Brand management today often involves some sort of use social media. But managing a business' brand online involves much more than just setting up accounts on Facebook and Twitter. It also means engaging meaningfully with brand advocates and detractors, finding the right audience niche, and not getting lost in the multiplicity of voices.
Here are five tips for succeeding in the social media space.
1. Get Someone Else Say It
Sometimes the best way to get a message out is to get another person to say it. If you can find someone else who's making the point you want to convey - through a photo, article or tweet - then just send a link to that. Users will understand it as an external validator so they're going to respond better than if it was a billboard. It also has the effect of pleasing the original author - everyone loves to see their material get exposed to a wider audience.
2. Unify Online Audiences
Today's social media landscape has multiple platforms with different audiences and cultures. Dealing with the company website, corporate blog, Twitter account, Facebook page, YouTube Channel, and Foursquare program can make managing an online brand experience very fractured. While going to where people are is effective, it can also dilute the brand as a whole.
One solution to this is creating platforms that recentralise these online communities. For example the Chicago Bulls Interactive Marketing Department has redesigned their website to include BullsConnect. This is a customized platform that pulls together comments from all of the brand's social media platforms into one area. The goal is to provide a "consistent fan experience."
3. Leave Your Ego At The Door
Social media is a fairly ego driven arena. Success is often measured by retweets, likes, sharers, and other metrics designed to measure influence. Studies find the most successful users of social media are those who are the most social in everyday life.
Care must be taken when dealing with disgruntled customers or brand detractors. You want to be quickly responsive to these people, but you need to carefully control your gut instincts: never speak with customers in a sarcastic tone, and don't act rashly. It sounds obvious, but can be quickly forgotten in the heat of the moment. Treat any social media interaction the same as you would any media interview: get to the point, tell the truth, recognize a customer's time is valuable, and resolve their issue quickly.
4. Know How To Reach Your Audience
With so many platforms, it's easy to over complicate your use of social media. You really need to keep it simple and to find the right niche for your brand. Rather than try to reach out on every platform and in multiple voices, find out where your audience is and target them there. It's an issue of aligning your brand with your demography.
5. Don't Wallow or Gloat
One issue that's really pertinent in the social media worlds of sport â€“ but that applies equally to all businesses - is dealing with wins and losses. There is an art to handling wins without gloating, and losses with grace. The best advice, for both business and sport brands is not to dirty your hands with boasts or nasty words - leave that to that fans.