When it comes to social media, do fewer things, better

by Aug 24, 2017

We’ve progressed quite a bit from the early days of 2012, when Facebook first rolled out sponsored posts – something Fast Company promised would “recreate marketing” at the time.

Facebook, the most popular social media network, saw ad revenues of $9.16 billion in Q2 of 2017, and now has over 1.3 billion unique daily users, with 75% of them spending at least 20 minutes per day on the network. Instagram is by far the fastest growing network, with 600 million unique monthly users (90% of them under 35). And Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Snapchat all seem to be holding strong in popularity.

Unfortunately, it seems like most non-CPG or lifestyle brands don’t really understand how to use some of these channels, especially when it comes to their sustainability stories. We’ve seen far too often that clients are asking their customers to do things that don’t make logical sense, like “emailing Snapchat stories,” or they’re neglecting comments on their content.

This situation becomes particularly unfortunate when looking at new data from our Pulse studies (specifically our upcoming Millennial Pulse report, which is due out in a few weeks). According to our most recent polling, when Millennials trust a brand’s environmental and social/business practices, 90% buy from that brand – and almost 40% say they’re finding out about this information via social media.

Fortunately, brands can turn things around on social by following one mantra:

Do fewer things, better.

By focusing your efforts on just one or two social media networks, and really working to optimize the content you post, you’ll find that both the quality of your following and your overall engagement rate will increase.

Our data shows that Millennials are actively looking for your sustainability story – but they’re not going to look all day or wade through sub-par content to find it. They’re definitely not going to email a Snapchat story (I’m not even sure how you would feasibly do that). By doing fewer things, better, you’ll be able to produce and share higher quality content in ways that resonate, and you’ll also have more time to spend interacting with fans who like you and want to get to know you.

Wondering where to start? These three approaches are a few of our recent favorites:

Share updates on Instagram Stories

Instagram’s relatively new Stories feature is a natural fit for brands looking to connect the “how” and “why” of their sustainability initiatives with customers. Similar to Snapchat, the feature allows you to post mini photo and video updates that expire within 24 hours. However, unlike Snapchat, Instagram Stories is generally easier to use, includes more features, and casts a wider net, as updates can be viewable not only by your following, but also by the public. Social influencers also seem to be dropping Snapchat in favor of Instagram – a sign that you might want to as well. (Remember: do fewer things, better!)

Stories are a natural fit for “on the ground” updates from your company that show what you’re up to and how you’re making a difference. Check out what @4Ocean and @WarbyParker are doing for inspiration.

(Extra tip: If you need help getting started with Instagram Stories, we recommend reading this in-depth guide from The Verge).


Explore new Facebook video ad formats

Even if someone has “liked” you on Facebook, chances are that they won’t see your post, thanks to algorithms that decide what’s most interesting or important at any given point in time. So if you want to use Facebook to connect with fans, plan on posting consistently (at least a couple of times per week), spending money to boost your posts, and mining your audience insights to look for trends on what types of content are performing the best.

The fun news is that Facebook has recently rolled out a few high-impact video ad placements that are designed to increase engagement on mobile devices – where 16:9 media typically loses out to even or vertical aspect ratios (which are easier to see on a phone that’s held vertically).

We especially like the idea of promoting live videos, which have a more “grassroots” feel due to their less processed nature. These allow viewers to feel directly connected to what’s going on, and can be a great addition to any larger sustainability events your company might have planned.


Boost value on LinkedIn with Website Demographics

As the largest professional social media network in the world, I’m sure you already know that LinkedIn is a key channel for communicating your sustainability story with B2B audiences. But you might have missed the news that LinkedIn is rolling out an exciting new Website Demographics feature that will allow you to discover the professional traits (like job title, industry, company, etc.) of your web visitors.

If B2B is a big focus for your sustainability story, we love the idea of using this feature to really dig into your analytics and see who is currently consuming your web content. These insights can then help you make educated decisions on targeting and messaging for future campaigns and content across the entire marcom spectrum.

Remember: more is less.

We hope by now you’re on board with the theory that there’s no point in creating and posting a bunch of mediocre content for the sake of “doing social media.” And as the examples above illustrate, doing things right involves quite a bit of thought and effort. So, pick a few channels where you know your audience is hanging out, and make those really, really awesome.

Have you seen a great example of a brand leveraging social media to tell its sustainability story? Let us know … we’ll collect and share out the examples!

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About the Author

Lauren de Wet

Lauren leads all client and agency digital marketing efforts. She's responsible for both strategy and successful execution of a wide array of projects, including websites, email campaigns, digital advertising, content marketing and analytics. She’s often accompanied by her dog Max, who makes us all very happy.

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