Archive for the ‘holiday season’ tag
Good native advertising isn’t about blending so seamlessly into the platform you’re advertising on that you trick consumers into clicking on your ad– it’s showing them that you’ve taken the time to deeply understand the place they choose to spend their time by crafting an original piece of content that fits the form and spirit of it. You don’t just want to appear to be a part of the community; you want to take the time to become part of the community, and show that you have something to offer it just like any other member.
The holidays in particular are a time brands should be mindful of how they approach the communities their customers have built on different platforms. In the stream of continual “BUY! GIFTS! SPEND!” you don’t want to come across as pushing into a formerly free, personal space with an aggressively out of place advertisement. Take the time to do it right, like these examples that follow, or rethink doing it at all.
Although Instagram ads haven’t been around very long, they’re already showing a lot of promise, which likely has a lot to do with Instagram’s commitment to rolling ads out slowly and working with brands that are taking the time to understand what users enjoy about the platform: Interesting visuals, a way to examine and showcase the things they love with friends they know in real life, and the virtual ones they’ve made.
Instagram also feels more intimate and candid than a press photo of a celebrity, allowing users who follow their “faves” to feel a little like they have an inside look at the life of who they admire. This can extend to brands, who have an opportunity to share a creative, more personal side not achievable in other forms of advertising; smart brands are taking advantage of this.
Ben & Jerry’s has been celebrated for doing it right on Instagram by posting creative images simply sharing their enthusiastic love for ice cream while also incorporating timely themes. According to AdWeek, they’ve gone from an “average daily follower growth [of] 429, pre-ads, to more than 7,200, post-ads.”
Tie-in ad with the new Anchorman movie: 250k+ Likes
Likes and follows might be dismissed by many as vanity metrics, but they’re the perfect jumping off point. Growing your audience is the first step to getting more eyeballs on your products, but a lot of ad formats can achieve that. Social platforms go further by increasing engagement with customers and potential customers, especially if brands reach out with questions and contests that reward participation.
Tumblr recently released its 2013 Year in Review, including a look at which sponsored posts performed the best. The top posts from the Tumblr Radar also included some promotional content; namely Beyoncé from the Super Bowl (we wrote about her Super Bowl popularity over on our Tumblr). Sponsored Radar posts were the first form of Tumblr advertising, and seeing a promotional post in the top posts of the year is important as it means users loved the content enough to share it as many times as the original content that came out of every other community on the site.
The most popular sponsored post on Tumblr was from streaming site Hulu and featured a gif from a movie they were showing from the Criterion Collection, free for a weekend: The Red Balloon. Visual elements like gifs perform consistently well on Tumblr, and the copy had the kind of slightly off-beat sense of humor Tumblr users are known for.
This gif post saw 326.2k+ notes
Hulu didn’t just slap a gif on a site known for using them; they spent the time to create and share something they hoped members of the film community- and anyone else who came across it- on Tumblr would genuinely enjoy. It seems they succeeded.
Brands are entering the social spaces where people have been exchanging ideas, creations, friendship, and more for years. In approaching that with respect, brands can become meaningful contributors to the communities full of the customers they hope to reach, rather than resented traveling salesmen.
Adding a little festive cheer in this time of year won’t hurt, either.
Just follow the lead of the ice cream men.
It may only be September, but the holidays are quickly approaching (the first holiday ad of the season has already aired!). If you work in retail, e-commerce, travel or any of the myriad industries that get busy this time of year, it’s time to be thinking about your fall and holiday social media campaigns.
In particular, understanding who your fans and customers are – and establishing specific strategies for communicating with them through social media – can help you maximize the results of these campaigns. Who are you talking to on social channels? How can you find out who they are? And how you can more effectively reach and help them? Here are a few steps to help guide the way.
1. Plan before you begin.
Plan different messages to reach out to your audience at different points in the purchase cycle: You want to get their attention in order to attract them to buy, then keep it afterward so they aren’t just a customer, but poised to become an advocate.
How do I this? Put yourself in the customer’s shoes: when was a time a company communicated with you in a way that made you a repeat customer? What made you recommend them to someone else? Use that perspective to build your communication. Remember that communication is a two-way thing; social media in particular shouldn’t be used as a megaphone from which to shout your marketing messages. You’ll do much better by talking, listening, and responding. (More on the how for that in the next section.)
2. Anticipate needs.
What can you do for your customers? What has worked in the past? If you haven’t already taken a comprehensive look at what was successful and was not successful in past campaigns and planned based on both of those factors, you need to do that now.
