Our guest author Abhishek Mudgal writes about using social media platforms to stay connected with and relevant to consumers.
Today, social media marketing is no longer an option for brands rather a necessity for businesses across industries. However, if you work in an integrated agency or for a brand, there's a 95% chance that social media might not be the highest priority in your entire marketing function.
The remaining 5% rests with a handful of brands that have cracked the social media code in driving business results, either in terms of direct sales or awareness levels.
But ever wondered why?
In today’s hyper competitive world, all the functions need to work together to take the business ahead. Currently, when brand love and brand trust have become critical metrics, using social media tools as just a broadcasting platform may just relegate this integral part of marketing strategy to a checkmark activity.
Your social strategy should be an equal split of driving both engagement and business while catering to the expectations of the audience. The first thing every social media manager should ask when they take charge of a new brand is 'why do these people follow this brand'? Your content should always be in-line with why they followed you and serve up to their expectations.
And here’s how you do it:
● Pick your platforms
● Pick your formats
● Pick your content
● And lastly, align your objectives between business results and engagements
For instance, Facebook's organic reach being next to invisible is a scorching topic of discussion amongst every social media team. Still, we, at Livspace, get an excess of five million in organic reach, month-on-month, without spending a penny. The reach then directly translates into business results driving website traffic and compelling leads.
The secret sauce to the numbers is to use the only three content formats that work on Facebook organically - articles, groups and FB Watch. Obviously, this is aligned with the expectations of our audience and serving them with content they're seeking for.
We do it by targeting purely on the articles giving our audience tips and tricks, home tours, design ideas and much more. This, in turn, takes them to our website to read the topic of their interest in detail, and while they do it, they are also exposed to the services we provide.
Similarly, Pinterest is another vital channel for a brand in our category. We follow the same route here: the stories are driven by images and videos with the right SEO keywords and ALT tags, again migrating people to the website by exposing them to the services and getting them into the funnel.
These efforts on Pinterest have resulted in over 40 million impressions m-o-m, again, without spending a single marketing dollar! (Yes, when I first saw this number, I was shocked too!)
On the other side of the spectrum, Instagram and Twitter are purely designed to drive engagements, and those are our two platforms where we reach out to our potential customers and engage primarily through Reels and text-based tweets, which are fun, relatable and shareable.
The objective here is not to force the brand or to force them to click the link in the bio because, hey, who goes onto the bio and clicks on the link anyway? But we effectively use Instagram Stories to push the content giving them a CTA to the website. It might not be as significant as Pinterest and Facebook, but it still solves the purpose as the consumers are actively looking for inspiration on Instagram.
These two platforms help us engage and improve the top-of-the-mind recall (TOM) and spontaneous recall (SPONT) scores beyond our social community. This essentially happens by using the formats that have the potential to make it to the explore and trending section instead of staying within the 350k-odd followers’ range.
The crux of the story is if you look after social media and want to make it an intrinsic part of the marketing strategy, you should aim to move the business metrics beyond the number of followers, reach and engagement. This is because at the end of the day businesses are majorly only interested when you show them the business results.
It is no secret that social media has changed the rules of the game. Today, you need to leverage the technology to connect with your customers where they are and then use that platform to drive engagement and business otherwise you may lose relevance sooner or later.
Abhishek Mudgal is head - social media at Livspace India.