How Brands Can Stay in Front of Social Media Marketing Trends to Drive Engagement and Loyalty
The social media landscape is shifting rapidly, from new opportunities for influencers, such as the ability to hide likes on Instagram or schedule stories on Facebook, to the meteoric rise of TikTok and its unique short-form content that has impacted how an entire generation consumes media. This shift in the landscape has forced brands to rethink how they market and promote their products. What may have resonated with a consumer at one point may not be the case anymore.
To develop a successful marketing strategy, brands need to focus on the following three areas:
The Creative Conundrum
With the acceleration of video popularity, brands can no longer rely on just one creative asset. To compete for consumer attention, a constant, diverse flow of content is needed. So, what do you do when you run out of ideas?
Traditionally, brands work with creative agencies or in-house teams, but that can be costly and overwhelming. One way brands can minimize these costs and get the same impact is to work with influencers. When thinking about influencer marketing, brands don’t have to pick the influencer with the highest follower count. Instead, they should look closely at active brand enthusiasts or frequent customers. Statistics show that 70 percent of consumers need to read product reviews before making purchase decisions. Working with influencers allows a brand to activate its existing customer base to create content and post on its behalf.
Brands can also enlist employees as ambassadors. By tapping employees, brands offer their customers a “behind the curtain” look at what life is like inside the brand. For example, a beauty brand could enlist an employee to talk about the backstory behind a new or innovative product, or the next package design with sustainability in mind. While content needs to be entertaining, the educational piece is just as important.
Branded Content vs. Authenticity: Where is the Line?
Truth is, that line no longer exists. While there's definitely a space for more premium, “hi-fi” content, consumers prefer authenticity. Brands should see this as an opportunity, as content doesn't need to be perfect — especially when created in high volumes.
Once a consumer sees a piece of content, it becomes stale. They're constantly looking for variety, something new and informative. The “old” pressure of creating high-quality content in large volumes no longer exists on platforms that are emerging for younger audiences, such as TikTok. In fact, “low-fi” or low production-quality content tends to perform better in part because it feels native.
In the past, brands needed to pour funds into market research and collect data over weeks and months. Now, they get their information in real time so they can quickly pivot strategies if needed to maximize results.
The gig economy, combined with consumers’ ability to create content and advertisers’ ability to distribute content in real time, has led to unprecedented levels of personalization. Consumers have full freedom and ability to create content, in real time, which wasn't an option before the inception of the gig economy. With this new phenomenon, brands no longer have to plan advertising and marketing campaigns months in advance. Brands have the opportunity to engage with consumers in ways they’ve never been able to dream of before.
This is why incorporating TikTok into marketing strategies has been so impactful. When someone creates a hashtag or video around a product, users have the opportunity to repost and feature it. This happens with content based on Amazon.com products: consumers organically post about various products they can’t live without, talking about how they bring a benefit to their lives.
Brands may feel that they know everything about their customers and why they need to see pre-approved content — but that’s only looking at the consumer through one lens. When the power of content creation is given to consumers, it allows for extended creative freedom and gives them the opportunity to talk about products through their own unique lenses.
Looking ahead to the rest of 2021, it’s important that brands meet their customers where they are. Consider the upcoming holiday season: consumers may not be ready to head in-store to shop, so they will take advantage of online and social media platforms for their holiday shopping. Social media gives brands the opportunity to highlight products and services in new ways through content like customer and employee testimonials, providing different perspectives for different target audiences, which will also allow more authentic, impactful content that resonates with consumers year-round.
Liz Montiel is the vice president of partnerships at Social Native, the world's first AI-powered creative platform to create engaging customer experiences.
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Liz Montiel is VP of Partnerships at Social Native and an accomplished and results-oriented executive highly regarded for developing and executing strategic alliances to drive revenue velocity.