Social media is changing – How to use social media’s new features to promote your brand
Social media allows your viewers to experience a real-time representation of your company’s personality, voice, and culture. Doing it right requires good planning as well as spontaneity.
Those who know how to use social media to the best effect for their business understand that it’s not enough to just “do” social — you also need to “be” social!
Here are six exciting trends and models happening in social media which I think are worth knowing about.
1. Vertical Video Content
The vertical format is used on Snapchat and Instagram (and now IGTV) and is fast gaining in popularity because it is the native shape for mobile viewing. I recommend giving it a go as it does give a very intimate feel. You can film on your phone (handheld device) which gives you the chance to be somewhat spontaneous and hopefully film and publish more as you go about your day. It’s best not to use the vertical format if you’re planning to use the video content on YouTube or other channels, as this would mean you’ll have black bars on either side of the video. You can find many useful guides online that explain how to best film and edit your videos.
2. Instagram Stories
It is common to receive more views on Instagram stories than on Instagram posts. The story format was first popularised on Snapchat, but now Instagram has overtaken this. With the 24-hour time limit, they help us feel more confident by sharing more “behind the scenes” stuff that may not be as polished as the carefully curated Instagram posts. You can use hashtags, mention other people, and even share other people’s stories on your own stories. Again, you can find some fantastic guides and tips online on how to create engaging Instagram stories.
3. Swipe Up for Conversion
Instagram won’t allow you to put a clickable link in your caption on an image. So, people resort to the “link in bio” message and periodically change the link in the bio to the latest blog article or landing page. Now, the story link feature (for those who have reached 10K followers) has given a new instant level of interactivity – people can “swipe up”. With good creative ideas, copy and a clear compelling reason for people to want more, you can lead your visitors to a landing page on your website or an article on your blog – where they can satisfy their curiosity and learn more.
4. TOFU / MOFU / BOFU Marketing
Blogs and social media are there to help get your business known to your target audience, for all the good things you do. It is considered “TOFU” marketing – which stands for “Top of the Funnel”. By posting useful content that answers questions, educational content showing you know how to solve problems, and optimizing these pieces to be found through search and social media traffic, you will fill up the top of your funnel with visitors who are looking for someone like you to help them.
Capturing their information (at least name and email address) is needed to move them to the next level – MOFU (Middle of the Funnel) – where you explain how your own products and services are the solution to their issues.
Finally, in the BOFU (Bottom of the Funnel) stage, they can be offered coupons, discovery meetings, and other ways to buy from you or speak to you directly. Learn more about these concepts and use these as strategies for inbound leads.
5. Dynamic Ads on LinkedIn
More and more people are turning to LinkedIn to take full use of the networks they’ve built over the years. With the search feature alone you can check within your own contacts and beyond who is out there within certain business types, roles, and industries. There are now more than 500M business owners, managers and other decision makers who usually use it semi-actively. LinkedIn has released a personalized ad format which you can use to attract followers and promote events, webinars, services or products. The viewer sees their own name and profile picture and so the experience feels very personalized and customized. It also lets people click to receive information and content straight from their own LinkedIn profile so they don’t have to fill out their email address.
6. Cross-Channel Promotions
Many businesses still haven’t gotten a handle on their social media strategy and tend to feel guilty that they are not doing enough. But the smart thing to do is to create a content plan across different channels. By encouraging your audience to view/learn/interact with you on several channels, you enhance the possibilities of being remembered and, even better, those people interacting with you. For each campaign you do, ensure there are content and calls to action related to your relevant and active social media channels.
Here are some examples of how you can do cross-channel promotion:
- If you’re planning on gathering data, try combining different platforms. Use email marketing with links to surveys, ask simple multiple choice questions using polls on Twitter, and ask questions within Instagram stories. This way, you have interactive posts on different channels and more responses to measure and learn from.
- An ambassador/social media influencer/blogger who is helping you with a campaign may suggest that in order to qualify to participate in a competition or offer, the viewer needs to connect with you on all of your channels – “like” your page on Facebook, follow on Twitter and Instagram, follow/connect on LinkedIn, subscribe on YouTube, etc. A great way to incentivize people to be a part of your loyal audience.
- An Instagram story may lead to a landing page which gives some info and encourages people to leave their email details to receive a white paper or a PDF. You can also share posts and images on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram relating to that same content, leading to the same landing page, but captioned and designed appropriately for that channel.
Time for some effort?
As new things are coming out all the time, there’s a risk of magpie syndrome — people often cautiously think, “No, I don’t want to learn more about social media, I’ve only just gotten my head around how to use hashtags/do retweets/publish blogs on LinkedIn.”
Technology doesn’t stand still, and smart marketers are applying their creative ideas to new ways of delivering their messages. I hope that these platforms will excite and inspire you to get started, and maybe this will kick you into action. Like any new initiative, it’s a matter of deciding what you will do as your first step and creating a roll-out plan.