Show ‘Em Some Love: Social Media Best Practices for Consumer Brands

We’ve all heard our fair share of radio show call-in segments. You know, the ones discussing dating advice (or horrors) and roommate gripes. While driving to work this week, I listened to a segment that caught my ear; the topic was a bit different than usual. The DJs were asking listeners to call in and share their favorite social media interactions with brands. Callers excitedly told stories about restaurants thanking customers for stopping by and clothing stores tweeting back to share where to find a particular shirt.

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As a PR pro, I couldn’t help but think about how simple most of these interactions were. Many of them were just quick responses offering a simple thank you or “We love you too! :-)”. Despite the simplicity, the consumers ate it up, which made me realize that people just want a little love from their favorite brands.

This may sound obvious, but it can often be all too easy for PR pros and social media managers to forget. We get caught up in making sure our messaging is on point (and approved by legal) or whether or not we’re using the right hashtags to drive engagement. That’s all great and important, but let’s not forget a basic tenet of consumer social media strategy: showing our fans that we appreciate them.

Here are a few ways to do just that:

Know where your audience is. Edison Research recently published a series of charts highlighting each social network’s usage by age. Use reputable research from firms like Edison or Pew Research as a starting place to know where to listen for conversations happening about your brand, and where having those valuable interactions is most likely to occur.

One of several charts on where audiences are in social by age

Use your instincts. One of the best tools we have is so close to us that we don’t always know it’s there. Yep. It’s you. You’re a consumer, too. Think about what you would like to see from your favorite brand – whether it is a restaurant, handbag designer or local band. What would excite you? What would make your day? Then, enact that thought process and infuse it into your brand’s social channels. This also comes in handy for social customer service. People may lash out or complain about your product or service. Before addressing them, think about how you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes?

Find your voice. Whether it’s a virtual high-five to someone who just scored a great deal at your retailer, or a “Thanks for stopping by!” to someone who checked in at your bar, make sure you’re tapping into the authentic voice for your brand. Once you find your voice, you can design your content, statuses and engagement around it. To find this voice, it’s important to define your audience. This will clue you in to what’s right for you and what your audience will be receptive to. Some brands can be gutsier than others because it fits their identity and their audience. Even if your brand has to play it a little safer, you can still have a successful social media program by continuously providing content that your audience finds fresh and valuable. Which takes us to our next point …

Create real and relatable content. Now that you’ve found your voice, it’s time to build out your channel with the stuff that will keep it alive: content. There are plenty of tools that can give you more insight into what your audience is interested in. Google Analytics, Twitter and LinkedIn (among others) will provide demographics of visitors/followers such as interests, seniority, industry, location and more. And don’t forget about real life experience — if a friend or family falls into your brand’s audience, why not ask them if an idea sounds enticing? Overall, your research will serve as a guide to your everyday content creation for social.

Keep these things in mind, and maybe next time the brand you represent will be a part of that radio show segment!

Liz Iannotti
Senior Account Executive


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