#SocialMedia – 5 tips from iconic Kiwi brands

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Cat Mules

Shareability is key in any social media strategy.

The world of social media is new creative territory and brands are best advised to keep up in order to stay relevant. It makes sense that in the crowded space of social people are engaging with brands they relate to and feel they can trust.

Yes, social media is to a large part controlled by the Facebooks and Googles of the world and issues of copyright infringement, privacy breaches and outrage culture are cause for concern. Despite this, most businesses are incorporating some form of social media in their suite of communication tools.

There is no doubt that when it comes to social media differentiating between platforms is essential. Writing a LinkedIn post for senior-level executives isn’t the same as writing a Facebook post for new moms, for example.

Five tips for shareability. Read here about what works, and what doesn’t.

Tip 1: Establish strong brand personality

Before choosing the best social media platform it’s important to think carefully about what your brand wants to communicate, and the specific associations it might take on in doing so. Brand personality in the social media space is defined by voice or tone. You must establish your brand personality allowing you to take part on social media conversations naturally. Gather Content has good advice on this:

Select your voice carefully: be very mindful of the adjectives that you are using – they describe your brand’s personality. For instance, brands can be direct, empowering, playful, or professional. Remember authenticity is key – your audience can spot a phoney!

Consider the tone: A subset of your brand voice, tone is linked to factors like audience preference, context and scenarios, and channel. Another way of understanding tone is Buffer’s distinction of voice is a mission statement, with tone the application of that mission. While the voice shouldn’t change, the tone can adapt to the audience’s feelings.

As a great example of using the appropriate voice and tone in social media – Fonterra’s got the rural community aspect nailed, with some up-close discussion about farmers, their livelihoods and lives on their social media pages. Their social media pages tap into kiwi farming culture with some community focused discussion about the farming ‘whanau’ and references to teamwork.  They include farming lingo – think ‘lads’, ‘fleets’ and talk about the ‘mighty Waikato’.

Tip 2: Emphasise shared values

 People share content that aligns them to their social group, so aligning interests is foundational in developing a cutting-edge social presence. This age-old truth is evident in the key to all organisational planning, looking to understand and categorise audiences as part of strategy. It’s a finding that was sharply evidenced most recently by 5W Public Relations’ 2020 Consumer Culture Report, which showed seventy one percent of consumers prefer buying from brands that align to their values.

A great example of an organisation using social media to align their values with their clients is The Warehouse.  New Zealand’s largest retail group responds to a diversity of shopper interests such as concern for shopper communities with common problems like, mental health, charitable causes, recycling and sustainability and diversity, even though some negative reactions suggest there’s a way to go with convincing people with the messaging.

Tip 3: Invite audience participation

Effective social media is social – so work on developing conversation and relationships, Invite audiences to get engaged. They enjoy the experience of participating. Gone are the days when media engagement is a one-dimensional, one-sided screenplay.

Think invitations to join conversations; sharing authentic, relatable stories, competitions. A great example is Whittaker’s partnership with New Zealand artisans. This brought New Zealand specific flavours the chance to be tasted – as well as talked about and shared on social media.

Tip 4: Use engaging visuals

There are extensive options now available for furthering your social media presence.

Human interest stories have been one of the biggest social media trends of the past couple of years and 2020 looks to be no different. Photo and video content continues to boom (e. g. team photos or videos, photos of customers, events, behind-the-scenes photos and videos, quote photos, infographics).

New Zealand’s official public tourism brand, 100% Pure New Zealand, has a  powerfully visual use of engagement on social media that keeps things awe-inspiring, natural and scenic. They often post short videos that perk the senses and spark wanderlust, getting would-be tourists curious about what’s happening in this corner of the world or their own backyards.

Tip 5: Tap into partnerships

Curated content is the way of the future, and an optimal place to showcase the partnerships and communities that speak to the authenticity of your brand. Hosting stories with common threads of interest in a content hub is an effective way to generate readership.

Spark NZ  is an example of a New Zealand business using a website to its full social potential. First, it has website specifically for news. The newsroom leaves you with the impression that Spark is active and engaged, as is demonstrated by the its volume of stories and diversity of topics covered. It’s a place for Spark to reveal its partnerships as well as showcase its associations with topics that matter to the many New Zealand communities that make up its audience.


From the Cloud community….

Collaboration not control

Social media expert Marketa Miksikova from Stellar Consulting, part of the Umbrellar Connect community, spells out the difference between content that controls a message and content that is open and invites audience participation. “Although social selling is indeed on the rise, rarely should social media presence be about the ‘hard sell’,” she explains, and “Long-term and engagement means more than a short-term spike in Likes”.

More important, she says, is the topics potential customers are interested in and responding to their participation and questions to build meaningful connections. Businesses should resist ad-hoc posting and take a strategic, thought-out approach to social media, “Even though with ecommerce it makes sense to push offers and deals to followers”.

How are you doing on social media?

We’re looking to understand how New Zealand businesses establish their brand’s value on social media. Do you have specific adjectives that define your brand? Which companies do you feel get their message across the best online? It’d be great to hear your own tips – share your insights.

P.S. If you liked this article, you might also like Hit Netflix film says you should delete social media – but can you? and Would you let a virtual influencer be the face of your brand?

Image credits: Fonterra, The Warehouse, Whittakers, 100% Pure New Zealand, Spark.

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Cat Mules

Umbrellar's Digital Journalist, coming from a background in tech reporting and research. Cat's inspired by the epic potential of tech and helping kiwi innovators share their success stories.

Stellar Consulting

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With New Zealand’s largest team of dedicated Business Intelligence experts, Stellar has the skills and experience to help your organisation turn data into intelligent action.

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