By Daniela Barbosa, Director of Business Development
Simply just being on networking sites isn't enough anymore—to stay competitive you have to be creative with the content you are putting out there, showcasing your expertise and even creating a new social community. With all of its challenges, social media continues to be one of the most effective ways you can market your company and connect with clients. When your customers are able to interact with your company online, you'll understand what is currently driving them to purchase a certain product or favor a specific brand. But think beyond just sharing content with your clients—develop an engagement strategy that's specific to your target consumer and you will begin to see stronger sales.
Forbes says that digital marketing campaigns are starting to move toward more purpose-driven content and branding, according to this infographic from We First, a B2B training company. The infographic highlighted that 54% of consumers don't trust that brands are being genuine. Let that sink in for a minute. Your social media initiative is under customer scrutiny most of the time, and you need to figure out a way to bridge that disconnect and really interact with your customers. A main challenge to achieving this end is that the majority of employees, about 54%, said they didn't clearly understand their company's mission and so were unable to effectively communicate with customers online. After you make sure your employees really know what your company is trying to achieve, then you can turn to your customers. One of the key ways the infographic suggested for building customer loyalty online is by showcasing the humanizing aspects of your company, such as charity involvement, or highlighting a strong volunteer culture.
By developing a comprehensive social media strategy around your customers' needs that all of your employees can follow, you will not only improve worker knowledge, but also ensure everyone is on the same page.
Learn From Entrepreneurs
But how do you make this a reality? Well, understanding your customers is key, but you should also gather some insider secrets from a few innovative professionals who have conducted successful social initiatives.
Entrepreneurs are often better able to think strategically about what they want to accomplish. According to a case study by Entrepreneur magazine, three startups gained strong sales early on by adopting a customer-centric—and, unsurprisingly, innovative—social media strategy.
One of these young professionals, Warby Parker, decided to increase awareness about his New York city-based online eyeglass company's brand by encouraging clients to share their own stories and content on social media. Warby was able to promote his company by providing customers with the opportunity to try on the eyeglasses before buying, and then asking them to speak about their experience online, like whether they decided to purchase the frames. The strategy was focused on generating positive buzz about the company.
David Gilboa, co-founder and co-CEO of Warby's company, told Entrepreneur that the marketing idea was a grassroots-type strategy for the brand.
"Don't view social media as just another way to push your marketing messaging," Gilboa said. "Think of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as critical customer service gateways and take the time to respond to each and every customer who reaches out to you there. Each comment, photo and tweet gives you an opening to directly communicate with them on a meaningful, personalized basis that encourages brand loyalty."