Marketers are often pegged with questions related to the future of social media such as: Is Facebook still relevant? What’s the next social platform? Which is most powerful: a like, share, retweet, favorite? And, my personal favorite, how can I increase my reach on social media?
While these are all fair questions, attempting to grade the social landscape in this manner is counterproductive and missing the greater point. Social media is about engagement and conversation, not simply reach and frequency, which are traditional Industrial Revolution metrics.
When we think about traditional measurements of advertising, reach and frequency were at the top of everyone’s brief. How many people are watching my commercial? How many people are driving past my billboard on the highway?
However, applying traditional advertising measurement models to social media is like asking Henry Ford to make the horse faster instead of inventing a car.
A new landscape requires new rules.
When it comes to social media, the consumer is always in control. Millennials have grown up in an age where they have had access to brands at a rate that has never existed before. Today, if a brand is not on social, then does that brand really even exist?
Just having a profile and blasting content through that channel does not build a connection or brand loyalty because your voice will get lost in the noise. You must create differentiation.
Yes, a great brand needs volume to make it known and meaningful. However, if the advertising that is being pushed out does not make sense to the channel used or the audience targeted than it is an uninvited guest. Even if the content is relevant and welcomed – it is still a guest and that is what most brands struggling in the social space forget.
Here are four tips to being the right type of social guest:
1. Don’t Interrupt
The worst kind of dinner guest is the person who does not care what anyone else is saying and will stop at nothing to get his or her point across. No one likes those guests. Just like no one likes those brands.
Today, smart brands are embracing the idea of consumer discovery rather than marketing interruption. Millennial consumers do not have the patience to sit through a minute-long advertisement before the video they want to see on YouTube. The goal for great brands is to be a part of their consumer’s Social Circle, not an interruption.
For Hershey’s TAKE5 Bar, discovery is at the core of the brand’s engagement strategy. Partnerships with major influencers like Nick Kroll (who already shared his love of this candy bar before his partnership with Hershey) have been what set the brand’s social strategy apart from other competitors.
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“Millennials are less responsive to mass advertising,” said Dan Mohnshine, Marketing Director of Variety Brands at The Hershey Company. “Our focus is on creating opportunities where millennials can discover TAKE5 on their terms. We have a great product but that’s only one piece of the puzzle. To be successful you have to be a discoverable brand for your millennial audience to seek out and share. We’re driving trial in a new way and pioneering new space for The Hershey Company.”
2. Know Your Audience
There is nothing worse then a joke falling flat at a dinner party. It usually happens because someone at the table is trying to make an impression but does not know his or her audience well enough. This is the same story for brands. Today, a set of rules exists for each social platform and knowing those rules and the audiences that adhere to them is imperative for your brand strategy.
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“Millennials are a discerning audience and they trust their friends and what they see online in terms of social proof,” said Shelly Kramer, CEO of Kansas City-based agency V3B.