Each year brings about a unique set of challenges for social marketers to face. It could be new sharing platforms, hottest types of content, the best ways to communicate and more. This year is no different, with trends like more authentic connections between brands and consumers and the rise of value-driven content.
Read about some of 2019’s most significant challenges and how some brands are fighting to stand out from the crowd.
1. Finding a Voice on Social Media
Many brands find it challenging to establish a voice on social media. Not only do you have to use the same platforms as your target audience, but you need to speak the same language. Younger generations, so-called digital natives, have no tolerance for brands misusing social media. and they’re apt to call out mistakes.
Domino’s Pizza is a shining example of an effective social media strategy in action. In 2018, Domino’s took over the coveted title of largest pizza company in the world — previously held by Pizza Hut — mainly due to their transformational approach to digital marketing. The company took to social media with its Think Oven campaign, asking customers for opinions, ideas and feedback. The people with the most-liked ideas received prizes and their ideas were implemented into the company.
Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino is another instance of an exemplary social media campaign. On April 9th — a holiday casually coined National Unicorn Day — Starbucks releases the brightly colored Unicorn Frappuccino.
Social media platforms went wild, and its hashtag spanned thousands of user-generated posts. One Orlando Starbucks location claims they typically sell 45 to 55 frappuccinos per day but serve 175 drinks on Unicorn Wednesdays. Due to the campaign, Starbucks stock rose 1.8% in one day.
2. Creating Memorable and Authentic Connections
Today’s consumers are looking for authenticity in all forms of marketing, whether it’s an email, TV ad, social media post or YouTube snippet. This challenge has made it more difficult for marketers to connect with audiences in a memorable way.
One great example of authentic marketing is Dove’s Self-Esteem Project. The company, which sells soap, has positioned itself as a valuable social platform invested in helping women develop body positivity. In 2013, their Real Beauty Sketches campaign went viral, with more than 50 million people tuning in within 12 days of release. In total, the campaign video holds close to 180 million views.
Authentic marketing is also a substantial component of Chobani’s social strategy. The Greek yogurt company is working with Fair Trade USA to develop a process for identifying dairy products from farms that treat animals humanely. By making sustainability a fundamental part of the brand’s mission, they stand out from competitors who make the rounds on social media for the wrong reasons.
3. Developing a Strategy With Brand Advocates
Many marketers believe the more content posted, the more attraction you’ll garner. But today’s online users are looking for relevant, high-quality content. For every piece created, think of what value you bring to your audience. Can you teach them something invaluable or help them save money?
Lego, for example, utilizes high-quality content made and published by users. User-generated content takes the time, planning and effort out of marketing, plus it’s instantly more authentic. One campaign, called Lego Ideas, generates hundreds of original photos of Lego creations. If a design gains 10,000 supporters or more within the deadline, its sold as a real Lego playset worldwide. The creator will also receive a percentage of sales.
Another well-known brand, GoPro, also takes advantage of user-generated content. The brand asks consumers to submit photos and videos they’ve taken with the wearable cameras. They incentivize this user-generated content by offering awards and cash prizes to the best photos, raw clips and video edits. The company then shares its media across multiple social media platforms, including the GoPro Channel on Virgin America Airlines.
4. Encouraging Your Followers to Share
What keeps social media alive is the act of sharing, sending posts and videos along to friends and family who might enjoy them. Encourage your audience to share content — otherwise, it will be unseen and ineffective. When planning new content, get inside the mind of your audience. Ask yourself what they’d like to read, comment on or share.
One study revealed that 94% of sharers carefully consider how the information will be useful to the intended recipient. And 73% say they share information as a way to connect with others who have similar interests. It all boils down to bringing value to others, with most expecting content that is relevant to their needs and interests.
Many brands, like Airbnb, use social media influencers to increase shares and digital reach. One of the most successful campaigns included “Don’t Go There, Live There,” in which Airbnb enlisted 25 local influencers to showcase life in London off the beaten track.
As a result, several million online users read about the event. Earlier, in 2016, the brand launched the “Local Lens Series” in Paris, partnering with travel writers and thought leaders to offer recommendations.
5. Lowering Costs With Customization Tools
As social marketing platforms rise in popularity, so do the costs to place ads. The ultimate goal is to achieve a solid ROI (return on investment), which can happen by targeting the right audience. There are more than 2.34 billion people on social media worldwide — a number that’s expected to grow to 2.95 billion by 2020. With the right methods, you can tailor your audience to a specific group and save on marketing costs.
Many B2C brands shift away from Facebook advertising due to high costs. But with Facebook, the lookalike audience tool allows you to use information about current customers to target highly-relevant users. You can also re-target specific individuals, those who have previously visited your website, made a purchase, downloaded your app or interacted with social media content. By targeting a particular audience with your ads, you have a higher chance of earning conversations.
Beachbody, a U.S. health and fitness brand, is one example of effective Facebook use. By implementing the social media’s audience optimization tools, such as lookalike criteria, they improved reach and conversions around New Year’s — a critical timeframe for fitness marketers — and lowered acquisition costs by 30%.
Reaching out to consumers in an effective and engaging way can be difficult — especially when new obstacles crop up each year. In 2019, marketers faced a wave of internet-savvy and skeptical consumers. It’s more important than ever to target the right platforms and speak the right language, whether it be through videos, 3D photos or interactive video games.
And remain honest with what you offer. Consumers want to know the benefits but are wary of vague offers and flashy sales language.