Social media is getting pretty crowded...
When it comes to promoting your brand online, social media is usually one of the first avenues that comes to mind. However, finding your brand’s voice in social media is a little trickier. How do you figure out what voice/tone/content will connect with your audience? This is where you’ll need to do a little “socially accepted” social media stalking.
Wait, what? You want me to be a stalker?
Yes, I do...a little. I don’t want you to be in the trees with binoculars, but you need to do a bit of investigative digging on social media. This means going to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, and more to become an social media detective. But where do you start? The social media universe is huge, just diving in with no rhyme or reason will leave you nothing but frustrated.
Don’t reinvent the wheel
Start with your competitors. I’m not saying to blatantly copy your competitors, but if they’ve already grown their social media voice and community, it’s worth checking out how they’ve done this. You don’t have to start fresh - check out what worked for them, what you liked about their campaigns and messaging, and even what you didn’t like. See how they talk to their audience and how their audience talks back or about them. How could you improve on all these things for your own brand? Maybe you’ll make it a priority to respond to each customer service inquiry with a personal message instead of a canned response. Or maybe you like how your competitor has utilized UGC (user generated content) into their social strategy and you’d like to come up with something similar for your brand.
Become BFFs with your audience
When building your brand’s social voice, it’s important to talk to your audience like you’re friends, not like you’re an obscure corporate entity trying to talk to a human. Though you might be representing a company or brand, in the end, you’re a human talking to another human. I repeat, you’re a human talking to another human. Keep this in mind when crafting your messaging. Does what you’re saying sound dull, rehearsed and/or stuffy to you? If so, it will most likely sound the same to your audience.
Create customer profiles for your target audience, get to know their likes, dislikes, and what makes them say “wow, that’s cool.” Your ultimate goal is to have them say that about you (ok, maybe not your ultimate goal, but it’s pretty high up there).
Mirror, mirror on the wall
You’ve looked at your competitors and you’ve looked at your audience, but have you looked at yourself? Time to do some snooping on your own brand. This means stepping away from your own platform to see what others are saying about you. Are they even talking about you at all? If not, why is that? The answer isn’t because you didn’t have a Facebook page until now. People don’t only talk about brands on brand-specific platforms. Check out the forums, tweets, blogs, etc. to see what people are really saying about you (if they’re not talking about you, try looking up what people are saying about keywords/phrases that directly relate to your brand/industry). Tools like Mention
can send you alerts whenever someone mentions your brands or key terms on social platforms.
A word of caution when it comes to looking at your own brand - try to keep yourself in check. While you may see some outlandish complaints or reviews about your brand, unless they’re completely untrue and misleading about your brand, take a step back before you try to go in and defend yourself. Social media can turn vicious fast and if you’re not ready to handle the possible negative backlash, it might be best to stay out of it. Instead, take an honest look at why people may be saying negative things about your brand and see how you can address that. Did they just have a bad day or was it something that they’ve repeatedly encountered every time they interact with your brand.
Pulling it all together
Now that you have a better idea of your industry through studying your competitors and yourself, you can use your customer profiles to start creating content in your brand’s social voice that will be optimized for engagement.
For example, if you created a customer profile for one of your audience segments and you saw that they’re heavily active on Instagram, you know that integrating strong images and visuals into your brand’s social strategy is key to reaching this audience.
Figuring out how the industry is interacting and engaging the community and then applying that knowledge to your specific brand audience is where you can find ways to improve to stand above the crowd (or even break out of what is currently being done) to give your brand a clear voice that can be heard in a crowded social media world.