Deepening connections with social media

This content originally appeared May 28, 2020 as part of the Future of Marketing weekly email series. Subscribe here.

People are spending 45% more time on social media than before, and marketing leaders are responding by expanding their digital footprint – engaging more, studying emotional data, and adapting to new behaviors. 

Strategizing, creating, and scheduling out social media content is only one part of the equation. Engaging and participating in relevant conversations that your target audience is interested in is necessary to propel you in front of more people like them. 

Create content and experiences worth sharing – and do it consistently. Speak to your audience, engage with them, make an effort to understand them – because word-of-mouth is the most powerful form of marketing.

Rethinking event experiences

Brands will embrace a hybrid of virtual and in-person activations – using social media to create more engaging and holistic brand experiences. On June 9th and 10th, social media leader, Hootsuite, will launch Hootsuite CXN – a global virtual experience where experts from Twitter, Pinterest, and SXSW will discuss the role of social media in customer engagement. Hootsuite will share live event updates on #HootsuiteCXN – and already sparked conversations around social media strategy during last week’s Twitter #HootChat.

Live performances are slowly coming back – but in a new way. #DriveInConcerts are now a thing and the Major League Baseball team, Texas Rangers announced their upcoming Concert in Your Car. Artists including Josh Abbott Band, Eli Young Band, and Kevin Fowler will perform on a stage in the stadium’s lot with screens for distant viewing and radio broadcasting. 

The film industry, on the other hand, unveiled We Are One Global Festival to celebrate filmmakers around the world with 100 films co-curated by 21 international festivals.

To maximize engagement, brands should create virtual event spaces for remote attendees. This presents an opportunity for brands to add new income streams, and satisfy the networking factor with online communities and social media. 

Social media for community

From building awareness to crisis communication, organizations are using user-generated content (UGC) to communicate with the public. “We can aggregate UGC and give it to our clients to show policymakers there are clearly people on the outside holding them accountable. That level of engagement I think is really powerful,” shares Brittney Francis of Communications Inc.

SpaceX and NASA will soon launch the first private flight with humans into space in nearly a decade. Social media users are uploading content about the milestone using #LaunchAmerica. The UGC from this hashtag is highlighted on a virtual events webpage where visitors can view the live stream and submit content. 

Community-focused and niche groups have increased among platforms like Facebook and Reddit. The neighborhood app, Nextdoor, which local governments use to create community groups and keep citizens informed – has also seen a surge in usage. As neighbors use NextDoor to share local recommendations, sell belongings, and make new connections, this presents an opportunity for businesses to run local ads and scale their reputation. 

There is no clear path forward, but we will experience a lasting impact from digital acceleration. Brands that adapt digitally now – and become a niche resource – will be strongly positioned as consumers adapt to new habits.

Progressive fashion culture

Econsultancy reported 500 marketers at major brands are already deciding between short-term tactics and long-term strategies. AI consultations and AR fitting rooms are showing increasing demand. And last week, fashion brand, Hanifa, debuted its latest collection on Instagram Live using 3D models – captivating viewers with an innovative ‘virtual catwalk.’

Another fashion brand making moves is Gucci – the most dominant brand to announce they are going ‘seasonless’ to focus on leaner, more sustainable fashion systems. The luxury brand has strategically amassed 354.8k TikTok followers (and counting), demonstrating the potential of the platform – along with Gucci’s long-term marketing tactics.

Christian Dior, quietly unveiled a virtual tour of its groundbreaking exhibition, ‘Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams.’ The tour highlights the brand’s rich history and construction of the exhibition from start to finish, which became Victoria and Albert Museum’s most-visited exhibit in history with over half a million visitors in 2019.

Consider the experience you are providing and embrace a ‘disruptive’ mindset to refine every touchpoint of your business – sales, marketing, product. The world will continue to transform – and preparation will push the strongest brands forward.

Securian Financial

Securian Financial is asking social media users to share how they’re currently balancing life by uploading content to #lifebalanceremix. The financial services company is pulling this user-generated content from social media channels and redistributes it on their website. For every post that is uploaded, the Securian Financial Foundation will donate $10 to Feeding America for a maximum of $10,000.

Securian Financial experts DJ Hamm and Katie Weddle Langer will join Hootsuite CXN to discuss how a risk-averse financial services company piloted UGC during the pandemic – demonstrating that user-generated content and social media can also be used effectively across various verticals to gain competitive advantage – regardless of an industry’s level with social media and technology.