By Carol Bull
In today’s fast-paced, technological world, your online brand is everything. Not only do you need to have your website on the first page of Google, but you also need to build social media profiles that your customers consider worth following. That’s no easy task because of the millions of users clamoring for attention on the vast variety of social media platforms out there. How do you stand out in a sea of people struggling for the same audience that you are? That’s simple: engage your followers. Of course, this is easier said than done.
Here are some tips on structuring your social media content strategy, to create an unmissable web presence that’s beneficial for both you and your customers.
1. Use the Platforms that your Target Audience Uses
The first step in creating a social media presence for your brand is to sign up for social media accounts. However, there’s a strategy even to this part. Rather than spreading your time and effort across every social media outlet available (and wasting what could be a targeted approach), you need to pick and choose social media networks to devote your attention to.
For example, if you are a professional essay writer, you’re going to want to target college students on services and make sure that you’re visible during finals week. If you have a yarn-spinning business, you’re probably going to want to appeal to the older crafty types that congregate on Pinterest to share knitting patterns. Do some research and find out the demographics of your ideal customer and what social media platform they would use, and focus your campaign on one or two channels.
2. Create a Community
Nothing is more powerful than human connection. Marketers have known this for decades, and strive to make their companies stand out by making sure customers know them as genuine, regular people who care about those they serve. There’s real, long-lasting value in creating a community where people interact with each other in a friendly way. If you can build one, you’ve achieved brand loyalty for life.
Not only can your fans interact with your brand on an interpersonal level, but they can also communicate with each other on your social media pages. Think about fans of a food brand sharing recipes in a Facebook group, or running shoe aficionados meeting up to go jogging with friends they made on Twitter. The possibilities for your brand are endless.
For better or worse, you can’t fake a human element. You need to form a great marketing team that cares about bringing quality to everything that they do, and then let them loose on social media to build real relationships on behalf of your brand. Soon, followers who feel comfortable enough with the brand will start interacting with other followers, and you’ve created an online space where people feel welcomed and at home.
From there, modern word-of-mouth will carry your brand all over the web.
3. Only Post Content that’s Relevant to your Readers
It can be tempting to promote, promote, promote, on your social media pages, but that is the LAST thing you want to do when you’re building your brand online.
Instead of posting content that is only relevant to you and your company, post things that are relevant to your audience. Yes, this can mean posting about coupons and promotional sales, but should also include industry news, questions for your followers, reposts, articles, humour, pop culture references, behind the scenes content (like goofy photos from your office), and congruous products (like peanut butter and jelly). Become a resource that they value, and they will be enthusiastic and engaged followers. That’s precisely the type of follower that will expand your reach and build up your brand.
4. Respond to your Followers
We already discussed creating an engaged community in point number two. There’s more to fan interaction than the positive stuff, however. This means that you need to respond to negative feedback, call-outs, critiques, and complaints in a productive, professional, and constructive way.
Make sure someone affiliated with your brand is responsible for quickly catching tweets addressed to you with problems. They need to be responsible for responding as soon as possible and with a helpful fix, or an offer to make up for whatever inconvenience was caused. Of course, your brand should have a policy for dealing with these mistakes and gaffes, so that each one is solved in a consistent and fair way.
5. Publish Visual Posts
Visual posts, whether they are pictures or video, grab the eye in a way that plain text alone can’t. Including visual media in your strategy is a vital part of getting likes, shares, and follows.
Don’t forget that the widespread phenomenon of “memes” can be leveraged for your brand. Memes, if you’re unfamiliar, are a type of graphic that includes some familiar and commonly-shared picture and a short burst of text. They’re meant to be funny, though some range into the nonsensical. Get someone with a great sense of humor to make some memes, and don’t worry too much if they’re not exactly on point as those in the “in” crowd are making. Memes are such a cultural phenomenon that even creating a meme that misses the mark will get your post shared.
When you’re incorporating graphics in your posts, make sure your brand has visual consistency—for example, include the same logo, or photographs of equal quality.
??? How are you going to change your social media strategy? Let us know in the comments below!
Carol Bull is a freelance writer and experienced content distributor interested in marketing, management and SEO. Also a job search enthusiast, and career advice blogger, an active member of various writing websites and blogs.
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