This social media “revolution” has changed the traditional, corporate monologue into a two-way dialogue with customers and prospects.
- Allows companies and brands to learn more about target audiences easier and more affordably
- Levels the playing field for brands of every size and industry
- Provides cost-effective communications in comparison to traditional channels
- Emphasizes great content, empowering companies to leverage helpful assets to attract fans, followers and friends
- Harnesses the importance and relevancy of “now” – real-time, immediate communications
- Delivers a greater reach, with a multiplicative effect of pass along, as compared to other marketing communications channels
What this means for businesses is the time to embrace social media channels to reach customers and prospects is now. And while social media marketing and communications is no small task to undertake, there are six objectives every company should consider to have at the core of their social activity. These include:
1. Building Brand Awareness
2. Making Customer Service Personal with Social Media 3. Adding Events to Social Media Programs
4. Adding Social Media to Product Introductions
5. Embracing Social Media to Build Your Sales Pipeline 6. Activating Your Community to Take Action
This guide walks through each of the “Big Six” objectives and provides a tactical overview of the business case, team considerations and actual content examples and templates to use for your social media initiatives.
In other words, the following pages can be used as a cheat sheet on how to get started today using proven tactics and best practices, with sample content and examples to help jump-start your social media success.
It’s arguable that there isn’t a single company or organization that doesn’t have brand awareness as one of its core organizational goals. Social media has quickly become one the best ways to reach large audiences who are hungry for information and conversation. For professional communicators, having social media as a tool in the arsenal for building brand awareness is no longer a nice to have. It’s a must have.
Top four arguments for using social media..
Building branding awareness is centered around reaching more people. One of the strengths of social media is wide reach, and employing the use of these channels can help extend your brand’s presence tremendously.
Social media drives traffic to other corporate channels.
3. New audiences
As media becomes more fragmented, social media helps reach new and growing audiences, as well as compliments other efforts to interact with these people.
Illustrate your domain expertise by allowing staff and/or corporate accounts to share, educate and provide relevant information to your prospects and clients. You will be building a public profile filled with helpful information that highlights the expertise you hold in your respective industry.
People follow brands to learn more about them. Don’t be afraid to talk about your culture, employees, what you offer, services you provide or general conversations about who you are as a company.
- Tweet pictures or details around a fun company function.
- Post on Facebook sharing the latest information and updates about your products or enhancements in services.
- Post a YouTube video showcasing clients talking about how they use your product.
- Upload a presentation to SlideShare highlighting your industry, services, and importance of your area of expertise.
Beyond corporate collateral, your business is probably publishing content that illustrates your domain expertise. This is commonly referred to as thought leadership and is powerful in raising awareness. If your focus is B2B, this might be a white paper or best practices guide. If you are consumer focused, this might be tips or creative ideas on how to use different products. Either way, it’s content that provides value, while elevating your placement as a leader in your space.
- Share a link on Facebook of the latest whitepaper or helpful article published by your organization.
- Create a series of Tweets sharing interesting product facts tied to interests that resonate with your target audience.
- Upload pictures to Flickr, tagged with your company and keywords, showing your clients benefitting from your services in different ways.
- Share a YouTube video of employees giving advice on how to use your product or service in creative ways.
Every company has interesting activities happening regularly. Maybe you hired a new leader who brings an exciting or unique background. Or perhaps you have a new corporate initiative worthy of sharing publicly. All of these news updates help highlight what type of company you are and promote the growth of your network by building interest in your corporate activities.
- Interview new team leaders about what they are excited about and include as a post on corporate blog – written or videoed.
- Post a Flickr image of a corporate social initiative promotion poster to share what your company is doing to give back to the community.
- Post pictures on Facebook of your office and teams that work there.
- Post public facing presentations for product and service announcement details on SlideShare.
Building brand awareness isn’t just about sharing your own content. It’s also based on asking for content from others. Asking for input gets more people engaged with your brand and sharing ideas across their networks. As a bonus, input can be used to learn about your network and potentially used for aspects of future marketing.
- Tweet a question of the week about users’ favorite aspect of the latest product, service or communications campaign focus area.
- Introduce a Facebook poll asking what areas of your product, new features, or services your community cares about the most.
- Always pose a question at the end of blog posts asking if readers have any other ideas or helpful feedback.
- Ask what type(s) of industry-related content and resources your community finds most useful to help inform what the best content is for your brand.
Many people keep up with social media accounts to learn about industry news. Employees of companies are followed because they talk about their industry – not just the product they sell. Marketing agencies are followed because they share content from leaders in their space – not just their services. And millions of people follow companies because they share noteworthy news about their industry, the people in it and third party resources – not just for discounts or product news.
- Write a blog post sharing helpful resources from industry leaders.
- Share links to industry events in which your network may be interested in attending.
- Post links to and reflections about thought leadership content from market influencers.
Despite the size or industry of your company, new research or community findings are always interesting. If you work in a B2B company, this may be a study on industry business trends. Companies offering tangible products may conduct research on user perceptions or quality of ingredients. This research elevates the expertise of companies. It also can build awareness of product or offering strengths and unique positioning in your industry.
- Post industry infographics and charts on Flickr with relevant tags.
- Interview the person(s) leading research projects on video to post to YouTube for additional insights.
- Share your research with well-known bloggers and invite them to share insights with their readers.
- Break up interesting findings into a multi- part series of blog posts to grow readership over time.
There’s no better way to grow brand awareness than to have customers share their success stories. Sometimes these are formal case studies based on lengthy results. Other times, they are prompted or spontaneous content shared by your community. Regardless, sharing customer success allows results and personal feedback of customers to speak on behalf of your company.
- Invite customers to write guest blog posts to discuss interesting product experiences and/or success.
- Tweet links to success stories, tagging customers and partners discussed to make them aware they can share the content, too.
- Ask for user submitted videos of anecdotes about your product or service. Interesting stories and testimonials help break through the clutter and get attention.
Comparing activities published by your organization to engagement (or interactions) from your audience will help determine the value of your content. In social media, value is displayed by engagement.
2. Potential impressions
Mere exposure to your content is important when the goal is to build familiarity with your brand. Content shared by your organization will reach your network and potentially further - to the connections of individuals within your network. The pass along effect of social media is especially powerful because information is being delivered via trusted sources.
3. Confirmed impressions
Similar to the change in network, confirmed impressions represent time vested in your brand via views of your content, social media sites or homepage. It is important to remember confirmed impressions are not necessarily in network because not everyone will publicly display their commitment to your brand.
4. Change in current Network
When someone opts into your social network as a fan, friend or follower, a relationship is established with that user. A positive change in network will confirm users’ exposure and commitment to your brand.
5. Comments & replies
Comments and replies are great resources for qualitative
data. You will gain insight to your target market’s interests, concerns and sentiment, and you will gain validation that your network is paying attention to the content and messages you share.
6. Mentions by audience
Keeping track of independent mentions by your audience will help to identify how often your brand is being discussed publicly and if you have any brand advocates. You will know when your initiative has gone beyond the pushing of a message by your brand and has become something people are spreading awareness of in their personal networks.