Social Media: How to make [the right] friends and influence people [who matter]

It’s one of those randomly attributed phrases that people throw around in social media: “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”

We’ve all probably randomly scrolled past that phrase and ones like it a thousand times. But for some reason, reading that today on LinkedIn got me thinking — why do so many brands just follow the status quo for social media when the space is made so that the user can stand out from the crowd?

There are so many different ways to reach out not only to your customers as a whole, but to maybe even excite a niche crowd. Here are three of those ways:

Tactic #1. Pioneer uncharted platforms — go where competitors aren’t

In navigating the competitive marketplace for high-end jewelry, the team at Brian Gavin Diamonds needed a cost-effective method to help them stand out.

At MarketingSherpa Summit 2016, Danny Gavin, Vice President and Director of Marketing, Brian Gavin Diamonds, discussed how the team wasn’t afraid of going somewhere the competition had yet to explore to do that.

This attitude led them to Vine, a social app that allows for six seconds of looping video clips.

“The natural paths of marketing can be more expensive. We turned to social,” he said. “No one in the jewelry business was using Vine. It was a wide-open playing field.”

There’s a reason no one else had dared — six seconds is not a lot of time to tell a story and sell customers.

The team came up with a four-part strategy to their Vine videos to surpass that hurdle:

  1. Don’t oversell
  2. Be true to the platform
  3. Be timely and relevant
  4. Distill

This Vine video follows that strategy by quickly showcasing what the company can do with the caption: “From idea, to design, to the custom engagement ring of your dreams … Brian Gavin Diamonds is a cut beyond brilliant.”

By venturing out from the normal platforms for their sphere, the team was able to even make an impact in email marketing by including the Vine content:

  • 23% increase in open rate
  • 1,241% increase in CTR

Despite there being no direct pulls to the website in the Vine platform, the team has seen 20% increase in direct traffic and 13% increase in year-over-year total traffic. While they can’t attribute that completely to Vine, Gavin felt confident it had a significant impact on the increases.

When working in uncharted platforms, Gavin told attendees, “You have to just jump, and don’t be afraid.”

Editor’s Note: Since this case study’s publication, Twitter has shut down Vine’s mobile app. According to Danny, the team has repurposed much of that content onto Instagram.

Tactic #2. Connect customers with employees

Bringing your customers and employees together can be one of the best ways to bring out your brand personality and build a connection.

In a case study featuring fashion brand Lilly Pulitzer , the team connected customers with brand designers in an attempt to continue building up brand fervor.

Lilly Pulitzer is known for its colorful prints, and that is what led the team to the Lilly 5×5 campaign, where designers create an original 5×5 print to be posted on social media five days a week. It’s a way to not only test out new designs, but familiarize customers with the designers and the process.

“Many people still don’t know that all of the prints that are on our dresses, and our clothes are all created in-house by an in-house team of artists,” said Eleni Tavantzis, Senior Manager of Social Media Marketing and Public Relations, Lilly Pulitzer.

There are just 10 designers who paint, sketch, water-color and play with acrylics, and the team uses these prints as an opportunity to be timely and relevant, celebrating holidays and pop culture moments through the designs.

“It’s a chance to try something different. They’re trying a new critter that they want to insert into a print. They might play around and see what sea lions could look like,” she said.

The 5×5 campaign became the most viewed piece of content continually across all social platforms, Eleni said.

“I think it really has never gotten stale, and it really is the thing that is so defendable by reinforcing our print — our resort chic connection and then the emotional connection for the girls,” she said.

Often, right after posting, Tavantzis said the team will review the reception of the print and see if customers commenting or tweeting, ‘Screenshot it, it’s my background. I need it,’ or, ‘Please make this into a dress.’

Tactic #3. Treat followers like family

Go above and beyond to make customers feel how important they are to you — show up for them on social media, and they’ll show up for you when it comes time to purchase.

Online fitness retailer Tigerfitness.com has set itself apart from big competition , which includes behemoths like Amazon, and risen to viral video status by doing just that.

“Your customers pay your bills. It is what it is. Treat them like gold. That’s it,” said Marc Lobliner, Chief Executive Officer, MTS Nutrition and Chief Marketing Officer, TigerFitness.com. “When I do business with someone, I want a handshake; I want you to look in my eye, and I want to know that you have my best interest in mind.”

When Marc began posting videos in the beginning of 2012, he was initially against it because he didn’t want to get too personal with content. So, the team began slowly by posting simple product reviews — the first of which ended up getting 70,000 views in a week.

At that time, he was an amateur bodybuilder, and when he began thinking about going for his pro card, he began filming his training. As he brought himself, his family and his team more and more into videos and social media, followers grew.

“It started out [with product reviews], and then it became more of a lifestyle/training/Q&A. It just kind of went all over the place. But it grew organically,” Marc said.

That organic growth of the TigerFitness audience has equaled:

  • 308,764 YouTube subscribers
  • 91,567 Facebook page likes and 90,057 page followers
  • 58,600 Instagram followers
  • 11,600 Twitter followers

“My job was to build a brand and to integrate it within the site, and I was focused on that, but I never once thought I’d be on YouTube, you know? I thought it was silly,” he said.

By setting he and his team up as leaders in the fitness word, Marc is providing more than just a product to customers — they’re giving them value.

“You cannot compete with Amazon on price. You cannot compete with them on service … So, at the end of the day, what are you going to compete on? It leaves us one thing: You’re going to compete with them on personalization,” he said.

You might also like…

See Marc Lobliner of TigerFitness speak on this topic on-stage at MarketingSherpa Summit 2017

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About Courtney Eckerle

With a focus on aspirational, customer-first marketing, Courtney’s goal has been to produce clear, interesting and actionable external content for MarketingSherpa readers. This has included writing over 300 case studies, moderating live event interviews, and producing video content. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, Mass Communications and Film Studies from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., and was a correspondent for USA Today College prior to joining MECLABS Institute.

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