Social branding is a buzzword which first came out in 2009 and has kept marketers and small-to-medium enterprises (SME’s) on their feet since then. What is Social Branding really? Why is it an important part of small business marketing? How to become a social brand beyond just getting into Facebook and having thousands of followers on Twitter? What do you need to do to make your brand truly social?
You should know that a brand is far more than its products and services. It is individualized, networked, humanized and socialized. Attributes that make brands and consumers interdependent.
Ultimately, your social media marketing activities should fall within the umbrella of your overall ‘content marketing’ strategy.
The Essence of Content Marketing: Like, Trust, Buy
It is critical that you develop a systematic digital strategy to achieve your marketing objectives. For most of our SME’ clients, those marketing objectives are about increasing sales and maximizing opportunities in the market place.
Let’s look at the online customer research and buying process looks like this:
- 75% of people who are online are in the research mode
- 23% of people online are in the contemplation/comparison phase; and
- Just 2% of people online are in the “ready to buy now” phase.
(Frankin A, Jenkins, T; Web Marketing that Works, 2014)
So, how are you going to nurture relationships and increase your buying prospects by people searching online?
3 Key Methods for Nurturing Prospective Buyers
You can nurture prospective buyers who visit your site by:
- Asking them to download some truly meaningful content which helps solve their problem and show that you are trustworthy, knowledgeable source or supplier;
- Keep in touch via e-mail marketing including ‘soft sell’ e-newsletters and progressing to more solution based sales e-mail marketing; and/or
- Ask them to “like” or “follow” you on various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram and YouTube to get to know your business and give you a chance to demonstrate your capabilities
It stands to reason that the more prospective customers you have who like and trust you, the more these prospects will become customers.
By engaging with prospective customers and customers alike on social media, your chances of acquiring new customers and securing increased repeat business from previous customers, increases significantly.
Becoming a truly social brand does not happen overnight. Here are some perspectives on how to brand your business and make the best out of these free social channels.
How to Become a Social Brand
The three key pillars to becoming a social brand include having a brand vision, a brand footprint and a brand personality.
- Brand Vision
A brand vision will serve as your guide in navigating your way through the social world. With more than 500 social networks and counting, it could be a maze down there. Not knowing which social channels to pursue and how best to leverage them can cost you more than you’re willing to spend and earn you less than you expect. A brand vision is your branding profit. It aims to reflect your core values and support your business strategy. It should differentiate you from your competitors, inspire your employees and partners, and resonate with your customers.
- Brand Footprint
Each time you post and add content to social media, make sure it leaves your brand footprint behind. A well-planned editorial calendar can help ensure that you are providing more than just words and images. It involves showing your brand personality as you engage, help and teach your audience. A brand footprint will stay there for long, just make sure it is something you are proud of and not haunt you for rest of your brand’s life.
- Brand Personality
Developing a brand personality on your social media platforms is not easy. Listed below are some techniques that we use with our client and which have delivered very sound results.
Come up with three of your business’ top traits, the best ones that you’re most proud of, develop and go with them. More is confusing to your fans and will cause you to become misunderstood. Sincerity, competence, excitement and sophistication are keystones to branding and they are most effective in social branding. Steer away from traits that are more evident in your competitors. Chances are you won’t stand out.
Socially brand yourself by creating a personality that people can rely and trust. And, once developed, make it your story and stick to it so that others will follow. Be memorable by bringing forth your social personality in every post, comment and discussion.
Thanks to social media, small business marketing now has its own publishing platform to communicate with prospective and repeat customers alike. If you don’t have a social media marketing strategy set in place today, and are not sure where to start, drop us a line here, call us at 1300 733 255 or email us at email@example.com and get the help of of a local Adelaide marketing agency and we can run through the various options for you.
It’s time to get social!
Ps If you haven’t worked with an advertising or marketing agency before, learn more here about what you can expect working with an advertising agency.
Author: Kain Vodic, Digital Marketing Strategist, Adelaide.