Social media usage in Canada is climbing as consumers are finding more ways to connect, share and consume content online. According to Mintel (2018), Canadian consumers say they use social media to read reviews of a product or service before they purchase. With every passing day, the technology behind-the-scenes (or, behind-the-screen, if you will) becomes more sophisticated, unlocking new ways for brands to drive insights as well as links from social activity to their ROI.
Social Media Week in Toronto brought inspiring thought leaders together to discuss how social media is being utilized, the power it holds for brands, and its effects on our culture. Here’s a roundup of some staggering statistics from the keynote speakers:
- 1 million videos are shared on the internet every second.
- Facebook generates 8 billion video views on average per day.
- In 2000, a human’s average attention span was 12 seconds. In 2015, a human’s average attention span was 8 seconds. The average attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds.
- 75% of consumers expect a brand to make a contribution to their wellbeing and quality of life.
There is immense opportunity to reach consumers and build relationships through social media when the medium is approached with a thoughtful strategy. SMWiTO underscored some key insights for businesses that plan to build their presence online with social media.
It’s Not Personal
Brands might find, depending on their industry, that consumers engage more with behind-the-scenes or team-oriented content. They may feel a natural progression toward posting personal content rather than business-focused content. However, Jason Hsiao of Animoto cautioned the audience of media planners, social media managers, entrepreneurs and content creators not to treat social media for business the same as a personal profile.
Social media is a platform to tell a brand’s story. Part of that brand story may be an amazing office culture where employees can bring dogs to the office. Root the content strategy in the intended audience: Are you talking to prospective new clients? Prospective new employees? If those the brand is targeting is not aligned with who their target is, it’s time to re-examine the strategy.
Whatever you choose to post, all content should be relatable to the brand in some way, according to #SMWTO speakers. That content doesn’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) a hard sell about the brand in every post. Viewers are looking for content that adds value. Brands can cast a wider, more relevant net with consumers by sharing brand-adjacent content that complements their business offering, like an accessory to dress up the outfit available in their online store.
As you look for brand-adjacent opportunities to leverage, scrutinize the opportunities. If a trending hashtag has nothing to do with your brand, using it will impact your brand perception. Likewise, if there’s a National Holiday that doesn’t align with the brand’s core values, it’s not imperative to participate. Make smarter connections, and think about the streams you’re placing yourself in. Are your likes from a hashtag that is meaningless to the brand? More impressions don’t outweigh high quality connections.
Authenticity Builds Trust
Many self-made influencers, Youtubers, bloggers and meme-queens took the stage during Social Media Week. When asked about their rise to fame and how they captured the attention of millions of followers, the common answer among all was, stay true to yourself and stay raw, real and authentic. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not, just tell the world who you are and what you have to offer.
Jason Hsiao told the audience succinctly, “Authenticity is more important than hilarity.” If being funny isn’t a part of your brand, don’t focus on it. “It’s really hard to try to be funny and pull it off”, he cautioned. Focus on what will tell your brand story, and forming content that serves your brand message.
Build It And
They Will Come Go Get ‘Em!
The traditional consumer relationship with advertising was a one-to-many approach. Brands would put up a website or launch an ad campaign, and wait for customers to come into contact with them. With social media and the exponential growth in MarTech, brands can bring their message to the most relevant audience, in a contextually relevant environment. Brands can share their story, build trust, make connections, and extend their marketing campaign further down the funnel with digital and social media tactics. Once you’ve built excellent, relevant content designed to inform and influence consumers during their path to purchase, utilize a paid social strategy to bring that message to them!
According to Mintel (2018), over half of Canadian males (50%) and females (55%) check Facebook every day. There is immense opportunity on social media for connection, but those touch points must be impactful, targeted and relevant to the consumer. Algorithm changes in top platforms make it harder for brands’ organic content to break through the noise without ad spending. A media partner can help you amplify your message with prospecting, targeting and retargeting tactics to reach your audience based on their interest. Reach out to consumers who have shown an interest in your products or competitors and share information with them. If a consumer went to your website and started filling out the contact form but left without finishing, use paid social to target them and send them a reminder.
To be successful on social media, it’s important to start with a sturdy foundation. Drive more value from your social media campaign by understanding the purpose of each platform (as well as social media as a tactic within your campaign) and leverage its power effectively. And remember…your brand is being judged by its social media!