By Bob Cargill
If you think social media is a big deal now, you’ve seen nothing yet. Social media is poised to take over the world, or at least it’s heading in that direction.
By 2018, projections are that some 2.44 billion people will be using social media in one way, shape or form. That’ll be about one third of the world’s population.
Yes, indeed, whether you’re talking about Facebook or Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram, social media user sizes are huge.
You? Not so much. You’re just one lone brand, personal or professional, in a vast sea of accounts, each and every one of which is trying desperately to stand out among a cacophony of content.
With the half-life of a tweet less than a half hour and complex, ever-changing algorithms on most major channels undermining reach and engagement, marketers who don’t have to work harder than ever to use social media effectively are few and far between.
Unless whatever it is they happen to be marketing has got it all going on like Lokai.
Even if you haven’t heard the name of this brand, chances are you’ve seen the product being worn on someone’s wrist.
It’s a simple, silicone bracelet that has been the latest rage and fashion accessory of famous athletes, celebrities and everyday people like me and you for the last few years.
And while this brand may not have to work as hard as others to succeed on social media, its popularity may have as much to do with how well it works the crowd – both online and in real life – as it does with how lucky it is to have such an outstanding product.
Here are three things any marketer, B2C or B2B, SMB or enterprise-level organization, can learn from Lokai’s activities on social media and be a standout themselves…
1. Tell a good story
People are curious and inquisitive, if not downright skeptical. There’s a backstory to every product or service that your audience doesn’t just want to hear, but needs to hear.
It’s this story that makes your brand more genuine, unique, credible and believable. Trust is something that is earned, not given.
No brand is born overnight. In Lokai’s case, it was the brainchild of young entrepreneur, Steven Izen, who while still a student at Cornell University, came up with the idea for the bracelet.
Inspired by his grandfather’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, the black bead contains mud from the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth, to represent the sadness Steven felt at the time. The white bead carries water from the highest point on Earth, Mount Everest.
The name of the bracelet is a takeoff on the Hawaiian word, Lokai, which means unity and the combination of opposites, the hopefulness we feel when things aren’t going well and the humility we should exhibit when we’re on a roll.
Do you have a story to tell to your own audience? How would it begin? Where would it end?
2. Build a strong community
Modern marketer extraordinaire Seth Godin wrote about it in his 2004 book, Tribes. Speakers at a GaggleAMP conference I recently attended at Bentley University preached about it. Popular rock bands have had them for years.
Whether you call it a tribe, a gaggle or a fan club, you need to build your own tightknit community of people who live, breathe and adore whatever it is you have to offer, people who like to talk amongst themselves about what makes your product or service so special, people who are unabashedly proud to show off whatever you have to offer to their own personal networks.
These are your very best customers, those who are going to gloat, advocate and evangelize on behalf of your brand.
Lokai has them in celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Cam Newton, Paul Wesley and Gigi Hadad – each of whom has been photographed wearing the cool, newfangled bracelets – in addition to literally countless others, who they celebrate and embrace on both their website here and on social media everywhere.
Who are your devotees and how do you reward them for their loyalty to your brand?
3. Have a great cause
Many brands struggle to find any semblance of their own soul – if they even have one – never mind to actually use it to their advantage in their marketing campaigns.
Yet like sharing a good story, baring your soul for your audience to see can be especially good for business. Associating yourself with a cause worth supporting betrays the human, compassionate side of your business, the side that may appeal to your constituency as much as your products and services.
It shows you have a kind soul, if not a good heart, too. In Lokai’s case, 10% of bracelet sales’ net profits are “dedicated to giving back to the community through a variety of charitable alliances.”
Different, limited-edition colored bracelets associated with specific charities – such as Oceana, Make-A-Wish and The Alzheimer’s Association – are also rolled out from time to time, creating a strong sense of urgency around the buying process.
When all is said and done, cause-associated social media marketing can provide a big boost to sales, and certainly can serve as a win-win business model. What nonprofit organizations mean the most to you and your colleagues? How can you do well by doing good?
Today is the FINAL day to get the Shark Lokai and join us in preserving our oceans and marine life #sharkweek pic.twitter.com/XwysdUzjip
— livelokai (@livelokai) July 2, 2016
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