As brands try to raise awareness and inspire loyalty, they are finding it increasingly difficult to stand out from the competition. Across all industries, online marketing and social media platforms are creating content overload for prospective customers.
So how can you rise above the digital noise when every brand has something ‘new’ to share with you?
Cofounders of CTS Agency, Greg Trujillo and Carolyn Capern, addressed this question in their recent presentation at a PRSA Orlando Chapter meeting. CTS agency has implemented digital and traditional marketing strategies for nonprofits and believe that with effective messaging, brands can connect with audiences and build awareness.
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Brand First vs. Audience First
Often, brands churn out steady content about products and services. This means, however, that social media feeds end up looking more like advertising campaigns rather than platforms new and existing customers want to engage with.
According to the 2018 Sprout Social Index, 80 percent of social marketers said that their key strategy is to increase engagement across all social channels. As such, brands need to consider what content the audience will find compelling enough to like, comment on or share. Comments are one of the most valuable forms of engagement on social media, followed by shares. Platforms like Facebook want to promote organic content that sparks conversation. Intrinsically, they give more attention to and extend the reach of posts that show this type of traction.
Using brand-first positioning, the organization and its people are highlighted, whereas audience-first positioning makes the audience the ‘hero’ and has the ability to immediately resonate with them. Brand-first positioning also only shares updates on internal activities, achievements and priorities. With audience-first positioning, a problem is personalized by telling a story and a sense of empathy is built.
Consider this: a CIO is much more likely to relate to a post highlighting a case study summary with the problem and solution clearly laid out, instead of an update about a product from your brand.
Create Compelling Content
To create content that truly resounds with your audience, a shift in the marketing mindset is required. Brands need to ensure goals, priorities and preferences match that of its audience. Brands also need to consider the actionable objectives they are looking to achieve, whether it’s prompting the download of an eBook or for recruitment purposes, clear objectives must be set and measured.
And metrics are important – engagement metrics can showcase exactly who a brand’s message is resonating with from the general audience. But, they are not the sole indicator of content success. Often, impressions can be vanity metric that do not tell us what’s actually going to move the needle for the brand. Brands should also delve into lead generation and goals met to see how the content is doing.
Use a Multi-pronged Approach
To reach the right audiences, a multi-pronged approach is required. Brands need to get creative and tap audiences both online and offline. Consider how retargeting and SEO can help generate new business leads online and how earned and owned content in relevant print outlets can in turn create touchpoints with prospective customers. An effective marketing approach requires utilizing a range of tools to reach customers and eventually convert them.
By creating an audience-first strategy to influence new customers, brands will see increased engagement and leads. Cutting through the noise can absolutely be done by tapping into what customers want to learn and the solutions your brand can provide for them.