There is no better way to update your social content strategies for the last few months of the year than building from insights in recent reports. The recommendations below, supported by data, will enable you to tweak and optimise your social media output to meet the needs of customers and continue your brand-building efforts.
People may be following you for product updates
Social media users follow brands for content that inspires and/or entertains them, but the latest Sprout Social Index found that 57% of consumers also want to be updated about new products or services. Rather than looking for press releases or getting information from publishers online, people want announcements directly in their news feeds.
The Index found that this was actually the main reason why users followed brands on social media, and this suggests that no product or service update is too big or small.
Microsoft recently highlighted the power of hotly anticipated news when it tweeted the prices for the next-generation Xbox consoles on 9th September. Prefacing it simply with, “This is the tweet”, the Xbox account on Twitter shared the information with its 14 million-strong follower base. The tweet has now generated more than 220,000 likes.
While social media can be used to shine a light on your latest blogs and articles, you can also mix in other brand-related announcements. When planning your social campaigns, think about how certain updates could offer value to followers. Timely and relevant updates on social media can be crafted in quick time and will boost visibility and engagement.
Visual content is required to engage consumers
Consumers want to interact with social media posts that have images, videos and infographics, according to research. More than two-thirds of people are ready and willing to engage with images, making it the most popular visual format, while 50% are on the lookout for videos and short clips.
The great thing about content marketing in general is that you are likely to have a vast back catalogue of posts (even those in written form) that can be adapted for pin-sharp visuals and colourful videos for social platforms.
To find the best potential candidates, run a quick review or audit of the content you have come up with during the last 12 months. You can do this for the posts you have published on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, as well as on your blog and website. Flagging any posts that have driven high levels of engagement could be an excellent source for visuals.
Recycling infographics and images is easy enough. You can also brainstorm a few ideas for how to turn written words and web copy into a video. Runtimes for clips on social don’t have to be long. A brief two minutes can be enough to cover, for example, behind-the-scenes work practices. You can even create short gif-based infographics to communicate stats and data.
Time and money constraints pose a constant challenge
Marketers would love to increase the scale and scope of social media campaigns, but many are struggling to execute even the most conservative plans due to a lack of time and budget restraints. 41% of marketers say that they do not have the “bandwidth” to ensure that their strategies have a positive, lasting impact on the business.
This is one area that can be quickly addressed by working with an external agency. Outsourcing social media management to a third party will bring many benefits to your business. A professional third party can automate daily tasks that would otherwise take up time, such as scheduling posts across a range of accounts and simplifying general workflows for more affordable and timely campaigns.
Content can be created that appeals to a new audience
Content output is more targeted than ever before, but that doesn’t stop you crafting blogs, articles and posts for different audiences. 45% of consumers say that they rely on the algorithm that generates suggestions in social news feeds to discover brands, accounts and content they like. This is similar to how Spotify uses its popular recommendation algorithm to serve new music to users.
What this suggests is that you don’t have to stick rigidly to your own niche or ‘wheelhouse’ when crafting content. You could try to appeal to consumers who are interested in topics or industries that you would initially consider to be tangential to your own. This offers a great growth opportunity for your brand as you may be able to engage with people who have an appetite for your products and services but don’t know it yet.
Subpar customer service can torpedo engagement
Maintaining a favourable online reputation is crucial for your business. Almost half of consumers (49%) say that they would have no qualms about unfollowing a brand for good if they had the misfortune to experience poor customer service. Just one or two bad after-sales interactions can be detrimental to your business.
Fortunately, social media does give you the ability to respond quickly to anyone who has grievances, and if you do it in the right way, you could even benefit from a post going viral, which can improve your brand image.
With the holiday period on the horizon, customer enquiries are likely to increase. You can prepare by taking a step back and analysing how enquiries from people on Twitter and Facebook are handled. Having an employee or two ready to answer questions is important, but don’t forget to use tools such as Keyhole, which will monitor keywords and hashtags so that you can respond quickly.
More than three quarters (79%) of social media users say that fast communications are critical and that they should get a response to a query within 24 hours. As noted earlier, the right response can not only satisfy individual customers but also have a positive impact on retention. A Gartner study found that there is a greater likelihood that a customer will remain loyal to a brand in the long term if they encounter excellent customer service.
Social media remains one of the best outlets for generating clicks and engagement organically. By taking a few trending insights on board, you can update your strategies accordingly to reach audiences of all sizes and characteristics, both niche and broad, and support them from brand discovery to post-sale and beyond.