4 Questions to Spark Your Next Big Social Media Marketing Idea
The social media marketing landscape is constantly evolving. But at its heart, social media is a creative medium. To get your creative juices flowing for your next social media post or campaign, here are five social media marketing idea questions you can use as starting points to brainstorm with your team.
Idea Generator #1: How Can You Leverage Your Brand’s Physical Presence?
With the news of Sears bankruptcy and Jeff Bezos becoming the richest man in the world, the industry chatter has increased around the “e-commerce is ascendant and bricks-and-mortar is dead” conversation.
But don’t overlook the power of place when it comes to social. While social media is a digital medium, it often occurs in the physical world on mobile devices.
One way to encourage social media sharing in the physical world is to build a wall.
You can build a social wall – one of the tactics Topgolf used to increase Twitter followers 182%. A social wall is essentially a digital monitor with a computer built-in that serves up social posts based on a search term.
In Topgolf’s case, when someone tweets with the hashtag #ILoveTopgolf it shows up on the social wall at all of its locations.
“The purpose of the wall was to raise awareness about Topgolf social media at the [physical location] site, make it more top of mind so people wanted to interact with us on social,” said Adrienne Chance, Director of Corporate Communications, Topgolf. "You can see what Topgolf looks like from Phoenix to Chicago to Dallas, wherever you are. It's a really neat visualization at our site.”
But there’s another type of wall that has nothing to do with technology – a picture wall (or you could call it an Instagram wall). Create a branded backdrop at your store, restaurant, office, event or other physical location that is worth sharing on social media.
For e-commerce-only companies, the physical presence may be in product fulfillment. What can you do that produces a real “wow” factor when someone receives their order? The plethora of unboxing videos online prove that this can be a shareworthy moment as well.
Idea Generator #2: Is There Humanity in Your Brand’s Use of Social Media?
Social media was a technology invented for humans to connect with humans (in a monetizable way, natch). Of course brands were on board fairly quickly, but when it’s an organization instead of an individual behind the account, it’s all too easy to overlook the humanity.
Some brands have humanized their voices, like Wendy’s and Moon Pie on Twitter. While that works for those brands, many people wouldn’t trust a bank or IT security vendor that embodied the same snark.
A bigger struggle in finding a human social media voice may be the size of the company itself, however. Smaller, less bureaucratic organizations can be more naturally human. This may be one reason that the larger the e-commerce company, the less significant social media is as a traffic driver.
Beyond humanizing a brand’s voice, every organization is stock full of real, live humans. How can you get them engaged in your social media? How can you highlight your customers and people you serve? For example, stories about patients, especially ones who are thriving despite cancer, performed very well on social media channels for Lazarex Cancer Foundation.
In addition to your employees and customers, it can help to tap into humans who already have an audience on social media – influencers. Sales increased 220% the week Kylie Jenner did a promoted post on Instagram about HiSmile.
Not every influencer needs to be a huge celebrity like Kylie Jenner. GNC add more than 383,000 Facebook fans and 60,000 Twitter followers by engaging with people active in social media and online groups that were passionate about areas that aligned with GNC’s products – like bodybuilding and yoga. They engaged in conversations showing the benefit of GNC products to get more people into that sport and sent free products encouraging reviews.
Idea Generator #3: Where Are Your Customers When Interacting on Social Media?
Mobile goes hand in hand with social media marketing – 91% of Facebook’s total ad sales came from mobile in the first quarter of this year.
And yet, like many marketers planning social media campaigns, I’m sitting at a laptop with two extra monitors, a separate keyboard, and a separate mouse. This is a very different experience than the one many social media followers will have.
So it’s important to consider where and how customers will interact with your social media. For example, when maurices launched a Fashion Week social media contest, it made sure to create an easy-to-use, mobile-friendly entry page.
Idea Generator #4: What Are You Doing That Is Worth Sharing on Social Media?
While social media is new, it has a core similarity to successful business in general. A company should first build value into its product offerings and then try to communicate a strong perceived value. Creating value comes before communicating that value.
Social media is similar. If you want people to share about your brand on social media, create value.
When I asked Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales about user-generated content, he said. “A lot of people do approach it from [the] mindset…‘I want to get some content so I need some free labor to build content for me. So I start with the chunk of work and then I figure out how to get people to do that work. And that's completely backwards.”
“It's sort of like if you open up a bowling alley and you said, ‘Gee we've got all this bowling to be done how are we gonna trick people into bowling for us. Instead you say, ‘well, wait, what do people want?” Wales said. He advised retailers to ask themselves, “What is it my customers want to accomplish, what is it that they're trying to express and how can I help them to express that?”
Wales was talking specifically about getting customers to post reviews, but social media is similar. Do things customers want to share – disruptively positive customer service that is so good customers want to show appreciation for it, unique experiences that they want to share because it makes them look special, or helpful and entertaining content that they want to share so others can benefit from it.
If you want customers to share your brand and engage on social media marketing, give them a good reason to do it.
Daniel Burstein is the Senior Director, Content and Marketing at MECLABS Institute. Daniel oversees all content and marketing coming from the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa brands while helping to shape the marketing direction for MECLABS — digging for actionable discoveries while serving as an advocate for the audience.