[Podcast] Part 2: 5 Steps to Revive Your Social Media Strategy

Aligning your platforms to your goals and audiences is a critical aspect of creating a successful social media strategy. Additionally, creating custom content and testing it is an important step for determining what works best for your target audience. Erica Dudash, former retail marketing executive for Purple Mattress and American Eagle, discusses what steps marketers need to take to revive their social media strategies in our podcast.

[Podcast] Part 2: 5 Steps to Revive Your Social Media Strategy


Speakers

erica dudash
Speaker
Erica Dudash
Former Retail Marketing Executive
Purple Mattress & American Eagle Outfitters
Host
Luci Rainey
Former Marketing Executive
Comcast & PODS

*The following transcription has been adapted from Five Steps to Revive Your Social Media Strategy.

LUCI

My question for you, Erica, is it better to invest and focus on one platform, or a certain audience, or depending on your budget, spread it across all platforms?

There’s a lot of, there are a lot of front-and-center platforms, but new ones are constantly emerging.

Where do you start and how do you choose what to invest in?

Step 3. Align Platforms to Goals & Audience

ERICA

Yeah. Yeah, those are all good questions and things that I think social media managers and directors and VPs are all asking themselves every single day. So, that’s a loaded one, and that’s a lot, but when you start to think about what your goals are and who your target audience is, you want to understand where those people are engaging. So, for some brands, it’s going to be a varied approach. And maybe they are like this diagram on Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest – they’re all of those places. But I think it’s important for you to take a step back and say, “Where is your target most active? Where are they most likely to engage?”

So maybe you do a continuous strategy that has all those components and parts and pieces, but you spend 80% of your time on meta properties in TikTok or on LinkedIn because you’re more focused on professionals. So really understanding who that audience is and then aligning the platforms that make the most sense for where that audience engaging is very important. 

So, it’s not a one size fits all. It’s not always best to just do a complete blanket approach. It really, it really takes time consideration, learning, data, tracking, understanding to see where it’s going to be the most effective because as many of us marketers know and especially in the economy and everything that’s going on right now, budgets are not endless.

As much as we would love to be able to you know utilize every creative whim and go all out everywhere that we can, that’s not often the case. Very few of us can go and post whatever we like, everywhere we want to be.

So, being strategic and thinking about what those goals are, and what, where those audiences are engaging, is really important. So, if you’re thinking about trying to raise awareness, maybe you do hit things over the head in more broad strokes. But when you’re thinking about consideration and conversion, you may use different tactics.

LUCI

Do you find one platform is better than another? Like, is Pinterest better for awareness versus Facebook being better for conversion, you know, in your experience?  Do you have a favorite platform, you know, for one or the other? And by favorite I mean, have you seen measured success, you know, with that platform and in achieving X, Y, or Z? Again, it just depends on the product. I mean you’ve worked at very different retailers from Anthropology to American Eagle to Purple. Those are really very, very different retailers.

The products are very different, obviously, American Eagle was about, you know, customer re-engagement and repurchase. Purple is a big luxury item. My daughter has a Purple mattress, so I know what those things cost, and those are very different. And so, do you have different approaches in these platforms, and audiences, based on kind of what you’re trying to achieve…do you have a favorite?

ERICA

Yes. So, I was just leaning over to reach for this. This is called a squishy. This is what the purple beds are actually made of and it’s part of the material, and the squishy blew up on TikTok. 

And so, people were obsessed with it and, you know, have incorporated it into various things. And so, when we talk about the differences by brand and the different, you know, platforms, that you’re leveraging TikTok was hugely successful for Purple, and saw great engagement and drove a lot of awareness and helped with the growth of the brand.

And, you know, a brand that was fun and very slapstick, helps gain traction and attention for the brand, initially. But then as Purple is thinking about strategies of how we’re going to evolve, it had to really think about becoming a premium brand, and where to move to. And so, I think is really specific to the brand and what your goals are when you’re looking for that large-scale awareness that also ties into what your budget is and how much you have to spend. Because there can be apprehension or stress sometimes around awareness campaigns because you don’t see them convert immediately, especially with these higher priced items, like a Purple mattress.

You may see, awareness plays, play out much better for American Eagle or Aero because people will make a $20 purchase on a whim, but not likely a $4,000 or $5,000 purchase just on a whim. So, I think you have to be very considerate of what your product is and what you’re promoting.

LUCI

Wow, I can’t believe that it blew up on TikTok. I wouldn’t have thought TikTok would be the platform of choice for a luxury brand or a high price like that.

But, you know, my daughter was the one who really said, I really want to get a Purple mattress, when we were moving, and, I bet she saw it on TikTok.  I was like, how do you even know about this? So, we went to the mattress store and tried it out.

ERICA

Other brands that I’ve worked with have seen much more success on Instagram and leveraging influencers. So, I think it really is one of the things that we’ve talked about, and what would be our next thing is creating that custom content and testing. And so getting to that step four element.

