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Editor's Note: This post was originally created by Spredfast before Spredfast and Lithium merged and became Khoros.
Our freshly updated Social Media Pocket Guide is a great resource for social teams who want to keep current with all things social. In it, you’ll find best practices for the latest in social, like livestreaming and video marketing, and details about the primary goals of social marketing—from building brand awareness to providing superior customer care.
But savvy social teams need to know more than just how and why to use social marketing: they need to know when to use it, too. Here are three times you'll want to include social as an integral part of your planning process—no matter your industry.
Teasing and introducing new—and newly updated—products on social is one of the most effective ways for brands to create hype and boost awareness. It’s also one of the most common uses of social: a recent survey found that 46% of senior marketers in the U.S., U.K., and Australia say they use social media to create new-product awareness. But because many brands have already caught onto the amplification powers of social, the crowded field and the sophistication of the audiences calls for carefully considered launches that offer deals, information, and access followers can't get elsewhere.
46% of senior marketers use social media to create awareness around new products.
Take Azaan shoes: the unique, vibrant, hand-sewn shoes naturally appeal to millennials, writes Adweek, so Azaan met their audience where they’ve been proven to spend a lot of time: on Facebook. Azaan generated leads–and pre-launch buzz–by promising the chance to win a pair of shoes: fans signed up for the giveaway on Azaan’s Facebook page, and Azaan collected their contact information. Azaan’s social channels showcased their product with high-quality photographs and high-concept designs: “Inspirational top-of-the-world imagery: a person looking out across a precipice, over the edge of a mountain, across an expanse of ocean or cityscape. The visuals conjure up excitement and adventure,” writes Adweek. The photos don’t tell followers what to feel about the shoes, they show them, which brings the product to life.
Corporate events—conferences, workshops, webinars, Twitter Q&As—and consumer events—concerts, awards shows, sporting events, TV shows—all benefit from social amplification. Social drives awareness, engagement, and attendance before, during, and even after events (blog posts and Tweets can point followers to previously recorded events). Livestreaming can keep fans at home engaged and interactive during limited-access events like award shows and sporting events, while social posts about TV shows can draw in new fans and keep current ones loyal.
We put our own event marketing chops to the test during our exclusive Social Suite, which took place during SXSW’s Interactive Festival last week. The details: We created awareness on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat and Instagram before and during Social Suite with posts crafted specifically for each channel. And, we promoted blog content afterwards on the same channels. Our content was a mix of pre-planned posts meant to provide logistical details and event hype and real-time content highlighting speakers and Social Suite guests and experiences. During Social Suite, we featured highly shareable experiences, fun tech, and inspiring panels. A branded hashtag kept attendees involved and allowed us to uncover great UGC. Not to #humblebrag, but we hit the right notes with at least one marketing professional who said our experience was “second to none.”
Planned-for events and product launches (like the above) present great opportunities for real-time marketing which should be included during the campaign planning process. But followers also truly delight in the unpredictable, everyday moments that pop up on social. Brands that are paying attention can jump in with right-time marketing during small, relevant moments that might otherwise go unnoticed. (And the right social listening software solution can make this task easier.) Brands that effectively capitalize on organic memes and trending topics can find themselves riding a wave of social good will that results in boosted awareness, engagement, and even increased sales (for instance, Kohl’s quickly attaching themselves to Chewbacca Mom’s viral video meant record engagement and sold-out product). But be careful: if your brand has nothing authentic to say–no added value for fans–hijacking a moment can make your brand appear opportunistic. Monitoring social can help you uncover appropriate connectable moments.
Brands and companies capitalizing on organic exposure need to strike the right note: don’t push your way into a moment. Instead, make sure the opportunity is really relevant for your brand in time, message, and value to your audience. Having your brand at the center of a viral social moment involves a fair amount of luck, but if you’ve got your finger on the social pulse and if you’ve got a team in place to pounce, then you can truly capitalize.
Take the “Damn, Daniel,” meme that was everywhere last February. (If you missed it: in a 30-second montage video that was posted to Twitter one teenager repeatedly films his friend wearing Vans, usually white ones, and calls him out: “Damn, Daniel, back at it again with the white Vans.”) The exposure was huge for Vans (who had nothing to do with creating the video) and they took advantage of the moment by making a landing page on their website’s homepage promoting white Vans. Though execs wouldn’t give numbers, they said the video increased sales of white Vans “a lot.”
As a brand, never push your way into a moment.
These popular use cases are by no means exhaustive: use social to promote a new business, drive donations for charitable causes, manage public opinion of your brand, and more. Social is always evolving and it can be quite a task to keep up, but the strategic tips and best-in-class examples found in our Social Media Pocket Guide will help you feel like a part of social’s inner circle.