I took a step back recently to take a look at social media and was amazed at how much things have changed over the past year. Some of the sure fire strategies that we knew would work to build our brand twelve months ago are no longer relevant.
So what do you need to know to make some adjustments to your branding strategy?
- Your audience wants to be engaged. This may seem obvious but it is not how we started using social media. Initially, it was all about educating and sharing information but now people want to engage, they want to feel connected to your brand, they want you to talk back to them, to give them opportunities to do something. Believe it or not, people want to help spread the word about your brand when its relevant to them (focus on the last part – make it relevant to them).
- Relationships matter! By now you should have established the foundation for your brand – your website, Twitter, Facebook, etc – so what’s next? Your audience wants to see what other people are saying to you and about you. Yes, they are watching your interactions with others. If you are not responsive to your community, that sends the signal that you are disconnected. Some of the most popular posts on this site are posts that I have written about other people. We are no longer content with only seeing what a person has to say about themselves on their site, we are now branching out our investigations to see what others are saying. Does this mean that you have to thank every person that comments on your Facebook or retweets a post? NO! But, you should monitor comments and if someone has a question or is requesting additional information, make sure you are providing it. If someone writes a post about you, subscribe to the comments so that you can monitor the reactions. I am constantly amazed at the number of people who have no control over their brand and miss the opportunity to establish a connection with their audience.
- Hashtags! Everyone is doing it but is it working? Here’s one key tip – don’t write posts filled with hashtags. No one can read it and most people ignore it. Hashtags are not the message but are used as search tools. Therefore, you should find a consistent hashtag that is relevant to your brand so that you can essentially teach people how to find information about your brand. It also provides a clue to let people know what your brand is all about. I have nothing against #TagForLikes or any of those but what message does that send to your audience? Would it be more effective to use #Marketing, #Photography or something that like-minded individuals are interested in? One may increase the quantity of your network but the other may increase the quality of your network.
- Don’t just talk about it, be about it… Images and videos are gaining in popularity in social media. People want to see if you are living the life you are talking about. That doesn’t mean posting pictures of yourself in luxury brands, unless that’s your niche, but they want to SEE if you are really having the impact that you talk about. Not only are brands sharing pictures and videos of how they want you to use their product/service but there is an increase in them sharing how real customers are using it. Makes total sense… its cheaper for them to share your content than to pay an actor to create content. SBOs with limited marketing budgets should be happy to see this trend evolving. Encourage your customers to share how they use your product/service and post their testimonials.
Do you have any #BrandBuilding Tips or Questions? Feel free to share below…