It’s 2015 and it’s official: social media has exploded. We all know by now that social media offers both big and small business practically equal access to a gargantuan-sized audience.
We know that everyone’s access is equal because social media platforms are owned media channels, free to use and full of potential. We know that the audiences connected to social media are simply vast in number, too. Facebook alone has some 13.6 million Australian users and YouTube boasts a further 13.1 million viewers.
It’s all good and well having these audiences at arm’s reach, but what about getting them to take notice? How is it that some companies are having greater success with their social media strategies and others aren’t? Well, in most cases social success goes hand-in-hand with taking an integrated marketing approach—publishing informative, unique and above all engaging content across a number of social media channels.
This being said, there are a number of very successful social media platforms for a reason. When you sit back and consider it, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest all offer different benefits. While they all have their pros and cons, some social media platforms offer better options for certain industries. Pinterest, for example, is popular with fashion brands, realtors, travel agents or any industry that benefits from communicating experience through photography. LinkedIn is used by 94% of B2B marketers to distribute content, according to the B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks report 2015. LinkedIn allows for professionals to begin conversations, debate, endorse and share information about brands, products or services.
The fact of the matter is that some social media platforms, each with varied capabilities and audiences, will suit some industries better than others. Let’s take a look and see where your business fits in.
FOOD IS CONNECTED TO SOCIAL MEDIA
Restaurants, cafes, market stalls and coffee vans are all jumping on board the Instagram bandwagon. The illustrious and instantly recognisable ‘foodstagram’ is now a part of our common dialect and for good reason: people just can’t get enough of them. Food photos aren’t going anywhere and it’s a good time for foodies to get started.
Marketing food is all about communicating an experience—the sense of sitting in the courtyard of a quiet restaurant, mesmerized by the soft light of a flickering candle and surrounded by the enticing aromas of one hundred unforgettable flavours.
Instagram can evoke this kind of emotive response from a consumer, by simply publishing the right photograph or two.
YouTube, on the other hand, provides a great platform for cafes to express the charming hustle and bustle of their environment—the clink and clatter of teaspoons, the cheerful murmur of a Sunday morning service. Innovative content marketers are encouraging chefs to develop how-to videos for YouTube and recipe ideas on Facebook.
Twitter is a perfect means for announcing events, menu specials or time-sensitive material. You can even include links in tweets and—best of all—pictures.
Whole Foods Market in the United States is seeing great success with its content marketing strategy. They’re not only using social media to promote their produce, but publish content about DIY gardening tips and guides for healthy living.
Those in the service industries sink or swim when it comes to customer testimonials. Customer feedback is one of the best ways to get potential customers interested and existing clients coming back time after time. Social media is about transparency in the marketplace—building meaningful relationships with consumers by offering trustworthy, relevant and engaging content.
Offer coupons or special offers to customers who ‘like’ your Facebook page. Offer a free or discounted period of service to those who share photographs of your service on Instagram. Video testimonials are also popular and can be hosted on YouTube and embedded on a company’s website.
BarkBox, for example, in the United States is currently the third most popular service provider on Instagram. It offers a subscription service, supplying pet gear to its 200,000 monthly subscribers. Its Instagram page has just over 628,000 followers and is full of customer-supplied content—pictures of dogs wearing little hats, scarves etc. and playing with toys.
LinkedIn is another great platform for services. Providers of accommodation could publish updates or articles about trending holiday destinations, how to do a memorable family trip on a shoestring or the dangers of work-related stress and the benefits of a break away. Psychologists, physiotherapists or florists can all benefit from sharing topical information about winter depression, common rugby pre-season injuries or the types flowers 10 out of 10 mothers will love this Mother’s Day.
The power of social media is a service provider’s dream.
TRADES ARE CONNECTED TO SOCIAL MEDIA
Tradies are all over social media in 2015. Blogging and Facebook is a great way for those in trades to share some insider tips and DIY knowledge—better cementing themselves as experts in their field as well as industry leaders in the eye of the consumer.
YouTube videos are a popular way to showcase new technologies or clear up misunderstandings about working processes. Video testimonials are also a proven way to build trust with potential clients and dismiss any concerns.
Tradies are quickly discovering that it’s no longer enough to put up a sign at the site or develop a simple website. Multi-channel content marketing promotes trust and recognition. It’s equally important to communicate the value of their services, how they go about their work and what’s to be expected when they’re done. A set of Instagram photographs showing the ‘before and after’ of some jobs or a short video showing how precisely and carefully the work is conducted, for example.
Plumbers, for example, could publish an infographic on their LinkedIn page outlining the benefits of a continuous flow hot water heater leading into winter. Builders could publish a LinkedIn update or article highlighting a recent trend in the building of granny flats in Sydney’s outer suburbs—often improving the property’s value by an average of $100,000.
In an industry sector where professional ability and reliability often varies, the consumer is typically cautious and seeks as much information as possible before coming to an informed decision.
RETAIL IS CONNECTED TO SOCIAL MEDIA
Retail is a fantastic and proven industry in the world of social media marketing. Brands and products are being marketed via Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, WordPress, BlogSpot and the list goes on. Retailers generate the best social community engagement by publishing varied content across a number of different social media channels.
For example, a trendy shoe boutique may use Twitter to tweet about an exclusive ‘Friday Footsies’ deal where the first ten people to mention the words ‘Friday Footsies’ in the shop get 60% off any pair of shoes they choose. The same boutique could publish a video on YouTube of customers saying the words, laughing and enjoying their experience.
YouTube videos that feature product reviews or guides are a retailer’s best friend. The Greg Chappell Cricket Centre, for example, promotes its expertise while sharing information about available products. They do this by publishing video reviews for cricket bats and how-to videos for things like ‘knocking-in’ a cricket bat or how to choose the best equipment to suit your style of game.
Facebook is also a great way for retailers to begin conversations about products they are making decisions about introducing or want consumer feedback on. Facebook statuses that showcase products will often get ‘likes’ or comments from interested parties, especially if they’re unique and entertaining.
VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE—NAIL THIS FOR BETTER SOCIAL MEDIA
While some platforms suit some industries better than others, it’s still vital for SEO and improved consumer engagement that content with a consistent message is published across a number of social media channels. For more information on social media trends in 2015, please take a look at our Content Marketing Predictions for 2015.
So there it is—social media can benefit any industry, no matter what services or products it provides its clients. Content marketing and social media marketing in particular is all about providing relevant, valuable and unique information to better engage consumers on a meaningful level. This engagement will generate a perceived transparency that in turn will grow a sense of trust, respect and enthusiasm for your business.
LOST FOR WORDS?
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.