Many of us marketers would love to be the pioneer on a new social media platform who develops the first native advertising ploy, organic social engagement, or paid placement. CMOs love when their thought leaders test new frontiers and grow audiences outside of the box. But most of us have a limited allowance for test-and-learn opportunities, so we have to ask ourselves in earnest: “Is this the best opportunity for my time and money?”
Let’s take a break from learning the dance steps to the latest TikTok viral meme in order to look at the demographics and demands of each popular social platform today. To plan the most effective social strategies, marketers should evaluate a few multichannel tactics and tools that you’ve probably considered, and learn how to leverage those in your social strategy, too.
New platforms emerge frequently, but unless you have an unlimited budget, it’s best to pilot all of the options before trying anything new. Outside of social media aggregate sites and platforms, there are other elements of a social strategy to consider, too. Here are a few social media platforms and tactics to consider for 2022.
As the figurative student body presidents and mayors of your local communities, micro-influencers are an effective choice for channel marketers. Micro-influencers work well for channel marketing because they’re people deeply ingrained with regional communities who speak the same language and know the hot local trends, so you can reach those communities with you. While a micro-influencer strategy wouldn’t work for every brand, you might be surprised how well it works for less sexy brands. Micro-influencers who have a fresh set of eyes and a unique local perspective can create content whose sparkle and excitement rub off on the brands associated with them.
Micro-influencers function like a workforce of contractors who promote your brand on their accounts. That means you want to choose micro-influencers based on channel location alignment as well as social platform alignment. For example, you don’t need a Snapchat celebrity if your audience isn’t using Snapchat. This time-intensive, high-touch tactic is expensive because of the service and setup it requires, but it’s a powerful punch for brands who really need to reach to connect with people in a meaningful way.Social Listening and Sentiment Analysis
Users today expect real-time responsivity, and even a 24-hour service-level agreement, or SLA, will disappoint most of them. A bevvy of social listening platforms offer brands the option to setup buzzword monitoring so you can quickly engage with audiences that are calling you out. In our age of endemic COVID-19, we expect to see digital fans becoming more demanding and less patient about brand responses, because they’re all at home online 24/7, and they expect you to be as well!
Social listening also allows brands to analyze audiences’ sentiments in a wide array of methodologies. If you want to know specifically what percentage of your highly engaged fans hated your last ad, or exactly how many of your storefront visitors comment on parking problems, then this tool is for you. However, managing these tools requires an extreme time commitment, and the insights in the data require manual manipulation because they’re so nuanced and unique per brand and instance. To harness social listening’s power, you need to really commit.
While social listening makes a lot of sense at a corporate level to identify trends, opportunity locations, non-compliant ones, it’s probably not cost effective and practical for local affiliates. That said, the insights corporate can send to local stores can be invaluable, such as, “Hey Draper, 49% of your engagements talk about how no one answers phones. Anything we can do to improve that?”Reputation Management
If you’re not familiar with reputation management, it is the practice of monitoring and addressing any customer feedback, reviews, or content that could damage your brand. A tried-and-true tactic to improve your star levels and ranking on SERPs, reputation management has become a standard tactic these days. It is labor intensive, but the ameliorative impact on your SEO alone can make it a worthwhile investment.Crisis Management
Similar to reputation management and social listening, crisis management should be considered an essential aspect of every social strategy. Take it from me firsthand. You don’t want to be promoting an evergreen “special” on tasty hurricane beverages in Biloxi during a massive CAT-4 hurricane. So unless your mind is a steel trap for every ad you’ve approved to run in the last year — evergreen or otherwise — then you need an alert system to pause hurricane ads during inclement weather, to trigger alerts about reported storefront violence happening in real time, and to monitor sudden surges in negative sentiment associated to something particular and avoidable.
A good crisis management plan can also help a green or external social PR team manage through preplanned processes for earthquakes, the passing of a founder, and other sudden, high-level tragedies. And crisis management often utilizes the same platforms as reputation management and social listening, so you get multiple functions for one price, as well as oversight of your external partner’s outputs.
Before you dabble in dabbing on Snapchat, before you blow your test-and-learn annual allowance on a pilot for Pinterest, make sure you’ve evaluated your long-term needs and best opportunity. Although TikTok might be a valid venture for 2022, right now, it may be more beneficial to invest in reputation management to mitigate unsavory reviews that are tanking your earnest SEO efforts.
When in doubt, stick to the platforms that align with your audience, and double-down on tactics that prepare you for future trends. If you do that, and you ensure your ads click-through to highly relevant websites that list local storefronts or contacts, then the leads will follow. If you’re unsure how to proceed into 2022, we at BrandMuscle are always available to help with strategic consultations and marketing execution.
VP of Performance Marketing at BrandMuscle