It seems like big brands have it all in terms of marketing: money, status, and huge fan bases. Leading brand names like Walmart and NASA have millions of followers on social media networks—numbers that are hard to imagine for small businesses. It is true that big brands set the standard for exposure and engagement through social media, but it’s not just because they have larger budgets. These companies use strategies that can be achieved at the small business level as well.
Put simply: the best way to accomplish results similar to big brands on social platforms is to imitate their methods and techniques. Based on the strategies of two popular brands, Walmart and NASA, this guide outlines the best way to implement a social media marketing plan for big brand results on Facebook.
Develop a brand strategy:
If you’re on Facebook to sell your products, then log off and try something else. Facebook is a social medium; a means to an end. Your end is to grow your brand name and develop a relationship with your existing and potential customers. Develop a brand strategy that will emphasize what your brand stands for and what messages you will execute throughout. To do this, you need to integrate both what you offer as a company, and how you can relate to the public.
Let’s say your strategy is to promote an idea or share a goal. According to Walmart’s Social Strategy Director, Umung Shah, the popular brand uses Facebook as a way to tell Walmart’s story: save money and live better.
NASA on the other hand, uses Facebook to share updates going on within the agency. According to the Deputy Social Media Manager at NASA, Jason Townsend, NASA’s brand strategy is to stay timely and relevant to current news. The platform is used to be informative and allow followers to feel involved with NASA’s projects and missions.
Build a target audience:
Stop looking at numbers. Yes, growing your fan base is important, but this should not be your main focus. Shift your focus to a targeted audience instead. First, step outside of Facebook and discover who your audience is. Next and most importantly, understand your target audience. From there, tailor your content to a specific persona or profile. But before we jump into content, let’s figure out how to pinpoint a target audience.
Walmart, a brand that focuses on healthy living, will not only target shoppers as a whole, but they will also specifically target shoppers looking for healthy, low cost options. Once you determine the type of audience you wish to reach, your next step will be to build and develop a relationship with this specific community. The individuals you reach will share your content with other like-minded individuals, who may also share your content, and so on. Your fan base will grow organically if you remain content-specific and less focused on increasing numbers.
Use trial and error methods for content:
Typically, you want to craft engaging content and build editorial calendars with a variety of posts: text posts, images, and videos. You want to stay fresh and unique, but it is crucial to maintain a consistent theme throughout your posts that relates back to your brand strategy. Content should be compelling, but also authentic. How do you get content to work for your brand? Keep trying new posts, check and analyze insights regularly, and make changes to future posts accordingly. Tip: Clean, simple images tend to resonate better with users.
Brands like Walmart and NASA are not any different when it comes to learning what content works best. It’s all a matter of trial and error. A common solution is to stick to the brand theme. Walmart caters to followers who seek healthy living. Maintaining this theme, their posts include healthy recipes, strategic phrases like “great for you,” posts about local farmers and quality foods, etc. Don’t be afraid to mix up your posts either, as this is necessary for diverse user engagement. Walmart posts photos promoting better living, covering topics such as sustainability, veterans, women’s economic empowerment and community giving.
NASA utilizes all of Facebook’s social capabilities, using tools such as the cover photo to keep fans updated and informed. They use this feature often to share pictures of exciting moments, such as a recent rocket launch.
Do not hesitate to change around your editorial calendar along the way – it should be flexible. Some previously-scheduled posts can be completely overshadowed by what’s going on in the news.
Use algorithm changes as advantages:
You seem to have a pattern going on, but then the social network introduces a new algorithm change and this pushes you off track. Here’s a solution: Don’t sacrifice quality of content for the sake of change in algorithms! In fact, use these changes to further develop your brand.
This past year, Facebook added the mother of all symbols of social media to the platform: hashtags. This addition allowed Walmart to reach out to even more followers across the social network. The brand’s “live better” theme became #livebetter.
NASA applied hashtags for trending topics of conversation about projects. For example, if NASA posts a picture of Saturn, users who wish to learn more about the planet can click on the hashtags following the picture.
An important tip to keep in mind according to NASA’s Social Media Manager, is to change because the audience is changing, not because the algorithm is changing.
So there you have it: big brands are familiar with a low resource scale. It doesn’t take the big bucks to develop your brand on Facebook. It just takes time, effort, and a keen understanding of your audience. Always remember: stay consistent, be human, and inspire your followers!