LUCI

That’s great. I wanted to ask, you know, as we talk of moving to step four, you know, about creating custom content and testing, let’s start with creating custom content. Do you do this in-house? Do you do this with an agency? Like, who is best to create the content?

ERICA

Yeah, so the brands that I’ve worked for have taken varied approaches. I’ve also done some consulting in the past and seen different make-ups and different setups. Sometimes, that is a social media manager using Canva and creating content that way. Sometimes, it is a creative team that is very curated and very specific, and everything has to go through every single brand standard.

So, I’ve definitely seen it varied. Agencies can offer tremendous assistance to small teams. That’s for sure. I’ve seen that in my career as well, where, you know, maybe you are short-staffed, so you do need to lean on an agency for creative to assist.

So, it really depends on what your department size and structure setup is.

Step 4. Create Custom Content & Test, Test, Test

LUCI

That’s great. And also in terms of test, test, test, at Porch Media Group that’s a huge priority. Porch Group Media offers a different media network than some of the others who can really just execute programmatic and social digital-type media. Porch Group Media can also leverage direct mail, CTV, and other channels, but their big thing is to help clients test and learn. They actually have a really nice measurement platform so that you can measure your testing and whatnot, which is really amazing for attribution and tracking campaign performance. 

On here, on number four, when you say leverage influencers, and UGC where appropriate, how do you, how do you find your influencers? Do they find you, do you find them, you know, when you’re trying to test out these influencers or content with the influencers, how do you leverage into that?

How do you leverage or, or really curate that influencer strategy as part of your overall social media strategy?

ERICA

Yeah, so, most places will have an influencer platform that they leverage and that they utilize that people can apply in or you can go out and seek and search for influencers that are available. So, it’s a tool that you use. The one most recently that I used was MAVRCK. And you can basically go in and search on pretty much anything that you’re interested in and it can bring up an influencer, that has it on their profile and that is ready and willing to talk about it. 

So, influencer pieces become very easy nowadays, to find, if you don’t have a platform and aren’t paying for our platform currently, then you can look and see who’s engaging with your products, and monitor their followers on your own. But it definitely makes it easier if you’re leveraging a platform.

LUCI

What would you say is your best advice for brands, in terms of using influencers? Because you’ve heard the horror stories about, you know, so on and so becomes an influencer and then they have, you know, something criminal or untoward happened to them and they have to be dropped.

ERICA

Yeah. So, you want to move forward cautiously, you know, anytime that you’re putting your brand in someone else’s hands, you want to make sure that you’re doing your due diligence. So, you can’t just use a platform. You have to really get into their feed and look at them. And it’s developing trust. And trying to get to that understanding of, am I comfortable with this person…and whether it’s a micro-influencer, or it’s a macro influencer. So, on a smaller scale or a larger scale, you have to do the same due diligence and do a deep dive to understand who they are, and what they stand for by looking at their feed history. Also, be sure to look outside of their feeds as well. A general Google Search can reveal any skeletons in the closet in advance. If you find anything problematic, you definitely want to avoid engaging with that person.

LUCI

Now, I love this…it’s almost like its own in creating custom content and testing…it’s almost like its own five strategies. You know, in this one, but this is obviously where the bulk of the work is, when you’re actually ready to execute your strategy, obviously tailoring the content to your audiences. And you have to be selective right? We can’t make content for every single audience. We have to really choose wisely again, people, time, and money to create content, and so on, and so forth. And then I love number two, when you’re developing your strategy, visualize it, put it on a calendar, and prioritize your testing because, again, not all things are the same.

And when I was leading teams, you know, we started to get into all this minutia. And you were like, well, how much results might this audience prove, if it’s, you know, this teeny tiny?

Well, for some brands, like, really, that hyper-targeted audience, you know, is a place to start, but, you know, for the most part, I love this element of visualizing it. Putting it on a calendar, having prioritization, you can’t do everything at once.

So really, then, having that lead into, you know, creating your format, to keep your audience interested. Tell me a little bit about some of the different kinds of formats to invest in when you’re creating your strategy.

ERICA

Well, before I jump to that, I do want to just highlight one of the things that you said that I think is so important, that it’s a point that’s not missed, is that it’s important to test and learn. But it’s not just testing your creative. It’s also testing those audiences. I think a lot of times, when people hear, “test and learn,” especially in the social space, they immediately think, we’re testing content, we’re testing imagery, we’re testing the visual components. 

The audience oftentimes can have a much larger impact as compared to the creative when you see those variations, because you’re still going to stay within your brand standards with whatever creative you’re testing. So, I think it’s important just to kind of highlight that piece of it, that those different audience selections can have a tremendous impact on your testing. So that targeting piece, you want to be testing as well as the creative.


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