Each day, you struggle to put up another Facebook post, with ever-declining results. It’s so frustrating!
Yesterday was World Smile Day and the cute smiley-face image your graphic designer made (with your brand’s logo in the corner, of course) only reached 432 people. Ugh.
Luckily for you, social media is the best place to try something new and find out pretty quickly whether it resonates with your audience or not. A little bit of deep thought and rigor up front can produce a thorough roadmap forward. If you are open to the collaborative process of rebuilding and refreshing your brand with some key people—your fans—there’s a simple three-step process that can get you to a fresher, more exciting place.
Narrow in on your true brand character and purpose—not what it is you sell, or how much profit you want to turn, but the values your company is founded on. Brands with a higher purpose have a deeper story beyond whatever it is they produce and sell. Social media gives you a chance to express that story in all kinds of creative ways, and to get others on board.
As you narrow your focus on brand values, do competitive category research. What are the trends in how consumers are using social media to interact with your competitors? What language are they using? How and where are they connecting? Figure out what is—and isn’t—working for your competitors and then hypothetically substitute your own brand purpose. How does that change things? What advantages do you have? What opportunities can you create?
Define what success looks like before you launch. Lay out clear goals for this refresh. You’re probably looking for awareness and reach, but are there harder metrics you can achieve? Sales. Leads. Make sure you can get KPIs from the social platform(s) you are using that will relate to your goals. More on that in a minute.
Launch your new content strategy and get ready for immediate feedback. Be open to listening and learning from your customers. They are your number-one resource. You may already think you have your audience pinned down, but how has the conversation changed since you started posting and engaging with your consumers? Do they want to talk about what you want to talk about, or do they have their own agenda? Is the brand voice resonating in an authentic way or are your fans rejecting it?
If you are truly ready for this collaborative process, you can pivot your message to reflect what the consumers want to hear: their beliefs, their feelings, their Reason to Believe. It’s likely that they don’t want to talk about your product, but rather a brand value or purpose that runs parallel to the product. You did all this heavy thinking about brand character before you launched your new social efforts, and now the feedback is coming in fast and furiously. Analyze the data and see how you can better incorporate the things that your consumers care about. How does this align with the brand character as it was originally written?
Go beyond merely reflecting your target audience. Let them tell their stories through you. Ask for user-generated content. Stories, photos, and videos from your fans that support the Reason to Believe will become your most effective content. It’s okay to have around 30% of content be directly about brand attributes, features, and strengths, but the other 70% should directly support the community. The sense of community and belonging will bring them back, not just the fact that your product tastes great or is less filling.
You can even come right out and ask your fans what they are interested in with a poll or something more direct. Make engagement a priority. Answer questions as authentically as possible. Consumers are flattered when a company asks them what they think and actually responds back to them. This can also go a long way towards creating and solidifying long-term brand relationships.
Constant audits are the only way to learn more about what is working and what isn’t. Measure what matters. Look at the KPIs that you laid out earlier. For example, our campaign for GoodBelly had a goal to reconnect fans with the brand’s core promise of a good belly as the first step towards holistic health. By engaging the current audience, the goal was to spread awareness to new people and drive them to the site to try the 12-Day Belly Reboot program.
We measured three related metrics, seeing the engagement rate on Facebook lifted by 48%, a 273% lift in site traffic, and growing the email database by 16%.
Outside of your core analytics, what else can you learn for improvement? Are there patterns of success or failure in the time of day things are posted? Are certain content themes resonating better than others? Look at the demographics that are available to you. Are you reaching the audience you intended? I once worked with a brand that posted only in English and had no idea more than half of their Facebook likes came from one small Latin American country. That’s a takeaway worth noting! Make adjustments and look again. Find the sweet spot.
Determine what specific traits go into a well-performing piece of content and map them out. Look at every angle of your strategy and be willing to re-think it based on the intel you gather from your KPIs. If this piece of advice sounds familiar, that’s because we are back to square one: Think. Next up? Make. Refine that message and listen some more. Then Measure and … well you know the deal. Repeat.