(This blog post is a summary of our eBook, Growing a Brand with Social Media, download it today to get more detail on how to implement these steps in your own business.)
A trusted brand is a powerful thing. If people trust your brand, that guarantees your business will be on their shortlist when they make a buying decision. If people really trust your brand, they’ll recommend it to others.
There are no short cuts to building a trusted brand. You need a great product, great customer service, and great marketing. But the good news is that if you use social media carefully, your path will be easier.
Channels like Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram (and LinkedIn in the B2B world) enable to you target adverts with precision to reach exactly the kind of people you want. If you are able to produce great, shareable content that’s relevant to your market, over time you can build an audience of people who are receptive to your message.
You can also use social media to proactively find people who are interested in the kind of things you sell, and build relationships so that they will become customers or even advocates.
Social media can also help you to strengthen your relationship with existing customers. If you can convince them to connect with your brand on social channels, you can keep them updated with news about your products, special offers, tips and advice, or other relevant content.
1) Make a Plan
The first step of growing your brand with social media is to make a plan, and the first step of making a plan is to understand what your goals are. It doesn’t need to be complicated, you just need to know what you’re aiming for, and understand how to measure your progress.
2) Outline Your Brand’s Personality
All successful brands have a distinctive ‘personality’ – a tone of voice, style of communicating, that people associate with that company. It’s a good exercise to at least map out some basic guidelines for how your brand should communicate and behave, and not just in social, but all channels.
3) Choose Your Social Channels
Unless you’ve got limitless resources, it doesn’t make sense to build a presence on all social media channels; you need to pick the ones which will deliver the best results for you. Social media monitoring tools like Meltwater Social can help you locate where your customers are talking and who’s sharing information, whether they’re on blogs, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
4) Make Social Somebody’s Job
One of the most common reasons that businesses fail to make progress with social media is that nobody has accountability for it. Unless the role of social community manager is properly written into a person’s job description, it will always be treated as optional.
5) Put Customer Service Front and Center
A lot of people assume that social media is all about marketing, and when they’re building a social strategy they focus entirely on pushing out a lot of content. But customer service is the real killer-app of social media because it is an effective and immediate way to answer questions, resolve problems, provide solutions and reverse bad customer experiences.
6) Be Ready for a Crisis
Maybe your business will never get tangled up in an unforeseen PR crisis that causes irreparable damage to the brand, but it’s wise to be prepared for the possibility. These days when a crisis unfolds, it usually starts in social media, so the people manning your social channels need to know what to do if a difficult situation arises.