Why creating an engaged community is crucial to increasing revenue and brand awareness
Does your brand have its advocates dispersed strategically across the social stratosphere? Are you creating content in a meaningful way? Are you actually seeing the efforts being translated into a dollar value?
Social Media is now intrinsic to the foundations of our digitally engaged society. As each generation grows up with a new channel, there’s fluctuation in the popularity of platforms. However, fundamentally social media is here to stay. Most importantly we need to ask the question: how can retailers translate these communities into useful tools for business growth?
It’s important to look at the success stories of start-up businesses who have utilised individual platforms in a sophisticated manner. By inherently having the ability to be nimble and agile, they can evolve and expand rapidly through making a few smart decisions.
Take Sabo Skirt for example, a fashion start-up business based in Queensland with a pure play e-commerce store. By tapping into the already targeted marketplace of Instagram, they have grown their reach to a global scale. With a hefty 1.1 million followers currently, they leverage a unique blend of product, editorial and behind-the-scenes content which genuinely engages their audience.
There’s a component to their social strategy which has been very successful; the involvement of the two co-founders as advocates. Each has an active community of their own, with around 100k followers a piece. They post regular content on the Sabo Skirt Instagram to give their customers a peek into their daily life.
This central community on Instagram has enabled Sabo Skirt to expand exponentially and increase their revenue. They have now had a collection in David Jones, a new e-commerce store launch within the last 6 months and some beautiful campaign lookbooks to engage with their customers (most recently being Bali).
By comparison, there are many big corporates who have taken to social media incredibly well, by primarily using witty copy, strategic hashtags or statement imagery to differentiate themselves from their competitors when news stories break.
A great example of a viral social media story is the bending of Apple’s newest product: the iPhone 6 Plus. Leveraging the hashtag “#BendGate,” Samsung created a controversial, yet still hilarious, image with the single tagline “Bend to those who are worthy.” It featured an upright, unbent Samsung phone and a bent iPhone folded over in-front of the Samsung. (see below)
Others who have jumped on the bandwagon include Heineken, Kit Kat and LG on Twitter.
Seeing as there’s a hashtag in the title of this article, it seems important to discuss this unique and useful tool being implemented across most social media platforms. As mentioned above, the hashtag “#BendGate” created an easy way for brands to communicate with their consumers.
With that thought in mind, many successful uses of the hashtag strategy have been at events. For example, as the Super Bowl was on in February of 2014, the hashtag #SuperBowlXLIX was trending across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Brands and their customers communicated in an easy-to-access medium about the scores, Super Bowl ads and their experience at the game.
Tapping into an already existing audience is the easiest way for brands to engage on social media, so utilising the perfect hashtag is crucial for brands to remain relevant in the digital landscape.
If you’re doing the following, you’re definitely on the right track to winning at social media smarts:
- Responding directly to customers who engage you on social media
- Posting engaging content, which is not always product related but also brand building.
- Having a sense of timeliness in “trending” and “viral” social opportunities
- A strong brand tone-of-voice which is consistent across all channels
- A good use of hashtags which suit your brand