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Tuesday
Sep242013

3 Social Media Marketing Tools for Ignorant Brands

There are hundreds of big brands that aren’t using new media to its full potential. Just as you’re getting caught up on traditional social media marketing strategies, your customer is on to the next thing. They’re vining, snapchatting, and instagraming, spreading their digital footprint like gasoline on Tannerite. 

Did I make up those words? Who cares. Your customer is consuming and producing content in new ways, especially if they’re between the ages of 12-21.

Do me a favor. Google “vine,” “snapchat,” and “instagram,” then let me show you how to incorporate these tools into your digital marketing toolbox.

Instagram

You’re at a family barbeque when you ask your niece, “Hey, what is your favorite mobile app for sharing pictures?” She undoubtedly says, “Duh, Instagram!" 

If you’re unfamiliar with Instagram, it’s a photo-sharing app that Facebook purchased in April of 2012 for $1 billion. Yes, billion with a “b.” According to Mashable, in June of this year, they were reported to have over 130 million monthly active users. 

Highly visual brands have a massive opportunity for using Instagram in their marketing plan. Like most social media, Instagram encourages their users to use hashtags in their photos, which flag them as viable targets for companies that market highly visual merchandise. For instance, you could go to the Explore tab of the app and start following users in your niche. You may want to explore further than that, following the users that like their pictures. 

An Instagram following is all about engagement. A lot of brands would be surprised in the amount of followers they can have by just sharing a photo everyday while using the appropriate hashtags. If you’re an outdoors retailer, try sharing some pictures of hiking trails, amazing views, and people doing various activities. Also, you could use the Explore tab to comment and share the photos of others. 

Vine 

Twitter launched a new way to share video on January 24, 2013, and it’s gathered over 13 million as of June. If you haven’t noticed, the popularity of online videos has grown even more since the launch of YouTube. Vine naturally feels like a place to spread your online footprint, and the 6.5 second videos make it a great place for creativity. But what types of content do you push out there? 

Brands On Vine is a good place to get a feel for what various verticals are doing in the space. Start browsing and you’ll find some obvious ones, heavy in areas like fashion, retail, music, sports, and charity. Even consumer brands like PlayDoh are producing video content and building their following. They used their 6.5 seconds of recording time to show people how to make a PlayDoh cupcake, with icing of course.

You’ll start thinking of some videos that you could do for your SMB. A coffee shop could show how they make their newest drink. Or, an IT facilities management firm could show you around their newest dashboard for monitoring building energy usage.

Creating content is just one part of the puzzle, but what about using the video sharing service as a way to find users that might be interested in your product? Community managers and marketing directors at companies large and small should be building relationships where Vine users create brand- inspired videos. If you’re lucky enough, you could find influencers that share dozens of videos surrounding your products and services.

SnapChat

We know what you’re thinking, but yes, SnapChat is a way for marketers to reach their mobile customers. Offered on both iPhone and Android devices, SnapChat lets you send pictures or videos to your friends - or community. Once this image or video has been viewed, it will disappear in the allotted time set by the sender.

In SnapChat’s basic form, it sends quick fire messages that “self destruct” upon viewing. So, why has this confused marketers?


SnapChat provides people with the ability to make a personal connection with the person in which they’re sending the picture or video. In today’s fast moving world, people are making connections with brands on a more engaging level, especially when they use images and video. For instance, businesses of all sizes can use SnapChat for contests, discounts, insider information, brand building, and more. 

For example, you could hold a contest and have people send in their purchases from your company, whether it’s a coffee or an ice cream. Then, you could send your customers deals or discounts in return. You could even have more complex ideas based on, say “Gamification?” Build a scavenger hunt that makes users compete to get access to a discount or prize, or maybe a giveaway. You can use this method leading up to a special release or event, and lead your user onto a landing page or other social site.

These ideas may be farfetched, but they are trying to provide clues that your customers - especially between the ages of 12-21 - are fast-moving creatures who are connecting with people in every way possible. Be aware of other things aside from Yellow Page ads and your weekly newsletter that nobody reads. Venture out. Keep track of what your users are doing online. Then, think about the digital marketing ways of the future. They’re looking bright. Hey, have you heard about...

We’ll save that for another day.

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