What once was an innovative social media marketing strategy that generated organic interest in your brand looks increasingly like a TV ad. Yes, the engagement rates are still much higher online, and yes, they usually entail a much shorter conversion funnel than TV. However, the lifespan for online posts — while longer than a 30-second commercial — is surprisingly short.
Social media marketing vs people are the medium
The fact is, social media users will always see a brand’s post — sponsored or not — as a commercial, while a personal message is something qualitatively different. It’s no surprise you rarely see capable firms like VaynerMedia or Kissmetrics sell consumers anything. It’s Gary Vaynerchuck and Neil Patel popping up on people’s screens.
In other words, brands and companies are a big, abstract things. They’re ineffective mediums for communication because consumers see them as impersonal and evanescent.
As a brand owner, you can turn this obstacle into an advantage. But how?
Imagine a scenario:
You’re an ad man in 1950s America — the best at what you do. Your task is to brainstorm ideas for the latest soap commercial. Your role at the firm, though, is unconventional… to say the least. Companies come to you when they want to LOSE money. Through the cloud of cigarette smoke, they drop a humongous job on you: Make the dreariest, most tedious and unremarkable commercial ever made.
What’s your idea?
While everyone’s loser-commercials will vary, the worst-of-the-worst will have one thing in common. They’ll be absent of people or, if they do include some, those people lack personalities.
Detached messages and voices sell things inefficiently. The advertisers of the old days knew this and sought memorable characters and celebrities for commercials. Fast forward to today, and it means digital marketers need a revamped outlook to use social media.
Forget how you — a company — want to present your brand. Re-strategize by asking how you want people, real individuals with names, to introduce your brand to their circles of influence.
From ad blockers to private social networks, people now control message delivery. Here’s how to bypass the outdated social marketing strategy of paid, owned and earned to make people your medium.
Create Sniper-Targeted Content Shooting People Right In Their Attention Faces
Share-worthy content has several key attributes.
• Social-Currency Laden - Content must make the sharer look good to the people with whom they share.
• An Emotional Core - If the content is emotionless it will not be shared.
• Practical Value - Content must improve the life of its consumer.
Take a look at what Giphy offers brands. GIFs are not only easy to make and fun but also a natural targeted-content format for messenger apps.
Use Micro Influencer & Influencer Marketing
Brands discuss “social media” as if it’s the actual force driving trends, but “social media” is a concept and abstraction. You're not really distributing content via social media, but via people who share, comment, and repost.
Content on these platforms spreads primarily through community nodes, or influencers. They have a comparative advantage in distribution over ad men, entrepreneurs, and growth hackers because sharing content is their whole vocation. It’s their own specialization in the digital economy.
There are many influencers with niche followings. They can influence their followers’ behaviors and opinions more than larger, generic celebrities. Similarity creates likability, and people champion their peers. That’s how popularity is born.
Micro Influencers and KOLs (key opinion leaders) provide a direct path for brands to access and tap into consumer trust and several platforms are selling the influencer and KOL marketing approach.
Develop Customer Selling
Brand advocates are every marketer's dream, but few brands practice customer selling. Motivating and rewarding customers for telling their network about your brand is not easy. However, when implemented successfully, this can be the most powerful use of people-as-a-medium. Customer messages lead directly to transactions. Often the customer selling approach can be hacked by utilizing Trickle Down Influencer Economics, where the core message originates from influencer content but is then passed through brand advocates to untapped consumers.
Better Integrated O2O
Offline-to-online events create environments perfectly designed to be shared with people. But O2O doesn’t need to be limited to events. Modifying packaging or products to encourage online sharing is a unique path to reaching the unreachable. It's never been e has this been easier with the adoption of QR codes by messenger apps.
A startup with a multimillion-dollar outdated social marketing strategy will naturally get results, but so will a corporation spending millions on television ads. As social media users get inundated with more ads than ever, they see your promoted content more like traditional commercials. The reality is users are increasing protected from ad bombardment in messenger app silos. But good advertisers will always have a job because their profession is an art.
Marketing is a science that involves maximizing marketing dollars, and those who are not the most efficient become obsolete.
The industry of selling stuff – which can encompass marketing, advertising, and PR – has come full circle. The fact everyone and anyone can get on your computer screen with a $10 promotion means communities become harder to penetrate and gossip costs a premium. Traditional paid, owned and earned social marketing models won’t make the cut much longer.