Brands need to determine the true value of social media

A new and exciting platform doesn't necessarily translate to a wider and more diverse customer base, writes BigCommerce director of product management Jordan Sim.

Over the past 12 months, online activity has surged. Driven by COVID-fuelled necessity, more people than ever before rely on online services for work, socialisation and shopping, and platforms that had been relatively unexplored by brands, like Snapchat and TikTok, have exploded in popularity. 

With Australians spending almost two hours on social platforms every day, it seems common sense that a social presence of some kind is required. Many brands have jumped on the bandwagon in an attempt to capitalise on an enormous, engaged user bases. However, just because it’s new and shiny, doesn’t mean it will be the right move. 

What does your audience look like?

It sounds simple, but brands must consider who their customers are and what channels are actually relevant. The demographic of audiences on each social platform varies significantly: Snapchat and TikTok tend to appeal to audiences under 25, so if a brand has an older demographic of customers it likely isn’t the best move to invest.

In April this year, Hyundai partnered with Snapchat to launch an augmented reality lens that allowed users to explore the Hyundai Kona in their own homes. With many of Snapchat’s user base just hitting legal driving age, the campaign allowed Hyundai to tap into a hugely relevant demographic in a way that appealed to them.

All about the influence

Influencers have long played a key role in social media marketing. 76 percent of Australian men and 73 percent of Australian women have made a purchase based on an influencer recommendation and TikTok and Snapchat are no exception. The difference is that these platforms bring a more fluid form of content to the table – by partnering with influencers, customers can see products in action, creating a more immersive experience.

As part of its entrance to TikTok, Superdry launched its ‘Superdry My Way’ campaign, which engaged 57 of the top TikTok creators from Australia and New Zealand to celebrate individuality, a core value of the Superdry brand. Both millennials and Gen Z have made it abundantly clear that when choosing a brand it’s important that the brand’s values and ethics align with their own, and this filters down to the influencers they choose to align with. 

Determine value to make your final choice

Big brands like L’Oreal or EA Games have had huge success in leveraging platforms like TikTok to bring campaigns to life, but the success comes from a clear alignment between platform, content and audience. L’Oreal’s recent #LetsFaceIt challenge garnered nearly 17 billion views, creating a sense of community and sparking creativity amongst platform users. EA Games’ #PlayWithLife campaign saw videos using the hashtag accumulate to 15 billion. Smaller businesses with significantly lesser budgets, however, should be more considered.

Ultimately, moving to a new platform might not be the right decision for your brand. It can be easy to fall into the trap of the shiny new toy, but if a brand’s customers aren’t there, you shouldn’t waste your time. There is still a great deal of value in more established platforms like Instagram and Facebook.

The ultimate goal of social commerce should be to simplify the path to conversation and improve consumer confidence. If a new platform like TikTok or Snapchat won’t accomplish that goal, brands should focus their investments elsewhere. As Australian businesses continue on the road to recovery, time and money are precious. Brands should be sure they’re using both in the best way to drive sales and continued growth.

Jordan Sim is the director of product management at BigCommerce.


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