What type of message does your brand send to your social media savvy customers?
Now that we are at the height of the social media age, companies can no longer succeed with such traditional top-down messages as, “We’re the best!” Nor can businesses drop out and remain silent, as Northwestern Mutual once did when it championed itself as “The Quiet Company.”
As the number of social media channels has increased, so has the importance of communicating rapidly. Companies are now feeling the pressure to respond instantly across a variety of media platforms. They are under constant scrutiny, much like celebrities and politicians whose every move is chronicled by the press.
Companies need to decide on a captivating and consistent brand voice if they hope to market themselves effectively. If you own a business, consider these tips to start spreading your message with confidence.
#1: Determine the Personality of Your Brand
Most small businesses increase their presence organically, finding new clients and offering additional services over an extended period of time. As these companies evolve, they gain a reputation for the manner in which they handle business. Stepping back to consider the characteristics of your company’s personality is vital in determining your brand voice. Does your company come off as professional and serious, funny and laidback, or creative and edgy? You need to think about this because these traits are what bring you customers..
Here’s a good exercise you might try: Think of your company as a hotel chain or a car. Which would it be more like, a Ritz Carlton or an affordable motel? Would it be more like a Mercedes or a Prius? By thinking like this, you can define your company’s character and decide on the marketing voice that leads you to the most success.
#2: Identify Your Real Audience
It is important to remember that various audiences will react differently to the same marketing material. You need to focus on your main audience and adjust your message so that it reflects what appeals to that particular group.Your message also needs to fit well with your brand.
For example, you will want to use LinkedIn or Google+ if you are a B2B company; sending messages about your service offerings to your Twitter followers will not bring you much success. You must put your marketing efforts into the resources that are most likely to elicit a positive response.
To draw in customers, you should join forums that are industry specific and be sure to respond to threads. You don’t want to waste your time trying to get attention from the wrong groups of people. To find out what types of people your customers tend to be, use Facebook Insights to access the demographics.
#3: Use a Consistent Tone
In branding, there is no right or wrong when it comes to which tone you should use. However, once you adopt a certain tone, you will need to use that tone in all of your marketing efforts if you want to be successful.
For example, MailChimp, an e-newsletter company, chooses to stick with an informal tone. Whether its representatives are tweeting such messages as, “You’re most welcome, human friend. Eep eep!” or calling themselves “Pioneers in Banana Technology,” they always make sure to sound lighthearted and easygoing. Similarly, Woot! is always sure to discuss its deal of the day with wit as opposed to dull product information.
The idea is that regardless of which communication style you choose, you have to keep using it. You can’t make formal posts on your company’s Facebook page and think that it also makes sense to post funny videos through your company’s YouTube account. Such inconsistency will only drive away potential customers.
You may have more than one staff member posting to your company’s social media accounts. If this is the case, all of the staff members must be made aware of your brand’s personality and create content accordingly.
#4: Timing Really is Everything
In order to become a credible voice within your market niche, it’s important that you know when you should “speak.” If you wait too long, you’ll risk appearing out-of-touch. You can also run the risk of losing potential customers by jumping in too soon.
To stay informed, you should set Google Alerts for important subject matter relating to your industry. That way, you’ll be ready to post commentary as soon as it becomes appropriate to do so. Google Alerts only take a few seconds to set up and send updates to your email daily or weekly. Having access to these updates will help you avoid communicating too rarely or too often.
If you contribute regularly to your media platforms, customers will get the impression that your business is running smoothly. If you do not do this and only post every few months, customers will think less of your company.
You should also keep in mind that it’s not always a good idea to post on social media sites just for the sake of writing something. You need to become familiar with a topic of conversation by reading through the feedback and comments before engaging yourself; otherwise, you might appear uninformed.
#5: Practice Makes Perfect
To become confident about your brand, you should practice using your brand voice by posting articles on your company’s blog. These articles will help your business by showing readers your expertise.
You can submit your best blog posts to article directories to spread your message further. You can also inquire about becoming a contributing author for other blogs and publication sites to increase your exposure. In addition, a few good social media posts can do a lot to make your voice recognizable in your industry.
Being familiar with your brand personality and target audience, using a consistent voice, speaking at the right time, and perfecting your message will all strengthen your brand voice and solidify your business identity. Following these simple guidelines will make you more comfortable with your audience and help it grow. You’ll learn how to write your own words, yet speak the language that appeals to your customers.