Anyone who follows the blog knows that I had the privilege of speaking to a large group of professionals in Rio in June. I had a two hour time slot and wanted to keep the format open to questions as we discussed the current state of branding utilizing Social Media. Who knew that this was the EXACT topic they most wanted to hear about. There were so many questions……
So, this blog on branding is for my Brazilian friends. I’m going to share a few tips on focusing your message and getting more brand recognition.
It seems a bit “old school” to be talking about brand awareness through social media, but many businesses – especially those that are service oriented – still struggle to make their content stick. Content only does it’s job when the right people see the right posts and shares, and many marketers still struggle with this more than the content creation itself.
IDENTIFY YOUR NICHE / MARKET
Most business owners assume that your target market uses one particular social platform or another. Thankfully, each social site is a search engine in and of itself, which makes it easy to find conversations about your industry, products and services. Use search to find the conversations and prove people’s propensity to discuss your chosen topics on a given platform, before you start reaching out. Remember, not every business / individual uses every platform. You have FaceBook users that never venture into Twitter. Pick the platform that best features or highlights YOUR business and it’s services or offerings.
KEEP IN BETWEEN THE LINES.
If you’ve researched the conversations well enough, you’ll likely find that there’s no need to be maintaining a profile on every social media site out there. I’m going to make the assumption that you have enough to do in your business, not to be spending hours on end composing status updates, sourcing images, and generally being interesting on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Making your efforts consistent is more important than trying to be everywhere at once. Choose a couple of platforms, and focus on the quality of your connections there.
WE ARE ALL VISUAL.
Getting your content noticed in the noisy world of social media requires eye-catching content. That means lots of photos and video. Grabbing the attention of your target audience is made all easier when you attach images to your updates, regardless of the platform. Just scan your own news feed on Facebook to see which posts make you stop and take notice. Odds are that more often than not, it’s an image or video snippet that caught the eye.
FOCUS YOUR INFO!
Again, the fact that people on Facebook aren’t all on Twitter, and vice versa. As such, PLEASE try to avoid the all-too-common mistake of auto-posting all your Tweets to your Facebook timeline. Twitter may restrict the length of your message to 140 characters, but Facebook doesn’t. Similarly, hashtags really haven’t made a successful transition, despite Facebook’s best efforts. Similarly, there’s no place for stock images and text overlay on your Instagram feed. Consider the audience as being unique to any one platform, and provide content that suits the audience and the platform, for better engagement and better results. Again…be CONSISTENT. Your followers don’t want to be “ghosted” once they begin to follow you.
KEEP IT CONVERSATIONAL.
There are enough businesses on social media in broadcast mode. Try posting nothing but outbound messages for a while, and see what level of engagement you get. What followers you do attract will soon be turned off by the multi-directional nature of your messages. Instead, strike up conversations with others, mention them, and turn the spotlight elsewhere once in a while. You’ll get far better engagement, more followers, and greater clickthroughs, when required. I love the quote “raise yourself by elevating others…”
AIM FOR A MIX OF ENGAGEMENT AND ACTION.
Getting a mix of engagement and action is crucial. Engagement posts can be just for the heck of it – a funny or topical post, just to provoke thought, or to get a positive reaction. Every now and then, however, our business head must take over, and a call-to-action shared. A link to an article on our own blog would be a prime example – something to get prospects off our social profiles and onto our website. There’s no magic formula or ratio. Try mixing it up in different ways, and seeing what reaction you get from your unique audience. Be creative and take some chances here.
Across platforms, there’s always some form of product or news story doing the rounds. The trending topics we now see on Twitter and Facebook are an opportunity to link your own content to a subject that has heightened interest. This is known (in the trade) as “Newsjacking”. For a great example, check out the story of the Australian insurance firm that decided to insure US President Barack Obama against death by crocodile, during a state visit, which gained the firm thousands of media mentions on the day the news broke. You don’t need a visiting celebrity to attach your own story to something “of the moment”, but do ensure that it’s done seamlessly, and in good taste!
CONNECT WITH INFLUENCERS
Building your own following from scratch can be a very time-consuming and laborious task. Luckily, the tops social sites have been around long enough for a great many people to have built up an audience of your target buyers, already. The trick is to connect with those non-competing “influencers” in a way that benefits you both, and forge joint venture partnerships that at their simplest mean an exchange of content, and at their most complicated involve commercial deals or affiliate fees. Regardless, find those who speak to your target audience, and start engaging today.
BE GENEROUS WITH YOUR CONTENT.
It’s too much to expect that others will like and share your content, if you’re not doing the same. Better than expecting engagement, consider sharing and liking the content of others, free from the expectation of anything in return. If you promote a culture of engagement, then others will surely find their way to doing the same for you.
TRACK EVERYTHING …EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Growing awareness of your brand can only really be proven if you’re measuring it consistently. Many platforms will provide engagement statistics – Facebook Page Insights will show the likes and shares your content enjoys, for example. In addition, though, consider using tracking links in your posts, using a URL shortener such as bit.ly which will then show you the number of click-throughs on those links. Take a look at your web analytics, too, to see which platforms and other sites provide the most referral traffic. Using these insights, you can learn what works and what doesn’t, and respond with appropriate action to continually optimize your approach.
WHICH ONE OF THESE TECHNIQUES ARE YOU USING NOW? WHAT MADE THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE? GIVEAWAYS? CHALLENGES? I’D LOVE TO KNOW.