In the not-so-distant past, minute-long TV spots ruled advertising. Captive audiences watched whatever the advertiser decided to show. After all, there was no commercial-free alternative like Netflix and no smartphones to divert attention. With such a large audience, advertisers bet big on these spots, knowing that they'd be shown again and again to people without any alternative.
Things have changed. People are spending less time in front of the TV and more time on social media. Facebook boasts 2.2 billion active users; Instagram attracts 800 million monthly users. Advertisers are scrambling to get in front of the fresh eyes on these platforms.
New skills are required to stay ahead in this new landscape. Older TV ad campaigns followed a rigid, structured pattern: a deadline to roll out the commercials and a set time between programs to air them. Social media is much more fluid. A social media post about today's most popular topic will be stale if it comes out next week, let alone next quarter. Marketing departments need to react in real time to be competitive.
Agility Is Key
Structure and planning are still important, but flexibility is critical. When magic happens on social media, it happens spontaneously. Having a team that can recognize and act on opportunities is much more valuable than spending months planning and producing a single commercial.
At first, this approach might seem risky or sloppy. After all, isn't a well-developed ad better than an improvised post?
Actually, the two are apples and oranges. The rules are simply different between social and traditional media. In fact, one can help the other.
Agile social media use allows companies to run quick, iterative tests rather than one "big bet" on a single, costly commercial. It's inexpensive to run experiments and test potential ideas on social media. Posts and interactions on social media are low-stakes and can help a brand get a feel for what customers like. Then, when it's time to run a big campaign, the idea will already be vetted on social media before the company goes all-in.
Three Steps for Agile Social Media Marketing
What does this agile social marketing strategy look like in practice? Here are three steps:
1. Get organized.
Start by streamlining your efforts. Hubs like Hootsuite or Oktopost can help you manage your social posting and free up your resources to focus on content over scheduling. These platforms also have social listening tools that keep you dialed into conversations that matter to your business. You'll be able to respond quickly to rising topics and trends.
2. Learn from your audience.
Your experience with social media is different from your customers' experiences. Research how your audience interacts with social media across different platforms. What kinds of content are being shared? What's the tone? What social norms are observed or broken? With that information, you can start to customize your content. Your campaign should feel native to every platform you operate on.
3. Amplify your popular posts.
Keep a pulse on your most popular content and bump it up. When you realize you've got a star post on your hands, inject some funds to get it out to an even bigger audience. Responding to comments in a timely manner is another way to boost your messaging up the content stream; algorithms reward engagement. Naturally, your customers will appreciate the attention as well.
Following this protocol will ensure your brand will be able to deliver its messaging effectively, responding to opportunities when they arise and making the most of them.
An agile approach means having not only the right strategy, but also the right infrastructure. A talented marketing team is bound to strike gold at some point. When its superstar post goes viral, a slow or unavailable site resulting from the traffic spike is the worst situation imaginable. People continue to share the content, but the links are all dead and potential customers are lost. A stable, robust web platform can provide peace of mind and help companies celebrate their viral success rather than worry about it.
With strong site management and an agile social media strategy, you will find marketing success. But a final thing to keep in mind is the measurement of that success. Views and likes are cheap on the internet. Instead of basking in the glow of those vanity metrics, notice and nurture the true engagements that are going on with your content. It's those strong engagements that lead to lifelong customers.