If you want to build a strong brand, you can't get away with posting a message on social media every now and then; When you have a hole and just took a nice picture. A social media strategy is necessary. Christy Ashley and Tracy Tuten researched creative strategies on social media. Their content analysis shows which channels you can use best and which kind of messages appeal the most. Watch and learn!
The link between branding and social media
Whatever you post on social media, one thing is always important: the information must be relevant to the customer, otherwise your customer will not feel involved in your brand. Here lies the core of branding. Because if a customer feels involved in your brand, he or she is more inclined to express it on social media. Think of a like, share of comment. The moment you share valuable information on social media, you give people a reason to like or value your brand and share it.
But that's not so easy. Research by Sheehan and Morrison shows that there are four major challenges for marketers: How do you use social media effectively? How do you translate creativity into your marketing? How do you motivate customers to share their stories? How can you reinvent mass media? Although there is not one answer that answers all these questions, customer engagement plays a big role in this. It also appears that branding on social media is strongly related to how well a company is doing financially.
Different channels, different goals
Researchers Ashley and Tuten examined the social media posts of 28 brands known for their strong branding. You may immediately think of Facebook in 'social media', but in this case in a social media channel purely a channel in which the interaction with the customer is entered into. For example, it turned out that 96.4 of the brands had a microblog (e.g. Twitter). Also 96.4 made used from a social network (Facebook) and finally microsites were the platform for 96.4 of the brands. 'Brands go where the consumers are', so it might be interesting to see how you can use microblogs and social networks. Microsites are special websites that belong to a large website, usually set up for a particular campaign. Think of the Doritos Crash the Superbowl. Such a separate website ensures that you don't have to adapt your normal website too much, but can still convey the same look and feel.
The brands had an average of 207,070 followers on Twitter, 4,872 tweets in 1 week and 1,802+ million fans on Facebook. In terms of Twitter followers, it was found that the brands with the most Twitter posts per week also had the most followers. It also turned out that the more channels a brand used, the more followers the brand had and it also meant that the engagement score was higher.
42.9 indicated that it would use 'emotional appeal' as a strategy for the messages that respond to social needs.
These messages do work and they don't
Now comes the interesting thing. The study looked at what strategy for messaging was applied in the campaigns. This showed that 89.2 of the brands applied 'functional appeal', which means that the message explained how the promoted product or service should be used. This is more practically oriented, for example explaining how your coaching works.
Another interesting fact is that more than half of the brands in their posts on social media explain how the user, reader or customer will experience the product or service. What would it look like, taste, sound, feel or smell? The difference between this point and the 'functional appeal' is that this goes a step further; it's not about what your coaching process looks like, it's what it's really like to take on such a trajectory or what strategies you would apply. The research shows that these kinds of messages provide a lot of commitment.
42.9 indicated that it would use 'emotional appeal' as a strategy for the messages that respond to social needs. Such a message explains how using the product or service will make him or her feel. This is more about the psychological aspect. Surprisingly, this results in a lower engagement score.
Interactivity on social media
The biggest difference between traditional media (television, newspaper) and new media (Facebook, websites) is interactivity. An important insight from this research is the high interactivity of the posts on social media. 92.9 of the brands invited the customer to share content. Think of comments, captions, videos or images that visitors can share. Exactly half of the brands surveyed actually gave a reward for sharing content, for example in a competition (the most beautiful photo wins a product) or for example an e-book as a reward for sharing a good tip. Brands that offered such a reward had more followers on Twitter, more fans and a higher engagement score.
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