Just a decade ago, marketers were beginning to experiment and tinker with social media as a potential channel to reach their customers. At the time, only a handful of brands were on social, thus allowing a push for putting heavy content strategy to work. However, it did not take long for these brands to catch on and realize the effectiveness of social media in reaching existing and potential customers.
Today, it doesn’t take that much convincing for chief marketing officers and senior leaders to know the important role that social plays in their communications mix. Not just because of its sheer size and adoption rate, but because social media is here to stay. For example, daily active users — one of the key performance metrics that social platforms use to measure success — have been growing consistently year over year across all social platforms. Today, Facebook leads the pack with a combined 2 billion daily active users between their own app (1,520 DAU) and Instagram (500m DAU), which they acquired back in 2012.
With a myriad of social platforms existing and thriving today, it can be challenging to know which platforms to dedicate your resources and efforts towards to cover all your bases. Oftentimes, marketers will bucket social platforms based on content type. Instagram for photos, Twitter for bitesized content, and Facebook for long form content. Rather than clustering platforms based on content, think about social through three dimensions: community, care, and culture.
More Is Less With Community
Community is where long term customer loyalty and top of mind are built. Contrary to traditional communications strategy, less is more when it comes to building community on digital platforms. The most successful communities are often started and run by volunteers who are your biggest fans, not employees. Reddit, a discussion driven platform, features tight knit communities known as subreddits. These subreddits cover topics as broad as philosophy to specific shows like Game of Thrones where viewers can post live comments and questions every Sunday night about the new episode that just aired on HBO. Communities like subreddits and Facebook Groups offer an intimate environment for your biggest fans to congregate and discuss about things they all share in common: an interest about your brand, product, and service. Other social platforms known for growing vibrant communities include YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Care Boils Down To Listening And Responding
Care is where reputation can be earned and lost. Reputation comes in many forms like customer ratings on Yelp, employee reviews on Glassdoor, work experiences shared on LinkedIn, and product questions on Twitter. Customer care through social boils down to two things: listening and responding. Many brands fail customer care via social because they are simply not listening. Knowing how to set up automatic monitoring systems and protocols early on not only help you help customers, but may also detect and solve future major crises before they occur.
Consumers especially millennials and Gen Z’s expect troubleshooting and customer care to be a seamless experience. Care shouldn’t be about an automatic message being replayed over and over again behind stock background music reminding your customers they have to wait another ten minutes and that all your representatives are busy helping someone else. Social customer care is about helping your customer on their own time. If they want live help or self solve, Facebook Messenger allows your brand to chat live and even provide automatic solutions like Messenger Bot for commonly asked questions, respectively. On the other hand if they can’t go back and forth, Twitter is where your brand can help them on their own time. A typical back and forth on Twitter can look like this: customer asks a question during breakfast before heading to work, brand responds to tweet promptly, customer doesn’t check their Twitter until the evening after they get back from work, customer replies late evening, brand responds the next working day, and so on and so forth. Though this may seem like an inefficient way to get help, it’s the one of the more organic back-and-forth’s between customer and brand simply because every engagement is on the customer’s time, not the brand’s.
Culture Is Built Around Experimentations
Culture is about listening to the world around you and joining in on the conversations in an authentic way when it makes sense. While an editorial calendar can give communicators comfort in knowing that their content is thoughtfully developed, culture empowers brands to stay relevant, topical, and authentic. Content driven by culture is hard to capture because it is unplanned and spontaneous. It’s all about being experimental because your brand must be willing to take some risks to join the conversation while it’s still fresh and happening. If you have to sit through several editorial meetings and approvals, then it’s most likely not that your content is not driven by culture. One of the surest ways a brand can incorporate cultural moments into their content mix is simply to have a more diverse team of communicators. Embodying diversity in your communications team makeup will give your brand better odds at identifying moments when and how you join the conversation around cultural events.