Brand marketing requires a few essential skills for success. In addition to a creative eye and a knowledge of the company's audience, marketers must also effectively navigate social media in their pursuit of brand awareness.
According to a survey from Echo Managed Services, social media has become the preferred channel in many cases, including when customers need to voice a complaint, request information or make a booking. A company's social media presence could represent a first impression for potential clients, making it all the more vital to the brand.
Social media marketing is a different animal from email or commercials, and comes with its own set of best practices. Let's take a look at a few expert tips:
1) Getting started with Social Media: Know your audience
It's critical that a company has an in-depth understanding of its audience, while understanding that the audience changes in different media. Since millennials make up a large segment of the social media audience, it's essential that social media marketing be tailored appropriately.
"Identify who you should reach and what your aims are," Harvard Business Review contributors Laurence Minsky and Keith A. Quesenberry wrote. "[S]tart with social listening and optimizing monitoring capabilities. Find out where current and potential customers are talking and what subjects they are discussing before creating strategies to influence brand perceptions and identify sales leads."
Social listening allows you to leverage the insights gleaned from social networks to help marketers align campaigns with their audience's current preferences and interests.
2) Choose networks that will best support the brand and its customers
Codeless contributor Brad Smith noted the importance of prioritizing certain networks over others. Focusing on one or two platforms that best suit the brand's image – as well as clients' needs and preferences – will make efforts more impactful. Don't try to be everything to everyone.
"Each social network you manage will cost you exponentially more time, money and energy. And contrary to popular belief, social media isn't free," Smith wrote. "It takes tremendous resources to do it properly, and has enormous opportunity cost."
This truth isn't meant to scare businesses off. Social media marketing can be hugely valuable and impactful for an organization, but it's helpful to start small and maintain focus.
3) Follow others' examples, but don't get caught up
When first starting out, it can be helpful to take a look at what other brands are doing. After all, mimicking the successful strategies of other businesses could prove beneficial. However, it's important that this doesn't detract from the main focus: your brand.
Smith pointed out that certain companies excel at social media content. At the same time, though, he stressed that following the competition too closely could impact decision-making.
It's critical to strike the right balance. A brand's social media presence should consist of both established and new marketing approaches.
"The best tactical ideas and campaigns haven't happened in your industry yet. So use arbitrage marketing to find out what new, untapped opportunities you can seize and gain an early lead," Smith recommended. "Look at what people are doing in other industries and try to experiment with similar tactics."
"It's important that posts are aligned with the brand's voice."
4) Make sure posts and content reflect the brand's voice
When crafting the company's first few posts, it's important that these align with the established brand voice. For instance, if the business is more straight-laced and professional, posts should have this tone as well. However, if the company is known for its fun, laid-back personality, this should come through via the social media presence.
Experts have noted that users would rather connect with enterprises that appear less as an institution and more human online. Showcasing the brand voice and personality on social media can help establish trust and loyalty with customers.
5) Remember that social media can lead customers to your website
Finally, it's essential to keep in mind that while social media may be a first stop for users, the brand's website is the target destination. For this reason, it's critical that the main webpage has the necessary support to handle all customer activity with top performance. When you are posting to a social platform and link back to your website, try linking to different pages (not only the home page). This will give your audience more insight as to who you are.
A great way to add engagement and entice others to click through and visit your website is to; "Be Social". This is social media, not the board room. Comment on others posts, like new pages, respond to comments and answer questions. This is part of the human interaction that makes social media so influential in building your business.
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