It’s no secret that social media has grown to become a necessity in any online marketing strategy. Whether a brand wants to drive attention to its company, product or professional services, social media is a well-known, cost-effective way of attracting positive attention (in most cases). On the other hand, without following the specific protocol of social media branding, the careless use of these platforms can damage a business in a matter of days.
Within the past few years, social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have become widely recognized as powerful tools for communication, both in the B2C and B2B industries. And whether you are aware of it or not, your prospective employers, partners, customers and competitors could be viewing your posts at any moment. With this in mind, it’s important to maintain best practices so that your social media strategy effectively supports your business goals and best showcases your brand’s personality, and on multiple channels.
On these newly crowded channels, it can be difficult for consumers and brands alike to separate the wheat from the chaff. We’ve assembled two examples of brands who have their social media game on lock. Read on to find out how you can cut through the competition and reach your fans like never before:
Old Spice Makes the Comeback of All Comebacks
At the end of 2009, Old Spice was an aging brand. Their customers were old; their reputation was old...and they were in danger. Obviously, a reboot was in order. And what a reboot it was!
During the Super Bowl of 2010, Old Spice launched their “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign, featuring former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa. Mustafa talks to the “ladies of the audience,” trying to convince them to buy Old Spice for their man while staring directly into the camera. It was a hit, racking up 26 million views on YouTube.
If Old Spice had stopped there, it would have just been a great online commercial. But what followed five months later was pure social media genius: Mr. Old Spice, as Mustafa was now called, jumped onto Twitter to answer questions from fans—in real time, via YouTube.
When selecting who to answer, the Old Spice Social Media team had a novel and crucial approach: they selected fans not only on the potential of their questions, but also selected them based on their influence on social media. Thus, when they interacted with a fan, they could be sure that his or her response would get maximum coverage.
The influence-filtering approach, combined with the real-time nature of the campaign, left fans sitting at the edge of their seats. It was a recipe for success that boosted Old Spice to its status as the number-one branded channel on YouTube. Numbers later showed that it drove sales, too: Old Spice reported that sales doubled in the month following the campaign.
The bottom line: by responding to their fans according to influence, Old Spice was able to combine high production values with spontaneity and still count on having an impact.
We All Scream for Fourth Meal!
Of all the fast food restaurants, who knew that Taco Bell would be the one to conquer social media? It’s true! The company’s flippant, irreverent, yet ultimately best-friendy tone turned out to be perfectly suited to social media marketing, particularly for speaking to that ever-elusive generation: the coveted millennials.
Using a sassy mix of English and Spanish, Taco Bell encouraged its fans, followers, and subscribers to “Live Más” and “Think outside the bun.” But that was just the beginning. What really sets Taco Bell apart from their competition is their commitment to two-way, fun, and productive communication.
One 17-year-old fan posted a request to their Facebook wall: “will you send me a poster of my favorite burrito?” To her surprise, Taco Bell not only agreed, but one-upped her. They sent her a giant poster taller than she was, they liked and commented on her Instagram feed with the acronym “BFFAE,” Best Friends Forever And Ever.
The bottom line: Taco Bell treats every interaction with a customer on social media as a chance to create a fan.
Thinking Outside the Box with Social Media
Consumers today crave honesty and authenticity from their brands. The definition of professionality is changing; it’s no longer enough to be polite and respectful. Today, brands are expected to be funny and candid as well. In their own ways, Taco Bell and Old Spice have each managed to mix humor, authenticity, and just the right amount of silliness to achieve a perfectly balance social media presence.
It’s been touted as the “Facebook for Teens,” where adorable cuddly kitten pictures get more likes than they should, but Instagram is by no means an exclusive platform for the tween audiences. In fact, with users climbing higher than Facebook, Instagram is becoming a great way for businesses to market themselves.
Visual content is becoming a staple in online marketing. These days, the sheer amount of information available on the Internet is enough to induce a sensory overload digital seizure. Companies like Google and YouTube are entering into the marketing world. Audiences and targeted clientele have substantially shorter attention spans, and so getting information out to them in a quick but catchy way has become the new way to market.
Instagram allows for your business to tell it’s personal narrative through an array of beautiful, eye-grabbing photos. It’s becoming increasingly popular for businesses to use because of how accessible it is – both for audiences and businesses. This infographic gives tips from the Instaguru on how to boost your content through Instagram.
It can seem kind of tedious right out of the gate with a brand spanking new Instagram account. You post all these fantastic selfies but no one is liking them, what gives?! Have no fear, if you’re in this situation, this blog will really help you.
Just because you’re posting A LOT of content doesn't mean you should be getting likes. Even though the latest selfie at the beach may be glamorous to you, does it really look great to others? Look at the composition of the shot, is it flowing or is your face the ONLY thing in the frame? A good reference when composing shots (yes, even for Instagram) is to follow the rule of thirds.
The other thing to consider in relations to content is make sure that the lighting is good. Yes, you have lots of filters and third-party apps you can use to correct the image but without a strong starting point, you won’t be able to succeed.
Lets start by saying that every person has their own unique style of content writing. Some like short and direct while others like to tell stories. For the case of Instagram it is important to remember the saying “a picture says a thousand words.”
With that being said don’t have the description describe the image. Individuals are looking for the users unique perspective on what this image invoked within them, pushing them to create a caption that holds the emotion behind what they saw before the lens.
There is a lot of debate about hashtags currently among social media marketers. To many and you’re pushing limits, to few and you’re breaking a rule. The typical agreed upon number of hashtags for a post now is between 2-3. With Instagram however, you can push that a bit. Don’t hashtag so much that your content disappears but between 5-10 hashtags are appropriate. If you can use less though, do so!
SEE MORE: Three things to KNOW about hashtags
When choosing hashtags pick ones that will add value to your content. For example, a photo of a cup of coffee from a local coffee shop in Santa Monica, CA, make sure to utilize #local or #santamonica. People search for hashtags all the time, which is how they will discover your posts and you.
When it comes down to it, all these things will help you gain followers! However the other important factor here is to go out and discover others photos on Instagram. Yes, finding your friends and liking them is great, but search for hashtags of niche interests you may have and start liking photos from there you like and following repeat IG’ers that you like.
It is not a quick thing to grow your following organically but following these tips will certainly help get you going in the right direction.
Looking to grow your online presence with Instagram and other social networks but not sure where to start? Contact us today for a free consultation.
Have a question for the author or want to add your own tips, do so below in the comments.