There is no denying that we are a digital world now, and that won’t be changing any time soon. We have ways to grow our business that we’ve never had before and the possibilities are endless. Before the internet, you were limited to selling your products to local customers, through print advertising or word of mouth. Now, we can send our horses overseas, sell our products online and connect with people all over the world. It’s truly fantastic.
I’m assuming, since you are here in The Branding Pen, that you are at least aware of this, and you’re here to learn how to expand that reach even further. Good for you, you’re getting there!
There are multiple ways to position your brand digitally, including social media, blogging, and your website, to name just few. This article will be talking about social media, as this is one of the best ways you have to connect with your audience. There are many social media platforms to use, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram & Pinterest. Which you choose, depends largely on your audience and where you connect the best with them. This will take some experimenting to determine what platform is best for you.
As you work on creating your content for social media, be careful to not lose sight of your brand message. As social media tends to be a more casual place to get our message out there, it is more important than ever for your core messaging to remain consistent and clear and accurately reflect your brand. What do you and your company stand for? How do you treat your clients? What is your promise to deliver? Even if you’re posting items that aren’t necessarily business related (more on this later), you still want the message to reflect who you are as an individual and a business. For our purposes, most of us are really branding ourselves, as well as our business.
All digital media gives us the opportunity to deliver our content in several ways. There are the standard text posts, graphics & images, and video. It’s a good idea to use all three methods, to provide a variety of content, as each user will relate to, and assimilate, the information differently.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when creating and delivering your content through social media:
- Develop an editorial calendar so that you stay on track with consistent content. This will help you with all aspects of your content marketing, not just social media. We’ll get more in to that in the next module.
A sample content marketing calendar is included in this article This is an excel spreadsheet and will give you an idea how to organize and keep track of content. Look this over carefully, and customize it for your own needs, so you can get the most out of it. You can download the calendar here.
- When developing content, try creating posts that can be repeated weekly– stats, how-to’s, tips of the week, etc.
I used to have a feature on my web design site called “Web Design Wednesday”, where I gave weekly tips on web design. This was a very popular feature and got a good amount of traffic, but I was not consistent with it. Make no mistake, coming up with content is not always easy and will take effort on your part, but growing a business is not easy, so get that notion out of your head.
A good rule of thumb when giving out information for free is, keep it high-level so that your readers will begin to see that you are an expert on this topic, but don’t break the information down into smaller, more usable pieces for them, until you have signed them as a client. In other words, don’t give away the farm for free. This was a hard lesson for me to learn, so I caution you to be careful with the information that you’re giving out.
- Create a hashtag that speaks to your mission, and use it whenever possible. For those of you not familiar with hashtags, a hashtag is a word or phrase that is preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic. You can use them for anything under the sun, and if people search for those words in a social media platform such as Facebook or Twitter that uses hashtags, your post could be included in the search results. Use your keywords if possible, to help improve your search results.
- When creating images, always include your logo and URL, so that if the image is shared people recognize your brand. Images are shared in social media more than text posts (which is why sites like Pinterest and Instagram have become so popular), so use this to your advantage.
- Use video whenever possible. Photos are shared more than text posts, and videos are shared 12 times more than photos, so I highly encourage you to use video as much as possible! Let people see the real you, give them more of a taste of your personality, your energy, your brilliance. They don’t have to be professionally created, either. People don’t want perfect, in fact if they’re too perfect, people will often think you’re not being real with them, and that’s what they want.
- Consistency starts within. Create social media guidelines for your employees, if you have them, so they remain on message when they speak about your company via social media.
It’s important to remember that growing your following on social media sites will take time, just like everything else. Stick with it, be consistent, share your message and over time you will see it grow.