Social media usage continues to skyrocket with 4.62 billion users at the last count with new platforms rising each day, bringing in millions of active users – 424 million in the last year to be more precise. Just look at Tiktok – did any of us really know what the platform was before the pandemic hit? It now adds eight users every second. Using the power of social media to converse with a business audience is now essential for effective marketing across B2B, and has become second nature to B2B marketing teams.

But with business and customer needs, and cultural trends all evolving at rapid speed on social platforms, a brand’s messaging can sometimes get lost or even be tone-deaf, falling victim of not moving with the times.

Twitter recently released a new report analyzing tweets from over ten years and eight countries, and looks at ways brands can use the platform to elevate their success through effective messaging and creative engagement. Needless to say it claims seven out the ten people surveyed agreed brand conversation on Twitter is the best part of the platform but we can see how the influence of social is not just rising on Twitter, but across social media as a wholeLinkedIn, Instagram, and of course Tik Tok.

However, there are some downfalls if you get the messaging wrong – cancel culture is truly here, and any slip-up on the comment of consumer trends can knock your brand off the top stop, never to be seen again.

So, what can be done to ensure brand conversation is always on target and in tune with cultural trends when marketing on social media? Here are three IBA tips on how to maximize success the next time your company takes to the social airwaves:

1) Be authentic

We’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, when a viral trend goes around social media, it’s easy for brands to hop on the bandwagon knowing it will get the attention and engagement from its audience. But with this comes a huge pitfall that many don’t think about – If brands are using the same viral trends, i.e. the same formula when trying to achieve social media hits, everyone’s social media starts sounding the same.

A brand needs to stay authentic, creating posts which hit its target audience – no one cares about your latest opinion on the hit new TV show, or a viral video that’s going around that has no relevance to your business or the message you’re trying to convey. Know your target audience, stick to your brand identity and messaging – that is what will truly win the people over!

2) It’s not about what you say, but how you say it

Speaking out on cultural trends can sometimes feel like a daunting task, as a brands reputation can be tarnished through miscommunication. But this doesn’t have to be the case. The Twitter report found eight in ten peopled surveyed expected brands to evolve their messaging with the times, connecting with their audience based on current affairs. So, this year we have International Women’s Day, which brings on Women in Stem, we have WFH, mental health and burnout…there is a lot of choice to help enhance the relevance of your brand to business decision making.

But it’s more than that. Ninety per cent of people surveyed say any topic is on the table and up for discussion, if it’s relayed in a way which is authentic to your brand and identity. If you can relay your message with the correct tone and look at the community you’re speaking for, you’re on the path to excellent engagement conversation and brand marketing.

3) Don’t be afraid to plan your posts

Once you’ve refined what the message is you want to portray, you could just post with no rhyme or reason, but consistency here is key. When curating your social media posts, it pays to set a framework in order for you to logically map out your content to ensure the correct message is going to the correct audience, at the correct time.

Setting up a framework of what days you want to post and even which times zones, can put your content into perspective, enabling you to analyze if your schedule is looking a little repetitive or not in keeping with your international audience – remember LinkedIn will let you tailor posts to appear to certain geographies. Once this is done, using a social media management platform such as Hootsuite or Oktopost means you’re able to schedule posts which fit company profile, even splitting them by campaign focus, industry topic and geography.

What’s more, their employee advocacy functionality means you can pre-draft content that employees are able to preview and share to their own following, ensuring brand messaging is consistent throughout corporate and personal channels.

Listen and learn

But the benefits don’t stop there – using a social media management platform will collate and manage click through and engagement analytics automatically, so you don’t have to manually hunt for stats to measure your social impact. All the data and insights you need will be there at the click of a button! Use the data to refine, re-group, re-engineer, re-calibrate, whatever. But remember – listen and learn.

Tweaking your tweet to make engagement sweet!

Marketing on social media is a powerful tool but in a huge global whirlpool of noise. So it’s just too easy for your posts to start sounding like everyone else’s. Listening, learning and looking at your core brand, its voice and the community you’re posting to, is a sure way to get your social media marketing standing out from the crowd!

Lois Unsworth is PR Executive at IBA International.

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