By Ben Laube
Developing and representing your brand effectively via social media is one of the most important tasks to consider when jumping into social media marketing. By doing so, you bring brand awareness and cohesiveness to your audience to build familiarity and trust.
Representing your brand through social media is fairly simple as long as your organization has its ideals and image secured. On multiple platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, you’re able to upload cover photos. It’s important to use the same design concept in each cover photo for visual brand cohesiveness. Though some dimension variations of the photos must be taken into consideration due to the sizing limitations of each network, having the same graphic concept will help people remember your brand. This is known as social branding. Make sure your logos also are consistent across these profiles.
The next step is ensuring that your brand’s voice is heard throughout the text of the page, as well as in the posts. Healthcare brands should avoid using slang terms and Internet abbreviations. Establish a voice that clearly defines who you are and the culture of your organization. Remember, social media is your online persona and face; make sure it accurately represents who you are.
Having a cohesive social content strategy is another facet to consider. What are you posting? How often are you posting? Are you posting the same content to specific profiles? Take a step back to decide how and what you want to post. Social media is about being social. You never want to bombard followers with promotion after promotion. Ask them questions; find out their opinions. Engagement is key; talking at your followers rather than talking to them is the quickest way to lose your following.
With the vast array of social networks available today, it can be confusing to figure out which ones your brand should be on. You have to think strategically and find the best fit to represent your brand. Many companies believe they have to be on every single platform, but not every platform is right for every organization. Here’s a quick rundown of the top platforms, what they do, and how they can be utilized by all brands:
Facebook: Facebook is basically the home base of all social media today. No matter the industry, your business needs a Facebook page to interact with your customers and build a relationship with them.
Twitter: Twitter is the popular microblogging (140 characters or less) platform that allows users to reach out to others and find people with the same interests easily. It’s also a fantastic news outlet to syndicate your brand’s press, ideas, and thoughts to the world.
Google+: Google+ is essentially the Google version of Facebook, but it does have great collaborative abilities, such as Google Hangouts. Google Hangouts is a new messaging, video, chat, file-sharing platform created by Google; it is great for collaboration. In addition to being free, unlike other services, Google Hangouts integrates well within other Google apps and allows you to easily share information. Also, all Google+ posts are indexed by Google and show up in its search results.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the professional social media hotspot. This is where you can represent yourself and your organization in a professional manner, building connections and further expanding your online outreach.
These four main social networks are being utilized by all brands, but other popular platforms exist that many not be suitable for every brand.
Pinterest: Pinterest is a fantastic way to share and explore creative ideas and visuals. However, if your brand isn’t a visually heavy concept, Pinterest may not work for you.
Instagram and Vine: Instagram and Vine are mobile social network sensations that rely strictly on pictures and videos. If your brand doesn’t produce images or products, these networks may leave you with lackluster results.
Now that you’ve chosen your networks, your social strategy, and how to represent your brand online, here are few tips to ensure a positive social environment for your audience.
- Engage your followers with contests, questions, comments, or provoking thoughts.
- Post on a regular basis.
- Choose what type of content is most appropriate for your brand, and limit the confusion of posting anything and everything.
- Over-promote yourself. Remember, if you were talking to someone face-to-face and all he or she did was self-promotion, it wouldn’t go over well. The same goes for social media. There is a healthy ratio we like to follow: 60 percent conversation/engagement and 40 percent promotion. This balance will keep your followers interested.
- Over-post. It’s great to share quality content on a regular basis, but don’t post every hour. Remember, these posts show up in people’s news feeds and might be viewed as spam.
- Trash or criticize other brands on social media. It’s important that your brand’s online reputation and image is seen in a positive light. Trash talking about your competitors will only hurt you and turn your followers away.
Now, go ahead and socialize with social media!
Ben Laube is president and founder of POLR Marketing, a growth marketing technology company. Through the use of content writing, pay-per-click, ethical SEO practices, Web and development graphic design, and strategic planning, POLR Marketing offers the services you need to help grow your organization to the next level. Learn more at 407-712-4836.
[From the June/July 2014 issue of AnswerStat magazine]