Developing a social media strategy from a scratch is by no means an easy or quick process. In fact, you may even find yourself discouraged looking at all those big brands that have gathered truly large communities of devotes on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like. The truth is that building a stable and recognizable name for your company requires years of dedication and work; yet on social networks, these processes may be substantially shorter if you find the right ways to talk to your audience and engage them with informative and entertaining content related to your industry.
This is why social networks represent a potent marketing resource for businesses of all sizes. They are free and are used by billions. Therefore, establishing a reputation on social media can be a great way to reach worldwide audiences, but is still a strategic task that will take much of your time and even more creativity. Fortunately, once you feel you lack the latter, you may always find some inspiration by looking at those who already broke the code.
The thing about social networks is that they are rather simple, with only three things important for small business owners – they are omnipresent, they are popular and they are free. Everyone is using one network or another and they are available in every corner of the globe, so everyone with a device and an Internet connection can join them. Furthermore, social networks are now more popular then ever and this tendency is likely to rise.
Ten years ago, online ads and specialized sites were “the thing,” but this is no longer the case. Great brands are now built through community campaigns and constant two-way interaction that aims to turn followers into loyal consumers and brand evangelists.
It is not only middle and small business owners who turn to social networks, but also some of world’s biggest and most successful brands. Coca Cola, Oreo, Red Bull, and even the teams in the NFL can be a great source of inspiration for developing successful social media strategies. In fact, you can rarely find a respectable brand that is ignoring Facebook – given their popularity and number of users, this is only logical and makes absolute sense.
And they use this media to gain more fans and make a difference in the world as well. So, for example, Coca Cola have a rather transparent approach to social networks; they are dedicated to engagement and encourage their fans to participate in the community by posting, sharing and having fun. They combine the users’ love for inspirational quotes, celebrity endorsement and their own message in a campaign that promotes and celebrates good deeds.
Converse, on the other hand, sponsors various events – from concerts and skateboard competitions to corporate launch parties and showcases – and promotes its brand and ideas by supporting local artists. In addition to those, for food/drink brands, such as Oreo, McDonald’s or Starbucks, it all comes down to monitoring pictures with their products and sharing them to others.
Two great examples + ads
Two great examples of viral social media strategies come from the USA’s IKEA branch and Australia’s Tourism Australia. The first one offers a “full package” and a complete content strategy – their experts tweet only twice a day, thus not boring and spamming users, and promote, advertise, offer new items and give back to the community by a careful combination of unique hashtags and specific messages on certain days of the week or holidays.
Tourism Australia, which even got a social media award for their efforts, has an even more efficient strategy – they recently managed to multiply their Facebook followers more than ten times after offering a large sum of money for the best video explaining why someone should be given “the best job in the world.” However, even without the financial award, their campaign is a great example of how real-world ideas can engage the audience, simply because it helps them identify themselves with the brand.
Both campaigns, like many others, are efficiently being advertized on Facebook and Twitter via paid ads as well – they are cheap and easy to make and can be integrated in your social media accounts, hence making your followers aware of the novelties you offer. That way, you allow them to visit your site at their own pace and not be intrusive, but getting the job done.
Sarah is a blogger, researcher and social media enthusiast who currently works with Unmetric.