Here at Ruddy Good Marketing, we work with a lot of small and new companies. And we know that a busy business often means a neglected social life.
So, here’s our guide to 10 simple steps you can take on the road to building a brand presence on social media.
1. Get talking
Think about your audience – your customers, potential customers, industry influencers and even your competitors. Where do they gather online? Are there industry-specific forums, Facebook pages or Twitter feeds? Track them down and get involved with the conversations.
Don’t hit them with marketing messages straight away. Take the long view. Comment on a post or share a link to an external article relevant to the topic being discussed. By sharing your expertise without an overt sales pitch, you’ll build a reputation as a credible, impartial thought leader.
2. Set the tone
Before you hit the ‘send’ or ‘post’ button, just have another look at what you’ve written. Check for grammar and, importantly, think about whether your tone of voice is an authentic reflection of your brand.
Consider how you speak across other marketing channels. Your social media interactions should be consistent with the brand personality you’ve already established, adapted slightly for a social audience where you’ll need to get a message across quickly – in a 140-character tweet or a fleeting Facebook newsfeed appearance.
If you need a little help to find your voice, just give us a shout.
3. Have courage
You’re an expert in your field – so don’t be afraid of sharing a view that challenges the consensus. Have the balls to make a stand… as long as you have the facts to back up your claim and you’re not insulting potential customers or libeling a competitor! You’ll be respected for it.
Social media’s not just about communicating; it’s about listening, too. So keep up with the conversation and only contribute when you have something worthwhile and relevant to say. Don’t drop off the radar for long, though – other brands will be eager to replace you as a credible commentator.
5. Influence the influencers
Identify the influential industry commentators – the experts, bloggers or particularly vocal consumers with a high profile online presence. Interact with them to build relationships, sharing exclusive information, sending them samples or inviting them to an event. They have the potential to become powerful advocates for your brand.
6. Stick or twist?
Is there any mileage in setting up your own Facebook page, Twitter feed, Instagram account or other social media profile? If you don’t have the confidence, resource or people to ensure it’s up-to-date and engaging, it’s best just being where your audience already is.
Oh, and you know that bright, young, popular colleague with a huge Facebook following who sends funny tweets? Are they really best placed to run your social media operation? Social’s a serious marketing tool with the power to make or break a business. Just because a member of your team is a Facebook fiend or a member of the Twitterati, it doesn’t mean they’re a social media marketing guru.
Remember: tone of voice and thought leadership are crucial. Don’t leave it to an inexperienced enthusiast.
7. Maintain momentum
If you decide to strike out and set up your own social media channel(s), it’s hard to put the genie back in the lamp. An early flourish followed by a sustained period of inactivity can damage your brand. If your channel’s dormant, customers might assume your business is, too. So commit!
Keep posting nuggets of good stuff on those sites where you’ve already built a profile. Now, though, start creating a little intrigue: don’t share the whole story when you post, insert ‘call to action’ links to your own social media feed or website where you’ll reveal more.
Make sure your social media channel details are visible wherever your brand is: posters, adverts, your website, receipts, correspondence etc.
8. Get with the plan!
Now begin building a content plan for your platform. It should combine exclusive offers and discounts, links to interesting stuff on your website – such as product launches, blogs etc – along with your reaction to events happening across your industry.
Consider how often you can realistically post content. It doesn’t have to be daily – or even weekly. Think quality over quantity – when you want to say something, make it worth saying – but don’t fall off the radar.
And don’t forget to keep visiting your old online haunts to post those pearls of wisdom or details of exclusive deals that will compel users to click through and like/follow you or share your content.
9. Exclusive content
Unless you’re willing to splash out on paid for Facebook ‘boost’ posts or sponsored tweets, your ‘organic’ social media reach will be limited. So you need to be canny to attract and retain followers. Ensure that any offers are restricted to those who follow, like or share your content.
10. Measure success
Any form of marketing requires investment. With social media, it’s all about the time – rather than the cash – you’re willing to invest in building and maintaining a healthy profile.
Here, the ROI isn’t easy to measure. We prefer to discuss ROO – return on objectives. Set yourself some targets: is it the number of followers, shares or likes? Is it the number of customers who’ve followed up on a promotion or taken up a discount?
If you’re only interested in the number of followers, shares or likes on your Facebook page or Twitter feed, then good luck with building rich social media relationships…
Because the measurement of volume – or ‘volumetrics’ – is only part of the story.
You can have thousands, even millions of followers, but if they’re not turned on by what you’re saying, you may as well be talking to yourself.
Understanding your audience and communicating with them in a relevant, engaging way is key to influencing them – to them becoming receptive to, customers of, and even advocates for your brand.
Social media may be a new marketing tool, but the key to success is as old as marketing itself: know your customer.
Here at Ruddy Good, we can help you:
- Identify the best social media platform to suit your target audience
- Create your brand profile
- Build a content strategy
- Contribute creative posts
- Set targets and measure success