Social media is essential in any marketing strategy in the 21st century – it is a valuable tool for increasing awareness, reputation management and lead generation, offering benefits that other forms of marketing can’t compete with. In Jeff Bezos’, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, own words, “If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the internet, they can each tell 6,000 others.” With 45% of the world population currently on social[i], that’s something that can’t be overlooked.
However, having a social media presence without an appropriate strategy can be as damaging as having no plan at all. It’s important to understand the role that each social media platform plays to be able to put in place a strategy that delivers.
With 19 million companies and 10 million c-level executives present on the platform[ii], LinkedIn is the primary channel for engaging with brand and industry stakeholders. On the other hand, after 15 years, Facebook is still one of the most used social media platforms. Its user-base and reach are global, making it easy for brands and companies to find their target audience on the network.
Twitter’s superpower lies in its reactive nature, giving brands the opportunity to speak with their audience in real time. For most, this is a channel primed for customer service. Finally, photography led Instagram – with more than 1 billion monthly active accounts[iii] – continues to be one of the fastest growing channels, and perfect for brand interaction; 78% of Instagram users say that they see brands on Instagram as popular, 77% as creative, 76% as entertaining and 72% as committed to building community[iv].
Pro Carton adopts a two-pronged approach, aimed at consumers and businesses, its prime target market being defined as “packaging decision makers and influencers”. Because of its unique audience, LinkedIn sits at the centre of Pro Carton’s B2B strategy. While Instagram, Twitter and Facebook help raise awareness amongst consumers about the sustainability benefits of cartons and cartonboard. The consumer lobby has a powerful voice in encouraging brands and retailers to changing to environmentally friendly options like cartonboard – bringing Pro Carton’s efforts full circle.
Whilst one of the beauties of social media is its immediacy, which allows us to respond and react to topical activities, it’s also important that the campaign has structure and variety. This is why we agree the following month’s posts at the end of the preceding month, ensuring that we are tying in our communications with known events. We can, and do, still amend these during the month but 90% is agreed well in advance. The posts are then scheduled through Sprout Social, which ensures that the posts go out when we want and also appear at the best time of day to achieve maximum engagement.
Content also plays a key role. The ongoing success of image-led platforms such as Instagram resulted in a shift, with channels now focusing more on all forms of visual content. For example, tweets with video attract 10x more engagements than those without[v], while LinkedIn members are 20x more likely to share a video than any other type of post[vi].
Pro Carton has jumped on the trend, upping its investment in video to ensure its message continues to appeal to various audiences. Consumers are currently overwhelmed by the amount of information available to them, so it’s important to convey a message as quickly and engagingly as possible, one of video’s main strengths.
Pro Carton’s launch of the Carton Campaigners is an example of this visually inclined approach. Each embodying one of the “5Rs of Responsibility”, these illustrated characters naturally stand out on the feed, helping to strengthen the messaging across every channel they live in.
But opting to use such unique characters isn’t just about campaign messaging – it’s also about reinforcing brand recognition. Users will instantly associate the 5Rs characters with cartons before seeing the Pro Carton logo or social handle. And that is what we call effective branding!
Pro Carton is not afraid to try out approaches that you’d be more likely to expect from a consumer brand, including working with “influencers”. It has engaged a small group of UK and German-based individuals of strong eco-credentials to create bespoke social posts raising awareness of the advantages of cartonboard over other packaging materials. Pro Carton enlisted the help of micro-influencers who deliver high engagement and are seen by consumers as authentic and trustworthy. The resulting posts have been re-shared on Pro Carton’s own social channels, providing a wealth of good-quality content that would otherwise come at a much higher cost.
“Right now, with social networks and other tools on the Internet, all of these 500 million people have a way to say what they’re thinking and have their voice be heard” said Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook. However, in today’s overcrowded social landscape, having something to say is not enough. We know that engagement is at an all-time low, with organic content being seen by less than 10% of a brand’s audience, thus making it crucial for companies to invest and set aside budget that supports growth and reach.
Pro Carton understood this and put in place a strategy designed to grow its audience base across all channels, with Facebook delivering the strongest results; since June 2019, Pro Carton’s followers have increased more than fourfold! The other social media platforms have also seen huge increases in followers. But it’s not just about quantity, it is also about quality. Pro Carton’s strategy is aimed specifically at consumers with a known interest in the environment, brand owners, marketing managers and packaging specialists reaching out to the people who matter.
An organisation’s social media success depends always on several factors; however, its objectives should always be at the front of all strategic decisions – it’s impossible to deliver ROI unless there’s clarity in terms of what the end goal is. Pro Carton has shown that it understands that principle, with its efforts and different approaches all funnelling into one key aim: to promote the use of cartonboard as the most sustainable packaging material.
Vanessa Nunes is Social Media Manager at Storm Communications, an independent PR and Digital agency based in London.
[i] “Global Digital Report”, We Are Social, 2019
[ii] “How LinkedIn Turns Up the Heat on Their Own Marketing Campaigns”, LinkedIn, 2018
[iii] “Connected Consumption”, Instagram, 2019
[iv] “Important Instagram Stats You Need to Know For 2020”, 2020, Sprout Social
[v] “How Video is Reshaping Digital Advertising”, Twitter, 2019
[vi] “How to Grow Your Brand’s Organic Following on LinkedIn”, LinkedIn, 2019