Privacy and social media have been big news recently, thanks to Zuckerberg’s recent hearing on privacy and third-party access in Washington. The hearing highlighted something we already know -- the rules and best practices of social media are constantly evolving and changing. Sometimes it feels like as soon as one adjusts to a new rule, another one is introduced that changes the game.
Against the background of algorithm changes and the competition of other brands, some companies struggle with knowing what actions will actually help their visibility. Here we’ve put together the top five ways a brand can stand out.
Engage, Engage, Engage
Connection to customers is the way for companies to thrive. After all, just because a brand has hundreds of thousands of followers doesn’t necessarily mean that the followers connect. The way to consumers heart is to engage with them. Audiences don’t just want to look at things, they want to be talked to, asked questions, and most of all heard. Social media provides a direct communication link to one’s audience, and this should be taken advantage of.
In order to reach out and engage the social media audience, it helps to have a dedicated individual or social media team who can regularly comment on others’ posts, including a brand’s own active followers, related industry topics, competitors, and influences. If a brand is tagged by a customer or follower in a post, the company should be poised to quickly reach out directly to that customer through commenting, liking, sharing and tagging, etc.
Don’t Use a Blanket Strategy
While an online store may be present on several different platforms, it doesn’t mean that one piece of content is appropriate for all. In fact, a company should seek to create personalized content that best fits each platform. For example, people tend to read more on Facebook, so long-form content (product news and blog posts) would be more appropriate there, whereas Instagram is best for visual images and stories. This strategic approach to content sharing is important as today’s fashion companies are expected to connect with customers through their preferred channels. In fact, according to Salesforce, 52% of consumers say they’re likely to switch if a company doesn’t make an effort to personalize communications with them.
Work with Influencers
Instagram influencers have solidified their place within a social media strategy, especially with fashion. According to an L2 report published on Retail Dive, 70% of brands use Instagram influencers. The numbers are high for a reason -- according to a Tomoson poll, the average company makes $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing, indicating that influencer marketing is one of the most effective online customer acquisition methods.
Instagram influencers come in all sizes at all costs, and of course, we’ve found names for them. Mega-influencers have hundreds of thousands or millions of followers, while micro-influencers typically have 10,000 - 100,000 followers (i.e., Chandler DeHeart pictured above). Micro-influencers may have fewer followers than their mega-counterparts, but their audiences are usually more engaged and more likely to purchase products that they endorse. According to a 2017 Launchmetrics survey, this makes micro-influencers especially ideal for reaching niche markets.
Find a Cause (And Be Real About It)
Consumers today care about a wide variety of things, and taking a social stand can have a significant impact. This is how a businesses can connect with their audience on a more personal, and very powerful level.
Sometimes a brand’s story is directly connected to charity, as in the buy one - give one model of Roma Boots, TOMS, and Warby Parker. For every pair of boots or shoes sold, these companies donate a pair to a child in need.
It’s not feasible for every company to follow this 1:1 model, but collaboration or connection with a charity or cause -- whether it’s sustainability, poverty, literacy, women’s rights -- can buttress a brand’s visibility, humanity, and fan loyalty. Of course, supporting a charity or issue isn’t something that should be taken lightly. Consumers today can smell a fake, and authenticity is required. A brand should only support the causes that it feels deeply about and take care when supporting controversial issues.
Encourage User-Generated Content
Social media users often follow hundreds and thousands of other accounts, which means they won’t see every post. However, brands can mitigate this effect with user-generated content. For example, around Mother’s Day, Dove launched a #BeautyStory campaign which encouraged their audience to submit photos of their mothers along with a beauty lesson she passed down to them. This result in a flood of emotion-driven photos, personalized stories, and buzz around Dove and #Beauty Story. The more a platform is filled with user-generated content about a brand, the less likely a brand will fade into the background.
Onestop Internet's performance marketing strategy for partners includes analysis, identification, and targeting of online customer segments. Our ecommerce experts can tailor your offering to the shoppers who are most likely to engage immediately with your brand, and we use cutting edge consumer research to build descriptive audience profiles that inform creative design, merchandising and promotions.