Despite being talked about by marketers for the better part of the last 5 years, social media marketing is just now reaching a point of maturation for many of the large brands. What started with strategies of simply figuring out what to post to get the most likes and followers, many brands are now looking to how they can fully embrace the various social platforms to truly connect with customers and drive sales and revenue. And brand loyalty.
Today’s major question posed by marketers using social is not “how do I get the most likes?”, but rather “how do I connect and engage with consumers in a meaningful way that helps business objectives?”.
In today’s marketing landscape, not only does a brand’s content, advertising and marketing materials have to connect to its audience, it has to inspire that audience to share it, talk about it, and in some cases, participate in the campaign.
Does a campaign become more credible and authentic once the consumer is involved?
It seems the resounding answer has been yes.
Creating Inherently Social Campaigns
Many of today’s leading brands realize the need to provide tools for the consumer to take action and participate in their campaigns. It’s not enough to simply promote your own message and creative materials, you have to get your target consumers to also contribute their own content, thoughts and ideas to the campaign.
Amplifying marketing messages and campaigns involves designing your marketing activities to have an inherently social motivator that inspires broader engagement and sharing – which, ultimately, is what ensures success for any campaign efforts.
This means much more than planning a marketing campaign and then thinking that “let’s do something social.” In today’s marketing landscape, simply uploading a television commercial to YouTube is not enough.
Designing consumer-led and driven campaigns that are inherently social means that the core concepts for campaigns must invite customers to share and participate in an experience.
This could mean something as simple as encouraging conversation centered around a branded hashtag (read my 12 tips for effective Twitter hashtag marketing and 6 Cross-Platform Hashtag Marketing Campaigns) to sourcing content from your community to be used in marketing materials and ecommerce pages.
By doing so, this gives the consumer the opportunity to extend the branded campaign far beyond the initial post or promotion efforts. By offering experiences that customers WANT to participate in, brands have the opportunity to greatly expand the reach of their own marketing efforts – without spending additional budget on media buys and spend.
As brands incorporate social content into all aspects of marketing campaigns this has created an environment where digital marketing has evolved into a customer-led conversation. The fact is, consumers are more likely to believe the review or online endorsement of another consumer over a brand-released marketing message.