The Right Way to Use Social Media to Strengthen Your Brand

February 2, 2013

Social media is all the buzz right now, and if you want to reach the masses relatively inexpensively then you should be using social media. However, it is easy to become overwhelmed with questions like “what do I say”, “what should we post today?”, “what if someone says something negative?”, ”how many people liked us, retweeted or shared our content?”. 

If this seems familiar to you, take a step back and remind yourself of the opportunity in front of you to talk one-on-one with your fans, customers and prospects.

Social Media offers you a unique platform to tune into and respond directly to chatter about your company and products. Where a few years ago, you would have had to deploy a small army of researchers to collect feedback from your users, today it’s literally at your fingertips. Social Media allows you to strengthen relationships, shape your brand identity, and encourage word-of-mouth marketing.

To build your brand through social media, try establishing these 5 rules:

  1. Choose the social media platforms that suit your audience. Each social media platform has a personality of its own. Not all platforms may suit your company’s products, attitude and customers. Begin by choosing one or two that you know your customers are using.
  2. Brand your social media destinations.  Update your brand pages with your company logo, colors, fonts and attitude.  Add images of your products, events, partners, clients, and employees. You want not only to brand these pages so that they are easily identifiable as yours, but also to humanize your organization’s presence so that people can easily connect with you.
  3. Start conversations. When you make posts to your social media pages take the time to make them engaging, rather than just posting a link to an article or press release. You want to encourage your followers to respond and share their personal thoughts, experiences, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and request their feedback and ideas.
  4. Continue these conversations. When appropriate respond to the posts from your fans. A conversation is meant to be two-way. You want your fans to feel as if they are important and that you are listening. Also, it is inevitable that negative comments will be made, but be careful not to jump in to quickly to defend or correct. Your users will be your strongest brand ambassadors on social sites if you respond and build their loyalty to your products and services. 
  5. Follow-up with real life encounters. When possible try to create opportunities to meet and interact with your online fans.  This could be at trade shows, local events, fundraisers, etc.  Putting a face with a name will strengthen the relationships that you have been building online.

Of course, before establishing any social media campaign you should have a clearly defined brand and brand strategy.  This foundation will make it easier for you to extend your identity into social media.

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