|Image Source: theguardian.com|
Piece of cake… follow these tips to master how your brand engages fans and followers on social media.
Working for a digital agency, I know how much money clients will spend on the important things such as branding and websites, but they fail to recognise the importance of social media: leaving social accounts dormant, letting just anyone control them and posting tired, self-promoting posts. Where is the relationship building, the fun, the passion? Just as your company needs a strategy for success, so does your social media presence. Here are some basics.
Word of web
It doesn’t matter how much money you spend on branding, marketing and advertising; it all comes down to how well your products are perceived. These days the internet makes these perceptions accessible to anyone who wants to listen. That’s why we use Google before we buy anything. To me, word of mouth – or should I say, word of tweet, status, Vine, video, Pinterest and Tumblr – are gospel.
A quick way to demonstrate how great your company is – and to fight off competitors in a web search – is to use a star rating through Google’s My Business. I will always pick a business or service that has a star rating next to it over one that hasn’t. These ratings, even an average one, show people that your customers are happy with the service they receive. But don’t panic about getting five out of five stars; a perfect rating can look suspicious and besides, seeing true ratings and testimonials can tell you areas that you need to improve on, so get some honest feedback. Plus, a star rating helps you to rank higher on Google search results pages.
Tone of tweet
Every company understands that the way you run your online accounts reflects your business. But people will be expecting more than a professional-sounding tweet. Companies that just tweet business updates via business-speak don’t let their personality shine through, which is a shame. They need to have a think about their values and how they can get this across. Are you a caring company? Then adopt a more soothing tone of voice.
Demonstrate who you are, not just what you do. Being slightly tongue-in-cheek gets you noticed. Have some banter with a celebrity and watch your retweets go mad. Even if you manage to get followers, subscribers and likes, you won’t retain them by being boring. Use a mix of media: tweet videos, infographics, Vines, gifs and links. Interesting content gets shared, commented on and liked.
By providing a relevant service, companies may immediately attract a fair amount of followers, but gaining followers isn’t everything; you need to retain them. People are picky about who they follow and need an incentive to interact with your brand. A good way to keep your followers happy is to play games and competitions with them, and reward them for getting involved. Helpful hints and tips are a great way to keep people checking your page. I’ll be honest here, I buy a lot of clothes, but I don’t follow every clothing store online – just the ones that post outfit ideas I adore. Give people a reason to check your posts.
Every social platform counts
Having plenty of followers on Facebook and Twitter is all well and good, but you shouldn’t stop there. Each social media platform has its own unique audience: for example, Generation Z – those born after the millennial generation (so those born around the early and mid 2000s) prefer quick blasts of communication, such as a six-second Vine. Millennials, meanwhile, will turn to Tumblr. As a brand, your aim is to reach everybody, so sticking to the same channels with the same limited audience is redundant. Research other methods on social that could boost your company. Time is money, so spend the time online.
Once you are on these channels, keep using them. If you stop posting, your followers and customers will assume you are missing in action and won’t actively follow you. If they have a problem and are ignored, they will become frustrated and are more likely to tweet angrily about the situation. Relationship ruined.
The most important bit
Make friends and spend time interacting, chatting and laughing with them. Retweet, favourite and compliment them. Remember that it’s not all about you. Traditionally, if a person liked a shopkeeper they would continue to shop, despite competition, because of the friendship. Build lasting, meaningful relationships with happy, satisfied clients.
By having conversations online – rather than spamming people with your latest offers – relationships are built that can create the foundation for a successful business, brand or campaign.
Spiro Baltas and his team at Gotham Brand help businesses create an individual identity and personality through effective branding strategies. Follow this Facebook page for more discussions on branding and networking.