Optimizing the Right Social Diet for Every Brand
Arby's and Pharrell's hat, Oreo's "dunk in the dark," JCPenney and the mitten stunt: three of the most publicized brand tweets of the last couple years. We looked, perhaps we laughed, and then we moved on with our lives. Witty and attention-grabbing, these timely exploits were certainly entertaining in the moment but before we know it, they're already yesterday's news. In a world where consumers are always on, how can your brand stay top of mind and avoid social media starvation?
Eat. If you've ever tried getting on a healthy diet you know that you're actually encouraged to consume several small meals, regularly. You should approach your social content marketing in the same way. For those of you with brands suffering from social content malnutrition, it's time for an intervention.
Recently, Spredfast and The CMO Club surveyed 500 CMOs from Fortune 500 companies about their top business challenges and their opinions on best practices for driving engagement in 2014. Across the research, there was one main theme that resonated: content marketing is a big deal. The overwhelming majority of CMOs - 95% to be exact - communicated that content marketing is a high priority for their business this year. Even though these rockstar corporations have all the right instruments, these CMOs admitted that creating and finding new, timely, and engaging content is one of their biggest challenges this year.
Enter social media: the ideal way to both generate and uncover catchy content that resonates with your audience. Rather than gorging yourself on one social "meal" each year, consider using the power of social to interact with your audience every day. Publishing a steady stream of content can lead to increased brand engagement, recognition, preference and sales. In fact, a 2012 Spredfast study showed that 63% of consumers are likely to buy products from brands that engage in social media. Let's take a look at three brands who' have successfully leveraged social to generate relevant, engaging content on a regular basis.
Digiorno Pizza: Think "every day"
The pizza manufacturer has consistently been serving up social goodness for quite some time now, producing a creative, wide range of content that resonates with consumers. After finding that 95% of CMOs admit "creating and finding new, timely, and engaging content is one of my biggest challenges in 2014," it's clear that Digiorno is part of an elite group of brands with a strong handle on social engagement. How do they continue to dominate the Twittersphere? Digiorno finds opportunities to engage every day, not just around tentpole events. Digiorno doesn't relegate their social activity to times that are clearly pizza-prone, like the Superbowl. The brand produces timely posts dealing with everything from #LoveYourPetDay, to the Broadway debut of The Sound of Music (as seen below) because they're serving a diverse audience. Loaded with a steady stream of content for both niche groups and the masses, Digiorno's voice has continued to saturate social media. Even people who don't eat Digiorno are following their Twitter account because it's pizza with a personality.
Lesson: Using every day events, brands can serve slices of social to a variety of audiences. By further segmenting content to their customers, brands are putting their consumers' needs at the forefront - recognizing that its their job to meet consumers in their channel of choice: social. To make this possible, brands cannot overlook the importance of research. Find where consumers are spending time online, and use this knowledge to regularly monitor behavior and activity. Once you've mastered your audience's communication style, start serving content and they'll eat up every piece you post!
Hannibal - Create a Content Community
New kid on the block? The Twitterverse can seem pretty daunting if you're just getting started, but luckily most media companies already have socially established friends there to help. Take Hannibal for example, NBC's new drama television series. As a newly developed show, Hannibal turned to its NBC counterpart, Grimm, for a popularity boost. Since Hannibal took place directly after Grimm, both shows encouraged their audiences to tune in and enjoy two full hours of haunted, gory television. Using show-specific voices, these Friday night shows leveraged social to captivate viewers.
Since Spredfast and the CMO Club study found that "66% of all CMOs expect their content marketing efforts to yield positive ROI in 2014," it comes as no surprise that Hannibal used Twitter to promote their show. The relationship between the back-to-back shows developed over their season to serve as television ambassadors and it appears to be helping - Hannibal was recently renewed for a second season and Grimm was quick to congratulate the show via Twitter.
Lesson: Use your social power for good. This poses a huge opportunity for marketers, especially ones with budget constraints, looking to save anyway they can. Partnering with another brand or media partner to share something that makes your audience feel "in the know" can elevate your status instantly. There's a lot of power on social networks and it's up to you to decide how to leverage this influence.
KFC: Build a Newsroom
Continuing the social winning streak is KFC. The fast food restaurant chain delivers even faster Twitter content, never missing out on an opportunity to integrate timely trends. Keep your #Tbt's and #SelfieSunday's, KFC's social newsroom is regularly monitoring social media for relevant, trending content that aligns with their brand's message. With 87% of CMOs saying that "social media is the most engaging digital medium for serving real-time content," it's plain to see why KFC has made it a priority to oversee trending topics and involve their brand in the conversation. The brand is quick to jump on trending hashtags, such as the #WifeHerIf example below, which increases their exposure to new audiences.
Lesson: Ready to start your brand's social newsroom? Make sure it's set up for success by taking all of the right steps. Start by listening. Customer sentiment, product feedback, competitor mentions, the works. -If you're not listening to what your audience is saying, how do you know what they want to hear? Next, consider the trend you're trying to participate in, make sure it applies to your brand before executing. Once you do take action, ensure that you've packaged your social for success with appropriate hashtags, visuals, CTAs, and teasers. And finally, analysis - the fun part. Look at how you performed against your competitors, and measure consumer engagement with your brand. Use those insights to inform how you engage in future trending topics.
Rules of Engagement
Social content marketing requires strategic planning and creativity. Understanding your audience is a science, and presenting them with information and content they're interested in can feel like an art form. In reality, it's a technique that requires planning and preparation. By considering a customer's interests and desires, marketers can naturally and effectively infuse themselves into the everyday lives of social media users, and perhaps even influence their next conversation... or purchase.
Follow Amber Quist on Twitter