LiftMetrix recently sat down with notable social media marketers from brands across various industries to learn their best practices for social media, brand development, and marketing to drive ROI. Below, we have pulled together their key pieces of advice for brands trying to improve their social strategy.

Know Your Audience

Michael Hammerstrom, CuriosityStream’s Manager of Marketing and Engagement, said, “Well I can’t stress enough how important it is to know your audience. Social marketing, in my opinion, should be as personal as possible so if you’re not doing something different or reacting to how people are viewing your content online, then you’re probably not changing your strategy up enough.”

Natasha Kazi Khan, Director of Social Media at JustFab and ShoeDazzle, also echoed this advice: “There is a lot of competition out there for content and we definitely take a lot of inspiration from content that is organically resonating with our customer base – the magazines that she’s reading, the bloggers that she’s following – we really look to them as inspiration, what interests her, and what she’s thinking about – with that information we try to create content from our unique brand perspectives. To stand out, focus on what you are uniquely bringing to your reader.”

Don’t Just Add Noise

Don’t publish for publishing sake,” said Ryan Saghir, Director of Digital Marketing at Sabra Dipping Company. “I think a lot of social media marketers got very irritated with the change when Facebook decided to tune down organic – but I think that was a great move because honestly brands tend to think they’re actually more important than people. When brands are posting 5-6 times a day to talk about their product, you know there’s something wrong. You want to add value and speak the truth of what you are as a brand, so you don’t want to “participate in the conversation” just to participate. I understand that brands want to be relevant and get reach, which is great, but in the end does it actually add value to people’s feeds? My biggest advice would be to pause and look at some of the content that brands are publishing because we’re just adding noise and diluting the benefits of these platforms. If Facebook didn’t make the change, people would’ve done it themselves, by unsubscribing and unfollowing or just stopped using Facebook altogether – so ultimately it was in the best interest for brands.”

Jodi Gersh, USA TODAY’s Director of Social Media for Strategic Brand Marketing also believes you shouldn’t just see what sticks: “You have to have budgets and you have to explain to your managers and executives why it isn’t going to work to just rely on free social platform use anymore. You really have to pay to play which I think is ok if you think about how these other businesses try to do it – like Facebook. We got used to using it [Facebook] for free and I think that we shouldn’t have ever really thought that anything would be free in life; we can’t just use their platforms and expect them to help us grow our businesses. It is important to think about budgets and planning between growth campaigns and promotional campaigns and the best ways to spend that money. But, I also think that social media marketers need to think about experimenting more and not necessarily throw everything at a wall and see what sticks, but to pick one or two places and just try some experiments – low cost, low level effort – and just see if there are different places or ways that you want to either use new platforms or maybe break out your brand into more niche sub brands – just play around and not be afraid to fail as long as you haven’t invested millions of dollars.”

Focus on Real Conversations and Business Objectives

What I’ve realized in the last few years is that social media is this really beautiful intersection of so many different aspects of your business,” said Lauren Gerstner, Director of Social Influence Marketing at H&R Block. “And it seems to me that if you are in a social media role you’re so well equipped to understand how customers are talking about your brand. That’s a major advantage that not everyone has access to, so use that access to build bridges inside your company. In a very data-centric world, you have the tools to be able to share real customer conversation to help the rest of your organization better understand how customers are experiencing your brand.

Wylie & Co.’s CEO, Nailah Blades, further supported this notion, along with a focus on business goals and having fun: “I think my biggest piece of advice is to always remember to tie social media or any marketing activities to business goals, so I think a lot of times it can be easy to have social just going and hopping on new platforms and then looking back and realizing that it has nothing to do with the business goals that the business has set for itself. I think social media doesn’t exist in a bubble and it shouldn’t be a silo, so I think it’s really important to make it interact nicely with other core business functions and tie everything together. Also, having fun! I know it’s work, but it’s so fun in social media and I know a lot of marketers probably got into social media because they love driving conversation and building communities – I mean that’s why I got into it – so I think it’s important not to forget that and have fun with it!”

You can view the full interviews with these stellar social media marketers by clicking here. Stay tuned for the next Q&A post as well as our next recap post on these stellar marketers’ predictions for the future of social media!

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Posted by Sheena