Building trust on social media

It was hard to miss – 2018 was a crisis year when it comes to trust on social media. The Facebook and Cambridge Analytica news coupled with Mark Zuckerberg testifying at a congressional hearing led consumer trust in the platform to plummet. In turn, Twitter faced heat over the large presence of bot accounts on the platform.

So, #newyearnewme is the anthem of social media platforms, as they work to rebuild trust and genuine engagement among consumers. For brands, this shift presents unique opportunities, but also interesting challenges, as their social media marketing strategies must change.

Trust has regressed back to posts coming from friends, family and acquaintances, so smart brands are making it a point to post high-quality, personalized content that users will want to share with their followers. The focus of social media marketing strategies in 2019 is less on maximizing reach and more on generating transparent, quality engagement. Here’s how!

Create a hashtag for your brand

Hashtags have been around for years, but the power of using hashtags is what’s new for brands. Instagram recently launched the ability for accounts to follow certain hashtags. Basically, if a user follows the hashtag you use in your post, your post will pop up on their news feed.

To build conversation around your brand, create a short and creative hashtag that your followers will want to use. One of my local client’s corporate parent, Moxy Hotels, established the hashtag #atthemoxy for the brand. That hashtag is used in every aspect of Moxy’s social media marketing strategy, which encourages its followers to use the hashtag in their posts, as well. The ultimate goal is to bring your consumer community together around a common interest.

Run regular Facebook live sessions

Facebook live videos allow your followers to personally connect with your business, making your brand feel more relatable by having someone talk to customers in real time. Use live videos to show you’re an expert in your industry by discussing relevant topics, showing demos and answering questions from your followers.

Taylor and I produce monthly Facebook live sessions for our client, Hollywood Feed. We come up with creative ways to position Hollywood Feed as an educational resource for pet parents while driving traffic to the brand’s stores and website – with the ultimate goal of producing product sales.

If you haven’t experimented with video for your brand – whether it’s pre-produced or live – get with it! Taking the time to make high-quality videos makes a difference. Also, you don’t have to have a professional camera or fancy editing software to make a great video. iPhones and Android devices have excellent cameras that will make capturing and cutting video easy.

Partner with micro-influencers

While landing a celebrity endorsement for your product might have been the ultimate win last year, huge celebrities promoting products may not hold as much weight as they used to for smaller or local brands, as these partnerships can be seen as strictly commercial. Trust and authenticity are key here, remember?

Enter the micro-influencer! These influencers don’t have as large of a following, but they’re reaching niche audiences. Your brand won’t break the bank working with them and companies have confessed they drive better results.

Murray and I use this strategy for our client, Babalu. Getting Beyonce to come eat at Babalu wasn’t in our action plan (even though…that would be awesome). Instead, we ask bloggers, journalists and social media influencers in the Memphis area to visit the restaurant and post their experience to Facebook, Instagram, etc.

Don’t be deterred that your brand’s social media marketing strategy must change this year. There are so many ways to engage with your target audience these days. Take advantage of them!