We used to talk a lot about the three kinds of social media, and while those still exist, we also think the landscape is changing. Customers are changing the way they interact with brands on social media—due to their own habits, changes to social algorithms, and not to mention the sheer number of ads people encounter on a daily basis.

Smart brands are looking for different ways to engage their customers and potential customers both online and off. Let’s look at four of the most common ways brands are leveraging their online interactions with audiences.

1. Traditional advertising

This method is probably the oldest version we know! Everyone is participating in advertising, though “traditional” has probably changed a little. Broadcast ads are now available everywhere—from preroll on your local news stations to banner ads that follow you all over the internet. But the approach is the same, a one-to-many dispersal. There’s no personalization, just ads that are the same for everyone who sees them.

For brands, these are the lowest “touch” of brand intimacy. The goal is mostly brand awareness and education. Brands use advertising to help you (often subconsciously) have an association or knowledge of their product or service. And then that you’ll remember that later on when you’re ready to purchase.

2. Social ads and sponsored posts

Branching out of traditional advertising and leveraging social media platforms, brands can integrate right into your news feed. This emulates a feeling of friendship and connection, and these brands are hoping you’ll remember that, too, when you hit the store. Often the ads are designed to look like a post from a person. Maybe you’ve looked at the post or the image pretty closely before you even realize it’s an ad. That’s all part of the play and is a step closer to brand intimacy than the one-to-many ads mentioned above.

And, because these social platforms collect so much of your personal information and habits, they can tailor ads a little more closely. They know what pages and accounts you follow, ads you’ve clicked in the past, and more. All that info builds a profile that advertisers can use to find you.

3. Influencer marketing

Probably the fastest growing of the three, more brands are seeing the benefits of using influencer marketing. By using celebrities and other popular social media personalities, brands can take advantage of the benefits of #2 with the added caché of a celeb.

Reports are showing that influencer marketing is commanding a larger piece of brands’ advertising budgets. And while it’s more effective than broadcast advertising or social ads, it’s still not the closest brands can get to their customers.

4. Conversational

If brands want to really reach out to customers and potential customers, they have to get closer than a one-to-many approach. Even the more targeted ads and influencers are designed to cast a bigger net. Reaching customers one-on-one on social media is the best way to educate and sell. There’s a lot of latitude in how brands can interact and prompt customers when you reach out to them individually. (Learn more about some different ways to use social sales here.)

Not only are there a number of ways to reach customers, but brands can give an interaction that is personal and customized. How much bigger of an impact is that conversation as opposed to some ad?

Using a conversational one-on-one approach can be a daunting task without the right tool. That’s why KickFactory has developed a hybrid AI system to identify and engage the brand’s target market. Contact us today for a free demo if you’re interested in getting closer to your customers.

 , , , ,