If your brand is considering LinkedIn, your content strategy should be the top priority. To help you get the creative juices flowing, we’ve developed a list of best in class examples from 10 enterprise brands. Check out the latest article from Social Jack! #InfluencerMarketing
For years, marketers have debated the benefits of social media versus email marketing. However, in today’s multichannel and omnichannel environment, the reality is that brands must use both to engage and retain their audiences. According to the Marketing Rule of 7, consumers need to “hear” a message at least 7 times before taking the desired action. Combining email marketing with social media efforts allow brands to target their audience more frequently, ultimately moving them through the customer journey.
80% of marketers report that increasing brand awareness is their number one goal for using social media. By sharing great content, maintaining consistency, and listening to their audiences, brands can capture the attention of their share of the roughly 264 million people using social media in the US. Email marketing, on the other hand, is more successful at driving both consideration and conversions. Need proof?
Here are some quick facts about the difference between social media and email:
Social and email clearly have their individual strengths – which can be made all the more powerful by uniting the two for a more holistic approach to your marketing efforts. Read on for 6 ways to integrate social media and email marketing.
1. Upload your email marketing lists to Facebook Ads Manager to run retargeting ads
When you create a Facebook ad, you can choose between identifying an audience via Facebook’s targeting tools or you can use what is referred to as “custom audiences”. Custom Audiences allow you to reach customers you already know with ads on Facebook. When you upload a customer file, Facebook will identify those people (if they are on Facebook) and serve them ads.
This feature is a great way to engage with email subscribers on another channel. Encourage subscribers to consider your brand further by reminding them of the campaign messaging. You can target anyone on your email list, or choose to serve an ad to just those subscribers that have opened a recent campaign.
For detailed instructions on setting up your customer file custom audience, head over to Facebook help.
2. Reach qualified prospects by creating a lookalike audience from your customer file
A Lookalike Audience is a highly effective way to identify and reach new prospects. These people are typically more qualified than a general audience because of the information that Facebook gathers on each of its visitors. (See the Sprout Social graphic to the right for more on what Facebook knows about us).
Once your customer file audience is created, you can create a ‘lookalike audience’ from the file. This audience will be filled with people who are likely to have an interest in your business because they have similar characteristics to your email subscribers. Lookalike audiences are not only a great way to reach new people, but also tend to be less expensive than audiences based on interest or behavior targeting.
It’s important to note that your customer file audience must have at least 100 people from a single country in order to use it as the source of the lookalike audience. Here are Instructions on setting up a lookalike audience.
BONUS TIP: Serve this lookalike audience a brand awareness campaign that drives them to a landing page that provides a piece of high-value content in exchange for their email address. Create an email list of these prospects and send them a welcome campaign that repeats your message.
3. Use social media to grow your email list
Cultivating a large social media following is an important goal for many brands, but it shouldn’t be the channel you rely on to spread your messages. After all, you don’t own your social media followers – and they could be gone tomorrow. One of the best ways to create value for your brand from social media is to convert your following into email subscribers.
Create regular social posts that remind followers to sign up for your email list. Share a preview of the type of content shared in email campaigns, or offer an incentive for new subscribers. For example, hold a sale and let followers know they need to subscribe to learn the details of the promotion. Include an easy, frictionless link to your email sign-up.
Host a big giveaway. It isn’t always easy to get fans to leave Instagram or Facebook to sign up for a newsletter. Create an offer that they can’t refuse. Build a gift basket, free course or another high-value gift to promote on social media channels. Create a landing page on your website with the details of the promotion and an email opt-in form. Promote this giveaway regularly on your social channels over 4-6 weeks and really build up the buzz around this contest.
BONUS TIP: Partner with another brand or company and cross-promote the giveaway on both of your platforms. That way, you each get the benefit of the other brand’s followers. Just make sure the partner has a similar customer base.
Create value with gated content or discounts. Remember that an email address is valuable to your business, so offer something of value in return. This is often a discount for e-commerce (10, 15 or even 20% off their first purchase) and gated content for B2B. The primary focus of social posts offering gated content or discounts in exchange for an email is adding value.
BONUS TIP: Incentivize sharing. Create an additional discount or special offer for current email subscribers who share your post or newsletter on social. Ask subscribers to copy or tag you on their share so you can be sure to send them the extra treat.
4. Share User Generated Content in email campaigns to serve as ‘social proof’ and encourage consideration
User Generated Content (UGC) was one of the biggest marketing trends of 2018, and it isn’t going away any time soon. More than 86% of businesses are utilizing UGC as part of their marketing strategy. Consumers like the authenticity of UGC over standard brand posts. On average, UGC posts see a 28% higher engagement rate than any brand-created content.
