Now that social media has been around for more than 15 years it is no surprise that marketing and branding endeavors have taken a digital turn. Picking up our phones is becoming an action driven by our subconscious. Kids grow up understanding how to like, comment, and subscribe, without even being taught. Senior citizens, people who grew up in an era where smartphones were only written about in sci-fi novels and seen in bond movies, are even more tech savvy, creating their own profiles on the social media platforms from Instagram to SnapChat. We can thank the pandemic for that.
For business owners, social media is a powerful tool that acts as a gateway between your company and your consumers. Social media is a fantastic way to build relationships with them and create a strong customer base that can last the test of time. Whether you are starting a company or have been at one for forty years, odds are that you are using or have used social media to promote your business in one form or another. Here we’ve gathered five new ways that you can leverage it in 2021.
1) Personal brand
Now that social media has entered its adolescent phase the landscape looks a little bit different. What is the main difference? Personal brands. The ability to connect with anyone anywhere has given rise to the social celebrity. It is now normal, even encouraged for you to market your own individual work and ideas. Not only does it create professional opportunities to increase your visibility and sell your services, many platforms have developed systems to track your engagement and profit from it. In addition, businesses are now reaching out to individuals with parallel brand ideals and an active following — we call them influencers — to promote their products and their brands. Side hustle anyone?
Social media has created a world where companies have a direct line to thier customers. Whether your campaign was a like, love, or a continuous scroll of comments, you’re sure to hear about it from the people that follow you and the people that don’t. Want to leverage that feedback? Get ahead of it. Ask your audience for thoughts on your brand, product ideas or marketing campaigns. Check the metrics and see which posts are getting the most engagement then craft your social strategy accordingly.
3) Social movements
The power of social media hit its stride in 2020 as the pandemic forced mobility limitations and both businesses and individuals experienced the border-free world of virtual tradeshows, live stream concerts, and a new surplus of time to sit and scroll. Although businesses in the U.S. have been steadily shifting to consumer driven sales since the “Coke is it” debacle of the 80s, social media has provided a platform for individuals to speak out in large numbers with complete anonymity. Individuals are now holding businesses accountable to both their core values and their ability to drive widespread change. We are now seeing marketing executives from Audi produce the “Daughters” Ad in response to the Me Too movement, and Jake from State Farm being cast as a Black man in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. Whether it’s the plus sized mannequins at Dick’s Sporting Goods or deciding to no longer carry the controversial illustrations of the beloved Dr. Seuss. Businesses now have a responsibility to show their customers what they stand for.
4) Shop Now!
Since Facebook went public a great deal of time and resources has gone into making social media profitable. Implementing technology such as Facebook Marketplace or the Shop Now! feature on instagram has created an entirely new avenue for businesses to leverage social media to maximize their visibility and profits. Take my friend Mollie for example. She created an Instagram account solely for the canvases that she creates. People would leave a comment in the comment section ‘claiming’ the canvas that they wanted to buy, and then Mollie would mail the canvas that she created for you. It was just an activity that she picked up for the summer, yet every single canvas sold. And at a solid rate too! In addition to selling your talents, companies now have the ability to advertise products that customers can purchase right through the social media platform itself eliminating the need for a costly e-commerce site.
Social media isn’t going anywhere, so utilize these tips and tricks to better understand it in 2021.
When you are thinking of a ‘brand,’ what comes to mind? Is it the branding of a product or company that you love? Is it the new logo design that we just created for you? Is it the new packaging that just came out in order to revamp a company’s image? Is it a tagline or slogan that stands out to you? If you said yes to any of these questions, you are in the majority! Most people when asked about branding understand that all of the above points are very important. However, most people forget about an important branding opportunity; the personal brand.
