Social media has provided brands with the ultimate direct-to-consumer experience, allowing them to market directly to their customers and quickly become a part of their everyday lives.
If a brand is able to continuously position itself in a favourable spot, by ensuring that their interactions with customers are engaging and do not push too far towards ‘salesy’, they are likely to more easily slot into a regular spot in their customer’s lives.
Social media has been pegged as one of the key drivers for online businesses to quickly and effectively scale at a considerable speed. On social media, messaging is key and for every brand, careful consideration must be given to the way in which a brand interacts with their customers at every touch point. Interacting with customers in this way strives to push for better customer loyalty and building brand relationships which are made to last.
For online brands, competing in a world dominated by big names with an even bigger budget, the online landscape can be much more welcoming and accessible. Social media has provided a springboard for a multitude of online, direct-to-consumer businesses, allowing them to tailor their messaging to their customer, create bespoke graphics and establish a tone of voice which effectively speaks to their target demographic.
Often, the core aim is to speak to their customers, or would-be-customers, in a way which feels as if they are engaging with a friend. This allows them to build familiarity and feels like less of a product push. By displaying an understanding of who the customer is, where they hang out, at what times they’re most likely to shop or browse online and most importantly, a demographic breakdown which will determine the tone of voice that is used, customers are much more likely to gravitate to the brand.
Interest doesn’t need to be generated by over the top and expensive advertisements. Social media is a great platform for demonstrating the benefits of a product, including activities which are often a concern for consumers ahead of purchase, such as unboxing, ease of set-up, how-to-use instructions and other tailored messaging derived from research and feedback.
Within a brands customer base, there is often easily detectable segments of people who have different drivers for completing a purchase and developing an affinity for a brand. Different touchpoints will also be important to different people, for example, the pre-purchase information may be vital for one group of people in making their decision, which could include the origin of materials, ethical roots of the product and price point. Others may find value in how the product is styled and used through branded and user-generated content and interactions which relate to their experiences once they have purchased, and other will find the most value in the aftercare and packaging disposal, such as ongoing aftercare and recyclable capability.
Considering the types of messages that are used should also be aligned with the brand, for example, video format is rapidly increasing in popularity and is considered the most favourable medium on Facebook. Utilising video to market products where possible can make them overall more accessible by offering the capability to implement a multi-sense experience, using sound (including audio description) and visuals (including subtitles).
Finally, it is critical to tailor each of the brand messages, not just to the consumers but also to the platform. Platforms need to be carefully considered, with the optimal approach for choosing which to use within a marketing campaign not always landing on ‘all platforms that are available’. By analysing where the customer mainly interacts with one another and brands, a business can better determine where they should focus their efforts and, particularly in cases of a reduced budget, push investment into the area which is more likely to yield the best ROI.
Inhabiting familiar spaces in non-intrusive ads, such as those now featured on Instagram, is an ideal approach to direct-to-consumer marketing, particularly when done right. If this is the chosen route to developing a conversation between brand and consumer, the business must understand the types of content which already appears within their targetted customers feed and aim to create imagery and tone of voice which closely aligns with this.
Build a brand with a safety net
Social media is a fantastic resource and marketing platform for direct-to-customer brands, particularly those who are fresh on the scene and don’t necessarily have the capital to invest in national or global multiplatform campaigns.
However, it should be approached with a degree of caution to ensure long-term sustainability for the brand, performing regular checks to ensure there is still a need and desire for the product and brand. By doing this, businesses can ensure that they can continue to push a proposition which is relevant and create a brand that also has certain safety nets allowing it to stay afloat in the future.