As you may know, there are over 1 billion people who are on Facebook and of that number, there are 6.67million of the 13.48million Caribbean Internet users who are Facebook subscribers. And that’s with just a 32.4 % internet penetration rate. Twitter just passed 400 million users. LinkedIn boasts over 200 million professional/business users. So social media, once seen as a flash in the pan pad, has established itself as the platform, the way we all now live, connect and do business with each other.
Every Caribbean brands that wants to remain relevant and growing, must seek to leverage these trends, build relationships with customers in fresh ways. As more Caribbean brands get online and connected -how many of them are really reaping the full rewards?
The knee jerk response has always been to pick the most popular place where everybody is, jump on, then use the social network as another megaphone to throw more look at me, hear what I have to say messages – only to promote themselves. Thing is, that’s such the wrong approach! You have to approach social media thinking not just like a customer, but like the customer that now exists – informed, curious, wanting to connect with people and things that match their view of their world and their friends world. So the emphases is more on the social, than the media.
Social media is about humanising your brand, it’s the way word of mouth marketing has now manifested itself on these platforms, devices and tools and those who understand that can truly become successful in this one-on-one attention economy.
So think of your brand as being human, the kind of person at a wine bar, who listens attentively, tell great stores, show interest in others…authentic, transparent and genuinely seeking to connect.
3 Tips on to make your brand be more successful.
So here are 3tips for Caribbean brands to be more authentic and build real relationships that yields greater success using social media:
#1. Listen first, Never Stop Listening. Before you even establish a presence on Social Media, please listen first. Find out if people are talking about your business and also your competitors and what are they saying. Set up a Google Alert, use search.twitter.com to search for your brand’s name, as well as that of your competitors, do the same on Facebook, FourSquare, Linkedin, etc. Search also using words that your prospective customers would use as well. You can use this as an initial gauge as to where you customers and potential customers are spending their time and engaging with friends and other brands. It will also help you to learn, what they want and let all that and more information guide you in developing a integrated social media strategy.
#2: Please stop telling customers to like you, follow you…tell them why and how they should instead. When you do develop an integrated social media strategy and you have begun to execute, yeah we know, you get all excited and many of you are eager to show that it works and that you can beat the “numbers” that your competitors have.
So it’s like everywhere you turn, you see “Like us on Facebook” and “Follow us on Twitter”, “ Tell your friends about us!” “We only have 40 more to get to this number, help us reach out goal!! Huh? Why? It makes you seem desperate and that you are only in it for yourself. Slow your roll. Remember your goal is to build a relationship, not to be a one hit wonder.
Put yourself in the shoes of your customers. Give them a reason to connect with you on social networks, answering their question, “What’s in it for me?” and then make it incredibly easy for them to connect and talk with you. Note the difference between these two calls to action: “Like my company’s page on Facebook” vs “Get answers to your social media questions at http://www.facebook.com/getconnectid or “Like my Facebook Page” vs “ Get health and wellness tips to make your New Year resolutions stick, then Come Run the City with Us at http://www.facebook.com/kingstoncityrun.
#3. CONTENT. CONTENT. CONTENT. There was a reason why Facebook bought the photo sharing social network Instagram for US$1billion dollars – those millions of users, taking and sharing tens of millions of photos. Photos tell a story, they freeze and frame a moment, an experience, a product people want to remember and share. People love photos and they upload 300 million of them everyday on Facebook. Photos and their stories are content on your Facebook Page.
So share photos, that reflect the messages and experiences that can connect with your current and prospective customers – and will want to make them talk about and share with their friends. The photos must also be an authentic reflection of your brand. And you don’t need a big production budget, either. You can use your smartphone ( the average one packs 8-10 pixel cameras) to take pictures of your current customers, staff, and cool things about your brand and its associations, and then upload them directly to Facebook,Twitter and LinkedIn or wherever your social media strategy and plan determines.
Then there are videos.
The average internet user spends 1hr and 40 mins watching Youtube videos per month. Over 4 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube. Fact is, more businesses than ever are incorporating online video into their marketing strategies, for the simple fact: people love watching videos online and, prefer to watch a video than sift through pages of boring text about a company.
It is said that, a picture really is worth a thousand words – but let me tell you, a video is worth like a thousand pictures. Find ways to use Photos and videos to tell stories that connect and are worth talking about and sharing-it’s the only way to build an engaged community around your brand online whether you have 500 people or 10,000 people there.
At the end of it all, ask yourself this question and have it guide you: What would make you click the “Like” button, the Follow button, or Retweet button if you saw your brand or your content here? Would you want to be associated with your brand? Is your brand human, authentic enough?
LAUNCHING ! SocialCaribe is a free fortnightly newsletter that helps Caribbean Brands Go Social Successfully. Keep track of the latest in Caribbean social media success stories, social media trends and insights . Done by Ingrid Riley, our lead Digital Marketing Strategist.