I’m not going to lie, print and email marketing are a dying art. Written communications are crafted, but rarely appreciated in modern succinct lifestyle. There are so many pieces of paper and emails in everyday life that people tend to immediately disregard everything that isn’t vital. Not to say these forms of communication aren’t still important. I love my long elaborate sentences, but I recognize I’m probably the only one. Longer, more informative pieces in a company need to increasingly be supported by other, quicker and more efficient ways to communicate. One way to make brand communication happen as marketers is to focus on the social needs of individuals.
Before you get someone to read your entire “About Us” page and scour your website for more information, you need to get them interested in your brand and what you do. Start by understanding Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The odds are the basic human needs of your target audience are being met, such as food, water and air. If not, then unless you’re marketing for a non-profit that is trying to help them, they really don’t need any of your marketing–they have other things to worry about.
We are going to focus on the esteem and self-actualization levels of the pyramid when thinking about how to connect with people.
The fourth level of need in the pyramid, after safety and family needs are met, are esteem needs. This includes the desire for respect from others, self-esteem, sense of achievement and confidence. This can come from a variety of social media. The top level of the pyramid is where ideal consumers live. They have discretionary income, all of their basic needs are taken care of, they have a circle of family and friends that they can influence, and their opinions are respected by others. This is where we need to meet creativity, spontaneity and problem solving needs. Again, give your target audience channels to fulfill these needs using social media and your brand.
Yelp specializes in telling others where you’ve been and allows individuals to share their opinions. People love doing fun things, and they love telling others about doing fun things! Yelp not only allows them to do that, gaining attention, potentially respect and boosting confidence, but it also allows you (as a business) to reward them further for checking in at your business with special deals and discounts. Get customers to check in and write you a review, and offer them 10 percent off of a purchase or a small free item (ex. If you are a tasting room, offer a bonus pour of an exclusive wine). It might even instigate a sale!
Pinterest is a great place for people (the statistics say more women) to get lost in project ideas. Depending on what your brand is, you can strategically place your products in multiple posts. If you are a mason jar company, you may have heard of the latest mason jar wine glass trend. Jump in on the action and “pin” useful information for your target audience, so they use your Pinterest page as a resource on how to make their own wine glasses. Aim for simple direction and beautiful pictures. Aim for interesting ways to use mason jars that few people have heard or thought of. Then keep it all in one place for your consumers to find.
Instagram is another amazing outlet for creativity. A picture is worth a thousand words–get your pictures out there! Anyone with a camera can be a photographer, and people seem to be picking up on it. With the range of filters to select from in Instagram, it’s not hard to make your pictures look exactly the way you want. The more beauty you provide the world, the more Instagram-worthy photos there will be. Just remind your customers to take them. For example, if you are a florist, every arrangement you create can be photographed and posted to your Instagram account. Include a small note with specially ordered arrangements that offers 10 percent off your next purchase for posting a photo of the flowers (get pictures of a happy couple, encourage whoever buys the bouquet to snap a shot of whoever receives it).
Twitter is ideal for spontaneity, with it’s short, exciting updates and statuses where you can easily upload a picture. They key in Twitter lies in something called #hashtagging. This enables people to group all tweets of a certain nature. For example, if you are a school or university that just went through major renovations throughout campus, hold a photo competition on Twitter. Tell students to tweet pictures of their favorite part of the new renovations with the hashtag #[universityname]2013 or #[universityname]evolution (something with character) and be entered for a drawing for a book store gift card. Whoever searches the hashtag will see all the new renovations, and it gives you some new marketing tools in the form of pictures taken my students and Twitter statuses.
By the way, hashtags are also a “sophisticated” social took that allows people to say something without actually saying it. For example, when someone is tweeting sarcastically and adds #sorrynotsorry.
And of course, there is Facebook, which can fit in with almost any of those tactics, since it spans so much of the social media-verse. The important thing with Facebook (and Twitter) is to have a company page and keep your followers informed. Continue to add value, and don’t make them regret liking your company on Facebook. Be sure to also link all your social media pages somewhere on the home page of your Website so people can find you on your various platforms. This page is a good resource if you need any Facebook graphics (like button, etc.) to use on your Website.
Finally, it’s important to understand that social media sites are all different. In order to better understand the subtle yet vital differences, check out this graphic from DecoNetwork. They can be and are utilized in different ways by consumers to fulfill their social needs. Insert yourself into the equation and watch brand recognition take off.