The social media revolution will continue in 2013 and for the near future. With Facebook now at more than one billion users and other platforms like Twitter and Pinterest adding users by the millions, marketing teams must use these sites to promote their brand.
Most of the top corporations already realize this reality and they are moving quickly to improve their social media efforts. One of the most important advantages offered by social media is the opportunity it provides for regular interaction with potential and existing customers.
Here are some of the best ways to build your brand using social media:
Make it a daily routine – Social media is important enough for almost any business to engage in it on a daily basis. Indeed, many companies even operate considerable customer and tech support operations on social platforms like Twitter. While not all organizations will be able to dedicate teams or employees to social networking campaigns, they should try to do at least some work in this area on a regular basis.
Outsource if necessary – If you cannot dedicate the employees, time and other resources to learn the social media game, another option is to hire outside agencies to take care of this marketing area. In some cases, this may be more cost effective, especially for companies with limited knowledge of online marketing. By outsourcing your social media branding efforts, you can concentrate more of your resources on the core mission of your company.
Work across multiple platforms – Do not rely on a single social networking platform for your branding efforts. Even large sites like Facebook have limited reach. Some people eschew Facebook for one reason or another, or they are inactive on the site. Among the most important networks are Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+ and Yelp. Let your online community members on one platform know about your pages on other platforms to increase your networking reach.
Interact with friends and other community members – The big advantage of social media over other types of marketing is the ease in which it allows companies to interact with their audiences. By posting an update on Facebook or Twitter, for example, you can easily reach a good percentage of your community instantly. So long as users do not post overt solicitations, it is unlikely that other community members will view their postings as spam. However, you should not just post content like articles, videos and images. The real advantage of social media is that you can respond directly to others very easily. While you may not be able respond to every comment or posting on your pages, you should make an effort to interact regularly with others.
Post valuable content – Rather than marketing products upfront, it is much more effective to become a source of information that is useful, entertaining or otherwise valuable to your friends, fans, followers and other online community members. Let them come to depend on you as a source of information. Post other good content that you come across, but also create your own content that will originate from your social media pages. When people come to value you as a friend, they will visit your pages more often. Eventually, the social media algorithms will recognize this interaction and your content will start appearing frequently in their newsfeeds.
Market your brand subtly – Instead of coming out and overtly promoting your brand, you should use a more indirect approach. Indeed, it may be against site etiquette to solicit products or services directly. For example, on a Facebook fan page, you can use your logo as the profile picture. For the larger cover image, you can alternate photos and graphics regularly that help promote your brand. In the “About” section of your page, you can list your main homepage along with any associated websites. One good trick to get visitors to your website is to create site-based content like informational articles and videos. You can then share this content on your social media pages. Make the various forms of content helpful rather than sales-oriented so that your friends view them as a service. However, you can include links on the content pages to other pages that directly sell your products and services.
Encourage employees to create pages – In addition to creating a company social media page, encourage each employee to create their own company-oriented page. The page will differ from their personal social media pages and will only be for business purposes. With this strategy, you will be able to grow the company’s online network faster. The employees can invite others in their network to become friends and this will bring them into your company’s network of friends of friends.
Get involved — Use social media for good causes that have nothing to do with your business. The purpose here is to give back to the community and to generate goodwill. By participating in good causes, you and your employees can interact with others in the community and create stronger relationships. People will not only appreciate your work, but in most cases, they will also help spread the word about your business. Work with others on their projects and also lead by creating community-based projects of your own.
Develop strategic relationships – Find out how to work with others on social media platforms for the mutual benefit of everyone in the network. Other businesses or organizations may be willing to cooperate with your company in social media campaigns. On a more basic level, you can simply promote the content of others with the idea that they will reciprocate and do the same for your own content.
Provide calls to action – One of the best ways to achieve viral content on social media is first to create something of quality that is interest to other community members. However, it is also important to ask others to help you in promoting your content. Research studies show that others are much more likely to share, like or comment on your content when you request them to do so. Add notes to your postings like “Please like and share.”