January 6, 2016

The 2016 Social Marketing Fitness Guide


Everyone in my office considers me the “health nut,” but I, like many, could not resist the temptations of cookies, pies and second helpings. It’s all a blur (possibly from the sugar rush), and it all had a cut-off date: January 1st, 2016. As always, a new year brings a new focus on health, and we all seem ready to hit the reset button and start 2016 in a cleaner, healthier way.

But we aren’t the only ones seeing the effects of the holiday season. In many ways, your brand may also find itself experiencing the unhealthy consequences of holiday marketing. From the bloat of seasonal deals and promotions to the excessive weight of an audience craving more sweepstakes, your business is just as ready to hit that reset button as you are—maybe more.

Here are some easy “exercises” to get your brand’s social presence back in shape for a strong 2016.

1. Network Diet

When starting to build our own health plans, we tend to focus on one thing first: our diet. What we typically do here is identify the wrongs and rights of our nutritional plan in order to select foods that will aid in cleansing and strengthening our body.

Similarly, with our brands on social, we must aim to trim the fat of unwanted social channels that do nothing for our business. Like a calorie, no social channel is created equal. We must gauge the networks our brands utilize and figure out if they’re really moving the needle in terms of results.

The primary questions to ask yourself are, “on which social channel does my audience spend the most time?” and “does my audience really interact with my content?” Take a deep dive into each channel’s data to see if you’re wasting time where your brand doesn’t belong. You might be better off shifting those resources to a stronger network that will further nurture that community.

Bottom Line: Don’t overindulge on social networks. Pick ones where your content resonates and focus your resources there.

2. Stretch Creative Muscles

We all get into a comfortable place of routines and repetitions, but this, unfortunately, can often lead to unhealthy consequences such as boredom. Imagine eating the same salad at lunch and dinner for a week. By the time you reach the weekend, it’s hard to enjoy that meal and the temptation of other foods is even higher.

Your social content is just like this. If you’re pushing out the same stylized images on Instagram or regurgitating campaigns on Twitter, your audience will view your content like that salad. At first they’ll engage, but over time their interest will peak and then diminish, and the temptations from other content (maybe even your competitor’s!) will win them over.

To combat this, it’s essential that your brand pushes the boundaries by creating innovative content for its industry.

For example, take the company CertaPro Painters, a leading North American professional painting service. The challenge for this business was figuring out a way to create exciting, relevant content. By partnering with Likeable Media, CertaPro tapped into its creativity to inject itself into real-time conversations.

The result? Piggybacking off the Fifty Shades of Grey movie premiere to showcase its vast selection of grey paint colors. The video was a hit and gained thousands of impressions and comments. It became one of the brand’s most successful social posts.

Bottom Line: Digital is an exciting space that allows us to test new types of content. Risk is involved, but things move so fast across social that even if something fails, it’s not hard to bounce back and move forward. So while salad is the safe choice, remember it’s not the ONLY choice.

3. Strengthen Engagement

By now we all know that social media is a two-way street. Fans and followers reach out to brands to express their likes, dislikes and general thoughts about content and products.

What makes social platforms great is that, unlike traditional marketing channels, they allow brands to talk right back. This provides the opportunity to deepen customer relationships, and for that brands must recognize the importance of community management. Engaging is just as vital as publishing creative content.

There are many ways to avoid common community management mistakes, but the most important thing to remember is that your brand’s voice must be authentic and ready to talk at all times. If your resources don’t allow for 24-hour community management, create a plan within your means to benchmark a response rate and strive for improvement over time.

Bottom Line: By strengthening your community management system, you’re able to improve how you engage with your audience—be it prospects or existing customers. Through better engagement, your audience becomes an invaluable source of consumer insight that will help steer your business forward.

4. Content Power-Building

When it comes to social media content, quality always beats quantity. If your brand wants to build a better social physique, it should produce fewer posts with amazing content rather than an abundance of mediocrity.

According to marketing expert Heidi Cohen, “Only 38% of marketers rate their content as effective. Even more amazing, 19% of marketers rate their content as not effective. [In other words]: More content distributed doesn’t translate to greater consumption or interaction. As a result, the increased content creation and distribution costs don’t help your business.”

In strength training, isolation workouts help target certain muscle groups in order to build more power. The same can be said with content and different social networks.

To build more powerful content, you must isolate each audience on each social channel. Determine and understand their interests, their needs, their wants. Really figure out what attracts them to your brand on that channel.

It’s important to know your customer.

Bottom Line: The same way your body is made up of different muscles, your social presence is made up of different audiences. It’s important to have one cohesive, cross-platform strategy, but you must also be mindful to isolate those audiences and connect with them in profound, long-lasting ways. In the end, we are all looking for business gains.

2016 is the fresh start your brand has been waiting for. It’s the year that you will take control of social media, make informed decisions and let your business flourish.

And the greatest thing about getting your brand fit for social media: no gyms!

Tags: Content Marketing, Strategy

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