It turns out that social media is not a one-size-fits-all for marketing. What works for some brands can be a death sentence to others. Then you have businesses that can thrive without having a single social media profile on the web. Where do you fit in? We’ve identified strong moves you can make with your social media presence that will help your brand blossom.
Start With Strategy
When you started your business you had a plan, as you did when building your brand. So it should go without saying you’ll need a plan for making social media’s star power shine for your business. A strategy for social media starts with identifying goals, short term and long. This sets your brand up to implement social media tactics that will directly benefit your business. It also gives you variables you can measure during evaluation of where your social media activity stands.
- By the way, strategy is not set in stone. That’s another rookie mistake made by brands. Give your strategy the shakedown every three months to check whether those social media goals are getting met.
Bring Your Brand’s Voice
What does your brand say about your business? That it’s hip and cool, classic and conservative, traditional, modern? What are your values and mission in the industry? All of this is identified when you are developing your brand, and it needs to come through via social media. Everything you post on social media must reflect your brand and be heard in the right voice. This includes any comments, videos, images, and above all, shares. When doing the social media thing, whoever is responsible for managing your presence and profiles must be able to mimic this voice.
Beating Your Own Drum
It’s all too easy to fall in with the crowd on social media, which if left unchecked can turn your brand into a follower. That’s no good. You want to be known as a thought leader, and what better place to establish this fact than on social media. When you are just getting started on social media, chances are you’ve checked out the competition. What are they posting? How’s it working for them? What kind of photos and videos are they uploading? Yes, you can copy the competition and have the same general presence online. But what good is that doing for your brand?
Break out of that comfort zone and do what best reflects your brand. Ask yourself what is the primary reason your business is on social media? Promoting products? Selling an experience? Establishing a local network? Once you know your purpose, as scripted by your social media strategy, you want to stick to it. Everything you post should revolve around this primary goal. This is not going to be what everyone else does, and that is more than ok. It will be the way your brand stands out when faced with competition. Just don’t strike a nerve like Cheerios did when trying to be a thought leader regarding the death of Prince. That’s pushing the envelope to the point of tearing.
Communicate and Connect
Above all, your social media presence should be centered around communicating with consumers. Above all else. That’s because social media requires connections between individuals to make it work. Here are some ways to check your communications:
- List all of the social media channels your brand uses. Do you have active and engaging profiles on each one? Which are sitting still? It’s time to cut the cords on those, unless your strategy sees otherwise.
- Stay active on the social media channels you stick with. And this means more than just scheduling posts on a regular basis, which is important by the way. It also involves reading through those replies and comments posted by web users. Yes, it can be painful at times when comments get critical of your company. However, even negative feedback can be valuable. Finally, you need to reply to users on social media including those who are disgruntled—especially them.
- Don’t forget about the messages! You’ll need to check those social media inboxes on the reg. Yes, this will require filtering since spamming these inboxes is on par with email spam.
Whenever you communicate personally or directly on social media, just remember your brand’s voice above all else. After all, this is your online customer service line. Keep it consistent or you risk losing customer loyalty. And in the social media world such a mistake could very easily go viral. Yikes!
Lend an Ear to Customers
On the other end of the spectrum of communication is listening to your customers. What’s that age-old saying? We have two ears and one mouth for a reason? Well said and same goes for social media. Yes, social media is meant for online marketing. However, smart brands know when to stop and listen. Social media is most popular because it allows consumers a chance to voice their thoughts and opinions directly to businesses in real-time. No more grumbling in solitude.
Now if you have a complaint with a company you can share your opinions instantly. Better yet, others may also have the same issue and they’ll gang up on your brand via social media. While that last part may sound terrifying, it’s actually super valuable. When this happens you understand your brand has failed in some aspect. And you are given the opportunity to correct the fail in short order, while also having a platform to express your concern and your business’s solution. Hyper-connectivity, that’s what social thrives on.
Social media’s fun and great and all that jazz. However, for a brand it’s more than just a way to pass the boredom. It’s a globalized marketing channel that offers the most bang for your brand—if done successfully. Start developing your social media voice and strategy, while remaining active and communicative, in order to get the most mileage.