Considering the popularity of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other platforms, social media marketing continues to be an effective way for brands to engage with their audiences.
In fact, research has found that 86% of social media users want to—and do—follow brands on social. What's more, 57% of people are more likely to buy from a brand that they follow on social media.
That is why brands turn to social media marketing campaigns. And with the right strategy, those campaigns can make a notable impact on marketing efforts and even drive sales.
But niche industries, such as craft beer and outdoor retail, face a unique challenge: They have very specific goods and services to promote to a small audience, as opposed to larger industries, such as CPG and financial services, which have massive audiences. Accordingly, niche industries need to speak their audience's specific language and deliver the exactly right content, or they risk losing their valued, loyal customers to a competitor.
Let's look at four successful social media marketing campaigns in niche industries and see what you can learn from them.
1. REI #OptOutside
In defiance of Black Friday, one of the biggest days of the year for retail, Jerry Stritzke, the CEO of REI released a video in 2015 as an "anti-promotion." He announced REI was closing its stores on Black Friday instead of making its employees come in to work.
That showed REI understands its customers' values. By giving employees time off and encouraging customers and others to enjoy the outdoors rather than shop indoors, it created an experience specific to its outdoors-appreciating audience.
The campaign eventually led to what the company calls an "experiential search engine" on its Opt Outside webpage, which collects content from users who tag #OptOutside on Instagram. It also adds real-time information about locations and experiences.
Takeaway: Prove you understand your customers and their values by creating social media marketing campaigns that create unique experiences for them. Also, enable them to connect. The use of hashtags and other social conventions and tools is essential to bringing your customers together.
2. Craft Beer and Evangelism
Foodies and beer geeks alike are passionate about those interests, and they love to share photos and opinions of tasty products. Thanks to such an enthusiastic community, sites RateBeer and BeerAdvocate, among others, provide a wealth of knowledge and information on the best new brews.
Craft breweries can reap the benefits of those large followings because beer is often a social experience. Consumers are taking tours, hosting bottle shares, and bonding over unique styles and ingredients.
For example, MobCraft crowdsources beer. It relies on social communities to build its business. The community shares ideas for beer recipes and casts votes. Then the company delivers the finished product to those who participated.
Sam Adams, one of the world's biggest craft breweries, launched its Crowd Craft Project in 2012. The brand was a step ahead in social media marketing, encouraging fans to go to its Facebook page and vote on recipes.
Those campaigns are effective because they encourage consumers to engage with brands. Their audiences play a part in the creative—and creation—process.
Takeaway: Give your audience a voice in your product or service. Engage them in the idea and design stages. When you build such experiences for customers, you encourage brand evangelism in a natural way.
3. Tough Mudder
Tough Mudder, one of the biggest obstacle-course companies, has an exuberant community. And it does a great job getting its audience excited about upcoming events.
For example, the brand shares several live workouts on Facebook and even hosts Tough Mudder Bootcamp Live on Facebook Watch. The series follows a 12-week workout program designed to help viewers prepare for their obstacle courses.
The focus on video extends to its YouTube weekly training series, Coachified, which features Tough Mudders who compete and offer tips on how to overcome obstacles. The brand also offers at-home workout videos on its YouTube channel that are designed to help participants train for each obstacle.
Based on its huge library of free educational content, Tough Mudder clearly wants its audience members to succeed with their fitness goals, which is one reason the brand is so appealing.
Takeaway: If you're promoting a product or service that lends itself to visual promotion, consider a robust video marketing campaign. That is especially effective if you deliver value through educational content and inspirational stories, which is what Tough Mudder does with training tips and real-life examples. For instance, it showcased how a paraplegic participant completed the course. That highly motivational video also emphasized how participants work together as a team.
Video is the perfect format for Tastemade to unite its community on common interests, such as food and travel. It publishes content all over the Web, Apple TV, Snapchat, Facebook...
Its growth comes from the brand's understanding of its audience and creation of snackable content that becomes highly shareable. The brand also adapts to new features of social media marketing, such as livestreaming.
For example, its Facebook Live video of cooking a real meal in a miniature kitchen earned over 45,000 views. It was a clever idea that garnered a lot of attention.
Takeaway: Diversify your social media marketing campaigns, and make the most of new features on social platforms. It's best to see where your audience engages, and then tailor your strategy to that format and medium.
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