How do I do this? There are several options for the how: If you have the data somewhere you can get to it and the time to go through it yourself, do so. If you don’t have the data, consider something like our historical reports to get it. Send a survey to targeted groups. Ask them on your social networks. Listen to what customers and potential customers are already saying: set up alerts for key terms associated with your brand and products. Try a combination of Google Alerts, Mention, or columns in something like TweetDeck (see more free tool suggestions from Social Media Examiner) and running something like a TweetReach snapshot report to capture a portion of the conversation. Listen to what it is that your customers want from you.
3. Tailor your message.
Tailor your message for each platform you’re on. Blasting out the exact same message to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Tumblr followed by a longer version on your blog is just going to cause potential customers to tune you out. Pull out a different, salient tidbit to feature in each place.
How do I do this? Think about what approach works best in each place too: short, pithy messages do well on Twitter, with links to more information. Images perform well on Tumblr and Pinterest; images and excerpts do well on Facebook. Link everything back to your blog or website, where you should have a landing page with details about your campaign. Stagger your messages (Try out scheduling on platforms like TweetDeck, learn how to schedule posts on Facebook, or look into a tool like Buffer). If you haven’t already looked at which times of day produce the best results, experiment during this campaign and track it all so you can plan it better next time.
You also want to tailor how you’re talking to customers and potential customers at each point in the purchase cycle. As you search for and find brand mentions- as discussed in the previous section- pay attention to what kind they are. Is someone asking for a recommendation in a certain area and listing out possibilities, one of which is you? Did someone else recommend you to someone who asked for a recommendation? Don’t respond to every mention of your brand if it’s high volume, but do thank people who have recommended you, and answer questions from potential or new customers asking about things like how your product works. If they express a preference for another brand, don’t try to prove that yours is better. Wish them luck with their purchase. If you always err on the side of polite and respectful, your brand will become known for it and could be recommended in the future because of it.
And those people recommending you? Those are your brand advocates. Another reason to say thank you– and to pay attention to what space they’re influential in. Follow them if you don’t already. Engage in conversations where it’s appropriate. Don’t stalk them; engage them.
4. Provide support.
Be ready to take questions- plan answers and make sure staff knows features upside down and backwards- and have a policy in place about how soon you’ll respond to customer queries. Research shows that 42% of customers who have reached out to a company about a problem on social media expect a response within an hour. This doesn’t change much for nights and weekends either.
How do I do this? The research doesn’t qualify if this is for big brand companies, or holds the same for smaller folks who have fewer resources and staff, but the reality of it remains the same: if you really want your campaign to go off well, you’ve got to put in the work and time. If you’re small and taking care of support yourself, draw boundaries (you’ll take time for dinner at night, the phone goes off while you’re asleep etc) but for the rest of the day the technology exists to be alerted when someone contacts you and for you to respond promptly. If you commit to that level of support during your campaign, you might just do well enough to hire someone else to help you with it the next time around.
How do I respond? If you don’t already, have an FAQ page set up that you can direct common queries to. If you do have one, take some time to go over it and revise it if necessary. If it’s campaign-specific, direct them to the landing page for it. Have a support email address ready to give out when lengthy or difficult queries pop up on social media.
More support. Follow-up. Engage. You’ve established that you’re there for your customers with a high level of support, so don’t drop the ball on that now. In addition to responding to any problems customers have down the line from their purchase, maintain a social presence that will engage them.
How do I do this? There are many different ways to accomplish these things: Follow up with anyone who’s had a problem to be sure they’re still happy; they’ll be impressed that you did. It’s as simple as sending a quick tweet their way. Reward customer loyalty; if you know someone made their 5th or 10th purchase during your campaign, send them a little thank-you gift. One Kings Lane sends customers Thank You stationery with their first purchase, as a way of saying thank you for being a customer and letting the customer send out thank yous of their own. Birchbox sends customers who are with them for a year a small branded gift in the mail, such as a leather keychain. Do whatever makes sense for your brand. Just a thank you message alone can mean a lot if done in sincerity. This kind of behavior turns customers into brand advocates.
As for ongoing customer engagement, ask yourself this when you’re planning content: is it interesting? Does it address a question or problem customers have; is it useful? Is it entertaining? If your content doesn’t fit one or more of these categories, consider revising it. If you’re bored while you’re working on it, nobody is going to want to read it– let alone share it and champion you to their network. (This is similar to the content strategy Chris Penn of SHIFT discussed in our TakeFive with him.)
And if someone is sharing your content? Say thank you. Is someone publicly thanking you for excellent customer service? Say thank you again. Favorite the tweet. Simply paying attention to what customers are saying and letting them know that you appreciate it can mean a lot, and makes a difference in having you come to mind before a competitor when they’re asked to recommend a company.