In the marketing world, SEO and all things digital have become second nature. Many businesses even have a designated social media marketing manager, if not an entire team dedicated to communicating with current and potential clients online. There is some debate surrounding the use of social media for advertising, and if users are truly taking it seriously.
Facebook lost the faith of millions of users after several data breaches and the infamous 2018 Cambridge Analytica data scandal, which lead 26% of adult Americans to delete the Facebook app on their phone. The hashtag “deletefacebook” resurges periodically on Twitter, particularly when Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg are in the news for data breaches or unethical practices.
This mass exodus from social media has been caused by a range of factors, such as the desire for more real, genuine connections with friends rather than communicating through an app. Some simply deactivate their Facebook or Instagram because they did not contribute photos or posts of their own. For many, there is undoubtedly a movement away from social media and back towards real-life experiences.
While some of us move away from social media, there were still 3.484 billion social media users in 2019 worldwide, and social media marketing campaigns aren’t obsolete quite yet. We are certainly aware of the negative effects of almost addictive social media use, but still rely on outlets like LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter to learn about brands from our friends and trusted influencers. As platform popularity ebbs and flows and new contenders pop up regularly, the biggest question is how to keep viewers engaged and turn a ‘like’ into a new client.
Make yourself distinctive
All good marketing professionals know that consistency in branding and messaging are key to building and maintaining a solid audience. Clients, followers, and indeed your own employees feel when there is a disconnect in messaging, or if a brand isn’t fully fleshed out. The brand is what people will remember, and what they search for when deciding between what to buy or who to trust. A confident, self-assured message and look will go much further than an unsure, muddled image.
Intuitively, you might want to cast a wide net to reach and convert as many followers as possible. This often backfires, and the audience you want to reach won’t relate to your messaging. Staying true to your brand will ultimately pay off better than trying to please everyone.
On a social media platform like Facebook, a strong brand personality will be visually cohesive and ultimately act in a predictable way. Not only in the branding colors and ads, but also messaging and types of advertisements. If it would be unusual for your brand to use slang and gimmicks to connect with users, don’t do it. You could end up alienating the very people who are supporting you.
Authenticity is key
Customers will immediately tune you out if they feel even for a second that you are being insincere. In the digital age, authenticity is maybe more important than ever for corporations, as clients and potential customers are just a search engine click away from finding out if a claim you make is false.
Accountability counts for everything here, and ensures that clients really receive what they expect from a provider. Presenting the best you have to offer, in a sincere way, is how to gain the trust of potential clients.
One method to create more of an authentic connection with your audience is to use actual images of your business and its employees. Sometimes stock photos are the only or best option for some advertisements, but to really drive the point home that you are a real company with a genuine staff, authentic images in your social media will create more of a story and true bond with your audience.
Feeling camera shy? Try snapping a few pics of your office or the neighborhood you work in. Those little personalised images and storytelling make your brand more relatable, and shorten the distance between client and brand.
Speaking of visuals, videos go a long way in branding and marketing. Some report that about 72% of people prefer video over text when getting information about a service or product.
Share your success stories
This one is an obvious but highly effective choice for branding. Customer testimonials, whether in the form of a positive review or comment, are often more persuasive than a company advertisement. An estimated 89% of consumers age 35-54 trust customer reviews of a company as much as a personal recommendation, and 91% said positive customer reviews make them more likely to choose a business.
Short testimonial quotes are perfect for creating visual ads, or even sharing as a post on Facebook or Twitter. If your business lends itself to it, try to get video testimonials of your happy clients using your product, or talking about their experience with your company.
On social media, engage with your fans! If you receive a positive rating and review on Facebook, be sure to reply to the user’s comments and thank them for the review. Not only will you make an already happy customer feel more appreciated, but the personal touch shows potential clients that you are engaged with the people who use your product or service.
The same applies in cases where you may receive a negative review: acknowledge the issue if it was written in a comment, so further readers will see that you are accountable and value customer service.
Testimonials can also be used to create case studies that prove the quantitative value of your company and product. While people may trust a positive review, specific data can really drive home a sale. Getting to the testimonial stage is a process that builds upon the previous points. People will be more likely to provide a positive testimonial if they not only enjoy your product, but had a good experience with your company and trust your branding. It’s all a cycle of authenticity and providing a quality service.