Understanding Social Success Cycle in 2020 and Beyond.
By Stacy Ketiku
Why shy away from social media when it constitutes most of your audience in recent times? According to a report, ‘Digital 2020: Nigeria’ by Data Reportal, as of January 2020, Nigeria has 27.00 million social media users. This statistic increased by 3.4 million (+14%) between April 2019 and January 2020. This only shows the statistics of users in Nigeria, not to mention the worldwide statistics international brands should be leveraging.
So if you are not using social media at all or in the right manner as a marketing platform for your business, you need to pay rapt attention. In the next couple of years, imagine you looking back at the opportunities you’ve missed. There’ll be so much you should have achieved in terms of business growth, expansion, popularity, and profitability. It’s time to review your social media strategy to be sure you aren’t shooting yourself in the arm.
Before we break down the concept of social success cycle, what social media platforms are you currently using? Why did you select those platforms? And which platforms should you be using? These are vital questions to answer in order to make any headway. Although, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, are among the most popular social media marketing platforms. That shouldn’t be a criterion when selecting your ideal platform. Instead, after identifying who your ideal customer is, find out what platforms they use, what communities they interact on. With this, you will make a more informed decision about what platforms to be on.
The Social Success Cycle In Detail.
The social success cycle consists of 4 vital stages. They all work hand-in-hand and none should be done in isolation if you truly want to get the right results from your social media marketing effort.
Practically, this stage begins early enough, before you even choose the appropriate platforms for your brand. As the name implies, it involves you doing a whole lot of listening. You will be listening to know where your audience is, what they are saying, what type of content they want/need to hear. It’s not as simple as it sounds and getting help will do you some good. Feel free to get a social media manager on your team from the start. This individual must possess skills like public and interpersonal relations, marketing, customer relations, and effective communication skills.
They will be in charge of monitoring your brand mentions (social platforms have made this easy with notifications). They’ll discover what people are saying about your brand, respond promptly to complaints, comments, and enquiries. For them to be efficient, you must have trained them rigorously to know about virtually all aspects of your business. This helps them respond to comments in the most professional and confident manner.
If social listening is done properly, you will be able to:
- Get involved in conversations your audience is listening to
- Track public perception of your brand through brand mentions
- Acquire new customers
- Get insight on updates and changes in your industry
- Track keywords related to your brand, products, or services as well as competitors.
To improve your social listening ability as a brand, you should try these tips:
- Take time to truly listen. Do not listen to merely respond, but to understand.
- Be careful and avoid getting involved in mindless banters or trolls on social media. Resist the urge to reply rudely as well.
- Be empathetic in your response and never be too eager to give a reply or provide solutions. If you are unsure or not in the position to help a customer, tell them politely. You can say things like, ‘Thanks for informing us, we’ll resolve this within an hour (or even 24 hours)’. Or, ‘We are sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused you, we are currently working to improve your experience on our platform’. These are simple ways to pacify your customers via social media.
- When the issue has been resolved, make sure you inform them, apologise again, and encourage them to keep using your brand.
- Get acquainted with the use of direct messaging to address issues with individual customers/prospects.
- Notice content gaps, what areas are your audience unclear about? What hasn’t been thoroughly discussed? Start making content around such areas.
If you properly and diligently engage in social listening, the other stages of the social success cycle will become easy to navigate.
This stage positions you as an authority in your industry. Using the knowledge you get from social listening, you should start developing better content, improving your products based on feedback, directly solving customers problems and being the go-to-person for certain information or resources. People begin to follow you without begging for followers or running ads. They automatically engage with your content, not because they like you. But because it is relevant, timely, and useful. They can relate to what you are saying and even share your content within their circle. You can also talk about your company and services, latest products and benefits, build your website traffic and email list. Likewise, in this stage, you could also give out a freebie to people to show them a tip of what they’ll enjoy if they eventually buy what you are selling. This freebie is one way to build your email list.
You start building relationships, increasing your circle, partnering with people, having meaningful communication with fans who become loyal customers in the end, as well as other influencers. Here you enjoy referral marketing from people who hold your brand in high esteem. They’ll simply find themselves promoting you without seeking anything in return. Don’t be scared to also share information from competitors. This helps them see you as an individual who isn’t looking out for yourself alone but cares about the community.
In social networking, User Generated Content (UGC) plays a huge role. Tag people, attribute or reference the original creators of the content you repost. Else they’ll not be interested in networking with a brand that goes about picking people’s content and using it as there’s. The use of UGC also boosts brand mentions.
This is the part we all rush into as soon as we sign up on social platforms and drop our introductory post. Result-oriented social campaigns don’t work that way. On these platforms, you need to do the work before you can see social media work for you. You need to go through the process of getting to know your audience, understanding them, creating valuable content for them, interacting with them, resolving issues they are facing, building relationships, e.t.c before they can be willing to place their money on you. Who will you rather patronise? A friend selling a hand sanitiser or a salesman you’ve just met on a bus selling the same product. Your answer is all the evidence you need to really understand how the social success cycle works.
Some people are of the opinion that the lockdown mandate as a result of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic led people to spend more time on social media and consume more content. The truth is, though people spend more time online, they are being selective of what information to consume due to the information overload on the internet as well as other personal factors. It now becomes your duty to create content that is worth their time and attention. Sales content that won’t make them feel that money is about to dance out of their pocket. Instead, they’ll be more particular about the value they are buying from a reputable company. If you keep implementing these 4 stages of the social success cycle in your marketing strategy, you are closer to business success than you can imagine.