31 Mar 2017

Color Me Crazy – What is Your Social Media Strategy?

Color Me What?

In case you haven’t heard, on social media, Crayola announced that they will be replacing their long standing color Dandelion. Today happen’s to be National Crayon Day – who knew! With such an important day in the life of crayon artists everywhere, it seems fitting that Crayola decided to make the big announcement today.

People on the Twittersphere have taking to the airways to voice their concerns.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper – columnist at CNET wrote an open letter to Crayola saying:

Not to throw shade at you, but I don’t like your tone. What do you mean by retiring me, and the day before National Crayon Day of all days? Do you disown your mother the day before Mother’s Day to save yourself the cost of a greeting card?

social media crayolaNot surprisingly the number of suggestions for a replacement color have been endless. Along with parodies of existing colors, some of the suggestions have ranged from Moral Ambiguity Gray to Singing Like a Canary Yellow and even Fake News White

Crayola has taken a tongue-in-cheek approach to this. The decision to retire Dandelion didn’t come easy. This is the first crayon which has been retired in 100 years – but let’s be honest it was named after a weed.

What is Your Social Media Strategy?

Creating controversy is just one of the many ways to cause a fury of conversation for your brand. In the lead up to the retirement, Crayola planned a live stream on Facebook. They chose to announce their decision on a “holiday”. They also encouraged their audience to make recommendations for a replacement.

When you are planning out your social media posts, have you employed any of those tactics? Social media is one of the most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal. When used correctly, you can create a strong personal connection with your prospective customers. At Bluehive Interactive, the part we enjoy most about social media is that it is just that social. Social media should not be owned by just 1 person within your organization. It should always be a team effort. Let the voices of all of your employees join the conversation.

Understand your goals

Goals define your high-level aims and objectives use SMART criteria to ensure each goal has a measurable set of criteria against which to evaluate progress. As with any journey, the first step in creating a social-media marketing strategy is to understand where you want to go. What is the purpose of your social media marketing efforts? Do you want to create or raise awareness of your brand? Are you looking to increase sales, or website traffic, or both? Is your goal to build customer loyalty and increase retention? These goals aren’t mutually exclusive, but you should focus on one or two: If you spread yourself too thin, you’re not going to accomplish anything.

Target Audience

Who you want to reach via social networks? In order to do this you must first understand your core audience (personas, profiles, demographics etc.) and identify any new customer types that you want to attract based on your products/services. We like to divide this into three different types of social followers:

Regular customers who are already connected to you via social media. You want to retain them and increase their purchases and engagement with your social profiles. Take the case of Crayola above. They obviously are a well established brand with a huge loyal following. They knew immediately that their announcement to replace Dandelion would spark a conversation.

Customer who have shopped with you before but aren’t regular shoppers and haven’t connected on social media. You want to nurture them, bringing them closer to you online and therefore increasing purchase rates.

People who have never visited the website or purchased from you but who are regular online shoppers, and users of social media. You want to use social media to bring them into contact with the brand, and ultimately move them to purchase

Look at the Competition

When it comes to social media, your competition can tell you a lot about what works and what doesn’t. After all, they’re targeting the same customers you are. If you ignore your competition, you’re giving up a fantastic opportunity to learn from their successes and mistakes.

Take some time to research and analyze the social habits of your competitors, start by picking three or four of the top ones. Find out which social networks they’re active on, and study their content. Is it funny or serious? What kind of cultural references do they use? Do they talk about their product primarily, or do they focus on other things?

For example, if you sell mountain bikes, do your competitors talk about how their mountain bikes perform, or do they post amazing mountain biking videos that just happen to include their products? Then, see how well each competitor is doing (e.g. how much engagement — comments, shares, likes) — they get on their Facebook updates.) This will let you determine which strategies work and which ones don’t.

Develop Your Messages

Now you have a handle on your target audience and your competition, it’s time to start building your messages. This isn’t detailed content; rather it’s the top level set of key messages that you think will resonate with your customers based on the personas you have created. Simply choose two or three messages, then break each one down another level creating a simple messaging hierarchy.

There’s nothing wrong with adopting some of your competitors’ successful messaging ideas but also try to create original messages that set you apart — this will help you to create a unique brand voice. Don’t be afraid to get creative as your social media presence should be exciting, not boring.

Define Your Social Channels

It is here that you will spell out what you’ll actually be doing for each social network to satisfy the goals of your social strategy. It is import to include all tactical elements and any related, process, people and tools.

Below is an example channel level plan for Twitter:

We will use our primary Twitter handle as both a customer service channel and a broadcast/interaction channel instead of having 2 separate handles. Twitter will be used to make us feel extremely accessible to consumers – real humans at the other end in real time (so we will initial conversations wherever possible). This will be beneficial in developing brand awareness and putting a real face to the products bought elsewhere.

Here are some key action steps to follow for implementation:

  1. Housekeeping – follower clean up, including cross-referencing to email database using a tool such as FollowerWonk or SocialBro
  2. Following key influencers and thanking new followers personally (and doing this regularly)
  3. Tweeting at least x2 times a day (using a tool like Buffer to help schedule updates)
  4. RT’ing useful / relevant stuff (kudos by association)
  5. Sharing every blog post created twice a week (‘in case you missed it’)
  6. Important to highlight personal customer service i.e. signing off tweets, not just taking all issues offline/other channels
  7. Handling negative exceptions visibly to demonstrate the you take issues seriously but taking offline when appropriate
  8. Being innovative with content formats e.g. testing Q&As with your product experts on specific topics
  9. Twitter cards will be trialled around product launches or specific campaign pushes.

Build a content plan

Last but certainly not least, you need to set aside an appropriate amount of time to dedicate to developing a strong content plan that will deliver engaging material. The content needs to align with your overall messaging and be appropriate for the channels you’re using. This is more than just product information – think about how you can deliver real value to your audience. Don’t just stick to one type of media – a mix of videos, guides, infographics and other styles will engage your potential customers more effectively. Also, don’t think of content as something you post once. You need to have an ongoing presence on social media, and that includes delivering fresh content on a regular basis.

Most importantly, BE SOCIAL!

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