More than 10 ways to better engage YOUR audience. How BIG brand social media practices can be used by smaller ones in the pursuit of BIG results.
We’ve been in the communications game a while now and we’ve got a bit of insider knowledge to share. While much has changed surrounding the ways we interact with each other over the years, the core elements or requirements of meaningful human interaction have not. The thing with modern communication is that many have forgotten or downright never understood how essential the building and maintaining of trust is in any beneficial relationship.
This might not sound revolutionary to you, we understand. You may be wondering why you’re even reading this article at all—there’s something to that as well. Informative content is valuable and we feel that research is the key to success in business. We hope we’re in the same boat in that respect.
But the reason why big brands spend many millions of dollars on communication each year is simple. Communication matters—the more meaningful the conversation, the better.
We’re going to let you in on some of the practices the big guys are employing all over the world to market their products. We’ll show you what they’re doing right and how you can do the same things with equal effect.
So, enough of the padding, let’s get into the thick of it.
Know YOUR audience: speak THEIR language.
This is simple, right? You know your customer, your consumer, your market. It’s the fundamental rule of good business. Believe it or not, content marketing has exploded over the past few years because of the desperate need for big brands to reconnect with their consumers.
The average consumer is now more educated and media aware in 2015. Being far more advertising-savvy than yesteryear it means that, generally speaking, the old ways of cutting through the noise and making a meaningful impact on an audience won’t necessarily succeed anymore.
So, how is it that the big brands are changing their habits to reconnect with consumers? They’re not only learning about their customer’s needs and wants, their pain points and purchase patterns and driving messages to that target, but are increasingly giving them what they want—for free.
Good, accessible content provides consumers with the information they want to build positive relationships, healthy brand impressions and ongoing client-brand interactions. Good instructional or entertaining blogs or social media posts encourage engagement because they deemed valuable by the consumer.
We’re going to take a look at Whole Foods Market as a case study—a supermarket in the United States that produces very effective online content to communicate in meaningful ways with its target audience.
But, first, let’s take a look at how Australian businesses are catching on to the power of social media marketing.
Here’s the TRUTH about social media in Australia.
Social media marketing is looking healthy in Australia. In fact, content marketing budgets are on the increase with the B2B 2014 Content Marketing Benchmarks report noting that 58% of content marketers were planning to increase their budgets throughout 2015. Of this number, the report showed that 10% were planning to increase budgets significantly—reflecting the growing effectiveness of carefully considered and expertly crafted content.
We’ll be addressing statistics provided by the Association for Datadriven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA) in their report, Content Marketing in Australia 2015: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends to outline the state of content marketing and especially social media marketing in Australia. Here are some quick points to note:
87% of Australian content marketers cited ‘engagement’ as their highest priority outcome
‘Brand awareness’ came in second at 85%
The outcome of ‘sales’ was cited as a high priority by 74%
74% of Australian content marketers are producing more content in 2015
Social media content makes up 86% of Australian content marketing strategy
E-newsletters, 83% and infographics make up 61 %
Video content accounts for 72%
While social media makes up a huge 86% of Australian content marketing, some of the most effective content platforms listed were whitepapers, blogs and e-newsletters. Some 62% of content marketers say e-newsletters are effective, 62% also say blogs are effective content mediums and whitepapers were considered effective forms of content by 61% of respondents.
Before we take a look at how good effective social media can get, let’s take a quick look at which channels are being used the most in Australia.
83% are using LinkedIn for content marketing
Facebook is used by 81%
Twitter is used by 79%
YouTube video content is leveraged by 70%
Importantly, an average of six individual social media channels are used in conjunction by Australian content marketers. If you’re already on board with social media marketing, you may be wondering if you’re getting the most out of your budget.
What’s all the fuss about ‘content’ marketing?
The BIG brands to learn from
There are a number of big brands out there that are doing content marketing and—in particular—social media marketing very well. We’re going to take you through a number of examples from Whole Foods Market, an American supermarket that specialises in selling organic food.
The brand continues to build positive consumer-brand relationships by providing relevant and accessible content to its growing consumer base. Whole Foods Market is a social media marketing success story because of the considered approach it has taken to providing its customers with meaningful content, resulting in meaningful and sustained consumer-brand relationships.
How they’re doing social media right
In 2015 it’s important to convey to consumers what your brand stands for. Whole Foods Market communicates a consistent message across a number of social media platforms, in part accounting for their social media marketing success. Some of Whole Foods’ core values are:
Caring about the community, animal rights and the environment
Promoting healthy eating and education to customers
Selling the highest quality organic and natural foods available
Creating ongoing win-win partnerships with Whole Foods Market’s suppliers
Can you see these core values reflected in their social media marketing? Whole Foods Market publishes content that reflects these core values across a number of social media channels.
Let’s go through them, investigate some examples, and show you how you can apply the same techniques to your content marketing strategy.
Whole Foods Market provides its audience with videos showcasing new and interesting ways to interact with their products. Notice that they are giving their consumer base free access to valuable information such as recipes or information about seasonal fruit and vegetables, etc.
Note that the ‘chefs’ they have preparing the food aren’t celebrity chefs. They aren’t even professional cooks, simply run-of-the-mill Whole Foods Market customers featured getting the best out of the company’s products.
Facebook posts, whether ‘organic’ (simply posted) or ‘boosted’ (paid promotion), help to start conversations about a brand or product. Mentioning that it’s the beginning of mango season is time-relevant and therefore engaging.
User comments include statements such as “Awww I love mangos! haven’t had one in like forever!!” to “woohoo gonna make me a big fat mango smoothie tonight..” accompanied by plenty of “me too!” comments and “can’t wait for summer” conversation pointers.
Whole Foods Market tweets often and cross-promotes their YouTube video content and blog content. Twitter is a fantastic way to get people talking about your brand, especially if, like Whole Foods Market, you’re able to make tweets useful (short and sweet) and engaging.
Note that the language and tone is very informal, yet instructional and informed. It is essential to hold a position of expertise and authority in your field.
Instagram and Pinterest are similar social media channels in that they are primarily visual. You can note that while the photographs used are of a high quality, they have more of a ‘taken at home’, less professional feel about them.
This candid approach, in order to make the brand appear much more three-dimensional or ‘human’ is consistent with Whole Food Markets YouTube videos. The idea is to evoke a feeling of association or inclusion from the target audience member.
Engaging your audience with content marketing is affordable
The best news about social media marketing is that it doesn’t cost an arm and leg to get on board. Social media channels are what we call ‘owned media channels’—free to use in contrast to the many thousands you can spend on TV or print ads. The only thing that will cost money is the content itself, and that will cost you once (you’re then free to reuse it however you wish).
Here are some of the packages we have available at Infodec Communications. These are all-in-one content marketing deals that will get any business up and running online.
Want to know more?
The marketing professionals at Infodec Communications are experts in content marketing strategy. We’re an innovative group of communications experts, results-driven and determined to deliver high-quality content, tailor-made to your business.
Contact us today to discover what an affordable content marketing plan can do to promote your business. In 2015 it’s no longer good enough to rely on a website—a highly proactive and integrated marketing plan is the key.