By Alexandra Ostrow With the rise of social media in the marketing mix, brands and marketers alike have learned several important lessons:
- There's no better or faster way to reach your consumers Creating authentic, human conversations is the most impactful thing a brand can do to acquire new fans and drive current consumer loyalty due to the ease at which consumers can share and interact with brand content. Think about it... there are 2.1 billion users active on the internet.
- Take your social voice seriously, but not too seriously! Social strategy is an art form and requires experienced marketers who are willing to drop the advertising voice and connect with their audience while still understanding when to abide by brand voice guidelines. Studies have shown close to 2/3 of social users have made a purchase based on social content alone.
- 24 hours a day, 7 days a week During the one hour you take your eyes off your social channels, two things can happen: 1) a PR nightmare 2) a major missed opportunity.
What Does This Mean?
What many brands still don't realize is the power of combining the above three learnings to create compelling content that capitalizes on real-time events while maintaining relevance to the brand.
Most recently, we saw this in play when Oreo took the marketing world by storm during the Super Bowl blackout.
However compelling Oreo was, they were not the first brand to employ this strategy:
- Bodyform made headlines when its CEO released a comical video in direct response to a Facebook postcriticizing the deception of feminine hygiene brands
- Virgin Mobile launched Virgin Mobile Live, a social newsroom curating real-time popular social content to establish the brand as a relevant and timely resource
- The Red Cross took a disastrous mistaken tweet and made it a major success story in the world of fundraising and public relations. In fact, as a result of their timely response and authentic voice, digital media outlets commended the brand across the board and a fundraising opportunity was born.
So how can you use timely content to broaden your community, drive brand awareness, and increase fan engagement?
- Conduct Real-time Listening Use a listening platform such as Radian6 or Crimson Hexagon to stay apprised of the conversation surrounding your brand. Is a fan sharing a photo of your product? Ask what they think. Do you offer a solution for a problem they're having? Let them know.
- Join the Coverage The Super Bowl, Academy Awards, Grammy Awards, Election... all of these events are prime opportunities to be a part of the conversation. Be prepared. Have red carpet assets ready to modify to fit the missteps of the evening. Create two separate celebratory images so you're ready to go live no matter who wins. Then, put in the time. Have team members on-site and approval processes in place. Your social media success will depend on the speed at which you post and the creativity of your content.
- Co-Opt Your Consumers On-Site Your consumers are letting you know when and what they're doing, so take it one step further! Set up Foursquare tips to reach your consumer when they are most likely to convert; for example, leave tips at nearby or brand-related locations (e.g. A bridal company leaving a tip at a nearby wedding venue). Respond to Yelp reviewers to leverage current customers as brand advocates. Set up mobile calls-to-action (e.g. Text XYZ to find out today's exclusive offers!) to reward on-site consumers who take an active interest in your brand.