Friday, 15 August 2014

How to Get Social without Compromising your Brand

You’ve placed your brand at the heart of your business. It informs customers of your values and what your services promise. It’s right at the centre of your marketing materials and tone of voice. But is it on your mind when you Tweet?

If it’s not, it should be! Social media is the ideal platform from which you can continually play out and reinforce your brand, but get it wrong and you put your customers’ faith on the line.
In short, your social media campaigns need to engage your customers, but not at the expense of your brand, something to be particularly aware of when employing outside experts for your social media management and content marketing. Remember: Brand confusion is the number one threat to your brand. Whoever is responsible for your social media therefore needs to get their head around your brand before they start thinking of content ideas, because the resulting posts need to ring true to your company, its thoughts and values, and how these are expressed.

That isn’t to say that nothing new or creative can be expressed; simply that these expressions must be ones that feel authentic to the brand, rather than some bolt-on flow of posts that awkwardly co-exists with it.

These five tips will help you keep your social media posts ‘on brand’:

1) Establish brand guidelines for social

These guidelines should set out how your company’s image can be played out through social media, including what types of content you’ll post about, how imagery will be used and what tone of voice you’ll adopt. The guidelines should be given to everybody involved in creating and posting your social media content.

2) Think ‘brand’ before you post

Have the guidelines been followed? Does the post feel like something your company would say? Does any of its content grate against your brand values? If your company was a person would it speak in this way? Does the post strengthen what you stand for or does it confuse your business purpose? And most importantly, will it appeal to your audience?

3) Align to your brand strategy

Your brand strategy has set out the way your particular brand will go about achieving its goals, so ensure your social media content falls in line. If, for example, your brand takes a slowly but surely approach to winning new business, then putting out aggressive sales-driven posts could confuse your customers and ultimately even drive them away.

4) Focus on your business aims

Post content that supports and contributes to your business message. Social media offers the perfect platform to execute new ways of conveying your message instead of just repeating the same old information. Put yourself in the mind of your customer. Having seen your message on your website, marketing materials etc what kind of things would they like to see and hear to reinforce and validate it? Imagine your message is a pencil sketch. Your aim, through social media, is to add definition, colour, light and shade to the original sketch through your posts – not to keep adding new sketches.

5) Create a social media strategy

Having considered your brand guidelines, brand strategy and business aims, condense your thinking into a cohesive social media strategy, then plan and timetable your posts, it’s the surest way to make certain they don’t veer suddenly and catastrophically off-piste, especially if several different employees or content creators are involved in your social media.

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