As I sit here putting the finishing touches on my presentation for the Kalamazoo Business Expo tomorrow (nothing like waiting til the last moment), I realize how much information is out there on branding and social media. So in an effort to assist folks in sifting through the blogs, tweets, websites and more…I am summarizing, what I feel, are key points. First a disclaimer…social media is not for every business. You need to ask yourself some key questions before utilizing SM as a strategy to engage customers and grow your brand:
1. Are my customers even using social media?
2. If so, what networks are they on? Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn? YouTube? Flickr? (you get my point)
According to conversationagent.com (and I wholeheartedly agree) social media is important to brands in the following way:
- People, collectively and one on one, have all sorts of conversations, public, internal, private. Part of those conversations is the fact that they buy based on beliefs — yours. Do they connect with theirs?
- A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization. It’s individual, and it’s based on emotions and not driven by your messages.
- More and more people are online. You can discover what they do there, depending on who your customers are
So how do you use social media to further your brand? Brian Solis (briansolis.com) says that small businesses use SM to:
- Identify and attract new customers
- Develop a higher awareness of your organization within your target market
- Stay engaged with current customers
- Collaborate more effective externally, such as with suppliers, partners, and colleagues
- Collaborate more effectively internally
Social media is an effective way to communicate your brand through identifying, learning and connecting with consumers, customers, influencers and prospects. It is a way to differentiate yourself and communicate with your target audience. Don’t take my word for it, ask Ford, Starbucks or any of the other top social media brands. If you don’t plan to engage fully, don’t engage at all.
There are lots of people out there like Scott Monty(Ford) and Brian Solis that are using social media to build their brands – whether it be personal or corporate.
So in summary:
- Are you getting noticed?
- How do you get noticed?
- Projecting the right image?
- What’s your message – is it clear?
- Are you sifting through the clutter or adding to it?
- Create a following
- Stand out
And always, always be true to your brand.