If you really want to get social media to work for your brand, you can’t do what everyone else is doing.
With social media being such a prominent part of our lives, it’s actually hard to imagine a world without it.
In a world where digital is front and centre, maintaining a social media presence is crucial to the growth of your business, especially since your customers spend such a large percentage of their days on various social media websites and apps.
According to Social Media Today, consumers spend at least 2 hours on social media every single day, which amounts to someone spending around 5 years of their life on social media.
Whether you’re launching a new business or product or you’re simply looking to increase brand awareness, social media should be a core part of your strategy. Social media has become one of the most powerful marketing tools available to brands today, which means that it’s also a highly competitive space.
Being present on social media goes beyond setting up a few profiles and posting a photo or article here and there. Your social media profiles are an extension of your brand and it’s where many customers will encounter your business for the first time.
There are countless brands vying for the attention of your target audience so if you don’t immediately pique their interest, chances are your brand is just going to end up getting lost in the noise.
Social media gives your brand the opportunity to take advantage of a number of different features to promote your business but if you’re not getting a few basics right first, chances are you won’t be seeing the benefits you’re hoping for.
The more consistent your brand is across various social media platforms, the stronger it is. When customers are experiencing different things and receiving mixed messages, it creates confusion and distrust, which won’t do your brand any favours in the long run.
Start by making sure that your profile pictures, header images, handles and bios are all the same. Customers should be able to immediately recognise your brand across all sites and apps. It can sometimes be tricky to secure the handle that you really want across all platforms so you may need to look into several options that also include a descriptor or location tag.
Next, pay attention to your brand voice. Are you using the same voice across all platforms? Your voice plays a leading role in helping your brand stand out online so use it to set yourself apart from your competitors.
Lastly, make sure that you’re posting on a regular basis. Creating editorial calendars is a great way to stay organised and make your presence known every week.
While brands have a number of different social media networks to choose from, it doesn’t mean that they should be present on all of them. Every social media network offers something different and appeals to one demographic more than others. To build a strong brand presence on social media, it’s important to understand the different networks, where your brand fits in and where you should be focusing your efforts.
For example, Facebook is the largest social media network around today and is ideal for almost any brand. It’s also perfect for sharing a wide variety of content that isn’t necessarily suited to other platforms. Instagram, on the other hand, is incredibly popular amongst users between the ages of 18 and 29 and requires a very different approach to content.
Word of mouth is still one of the most effective marketing tactics, particularly in a world where consumers are sceptical about what they read, see and hear. A report by invesp showed that 90% of consumers would read customer reviews before they decided to visit a business or website.
Encouraging customers to leave reviews on platforms such as Facebook will go a long way in strengthening your presence on social media. It’s also important to respond to reviews if you want to show customers that you’re involved, understanding and there to assist. Even negative reviews are an opportunity to create a more trustworthy presence on social media so don’t delete them and always respond to them.
Sometimes brands tend to forget that social media is still about being social so if you want customers to remember who you are, you will need to be an active part of your online community. This is not to say that you need to respond to every comment and tweet but jumping into the conversation whenever possible will completely change how customers view your brand.
It’s all good and well if you have thousands of fans and followers but the only way for your brand to benefit is to find out what they’re responding to, what their needs are and how your brand can deliver on these needs. Engagements need to be genuine and convey your brand’s personality if you want your involvement to have the right impact though. Generic responses that a robot could easily have sent out are not going to make the cut.
Many brands feel that if they post the same content and run the same campaign across multiple social media networks that they’ll be overwhelming their followers. It’s important to remember that your customers do prefer different social media networks so by choosing to only run a key campaign on one platform, a large percentage of your customers could be missing out on the message. If they do happen to see your campaign on multiple platforms, you’ll simply be reinforcing the message.
Over and above this, you don’t want customers to feel like they’re missing out simply because they prefer one social media platform over another.
Content is slightly more flexible but there are ways to adapt your content to different platforms in order to share it with your entire target audience instead of just a portion of it.
Even though social media is an amazing platform for generating sales, your brand’s presence shouldn’t be one hard sell all the time. Keep in mind that customers want to know what you can do for them before they will sit up and pay attention to what you have to say. This means that you need to provide value first before customers will consider buying from you.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t still promote your products, services and sales, it simply means that you need to find a good balance between value and selling.
There’s no point putting all this time and effort into your social media profiles and presence if customers don’t know where to find you. Use your website, emails and even your offline marketing efforts to direct people to your social media profiles.
Social media does give your brand the chance to reach out to your target audience in a creative way but it does require a strategic approach too. Start by choosing the social media networks that make the most sense for your brand and do everything you can to set yourself apart from other businesses in your sector – starting with the basics!