It’s clear that social media—when done right—establishes the connection between brands and consumers. However, CPG brands may find that traditional marketing tactics don’t always translate to social media. Here’s how CPG brands can embrace the changing media landscape and engage with always-on consumers in smart, effective ways that build trust and increase profits.
1. find the right social audience
Social media makes it possible for customers to discover new products, but brands must make the introduction. It’s important for brands to find those targeted audiences on social platforms before creating content. Advanced audience insight tools, including Facebook Lookalike Audiences, ad targeting and proactive social listening, provide a variety of methods to maximize social media offerings to gain and retain followers.
2. develop the brand’s social media personality
Take time to outline what your brand “is” and what your brand “is not” on social media. Ensure the brand personality will be uniformly seen and recognized on every channel and interaction as it extends from the already established brand. For example, candy and snack brands may be playful and tongue-in-cheek to engage a young audience, while a beauty brand may take a more serious tone to educate a health or environment-conscious audience.
Your audience should greatly influence how you plan behavior on social media—consider how they currently communicate with your brand to build your social media presence, and then use that to branch out with creative, surprising, informational and interesting content. Harry’s, an online shaving and razor company, took a friendly, straightforward approach with genuine, personal and timely community interactions when it first launched. The startup, which still follows this strategy, is now a $100 million company with nearly 300,000 followers on Facebook alone. The brand was successful in changing the idea of a product into a lifestyle for its fans via social media.
3. create demand
“Build it and they will come” hardly applies to the social CPG market today. Many of the brands generating buzz on social media feeds started with a rollout well before they reached a viral-level audience. There are many ways to jumpstart the social conversation around your product: Work with influencers who align with your brand and products to talk about a new release, send the new product to established brand advocates or dedicated social media fans with a personal note or set up exclusive availability such as pop-ups or limited release. When considering which social media tactic makes sense for your product, it’s important to create a digital experience tailored to your intended consumer.
The new Target x Museum of Ice Cream collaboration is an example of how an in-person social experience, complete with an array of “Instagrammable” opportunities, can create a social media sensation. The Museum of Ice Cream popup created further demand by touring the U.S. and selling tickets to an exclusive experience. With an engaged and active audience established, the organization teamed up with Target to create The Pint Shop, a grocery experience in New York City. And, currently, a Museum of Ice Cream children’s clothing collection along with seven ice cream flavors are exclusively available at Target for a limited time. Since its introduction in late May, The Pint Shop has amassed a tremendous social following while boasting strong engagement and tangible foot traffic in the store.
4. act quickly
Campaigns or on-the-ground activations are a strong tactic when strategically launched, but it’s important to include social media early in the conversations for shareable product moments.
With that, you must be prepared for change in real time. Unlike traditional marketing tactics, social media provides the opportunity to pivot a campaign if certain aspects don’t resonate with your audience. Targeting can be honed, messaging can be tweaked, not-yet-released creative can be altered—this is all information companies can access by actively listening to audience reactions to social campaigns. Active listening and analytics tools play a key role in ensuring your messages are hitting the current targets.
ProTip: Video continues to be the top content to share on social media. Make sure to capture video that can easily be edited to vertical and square to optimize for social sharing.
5. get the consumer involved
At its core, social media breaks down barriers between big brands, celebrities, influencers and the consumer. Since brands first entered the social space, customer service is of utmost importance to followers. Brands are able to get a window into what their followers expect from the brand through these interactions and engagements. At a high level, most consumers want to see sales and discounts, announcements of new products, and/or services and posts that teach them something about the brand or product on social media, according to the Sprout Social Web Index 2018.
To personalize the brand social media experience, successful companies take engagement one step further by allowing their audience to influence different aspects of the brand. Unlocking content when fans reach milestones—such as releasing behind-the-scenes looks or sharing custom elements including GIFs, a Spotify playlist, or simply replying to a concerned follower with a complaint—can make engagement worthwhile for your audience by surprising and delighting enthusiastic followers.
6. use metrics that matter
The success of your social channels can’t be tied to vanity metrics, such as page “likes” in comparison to the end goal of securing a sale. It’s important to not hold social to the traditional marketing standards, especially if the product isn’t available online. Instead, understand the volume of conversation, especially in comparison to competitors. By examining the correlation of how people on social media talk about your product and the volume of conversation around it—and how this may be correlated to sales—your company should be able to build a scalable model to influence and measure future sales through social media. There are many tools available to social media managers or agencies which track how consumers are talking about your product, in real time and over specific dates.
With the overwhelmingly high number of social media messaging we are exposed to in a single day, brands must take time to develop an outreach plan that matches well-crafted messages with proper formatting to the right audience of responsive consumers.