Growing up in Belarus, where culture and community thrive, Gina Lednyak always had a fascination for social connection. As she emigrated from a small town to the big New York City, Gina took her passions with her, studying psychology at Boston University, which ultimately led her to be a part of Facebook’s first university test groups in 2004.

Running Australia’s leading independent social media agency, L&A Social, for over eight years, Gina Lednyak guides us through what customers are looking for, and what makes audiences switch off.

Now, more than ever, we’re using social media for our news and to connect. Spending more time at home both socially and for work has increased our need for entertainment, and in those few hours many would normally spend travelling each day, they are now spent consuming content online in ways previously unseen.

Gina says “consumption patterns have changed forever in terms of media. People are watching a lot more streaming TV and that limits advertising potential. That’s a whole load of eyeballs that we’ve lost and we probably won’t get back.”

What Gina has noticed recently is a shift from traditional media to social media, “audience engagement on social grew by almost 2 hours each week, so the attention span that we were able to capture for clients grew. At the same time, client’s budgets were shrinking which meant moving from traditional media to the more cost effective social media. So a lot more activity was happening on social.”

Image source: supplied. L&A Social.

Why audiences disengage with brands

Often, businesses will be guided by outdated metrics or KPIs, so it’s important to understand your business purpose and align your marketing goals to those values. For Gina, businesses often fail to capture audiences due to:

  • Quality of content vs. Quantity of content: ‘spammy’ content can frustrate buyers and ultimately put them off your brand and product
  • Content relevance: i.e. Large companies using global assets that don’t align to their specific markets
  • Over selling before engaging: Having a clear brand and content strategy allows you to have a cohesive story, take your customers on a journey to find out about your products, and deeply engage them in your business.

What customers are looking for

Growing a community seems like a natural response for businesses. With recent changes, Gina advises that instead, businesses should focus on the kinds of people they’re reaching and the actions they undertake following that online interaction.

In a recent social media census by L&A Social and Pureprofile, which surveyed over 1000 Australians on their social media usage and consumption habits, the company found that above all, content audiences are looking for:

  • Deep product and brand information delivered to them in a really engaging way
  • Brand value alignment: People want to trust a brand before they interact with it
  • To be entertained – especially now sitting at home, people are looking to brands to entertain them during work breaks
  • Discounts and promotions in an unstable economy
Image source: supplied. L&A Social.

Choose 1 or 2 channels and do them well

According to the same social media census, Australian audiences are spending an average of 90 minutes a day on YouTube, 85 minutes a day on Facebook and 77 minutes a day on Instagram. For Gina, adopting the right channel strategy is pivotal to success. She recommends that businesses need to:

  • Become clear on which channels will make the largest impact on your audience. When you try everything at once, it becomes difficult to deliver quality content.
  • Understand whether outsourcing is right for your business: for smaller businesses who rapidly change stock day-to-day, it’s difficult to get up-to-date quality content that aligns with your current business needs
  • Use technology to drive customer experience: “when technology makes the customers life better, it’s doing Its job. When it just makes a brands life easier, that’s when you have to be wary. A lot of the time people approach social media based on their personal tastes rather than looking at the data” Be mindful of the rationale behind your content and consider how your audience wants to consume content. For instance, if they are driven by storytelling, perhaps blog posts will be more engaging than a 280 character tweet.
  • Take time to set up your social channels correctly.
  • Have a strategic advertising plan in place to avoid the time wasting that comes with posting on low-traction channels

Invest in education

Many businesses fail to update their social media strategies, keep track of industry trends and some are wasting time by trying to figure it out as they go. Many courses are available online, and recently, the team at L&A Social have added to this offering, launching the L&A Academy - an interactive, 8-week social media masterclass, aimed at small businesses and marketing professionals that want to have a greater understanding of social and successfully implement their own strategies.

For Gina, “the more education and upskilling you can do, the more you’ll avoid the pit-traps of marketing to yourself and not your customer.”

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Things you should know

This article represents opinions and views of the interviewees personal experiences only.  It does not have regard to the situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as advice. It is not intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. Before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances. Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124.