In email campaigns, UGC is effective at serving subscribers with relevant, useful information about how products are used in real life. It also creates social proof, nudging engaged subscribers further along the customer journey.
Incorporate UGC into your email campaigns by sharing images from your fans at the footer of every email. When possible, use images that relate to the products or services you are promoting in your campaign. UGC can also become the primary focus of the campaign by including customer reviews and images and encouraging email subscribers to upload their own content.
BONUS TIP: Create a branded hashtag to engage your customers, tell them how to share their content, and make it easy for you to find.
5. Run a campaign geared at encouraging social sharing
The #treatyourselfie campaign from Skull Candy is a great example of an entire email campaign aimed at encouraging subscribers to engage with the brand on social media. Skull Candy uses their branded hashtag, #treatyourselfie to encourage subscribers to create and share user-generated content, tag Skull Candy and have the opportunity to win. For Toms, the campaign above is all about raising awareness for their charitable goals. While subscribers don’t get a discount or a prize, they do get to support a good cause.
Much like encouraging your social followers to become email subscribers, it is important to create value for the subscriber in exchange for engaging with your brand on social media.
6. Convert your email subscribers into social followers
Email subscribers are 3x more likely to share content on social media than customers or fans acquired from other channels. Encourage subscribers to like, follow and share by consistently reminding them how and where they can follow your brand on social media. Your email template should prominently display both social share and follow icons.
However, the most effective way to promote social media within an email is to create campaigns specifically with this goal. Both H&M and Handy are good examples of how brands can entice subscribers to engage on social media. They create value for their readers by showing them what they can expect to see on social media, and how it differs from their experience as an email subscriber.
Both social media and email marketing are key components of a well-rounded, holistic marketing strategy. While there are benefits to each, the real results are found when they are integrated to create a seamless customer experience. Make sure you are getting the most out of both channels by taking steps to ensure your email marketing and social media are working together.
We hope these tactics will help you to create more of a connection between these two channels. Have you found any other tactics successful in integrating social media and email?
Other resources you might find helpful:
The effectiveness of influencer marketing is not surprising, given that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know and 70% trust the experiences of their peers. Utilizing this type of marketing approach drives awareness, cultivates an audience, and bolsters owned media over time. Check out the latest article from Social Jack! #InfluencerMarketing
According to a 2018 industry report by Social Media Examiner, 87% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts generated more exposure for their businesses and 78% reported increased traffic to sites. Perhaps most importantly, more than half of marketers who’ve been using social media for more than 2 years reported it helped them improve sales.
However, as brands begin to see greater results and budgets increase, more pressure is put on marketers to prove ROI, stay ahead of the competition, and strategically align their efforts with business goals. Given these realities, it is more important than ever to assess your social media strategy and make sure it’s working for you. Below you will find 9 components that are critical to a successful social media strategy.
1. Perform an audit of your current social media practices
What is a social media audit?
An audit is a detailed look at current social media practices. Digging into the numbers will provide a clear look at what’s working, what’s failing, and what to improve. This lays the groundwork for identifying your goals and the steps required to reach them. It’s also an important way to identify opportunities and challenges.
According to Social Media Examiner, only 42% of marketers were able to keep a measure of their social media marketing activities. But how can you get the most out of your social media program if you don’t know what’s working?
Your audit should include the following:
- A list of all owned platforms with handles and login information.
- A list of your most engaged followers
- Calculation of your engagement rate
- Content performance, recorded by asking the following questions:
- What type of content performs best? The worst?
- What time and/or day get the most engagement?
- What is your current post frequency?
Getting started on an audit can be a little overwhelming, so here are a few resources to help:
2. Perform a competitive analysis
Once you’ve reviewed your own practices on social media, it’s time to look at competitors. This is a good way to see how you compare, and can also be helpful in identifying industry standards, trends, and threats. The first step is to identify which competitors you want to research. Pick 4-5 competitors, including brands that are bigger and smaller than yours.
For each competitor, ask yourself the following questions:
- How are your competitors using social media? Include a list of all platforms they are on, how active they are and what type of content they are sharing.
- How many followers do they have compared to you? And what is their engagement rate?
- How is their content performing? What types of content perform the best?
- How do they engage with their followers?
It is often difficult to see everything competitors do. Here are a couple tools to help with your research:
3. Identify your goals and objectives
The cornerstone of any strategy is understanding what you are trying to achieve with your social media marketing. Without this, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily activities of content creation and posting while forgetting why you are doing all of this work in the first place.
The best goals are written and posted in a place you will see them every day. They should guide all of your campaigns, content creation, and community management activities.
To identify your social media goals, start by asking yourself the following questions:
- What are my overall business objectives?
- How can I use social media to align with these objectives?
