The social media pocket guide for enterprises

People turn to social media because they crave connection, and businesses that can make authentic connections with their audience will undoubtedly thrive — though achieving this is no easy feat.

In this pocket guide, we aim to help businesses fill the gap by providing a firm understanding of what it means to use social media for business in a way that creates customers for life.

Use social media for business the right way

Looking back, it’s amazing to see how far social media has come in such a short span of time. Gone are the days of a single, siloed social media coordinator responding to a few comments. Today, swaths of customers interact with multiple departments across a business — all while expecting a seamless customer experience.

While almost every brand these days uses social media to connect with audiences, few know how to use these platforms to their full potential. Some things we will cover:

  • Why brands need an authentic voice

  • How social media acts as a participatory newsroom

  • Steps to involve your audience

The evolution of social media

Social media transformed consumer expectations and extended beyond the digital sphere into the real world — with posts collected and shared at live events and even fueling social movements. On top of that, business models and algorithms of leading social networks keep shifting. Let’s take a look at just how much has changed.

Brands can connect with audiences in more meaningful ways now

At first social media was a bit like an awkward cocktail party where you’d exchange a few words and then move on. But social media networks evolved to facilitate seamless two-way conversations between companies and consumers. Our research from 20 major brands shows that on Twitter, 95% of brand-to-consumer communication is now one-to-one.

To effectively connect with their audience on social media, brands must find an authentic voice— a way to connect with fans organically and on their terms. Responses must be timely and consistent even for one-to-one communications.

Social care teams have to remember they’re communicating with people, not pixels. Brands have the power to be publishers, taking their message straight to consumers and garnering loyal fans in doing so.

Khoros customer EDF Energy launched the #PrettyCurious campaign to inspire more women to enter STEM careers. Their content was viewed 3.5M times and widely shared.

Social media is always on and always now

Social media used to be about pushing out content that your audience saw when they logged in periodically. Now, social media interactions happen every second of every day, and brand’s have to find ways to be part of their audiences’ ongoing digital life.

Organizations typically think of social media activity under one of three categories:

  1. EVERYDAY ENGAGEMENT: This is your baseline social engagement, including day-to-day community management, responding to comments and questions, and maintaining a regular publishing cadence. It can fill the gaps between planned campaigns.

  2. PLANNED ENGAGEMENT: Includes major campaigns or events that drive big brand investments. These campaigns should start with agreed-upon Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) by which you can later measure success.

  3. OPPORTUNISTIC ENGAGEMENT: Brands now regularly participate in live social conversations tied to large-scale events as well as the serendipitous conversations that come up daily around trending topics. It’s a constant, measurable conversation

Having something to say in real-time is now expected

Social media teams that stay on top of trends and make valuable contributions to conversations receive increased audience engagement. But brands have also learned to chime in on world moments with care — being cautious of potential risks like appearing too opportunistic or tone-deaf. Social media teams should enter conversations only where it makes sense for the brand and can add something useful to the audience’s experience.

Social media impact can be measured to prove value

There are multiple ways to measure the success of social campaigns, for example, reach, activity, engagement, and impact. With so much data to glean from social media, that puts pressure on social media teams to demonstrate business value.

However, the value social media brings looks different for each business. As such, brands should approach social media with specific business goals in mind to determine what strategies are worth the investment.

Organizations must coordinate social media programs across teams

Social media plays a critical role in supporting multi-channel marketing, product development, customer care, sales, and more. To give customers a seamless experience, it’s crucial for company teams to coordinate cross-functionally.

For example, with API updates and changes, timing is everything. An uncoordinated team will miss opportunities to engage audiences. Social marketing software like Khoros Marketing allows multiple teams to collaborate on cross-network content within one place with ease.

Social media is becoming part of everybody’s job — no matter if you’re in human resources, sales, product development, or even the CEO. As teams adapt to the cross-functional nature of the social web, corporate structures and processes must adapt alongside them.

Investing in paid helps boost results

As social networks increasingly prioritize revenue, brands are following suit and implementing hard dollars into their social media strategy. This helps brands ensure their content reaches the right target audience and stay top-of-mind with those groups.

Because social media networks have a rich understanding of their users, it allows marketers to advertise more accurately and optimize the content they serve.

Brands should allocate time and energy toward staying up-to-date with how social networks are balancing paid versus organic content — many of them regularly update their paid offering as they aim to provide value to users, brands, and shareholders.

Whole Foods noticed #foodiebandnames was trending and contributed to the conversation in a clever, brand-appropriate way that caught the attention of their social media fans.

Social media is a participatory newsroom

Social media forever changed the dynamic of news. Today, people don’t watch the news from the sidelines, they take an active role in the stories of their time. As such, many brands have adopted a newsroom mentality — seeking to share trends, topics, and content that resonates with audiences.

Generally, people welcome brands into the conversation cycle when they offer a timely and relevant perspective, but it is definitely something that should be approached with care and sensitivity toward the larger conversation.

