Social media is a very hot topic right now, and rightfully so. I’ve heard more than one company wonder out loud though if it belongs in the Brand Strategy. In my opinion, the answer is a resounding YES. If it’s not part of your integrated Brand Strategy, you’re missing a vital channel for furthering your brand position. As I see it, there are two primary reasons to intentionally create your social media brand strategy as an element of your online marketing strategy.
- Social Media is an ideal mechanism for personalizing and individualizing your brand.
- Social media and online marketing allow your loyal customers to do some promoting for you.
Here’s the situation – people like other people – not faceless groups or buildings. They need to identify with someone who sounds and looks like themselves (or someone they want to be). This is where a well-executed social media strategy can be extremely helpful.
The social media channel is more informal and relaxed as compared to the highly crafted and polished radio spot, TV commercial, or print ad. Social media is at its heart, soul (and even name) — social. So done correctly, social media demonstrates it’s knowledge of societal rules and manners by engaging in (and paying attention to) conversations that are happening around it. Personally thanking and engaging people who have mentioned the company. Initiating conversations with the “wall-flower” that doesn’t quite know how to jump into the conversation so they feel less awkward. Social media should be a representation of our best and most courteous brand-selves.
The interesting thing about this is that being an engaging conversationalist allows people observing the conversation to see and to understand who your brand is and what it stands for. Which means they are forming opinions about your brand personality.
The second reason you need social media in your branding strategy is that it gives your best customers an opportunity to share their passion for you with their social circle. Social media makes it easy for them to proclaim to the world that they are interested in what your company is doing. They do this with little to no effort – just clicking a button to Like or Follow. Once that button is clicked, they receive every update you care to send. More importantly, they have the ability to comment on what you’re sending.
That means you get instant feedback on what your fans like, and dislike. These fans can become an advisory group for your brand. Float a couple of balloons, see what happens. Often, they will also publicly engage your brand. They will either proclaim it as wonderful for all their friends and contacts to see, weigh in on questions or ideas you pose, and occasionally share a shortcoming. (Not to worry, check out Your Brand on the Web for strategies to handle this scenario.)
Social Media Engagement & Amplification
More often than not, the engagement will be positive and will be amplified to their friends and family. That amplification will influence those individuals to choose your company the next time they are considering making a related purchase. Personal recommendations go much farther these days than paid advertising -. Capitalize on that and allow your loyal customer the chance to recommend you.
These are just two of the reasons you should participate in social media. Find ways to incorporate it into your online marketing brand strategy. Take the time now to figure out how your social media efforts will further your overall brand position. It’ll save you money and make sure that you’re working on an integrated approach to your brand strategy.