Brands that do not engage and communicate through social media marketing will lose out on the valuable marketing potential that these new communication platforms bring. However, done well social media can build a brand in a positive and profitable way, reaching and influencing people that you otherwise would not be able to communicate with.
Social media marketing can bring a huge number of benefits to your brand:
The biggest mistake companies make when first getting started using social media is to try doing everything at once. There are a lot of different social media platforms available but unless you have an employee able to devote a large amount of time to managing them you are better off focusing on just a few. Getting started it is recommended you go with one or two of the biggest social media networks such as Facebook or Twitter as these will give you access to the most people.
As you start to build your brand on social media it is important to remember that is just another branch of your business and all your communications need to work together to give the same message about your company. Social media should be used as an extension of your current marketing messages which you use in other channels.
When you invest in social media as a marketing tool, you have two options for the content you use. The first, and easiest, is to use curated content – content that has been created by other people and simply selected by you as the best and most interesting content for your customers. While this can be a quick and easy way to start providing content for your customers it does not help build your brand. By using curated content you’re more likely to help build other brands and other websites than your own because people will see it, find it interesting and then go to the original source if they want more.
One of the key advantages social media has is the opportunity to express uniqueness and to build your own brand and reputation through communicating with customers. The best way you can do this is not through curated content but rather through creating your own unique and interesting branded content that helps and informs your customers. While this takes a lot more effort it is worth it when it pays off. By becoming a thought-leader and creator of original content in your category you will soon be taking advantage of content curation – but from the other side.
As you continue to produce quality branded content some of what you produce will be picked up by content curators and they will post it to their followers. As more and more people do this your content can go viral and reach far more people than you could possible reach by your own means. By becoming a company that starts trends and creates ideas within your industry you’ll also become known as a leader and thinker within your field which will further build your brand in a positive way. By thinking of new and original ideas to help and communicate with your customers you’ll help grow your company into new and profitable channels that you might not have thought of before.
The purpose of social media marketing is ultimately to build your brand, get more customers and sell more – so just how much selling should you be doing on social media? Most customers signing up to follow you will expect some selling – in fact many of them probably sign up because they want to hear about your offers and opportunities. Not every communication you have should attempt to sell them something though, you can also give them information that will be interesting to them, invite them to enter competitions and engage with them by asking questions to find out what they want. While it depends on the market and your customers if you’re trying to sell something in more than a third of your messages you might risk damaging your following.
With some careful planning and a defined goal, social media marketing will add long term value to your brand and continue to repay itself well into the future. Done well, the results will be well worth it.