Social media today allows for consistent networking and business branding. This helps you stay in the visual and mental periphery of the members of the social networks and, if you are successful, establish your reputation as an authority in your field. Business branding on the social sites starts with interaction with others, offline and in the digital space.
8 Practices for Successful Business Branding on Social Media
1. Keep it Social
Unfortunately, some people forget the “social” in social media marketing. The social networks are all built on a first principle: getting social with others. If you are on the social sites increasing your business reach and impact, you will actually need to get social with the members of the network including industry influencers, customers and anyone who reaches out to you. As a matter of fact, excluding certain people like trolls and spammers, social media branding is all about building relationships with different kinds of people.
2. Choose a Voice and Set the Tone for your Brand
Depending on the kind of impact you want to have on your followers and customers, your voice on the social networks can be corporate or more easy-going and casual. Either way, it does not matter as long as you stay true to your image. Remember that what you share says a lot about you.
For social media success, your social media voice and tone should match the demographic you are targeting. If your voice is not sitting well with your target audience, it’s time to make a change.
3. Keep Things Short and Sweet
Twitter allows for 140-character tweets. There is no such restriction on the other social sites including Facebook, Google+ and YouTube. You will find that on the social sites, sometimes shorter is better. Keep your messages resourceful and your language simple and concise.
4. Brand Awareness is Important
Social media allows businesses to grow their public profile. On Twitter, LinkedIn and many of the social networks, you have the possibility to reach out to industry influencers, create grassroots campaigns and participate in active conversations. By creating and sharing valuable content, you can come in the rear view mirror of your industry influencers and then it’s only a matter of time before a flood of new followers is directed your way.
Social buttons, strategically placed on your website and at the top of any content you share with your audience, makes your website more social. They help spread content organically and aid general search engine optimization. The question is: How many social buttons are enough?
Too few may limit the reach and impact of your business.
Too many may dilute your impact on the most important social sites.
What to do?
Pick the most valuable social buttons and drop the rest.
Facebook has over 1.1 billion users. It is by far the most widespread social network and it is the platform that receives the highest levels of engagement. If you have to pick ONE social button to include on your website and at the top of your posts on your blog, it’s a no-brainer that a Facebook “Like” button would be the obvious choice. Traffic on Facebook is too heavy for marketers to pass on it.
Second to Facebook in popularity is Twitter. Twitter has over 500 million users although, statistically, only 200 million of the users are actually active. However, Twitter is a much more open channel of communication as compared to Facebook: users can ‘follow’ whomever they please. This makes Twitter ideal for sharing content. The Twitter button is valuable.
Although nowhere as popular as Facebook, the social network by Google offer the unique advantage that it is by..well Google. It does not matter how many users are actually active on Google+ or what the level of engagement is like on the social network, the Google ‘+1’ button is valuable for the simple reason that it is helpful from an SEO perspective. It is no secret that social signals are now important ranking factors. Social shares are important to Google, especially Google +1s.
Predominantly a business-oriented social network, whether or not you should include a LinkedIn social button on your website and blog is something you will have to assess for yourself. LinkedIn is not a platform people use for entertainment . In fact, most people sign up on LinkedIn for the purposes of recruiting employees, looking for a job or staying in the loop with business networks.
Say you work 48-52 hours a week. After making it through a typical week, you can choose two things you to do.
- You can order some pizza, buy some beer and just chill out on your couch catching up on your favorite television shows.
- Alternatively, you can call up some friends and make a night of it hitting a couple of bars.
As tempting as staying in for a lazy night might sound, let’s face it, if only you find the energy to get the party started, a night out could turn out to be a lot more fun than catching up on reruns of “Friends”. All you need to do is put in that extra effort.
When it comes to social media marketing, the same principle applies. How so you might ask? Let’s draw some parallels here.
- A social media strategy can be lazy and a solo mission whereby you only invest minimally in what you share with your audience.
- Or your social media marketing strategy can be top-notch, creative and structured to truly engage your audience.
Choosing to Go for That Night Out | Things You Can Improve About Your Social Media Strategy
1. Decide Where to Go
The first thing about planning a night out is deciding where you want to go. You probably have a few favorite bars in town. Alternatively you can ask some friends for suggestions or do a Google search to find places with the best reviews. Having a well-informed plan will mitigate the chances of you wasting precious time bouncing from place to place on a night you are supposed to have fun.
Similarly, because of the importance of social signals as ranking factors, many online businesses are currently jumping on the social media marketing bandwagon without a workable marketing strategy
Do your homework first. Determine which social platforms are best suited for marketing your business. You can have an incredible Twitter marketing plan but if all your prospects are on Pinterest, that leaves you back to square one. You need to be where your target audience is.
2. Clean up Nice and Tidy
No matter what kind of week you’ve had at work, you would not think about hitting the bars in town in sweatpants and sneakers, would you? Whether you are familiar with this bar you are going to or it’s completely new territory, chances are, you will strive to meet an appropriate dress code.
On the social sites, a similar principle applies. You need to understand your customers and the type of interaction they are expecting from you before you can design a marketing strategy to impress and conquer with the right messages.
3. Don’t Forget to Accessorize
An outfit on its own has little if any chance of cutting it. What make you look good are the accessories that you use alongside the outfit: maybe a fashionable watch or a killer purse or some kind of bling.
In social media, monitoring tools are not a must but they can provide an incredible insight into the psyche of your prospects, which can jump start your social media marketing efforts for SEO success.
If you are not willing to pay for the big bucks for a premium social media interaction-monitoring tool, there are many relatively inexpensive or even free tools available including Social Mention, Commun.IT and HootSuite.
If you run a small-scale business, you may not have the following or fan base like a company such as Coca-Cola but there is no much you can learn about branding from the way the big players do it. To help you get started, below is a list of companies that have built their brands through engagement efforts.
Each of these companies have done something special with their social media marketing and as a small business, you have something to learn from each one of them. So buckle up people and pay attention because you are about to enthralled.
How the Branding Giants Do it
1. Ask Users for Content
Everyone’s heard of Expedia, the online travel company. What you might not know about is the ruse used by this company to get people to share content. Expedia encourages users to share their travel experiences via Expedia’s social media apps including videos, photos and content. For example, one video might be of a father and son at Disneyland Paris with the caption “The best trip ever” Another might be a narration of a trip to Phuket. “ Just got back from a trip to Phuket, Thailand and we’ve had the most wonderful experience ever. Everything was booked and paid for via Expedia including our car rental. Expedia is no doubt the best online travel company.”
The take-away: In addition to the content you create for your fans and followers on the social sites, you can also ask them for content including photos, videos and written content. You do not need a following like Expedia’s to be able to do that. Just ask for photos, videos or short stories relating a certain subject. This will promote your brand and simultaneously motivate people to pay attention to your company.
2. Hold Contests
When RadioShack, the undisputed authority in the wireless market, held a contest via social media to promote a new product, Verizon phones, the result was spectacular with Twitter users. Tweets were sent using the hashtag #itskindofabigdeal. The tweets were sent directly to one of several Verizon phones. These phones were placed on a table and set to vibrate. Whenever a tweet was received, the phone would vibrate and move. The person responsible for making the phone drop would then win the phone.
The take-away: To promote engagement with your brand on the social sites, you can try to make a game out of your product or service. This can be easily achieved by adding a competitive element to your request. This will promote engagement and perhaps benefit you two-fold if people start following you or liking you on the social sites because word-of-mouth is, you are offering an incentive. Whether your end goal is to attract new fans and followers or to promote engagement for your brand, contests always work great.