From Instagram to TikTok: Leveraging Social Media Platforms for Subscription Business Success
Since its inception and subsequent rise in the early 2000s, social media has been leveraged by brands large and small as a highly targeted marketing tool, and almost two decades since the launch of Facebook, these sites continue to revolutionize the way businesses approach advertising.
However, with so many social media platforms to choose from, deciding which to use (and how to use them) can feel overwhelming. This is true for any business, but it’s a choice made even more difficult if you’re running a subscription business. Expecting consumers to hand over their hard-earned cash is one thing, but getting them to commit to doing so regularly is a different kettle of fish.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss how subscription businesses should approach social media as a whole. We’ll delve into some real-life examples of brands that are thriving on these platforms, and we’ll even provide some no-nonsense tips that you can put into action on your own campaigns.
Don’t expect your subscription business to become a household name if you’re unable to describe who your service is designed for. Understanding your audience is a key tenet of running any business, and while a small minority of brands may scrape by with a weak grasp of this principle, social media has a canny way of exposing such weak points.
Remember — the main advantage of advertising through social media is the ability to produce pinpointed campaigns aimed squarely at a set demographic. However, to achieve this level of specificity, you must first get to know your audience inside out. This means developing a deep understanding of their interests, pain points, and behaviors.
One way to start is by creating customer personas, which are detailed descriptions of your target customers. These personas should include demographic information such as age, gender, income, and location, as well as psychographic information such as values, attitudes, and lifestyle choices. Use surveys, interviews, and social media analytics to gather this information.
Once you have a solid understanding of your audience, tailor your subscription business to meet their needs. For example, if your audience is primarily busy professionals, consider offering a subscription service that delivers healthy, pre-made meals straight to their door. Or, if your audience is environmentally conscious, offer a subscription service that focuses on eco-friendly products.
Remember, the success of your subscription business depends on your ability to cater to your audience's specific needs and desires. Take the time to get to know them, and you'll be well on your way to building a loyal following of subscribers who will happily spread the word about your business.
So you’re ready to promote your subscription business through social media, but which one should you pick? When it comes to social media platforms, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses, so it's essential to choose the ones that align with your audience's interests and behaviors.
For example, Instagram is a highly visual platform that's popular with millennials and Gen Z, making it an excellent choice if your subscription business caters to this demographic. Use Instagram to showcase your products in action, share user-generated content, and build a community around your brand.
TikTok is another popular platform that's rapidly gaining traction among younger audiences. With its short-form, highly engaging videos, TikTok is an excellent platform for showcasing your subscription box in a fun and creative way. Consider partnering with influencers or creating your own TikTok channel to build buzz around your brand.
Facebook is still one of the most popular social media platforms, and it's an excellent choice if your target audience is older or more diverse. Use Facebook to share longer-form content, such as blog posts or articles, and build a community around your brand through groups and events. All three of the platforms mentioned so far also allow you to stream live video directly to your followers, enabling you to conduct live product demonstrations and receive real-time feedback from your viewers.
LinkedIn is a social media platform that's geared towards professionals, making it an excellent choice for B2B subscription businesses. With over 700 million users, LinkedIn provides a vast network of potential clients and partners. Use LinkedIn to showcase your expertise in your industry, share industry news and insights, and connect with other professionals in your field.
Additionally, LinkedIn offers targeted advertising options, allowing you to reach specific audiences based on job title, company size, and other factors. Consider using LinkedIn to promote your subscription service to businesses and professionals who may benefit from your offerings.
Struggling to choose the right platform to advertise your subscription service on? Take a look at our handy quickstart guide below:
Of course, these are just general guidelines, and the types of products that perform best on each platform can vary depending on your audience and the specific features of each platform. It's always a good idea to do your own research and experiment with different types of content and products to see what resonates with your followers.
When it comes to social media, some subscription brands have truly nailed it. Here are a few examples of companies that have used social media to build their brand and grow their customer base:
- Birchbox — Birchbox is a beauty subscription service that has built a loyal following through its use of social media. The company's Instagram account, in particular, is a great example of how to showcase products in a visually appealing way. Birchbox uses high-quality images and videos to showcase the products in their boxes, and they frequently feature user-generated content to build a community around their brand.
- Dollar Shave Club — Dollar Shave Club disrupted the men's grooming industry with its subscription service, and a big part of its success can be attributed to its clever use of social media. The company's YouTube ads went viral, and its irreverent, humorous approach to marketing has helped it stand out in a crowded market. Dollar Shave Club also uses Instagram to showcase its products and engage with its audience.
