Today, successful brands must have a clear sense of self and the marketing savvy to communicate this vital essence in a way that resonates with consumers. Part of this marketing prowess must encompass expertise in creating a strong social media presence for your brand, an essential component for making a mark in the digital era.
It’s no secret that both consumers and B2B purchases are influenced by social content. In fact, 57 percent of consumers say they think more highly of a business after seeing it lauded online. What’s more, social media usage is expected to grow. Currently 2.3 billion people around the world are active on social media, which comprises a 31 percent penetration rate, according to a study by We Are Social, with the number of worldwide users anticipated to reach 2.5 billion by 2018.
In other words, a compelling social media presence is crucial for engaging modern man where he lives. So, how do you ensure that your brand’s social media campaign is up to par? After all, you don’t want to miss an opportunity to spread your company’s value proposition to the masses.
Luckily, the formula for mastering social media includes these basic guidelines.
Make sure you’re part of the conversation.
No matter your industry or your customer demographics, your brand is being bandied about on social media platforms. No brand is immune to the organic chatter that arises on Facebook (News - Alert), Twitter, LinkedIn and the like. The real-time nature of social media requires constant monitoring of online brand mentions – as well as a quick response.
Address issues and/or complaints immediately.
This is reputation management of the first order. Keep in mind that remarks can range from constructive criticism to downright lies; either way, you’ve got to stay on top of what’s being said about you. What’s at stake ranges from lost sales to a decreased ability to hire. Online reputation management should include dedicated staff who can jump into conversations and put out fires. If you’ve got the personnel, go a step further and proactively create content to facilitate conversations between consumers and your company, instead of just reacting to chatter.
Deliver value – not a sales pitch.
Commit to creating content that people want to read; differentiate your brand not so much through your brand voice but by delivering useful information. Focus on publishing messages that set a high bar for excellence; they need to deliver authentic opinions and genuine passions. Get at the heart of a customer problem and tell a compelling story about it that inspires people to share. Use your content, as well, to provoke interest and trust in your brand. Examples of engaging content include commentary from experts (have your CEO author a blog), opinion pieces about relatable current events, and narratives on philanthropic causes that your organization supports. Remember to keep sales points to a minimum; features and benefits are far too boring for social platforms. If you don’t have the in-house skills to develop this level of content, consider outsourcing the task to a content strategy vendor.
Post fresh content consistently without overdoing it.
There’s nothing better for driving away customers than a dead website. Without frequent, fresh posts, your website becomes static and visitors disengage. On the flip side, an updated website provides enticement not only for your target audience but also for search engines, which thrive on new, informative content. More frequent viewings by search engines mean a greater opportunity to achieve higher rankings. But don’t prioritize content quantity over quality. Keep standards high for the content you deliver. Google (News - Alert), the king of all search engines, responds positively to sites that are updated from about once a day to two or three times a week.
Leverage social media influencers.
Influencer marketing uses key individuals known to have influence over potential buyers to push a brand’s message to a larger market. You are considered an influencer if you have a large number of followers on social platforms and are a credible expert on your topic. Leveraging influencers begins with developing a stellar customer experience; after all, before you can hope to attract an influencer (paid or not), you have to offer something worth getting excited about. Furthermore, a value proposition that is purposeful and mission-oriented will encourage organic, authentic sharing about your brand among everyday Joes doing a little web surfing. Don’t discount the effect of these brand advocates; their followers, even if few in number, can scale to create strong marketplace trends. To drive influencers to sanction your brand, nurture your customer relationships by delivering informative and interesting content, and by showing appreciation for their patronage through promotional discounts and loyalty programs.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi