Social Media Success In 2023: How to Build and Grow Stronger Relationships on Social
As social media continues to evolve and more customers and potential customers caught in the perils of "doom scrolling", brands must find new and innovative ways to connect with their audiences. In 2023, social media content marketing will be more focused on building and strengthening relationships with customers. This means creating content that is relevant, engaging, and useful and most importantly, on the platforms where their audiences can be found. They will also need to be active on social media, not only with posting original content and reposting UGC (user generated content), but responding to comments and questions as well.
Ultimately, social media content marketing in 2023 will be all about creating connections with customers and providing valuable content that helps them connect with your brand. To do this, you must first know where your customers and potential customers are. If your brand appeals to 18-24 year olds (or younger) then you should focus on TikTok engagement. For Millennial optimization, a focus on Instagram and Instagram Reels would make more sense. Lastly, for Baby Boomers - Facebook would be the best place to reach out but with the changes in Facebook ads, something like Nextdoor might actually make more sense for your engagement strategies. There's some social channels like Youtube that appeal across age demographics so you can work with different types of vlogger professionals in order to reach different categories of viewers. Youtube content is also evergreen and is more searchable which may change your integrated content strategies.
Because each channel is different, they dictate different customer acquisition strategies both for posting original content as well as customer engagement and influencer collaboration. Below are a breakdown by channel of the most popular social channels for customer experience engagement in 2023.
Instagram for Brands: How to Build a Creative, Engaging, High-impact Strategy
Instagram is an extremely popular social media platform with about one billion monthly active users. Because of this, it’s a great place for brands to share creative content that engages and resonates with their target audience. As of April 2022, roughly 31 percent of the global audiences were aged between 25 and 34, with over 2/3rd of the total audiences aged 34 and younger.
In order to create an effective Instagram strategy, you’ll need to develop a content plan that’s creative, engaging, and high-impact. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
1. Share engaging visuals
Instagram is first and foremost, a visual platform and this can be photos or videos. With many people scrolling through content, it is important to share lots of eye-catching visuals that capture your brand’s personality and appeal to your target audience. Your visuals should tell a story that engages and resonates with your audience. Think about what your brand stands for or what the value proposition is that your brand offers and try to convey that through your visuals. What is the dream you are selling? More free time? More family time? A richer, fuller relationship? Often what your brand is selling is not your actual product - think about what your product actually gives your customers and build on that.
2. Use hashtags to reach a wider audience
Hashtags are a great way to reach a wider audience on Instagram. By clicking on a hashtag, you are taken to a gallery of the top posts and the most recent posts that have used the hashtag. Further, users can follow hashtags they find particularly interesting so they are consistently serviced new and top content using that hashtag in their normal feed. For this type of discovery, you will want to find industry and niche product hashtags to use in order to get your brand out in front of the right people.
To find the best hashtags to use, look at influencers and competitors in your space and check out which hashtags they are using. If you click on one, if you search those hashtags, Instagram will tell you how many posts use that hashtag. Similar to keywords, you don't want to pick hashtags that have too much competition, but you also don't want to choose ones that one no one is posting because if no one is posting then no one is searching for those either.
You can use the search function further by typing in hashtag topics and browsing the suggested/ related hashtags that populate.
As a rule of thumb, you will want to use 1-3 hashtags in your caption and you can use up to 30 in your first comment.
Lastly, encourage your customers to use a specific branded hashtag (a hashtag that features your brand or product name, or is otherwise specific to you) as a way to collect their User-generated content for reposting but also to spread the word about your brand and products. You can do this by hosting a content and promoting the hashtag with social media content examples to show your followers what you're looking for with a giveaway for the best post. These UGC posts will also add social proof where new buyers who may be on the fence about purchasing will see others posting about it from their own accounts and gain trust in your brand because of it.
3. Jump on Trends, Make Reels
Everything this year has been about Reels and like Tiktok trends, Instagram Reels have their own trends as well. Spending 10 minutes a day scrolling through your own Reels feed will quickly let you know what filters, sounds, and effects are currently trending.
Most Reel trends last about three weeks, but the quicker you jump on the trends to post your own branded reel, the better engagement you will have since anything posted too late will seem out of touch. Best of all, most of these trends don't require too much time and hardly any budget as long as you have a savvy content creator on your team. If you don't, ask your advertising management if anyone on the team is interested - the technology is easy enough to learn and you'll see big returns.
A word of caution on trends - not every trend will make sense for your product or brand so don't try and center operations around all of them. Ask yourself how this trend could fit in with your product or industry and how you could make it relatable for your audience. Secondly, you'll want to do some research on sounds or trend origin to make sure that the trend aligns with your company's values. Tiktok dances are notorious for getting linked to popular white Tiktokers who perform them without giving credit to their black creators who may not be as well known. In the IG world, a popular sound clip to use with videos of your young children talks about how you only have young children for 4 years before they grow up which is super cute and fits really well, but what most people who used the clip did not know if that this voice over belongs to a man who advocates for physical punishment for children and that they can and should be trained like dogs and is also well known for force feeding his own infant son and other practices most parents would probably not agree with. Anyway - always do your research when posting on behalf of a brand.
