From Google to Wikipedia and Amazon to Seamless, we have never been as exposed to information and on-demand services as we are today. The marketplace has changed (and still changes) tremendously with internet, and there are unlimited resources that allow us to take fully-informed decisions and act on them in the blink of an eye.
While consumers no longer rely on the same outlets as before to find information, inspiration or recommendations, Social Media platforms provide businesses today with same opportunities TV channels, Magazines or Radio provided years ago (and still provide today) at a fraction of the cost.
Brands never had so many opportunities to extend their reach beyond their local newspapers or website, and they now have the power to directly affect both their brand awareness and sales through the amazing tools that Social Media platforms offer.
While tailoring the perfect strategy for your brand will definitely require more thought and time than a 10 min read, here are 7 useful tips you might want to keep in mind to leverage Social Media platforms for your business:
#1: Pick the platform(s) that makes more sense for your business
While each and every Social Media platform will ultimately allow you to connect with potential customers, keep in mind that their user demographics will most likely vary, and so will your opportunities to promote your products.
Unless you have the resources (time and/or budget) to strategically and efficiently manage multiple pages across different platforms, you’re better off focusing on the 1-2 outlet(s) that will both target the most potential customers for your business and fit your brand’s voice the best. Less is more, and it’s better being the head of a dog rather than the tail of a lion (especially on Social media).
In order to select (or narrow down your activities to) the platforms you want to invest in, try to define your unique selling point, your objectives and your desired outcome. Start by asking yourself several questions, such as “What do I want to get out of my Social Media presence?”, “What makes my product special and how could I share this with consumers”, “Do I want to focus on increasing my wine sales, or on getting more reservations for my wine-country dream wedding venue?”, “What is the best way to target potential consumers knowing my distribution is limited to a certain area?” and see what your answers reveal.
If your main goal is to boost your sales in a specific area, look at platforms that allow you to reach your potential consumers through hyper-targeted advertising (like Facebook). If you are trying to generate more awareness around your brand and product(s), focus on platforms that will allow you to visually share and show your unique selling points the best (like Instagram, Youtube).
Although Instagram and Facebook both remain the world’s most recognized and widely used social media outlets, you might find many other relevant opportunities for your business on other platforms (such as Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn or Snapchat) and you definitely want to keep them on your radar. Some of them might not have as much fame and as many users, but might grant you a greater share of voice and a better ROI.
#2: Adapt your content to the platform(s) you are using!
Just like you would go to your bakery for bread and to your butcher for meat, social media users go to different platforms for different reasons and the last thing they want is to see a copy and paste of the exact same branded post across all the outlets they are using (which, in case you haven’t noticed, happens quite often).
No matter how much time and/or budget you are willing to invest in Social Media marketing, your number one priority will be to ensure that the content you are developing and pushing are in line with each platform’s specificities and user expectations. While some platforms are mainly geared toward consumers and focus on picture and video content, some others are mainly dedicated to professionals and focus on industry news, events, promotions, etc.
As a result, the challenge of selecting the best social media platform(s) for your business not only resides in figuring out where you will find the most potential consumers for your product but also in figuring out how you will ensure the creation of content tailored to each of them.
Keep in mind that adapting your content doesn’t necessarily mean changing the actual assets (say picture or video) you want to push, sometimes it’s just a matter of adapting your approach and your caption to the people you are talking to.
#3: Share your stories, it’s free !
With access to information made easier than ever, consumers are no longer paying attention to traditional advertising but are interested in more genuine storytelling from brands. What sets you apart from the competition is your own story and consumers want to know it! Whether you believe it or not, they are more likely to buy (and recommend) your brand and product if they feel “connected” with it, and Social Media platforms provide you with infinite opportunities to meet their demand.
“The internet is the middleman and you now have more opportunity than ever to tell your story in a way that makes sense and can resonate with people around the world. […] Instagram and Snapchat, and Twitter and Facebook are the new CBS, NBC, and Showtime. Except now you can reach hundreds of millions or billions of people every day” – Gary Vaynerchuck
This statement is right on point and goes to show you that traditional media advertisers no longer rule the game. What used to require either a lot of planning and/or a pretty consequent budget is now available at your fingertips for no (or at a very low) cost with Social Media.
