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BizReport : Social Marketing : November 18, 2020

Expert: How to improve social strategy

Social marketing has perhaps never been as important to a brand as in 2020 when consumers were locked down during a worldwide pandemic. But, there remain friction points between consumers and brands within the social space. We asked a digital expert how brands can improve their overall social strategy.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: What are brands getting right on social?

Henk Campher, VP of Corporate Marketing & Head of Social Impact, Hootsuite: We're seeing many brands take an inventive and original approach to reimagining the customer experience on social. While many brands once relied on physical experiences to drive revenue and build customer loyalty, the world changed when the pandemic hit. Retailers began using social to fill the void of in-person shopping and brands like Clarins have proven its success. At the start of the pandemic, the team called on Clarins beauty coach Rebecca Jones to share expertise with customers by posting new videos daily--from her own bedroom--via Instagram Stories. Rebecca shared skincare rituals designed to address the different sensitivities that consumers were finding with their skin. The results were immediate and positive, with story completion rates jumping from a previous average of 20% to 75%--the highest rate the team had seen on social. The team also developed and launched a new service called Clarins & Me, allowing customers to book a free video consultation with a Clarins beauty advisor. Launched just two weeks into the lockdown, the new service was successful from the start, with more than 450 bookings in the first month alone.   

Kristina: How should brands adjust social media strategies as we head into 2021? 

Henk: As we head into 2021, we'll see more brands bridge the gap between customer identity and engagement. Before the pandemic hit, there was a common skepticism from executives about the ROI of social. That has since changed as social proved to be a valuable vehicle for driving engagement and increasing brand awareness during the onset of COVID-19. In 2021, more brands will begin taking steps to quantify the ROI of social. Integrating CMS systems with social media can be a complex and difficult process and we'll see more brands measure the impact of social with integrated paid and organic social strategies. 

Kristina: Why should brands refocus their social strategy from ads to relationship building? How do they approach this important change? 

Henk: We've found that the vast majority of mature brands on social media prefer to engage in conversations rather than running ads. This investment in relationship building has helped these brands build strong bonds with their audiences that ultimately benefited their business. To approach this important change, brands can rally their social teams to put resources into replying and interacting with fans, and not just pumping out promotional posts. It also comes down to fine-tuning your brand's personality and creating content your audience actually wants to engage with. Before publishing your next social post, ask if you are adding to the conversation or cutting it off. 

Kristina: Are there social networks that are more valuable to brands right now? 

Henk: From July to September of 2020, we saw Instagram added the greatest number of new users, posting even stronger growth figures than Facebook. The advertising audience for this platform grew by more than 76 million, according to our Digital 2020 October Statshot. Other social platforms like Snapchat and TikTok added a significant amount of users during the same time period. 

While Instagram recently acquired the greatest number of new users, it doesn't mean this is the appropriate platform for every brand. There are various factors that come into play when determining the most valuable social channel for your brand including audience type, brand goals, etc. For example, a retail brand that is targeting Gen Z might find more value in TikTok whereas a B2B brand that sells software services will benefit from networking connections on LinkedIn. 

Tags: advertising social commerce, ecommerce, Hootsuite, social advertising, social marketing, social marketing tips, social marketing trends

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