What Can Smaller Brands Learn From Big-Brand Social Media Marketing?

Successful campaigns being executed by big brands on social media may lead smaller brands to believe that they have little chance of replicating such success, with relatively low budgets often perceived as restrictive. However, smaller brands can achieve a great deal by applying some of those big-budget tactics to budget-conscious campaigns, reaping real rewards.

Here is a five-point plan to help you hit the road to social media marketing success.

Create and commit to brand guidelines

Developing a brand personality, style and tone of voice is key to any successful social media campaign. A consistent approach with a clear, defined story will provide a strong foundation for the campaign, and underpin brand awareness over time. Factors to consider include whether the brand will be a cause champion (think Dove and its strong social messages for women of all ages around self-esteem), or playful and cheeky (without being too risqué), a la Paddy Power! It’s always advisable to err on the side of caution when choosing a brand personality – but don’t be afraid to be bold. Once created, always consider brand guidelines in your communications and don’t be tempted to override key principles in pursuit of engagement or reach.

Smart strategy hack

Large brands can execute a variety of tactics thanks to more generous budgets, whereas smaller brands can aspire to an ambitious campaign by hacking a strategy that pursues the biggest returns. Explore platform-led opportunities and beta test them to discover what works for the brand. Focus on what new technology and opportunities the platforms are prioritising in order to ride the algorithmic wave, and benefit from the enhanced promotion this will bring. Finding ways to get more for less will aid a higher return on investment.

Experiment, be data-led and analyse

Experiment with different creative content and formats, operating a test-and-learn strategy. Being data-led is vital – proper and regular analytics of the data will uncover what works best and resonates with the target audience. Create a measurement framework to prioritise goals, but be prepared to evolve it; the rules are always changing so it’s important to remain innovative and fresh. What works today might not work tomorrow. Staying ahead of the curve -or more realistically, as close to it as possible – is vital for optimal results.

Bring it to life

The best way to bring a brand to life is often through customer experiences and user-generated content (UGC). Go deep into customer conversations on social to identify hot topics and potential brand advocates. Encourage and share UGC to make customers feel involved and part of the brand. Coca Cola’s infamous ‘Share a Coke’ campaign – which encouraged fans to share photos of their personalised Coke bottles – went a long way to reconnecting fans with this successful household brand. Encouraging interaction where a brand decision is at stake can also be hugely successful – such as Lays’ ‘Passport to Flavor’ campaign where fans could submit a new flavour idea for the crisps brand, with the winning one produced. Asking fans and followers for their opinion is a proven tactic in encouraging loyalty.

Explore opportunities to extend reach

Ensuring content is relevant and topical will help the campaign make the most of search algorithms. However, don’t be tempted to jump on any old bandwagon – ensure the topic is relevant to the brand or high-profile enough to be recognised by everyone. The Super Bowl is a good example of this, and an event which is widely news-jacked. Oreo took a newsroom approach to the floodlight failure in 2013 with its ‘You can still dunk in the dark’ tweet – highlighting the success to be had from a well-timed, inspired post. Another successful tactic to accelerate reach is through leveraging partnership opportunities for cross-promotion – benefitting both parties by achieving audience cross-pollination. Leveraging PR coverage on social media can also be very effective. Posting a link to the coverage with a teaser or question to spark debate can significantly increase engagement. It is best to do this in a timely manner, whilst the coverage is still fresh, for maximum engagement and impact.

Free from the shackles and restrictions that big brands and businesses often face, smaller brands are in a great position to experiment more with test-and–learn tactics. If they take the time out to measure their actions and results, as larger brands do, they could improve output and get ahead of competitors quicker.

 

source – http://bit.ly/2rgU38d

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