Posts tagged with “Business Trends”
By: Jack Evans
The rapid emergence of social media has opened a limitless, digital frontier that gives companies, consumers and friends instant engagement. As a company, implementing an effective social media focus in your marketing strategy will provide an efficient avenue to reach diverse audiences. It is vital to identify your position in the market, what type of content reflects your brand’s voice, and ensure that your company is efficient in the creation of your content. These 3 components make up the core of an effective social media strategy.
Market Positioning- As a company you need to find your place in the market and align your social media engagements accordingly. Generating content that is both socially and brand relevant to your specific audience is essential to attracting positive “buzz” in the digital marketplace. Posting should reflect your brand’s voice, lifestyle and above all else, product. In other words, use a variety of social media forums to persuade your audience that your product is the best, before they even realize they need it.
Content- Your company should focus on creating a strategic blend of posting that is brand relevant and engages your target audience. Show the audience what your brand does, the people your company attracts and the lifestyle your brand promotes. Consumers will ask questions, give shout-outs and post comments at all hours, and it’s vital these engagements are managed with quick responses. You want your audience to not only feel valued, but INVOLVED in your company.
Efficient Generation of Content- Compared to traditional advertising and promotion, social media gives companies freedom to blend authentic and professionally generated content. Because most images are either free or already budgeted in your marketing plan, content generation is simplified and requires little additional cost, if any. Behind the scenes or exclusive photos, imagery that shows brand leaders outside traditional settings, or promoting special company offerings are three simple ways your audience can feel valued and part of your company’s family.
By connecting with the official Instagram of the NFL, you see an example of a highly effective social media strategy that has resulted in over 2 million followers. While in season, this feed is loaded with a diverse posting style that blends authentic images showing scores and stats, on field action shots, and exclusive photos only available on the NFL Instagram. During the offseason we see more lifestyle appeals in posts that reflect social trends, league updates, and a more creative blend of brand relevant fodder that connects a diverse body of followers with the National Football League.
By hiring additional employees or outsourcing responsibilities to a firm specializing in the digital marketplace, your company will see a high return on investment as its reach and messaging platforms grow daily. While you may not see an instantaneous impact in revenue, social media engagements greatly contribute to building relationships within your target market that will drive sales over time. These relationships will grow your brand awareness, cement your location in the market, and result in recurring customers in the long run.
Some things are never coming back.
The days when a daily newspaper subscription gave you all you needed to know about the world in time for a morning meeting.
The days when a Yellow Pages listing and inclusion in a Book of Lists equated with awareness.
When phones were phones.
When social was an in-person get together.
When coupons required scissors.
We’re not going back there. If anything, other items we find concrete and dependable will drop off even more quickly than all of those things did.
We can’t build business on crumbling blocks. So, how do you evolve? How do you let go of old ways of thinking and separate fads from trends from facts?
Here are a few ideas:
1) Ask your current customers to keep you relevant.
Your customers already like you, so find out how they found you, how they like to hear from you, as well as what you’re doing that drives them crazy. Maybe they want to be able to pay through a mobile app or PayPal and you’re still relying on checks and cash, for example.
If in this exercise you find your current customers all think exactly like you currently do, make sure you don’t let that serve as a reason to not try new things. Who are the customers you will need in 5 or 10 years to still be successful? Maybe ask your questions to those demographics now to learn their DNA and start planning towards change.
2) Keep tabs on how your competitors are being new and different.
Social media affords businesses a simple way to track competitors, who may be interacting with their customers out in the open. Online monitoring of your industry can give you real-time feedback from your customers, and from your competitors’ customers.
3) Keep in mind your own habits!
I know a nonprofit leader who pays all his bills online and yet didn’t have online donation functions available to donors. Huh?
4) Make demographic research a priority.
It doesn’t matter if all the kids are using it if they aren’t your ideal customer. And it’s not all about age either – some minority populations have adopted smartphone technology and certain social networks faster than any other group. For instance, African Americans and Hispanics are more likely to own a smartphone . White women more likely to use Pinterest. Thirty-two percent of U.S. adults now do their banking on mobile phones . Insights like these can help you weed out trends that matter to your business from ones that don’t.
5) Make trying something new part of your company’s DNA.
As our world continues to change more and more rapidly, the businesses that will thrive are the ones that will re-invent when necessary, hold their ground when it makes sense and take chances when they could pay off. Ask Kodak , or the newspaper industry , or Best Buy . Each is trying to innovate on the back-end of a shift in its industry. Keeping the past sacred often creates more work (and panic) in the future when change comes calling.