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How to Use Social Media for DTC Success: Influencers, Engagement, and Customer Support

a trophy surrounded by social media icons

For DTC brands, a social media presence is all but a prerequisite for remaining competitive. It’s an excellent channel for customer acquisition, and doubles as a way to listen to your customers and collect their feedback.

Not only is social media teeming with opportunities to engage new audiences, but most customers now expect your brand to be active online.

Many will check your Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn activity to validate their purchasing decisions and to confirm you’re a legitimate brand. Not to mention, if you’re not engaging with your customers on social media, thousands of other brands are.

To help kickstart your social media strategy, here are several campaign ideas and tactics you can employ. Consider which ones align with your marketing goals and can help you get the most out of social media.

5 Ways to use social for DTC success

Social media is such a unique marketing channel because it performs so many different functions.

For one brand, Facebook could be their best customer support channel, where their audience knows to send them a message if they need help. For another brand, their Instagram DMs could be the source of some of their biggest deals. For yet another brand, they might go viral with various contests and smart hashtags.

Let’s look at five different ways you can use social media to elevate your brand, generate more leads, and delight your customers.

1) Influencer marketing

The people who follow you on social media are more likely to trust what you say. That’s what makes influencer marketing so powerful.

Today, it’s estimated businesses make an average of $5.20 for every $1 they invest in influencer marketing.

That said, success depends on partnering with the right influencer. Some brands make the mistake of rushing through the vetting process, which dooms their campaign from the start.

The key here is to get to know influencers and learn what makes them unique to their followers. Ensure influencers have a genuine need for a brand like yours, and have them try out a few products before asking them to endorse anything.

Once they do agree to promote your brand, influencers warrant some creative freedom. They know their audiences best and should be respected as any other professional publisher. When influencers add their personal touch their product recommendations will appear authentic and thus more credible.

2) Collect user-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) refers to content created by people outside of your company. Like word-of-mouth marketing, UGC displays your brand through the lens of an everyday consumer. It can verify the trustworthiness of your brand, as well as showcase the versatility of your products.

Websites that feature UGC have even reported a 20% increase in returning visitors, and a whopping 90% increase in time spent on-site. Using social media to collect UGC can expand your arsenal of images, videos, reviews, and other content to leverage throughout the buyer journey, be it on your site, checkout pages, or promotional emails.

Motivate your customers to post content about your brand by hosting contests, giveaways, and loyalty programs that offer a reward for their participation. Have shoppers vote for their favorite entries to gamify the experience, or leverage a hashtag to boost the virality of your campaign.

If you plan to use UGC for any ads or future marketing campaigns, you need to obtain permission. Don’t assume everything is fair game; study the proper way to repurpose UGC.

3) Distribute your content

Although social media is a great platform for sharing your blogs, videos, and other brand content, it’s severely overcrowded. Tons of brands are vying for your customers’ attention, and all that noise can easily drown you out.

To make your voice heard, test various content formats on each channel. Try repurposing your blog as a tweet storm, or splitting up a 10-minute video into multiple short clips. You may find short videos work best on Twitter, while longer text posts work well on LinkedIn.

In general, avoid taking a spray-and-pray approach. Focus your attention on one or two key channels where your audience concentrates. Learn the ins and outs of the ranking algorithm, keeping in mind that success requires more than just broadcasting the same message across multiple platforms.

You’ll need to tailor your posts to each audience and take time to engage with followers before you can expect them to gain an interest in your content.

4) Advertise to relevant audiences

Along with organic social media, incorporate paid campaigns into your strategy. Ad formats range from text ads to image ads, carousel ads, and video ads.

Social platforms also offer a variety of ways to target your ads. You can target users based on their demographics, behaviors, interests, or a combination of these factors.

Alternatively, you can retarget an existing list of contacts, such as a list of people who’ve visited your site. This is one of the most cost-effective options. However, many channels require a minimum number of contacts to qualify for retargeting ads, which can be difficult for smaller brands to meet.

Regardless, ads are a valuable means to generate initial interest in your brand. They help keep your brand top of mind, fostering desire in buyers and building trust in your brand over time.

5) Support your customers

One-third of Americans have admitted to using social media to complain about a brand or its customer service, according to Microsoft. At the same time, 74% of millennials say their perception of a brand improves when they notice a brand responding to customer inquiries on social media.

This underscores the need for your brand to monitor social media for brand mentions, customers complaints, and product-related questions.

From the customer side: the sooner you get ahead of any complaints, the sooner you can turn a negative experience into a positive one. And from the marketing side: the more you engage with customers on their preferred channels, the more goodwill you’ll build.

Good customer service speaks volumes about your brand, and it’s especially important to put your best foot forward on channels like social media where the whole world is watching.

Wrapping up – Use social media for DTC success

Social media is an undeniably effective marketing tool. Between engaging influencers and leveraging various types of content, there are plenty of opportunities for your brand to connect with potential buyers.

Don’t miss out on this potentially lucrative opportunity. Create your own unique strategy for meeting customers on their favorite channels, and harness the power of being a social brand.