These days, if you’re not represented on social networks, you may not exist in people’s minds. That’s the reality. And if you’re trying to impact anyone under the age of, say, 50, it’s essential.
You may already know this. You may already be there. You may already stay busy posting, tweeting and snapping.
But are you making the right impact? Are you supporting your brand? Are you continuing to tell your story well?
That’s the trick.
This article is to help you understand how to use social media as a critical branding tool.
Choose the appropriate network.
They’re not all the same. To understand the difference among some of the biggies using a broad stroke, I’m borrowing an example from the great Luke Sullivan.
Think of Facebook as a backyard barbecue, where you have friendly, casual conversations with your neighbors.
Instagram is the comfortable sit-down dinner with good friends you respect, where details and style are important. (And so are linkable hashtags.)
Imagine LinkedIn as the bar you go to after work with your colleagues. You talk about office issues, promotions, job openings or things important to your work on a professional level.
And Twitter? That’s the big, noisy cocktail party you attend where you yell short, timely snippets at each other.
Of course, there are others, including:
Pinterest: a virtual bulletin board where you can share images and links, providing inspiration and ideas
Snapchat: used by tweens, teens and young adults who send urgent “snaps” that only last a short time before they disappear
Develop your brand voice.
Who are you? What is your company culture? Be sure you know this before you start posting. It’s the foundation upon which brand and marketing messages are built. (For more about this, check out our June blog about brand building.) Most importantly, be clearly authentic.
Also, a good brand voice should respond to all comments, good and bad. Thank those who are taking the time to say something nice. But if someone has a bad experience with your business, you must should take ownership of it, express sorrow that the customer had a less-than-stellar brand experience, give a solution to resolve the issue and invite them back. With your response, you have a great opportunity to make a positive impact using your brand voice. Don’t squander it. (And whatever you do, don’t be defensive, stir the pot or ramp up the argument. That’s just wrong.)
Present engaging content.
Using your brand voice, tell your story in everything you do. But it’s more than that. Your messages (whether they’re words or images or both) need to reach out to your target markets and invite feedback or sharing. Maybe you ask a question, invite discussion, share something interesting. Definitely reply to comments. But whatever you do, don’t make pronouncements and don’t sell. People will smell that a mile away and all you’ll hear back will be crickets.
This is just a start. Remember to post regularly, but before you do, ask yourself this question: Is your post useful, entertaining or beautiful? If it’s none of these, start over.
We wish you well, Chalkateers! Post away, connect with your audience, attract a following and watch your brand be embraced.