Over the last few years, there has been a significant shift in the way we access and consume information.
In the same way that consumers shifted from the radio to the tv, there has been a shift from tv to digital. This has been enhanced by the distribution of platforms such as Netflix (TV quality content) and Youtube (user created content).
The shift has not only been to a digital world, the proliferation of smartphones has resulted in a shift in customer engagement to mobile.
Access to smartphones has pushed the engagement to apps, with 90% of the time spent on smartphones being utilised on apps particularly those focused on communication and social media.
So what does this mean to your business or brand as you are looking to engage your users or gain exposure to new customer segments?
The first thing that your business needs to be grounded in is that marketing is about attention and that social media is where the consumers spend most of their attention.
However, with attention comes noise.
There is so much content being pushed out each minute across all of the platforms that having a presence on social media is not always enough. To be effective at using social media as a growth tool for your business, you must be engaging to get the customers attention.
Unfortunately, most brands view social media as a transactional platform. I.e. put 1 post up on social about products which results in x number of sales. As a result, many businesses social media accounts unfortunately look like this:
Without valuable content or context, it is hard to captivate potential customers on social media.
If you map your own behaviour (i.e. who you follow on social media), at a macro level you will notice that you follow those businesses because they provide you entertainment, education or inspiration (or some other utility) but at the core, each of them deliver you value in some way.
By providing value on social media, you build a community of people who not only like your product or service, but buy into your brand. This is how you get customers to engage with you on a deeper level and getting them to choose you over other competitors in the space who may provide a wider range of products or beat you on price.
I have used the following process to help clients of Playbook Studios determine how to cut through the noise, engage with their audience and add value to their customer segments, allowing them to effectively use social media as a growth tool for their business:
1. Who are you trying to reach?
The first step to an effective social media strategy is understanding who you are trying to reach. Trying to be everything to everyone rarely works because it becomes difficult for any of your customer segments to resonate with your messaging. Even Facebook started by focusing on university students from Harvard when they initially launched.
So who is your customer segment and what are their characteristics?
2. What platform, channel, medium has their attention?
One of the common mistakes I see a lot of businesses make is that they decide to hedge their bets and be on every single platform out there.
Users behave and consume content differently across the various social media platforms. Being on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest,Twitter and Snapchat can work if your business has the resources and capacity to have individual teams working on creating different strategy, content and funnels across the different platforms, but more often than not, it’s better to focus on dominating and building a strong community on one social media platform.
Where do your customers spend their attention currently, or what platform/ medium are they trending towards?
3. What types of content do your customers value?
Your potential customers will value specific types or pieces of content differently. From working with a number of clients across various industries we have noticed that there are 3 general types of posts that users value the most.
- Education: This type of user is looking for information or content that helps them with a particular task or educates them about particular topics. E.g. an energy company sharing content on how you can save money by running the dishwasher in off peak hours
- Inspiration: This type of user is looking to gain inspiration for a future state that they want to be in e.g. aspiring entrepreneurs wanting to hear stories about successful entrepreneurs and visions of what their life would look like once they have “made it.”
- Entertainment: This type of user is looking for entertainment that fits in with their lifestyle. E.g. a gym sharing the struggles of eating “clean”
What type of content does your customer value the most?
4. What action do you want to the user to take?
It’s important to know what action you want the consumer to take. Do you want them to join your mailing list? Be redirected to your website? Make a purchase? Follow/Like your page?
Each action you want to the consumer to take should have it’s own funnel (see next step) and process that the customers will go through. Having a clear idea of the action will allow you to create a simple funnel for your users resulting in better results from your social media strategy and posts.
What do you want to happen?
5. Create the funnel
Finally you want to put the pieces together. Once you know what the customer values and what platform you want to focus on, you can create a funnel around content that is contextually relevant to your customer on that platform and matches with the result you want to happen.
An effective funnel channels users that engage with you on social media platforms to converting into sales of your product or service.
I hope you found this post useful for your business. If you would like to discuss how to create an effective social media strategy for your business to drive growth, you can reach me on firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter or LinkedIn