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As Forrest Gump so memorably stated, “Life is like a box of chocolates.”
Forrest was referring to the surprises life often throws our way. Variety is the “spice of life,” after all.
Variety is an important part of marketing, though Forrest may not have been considering business as he mused about life on a park bench.
Marketing across a variety of media platforms is key to a successful marketing campaign. These days, social media is one of the most important media channels you should be using.
For social media to have maximum reach, you should be utilizing a variety of social networks, which means updating your strategy to expand beyond just Facebook and Twitter.
The Shift in Social Media Trends
Consumers, especially younger generations, are shifting their focus from Facebook and Twitter to media-sharing apps like Instagram, Vine, Pinterest and Snapchat. It is imperative that you modernize your marketing strategy to incorporate these new social sharing trends so your brand has a far reach.
Below you can find some steps you can take to begin modernizing your social media strategy.
The 4 Steps You Should Be Taking
1. Introduce Video into your Campaign
Video marketing is not a new concept, but its success is something many companies have not begun to realize. Consider this: “about 46% of people say they’d be more likely to seek out information about a product or service after seeing it in an online video. (Source: Eloqua LINK). With an almost 50% success rate, why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of video marketing?
I’m not talking about creating YouTube videos that are a couple minutes long. Apps like Vine, Instagram and Snapchat simplify the video creation and sharing process. The videos on these apps must be ten seconds or shorter, and with consumer attention spans lower than ever, offering marketing content that is seconds-long will most likely hold consumers’ attention better than a lengthy video ad.
These short videos offer an opportunity to show followers the fun and creative side of your brand. You can create short videos that offer a sneak peek of an upcoming new product, service or event. You can use the video to show some ways to use your product, like Bacardi did with their Vine video for a 5 second drink recipe.
On apps like Vine and Instagram, the videos you create can remain on your company profile to be viewed and shared, which can generate leads for your company.
With Snapchat, you can use the video option to share your brand as you would with Vine and Instagram, but the video is sent to individual subscribers and only lasts for a few seconds before it’s gone. This gives you an opportunity to create truly impactful content, even if the consumer only views it for a few seconds.
2. Consider the Buyer’s Journey
To find a successful marketing angle, it can be helpful to think as both a marketer and consumer. One major angle to consider is the buyer’s journey, from initial interest to purchase. You can use social networking sites to shorten this journey, bringing the consumer closer to the purchasing stage.
Pinterest is a great social networking site your brand should be a part of. You can use Pinterest to share photos that portray your product or service or which reflect your brand values. You can link the photos you “pin” to your website so consumers can take their interest in your brand to the next level. The post grabs their attention, and linking to your site gives you a great opportunity to convert those consumers into buyers.
You can also approach this tactic from a consumer perspective. If you see a photo online of something you’d be interested in purchasing, it can be difficult to locate where you can actually buy that product or service. By offering direct links to products featured on your brand’s Pinterest profile, you can first garner the consumer’s interest and then immediately introduce them to your desired landing page.
3. Humanize your brand
This is something you should be doing already if you’re on social media, but video and photo sharing apps offer a perfect opportunity to humanize your brand. The best social networks to use to humanize your brand are Instagram, Vine, Twitter and Snapchat.
A good way to humanize your brand is to show consumers that your brand is operated by real people and not automated marketing robots. For example, you can upload a short video or photo introducing a new team member at your office to your followers. Or you could show your team having a great day at the office, so consumers can get to know the smiling faces behind their favorite brand.
You could also use these apps to interact with your followers through liking the videos or photos in which they tag your brand. You can comment on their posts or tweet directly to them. Practicing one-on-one marketing with social networking is a great way to humanize your brand and connect with your followers.
Basically, consumers appreciate knowing that real people are behind the brands they follow.
4. Embrace limitations
A six-second video allowance? One-hundred characters maximum? Challenge accepted.
Limitations are not often thought of as something positive. Keeping things short and simple may challenge your creative skills, but with short consumer attention spans, short content can be used to your advantage.
Try to think about sharing company news and updates in as few words as possible, especially when sending a tweet. You want to think of something that will stand out to followers who are quickly scrolling through their cluttered news feed.
As previously mentioned, you can use apps like Vine and Instagram to create quick teaser videos for your brand. These clips can really generate interest for your brand, especially if you keep the consumer's interest piqued. Plus, think of how much time and money you can save on video marketing if you only need to produce six seconds of content. So much for "limitations" - text character and time limits can be used to the benefit of your brand.
The best way to modernize your social media strategy is to incorporate the new, popular social networks into your brand's media plan. This will ensure your brand has a presence across a variety of social media channels, allowing you to reach as many consumers as possible. You can explore new forms of marketing with these apps, like video on Vine and Snapchat, and photos on Instagram and Pinterest.
That famous box of chocolates Forrest loves? You can be that box of chocolates to consumers. Use different social networks to market your brand through photos, text, and video. If you go beyond the expected Facebook and Twitter pages, you'll keep your social media campaign fresh and exciting--consumers will never know which fun post to expect from you next.