Social Media for Brands: A Quick How-To Guide

For brands, social media profiles can be a great place to feature your blog and company news. But once you’ve created the page and built an audience, what’s the best way to leverage the social profile in the best way possible without wasting too much time? Presenting the best content, whether that’s linking to blog posts or providing industry tips or insights, to your audience can have a much bigger impact on them than just posting anything and everything to get in their feeds and get you noticed. This post includes three pieces to the social media puzzle that are important when it comes to providing your audience with quality content, while also in return, building your brand reputation in the social realm.

Create content that people want to talk about

Unfortunately, some businesses only see and use social media to sell or push out their products or services, and that method probably doesn’t work well for them. Well, unless you’re a coupon brand or continue to offer discounts that your audience is drawn to. Social media can become a brand’s “one-way” method for putting something out that they want to talk about, not realizing that it is meant to be a conversational platform.

A better strategy is to create great and compelling content about whatever industry you’re in and then engage in the conversations going on around you.  Give people a reason to talk about you and look at you as an industry leader.  Build your own publishing outlet that includes topics your audience wants to read and finds valuable. What are they walking away with after they visit your social channels or see your content in their feeds? Your content should include something that hits their pain points and gives them tips to help them in a particular area. For instance, my hope is that this blog will help some brand that has questions about beginning or improving their social media efforts, look at their social media channel as an information hub for the audience, not just a pushy, promotional tool.

What kind of content can you create about your industry that offers value to readers before trying to sell to them?

Use social media to listen to your consumer

Social media can be a great tool to attract your audience, provide them with great content, engage with them, and also listen to them. By listening to your audience, you can post content, tips or other insights that they want to see and use to their benefit. It’s a great way to come up with post ideas or blog content.

The most successful brands use social media to listen to what their customers are saying about them and the industries they’re interested in. They listen so they can learn more about their audience’s aspirations, challenges and concerns.

Here are a few other benefits of using social media to listen to your audience:

  • You learn where your customers are hanging out online.  Are your customers on Facebook? Twitter? You should be there too.
  • You can improve your business by listening to online feedback from customers about products or services. How might you change your product offering or a service you provide based on what you’re hearing?
  • Look at the content your customers, leaders in your industry and competitors are engaging with and sharing and then use that intel to develop your own content strategy (see strategy #2).

Where should you live socially?

We get asked all the time “what social channels should my company use, and is it best to be on everything?” I’m an advocate for less is better. I see some small businesses jump on every social channel, and then find themselves having a hard time keeping up with everything. Social channels that aren’t regularly updated could put a brand in bad light; any viewer who comes across a Facebook page with very few followers and no updates for weeks may not come back.  We suggest putting a little research into each channel. What does your audience use? Get a good idea of the types of content you plan to use and put a plan together on post frequency.

Here are some channels you might want to consider:

  • Facebook: Tends to be an older audience but with all kinds of interests.  Great for word-of-mouth promotion for your brand.  Visual and videos work well.
  • Twitter: Great for searching and finding people talking about your industry (i.e. – customers or potential customers).  It’s about the conversations going on and being part of those conversations.
  • LinkedIn: Career professionals looking for content related to their industry (Very much a value seeking/how’s it going to help me type of crowd).
  • Google+: Tends to be where deep conversations are happening about a very specific topic.
  • Pinterest: Primarily (but not all) female Gen X audience. Great if your business is visual.
  • Instagram: Tends to be younger, ages 18-34, and more cutting edge.  Also great if your business is visually based.

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