It’s 2019, which means your brand has no excuse for not being active on social media. It is an extremely effective marketing tool—in fact, 76% of U.S. consumers have bought something that they saw in a brand’s social media post, and over half of consumers who keep up with brands on social media do so to view products.

But just because your consumer products brand has a social media presence doesn’t mean success is guaranteed. An impactful social strategy requires a significant amount of effort from your company, but it’s well worth your time.

If you know your consumer products brand could be doing better on social, we’ve got your back. Here are the essential steps to a social media facelift for your consumer products brand:

The Preparation

Before you dive in, there are a few things you’ve got to do…

1. Define your target audiences. While the beauty of social media is in its nondiscriminatory reach and accessibility, it’s important to determine who you hope to reach so that you can better tailor your messaging and content. By focusing on a specific demographic, you can flesh out the purpose of your platforms, as well as the tone and language you’ll be using.

2. Decide on your social media channels. Now it’s time to choose your main social platforms. Focus on matching your product’s strengths to the functions of a specific channel. For example, it would make sense for a condiment brand to use Pinterest to share recipe ideas, but Pinterest wouldn’t be as relevant for a paper products brand. If you’re feeling lost, consider these statistics as a guide—in a survey of 18- to 24-year-olds, one-third said they would buy things directly from Facebook, followed by Instagram (27%), Twitter (20%), and Pinterest (17%).

Illustration of people around a large cell phone

 

3. Ensure you have consistent handles and basic information across accounts. This may seem like common sense, but consistency is important if you want consumers to find your accounts easily. The same goes for links to websites and any other information that could be found in your account bios. 

4. Find a planning tool. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with content planning, but tools such as Hootsuite, Planoly, and Buffer allow you to schedule posts in advance. Many of them also come with basic analytics and metrics, which can help in the follow-up stage to see how your posts are performing.

Screenshot of Hootsuite website

 

The Execution

Once your accounts are consistent across the board, they’re ready for content. Let’s do this!

1. Strike the 70/30 balance. You don’t want to inundate your followers with promotional posts all the time, but you still want to make sure your products have a presence in their feed. It’s not an exact science, but the best strategy to start out with is 70% lifestyle or branded content, such as a photo of a beautiful destination for a water bottle brand, and 30% promotional content, like a shot of the water bottle that people can shop directly from the post. This proportion can be tweaked as you go, but it’s a great starting point to keep consumers engaged without spamming them.

2. Focus on user-generated content (UGC). Considering 50% of U.S. consumers cited UGC as the main reason they bought something through social media, this strategy is incredibly powerful for boosting sales. And for 85% of consumers, seeing their peers post about a product has more of an influence on them than brand-created content.

So how do you encourage your followers to generate this content? 60% of consumers are motivated by the opportunity to be featured, so it’s important to emphasize the mutually beneficial relationship that can come from content creation. Take Starbucks for example. In 2014, customers could submit their doodles on a Starbucks cup in the #WhiteCupContest for the chance to have the design printed on a limited edition cup. Not only did this allow for consumers to show off their creativity on social media, but it also encouraged them to go to stores to get the cups to draw on. And besides the cost of creating the reusable cups at the end of the contest, this social media campaign didn’t cost Starbucks a thing.

Of course, the goal is for consumers to feel compelled to post about and share your product on their own—but until then, competitions and social media features can drive this UGC.

Screenshot of #whitecupcontest on Instagram

 

3. Remember that consistency is key. You should maintain the same tone in tweets, captions, and any other copy across your channels. Copywriting becomes much easier when you have a guideline to stick to, whether that’s the use of emojis in your captions or an arsenal of brand hashtags.

Speaking of hashtags, it’s a great tool to utilize but one that must be used wisely. Stick with three or four brand-specific ones (again—consistency!), in order to create a theme your audiences can follow.

4. Integrate the shopping experience into your posts. Your ultimate goal is to drive product sales, and social media platforms have made it easier than ever to incorporate sales functions into your posts. Instagram influences almost 75% of purchases—specifically style, fashion, or beauty-related buys—and this may be due to the ease with which consumers can go from looking at a post to purchasing an item. When you are featuring your products on your social accounts, always remember to link an option to buy the product right in the post.

Screenshot of shoppable post from Anthropologie's Instagram

 

The Follow-Up

You’ve got the posts. You’ve got the followers. Now you’ve got to keep up with it all!

1. Monitor interactions with your accounts. Social media is a two-way street. You want consumer engagement on your posts, but your followers also want to hear from you. It’s important for your brand to be active, especially when it comes to liking and responding to people’s comments.

2. Analyze your account metrics. The only way to know whether your social strategy is successful is by keeping an eye on how it’s performing. Most social media platforms and scheduling tools have built-in analytics features that allow you to do just that. You’ll be able to find out everything from what time of day your posts receive the most engagement to which hashtags drive the most views. These insights are extremely valuable because they allow you to tweak your strategy for success.

Illustration of different graphs and analytics on a screen

 

3. Continue brainstorming and planning. Your content can quickly get stale if you’re not on top of new ideas for your social channels. Keep the ideas flowing by following other successful brands and products—it’s a good way to get inspiration of your own.

Conclusion

Social media holds a lot of power, especially when it comes to developing brand awareness and boosting purchases. You don’t have to start from scratch when creating impactful social media accounts for your product—you just have to be aware of the spots where a couple tweaks can make all the difference. By following these steps for preparation, execution, and follow-up, you’ll turn your social media followers into happy customers.