Using Social Media to Tell your Story, Expand your Reach

Written by Kelly Stincer.

In 2016, the online, social world is often just as important as the real, physical world. Consider this: Facebook alone has grown to 1.65 billion active users, and accounts for one out of every six minutes spent online worldwide. Social media has changed the way we interact with our friends and family, but also the companies we love. About a third of Facebook users regularly engage with brands on the site. On Instagram, the number is even higher at 68 percent. This means consumer-focused startups need to understand how leveraging social media can help them reach their desired audience, and generate excitement around their products and brand.

SEEN, based in Columbus, Ohio, helps amplify brand messaging and increase consumer affection for national brands like Chevrolet, Reebok and Hilton. The company pairs them with influential content creators who can incorporate products into their authentic social storytelling. This approach to marketing helps brands create content that influences consumers’ buying habits in an organic way.

While startup founders don’t often have a dedicated marketing staff and have limited time to develop and implement a social strategy, Alex Ditty, director of marketing at SEEN, says there are ways to maximize the impact of any post. Here are his tips to help generate interest and increase sales.

  1. Know Your Customer – Figure out who you need to appeal to in order to grow your following and create brand loyalty. Ditty says creating your ideal customer and speaking directly to that fictional character every time you post will keep your messaging consistent and on-point. Do this by being in-tune with who your current customers are and understand the activities they love and the social networks they use. This will help you understand what resonates with them and how they respond to different types of content.
  1. Don’t Overdo It – Barraging your social followers with posts will dilute your message and make them less likely to actually read and interact. Ditty says there’s no exact science to the number of posts you should generate, but offers these guidelines: Millennials follow a large number of people and organizations, so a higher volume and variety of posts on their feed is standard. Older audiences are not known to follow as many pages, so you’ll want to hold back on how much you’re sharing to avoid oversaturating their feed.
  1. Tailor Your Message – Facebook and Twitter have different functions than Instagram and Snapchat. Customizing your social strategy to different mediums will allow you to engage customers in different ways. For Facebook and Twitter posts, include a call to action — whether that’s driving customers to your website, signing up for a contest or subscribing to email updates. Your messaging on Instagram and Snapchat should be much more organic and focus on telling your company’s story. Build your brand with lifestyle content that increases awareness and focuses on the culture connected with your business.
  1. Know When to Post – Because algorithms on social media sites decide what shows up on a person’s feed based on what they like, attention for everyday posts should be focused on content, not timing. But there are certain times when your social media team should have their hand on the trigger ready to post. If there are major events that your audience will likely engage with, like the Super Bowl or the Oscars, that’s a great chance to be part of the conversation and integrate your brand.
  1. Don’t Just Rely on Ads – While buying social media ads can be an effective and economical tool in your marketing plan, it’s important to supplement those ads with authentic content. Not every interaction with your audience should be aimed at sales, and having content that simply builds a connection with people will make them more likely to respond to your sponsored posts.

Ditty says these guidelines will keep you on the right track, but the most important tip is being true to your company’s story. Authenticity goes a long way with customers, and keeping a consistent message on what the company stands for and the culture that it’s connected with is vital. Your company’s social media presence should feel like a friend to your followers.

*SEEN was founded in 2011 and received early stage funding from the Ohio Tech Angel Fund, a central Ohio partner of the Ohio Third Frontier.

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