Published date: 03 May 2018
Today, May the 4th, marks ‘#StarWarsDay’! This day was so named by Star Wars fans as a play on the tagline ‘May the force be with you’ from the Star Wars movie.
When Star Wars debuted in 1977, it became a social phenomenon without the help of the social networks.The creators of Star Wars didn’t shy away from such a brilliant new avenue of marketing, but rather embraced it, even creating a ‘May 4’ section on their website: http://www.starwars.com/may-the-4th.
Now, in 2018, marketing tactics need a broader focus: With 30% of millennials saying they engage with a brand on social networks at least once a month1, a company’s social media strategy needs to be at the forefront of its planning.
Social media allows people in communities who were once geographically isolated to ‘meet’ like-minded people, as well as to share their opinions with a wide-spectrum of interactive audiences. It also allows companies to increase brand awareness, connect directly with their target audience and increase site traffic.
Effective marketing on social media can bring remarkable success to a business, creating brand ambassadors and even driving sales. ‘May the 4th’ is a great example of a social media marketing success and every year it continues to gain immense traction on the internet.
One of the goals of any social media strategy is to compel the target audience to share the marketing content with other people in their network, and so increase the mileage that the marketing strategy will gain from this ongoing content sharing.
It’s said that Star Wars boasted 234 million interactions across its official social media accounts from January to November 20152. It’s important to understand social media best practices in order to gain this type of traction to achieve business success.
Check out Purple’s five B2B social media best practices below:
1. Determine what your marketing objectives are. This entails building a social media strategy/schedule and giving careful consideration to which of the various social media platforms are best suited to the marketing strategy.
2. Post the right content on the right channels. Understanding which social media channels to adopt will become relatively easy once you deep dive into discovering your audiences’ – as well as your competitors’ – needs and preferences. Thereafter, the content you post on your social channels can enhance engagement, acquire new followers, and positively impact your brand or company’s reach and identity.
A great example of this is MailChimp on Instagram. They use the photo-sharing platform to reinforce the focus on their brand – the MailChimp monkey. Just a quick scan shows the monkey dressed up for Halloween, lighting sparklers or used as a hat for some cute office brand ambassadors (see below). This, paired with some fun, vibrant and imaginative images, is a great way for the brand to showcase their company culture.
3. Be friendly and add a human touch. Social media doesn’t have to boring just because it’s B2B. Be informal, humanise your business and don’t use jargon-led copy. Showcase who you are as a company, to encourage partnerships.
For example, Intel showcases their #ILookLikeAnEngineer movement on Facebook, which celebrates diversity within the company. By taking a stance on top social issues of the day, such as diversity in the workplace, Intel are joining the conversation as well as showing that there are real people behind their products and services.
Here, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the B2B strand of HP, is using more interesting ways to promote their otherwise complex business solutions, by using a well-known brand of non-intimidating guide.
Rather than a simple (and boring!) call out to potential customers, Oracle is making use of some wit to tempt new business customers:
4. Be responsive. Always respond in a timely manner to comments or mentions: nobody likes waiting for long periods of time for replies. Social media can be used as a great customer service tool or simply another way of communicating with customers, as long as someone is effectively monitoring the platforms.
It’s important to respond to all comments on social media, especially if people request more information about your products – like in this IBM example. By quickly answering questions and providing additional info, IBM demonstrates that they are responsive and willing to communicate with their customers across multiple platforms.
5. Track and monitor results. The final and most important step is to identify what IS working and what IS NOT working. Measuring the effectiveness of your social media activity will help you to optimise your approach and guarantee ongoing success.
For many businesses, like the Star Wars franchise, social media is now a constant part of their marketing mix, providing a platform for brand building, customer service and conversion. My hope is that our mini best practice guide will serve as a helpful reference point when you are planning and reviewing your social media strategies.
Happy posting, and ‘May the fourth be with you’!