Friday, April 4, 2014

Social media, the human element and your brand

Social media is a massive relationship building exercise.

Tapping into social relationships to promote products and services is the fuel of new age of digital marketing and personalization.
Prompted by the use of social data, brand-human relationships are playing a huge role in persuading people to buy products and services.

Social media, the human element, and your brand


Why has social media become so important to a business’ marketing strategy? The answer lies not in the immense reach of social networks, or in the fact that social is the top internet activity, but in thesimple fact that social media humanizes the brand.
Brands not only develop a digital footprint with social, but also a digital personality. It is this personality that acts as the human interface between the brand and its target consumers.
Your brand’s presence on social media can be a sounding board, a listening post, a growth trigger, or an engagement catalyst if your social interactions have a personal touch to them.
For someone following your business on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, the brand is human. It’s not that they don’t realize they are interacting with a business entity – it’s that they expect social interactions with the entity to be as natural as possible.
So, what are the shapes and silhouettes of a humanized brand identity on social media?

Socialize, do not consumerize

Think of your connections as real people who have the potential to be your friends. Thinking of them as consumers will only result in your social media presence becoming an extension of your sales and marketing activities.
A human-first approach is the foundation of successful social media engagement for brands.
Every piece of content you share on social media should be done with a view towards building long lasting relationships rather than marketing products and services.

Think about how your brand can create social media influence

A business’ social media strategy needs to define how it’s going to build brand influence on social media.
When you think social media influencer, you don’t think of a brand but a real person. So, create influence from the word go.
Here’s how you can set the stage for building influence:
  • Try focusing on building a reputation before you create a social media presence. For example, if you’re an SEO company, participating and contributing in important SEO conferences will set the stage for some solid reputation building.
  • Identify the social networks that will help you create influence amongst your target audience. If you are targeting B2B customers, LinkedIn can be the social platform of choice. On the other hand, Facebook and Twitter can be a good pick for your B2C marketing efforts.
  • Create an amazing business profile, fill in the details, use great visuals and spare no effort to appeal to your target audience. Your profile creates your social persona, and is therefore the most important aspect of your social media identity.
  • Produce useful, user driven content consistently and start sharing it across social media networks. If you can’t come up with something new all the time, share curated bunches of third party content.
  • Be opinionated, but not overtly so. Taking a stand is crucial to building favorable influence, but don’t foist an opinion on an audience – and always substantiate your opinion with facts.
  • Keep caring about what you share. The day you stop caring is the day all your hard-won influence will start to crumble.
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