It's no longer controversial to say that all organizations need to be active on social media. No matter your audience, they're active on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Evidence suggests that social-led brands will likely dominate the future.
What is a Social-Led Brand?
Social media has been around for years but, until recently, most brands considered it a secondary approach. A Facebook page or Twitter account was something to supplement a website. A social first or social led brand puts social media at the forefront. What you do on social media reflects your brand identity. Everything else follows suit.
Innovative brands Dollar Shave Club and Warby Parker propelled via social media. While Warby Parker has since expanded to brick and mortar, it began as social-first.
Such companies know how to leverage the power of referral marketing on social media. Dollar Shave Club, for example, gets as many as 50,000 referrals per month. Most brands didn't build themselves from the ground up on social media as these did. But, you can still take inspiration from such as they provide insights into the power of social media.
Advantages of Being Social Led
Why would you want to make social media your primary focus? There are several reasons this is a viable strategy.
People are Only Spending More Time on Social Media
According to Statista, users globally spend an average of 147 minutes per day on social media. Your audience spending so much time on social sites is a good reason to build a powerful presence there.
It Allows You to Connect in a Friendly and Informal Manner
Social media is ideal for storytelling, humor, and connecting with your audience. A website's primary purpose is to convey information and include calls to action. Social media helps to break the ice and get people to listen.
People Spend Money on Social Media
Social commerce is increasing every year. Between ads and organic content, users research, buy, and make donations. Nonprofits are finding that social media is also an effective fundraising tool. HubSpot reports that social commerce sales in 2021 surpassed $36 billion.
People don't only shop online; they also share information about fundraising campaigns. This, in turn, can inspire people to join organizations and contribute. According to Nonprofits Source, 84% of Facebook users share about causes they support. Social media is one of the most efficient ways to spread the word about causes and campaigns. It's easy to highlight important issues using photographs, videos, and memes.
Hashtags can help to spread the message. National Geographic launched a campaign to bring awareness to the trafficking of cheetahs using the hashtag #ThinkBeforeYouLike. The aim was to encourage people to think before liking posts featuring cheetahs as pets.
You Can Share Content in Many Formats
Social media platforms let you share content in a variety of formats. Long-form content, such as white papers, is better suited as website content. But, content best for social media includes posts, images, short videos, and infographics. This type of content lets you express your brand voice and connect with users.
Social Media Provides Valuable Feedback
Social listening is one of the best ways to research and learn more about your audience. This means monitoring not only your own social channels, but topics related to your brand. Being active on social media boosts your ability to gather valuable information. You can identify the topics that get the most engagement and what type of content is most popular.
How to Become a Social Led Brand
Most companies and organizations have social media pages. But, being social first takes a concerted effort. Here are some guidelines to make your brand more social-focused.
Assert Your Brand Identity
Social media gives you the opportunity to emphasize your brand's voice and vision. It's important to maintain a consistent identity across all channels. This includes the fonts, colors, and layouts you use as well as your style and voice. Becoming more social led forces you to re-examine everything about your brand.
Use a Multichannel Approach
Most of your customers or members are active on many channels. They may interact with your brand via email, website, or social media platforms. Make it easy for people to engage with you wherever it's most convenient. Place social media buttons and links in all communications. Then, use social media to link to your website and other platforms.
Post on a Regular Schedule
To be social-led, you need to be active on social media. If your posting schedule is sporadic, your followers will lose interest. Additionally, social media algorithms make it difficult to rank if you aren't consistent. Find a schedule that works for you on each platform and post on a regular basis.
Encourage User-Generated Content
User-generated content or UGC, is a powerful way to engage with followers on social media. Business2Community shares examples of brands that made great use of UGC on Instagram. Airbnb managed to thrive despite the pandemic through its effective social campaigns. Both hosts and travelers shared photos of homes and locations. Likewise, Adobe Photoshop encourages customers to share their creations made with the software.
Being Social Led is the Wave of the Future
As social media continues to dominate, it's urgent that organizations develop a strong presence. Becoming social-led isn't something you can do overnight. It requires a well-conceived social media strategy. You also need to be flexible and base your efforts on analytics and customer feedback. Improving your social strategy will give you a competitive edge and motivate your audience to act.