- Blue Apron — Blue Apron is a meal kit delivery service that has used social media to great effect. The company's Facebook page features mouth-watering images of its dishes, along with helpful tips and recipes for home chefs. Blue Apron also uses Twitter to engage with its customers and respond to feedback.
- BarkBox — BarkBox is a subscription service that delivers monthly boxes of treats and toys to dog owners. The company has built a strong social media presence by featuring cute and funny photos of dogs on its Instagram account, and it frequently uses hashtags to engage with its audience. BarkBox also uses Facebook to showcase its products and connect with its customers.
Creating a successful social media marketing campaign for a subscription service can be a daunting task, but with the right approach, it's entirely achievable. Here are some tips to help you create a campaign that will engage your target audience and boost your subscription numbers:
- Start with a clear strategy. Before you start creating content, it's crucial to have a clear strategy in place. Define your goals, target audience, and key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of your campaign. Create a content calendar to ensure that your messaging is consistent and you’re engaging with your audience regularly.
- Use eye-catching visuals. Social media is a visual medium, so use eye-catching visuals that will grab your audience's attention. High-quality images and videos that showcase your subscription service in action are essential to creating an engaging campaign (remember that platforms such as TikTok and Instagram are great for short-form video content).
- Collaborate with influencers. Influencers can help you reach a broader audience and build credibility for your subscription service. Partner with influencers who align with your brand values and have a significant following in your target audience.
- Encourage user-generated content. User-generated content is a powerful way to build a community around your subscription service. Encourage your followers to share photos and videos of themselves using your products and repost this content on your social media channels.
- Offer exclusive content and promotions. Social media is an excellent channel through which to offer exclusive content and promotions to your followers. This could be a discount code for new subscribers or access to exclusive content for existing subscribers.
- Engage with your followers. Social media is a two-way conversation, so make sure you're engaging with your followers. Respond to comments and messages promptly, and ask for feedback on your subscription service. This will help you build a loyal community of subscribers who are invested in your brand.
Your social media campaign is a roaring success, traffic is rising, and you’re making conversions, but your job isn’t done just yet. Remember that every conversion is an ongoing commitment, and so to keep your customers on the hook, you’ll need to ensure a smooth experience for the entire duration of their subscription.
Here are some bonus tips to help you create a smooth customer experience:
- Make the sign-up process simple and straightforward. Customers should be able to sign up for your subscription service with ease. Make sure that the sign-up process is simple and straightforward, and that it can be completed in just a few steps. The last thing you want is for customers to abandon the sign-up process because it's too complicated or takes too long.
- Use subscription management software. As your business grows, keeping track of subscriptions, payments, and cancellations can quickly become overwhelming. Subscription management software can automate these processes, allowing you to focus on delivering a great product and customer experience. And while some of these options (such as Zuora) can be complex, there are many user-friendly alternatives to Zuora out there with far more forgiving learning curves. By utilizing subscription management software, you can ensure a seamless customer experience and keep your business running smoothly.
- Offer excellent customer support. Ensure your subscription service offers exceptional customer support through multiple channels such as email, phone, and chat. Train your support team well and consider offering 24/7 support with an international team or chatbot to manage support tickets during off-hours.
- Provide value. To keep customers subscribed to your service, you need to provide ongoing value. Make sure that your products are of high quality, and consider offering exclusive discounts, rewards, or other perks to your subscribers. Invite feedback often, and consider involving your most loyal subscribers in the development of new product lines.
- Make it easy to cancel. While you don't want customers to cancel their subscriptions, it's important to make the process as easy as possible. If customers find it difficult to cancel, they may become frustrated and leave negative reviews. Make sure that canceling is a simple and straightforward process, and consider offering customers the option to pause or skip shipments instead of canceling outright.
By following these tips, you can create a smooth and enjoyable experience for your subscription customers, and increase the chances that they'll stay subscribed for the long haul.
Social media is an incredibly powerful marketing tool — if you know how to use it. Hopefully, we’ve provided you with enough actionable tips and tricks to help you get started, but if you’re looking for more in the world of business, why not check out our other articles? Boost your ecommerce store with our guide to converting your leads into sales, or fine-tune your marketing strategy with our rundown of the best email subject lines for generating sales.
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