Julie Marateck / Digital Marketing / December 2nd, 2015

6 Steps To Become A Social Media Superhero

Once your business launches its social media presence, your brand is constantly under a microscope. Though social media marketing was once a job for the youngest person in the company, it’s become a serious marketing vertical. It commands huge budget and can impact thousands of people that depend on your company.

Managing social media has become a job fit for superheroes –  so let’s put down the boring rule book and use these tips and tactics to be a great social storyteller, engage your audience and drive the bottom line.

We’re going to focus on the Superhero Six – simple ways your brand can become a superhero of social. Up, up, and away we go (tweeting in tights is optional)

Your Brand Is (Super) Human

Why do we love comic book heroes? Beyond the amazing things they do, we see ourselves in our favorite heroes. You can’t have Superman without Clark Kent or Spider-man without Peter Parker. Your consumers want the same feeling when interacting with their favorite companies. To be a social superhero, you must show your audience the human side of your brand. Netflix provides a recent example.

If you haven’t heard the kids these days saying “Netflix and chill,” then you’re probably living under a rock (or watching VHS tapes). “Netflix and chill” is a recently coined code phrase for casual sex. Rather than avoiding the R-rated nature of the trend in fear of potential controversy, Netflix leveraged the chatter and made a joke of it to show it’s listening to its audience, and that under all the social media charm Neflix is still just “one of us.” To be a super brand, you must also be a human brand.

Weakness as Strength

As a social superhero, you must identify and embrace your weaknesses before you develop your strengths. It’s the basis of every superhero origin story; think childhood Bruce Wayne’s epic fear of bats or Kryptonite’s power to bend the Man of Steel. Brands often find ways to draw strength from their weaknesses. You’ll often see Charmin – the toilet paper people – embrace the forgettable nature of its product and use it to their advantage.

Toilet paper isn’t the most glamorous product, but that doesn’t stop this brand from creating killer social content. Charmin’s #TweetFromTheSeat campaign to encourage people to…you know…Tweet while they tinkle. It’s something we all do, so why not capitalize on it? It makes for content that kicks butt (pun intended) and gets the product noticed instead of merely flushed and forgotten.

Failure is Universal

Peter Parker’s first love, Gwen Stacy, died at the end of Spidey’s own web. Captain America can’t fully save his best friend Bucky from a life of darkness (which, to Bucky, was worse than death). Batman has more Robins than you can shake a stick at. These are dramatic examples of failure, but the Social Media Universe can be just as cutthroat as comic book universes.

Everybody makes mistakes – even superheroes. IHOP’s #BrandFail is just the latest installment. The pancake house recently took its breakfast menu to a new level thanks to some bold, uncouth posts comparing pancakes to  breasts. I fully believe brands should push the envelope in smart and savvy ways – like this, but not this.

Should brands be funny? Absolutely! But brands also bear a responsibility of respect. And if 76 percent of the social media audience are women, you may want to think twice before posting about some perky pancakes. Most importantly, once you’ve made a social gaffe, don’t double-down on your stupidity.

Stand for Selflessness

Superheroes are ordinary people who do extraordinary things, all in the name of helping others. Their identities are often literally masked from the public, earning them no personal accolades or Ego-fulfillment. Brands, on the other hand, are the opposite. Brands are conditioned to talk about themselves as much as possible. What if brands were more like superheroes, talking less and listening more?

Just look at Diet Coke. Its Twitter-led #RetweetsOfLove campaign celebrates fans who share their love of Diet Coke on social media. Diet Coke returns the love by reimagining fans’ in clever ways. Wear your brand logo like a superhero logo, symbolizing your mission and values. Just don’t let it be purely self-focused; always remember Superhero Rule No. 1.

Tools are Powerful

Spidey’s web, Hawkeye’s arrow, and Green Lantern’s Power Ring – tools help our superheroes harness their power and gain protection. The same rules apply for social media. What tools make you better, faster, or stronger? First, a good content management system is key when putting together a social plan-of-action. There’s no shortage of CMS platforms to choose from, each providing different benefits to your brand based on your KPIs. This helps with scheduling, moderating and monitoring your social streams. A good CMS is vital to any successful Community Manager’s role, as well. According to Hubspot, replying to within six hours is perfect; 24-hours is pushing it. Just like with any superhero, speed is key.

Secondly, in order to reach your social audience, you often have to “pay to play.” We’ve talked before about the 2014 Facebook Reachocalypse; as each Page’s organic reach fell to less than 3%, Facebook’s pool of active advertisers rose to 2 million, a 33 percent increase from 2014. And guess what? The majority of those were small-and-medium-sized businesses.

While paying for reach has become necessary, you don’t have to be a secret billionaire to manage on social.  Most businesses spend an average $5 to $50 per day on Facebook advertising, compared to the millions spent by big brands. You don’t have to break your budget putting a few bucks behind your social ads.

Sidekicks Rule

Batman is far less effective without Robin or Oracle, and “Avengers Assemble” wouldn’t be as impressive if just one hero answered the call. Social media superheroes can’t do everything alone. Assemble the right team by ensuring they are educated and embody the following:

  • Passion – Don’t take it for granted that you have a brand. Let that excitement and enthusiasm shine through in your social tone and voice.
  • Purpose – Why should people follow your brand? Are you creating value or just adding to the noise?
  • Positive – There’s enough negativity on social; keep it real while also keeping it light.
  • Prepared – Social can change quicker than Superman into his tights. Always be listening for when your brand should engage, more but importantly, for when it shouldn’t.
  • Personal – Make your brand as personal as possible. Use people’s names when responding to them and find ways to engage in real-time marketing moments.
  • Proactive – Plan ahead for “real-time” marketing opportunities and a crisis communications plan if you know what hits the fan.

Of course, sometimes every superhero needs some help seeing the big picture. Almost every hero in history has had a mentor or gone through a superhero team-up issue. When you need help setting strategy or navigating a crisis, 352 can help you see the big picture. Do you have a favorite superhero trait? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: Tony Shek CC BY-SA 2.0

  • Paul Traylor

    Great points! Anthropomorphizing brands (and technology in general) is unavoidable today. Now, more than ever before, effectively using the avenues afforded by social media gives brands the ability to shape their personality in a very powerful way. “Effectively” being the key word there 🙂

    • JulieMarateck

      Thanks, Paul! Giving brands a personality seems easy, but sometimes people get too carried away with it 🙂

  • Christopher Burns

    This is so true! In a world (read in deep voice) where people are used to and expect poor customer service… doing something awesome through social media blows people’s minds. Normally if you want something from a corporation, you have to call an 800 number and wait on hold for 15 minutes. To think that all you have to do is tweet and a big brand responds in some way, that’s so unexpectedly awesome.

    • JulieMarateck

      Thanks for your comment, Chris! Agreed! It’s amazing how you can make someone’s day as a brand in just 240 characters or less.

  • David Taylor

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