When you’re consumed with balancing a successful business and living an adventure filled personal life, the idea of keeping up with current social media marketing trends can be daunting. Luckily, the direction the industry is heading is one that should allow you to blend all three. There is an increasing number of consumers who are wanting to feel a more personal connection with the brands they love and company social media accounts are the perfect avenue to build those relationships.
All businesses are more than the products they sell or services they offer. Not only is sharing your stories a great way to give your customers a look behind the scenes, it is a great source of content for your accounts.
It is important to remember that consumers who follow brands on social media are typically more than just fans of their products and they look to them to for stimulating content about the industry. For example, if you are a company that makes surfboards you may want to post articles about the best surf spots during that time of year or photos of you and your employees on a surf trip. These sorts of things are highly relatable to your followers and also present you with an opportunity to showcase your products in use.
Perhaps the greatest thing about social media is the fact that everything goes two ways. This means you are not just laying out content, but you will most likely see engagement from your audience. Here is where you can take this opportunity to grow those connections and ask your followers to share content of their own with you. When a brand is able to get to this point they can then share these customer posts, creating mutually beneficial relationships. The business is able to draw upon a collection of customer generated content and the customers get their posts shared with a much larger group of people.
One brand that we feel is absolutely crushing social media right now is The North Face. Browse through their different social media accounts and it won’t take long to see that they have tons of stellar content. However, if you look a little closer you will see how a large portion comes from their customers or brand ambassadors.
There are many benefits being taken advantage of by seemingly everyone involved with The North Face’s social media network. First off, the collection of followers, comprised of past and potential future customers, are constantly exposed to stunning images & videos of all their favorite outdoor activities. This is the sort of content that draws genuine interest from followers and leads to much higher engagement.
There is a fine line being walked here because while they want to market their products, they also want to keep their followers engaged. No one likes to be blatantly advertised to and that’s what The North Face has mastered when it comes to their social media content. In just about every post they have shared, there is clearly visible The North Face clothing and equipment. These lifestyle images & videos then become a sort of window for their followers to see what is possible with their product. Even though a large portion of those following may be there solely for the content, they are constantly exposed to the brand and their new products.
Then you have the creators of all this content and how they benefit from this relationship with The North Face. Most of the customer content generated comes from both amateur and professional photographers, athletes, and explorers. Each of those groups has something to gain by having their content picked up and shared on the official The North Face social media accounts. This collaboration between the brand and its customers ultimately comes down to one thing, exposure. While The North Face most likely has a much bigger audience than the content creators, both sides benefit when they share and tag each other. Even with the large disparity in followers, brands like The North Face are still able to gain a significant amount of free exposure because of the volume of customers who are sharing with their personal social networks.
As you know companies come in a wide range of sizes and at first it may be difficult to generate the kind of engagement we have mentioned. Whether you are freshly minted brand or one that has been around for years, it is very important that you map out a social media strategy that is right for you and your target audience. At first, engagement may be slow and it will be up to you to initiate the discussions or content sharing with your followers.
Contests are one of the easiest and quickest ways for brands to ramp up their customer interactions. One idea may be holding a raffle for a gift card to your business while having the entry require contestants to post photos with your product and tag your social media accounts. This does several positive things for you going forward. First, it starts to open the communication channels between you and your followers. Next, it should start building you a nice library of consumer generated content that you can pull from in the future. Lastly, it should give you more free exposure among those following the contestants.
As you can see the relationships and connections between a brand and its target audience are very similar to those we have in our own personal lives. They are strongest when there is active engagement, shared mutual interests, and teamwork or collaborations. Going forward you should look to grow the engagement with your company’s following by sharing all of the interesting things related to the business, but also ask your followers to share with you.
Author: Josh Slavin, PULSE PR Digital Advertising Executive