- What does my audience expect from me?
- What do I really want from my social media efforts?
- Are my goals measurable?
The Metrics Map chart below is a great tool to use in aligning your business goals with specific social media activities. For example, to drive more traffic to your site from Instagram, you’ll need to set goals that relate to increased awareness and increased demand.
The map’s recommended social KPIs for these stages are impressions and engagements. Now that these metrics are identified, you can create S.M.A.R.T Goals for each of these buyer stages.
4. Build an audience persona(s) to target the right customer
An audience persona is a research-backed profile of your ideal customer. A whopping 70% of people in North America use social media every day, but that doesn’t mean that you want to speak to all of those people. An audience persona will profile your ideal customer.
Furthermore, 80% of consumers say they are more likely to do business with a company if it offers a personalized experience. Personas also help to identify authentic and personalized opportunities to reach your customers through social media.
Use research and data from your social platforms, Facebook Audience Insights, Google Analytics, and your internal sales tools or CRM to find out more about your customers. While you are digging, ask yourself these questions:
- What are the customer demographics?
- What are this person’s challenges, goals, values, and fears?
- How do they interact with social media?
- What social activities (platforms, hashtags, accounts) should be used to reach them?
- What is your persona’s name?
- What is the visual representation of this person?
Here are a couple resources to get started building your audience personas:
5. Define your brand voice and visuals on social media
Showing up consistently on social media is an important tactic to increase trust and brand awareness among your audience. Consistent use of color alone can increase brand recognition by up to 80%. It can also help to drive revenue: consistent presentation of a brand increases revenue by roughly 23%, according to Lucid Press.
Your social media strategy should outline the look and sound of your brand across different platforms by identifying and recording the following items:
- Brand Voice. What does your brand sound like? What words would you use to describe your brand’s voice? Is it silly, fun, professional or thoughtful?
- Grammar and Terminology. How does your brand follow grammar and punctuation guidelines? What words or phrases do you embrace and which ones do you avoid?
- Post formatting. What do your posts look like? Do you break lines often or write in one paragraph? Do you write long-form posts or keep it short? Do you use emojis?
- Hashtag usage. How are you using hashtags and what do they look like within a post?
- Visual guidelines. What type of photos do you share? Is there a certain filter that you use? How should social graphics look?
Here are some helpful resources to identify your brand guidelines for social media:
6. Build a content strategy for the types and amounts of posts you’ll share
With a strategy framework outlined, you can start to detail the tactics required to engage your ideal customer, reach your goals, stand out from the competition, and reinforce your brand. Your content plan is the primary way to achieve all of these things. In 2018, marketers plan to increase their use of videos (77%), visuals (68%), live video (63%), blogging (57%), and podcasting (25%), in that order.
Social media content should be a mix of different types of content. One helpful guideline is the Rule of Thirds, which states that content should be ? promotional, ? curated and ? engagement based. Identify types of posts that fall into each of these categories. (There are some ideas in the chart above.)
Next, create a calendar to identify key dates and authentic opportunities to share content from each category. Pay close attention to make sure you aren’t overloading your feed with promotional content.
7. Integrate your social media strategy with other channels
In today’s marketing environment, an integrated approach drives results. A well-integrated and customized campaign can boost effectiveness by 57%, according to AdReaction: The Art of Integration. This isn’t surprising, considering that 86% of shoppers are regularly channel-hopping across at least two channels (CommerceHub).
Despite all of this evidence, marketers are still struggling to integrate their channels.
Make a plan to cross promote your social media content. Your strategy should outline how you will share and promote social content via email marketing, website, direct marketing, and any other channels you are utilizing.
8. Identify the budget, tactics, and tools required to achieve your goals
Almost all marketers report to someone, and that someone is going to want to know how much your strategy is going to cost. Although budgets differ across companies and industries, most companies spend about 5% to 15% of annual revenue on marketing. Social media is becoming a bigger piece of companies’ marketing mix. Social media spend is expected to increase 89% in next 5 years (see graph above).
Aside from your team (either internal or external), a social media budget should include resources for:
- Creating content
- Paid social promotions
- Influencer campaigns
- Social media management tools
- Community engagement efforts
- Analytics tools
If you’ve never created a marketing budget before, here are a couple tools to help:
9. Create a reporting plan
The last step of your social media strategy is to set up a way to track results. Create a template that records the KPIs identified when you set your goals. A good report will show progress (or lack thereof) over time. Reviewing reports on a quarterly or monthly basis can inform changes in strategy, new opportunities and areas for improvement.
Companies are investing more and more into social media programs, but many are still struggling to improve the channel’s impact. A recent study by eMarketer uncovered that 6 out of 10 small businesses find it difficult to track the ROI from their social media marketing efforts. And even a survey (reflected in the chart below) of CMO’s found that the impact of social media remains difficult to prove.
