Seven things that will differentiate brands on social media

In the ongoing journey to surprise and delight their social media communities, brands should step out of their comfort zone and try new things.

This is a round-up of digital strategies that will set your brand apart on social media.

Automation
Facebook offers a response assistant to help improve the response times on your Facebook page and to let followers know their message has been received. There are currently three automated response options:

  • Messenger Greetings – welcome people when they initiate a private conversation.
  • Instant Replies – automated responses to followers when they message your page.
  • Away Messages – let people know they’ve contacted you outside business hours.

Chatbots
Research shows that people spend more time using social messaging – Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger – than social media. Facebook Messenger alone has over a billion monthly active users, sending more than 60 billion chat messages a day.

In April 2016 Facebook Messenger launched the chatbot functionality, and within six months the number of bots built on this platform tripled – and shows no signs of stopping. South African brands are keen to get in on the action, and chatbots are set to explode onto the social scene within the next 12 months. They’re a great way to collect data from your customers, such as location, age, gender and product preferences. Companies that offer online shopping can use chatbots to double-up as sales assistants, providing answers about product, price and shipping, and at the same time up- and cross-sell similar products.

While bots can respond day or night, finding the balance of efficient and personal will be the big challenge in successfully implementing this technology. Investing in real machine learning and AI will enable companies to create chatbots that learn-as-they-go, improving the experience with every conversation.

Sentiment
Engagement is a tricky deliverable and not necessarily a useful one. Most engagements consist of likes or reactions. The greatest benefit of this “lazy” engagement is sentiment analysis. It assists brands in judging which content elicits positive reactions – love, haha, wow – and which leads to anger and sadness. This adds a layer of sentiment insight beyond comments.

Remember to take note of negative feedback – posts that are hidden, reported as spam, and page unlikes. These actions lower your post’s relevancy score, which Facebook uses to determine valuable or useless content.

Six second videos
Brands have 1.7 seconds to grab a person’s fleeting attention. Whether how-to, product information or company launch – tell a story in six seconds. It’s challenging, but possible and effective.

User-generated content (UGC)
If you’re running competitions to get users to tag your brand to get user-generated content, be aware that you are creating an expectation that fans will be rewarded. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

If budget is an issue, however, engage with followers who engage the most. Send them a message asking if you could feature their content on your brand’s profile (tagging them in the caption). And if the same person consistently creates relevant content, a little gift of gratitude will go a long way to cementing loyalty.

Instagram Stories
This format offers so many opportunities – from 15-second vox pop clips or demos, to polls. Add a GIF and tag other accounts – it grabs attention and spreads the word. It doesn’t have to be scripted. In fact, this is the perfect way to showcase your authentic brand.

Facebook Live
Here scripts can be of value. Facebook recommends Live video should be between 10 minutes and four hours in length. You can post the video to your brand page later and promote to a targeted audience. This is ideal for webinars, interviews and Q&A sessions.

Instagram Stories vs Facebook Live?
Use Instagram stories to demonstrate a yoga position and Facebook Live to share a full yoga workout, followed by instructor Q and A.

These are easy elements to incorporate in your social media strategies, they will breakthrough, add value to your community and ensure your success.