In 2021, it’s no secret that every brand, every company and every organization needs a strong digital presence - regardless of the product that they’re selling or the service that they’re offering.
Some might argue that having a website is enough. After all, websites provide consumers with all the information they need. But just having a website is not enough in today’s world, where global companies such as Volkswagen, Twitter, Verizon, and many more are moving their technical support services to social media platforms. Today’s consumer doesn’t just need answers at their fingertips - they also need to trust and connect with an organization. And that’s where social media comes in.
Many organizations think that being active on social media means duplicating their website content. We see them limiting what they share by posting product images and announcements without considering what the consumer – their social media audience - may want to see. This outdated approach has evolved to a much more transparent and creative storytelling strategy in order to appeal to sophisticated audiences. Today’s social media consumer is smart and savvy and they are looking for things that they can connect to on different micro-levels.
Before we get into the specifics of how to stay active and relevant on social media, we need to set some ground rules. These three rules should be enough to kickstart your brand on social media:
#1 – Who are you trying to reach? An organization should know exactly who its audience is. Thanks to the magic of social media analytics tools, this process is now easier to figure out and organizations can pin down who their personas are. The company can take the user information and begin experimenting with different strategies in order to figure out exactly who this targeted audience is.
#2 – What is your goal? An organization should decide on their goal(s). What are they trying to accomplish with their social media presence? Are they trying to lead the industry or are they trying to sell a product? Are they showcasing their portfolio or are they trying to raise awareness about an issue or a program? The goal should be very clear to the company because it determines how to go about the next steps.
#3 - And finally, how do you measure success? An organization needs to decide how they will measure their success . And let’s just put this out there: the number of followers doesn’t necessarily decide how effective your organization’s social media presence is. Now that we’ve gotten this myth out of the way, let’s talk about how success is measured. It’s different for each brand. Is it engagement? Is it landing new clients? Or is it changing behavior?
After these three initial steps have been accomplished, the next step that organizations should do in order to stay relevant and active on social media is to figure out how can they connect authentically with their audiences. This connection takes time and trust and is only possible to build with the organization showing vulnerability and telling real stories that are timely and entertaining.
Now to the fun part: Content Creation. How do we make it happen?
Understand social media platforms. There are many small details in social media platforms that the average person isn’t aware of simply because they're not looking at them from a marketing perspective. It takes experts in the communications field to navigate the various platforms and weight their strengths and weaknesses. Let’s take video content as an example. Many think that an organization can create content that can be posted on multiple social media platforms in the same format. This is true to a certain extent, but there are many aspects to how consumers behave differently across social media platforms that need to be taken into account when creating and posting that video content.
If we have a one-minute video that we would like to post on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, we recommend approaching each platform individually with considerations like:
- landscape videos perform better on YouTube since users usually watch on bigger screens (laptops and TVs). But posting a landscape video on TikTok or Instagram Reels wouldn’t perform as well.
- Vertical videos on the other hand perform better on TikTok and Instagram. But even then, we need to understand what differentiates them. For example, TikTok doesn’t allow users to write more than 150 characters on their caption. Therefore, the video should have all the information in an interesting snappy way especially if there is a call to action.
- Instagram Reels on the other hand don't limit its users to a specific character count in their captions, making it easy for organizations to utilize that space to direct their viewers to buy something, click somewhere else, or just go deeper into the context of the video.
This is just one example of why understanding how different social media platforms work has a significant impact on approach and ultimately, success.
Go beyond sharing your products and services. After identifying all the previous factors, this part should be more fun! There are plenty of content ideas that don’t revolve around sharing pictures of products or advertising services. Remember, your main goal is to connect with your audience. Connecting happens by entertaining, educating, or inspiring. Keeping these three keywords in mind will help with content creation and the ability to adapt to constantly changing trends and algorithms.
Let's take a look at what these three words could look like as content ideas:
- Entertaining the audience could be anything from silly TikTok dances to creating a series of fun short videos with a featured guest.
- Educating the audience could be done by sharing insights and information about the industry or the jobs that this industry creates.
- And finally, inspiring the audience can be done by sharing real human stories.
No matter what the platform is, these watchwords are always going to be a useful tool to grow your presence on social media.
There is space for everyone on social media and it’s not too late for anyone to join with relevant content. Today's social media consumer is looking for real human connections, especially now in 2021. Our shared experiences are what makes us human and sharing them with the world is what touches hearts and change lives. And ultimately, social media could be the catalyst that leads your brand to bigger and better things.