A strong social media strategy will identify the metrics that matter and help marketing teams to understand where they are creating an impact on the bottom line.
Need further guidance in taking your strategy to the next level? Attend a Social Media Strategy Summit to hear the latest in best practices from top brands across multiple industries.
“As a group of micro influencers with a following geared towards travel, we often looked like a mobile film crew: constantly creating content for these fantastic companies we felt fortunate and excited to partner with on our respective social media platforms.” Check out the latest article from Social Jack! #GotInfluence
What it’s like to be part of the BarkBox content team – An interview with SMSsummit speaker Stacie Grissom
For the upcoming Social Media Strategies Summit in Chicago, I’m at work putting together a full speaker line-up of brand marketers coming to share their stories of how they’re packing a real punch with their social media and content strategy. One of these speakers is Stacie Grissom, the head of content at BarkBox: the company creating a next-generation brand for dogs and dog people through their monthly subscription of dog goodies. She let me pick her brain about what it’s like working at BarkBox and how her team sets themselves up for success in video.
Tell us a little bit about your journey at BarkBox. You were employee #3 in 2012. BarkBox has seen tremendous growth since then. How has your role changed over the years as the company has expanded?
The company is 350 employees now with an office in NYC as well as Columbus, Ohio! When I joined the company we all fit into a tiny windowless room in Chinatown, NYC. My role back then included everything from running to the post office to answering customer support emails while I got the beginnings of our content and social media plans off the ground. Today I run the content team that produces our social, video, and copy content for BarkBox. It’s been such a fun challenge for me to try and keep up with the growth of the company as it’s evolved over the years, the pace definitely pushed me beyond what I ever thought I was capable of over 5 years ago.
Engaging content is at the forefront of the BarkBox marketing strategy. Can you tell us about the structure of your marketing team, and how that has enabled your content initiatives to thrive?
At BarkBox we have a bit of a unique approach to the structure of our content and marketing teams. The content team is a completely separate group from marketing that reports up to the founder, Henrik Werdelin, who is responsible for all things creative.
From the beginning, we’ve operated under the philosophy that for people to be interested in our message or products, our strategy must focus on entertainment over selling. If you look at the entire landscape of content that we put out in the world, it’s around 80% content completely unrelated to BarkBox and 20% content involving our product. We rarely post promotions on our organic channels and reserve that for paid channels that the marketing team runs. I believe this is a huge part of our success because we’ve been able to create a party atmosphere where an audience wants to hang. The content team is the DJ, the marketing team is the party promoters.
Your team produced the catchy Dog Mom Rap in May of last year, Dog Dad love song in June, followed by the Holiday Anthem in December. BarkBox clearly has a good grasp on their target audience. How does the BarkBox team work to leverage customer insights to produce video ideas like these?
A huge part of our success in our more viral content is that I’ve always prioritized hiring dog-obsessed comedians over more traditional writers or folks with a marketing background. Humor is such a difficult yet powerful tool to connect with an audience and since I think dogs are the funniest creatures on the planet it was a natural direction to pursue in our content from the beginning.
When we set out to write something like our musical comedy pieces, we pull insights and successes from the 100+ pieces of micro-content that we put up each week. (Micro-content includes things like pictures, user-generated community videos, and dog stories that we produce.) If a piece of content performs well and connects with folks as a small moment, we will produce something higher lift around that insight and it usually pays off.
What are your top 5 social media tools, marketing blogs or resources that you couldn’t imagine living without?
What is one of the biggest challenges BarkBox is tackling right now in terms of content strategy?
I’d say that our biggest challenge at the moment is definitely being at the mercy of social media platforms all the time. I’m not sure what Facebook’s latest algorithm announcement means for us but it’s just another moment that shows how important it is that my team stays nimble and able to change strategies quickly and efficiently. As a team, we must stay curious and catch ourselves the moment we get set in our ways because our jobs can change in one algorithm update.
What are some of the most exciting shifts you’ve seen over the years in how consumers interact with your content?
One of the most exciting things to me is watching the performance of our original content start to pick up some traction and make an impact for our engagement and overall reach. While telling dog stories from our community and network will always be our bread and butter with things like subscriber features and uplifting dog moments, it’s always been a challenge to get our produced stuff to work as well as a video of a beagle stealing chicken nuggets from a toaster. I feel like we are starting to understand our larger audience of dog people and their tastes for humor and silliness and that is so exciting to me.
Don’t miss Stacie’s presentation in Chicago, where she’ll share the story of how BarkBox uses video to engage with a passionate community of dog people. Check out details here.