“We as marketers have to get our hands dirty.” You hear this everywhere, in every digital marketing seminar, plastered on conference room walls, and even written in curling script atop a meadow scene on Instagram. #MotivationMondays. But what does this mean? In an era of disassociation and outsourcing, why is it so essential today for marketers to “get their hands dirty?”
It is precisely the connective nature of social media that so necessitates proximity. The likes of Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat paradoxically strengthen and weaken personal connections. On one hand, social media has made it so much faster and easier to keep in touch with people. On the other hand, online communication can create a false sense of intimacy in the brief, digestible snippets of text and image that it can provide.
The phrase “to dirty one’s hands” refers to the willingness to be directly involved in the work, rather than maintaining a safe distance to keep those hands clean and manicured. The conscientious marketer will maintain proximity to social media efforts and capitalize on the advantages and shortcomings of social media.
Without further ado, here are 4 ways to get your hands dirty and grow your audience organically.
1. Paid Social Media Posts
Content amplification works, provided the content itself is high quality and compelling. No amount of paid boosting can overcome sloppy or boring content. Paid social media is merely elevating organic content so that the algorithm makes it more discoverable to more people. It is important to be strategic with paid posts, as an oversaturation could lead to brand dilution.
A good way to start would be to compile a report on organic reach (that is to say, unpaid), boost one or more posts, and compare the depth and size of reach.
2. User Generated Content
User generated content, or UGC refers to a kind of earned media, where unpaid users create and share posts, images, or links of their own volition. UGC is a fascinating way of navigating that weak-strong connection that social media creates, because it smacks of authenticity. Nearly 88 percent of consumers are inclined to trust promotion from people within their network.
In 2014, Starbucks launched its Starbucks’ White Cup Contest. The campaign was based in the premise of individual creativity, which incentivized customers to buy a Starbucks drink not only as a beverage but also as an expression of their artistic selves. The customers were instructed to buy a drink, draw on it, and submit a picture of their design as an entry. One entry would be selected to decorate a limited-edition Starbucks cup. In just three weeks, Starbucks received over 4,000 entries posted on individual feeds. Imagine how much free attention Starbucks basked in- each of the 4,000 posts was seen by each user’s individual audiences. Such is the power of user generated content.
3. Influencer Marketing
Boost your community presence by collaborating with a local influencer. An influencer is someone who has spent time building up a unique brand and growing a receptive audience in a very close-touch way.
According to a study conducted by Annalect, nearly 40 percent of Twitter users say they have bought something as a direct result of an influencer’s tweet. Furthermore, the Reuters Institute 2016 Digital News Report found that ad-blocking is at an all-time high, particularly among Millennials and Gen Z. This finding emphasizes how traditional ads are likely to under-perform, if they are prevented from being seen by online users. Influencers avoid this roadblock, because their carefully grown audience trusts their brand and their advice. Their sponsorship of a product is a part of their continued self-branding. It feels authentic, because it is. That is the power of influencers.
There are too many marketers out there still who discount the power of the stories format. Initially popularized by Snapchat, Facebook has copied this innovative sharing option into all its platforms. As of now, approximately 350 Instagram users engage with Instagram stories. Facebook stories draw fewer numbers, but 150 million users are still nothing to sniff at.
Some people even predict that stories will begin to surpass feeds as the primary way that people share content. Given the near-seamless transitions between stories and ads, the story is an ideal spot for native advertising.
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