#PRExpanded Guest Post: Socializing Your Brand … What’s That?
A Guest Post by Corina Manea, Chief Community Officer of Spin Sucks & Founder of NutsPR
Just a few short years ago, brands were pondering whether to give this social media thing a try or not. There was this popular belief that social media wouldn’t last, so why put yourself or your company out there? It was for the kids. A fad.
Plus, people would use this opportunity to backslash brands, right?
First off, social media is here to stay. No one doubts that anymore.
Second, by putting your brand out there, whether as a business or a personal brand, it opens up tremendous opportunities.
So, how do you socialize your brand? Where do you start?
There are three steps to get started. Let’s take them one by one.
Socialize Your Brand in Three Steps
If you look around in the social world, some of the most successful brands are those that focus on people.
Socializing your brand means interacting with people—your customers, your prospects, your employees, your brand loyalists, and even your detractors—with the purpose of listening to them, and building relationships.
It’s not a one-way communication street, and it’s definitely not about throwing your brand’s message out into the wild. Those times are long gone, and you better wrap your head around it if you want to make your brand social.
- It’s about your team
The first thing to keep in mind before launching your brand in social media is it’s not about you. It’s about your audience, those people you want to reach and build relationships with.
And what a better way to do that than showing off your fantastic team? Remember people do business with people, not with logos.
By involving your employees, those who become your internal brand ambassadors, you show the human side of your brand. You show that you care.
Because a brand that takes care of its employees takes care of its customers.
Women of Microsoft does a great job highlighting its female employees. By sharing their stories, it encourages women to pursue a career in technology. What better way to inspire your audience than by showing your employees’ success stories?
Hootsuite Instagram account is dedicated to showing the world how a day working for Hootsuite looks like. From team meetings to parties, it’s all about their team.
Make it about your team, and you’ll reach your community’s hearts. And that’s only the beginning.
- It’s about your community
Next on your list should be to build a community and involve them in your social media efforts.
Highlight your most loyal fans. They might be those who share your content consistently, comment on articles you produce, engage with you on the social networks, or write handwritten letters to your executive team.
Make them the stars on your social media channels. Start the conversation and let your community take the lead.
It’s not easy, and it’s scary to give up control. But think of it this way, instead of trying to control the conversation around your brand, why not let it flow? After all, you’ve only ever had the perception of control. Your customers have always controlled it and now they have a bigger megaphone to tell people what they love (and hate) about you.
Let your community talk about your brand. Let them show their loyalty and passion for your brand. Reward that loyalty by highlighting them through your content.
Interview them on your company’s blog and invite them to write for you.
Once you have that covered, take things forward and create contests on social media. The prizes can range from company swag to a 30-minute video call with you (the business owner) or a high profile executive in your company, to a guided tour of your company’s headquarters.
The sky is the limit here. Just be sure it makes sense for the community and your team.
- It’s about authenticity
You hear this a lot, “you need to be authentic.” And while for some it might have become a buzzword, it has value.
Unless you are a copycat of other brands, there is only one you.
To make your brand social, you need to express your brand’s personality and its uniqueness. You need to embrace its flaws and shortcomings. Because there is no such thing as perfect (which is boring; no one wants to hang out with perfect).
If you don’t know where to start, pay attention to what your competitors do.
Look at the content they share on their social channels. How do their audiences react and interact with the content they share? Are they engaged? Interested?
Deirdre Breakenridge suggests in her book, Answers for Modern Communicators, to take things a bit forward and ask yourself the following questions:
– Do your competitors have a clear branding and messaging strategy that is consistent and focused throughout their social channels?
– Are they using dedicated links to landing pages to track social media engagement and activity?
– Are they timing their social media posts or engaging frequently with people in real time?
– Does their social media efforts stop on weekends and holidays?
Socializing your brand doesn’t stop here.
Being active on social media also means you need to proactively listen to conversations happening around your brand.
Are they positive? Are they negative? What can you do to address them?
Social media is not set it and forget it. It’s being active; it’s investing your attention on what your community and the rest of the world thinks and says about your brand. Yes, it is a lot of work, but it’s worth it.
Corina Manea is the Chief Community Officer for Spin Sucks and founder of NutsPR. Connect with her on Twitter.