Creating an online social media experience that resonates with your customers should be the sole focus of your social media marketing strategy. However, it’s easy to get lost in the pursuit of numbers: likes, shares, and how your presence online compares to your competitors.
It’s essential to focus on a return on income, but not to the detriment of your customers’ experience.
If they aren’t authentically engaged, what is the point? A strict focus on metrics is predictable, boring and overcomplicates the process, so when planning your social media marketing strategy, start with one thing first; real people.
Of course—we’re not saying to throw out your testing and analytics (not at all). Just make sure it’s all in the service of real people.
How to focus on real value to provide the best online experience
Real Value for Real People
It’s easy to lose sight of the real audience behind the screen, but what do they really want and what kinds of social media posts engage them?
People use social media to connect with people they know, to engage with brands they love and to discover and follow new brands that align with their goals.
People engage with and share posts that are relevant to their lives. So the question is, how can you fulfill that?
New Zealand’s most trusted brand for 5 years running, Whittaker’s, is well-known for constructing social media that truly engages.
It has a child-like sense of fun that can be enjoyed by all ages. Most people check into social media accounts out of boredom, what could they want more than something that could make them smile?
“Beak Yourself” was one such campaign, allowing fans to apply a Snapchat style overlay to their profile pictures.
The campaign allows people to make something fun and then share it with friends, ensuring others not only see the post but also, encourage users to join in on the fun. It’s also for a cause, promoting a campaign where 20 cents from every sale was donated to a wildlife campaign.
It’s no surprise that Hyundai voted the most trusted car brand of 2015, is a leader in creating engaging social media.
What better way to showcase their stain-resistant seats than by doing something that happens in every family from time to time; completely covering car seats with food?
That’s exactly what Hyundai did for National Donut Day. It’s a brilliant idea that resonates with any family looking for a car that is able to withstand the day to day realities of life with children. It’s humorous and promotes their products in a way that shows the company understands the real demands of life. Car brands often produce very aspirational images; perfect families in perfectly groomed cars. Hyundai presents a more relatable, more human tone. Life is messy, and that’s perfectly fine.
Get People Talking – Promote Interactions in Real-Time
If you deal with interesting or technical products, people interested in your brand’s offerings would love to hear what goes on behind the scenes.
National Geographic consistently creates engaging social media because they do just that – engage with people directly on behind the scenes topics in which people are naturally curious. Here, live streaming is a great tool as it enables users to ask questions and enjoy watching the speakers answer the questions of other viewers in real-time.
Support Your Community
Anthropologie, another top-rated trusted brand, is well-known for creating relevant promotions for particular groups of people, most notably their discounts for teachers.
Anthropologie knows that teachers are not adequately financially compensated for their contributions to society. What better way to say thanks and prove yourself a socially aware company than creating promotions to address real needs in the community?
Include Your Audience in your Journey
The brand journey is particularly important for brands with heritage, but it is equally important for even the freshest of startups. You could take a look into the past, a look at your creation or the reason for your creation, or include your customers in your future vision.
Either way, inviting your customers to take part in the evolution of your identity is a great way for them to feel like they are part of something meaningful.
One company that does this exceptionally is Volkswagen; while always focusing on an innovative future, they never hesitate to look back and reminisce about where they have been.
— Volkswagen (@Volkswagen) May 26, 2016
The best way to make your customers feel valued is to ask them for their opinion and then take action based on their feedback.
LEGO did this well, when planning their LEGO Bat Booth, a photo booth, enabling fans to take photos with life-sized LEGO creations.
The fans wanted it, and LEGO delivered, creating something people not only enjoyed but shared on their own social media platforms.
Use Social Media as a Link to Offline Engagement
Social media can be used as a platform to organize your customers into real events, such as in-store promotions or local activities.
Social media can also be used to engage viewers in events they could not attend, giving them VIP access to areas they could only ever dream of entering. Tesla did this well, not only inviting 2,000 superfans to their recent opening of their Gigafactory but also covering a behind the scenes look at the event for those unable to obtain a pass.
— Tesla (@TeslaMotors) August 5, 2016
Engage With Customers by Sharing Real Experiences
It’s one thing to promote your goods or services yourself; it is another thing entirely to have a happy customer genuinely endorse your good or service in action.
This is exactly what Flow Hive does on a regular basis.
Sharing the experiences of customers shows potential customers just how great their product is. A recommendation is better than any promotional material Flow Hive could generate themselves. With every customer experience shared, Flow Hive ensures they include the customer’s location, making it very inspiring for potential buyers in the same regions who think, “Maybe I could produce my own honey too…”
Whichever method you choose to engage your audience, never lose sight of the fact that your audience consists of real people, just like you. Design your strategy with people in mind. They’re looking for meaning in their lives; how can you deliver it?
Create real value and *most* of the statistics will take care of themselves.