Use of Social Media to Inspiration for All Businesses

Great Use of Social MediaLaurel Moffat, who is a Communication Specialist at Southwest Airlines, has made a presentation about the company’s successful social media strategy at a January 25 Kansas City American Marketing Association lunch event. The presentation gave great insight into social media and what to think about when dealing with this – to inspiration for both small and larger organizations.

Here, we will share some of her advice with you:

Listen to your audience – and personalize
Here, Laurel is referring to how important it is to listen to what is being said about you and your company out there, because this can provide insight into which content that is meaningful and appropriate for your audience. Once you get active, it’s important to personalize audience experiences. For example, Southwest Airlines do the following:

– Team members handling Facebook activity sign their names to their responses.

– Southwest tries to share “real” content on topics customers are thinking about relative to flying.

– It encourages localization with 20 local station Facebook pages covering specific Southwest airport operations groups.

Social media requires people and time
Southwest Airlines is huge online – and to take care of that amount of activity, the company has a media group of five people. Their presence is monitored all day. From this, it is obvious that it does take both several people and an amount of time in order to maintain a social media effort. However, when running a smaller company, it is of course not as comprehensive. It’s a matter of keeping up with a thorough plan and strategy, so each individual is aware of their specific role.

Great opportunities in a collaborative social media strategy
Considering all the content Southwest Airlines create to maintain its presence, a collaborative approach is vital for the company. And here are some elements that can be inspiring for everyone else dealing with social media:

– There’s internal collaboration: marketing creates the feel for its social media channels, and the communications team (through its emerging media group) drives content. The legal and investor relations departments are also closely involved.

– All emerging media team employees complete customer service training to ensure they are well-prepared to address customer questions and issues directly and expeditiously.

– Southwest Airlines works with outside partners as well, including Kansas City-based VML and Buddy Media.

– Southwest reaches out specifically to influencers: travel bloggers, brand fanatics, avid travelers, and importantly, employees all contribute content.

– To increase broader employee involvement, Southwest Airlines also organized an internal social media conference (BlogCon) in January 2011 to bring employee contributors into Dallas for overviews and training on social media and content creation.

Nobody knows what will happen for sure
Some facts:

– Southwest Airlines has been in social media since 2006, when it launched its blog.

– The company create a presence on both Twitter and Facebook in 2007.

– Southwest Airlines has an award-winning, significant presence.

Considering that Southwest Airlines has experimented with social media during several years, things can still come as a surprise to them. For example, the company is surprised by what videos on its YouTube site that obtains the most views. This can be comforting for businesses to know as it shows that all companies – big or small – that seem experienced with social media can be left guessing and not necessarily see the specific effects on beforehand.

Social media does not get you out of trouble
More facts:

– Southwest Airlines is a strong brand.

– It got into social media before it had everything figured out.

– It’s had a few stumbles along the way, but it sees clear positives and high regard for its effort.

Before getting into social media, Southwest Airlines was already an established brand. If it had not had that reputation, getting into social media and not knowing what to do exactly could have caused some damage. This leads to the fact that all companies establishing a presence on social media needs to be sure that there are no potential problems facing the brand. Have these under control – and then always: make a plan!

Great Use of Social Media to Inspiration for All Businesses

 


Clickbait: Information overload! How can brands cut-through all the noise?

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 10.11.34You won’t believe the hidden message in this blog post! Or rather – there isn’t one, I just wanted you to click through and read this. But bear with me – I’m about to suggest something incredibly controversial – a never-heard-before admission by a social agency!*

As much as clickbait is the emotional catnip of our online experience and can drive consistent traffic for publishers like The Daily Mail and Huff Post who churn out multiple stories each day, it’s still hugely annoying to discover you’ve been duped by an over-excited headline promising to give you all the feels. For brands, adopting the same practice can negatively affect perception and ultimately – sales. So how can brands cut through all the sensational copy and deliver successful results without falling prey to creating clickbait themselves? How do they beat them rather than join them?

 

Platform crackdown

In the early days of social, Facebook optimised content based on engagement, meaning that if users clicked on a piece of content, it received a higher ranking in newsfeeds. In 2014 Facebook took steps to try and crack down on those gaming this ranking using clickbait, and in February this year it introduced an update based not just on what users engaged with in their feed, but what they wanted to see. Facebook’s advice is that Pages should avoid encouraging people to take action (such as encouraging lots of clicks), because this will likely only cause temporary spikes in metrics that might then be rebalanced by feed’s ranking over time – meaning the latest ranking favours content that users naturally engage with rather than content that users click on through coercion.

 

Last month Instagram followed suit and announced it would alter user’s feeds to optimise the content users “care about the most”, and Twitter has also adopted a similar change (although users can opt-out and revert back to the chronological feed). The changes will hopefully make it harder for clickbaiters to game feeds with meaningless content, but the real aim for the platforms hosting is to surface more engaging content more frequently so users return often and stay longer.

 

The same goes for brands on social. If the content they produce is consistently engaging, then users will interact more frequently, leading others to discover it through preferred ranking. Ultimately, these new newsfeed algorithms exist to generate more meaningful engagement, driving not just clicks, but conversations via comments, and shares.

 

Learn and adapt

Meaningful engagement begins with relevant content that creates value for the user and the brand. While an insight-driven content strategy is key to delivering this, brands should also adapt stories and messages based on the emotional needs and behavior of their audience. This is more than just a case of ‘test and learn’ or refining what has already been done. Brands must also evolve their approach in line with new behaviors, platforms, competitors and rankings or risk being left behind by those who do.

 

A good example of a brand that does this well is Buzzfeed, who’s CEO recently shared their new strategic thinking, revealing how their objective has changed from getting users to click through to their main site to view stories, to allowing content to be consumed directly on other platforms. The new direction was prompted by analysing which content generated clicks and discovering that users prefer to consume some types of content within the platform they are already on. The company also found a discernable difference between user interactions with the same content on different platforms, demonstrating how content demand and consumption vary across sites. What spreads like wildfire on Facebook might fail miserably elsewhere.

 

Relevance is key

For brands looking to use social content to drive click-through to their site, it’s important to balance the goal of the company (clicks to eyeballs, or conversions to sales, for example) with the desire and behavior of users on different sites, and monitor response over time. Relevance is key to interaction, and brands that think like publishers will know that relevance is an ever-changing chameleon. While users are bombarded with meaningless clickbait, there is ample opportunity for brands to channel the social zeitgeist by delivering valuable content that meets audience needs in the format, time and platform that suits them. If they get this right, they won’t need clickbait.

 

At Mindjumpers we help companies and brands to think as publishers and provide end-to-end social media management across multiple markets, encompassing full social strategy, planned and reactive content creation, analysis and reporting.

 

If you’d like to find out more please get in touch.

 

*Don’t be naughty and scroll to the last paragraph – I’ve hidden the controversial part somewhere to optimize your dwell time in finding it!