Social media marketing is an ongoing process of identifying your audience, engaging them, and keeping them engaged, so that when they need your product or service they think of your brand. Find out what you need to do to build a strong social media branding strategy that rocks!
The Key Elements to a Strong Social Media Branding Strategy
1. What Do You Want Your Brand to Say?
To begin, identify what your brand is all about. This includes the things like:
- Brand name
- Trademark colors
- Characters and icons
- A particular style, look, and/or attitude
- Feelings and values
Now, identify what changes will be made to your brand for social media. (Perhaps you want to be a little bit more casual online, for example.) Keep in mind that in order to maintain your brand’s integrity, your online and offline efforts should be consistent with each other.
2. What is Your Brand Saying Now?
You need to know what your brand looks like online right now. This includes:
- Seeing what people are saying about your brand on every social network
- Googling your brand
- Establishing benchmarks for any existing social media tools (e.g. how many Facebook likes you have, or how many visitors your website has per day)
- Using analysis tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights to provide in-depth data
From this information, you can create a picture of what your brand currently says via social media. This should include its public perception, the values it embodies, and its persona.
3. How Will Your Brand Come to Life?
Now, you can create a plan for how you will create your desired social media brand. This will include building an audience profile, creating a budget, identifying what platforms and tools you will focus on, creating a strategy for building a presence on those platforms, and crafting engaging messages that bring your brand to life.
4. What Resources Do You Have?
It’s important to be realistic when creating your strategy. Identify the technical resources, budget, and people that you will be able to leverage for your branding campaign. (This information should come from your marketing budget.) Make sure to identify any training or upgrades that might be required, too.
5. How Will You Evaluate Your Progress?
Finally, develop a plan for checking in on how your brand is doing. This might include:
- Setting up tools like keyword alerts, Google Analytics, or social media tracking software (like HootSuite or Buffer)
- Identifying what metrics to track and how often to track them
Find out how to use the top social media sites online, how to set a strategy, how to deal with the drop in organic reach, how to measure success, what are strategies that drive the biggest returns and where the future of social media is headed.
Now that you have the 5 elements under your belt, what else do you need to consider?
Respond, Don’t Delete!
Negative feedback is inevitable, especially on social media. However, it can be an opportunity for your brand to show that it cares what customers think. It can also be an opportunity to solve problems before they escalate, improve your product, and build brand loyalty. Never delete negative comments (unless they are extremely offensive and/or violate the terms of your social network). This tells customers that you don’t want to hear what they have to say and that they aren’t important to you. Often, deleting negative comments can snowball into a firestorm against your brand, creating more damage than the original comment.
Post Publicly, Then Take It Offline
The best way to handle negative comments is to reply to the comment publicly, and then take it offline. For example, let’s imagine that Lucy has posted this comment on your brand’s Facebook page: “LookGood Suits are rubbish!!! I just bought one of their suits and and the jacket ripped the first day I wore it. Don’t buy their stuff!”
You could reply with something like:
- “Lucy, we’re so sorry to hear about your suit. If you e-mail us at [insert your support email] we’d be happy to help.”
- “Sorry to hear about that, Lucy! We offer a one-year guarantee on all of our products and would be more than happy to replace your suit or refund your money. Please e-mail us at [insert your support email] so that we can get your contact information.”
In some industries, saying “I’m sorry” can be viewed as a possible liability. If this is the case for your brand, find other ways to interact with customers. A message like, “Thank you for sharing your experience” should avoid liability issues but still send a responsive message to the customer. Work with your front line team and legal team to develop responsive, responsible answers to your social media audience. Remember, every contact or message or social media is an opportunity, and fantastic customer intel, good or bad!
The 4 Key Elements to a Successful Social Media Message
1. Two-Way Communication
Listening to what others are saying is the single most important aspect of engaging with social media. This will help you find out:
- What customers are interested in
- What customers are saying about your brand
- What customers are saying about your competition
Without this information, it is far more difficult to build a message that will engage your customers. Successful messages take communication the other way, too, by encouraging your customers to do something when they read your message. This might be sharing it with others, watching a video, reading your blog, or liking your Facebook page. Your goal is not to sell to your audience (at least not right now), but to engage with them and build a relationship with them. Then, when they need your product or service, they know where to find you.
Nothing engages people like a story. Stories will tell people what your brand is about and how it can make their lives better. Which of these tweets would you find more engaging?
- #LookGoodSuits is the best!
- #LookGoodSuits has the right suit for you. Check out our products at….
- Entrepreneur Sarah says she can’t live without her #FlyAway travel perfect suit. Find out why at…
3. Transparency, Honesty, and Authenticity
Make sure that your brand’s message is genuine. Social media is about human interaction. If your messages sound programmed and automated, customers will be turned off of your brand. This will vary by brand, of course. Some industries (like finance and pharmaceutical) may have legal regulations governing their online conduct. Do what you can to make your messages feel real.
Another key element of building trust is consistency. Your brand’s message should be consistent across social media platforms. Your approach may vary depending on the targeted demographic but your brand’s values should be the same. To build brand integrity, keep your social media handles the same whenever possible. This will help with search engine rankings, maintain brand integrity, and build trust.
Hope you enjoyed our quick guide building a strong social media branding strategy that rocks. If you want to learn more, join the Building a Brand on Social Media online course on Cudoo.