Effective social media brand marking techniques for lean teams

What worked yesterday doesn't work today

Spread the nuanced history of social media marketing before you and you’ll see a picture as varied as a Jackson Pollock. Digital marketing has always been a hypercompetitive environment—forever changing the way brands adapt to user expectations, new market challengers, advancing technology, and stronger privacy protection policies. The last year has made the volatility of digital marketing all too apparent, and it’s becoming increasingly more difficult for lean marketing teams to brave the ebbs and flows without taking on a bit of water.

Success today requires marketers to take advantage of every available opportunity, and with digital consumption at its peak following the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some tactics returning to the surface:

Weaponizing micro-influencers

Conveying value and driving adoption directly through brand channels is a Sisyphean struggle—particularly for market challengers that struggle with a smaller share of voice against a leader or dominator.

In years past, social media mega-influencers were the go-to for brands looking to alleviate the pain of growing voice by landing collaboration deals. Influencerships were a great way to tap into millions of people quickly; however, influencerships have lost efficacy after the initial boom around 2015. Mega-influencers scored least trustworthy (at a mere 6%) in the 2021 Veracity Index by Ipsos MRBI.

Micro-influencers and nano-influencers on the other hand are subject matter experts that have accrued hundreds to thousands of followers within a niche interest, and they are often held in higher regard by growing an audience through authentic interactions.

Brands that identify the micro-influencers in their market and find ways to activate them have a distinct opportunity to decentralize their voice and capture a larger share of the total addressable market without breaking the bank on a strict brand channel approach.

Crowdsourcing user-generated content

The modern consumer is very much accustomed to being assaulted at all sides with branded messaging. Most people are bombarded by roughly 10,000 advertisements per day, and that number is only increasing with greater consumption. People by now understand the game: they know that brands need to get noisy to stay relevant, but people have a fantastically honed ability to tune out noise so that they can focus their attention on what matters to them.

Truth-be-told, branded content has much lesser engagement scores than user-generated content. Branded content doesn’t do as well as user content because people go to social media to interact with friends and family. Full stop. Most people will tell you that one of the first things they do after waking up in the morning is to check social media, but no one will tell you that the first thing on their mind is, “I wonder what Jasper’s Market posted today?”

Campaigns that make use of user-generated content alleviate the need to offer highly-produced brand content 100% of the time. Picture-perfect social content may look shiny, but it lacks a certain authenticity and grittiness that audiences are expecting from social media. Letting people create content for a brand allows lean teams to surrender the burdensome role of creative agency, and it empowers teams to spend more time curating and amplifying content.

With social media now being the primary junction between people and brands, people are expecting brands to seek out marketing communication tactics that advocate for authentic interactions and experiences.

Brand channels—although still important—are no longer the bread-and-butter of a comprehensive social media strategy. Brand channels are faceless, impersonal, and ultimately boring. When brands hand the keys over to people, it brings authenticity, serendipity, and excitement to the table. I, for one, am looking forward to handing over the keys, coming up to the surface for air, and seeing what happens.