Marketing 101 teaches you on the first day of class that everything and anything can be marketed. Your leggings have a brand identity, your sneakers have a brand identity, your business has a brand identity, and you yourself have a brand identity. Let’s take a look at one of the world’s most infamous families: The Kardashian’s. Love them or hate them, you know them. Why? Because they know what it means to create a brand based on who they are as people, hence why they, as well as many other celebrities, are referred to as “TV personalities.” They make millions of dollars from their multiple companies not because of their talent, but because of their brand. Cultivating and creating a personal brand can be extremely important in order to gain a loyal customer base.
One of the things social media has taught us is that you don’t have to be a celebrity to have a strong personal brand. In fact you’re probably doing it right now. Do you have that one friend that is just so uptight? Or another friend who’s always wearing designer fashion? Do you know a guy who’s always at the gym? Your personality traits come together and create a memorable impression to your customers, clients and coworkers. This, whether you are intentional about it or not, is your personal brand.
Most people in the corporate world try to use their own personal brand as a way to market themselves and their skillsets which brings in more customers which brings in more profit. This can come in all shapes and sizes, but in 2021, there is no better way to promote who you want the world to perceive you as than social media. For example, Dr. Austin Chiang, a professor and gastrointestinal doctor, has found and created his own little world on Tik Tok. You might be thinking, how does a GI doctor and professor find his way to Tik Tok? We aren’t sure, but we also aren’t complaining! With over fourteen million likes and over 416 thousand followers, Dr. Austin educates his audience on medical myths. Not only is it educational, but he also shows off who he is as a person by dancing and poking fun at the society that we live in. If it were not for Tik Tok, I would have never known who he was. He is not my doctor, and he is not from the area. This shows the power of a personal brand and how it helps him in his career. First and foremost, it gives him more press. This increased level of publicity encourages people to reach out to him for their own health needs. Second, it brings in more opportunities for him to make money through other avenues instead of just teaching and being a doctor. Now, because of his social media following, he is qualified enough to advertise products that he believes in on his channel. Companies can pay him to promote their brands. These partnerships not only bring in more money for Dr. Chiang, but they also add more meaning to his personal brand because he can tell people all of the products that can help them with their health issues. Cultivating a personal brand online can increase people’s level of awareness about who you are, what you stand for, and what you sell.
If you want to grow your career, expand your network, create new opportunities, and make it easier for people to send clients your way, exploring your own personal brand is the way to go. Simply exist as who you are, and your brand is set! Now just take it to Tik Tok if you want your brand to be liked, commented on, and messaged!
There are so many ways to track metrics. But it’s not doing your business any good just to have them. Analytics and data are meant to be used as tools to identify who is engaging with your brand, and how they are engaging. Interpreting the data allows you to strategize and respond to your target audience more effectively. Here are a few tips to create space in your schedule to interpret your information.
Set aside time each quarter to review your data and discuss what’s working or not working. Any campaign needs about 90 days to pull good data, so quarterly meetings are a great time to review your data and look for patterns. Did you have certain social media posts where your audience engagement was up or emails that people opened more often? Maybe there were some that were met with crickets. Also, make sure you’re comparing the analytics with data across your other platforms. Did your sales go up or down, did you generate more or less leads. Maybe you identified more qualified leads that are more likely to generate revenue.
Make sure ALL lines of communication are clear, and open. It’s an understatement to say that there are a myriad of ways to communicate with your customers today. From different social channels and video platforms, multiple online storefronts, private messaging and live chat — not to mention the old school methods of snail mail and telephone. You want to make sure you’re not missing anything. Be clear with your customers about which methods of communication are best to reach you. You can include a statement in your email signature, find a spot on your website or include it in your about section on any of your social media platforms. Also, make sure all your corporate emails are being monitored or forwarding to a monitored email address. If you’re hosting emails on your server that you’re no longer using remove them. Also, if you have a live chat make sure someone qualified is able to respond in a timely manner. Adopting these best practices will help to ensure your customers can get in touch with you when they need to and help to avoid any unforeseen pitfalls in your customer experience.
Having a successful brand is all about building relationships with your customers. Do you need help aligning your messaging? Schedule a complimentary consultation call to speak with one of our strategists.