By Vilan Trub, Business Wire
The following is Part II of Business Wire's article providing insight into the top social media trends for 2017. Access Part I to learn what insight Lashanda Henry, SistaSense and Dr. Erica Taylor Southerland, Ph.D. had to offer.
Be Authentic. Alfred Edmond Jr., Senior VP/Executive Editor-at-Large of Black Enterprise
The key takeaway from Alfred’s presentation was “don’t play yourself.” We live in an era where there are more tools available than ever to build our own brand, but it’s important to be mindful that communicating with audiences is self-representation. Build a brand that represents you, the authentic you. Don’t waste your time creating an image online that does not reflect who you are offline and could possibly alienate your intended audience.
Every status update is a window into how audiences will see you. Brands need to protect their credibility. Every organization has issues and every social media manager needs to know these issues and public perceptions before creating their social program. They should think and verify before tweeting/retweeting, posting, reacting or aligning with a hashtag. Every update should align with the organization’s voice and brand.
Edmond Jr. also discussed best practices of live-video streaming. Live-streaming events, providing exclusive behind the scene’s sneak peeks is one of the best ways to draw in an audience. Use live video to bring your viewers into places where they can’t access themselves. This discussion lead into the concept of “celebrity.” Each industry has their own “celebrities” or “influencer.” Consider exclusive interviews with these thought leaders as a way to co-opt their audiences to promote your message. This is another great use of live-streaming to connect with your audience.
Tip: Don’t Forget Email Lists
As social media evolves and transitions into a more pay-for-play role, email lists will become more important. On social media platforms, the audience you accrue is owned by the platform and they will charge you to reach them. The only audience you own is the one you can reach on your own, such as an email list. The strongest marketing programs are ones that use all the resources available to a company – include email amplification in your programs to ensure you reach and activate your most loyal fans with your news and information.
Don’t Sleep on LinkedIn
When looking to drive sales via social channels, Edmond Jr. pleaded with viewers not to forget the power and reach of LinkedIn. LinkedIn offers access to high income decision makers, those with access to budgets. While Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great for reaching audiences, LinkedIn offers a far more unique, targeted reach. People expect to be pitched on LinkedIn, making them the perfect prospects. A great way to get acquainted with the content on LinkedIn is to check out their marketing pages blog.LinkedIn.com and LinkedIntoBusiness.com.
Drive Social Advocacy Stephanie Tavares-Rance, Director of Digital Marketing, PR and Social Media at Boston Market
Stephanie’s tips centered on three key goals: share, educate and motivate.
Content should tell a story, deliver information and solve a problem for the audience that’s being targeted. Don’t waste your time reiterating issues that potential clients might have without offering plausible solutions. This work doesn’t motivate them to act on your brand as a beneficial partner, a key component for increasing social advocacy.
Stephanie also offered some tips when crafting content for social platform distribution:
- Know your platforms. Develop content and copy with a mobile-first point of view. Have a clear understanding of image dimensions required and maximum character count.
- Vary your content. Content should change with each platform to best suit the platform’s capabilities. Image dimensions, character count, and understanding unique audiences to each platform will help tailor craft your messaging.
- Use CTAs. Calls to action should move audiences to go beyond the view to action. Getting audiences to consume your content is the first step. Get them moving down the sales funnel by encouraging they take further, proactive steps in learning more about your brand or product.
- No words needed. Video content should be able to tell a story without sound. Social platforms are often mobile platforms and engaged with on the go. Create video content that tells a story visually because you don’t know when audiences will or won’t be listening to audio, if they find themselves in public spaces.
- Be interesting. Posts should engage the reader to share, comment and provide their own stories. Posts should be conversation starters, opening two-way dialogue.
Melissa Kimble, Founder of #blkcreatives and Senior Social Media Manager at Ebony
Melissa kicked off her portion of the webinar by posing several intriguing questions:
- Are you resting on utilizing social media as the “face” of your business or are you using it as a tool to leverage your business?
- Are you utilizing social media to create noise or to create necessary relationships? How can you create a more well-rounded brand offline?
Strategy starts with intention and the goal is to utilize social media platforms to maximize the visibility and impact of brand communications. With all of the noise that social media creates, people are hungry for more substantial, real life experiences. They are authentic and tangible and they crave likeminded content. These experiences include in-person events, face-to-face meetings or even phone calls and allow social media to supplement what the brand is creating offline.
Melissa explained that social media is a game that changes but brands need to keep doing what makes sense for their business and bottom line. The best way to approach social media, she suggested, was by staying focused on managing a few platforms well.
Creating a successful social media program starts with a deep understanding of your organization, your goals, your positive traits and your flaws. Understanding who you are, and who you want to be is the first step in building an online branding program that connects with intended audiences and ultimately drives to your business goals. Once you know what your organization stands for, you can select your platforms, create your brand voice and the content you need to translate your organization into a tangible brand online, and off.
Interested in learning more about using social media to amplify your news and content? Email us now!
This webinar is available for replay here: http://bit.ly/2lAeZRQ and you can view the event Storify here: https://storify.com/serena/business-wire-and-black-pr-wire-2017-social-media-