Post, tweet, message, repeat. We all know the social media marketer’s daily routine. As a business owner, it’s easy to rely on social media platforms to reach audiences, and it can be difficult to imagine a world where social media isn’t a part of marketing strategy. But what happens when social media platforms suddenly become unavailable or cease to exist? Brands will need to adjust their messaging — and fast.
Another social media giant bites the dust.
Recently, many brands have left Twitter, concerned with the social media giant’s new content moderation policies. And this is just the latest of a long list of social media platforms that suddenly lost most of their engagement. Facebook has also lost popularity, as did Myspace, Tumblr, and even Xanga before them. I think I might still have a Xanga profile, actually, but it probably needs a rebrand from its 2003 presence as a Shark Tale fan account.
The bottom line is that Twitter seems to be in a state of decline, and companies can’t wait for the next big social media trend to come along and replenish lost followers. Brands need to find alternative ways to reach potential customers, and they need to be consistent in their approaches. For anyone looking to revamp their communications strategy, here are a few options to consider.
Emails walked so that tweets could run (away).
Long after the last tweet is twote, chain letters will still remain, so now is as good a time as ever to freshen up on the art of the email. Email newsletters allow brands to communicate directly with their audience via updates, promotions, and friendly reminders to stay in touch. Marketers can even segment their email lists to ensure they target the right people with the right message.
Email is nearly as old as the internet itself, but it continues to work as a marketing method. Why? It’s convenient, cost-effective, personalized, and—above all–not owned by any one company. Email allows writers to cater their messages with uncensored storytelling with measurable results.
The first step to email marketing is getting email addresses, through a signup form on your website, a scannable QR code on physical advertisements, or—while the channel is still open—through a request on social media. This is a great way to build an email list, and it also prepares subscribers (and marketers) for the sudden unavailability of a social media platform. Anything that can be posted on Twitter can also be included in a weekly newsletter.
An elegant marketing method from a more civilized time: ads.
“Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time,” Henry Ford said, and it still rings true. Ads work, and all that changes with time are where we place them. Without social media, the option remains to invest in traditional advertising methods, such as radio, television, or print ads. While purchasing a magazine spread may be more expensive than a social media post, it still has the power to reach a specific audience effectively.
In our digital world, online ads can also be purchased on search engines and other properties outside of social media. With cost-per-click advertising, companies pay each time someone clicks on an ad. Banner ads can also be purchased for display on popular websites outside of social media platforms. What was that Instagram post you were planning for Black Friday? Why not post it to your audience’s favorite website instead? The key to that answer is how well you know your audience.
Physical marketing materials still work.
We all have that business card we’re still holding on to just because someone gave it to us. Personal touches make all the difference in reaching an audience, and tangible messages provide many fun opportunities to surprise and delight.
Physical marketing materials, such as brochures, flyers, and posters, can be highly effective if placed in the right areas or mailed to the right people. We’re not reinventing the wheel here but rather reminding ourselves that it exists. Audiences appreciate a message they can (literally) hold on to, whether a swag bag, a refrigerator magnet, or a sticker reminding them to come back. Physical marketing materials have the potential to make a lasting impression, in part because they last!
Talk to your audience.
Public relations campaigns thrive on the art of spinning a story. Whether via press releases, speaking engagements, or partnerships with other brands, PR strategies often come with an emphasis on word-of-mouth storytelling—in other words, letting your customers do your marketing for you.
Talking to your audience may be the oldest method in the book, but it certainly works! Whether that’s encouraging satisfied customers to share their experiences with friends and family or offering incentives such as discounts, direct communication is a tried and tested way to build relationships. While you’re at it, it wouldn’t hurt to ask for your customers’ email addresses!
An engaging website helped a city rebuild
After Hurricane Sandy ravaged New York in 2012, the city needed to rebuild fast. But without an engaging website, the Build It Back campaign was struggling to engage homeowners—the very people the new scheme was hoping to help. But by working hand-in-hand with Build It Back’s creative team, MarketSmiths soon created a raft of sparkling copy, covering everything from taglines to branded language. Soon after launching, Build it Back had reached 25,000 registered applicants, exceeding original expectations by at least 20%.
Know your audience.
Social media platforms come and go, and brands need to invest in marketing that outlasts whatever is trending this year. Honest, authentic, and creative storytelling sparks joy that keeps audiences engaged. What’s most important isn’t how we reach audiences but what we’re saying when we do. When marketing strategies prioritize people over platforms, brands can build relationships that thrive for many years.
At MarketSmiths, we know how to engage audiences, with or without a 280-character limit. We’ve worked with some of the world’s largest and most popular brands, helping them build stronger connections and establish a powerful brand voice that speaks to real people. Talk to us about how we can help you build long-lasting relationships with your customers.