In today’s social climate, your small company isn’t going to succeed in the business world unless it’s a brand. Whether you sell organic honey or offer on-demand line waiting services, your company needs to be easily identifiable to consumers across a variety of platforms. If not, a competitor with an inferior product or service and a greater focus on establishing visibility will run you over. One of the most important ways to build brand awareness in the current marketplaces is through social media, but you have to take a nuanced approach if you want to succeed.
Social media is not direct marketing
Some small business owners look at platforms such as Facebook and Twitter as if they were tools for direct marketing. Instead of trying to engage with customers in a meaningful way, these misguided owners will send out an endless stream of sales pitches to the largely indifferent public. This approach is flawed for two interconnected reasons. Millennials are the generation who are most likely to use social media in order to research a purchase, and they are the most resistant to traditional marketing techniques. If you treat your company’s Twitter page like a takeout menu to be stuffed under someone’s door, you might as well not have a company Twitter page.
Your social media presence needs to be human
If you want to build an appealing social media presence, you have to make sure your brand seems human. In between letting people know that you are running a sale next week, make a comment about the weather or the latest blip on the pop-culture radar. You don’t need to be a 140 character wordsmith to make your social media posts appealing, you just need to remind people that there’s someone human behind the keyboard. As this Forbes article notes, social media-orientated millennials place an exceptional amount of value on brand authenticity.
Recognize your brand ambassadors
For those unfamiliar with the term, a brand ambassador is just someone who speaks positively about your brand. It’s similar to a celebrity pitchman, but it can be anyone with a significant following who uses their platform to mention how much they like your service or product. Using services like Yodle or Ready Pulse, you can find and connect with people who are acting as brand ambassadors and give them a little recognition. This can be something as simple as tweeting out a thank you, or you could do as this Entrepreneur article suggests and send them some branded merchandise. When that brand ambassador opens up a box of free swag, the first thing they’re going to do is hop on their preferred social media platform and praise your brand to the skies. For the cost of a decent pair of jeans, you will create thousands of positive impressions just by showing your customers the same loyalty and enthusiasm they show your brand.
This article was written by Mario McKellop of Examiner.com for CBS Small Business Pulse.