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Building your brand: Use social media to tell the world who you are

Build your social media brand with a human touch

Imagine a small boutique with all sorts of handmade eclectic wares – everything from candles made of beeswax and sculpted into beehives to beautiful jewelry made out of antique silverware.

The bell above the door jingles as you step into the sweet-smelling boutique. You begin looking through the items on the shelves, pick something out and bring it up to the cashier.

“Greetings, patron,” the cashier says with a blank look on their face. “I entrust your experience in our establishment was pleasant and effective.”

You look around, wondering if there’s an actual human being around, or only this drone-like person in front of you. Uncomfortable, you pay for your item and turn to leave.

“Thank you for your interest in our brand. Based on your previous purchase, you may be interested in our new … ” you hear as the bells jingle and the door closes behind you.

You wouldn’t expect this kind of stiff exchange from an employee of a business in real life, so why would companies treat their customers so stiffly online?

Social media is exactly what the name suggests: social. The best way to build your brand using social media is to effectively use authentic interactions to gain your customers’ trust and acceptance. By only plugging and not interacting, internet users won’t distinguish your brand from any other robotic company out there.

Let’s start by determining where online you should begin to market your brand.

Which accounts to have and how to brand them

It can be difficult to try to figure out which sites are the best for your brand, and it can seem like the easy answer is to just make an account for everything you can. While that might seem like the best way to reach a wide audience, it’s actually less effective than hosting a few accounts that are very well maintained.

Which social media channels should you choose? The best way to figure it out is to determine:

  • Who you are trying to reach.
  • What kind of content you would want to make, and

Ideally, you would have two or three of these accounts and update them often enough to keep your name on the forefront of your followers’ minds, but not so much they unfollow you due to over-saturation.

Old Spice does a good job of keeping the tone and look of its Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages cohesive.

Old Spice does a good job of keeping the tone and look of its Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages cohesive.

 

Old Spice Twitter

This is the banner for the Old Spice Twitter page, which uses the same image as the YouTube page.

 

Old spice youtube

This is the Old Spice YouTube page, which uses the same logo as the other two pages, the same banner as the Twitter page, and a featured video that relates to the Facebook cover photo.

Tips to make your social media accounts feel cohesive.

  • Make the banner, cover photo, or icon image cohesive among sites. If you’re using images of your products, then use similar ones across platforms. Or if you want to use different images, try to keep the color scheme similar, so it feels like the brand even on different sites.
  • Stick to the same tone on different sites. You’re building a personality with your brand, and you want that to be noticeable and distinctive. So don’t be very formal on one site and whimsical on another. Keep the tone as similar and as close to your personality as possible.
  • Don’t be afraid to reuse content! You can post the same picture to your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram account without committing a social media faux pas. In fact, if you link the accounts together, it may automatically post the same content to multiple sites at the same time to save you time and ensure your followers on all sites will see the new post. Please note that it’s always better to customize content for each channel. If you’re short on time, best is to choose one or two channels to focus on.
  • Link between sites, and link back to your blog or main website. With connections between the different sites and accounts, your followers who really like your content will begin to follow you on all different portals, and sharing your content with their friends.

Now that you have some idea of where you want to post your content, it’s time to talk about how to avoid awkward exchanges on social media.

How to effectively interact with clientele online

  • Talk to them naturally, so they feel comfortable responding back to you.
  • Admit when your company makes mistakes, and see if there’s a way you can make it up to them.
  • Show your personality and the personality of your brand. Are you funny, an activist, eclectic? Show it because most likely customers who are interested in your personality will like your products as well.
  • Re-Tweet, Like, and share things that your customers have written about your brand. They’ll be excited to be recognized by you and others will see the good things they have to say.
  • Find places online to connect with others in a given community – comment on others’ blogs or guest post – and get involved in conversations that will give your brand the right kind of attention.
taco bell tweet 1

This tweet from John Gomez was re-Tweeted by Taco Bell to show customer support from their fans and to interact with someone who is already talking about their brand online.

 

jet blue reply tweet

JetBlue Airlines replied to this customer’s Tweet almost as if they’re good friends rather than a corporation and a customer.

Many companies these days will search for their name on Twitter to see what people are saying about them, and respond accordingly. Other brands use social media differently. Here’s a list of 20 companies Forbes praises as using social media well.

This example from JetBlue shows how companies can reach out to those talking about them to show their customers that they are paying attention and care about them.

The way you interact with your fans and followers says so much about you and establishes who you are as a brand. It will either make the difference of your online followers staying interested in you and sharing your content with others or unfollowing you and going to your competition.

Consider how you want to be treated and spoken to as a face-to-face customer or client, and treat your online following that way.

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 Have you used any of these techniques to build your brand? What’s worked best for you? Let us know in the comments!

 
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Designated Editor Writes a Book | Where to Begin

In my quest to share my insights and expertise in a more structured format, I’m working on a book. But not without help! Lisa Tener’s class is helping to keep me on-target for a first draft in 8 weeks.

See my earlier post on overhauling the Designated Editor brand.

I like to say “Websites age in dog years.” Due to styles, usability preferences, and technology they start to look stale after about 3 years. Or, after 3 years you should be planning a makeover, one of the services Designated Editor provides to clients (shameless plug).

But perhaps the same is true for brands? From when I first launched Designated Editor, 4 years and 2 website designs ago, much has changed. First, when I left The Globe, only newspapers seemed to be headed toward a sinkhole. Now we’ve experienced the Great Recession. While the economy was down, I was filling up on knowledge, starting with SEO and then Social Media, always evolving, but I’m evolving with it.

Part of that evolution is taking my insights and creating a guide to jump-start brands’ new media efforts. The book takes a holistic view of new media, not simply social media. If you’ve been a regular Designated Editor blog reader you’ll find several themes, among them:

  • Search and Social are morphing
  • In-person interactions and social media complement each other
  • Search should be – and is increasing so – about fulfilling user needs

All is not without controversy: Years ago an SEO expert left a comment that challenges my downplay of link-building. Since then search experts know: It’s not about building links but building reputation.

In the Designated Editor brand overhaul, I’m relying on key folks for support, Lisa Tener being first and foremost as I eagerly put my thoughts to paper. If you’re considering writing a book, or completing any major project, here are a few recent tips from Lisa’s workshop that you may find helpful:

Book-writing tips from Lisa Tener

  • Put the book first
  • Beware of new must-dos that may crop up
  • Delegate more
  • Let go of your ego: focus on what you can give, not how others will see it.

Considering Writing a Book? Dial into Lisa Tener’s Free Teleseminar on March 19.

Another tip from a classmate: Don’t get hemmed in by technology. It’s OK to write on your iPhone or iPad and email yourself the document. I write on the sunporch with my iPad, far from my desk, which prohibits interruptions like checking email and answering calls.