It’s easy to overlook the full potential of social networks for companies. Many use them without really taking them seriously, while others even misuse them.
But today having a presence on one or several social networks is a branding opportunity not to miss. With 3.5 billion regular users, if you don’t use social media you lose opportunities to attract, engage and retain consumers, and you also give your competitors a considerable advantage! (Link to Social networks: The key to your communication strategy).
A potential 3.5 billion users is vast. If you want to stand a chance of attaining a beneficial audience then you have to be in the client’s mindset, and what makes them tick? You then need to clearly define what your objectives are.
These can be multiple, they can aim to develop the notoriety of a product or your company, create a community around your brand, create traffic to your site, build partnerships, create sales leads…
Define also, how you judge the success of your objectives, 100 followers can be as effective as 1 million followers, if they are the right people.
It is important to establish a publication table or dashboard in order to respect frequency. Your community expects a lot from you and can very quickly get bored. The regularity of your publishing depends on your target audience. Vary your content too, juggle photos, videos, texts, articles; don’t always do the same thing, you quickly get tired of repetitions. Publishing too much will not get you more followers. Publishing too often will harass, while publishing too infrequently will lose them – the sweet spot is generally once every 1-2 weeks for articles, and twice for news-bites – your stats or replies are your best guide here.
Exchanging with your community is essential. Interact and converse with your brand’s followers in order to build a close relationship. Your community needs to understand that it can count on you and is waiting for answers to its questions. Your tone should vary depending on the media, you can be more light-hearted on Instagram and Facebook than on LinkedIn for example.
In this virtual world there is often the temptation to exaggerate, to paint the picture a little rosier than the reality (link from the article on credibility). Be honest with your audience all the time. Most of what we say and show is verifiable by other easily accessed means – it may be you yourself that gives conflicting information on different media! Lying will adversely affect your reputation and bomb the relationship between your brand and your audience.
Thorough community management is essential. Not everyone is able to manage social networks, and doing so yourself can sometimes be a risk; you may sometimes lack the time or energy, you may not be the engaging copywriter or video blogger you imagined you were… A community manager must have very good knowledge of your brand or company but also of marketing, the latest trends and your chosen strategy. If you don’t want to recruit someone full-time, go for a freelance!
Follow these tips and your community management will be among the best, almost certainly ahead of your competition’s.
Branding Consultant at Pont Bleu Communication
Daren Birchall’s career spans more than 30 years. He is a graphic designer, writer, analyst and communications strategist, marketing consultant, media buyer, production manager, and for quite some time was an advertising agent. He loves photography but his glasses bother him.