Social media is all new and shiny, and every year there’s a new app waiting to reach the 100 million, the 500 million, the 1 billion user threshold. Marketers seem to have to learn new skills all the time, familiarize themselves with new formats, new concepts, new technologies. But there are a few tactics in marketing that are as old as the discipline itself. Things that will never change, can never change, must never change.
Tactics that are still relevant in the digital age:
Meaningful Interactions with Your Followers
It requires more time and effort, but a real human-to-human interaction with your customer or follower goes a long way. It gives the brand authenticity and the marketer clout. Automation has made our lives easier, but because of so many companies are deploying automated strategies, personal interaction goes further than ever before. It becomes more valuable in the eye of engaged consumers and amplified the customer-orientation of your brand.
Remember: Don’t automate all your marketing, and don’t send out canned replies.
Focus on Creating Memorable, Useful Content
It’s fairly obvious: you should create memorable content that people want to engage with. Emotions count, whether it is awe or anger. But so does valuable content that actually solves your customer’s questions. Just like before the digital age, creating customer value is still at the heart of good marketing
Remember: Focus on what you can offer the customer to improve their experience.
Use Influencers and Partnerships
Influencers don’t just work for B2C brands like cosmetics or food, they are also essential for B2B brand in the industrial space. Influencers are more believable than advertising or direct messages from a brand, even when their interest in the brand is declared.
Likewise, without partnerships, your company is nothing. Don’t build silos and kingdoms, but focus on networks and friendships. You will be rewarded. REMEMBER: THe key to influencers is quality, not quality. One really good influencers can bring you millions in new business.
Remember: Find influencers on Twitter, LinkedIn and special platforms like Onalytica.
Repurposing Good Content
If something works, do it again. This worked before the Internet, and it will work once we have moved on to new technologies. That doesn’t mean you should become repetitive in your approach. Repurposing can mean turning content into new formats such as infographics, videos, or podcasts.
Remember: On social media, the best strategy is to analyze past content, improve on the formula perhaps, but stick to the principle.
Share for a Benefit
Give your audience a reason to share, or a reward. Incentivizing your followers (without resorting to blatant baiting or misleading rewards) is a great way to ensure they stay engage and like your brand.
Consider offering free services, pro bono work, charity work, and try to link the brand’s core values to these efforts.
Remember: Choose the right cause, stay authentic and focussed.
Use Visual Content
Before the internet, images worked, and in the digital age, they work even more. People watch a lot of television, and they will so, increasingly, on Facebook or Youtube or Instagram. Whereas B2B brands still need to rely on testimonials, product descriptions, and long from text content, even industrial companies are increasingly turning to video as a messaging tool. The next generation of consumers – a generation that grew up with the Internet – are much more used to consuming video content than reading long whitepapers.
Remember: Video production doesn’t have to be expensive. Short, authentic documentation of a product or service add credibility to the brand.
Sincerity, honesty, transparency
Experienced marketers know that dishonest brands won’t be around for long. You may reap financial benefits in the short run, but for a long-term enterprise strategy, it pays to keep your marketing sincere and honest.
Don’t go out of your way to hide product flaws or features that are inferior to the competition. An open discussion of your product offering will show that you are sincere about solving the client’s real issues and are not out to rip them off.
Remember: Honesty is a rare quality in marketing; successful brands embrace transparency for long-term success.
Build an audience on trust
These are the oldest question in marketing: How do we build trust with our target audience? How do we make sure we don’t betray that trust? How can we build long-term relationships based on trust.
On digital media, building this trust must be based on honest discussion of products, product features, customer experience with the product, and responsiveness to customer questions. No artificial intelligence system can do this; real people need to engage with your customers. Only brands that have learned this lesson will ultimately prevail.
Remember: Automation can only go so far. At the end of the day, trust happens between real people.
Build a community
Part of building trust, and an easy way to satisfy our renewed need for engagement, is building communities of followers, fans, users, and people tangentially involved with the brand. Quality leads are hard to find, but building communities around brand-related topics makes it actually easier to generate real leads.
Creating communities, groups, and a page following around topics rather than individual products may benefit brands more than a strict product focus, e.g. focus on “health”, not your nutrition bar; focus on “fitness”, not your running shoes, focus on “manufacturing excellence”, not a spec sheet of your latest CNC machine. Successful brands already do that in their marketing. It’s called content marketing, and it works. Now it is obligatory.
These are just some of the evergreen values of marketing. Whether it is in television and radio in the last century, on your website and social media today, or in virtual and augmented reality tomorrow: these values never change. Good marketers know that.