Social media initially started as a way to make connecting with friends easier and has since grown into a tool for growing businesses, connecting nonprofits with donors, and helping churches reach new and existing members. Beyond that, social media is also a great way to develop authentic relationships with your audience, build loyal advocates that will stand by your brand for years to come, and spark conversation that leads to incredible life change.
Whether you’re launching a new product, communicating updated service times, or sharing your thoughts on an important cultural moment, social media provides a multitude of opportunities to find and engage with your target audience. It’s also the perfect place to roll out new ideas and help them gain traction.
Here are a few of our top tips when it comes to leveraging social media for your brand campaigns.
Showcase Your Values.
Social media is an extension of your brand. That’s why it’s critical that you use your brand’s values to inform and guide your social content. Here are some questions to consider when evaluating your existing social platforms:
- Is your organization’s mission/vision clearly articulated through the content you post?
- Do your posts reflect your brand’s voice and tone?
- Can you tell what your brand values are?
Showcasing your organization’s values on social media will help your audience connect with you, give them an idea of what you stand for, and determine whether that aligns with their own values. This is especially important if this is one of their first touchpoints with your brand. As you share your values, you should provide opportunities for your followers to participate and join in on the conversation as well.
When launching new brand campaigns, make sure all the graphics and content align with who you are as a brand to ensure cohesiveness across channels and platforms.
Engage With Your Audience.
Positive interactions and conversations with your social media followers are key to shifting them from simply being spectators to becoming loyal brand advocates. Some easy ways to engage with your audience include:
- Following back people who follow you.
- Liking and commenting on your follower’s posts with thoughtful responses that are open-ended and prompt them to respond back.
- Sending DMs to specific followers.
- Posting questions or requesting feedback through surveys/polls (this could include asking followers about their experience with your products/services, potential pain points, etc.). An easy way to do this is by using the Instagram Stories poll sticker or question sticker, then sharing the results with your followers.
- Sharing user-posted content to show that you appreciate their support and that interactions go both ways.
Remember that social media is not a one-way conversation. Your followers want to engage and interact with you rather than simply being fed content. When considering how to leverage social media for your next brand campaign, remember to include an element of engagement that will draw users in (and make sure you respond back as well!).
Go Live Often.
In 2020, many organizations used live-streaming as a way to stay connected with their audiences. This was true for many churches who started live streaming their services to continue to stay connected with their congregations. The increasing trend toward live-streaming in the past year shows no signs of slowing down and will likely remain popular in 2021 and beyond.
It can be intimidating to have the confidence to go live, but it’s possible to be yourself and still connect with your audience effectively by:
- Keeping followers aware of the live-stream schedule so they can be ready to tune in.
- Customizing live content to fit the needs and interests of your specific audience. For example, if you own a gardening shop, it might be valuable to do a live tutorial showing people how to build a flower bed.
- Inviting special guests or followers who are watching your live stream to participate by adding them to your live broadcast through the app’s guest features.
- Practicing what you’re going to present or explain before actually going live.
Facetime builds authenticity, and authenticity builds trust in your brand. According to a 2020 report by Edelman, 60% of customers are more willing to share their personal information with a brand they trust, 75% will likely continue to purchase from you, and 78% may encourage others to support your brand. That makes live streams a great way to add value to your audience and include a more personal element in your brand campaigns.
Relatable content invites followers to engage with your brand by commenting on posts and stories and sharing or mentioning your content on their own pages.
Creative content is the number one reason a brand’s social media presence stands out. Here are some ideas you can use in your brand campaigns to help you reach people creatively:
- Giphy stickers. It’s fairly easy to create a Giphy account and use your own photos to make stickers.
- Look into creating Augmented Reality (AR) filters for your brand. These filters are similar to Virtual Reality but only require a smartphone. According to Sprout Social, “Augmented reality experiences are inherently interactive and highly effective for engagement.”
- Utilize Instagram and Facebook story features to make surveys and ask your viewers questions.
Having these different types of sharable content equips your followers to become brand advocates rather than simply spectators. It also helps your brand reach further as your followers begin to use and share the elements you create with their friends and across their own social media channels.
When you use social media as a way to showcase your values, engage with your followers, and be creative, it can serve as a great tool to support your brand campaigns. Not only that, but it’ll help you connect with your audience and ultimately increase your brand’s reach and impact!