It’s almost 2022. Well, that was fast.
Last December, I sat down at my desk to write the Jet blog for January 2021 — the first one of the year. I was ready to leave COVID-19 messaging in the dust and shift my focus to other important healthcare topics for our clients. But hindsight is 20/20 (ha!), and we all know how this year went.
Now, I’m tasked with writing the blog that closes out the year. It’s interesting to be in a position where I can look back at my naivety and optimism reflect on what I thought marketers would need to focus on in a “post”-pandemic world.
I was right, for the most part. Adaptation continued to be the name of the game for those of us in healthcare communications. The importance of a strong digital footprint and social media presence only grew. Audiences appreciated compassion and admired positivity.
In the spirit of keeping that optimism alive, I’m leaving COVID out of this one and highlighting three social media strategies that worked for Jet in 2021. I’ll also discuss what other brands did that your organization could try in the new year.
Stories, stories, stories
If you’ve read any of my blogs from the past (almost) three years, I’m sorry. I’m rehashing this again, and I can’t promise you it’ll be the last time. Storytelling is one of the most important and effective ways to elevate your brand and increase engagement on your social platforms.
Whether you’re posting a simple “Get to Know” social media post about an awesome employee, or sharing a patient’s deeply personal experience, stats show that people like reading about other people.
I pulled some data to back up this pitch. For Jet’s largest healthcare client, the top five best performing social posts in 2021 (in terms of engagement — so likes, comments and all that fun stuff) were about people.
Three of the posts were employee features that we’ve written and posted every other week for years. One was a feel-good article about a pediatric patient and how his speech-language pathologist helped him overcome some tough obstacles. The last highlighted an incredible pharmacy team that everyone in the community knows and loves.
These are the stories that get shared over and over again on social media, creating a snowball effect that pushes your engagement numbers off the charts.
Pro tip: Try to tell each of your stories in a special and personal way, rather than creating a formulaic structure that gets stale. That’ll not only make your subjects feel heard, but your audience won’t get bored either.
Go ahead and give that post a boost
Don’t get me wrong — an organic presence on social media is incredibly important. You want to have an established stream of posts in which users can get a feel for your brand, quickly find important updates or have a gateway to your website. But I’d be lying if I said paid advertising doesn’t work wonders, because it does. If you can pay to play, you’ll get rewarded.
Paid advertising on social ensures your post reaches the audiences you want it to. It’s a great way to get your message in front of people who already follow or like your page, but more importantly, those who don’t. You can target extremely specific audiences or build general brand awareness. The digital world is your oyster.
Here’s a good example of this: Jet has a new client who launched their first campaign earlier this year. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness about an important local topic and change the way others view this specific topic through, yes, storytelling.
Although we had decent engagement on Instagram and Facebook before we boosted any posts or ran any paid advertisements, we knew it could be better. So, we decided to throw a little money at it to reach more people and garner more engagement.
Posts that had only reached a few hundred people in our targeted communities began to reach thousands. People who didn’t follow our page started to like, comment on and share our posts. Day by day, our following grew, making our campaign more widely known.
The bottom line: If you have the budget for it, a fully strategic social advertising campaign can get your message to the masses in ways you probably didn’t think were possible. But you don’t need one — a simple $20 for a boosted post every now and then can positively impact your social media presence.
Engage with other brands, followers
This isn’t a new strategy by any means, but it’s one that I feel the need to mention because it works.
I’m not sure how many of you are on TikTok these days, but it’s where a lot of social media users under 30 are. One of my favorite parts about the app is looking through the comments section because so many brand accounts have gotten creative in how they comment on and engage with certain videos.
Millennial and Gen Z audiences tend to resonate with comments that have a bit of ~spice~, and you’ll find that social media managers of big-name brands are catering to the platform’s users. Many brand accounts often leave a funny or sarcastic comment on a viral video, and these comments can sometimes garner hundreds of thousands of likes.
The brand that immediately comes to my mind: Duolingo. Their content didn’t only capture my attention, though. Insider wrote an entire article about how the company’s social media managers are changing the game. By staying on top of viral trends, strategically engaging with other accounts and maybe letting down their hair a bit, Duolingo’s TikTok account grew from 50,000 to 1.5 million followers in less than three months.
Obviously, sarcasm and humor don’t make sense for every organization, but the key takeaway here is to be creative and engage in any way you can. Leave a comment, follow and like relevant accounts and, if you’re on Instagram, share other brands’ posts to your Story when it makes sense.
2022 is right around the corner. Keep doing the things that work for your business or organization, but don’t be afraid to venture outside of what you’ve done before — if you’re feeling bold.
Kati Velazquez, Content and Digital Manager at Jet Marketing
Kati is a huge digital marketing and social media nerd who subscribes to about 20 different SEO-related newsletters. Storytelling usually plays a significant role in the marketing strategies she develops — a nod to her newspaper background.