New Ways to Engage Customers and Build a Brand

March 1, 2016 Updated: March 4, 2016
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In 2015, we witnessed a great number of marketing enhancements in the social networking sphere, including native social ads, Instant Articles on Facebook, SnapChat Discover, and more. In 2016, we’ll see an increased focus on content marketing, storytelling, producing videos for social media.

The Content Marketing Institute describes “content marketing”: “Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.”

Content marketing has become a widespread practice across the different industries today. In a detailed analysis compiled by Curata.com, we see that 76 percent of marketers are increasing investment toward content marketing. This translates to stiffer competition.

Here are the expected trends developing around content-marketing strategies:

  • 70 percent of business-to-business (B2B) branding is creating more content this year. In 2015, there was a 55 percent increase in B2B content-marketing spending.
  • 77 percent of marketers in the LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community increased content production.
  • In 2016, exactly 60 percent of companies will have an executive in the organization overseeing content-marketing strategy.

For the content marketing efforts to work to perfection, each organization will need to have a clear understanding of what objectives they want to achieve.

It is estimated that mobile users in 2016 will reach 4.61 billion, according to Statista.com. In other words, you will have greater opportunities to grow your brand with digital marketing. To successfully engage audiences, companies will have to create separate tactics for the different social networks and become effective storytellers.

There is no one silver bullet or specific winning strategy on social media that is tailored to the needs of every single industry. It comes down to generating and producing original content, along with having a distinct expertise and voice.

If you find it difficult to formulate a plan around content marketing, there are several options, divided into various levels of content:

  1. Content level 1: printed books, eBooks, white papers, guides, and short or long-form videos.
  2. Content level 2: long-form blog posts and presentations.
  3. Content level 3: infographics and SlideShares.
  4. Content level 4: blog posts and contributed content.
  5. Content level 5: social media posts and curated content.

Look at successful competitors in the marketplace and learn from how they are creating a meaningful experience with their content marketing stories. Once you harness the idea, put it to work. Clearly differentiate the company’s unique value proposition for the products and services you provide.

Aligning, Integrating, and Optimizing Your Content Marketing Efforts on Social Media Channels

Most users who possess a smartphone are likely to have a couple dozen apps installed.

Among these you can expect the usual suspects (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, WhatsApp, Vine, and others). With billions of users connected on each platform, businesses will have to understand how each channel works to better generate organic engagement and sales transactions.

Once upon a time, pictures were drivers of website traffic; now native videos on social media are instrumental to a brand’s success. A comprehensive survey called “The Smart Social,” conducted by Spreadfast, looked at 50 different brands. The analysis encourages the adoption of social media videos.

According to capital firm KPCB: “As consumers spend more time on their mobile devices they are also increasing the amount of time spent on social media year-over-year. In other words, social has become video’s new home. Social media companies have responded by devoting considerable resources to native video streaming.”

Different brands saw varying results from each social media service. Here are the major findings and highlights from the report:

  1. The English Premier League attracted 32 million Facebook page Likes.
  2. The National Basketball Association (NBA) has one of the largest followings of any of the brands analyzed on YouTube with a 98 percent positive response rate.
  3. Netflix performed great on Twitter by mixing up a healthy posting schedule and attracting high engagement.
  4. Nescafé is now hosted on the social property Tumblr.
  5. Victoria Secret increased its engagement and following on Instagram by 30 percent.
  6. Barclays has the fastest Facebook customer-service turnaround time, responding in 38 minutes, on average.

The above research results can serve as a viable model for brands and businesses to reference in their content marketing planning.

Video will play a big part in 2016. To be a video vanguard keep in mind these steps: dig deeper on data, cast a wide net, and change it up. In regards to your data, rather than sharing the same video on the multiple networks, create optimized versions and adapt it to the specific social network.

When casting or distributing video content, do not rely on one single social network. Share your videos natively and utilize social listening tools to understand audience behavior.

Listening cannot be stressed enough and people on social media share honest and uncensored information. Everything revolves around conversations, so dive in and start to observe how audiences interact with specific pieces of content.

Instead of planning “to a T,” allow for unfiltered and unedited posts to be shared spontaneously. Why? It makes the brand seem much more human and users will approach you with greater confidence.

Your content will succeed when it is targeted toward the needs of the audience. Leave room for experimentation, connect with online communities outside social networks and use some newer tools (Babbly, for example) to amplify your content.

Takeaways and Conclusions

Your content will become increasingly visible when you are active and present on all major social media services.

Snapchat is amassing incredible growth, with 100 million active users and a billion views daily. Another powerful platform to include in your social media planning is Pinterest.

Content is still king and strategic distribution queen.

Be creative with the videos and provide some do-it-yourself (DIY) hacks. Feature testimonials that explain exactly what makes the business tick. Make the video content snackable and amusing when appropriate.

Look at what did not work in 2015 and perfect your social media pitch. Tap into younger platforms, since the engagement rates are skyrocketing there. Finally, designate teams to monitor your social media activity and invest organizational resources to grow your brand’s visibility.