brand presence, build customer equity, and foster brand loyalty.
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Business Operations Manager @Pixlee. Travel enthusiast, wine lover, and poor joke-teller.