Social media is here to stay. And it’s free! So for most businesses, it’s the cheapest way of getting your product or service in front of masses of people for a small investment (your time). But how much damage can social media do to your brand?
The truth is, that it can do a massive amount of damage if you don’t have a plan on who is going to post what, where and how often. The saying ‘something is better than nothing’ does not apply if you are trying to build a brand that customers will fall in love with.
1. What’s the plan?
Not having a plan is the biggest mistake that is made when it comes to businesses and social media. As the old saying goes – fail to plan is a plan to fail. To avoid brand damage on social media you need to decide:
- What platforms should you be on (and the answer is never ‘all of them’)
- decide what you want your social media to say about your business
- what do you want to achieve for
- your brand
- your sales
- your awareness
Once you have an idea of what you want it to achieve, write a plan as to what you are going to post, what it should look like, how often and by whom
2. Not using your brand voice
You need to make sure that you have a very clear idea about the brand voice for your business. Are you hip, fun and funky or are you witty, intelligent or serious?
Ensure that your social media posts are consistent with the tone and language you’d like your business to have. Put measures in place that support any staff that are posting to your various social media. These may include a list of words or guidelines as to what they can say and how they should say it.
3. Creating the wrong brand culture
What are you actually posting on social media? Is it all business and serious? Is it all about having a good time while out on the town? Neither of these are a good idea. The former can put people off as it’s not very engaging to get bombarded with posts that are constantly about business.
On the flip side, it’s damaging to your brand to show you or your staff hitting the town (and perhaps the pavement) on a big night out. Having a good balance between sharing your expertise, highlighting your clients, showcasing your work and introducing your team or the fun things you might get up to is a strategy that will educate, engage and entertain your followers and create a brand culture that is far more engaging and memorable.
4. Not focusing on the brand experience
Point 4 leads straight off from point 3. Creating a brand experience is essential in this cluttered world that we live in where we are bombarded with data every day. Why do you think cat and dog videos are so popular? It’s because they allow us a moment to relax, be entertained and have a chuckle. Include in your plan an opportunity to create a brand experience for their client – something that they will remember, or even better, pass onto their friends. Sometimes it could be something little.
Take Facebook, for example, they have started to remind you of memories from a year or two ago. This brings back feelings that evoke an emotion, make you remember a moment in time that you may ordinarily have forgotten about. This simple act triggers a reaction to share, comment or even connect with the people in the memory.
Try and think of ways that you can create a brand experience. For us at WRD, we like to do our Logo Votes. We upload logo designs that we have been working on and encourage our followers to vote on which logo they like best. Everyone likes to be asked their opinion, so we land up getting a lot of comments, suggestions and yes, even critiquing, but it’s worth it as people not only remember that we design logos, but they remember the ones that we have designed.
5. Inconsistent branding across platforms
This encompasses everything about your brand and the brand experience that you want to create for your customer across all social media platforms. What colours are you using, the style of images, do you use video, music, live streaming, hashtags… The list goes on. Is all of this consistent across the different platforms that you use? Does what clients see on Instagram reflect what is seen on Facebook or Twitter. This isn’t just about what you post, it’s about the styling of your social media. Are you using the same colours and logos? Do these match your website? Most of all, is the transition from one platform to another a seamless brand experience?
Written by branding specialist Debbie O’Connor
Consultant, Strategist, Keynote Speaker