Social media provides a wealth of personalized content, harnessing this is one of the most popular marketing strategies to drive conversion. For some brands, there is already a healthy stream of user-generated content coming out of social media. For others, there is a need to encourage this social activity:
- More people talking about your brand and products leads to more brand awareness as friends and followers view the content.
- Well-crafted campaigns feature two-way interaction between the brand and consumers, which fosters engagement and brand loyalty.
- A higher quantity of brand mentions means more content to curate and put to work on category and product pages to drive online conversion.
Short-term campaigns keep brands top-of-mind, increase brand followers, and engage users with the message. A user contributes to the brand’s content library and amplifies their content message when he or she posts about a campaign in social media.
It is best to think about short-term campaigns through the lens of long-term messaging and communication strategies. A consistent message, one that works with a yearlong campaign that highlights each season or holiday, resonates more with fans. It is also better to promote one hashtag throughout the year instead of a unique hashtag each month. Fans can commit one hashtag to memory and use it consistently, enabling you to track a growing library of content throughout the year.
Many brands do not need to create the conversations or the hashtags. Always start by researching the content that is already out there. How are people talking about your products? Are there nicknames and hashtags your fans are already using that you can utilize? In addition, where are they talking? What channels resonate with your fans and create the most natural environment for the kind of content you want to see?
Category and Product Hashtags
Some brands might not have native content yet. If you are one of these brands, it is time to get creative. Start the conversation by asking people to share their favorite thing about a product. Keep hashtags short, sweet, and easy to recognize. Encourage rich media like photos of the product in action, or short Instagram/Vine video product demonstrations.
If you have hundreds of products, you will not be able promote individual hashtags for every single product. Instead, you can take a categorical approach, promoting tags like #brandboots and #brandflats. Promote the hashtags on category pages, packaging and in-store when relevant.
Social media contests are popular and can be a great way to engage your customers. They are fun to execute and have the potential to engage new audiences in conversations on social that they would not have joined otherwise. They can link to a secondary objective like gaining new social media followers or growing your email database, but their primary value lies in gathering content.
Contest hashtags should be unique without being too long or obscure. If a brand chooses a common hashtag like #selfie or even the name of the brand, it will be next to impossible to determine which posts were a result of the contest and which were unrelated. A unique hashtag is the cleanest way to qualify a post as a contest entry, but if the hashtag is too long it will discourage users from entering.
The simpler the contest entry rules, the more engagement a brand can expect from its fans. Contests that require multiple steps to enter, especially inauthentic gimmicks like posting a brand-chosen image or canned brand mention to the user’s feed can expect lower engagement overall. To get the most entries, keep the rules simple and the content as natural as possible. A general rule of thumb is to make content requests that are reasonable for your audience and reflect their lifestyle.
Of course, if you are running social campaigns, we highly recommend putting the resulting content to work to drive engagement and conversion on your website. To learn more about how you can do just that with our new Curations offering, download our latest whitepaper: Selling With Social: How Social Curation Drives Engagement and Sales