TikTok for Brands: How to Build a Creative, Engaging, High-impact Strategy
TikTok uses short format videos. Recently, the length limit has been bumped up to 10 minutes but don't make a 10 minute video and expect high engagement. The best performing videos are 30-60 second and have a hook in the first 3 second that get you to watch the rest. The hook can be surprising, funny, suspenseful, beautiful, whatever but people on average give TikTok videos less time to hook them than any other platform before scrolling. When posting, make sure your entertainment value is high.
1. Product Tutorial Videos
Besides entertainment, videos that do well on TikTok, and perhaps the best way to promote your products are with Lifestyle Hack videos. Showing off your product in use and the value consumers will get out of buying one is a great strategy. A great way to build brand awareness is working with Tiktok influencers who can incorporate your product into their regular content showing their followers how they use your product and why. These tutorial-style videos not only build credit for your brand but can also help you build a following. If the video is good enough to warrant engagement then the likes, shares, and comments can help it go viral and reach more people than intended.
2. Connect with Your Audiences
TikTok is also a great way to brand build and show a more authentic side to who you are, beyond your products. Because the content is unpolished and snackable, you can create videos faster to jump on trends, react to news, and show more BTS (behind the scenes) content that engages viewers in a more intimate way.
3. Utilize Analytics
With a Pro TikTok account, you can get access to analytics for the app where you can see who is watching and sharing your videos. While little is known about the ever changing TikTok algorithm, one thing that has remained true is that your future exposure (like a change to be featured on the "For You" page (similar to IG's "Discover" page), is mostly based on previous video performance. When you post a video, it is shown to a few people TikTok thinks may like it. If the users who see the video, watch the full video or interact with it (like, comment, share), then TikTok will show the video to even more people. This is how videos go viral and also why with Tiktok it's advantageous to continuously produce content. The more content you put out, the higher your chances of engagement, and the higher the chances of optimization of distribution for those videos. By A/B testing different types of videos, you can focus on what people are responding to and recenter your strategies around those types of videos until they stop performing as well, otherwise known as creative fatigue.
Youtube for Brands: How to Build a Creative, Engaging, High-impact Strategy
Youtube boasts 2 billion users who watch nearly 1 billion hours of video every single day. It is a much different platform than when it launched in 2005 and I think that scared brands away. Video format, especially longer length content can be intimidating but because of how searchable and evergreen the video content is, Youtube should be high on your priority list when it comes to social media strategy and social media content marketing.
1. Content Marketing but with Video
The best way to utilize Youtube as a brand is to think about the videos as part of your content marketing. What do you wish you could show users? What do potential users want to see and know? If you product requires assembly, Youtube videos are a great way to show your customers how to assemble and give tips and tricks along the way. Similarly, if you products are something that can require repairs, cleaning, or other work that your buyers will need to do. Youtube is a great way to get these instructions out. Your customers can follow along and pause when they need to, or even rewind if they missed a step. Best of all, you can organize videos into Playlists so that you can keep all information about one product model together to make discovery easy.
2. Make Your Videos SEO Friendly
Youtube uses an algorithm that aims to answer user queries with the newest and most relevant content possible. If you have been working on your SEO for your website to improve your ranking with Google, this is very similar. The closer your video's title, description, and tags are to the searcher's input, the higher it will rank and therefore be more discoverable.
Your title should not only include keywords but be clear so searchers know what to expect. Nothing is worse than thinking you have found the perfect video, only to get a few minutes in and feel misled. Tutorials, demos, how-to's, should all be specifically described in the title as well as your brand name and if the video is for a specific product or model, that information as well.
The Youtube video descriptions appear in search results, much like a meta description for your website. It's smart to use a short summary of the video that includes a few keywords and terms that people may be searching such as "How to". Keep the most important information in the first few lines since the rest will get truncated in a See More link.
Lastly, you can add tags to your videos to make them more discoverable as well. Tags are a great place to use standalone keywords and keyword phrases that you are targeting, though make sure they also do a good job of describing the video.
3. Don't forget the Influencers
Youtube is a great place to utilize influencers because as mentioned early, the evergreen content will help potential customers who are looking for unboxing and reviews of your products. There are so many Youtubers who specialize in review videos so it is easy to find people to reach out - it is important that their audience matches your target audience so be sure to check out an influencer's content and commenters before working with them or your efforts may not be worth it since you won't get good acquisition. Some influencer platforms have this audience report tool built in and it will make it easy to search to find the right influencers to work with.
Because there are so many different niche vloggers on Youtube, you can also find influencers to work with who may not be in your exact product area but who you may share a target audience with. With one of our clients, we were able to find a shared audience with RV/ Tiny Home life-stylers and work with a number of them to produce a successful campaign that expanded the client's audience base and resulted in a 4.5X ROI (return on investment) for the campaign. You can read about that here.
The benefits of using social media for content marketing are clear. It can help you to attract and engage new customers, boost your website traffic, and create a better connection with your audience.
By creating interesting and engaging content, sharing it on social media, and using effective marketing techniques, you can greatly improve your connection with your customers and future customers.
Remember to keep your content fresh, relevant, and engaging, and to use a variety of marketing techniques to get your content in front of as many people as possible.