People in the U.S. spend an average of 2 hours and 3 minutes on social media every day. This makes social media one of the most — if not the most — ripe spaces for marketers to reach consumers. It also makes it the most crowded.
For a company to really catch the eye of a consumer and make conversions, it needs to overcome the constant influx of information (and competing advertising) that fills up its audiences’ feeds. Marketing on social media is all about differentiation, repetition, and authenticity. Brands that are successful “on social” tend to be the ones that sustain highly distinctive, targeted, and identifiable campaigns.
Many D2C (direct-to-consumer) brands have found long-term success by becoming experts at social media marketing. Whether they’re selling mattresses, gym shorts, makeup, or subscription-based toothpaste, successful D2C brands find a way to stand out.
Consumers often instinctively scroll right past advertisements, so presenting a compelling message or image that isn’t immediately glossed over is an art form. Learning how to break out of the box of typical marketing tropes can make campaigns of any size a huge success. Here are a few general guidelines for businesses of all sizes to reach, engage, and delight customers through social media marketing:
Every product or service has its audience. Some are large (i.e. “everyone”) and some are hyper-niche. When it comes to social media marketing, the more definition you have around your target market, the better. It’s important to have a deep understanding of your consumer in order to cut through the clutter of their everyday feed.
At a topline, most social media marketing works by defining a target audience, and serving advertising to that specific group. Social media is not a broadcast channel. Rather, it’s a direct pathway to a type of consumer — one whom you define at the onset. Oftentimes the more specific you are about the behaviors and lifestyle of your target consumer, the more effective your social media marketing can be.
Any marketing team can look at basic categories in which its target customer may fall into — age, gender, location, income bracket, etc. — and create a marketing campaign that resonates with people who seem to be like them. Brands that market well on social media tend to take the identity of their audience a step further. They do more than identify parameters. They create nuanced personas, which could include behavioral traits like hobbies, personal interests, careers, regional biases, even news consumption patterns.
Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok or YouTube, social media platforms have become successful ad platforms because of their abilities to target audiences. It’s a marketer’s responsibility to define that audience persona before venturing into paid social.
Most people use social media to connect with other people or stay on top of cultural happenings. What this means is that people are not inherently on social media to shop. (Sometimes they are, of course, but not all the time!)
Whether by their own choosing or by the algorithm’s, most users end up following certain genres of accounts based on their interests and the interests of their friends. Successful marketing appeals to those group interests, and repeats the message over and over again.
Capturing the attention of your audience requires the creation of compelling and relevant content. This can include blog posts, video content, brief instructional videos, or anything else that can entice a customer to interact and engage with your brand. When you think of building content for your social media marketing strategy, think about the lifestyles of the people whom you’re targeting. Build content that helps them with their everyday and their aspirations — it does not need to be on-the-nose in relation to your product. A solid content marketing strategy meets your customers where they are, engages with them in an authentic voice, and helps build brand equity.
Many D2C brands tap into the interests of their audiences by utilizing influencer marketing. Influencers are a viable way to gain credibility and access to a large audience that exists within a target market. Influencers may be famous for accomplishments beyond having a large following, but their main value-add is their loyal and dedicated audience. Influencers provide an effective means by which brands can spread brand awareness and engender trust. A successful influencer marketing strategy can result in huge success for young D2C brands.
You’ve probably heard all the horror stories of brands failing hard on social media. Usually this happens when a brand acts out of its traditional purview, or engages in a conversation that is not authentic to its mission. When an audience perceives brand messaging that is insincere or overworked, they’re likely to keep scrolling — or worse, comment negatively. Relatability is a key aspect that all companies need to keep in mind as they build their brand image, whether the work is done internally or with third party consultants.
It’s especially important for companies that sell products direct-to-consumer to be relatable in terms of their audiences’ lifestyles. One way to do this is to aggregate customer stories or photos of your product in the wild. Other users are then able to see how your brand shows up in the world authentically.
Another critical step for D2C brands staying authentic online is to establish thoughtful and consistent community management. Sometimes considered customer service, community management is the process by which a brand actively communicates with its audience online. Replying to messages quickly and thoughtfully can help to establish long term trust and success on social media.
People are used to seeing brands on social media, so do not stray away from presenting the people who work for your company as well. Consider creating employee profiles, or asking coworkers to be featured in some of your marketing. Owners of successful D2C brands often create ads that feature themselves in the forefront.
What works for one brand may not work for another. That’s why it’s critical to test and iterate on your marketing strategy, learning from the feedback from your customers. Don’t be afraid of trying something you haven’t seen any other brands do before. Usually what pops the most on social media is that which feels uniquely special in the feed.
Of course, knowing what could be distinctive requires knowing what is common. You have to stay up-to-date on cultural trends. Staying relevant on social media is hard; ads that may have appealed to shoppers last year or even last month may be stale and unappealing today. Staying on top of trends and capitalizing on every opportunity to make an impact on a customer is essential to successfully marketing directly to consumers.
More and more small companies are outsourcing their social media work to freelancers. Talented social media creators can greatly help a company grow, but they’re often employed in unorthodox ways, which can lead to fleeting engagements.
Many freelance social media creators invoice for project-based or hourly work. Without the right tools in place, invoicing can be laborious and time-consuming, especially for small businesses and e-commerce companies. Streamlining payment to freelancers can ensure their continued contributions.
At Settle, the time that it takes for invoices to be dealt with is essentially cut down to a fraction of the original time. A process that used to take weeks, or even months, can start to take just days. Settle uses some of the best invoicing tools available to ensure that every company, whether it is the payer or the vendor in a transaction, can deal with the invoice as quickly as possible. Building efficient payment systems — just like building a savvy social media marketing strategy — can help your company to scale much quicker.