If we learned anything in 2020, it’s the importance of staying connected. As businesses closed the doors to their physical spaces and trade shows and in-store events were canceled, it was necessary to find another way to get products and promotions out to the masses. Almost overnight, we all had to adapt to a world in which social platforms, video chats, and virtual events were some of the only ways to network and promote. At WholeFoods Magazine, we started our Naturally Informed virtual events, which you can learn more about at www.NaturallyInformed.net.
We also focused on our social media.Marketing and advertising company WARC reports that 58% of 16-24 year-olds are spending more time on social, “but the effect is evident across the board with a third of 55-64 year-olds doing the same” (1). The changes that the pandemic inspired were sudden, yes, but don’t appear to be fleeting. GlobalWebIndex (GWI) global research suggests that 15% of surveyed internet users expect to continue spending more time using social media post-pandemic (1).
If you haven’t updated your marketing plan to include increasing your digital engagement, then I certainly suggest that you do. It’s a wonderful way to get your name out there and get an intimate look at what your customers need. Not sure where to start? That’s okay! Here, we’ll discuss three of the most important social media tools and tactics that you can utilize to advance your chances of improving your social media engagement and connecting with customers.
1. Exude Authenticity
The greatest social media tool brands and retailers have on hand is themselves! As an article on Sprout’s Social’s blog states, “Social media is all about connection. People join social platforms to connect with family and friends, stay informed, get inspired and more” (2). According to their study, 64% of people want brands to connect with them and see social media as the best way to do so. You can achieve this by being responsive to direct messages, tweets, tags, and comments. You can also cultivate conversations with your followers by posting questions, polls, and hashtags. Most importantly, connect with your audience transparently and authentically to create community your followers want.
2. Let Analytics and Insights Guide You
As you cultivate your community, give your followers the content they need. There’s no better way to measure whether or not that need is being fulfilled than checking analytics. Business News Daily’s Social Media Marketer’s Guide states, “Most social media platforms have their own analytics tools, which allow you to monitor things like your follower count, engagement rates and click-through rates. These numbers can help you figure out what kinds of content your followers respond to best and tweak your marketing strategy accordingly” (3). These tools will give important insights into the content that best suits each platform.
3. Stale Strategies Get Stale Results
You wouldn’t go into a store today and see promotional materials for a Fourth of July sale. Apply the same rationale to your social media marketing strategy. Stay on top of the current trends, like #quarentinebaking, viral videos/content, and the newest platforms that are gaining traction. If your current promotional campaign has gone stale, there is inspiration around every corner of social media. Find it, add your personal touch, and share with your community.
The greatest thrill of social media is its ability to be flexible and profitable. Use it to your advantage and to the advantage of your customers. Be open to new ideas and make your online community fun, appealing and authentic.