Social media moves fast

It’s crucial to recognize and address the baseline consumer demand for social engagement; it has grown beyond social networks into any digital experience — broadcast media, retail, sporting events, and more. Additionally, new forms of sponsorship are rapidly evolving and brands feel the pressure to deliver something novel that consumer’s haven’t seen before.

Social care matters

Social media channels present an opportunity for brands to solve problems for customers (and engage prospective ones) at speeds no other channel can provide.

A Forrester consumer survey found that 83% of consumers are more loyal to brands that respond to and resolve their complaints. However, the downsides can be steep, and highly public at that. Social care data is being shared across the enterprise, providing new streams of data for common product problems or ideas for improvement.

Having social care as a core component of your internal teams and processes lets you monitor, respond to, escalate, and report on incoming customer issues. The scale for this also means “going native” just isn’t going to cut it. Brands must invest in a strategy and technology that connects them to people — wherever and however they need.

Social media provides brands with valuable social proof

Successful brands find ways to capture the most valuable asset they have — the customer voice. It’s a social truism that people are more likely to like, follow, or buy a product if their peers have good things to say about it; that’s the power of word of mouth marketing, which drives $2 trillion annually in sales alone.

Brands have a rich harvest of social proof to gain from social media networks that they can then use to weave the brand experience. Those that see success in doing this successfully are more likely to be seen as more authentic to their audience and see an improved bottom line as a result.

When to use social marketing

1. Launching a new product or service

Product launches are one of the most common uses of social media for businesses, and it’s no wonder why. Social media is an effective medium for creating hype and boosting awareness. However, the playing field has gotten tougher as social media has escalated the intensity and attention around launches. A poor social launch could even hurt more than help your brand.

Brands like Kylie Cosmetics and Princess Polly get it right: their audience, made mostly of Millennials and Gen Z, is active on Snapchat. Princess Polly incentivized people to follow their Snapchat by giving them exclusive coupon codes only found through Snapchat. After achieving a big following, Princess Polly and Kylie Cosmetics used Snapchat as an ‘exclusive’ media outlet for new product launches. Kylie Cosmetics even does live updates on how much product is left and when each product line sells out.

Quick Tips

  • Tease the launch ahead of time to build interest. New products and updates to existing products require different levels of build up: Existing products need more content pre-release, while new products benefit from more hype post-release

  • Be prepared ahead of time with a wide variety of content and re-post content based on evidence: first-run content does best posted in the morning, and re-posts do best when posted in the afternoon, evening, and into the night

  • Create second-screen experiences: Snapchat can take users places where they otherwise wouldn’t be able to go, so give your loyal followers behind-the-scenes access

  • Don’t just tell them — show them. Use visuals and video to bring new ideas and products to life

  • Provide social-only insider information

  • Share interviews with creators, experts, and users

  • Boost adoption and sales through promotions and exclusive deals

  • Share prepackaged content and multimedia resources for news and brand advocates

Taco Bell launched its Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco in an innovative way—the brand used its social accounts to leak that a flower shop in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District was giving out the new tacos, but only to those savvy social followers who knew the secret “blue bouquet” password.

2. Promoting corporate-hosted events and sponsorships

Social media is tightly woven into business events of all types: in-person (conferences, workshops) and virtual (webinars, Twitter Q&As). Whether your organization is hosting or sponsoring an event, sharing related content and experiences (before, during, and after) helps drive engagement, awareness, and attendance (think: blog posts and Tweets pointing your audience to previously recorded webinars and Q&As).

Twitch worked with Old Spice on a creative sponsorship play by sending an actual person into the woods for three days — controlled entirely by Twitch users.

Quick Tips

  • Share what makes your event special for your attendees. Focus on noteworthy speakers, exclusive insights, networking opportunities — anything that helps create buzz

  • Issue reminders and updates and answer questions promptly and thoroughly

  • Connect with influencers who can expand your social reach: recruit them to Tweet and post before, during, and after your event

  • Ask for suggestions to shape your event in the planning stage and request feedback

  • Share content from the event with non-attendees and repurpose it later for thought-leadership articles

  • Create a live social hub on your owned event page and integrate the best content via in-venue displays and live streaming. Snapchat, Instagram Stories, and Periscope both give fans behind-the-scenes access to live award events

  • Offer incentives for registration and exclusive benefits for fans/friends/followers

  • Stay connected after the event by tagging photos and thanking attendees

  • Write recap blog posts summarizing the best content from your events and pointing your audience toward event videos (like webinars and Q&As)

Ben & Jerry’s promoted its annual event by amplifying #freeconeday. The campaign generated massive social reach and exposure to about 10% of the world’s population.

Enterprise Social Media Marketing Software & Expertise

Khoros Marketing helps you simplify your social media marketing operations with one platform to manage your enterprise social media accounts. Our software is built for scale. Khoros is invested in your success with industry-leading support and product coaching to foster affinity and accelerate sales. Request a demo today to learn more.

Key Features

  • Publishing, planning, and labeling

  • Governance and approvals

  • Analytics and reporting

  • Paid & organic management

  • Moderation