Social media and the impact technology has on our lives has made it more complex than ever to be a marketer. The days of big brands building their awareness by simply running high-reaching “above the line” ads has disappeared, and there is a need for brands to constantly regroup and re-assess how they go to market. Consumer behaviour is also evolving at a rapid rate.
Even though this can be a challenge for small brands, it can also create new opportunities for marketers who know how to leverage these changes and change tack accordingly. For brands looking to thrive in the modern market, there are a few simple steps you can take so that you don’t miss out on leveraging these opportunities.
1. Understand your consumers, and constantly look for new segments
Understanding your customer is rule number one of traditional marketing, but how you do this and how quickly you can respond is where the opportunity lies. There is less of a need for expensive third party research if, as a brand, are socially literate. Sure, qualitative and quantitive research will always have a place, but there is an immediate opportunity to test and learn. Engage with your social audience and test your campaigns, your products, even what colours you manufacture by speaking with your audience one-to-one. This has never been easier with the tools available around polls and engagement.
2. Stand out from the crowd
Although social media is a great tool for brands in terms of capturing trends, engaging with consumers and ultimately driving sales, there is a lot of competition. Never has it been more important to be able to tell your brand’s authentic story, and leverage your brand identity. This could involve creating content around what got you to where you are. Why did you start your brand? Have you overcome struggles and challenges along the way? Your story is your unique point of difference, which no competitor can take from you, and if you can leverage your brand identity or personal story in a meaningful way, your true audience will find you, and engage with and advocate your brand more freely. Authenticity is key.
3. The influencer backlash
There are still benefits to be had from working with social media influencers, but the commercialization and transparency that has followed has meant that the impact of influencers is not what it was 18 months ago. Like any new trend the market becomes aware and consumers adapt their behavior accordingly. In the case of influencers, consumers now understand influence is transactional rather than aspirational.
So what does this mean for smaller brands? Authentic partnerships, rather than transactional influence to get your brand in front of smaller but more engaged and relevant niche audiences. There is an opportunity for brands that build authentic partnerships to gain cut through, as consumers turn back to friends, family and those we trust rather than those with the most “likes”.
Melanie Aslanidis, Founder, Beachside Collective