If you ask yourself how – in such a vast ocean of posts from brands, influencers, friends and random people – you can manage to be seen and heard, remember that the number one thing you have to do is evoke a reaction. Whether it is through a serious, a sentimental, an educational, a funny or a nostalgic post, the idea is to catch your audience’s attention and make sure that they stop scrolling down their screen as they see your content.
While it will most likely take you time to build a solid and engaged audience, remember to stay authentic and provide your potential consumers with as many opportunities to connect with you as possible, and you will definitely gain in awareness and see a positive impact on your business.
#4: Engage with your audience
As obvious as it sounds, there are many brands who tend to forget that Social Media platforms are meant for engagement and only use their pages to push their own content without further interactions. What a mistake…! Whatever platform(s) you select for your business, remember that you’re investing in Social Media to both connect and engage with your potential consumers. Community management is the most crucial aspect of Social Media, and you want to make sure you give it the time and attention it deserves.
There is quite a big difference between having a social media presence and being present on Social media. The latter goes beyond pushing your content, and involves both interacting with your audience and engaging in conversations around the products, ideas and lifestyle that you are promoting. Start by using #Hashtags to push your own content and to identify the conversations you want to engage in. Not only will this provide you with more visibility within the community you are targeting, but it will also increase your audience and their engagement rate!
#5: Create incentives for your followers
Whether it’s through a giveaway, a contest or a special discount, make sure that your followers keep coming back to your page(s) by offering them regular incentives that they cannot find anywhere else. Not only will this allow you to appeal to more people, but it will also drive a lot more engagement and loyalty toward your brand and products.
Based on your business, your location and on your capabilities, there are many tactics that you can implement (and scale) across your different Social Media platforms. I have only listed a few examples below, but keep in mind that opportunities are endless and your creativity is the only limit!
- Simple giveaways: Launch any type of contest and reward your fans’ engagement (like, comment, repost,…) by offering them a series of branded items and/or tools (Corkscrews, Shakers, Coolers…)
- Event tickets: Create a sweepstakes or launch a simple contest (pictures, tastings,…) to give your fans/followers the opportunity to win complimentary tickets to events where your product is showcased.
- Special Promotion: Leverage holidays (or any other relevant opportunity) to offer a 10% discount on direct sales
Important note: Alcohol-related promotions and incentives guidelines vary from one state to another, and from one country to another. Make sure to do your due diligence before starting anything!
#6: Leverage influencers
Working with influencers (or maybe should I say working with the right influencers) is definitely one of the most efficient ways to generate online visibility for your brand and/or your product(s). From a simple mention to a full-on product endorsement, an influencers’ post can get you a long way and not only affect your brand awareness but also boost your sales.
Curating and selecting the influencers to work with is the first step in the process, and unless your vision of success is being showcased on Kim Kardashian or Cristiano Ronaldo’s Instagram feed (which will respectively cost you $250,000 and $750,000 per post), you’re better off working with more dedicated, smaller-scale influencers that will directly target your potential consumers.
Whether it is by sending product for review, partnering on events or collaborating on content development, engage with the most relevant influencers for your business and nurture a genuine and long lasting relationship with them.
Important note: Remember that you are working with influencers because you value their personal views and opinions. Do not micro-manage their work and impose your sales pitch on them as it will definitely be noticed.
#7: Try things out and learn from your mistakes!
One of the best thing with Social Media is that you can easily try different things out and see what performs best without the burden of losing either a lot of time or a lot of money. This “learn-by-doing” approach not only allows you to get a better understanding of what your potential consumers are responding to, but also (and perhaps most importantly) creates content tailored to their expectations on the long run.
Whether it is because your targeting was too broad or your caption not catchy enough, it’s OK getting no “likes” or “comments” on your latest piece of content as long as you put in the effort to understand why it didn’t perform as well as your other posts and plan your next posts accordingly!
After all, it can only get better right ?
BONUS TIP (and probably the most important…): REMEMBER TO HAVE FUN !!
I hope these few tips help you get a better understanding of the many opportunities Social Media platforms can provide your business! Feel free to share your thoughts and contact me directly to discuss any of the tips above for your business.
(Featured Image: Copyrights @Prateek Katyal on Unsplash)