How to Use Social Media for Brand Awareness: Which Channel Should You Use for Your Strategy
As of January 2019, almost 4.4 billion people were active internet users and 3.5 billion were social media users (Statista). These numbers are showing the amazing potential of social media for brands. However, as the sheer volume of branded content posts is increasing, it’s becoming increasingly hard to reach users in a meaningful way and actually grow brand awareness. With changes in privacy concerns and social media algorithms, brands need to build trust and genuinely engaging content in order to stand out from the crowd.
Analytics and ROI Measurement
The rise of marketing attribution finally allows us to focus on the touchpoints that lead to a conversion. Focusing on vanity metrics like the number of followers is no longer needed. Instead, brands are able to use the growth in marketing technology, learn, and optimize. However, the leading social media marketing goal remains brand awareness and engagement. While profiles with immense numbers of followers seem intimidating, they’re ineffective if there’s no engagement on their posts. Using social listening tools enables competitor analysis, learning about the audience and the success of a campaign, keeping track of the brand’s mentions and sentiment, etc. All of this data enables picking the channels that focus on specific marketing goals.
Choosing the Right Channels
Your fancy suits might be awesome and their potential wearers might be at the fish market, but selling them there is probably not the best idea. Recognizing the right channel for your product/audience is crucial for a successful social media campaign.The first step is to recognize what platforms your audience is using and where they’re most likely to engage with your message. You can refer to your previous experience, what your competition is focusing on or simply try to put yourself in the mindset of your potential buyers. You’ll probably end up with a couple of best options. Try to fragment your campaign between those, identify the best performers, and optimize based on learnings. It’s usually best to start off with two, perfect them, and then move to additional platforms if needed.Here’s a short rundown of the most popular options.
Facebook is still the king when it comes to the number of active users worldwide. This means you should definitely reserve a spot for it in your strategy. With its wide arsenal of advertising formats and its colorful audience structure it’s almost impossible to neglect its power. An important trend to keep in mind is the decline in the impact of organic reach. Facebook is making it very hard for brands to reach their audience with organic efforts only. Luckily, its robust targeting system as well as enormous user pool make it easy for brands to run precisely targeted paid campaigns.
When it comes to video, it’s very hard to compete with the advertising titan such as YouTube. This platform is a perfect option you can use to, for example, showcase the features of your latest product. If your main focus is to generate awareness, then using In-Stream Ads is the way to go. They will pop up while your users are watching their favorite content. The challenge is to get them hooked within the first couple of seconds before they get a chance to skip your message. Alternatively, if you’d like to grow your YouTube channel, using Discovery Ads is the proper way to go. This way you’ll ensure your video is featured among the users’ recommended videos. Using an engaging thumbnail image and video title is key here. The user pool and targeting tools are impressive, and you can run the campaign directly from your Google Ads interface, making it clean and easy to use.
LinkedIn is an irreplaceable asset when it comes to B2B marketing. Because of the format of the platform, it’s very easy to reach users in specific industry fields. You can also target them by their skills/job titles making your campaign precise on a granular level. It’s a perfect place to showcase your expertly-written branded content. Make sure you take part in the discussion in the comments on your posts/sponsored posts to generate user engagement. Try to engage with other brands and relevant groups and generate a recognizable presence.
Twitter is all about cutting to the chase. With its 280-tweet character limit you’re forced to be very sly with your messaging. Luckily, there’s a variety of sophisticated tools that help you identify the most popular hashtags to use for your target topic, geo-location etc. This platform is very useful for quick announcements as well as answering user questions and keeping the conversation going.
Instagram is a very visual social network. With that being said, it’s a priceless weapon for brands in industries such as fashion and beauty. Just because Instagram users prefer short videos and images, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get creative and provide interesting infographics, how to videos, or tiny pieces of content that fit in a story. Similar to Twitter, keeping an eye on the most popular hashtags is the key. On the other hand, when you’re using branded hashtags it might be smart to hide them, as they don’t always click with your audience.
What and When Should You Post?
Depending on the channel you end up choosing, your approach and tone of posts will follow the best practices for that specific channel. For example, you could use Facebook to create posts about the end product and Instagram to show the behind the scenes process. Your YouTube channel can provide ample video content about how and why the users should use your product and you could opt for Facebook Messenger to engage with your audience and reply to their questions. Leveraging social media opportunities to go live with the audience can increase engagement and create hype at the most important times, for example when your product launches. No matter which channel you end up choosing, one thing to always have in mind is consistency. While you can adjust your strategy to a chosen channel, your brand should always stay recognizable to the audience.All of the published content should focus on the user and the causes that matter to them. Many brands will stay safe when posting and stick to pictures or links with a couple of suggested hashtags. However, if you want to stand out, find a way to be fun and focus on story telling. No one likes brands that only push to sell and publish the same posts every day. In order to build a following, you should aim for a mix of different posts where some sell the products, some sell your brand expertise, and others share relevant content created by someone else. While it’s great to have your own content, taking time to engage with users and other content is just as important. Using tagging, hashtags, and creative commenting helps drive engagement.The second most important thing to consider is time – how many times a week are you going to post and in which timeframe will you engage with your audience and other content. It’s very important to stay consistent and post regularly, as that lets your audience set expectations and builds trust. It would be great to appear in their feed each day, but if you don’t have time to maintain the habit of posting each day, it’s better to set a more realistic goal like posting two or three times a week.
Your social media strategy should have your audience in mind and follow them to where they reside. Once you know where that is, you can tailor your approach to that particular channel, while staying consistent with your brand identity. It’s also vital to stay consistent with the chosen posting schedule and to take time to engage with the audience and other content. Ultimately, using social media with a genuine goal to connect with the audience unlocks its full marketing potential and builds lasting relationships.