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Social Media Connects Brands and Customers

More pandemic research confirms that online touches – and social media in particular – are important tools for connecting and engaging customers. Salesforce​ surveyed over 3,500 consumers worldwide to learn how consumers engage with brands. Social media emerges as the most influential channel for communicating with consumers.

Social media was found to be the  the most interesting and most noticed channel across all demographics when asked to compare social, television and email. 54% of consumers say they notice brand content on social media always or frequently — a higher figure than any other channel.

The survey findings highlight three trends.

  1. Consumers value organizational models and use of technology that provide differentiated, digital-first customer engagement.
  2. Customers value personalized, empathetic engagement and expect messages that resonate with their individual needs.
  3. Metrics like customer satisfaction and digital engagement can be used to optimize online outreach.

Advice for Brands

The results also offered some advice for brands.

  • 59% of consumers believe the frequency of messages should be decreased
  • 58% say the variety of messages should increase
  • 73% want messages to focus on products rather than brand messages

Social Media Marketing, Emphasis on the Social

Social media has an important role to play for every business. During COVID shutdowns more than ever we saw that social media serves a window on the world. It is an important place that we connect as people, even when we can’t connect in person.

Your marketing needs to honor and elevate this need for connectedness. Our brands need to be social. We need to connect with people as people, not just revenue sources.

How to Market on Social Media

Build relationships. Use social media to connect, build relationships and communicate. Ask your network how they are doing. Ask for their thoughts and ideas. Acknowledge the world beyond your brand and the stresses as well as the celebrations we have in common.

Be empathetic. Show that you care about things beyond what is immediately important to your brand. Share a funny meme, just because. React to what your network posts. Create moments of community.

Be transparent. Don’t try to hide your motivations. When you are looking to sell, be honest that is what you are doing. When you are promoting something because it benefits you, be open about that too. Your honesty is integral to your relationship building online.

Plan for Success

With the principles of relationship marketing in mind, create your social media marketing plan. Don’t think you will remember all these important elements. Don’t leave your success to chance.

Develop a written plan to guide you day to day, week to week. A plan ensures that you implement all your good ideas using best practices. It defines your goal and how you will measure progress.

Best Practices to Use Social Media in Online Marketing for Your Brand

Is social media part of your online marketing for your brand? There are many reasons it should be. Most Americans use one or more social channels, so it is a great way to connect with your audience. Further, the cost to use social channels offer some of the best marketing ROI.

Success takes more than signing up. Many small businesses struggle to achieve marketing success on social media. You need an intentional strategy that follows best practices.

How to Use Social Media in Online Marketing

Have a Social Media Marketing Plan

Define your goals and the platforms that are best suited to help you achieve them. Further, define exactly what you need to do on each channel you select.

Pick the Best Social Media Channels

You do not need to be everywhere on social media. I repeat, don’t sign up for every channel you hear about. Use only the channels that your target customer uses. How do you know? Pew has some great national data on social media use. You can also start by asking customers and others who represent your target audience what they use.

Focus on Building the Right Social Communities

Don’t focus on amassing the most followers, focus on connecting with the right followers. You want to use social media to connect with your target audience. Know who your target is and focus on making those connections. Quality trumps quantity every time.

Pay Attention to the Competition

Watching what your competitors do on social media isn’t unethical. It’s smart. Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t. Create value by giving your social communities the best value by using best practices you glean as well as ideas unique to your brand.

Listen as Much (or More) than You “Talk”

Social media should be, well, social! That means a two way interaction. Your posts are the equivalent to your part of the conversation. Engagement from your community in the forms of comments, posts, and reactions are their part. Make sure you invite a balance! No one likes people (or brands) who only talk about themselves and doesn’t let others share.

Measure Social Media Marketing Often

Take time to measure the effectiveness of your social media efforts. Your great ideas may be getting you to your goal or they may be falling flat. You won’t know unless you take time to assess. Pay attention to short term data, like the interactions on your most recent post, as well as longer term trends. Don’t be afraid to change your plan to make the most of what’s working!