In part one of this article, we looked at some of the ways businesses could improve the effectiveness of their social media marketing strategies.
In the final part of the blog we’ll discuss some other strategies and techniques that will also help make your online branding that little bit sharper and ‘likeable’.
Be natural – be yourself.
Nobody likes a fraud: we all prefer those people who are what they say they are. So don’t be afraid to be yourself just because you’re marketing a brand. Be natural and follow your instincts. People prefer to deal with those businesses they believe to be genuine and transparent. If you look at celebrities and actors on Facebook, guess which have the largest followings? The ones who don’t pretend to be something they’re not. Their Facebook pages are genuine and honest and speak not just about them, but their families and the ordinary things they get up to when they’re not in the limelight. Businesses can learn from that. Tell your friends what goes on behind the scenes at your brand: introduce them to the people who work for you, and give them insights about what your brand is about. You need to be authentic to be appealing.
Don’t concentrate solely on selling stuff.
That may not sit well with you and your sensibilities, it might go against every instinct you may feel, but sometimes businesses need to lighten up a little and dole out a sweetener or two. People like free stuff at the end of the day. If you want your business to grow and build trust and credibility, then you need to be seen to be providing real value. Value is judged by what you offer. Discounts are fine and maybe do increase volumes, but they’re time limited and don’t always inspire customers. Offering a 5% discount might make business a little brisker: offer a 50% reduction for a limited time only, and you’ll raise more than an eye brow or two. You might even consider giving something away for nothing – just to a select few mind. Offers like these generate interest and make your brand better known. Share some of your information and insights with other businesses for free. For paying customers, offer discounts or run the occasional competition.
Blog about your brand and share your thoughts.
Gone are the days when businesses had to shell out a large slice of hard earned cash to reach audiences on a substantial level. Well, you don’t need to pay for TV adverts any more: the internet and social networks can now do it for you. The best way to achieve this is by sharing information about yourself and your company. Blogging or article writing is tailor made for this. Articles are capable of bringing brands to life better than anything else. Tell your customers about yourself; how you were founded and how you’ve developed. Share stories of customers who’ve been satisfied with what you’ve offered them. Share your photos and videos, and let your customers spread the word for you.
Build a community.
It’s important to remember why you’re going to all this trouble. You’re there to build a community, not just sell stuff. Now, I appreciate that might sound like heresy to many, but it’s a fact. You’re trying to build trust and credibility, and if all you do is try to sell stuff, you stand to alienate the very people you’re trying to attract. There’s a world of difference between trying to make it as easy as possible for people to buy, and outright selling. To engage with the community, you need to be part of it: to be truly part of it, you need to think like the customer. If that means that you have to back off from aggressive sales techniques, then so be it. What you need to do instead is to encourage the customer to buy by making what you provide interesting, entertaining and informative. If you create the right atmosphere and community, and make it easy to buy, then the sales will follow naturally. You really don’t need to push it.