There are three goals in social media marketing for business:
1. Brand Awareness
2. Generating New Sales
3. Customer Retention
Today, I want to dig deeper into the first goal of social media marketing: Brand Awareness.
Brand Awareness is basically the start of the lead generation process. Customers must know of your brand before they can buy your products and services whether you are running brand awareness campaigns or not. There are two types of brand awareness when it comes down to social media: campaigns and reputation management.
Brand awareness campaigns are geared towards having people remember your brand. Think about a catchy jingle that gets stuck in your head and now every time car insurance is brought up, you can’t help but sing, “Nationwide is on your side…” This is how Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company created a “memorable” experience for people to remember their brand.
This is not to say that a fancy jingle is the best and only way to create this experience. There are campaigns that are also geared towards sparking emotions or campaigns geared towards having the customer actively participate in their brand.
One fine example is Frito Lay’s Chips and their $1 million-dollar giveaway for the best user-submitted flavor of chips. This was a nation-wide campaign that was easily spread not just from the company, but through everyday people. This campaign was labeled, “Do-Us-A-Flavor” and ended up with the winning flavor of Biscuits & Gravy in 2015.
You do not have to waste money in forcing a message to your audience when you could have customers share the message for you.
The next type of brand awareness is reputation management.
Dealing with reputation is about monitoring what is being said about your brand and being able to gear the conversation towards a positive reputation for your company. Not only do you have to build positive reinforcement for your brand, but you must also prepare for crisis and negative publicity.
The most difficult part about dealing with this negative publicity is that it usually comes unexpectedly and can hurt your business even before you have the chance to respond to it. This can be avoided by preparing for a crisis and knowing how to deal with it quickly and efficiently.
Reputation management is also about being careful what you say to your customers. If you have to raise the prices of your products, it is not a wise idea to explain that to eh people and how it is going to benefit your company. People do not care about how the price change will help you, they care about how it will benefit them. It is important to keep careful consideration into these messages since the wrong communication can seriously damage your brand.
Remember, communications now happen in real-time with social media and that a misplaced message can spread like wildfire.
No longer can businesses stay quiet about a situation and wait for it to blow over. It is imperative to be proactive about any issues with your business otherwise, people will feel disrespected by not having their issues resolved. When one customer is upset about an unresolved issue, they can communicate that over social media to hundreds or thousands of people in the matter of minutes.
Honest and tone have never been as important to reputation management as they are today.
Developing a Social Media Strategy for Brand Awareness
Your first course of action when developing a strategy for brand awareness is to understand your audience. You need to understand what they care about, why they use social media, and how they engage in conversation in regards to your business.
It is important that you group you audience not only into target demographics, but into niche groups. Obviously, you can target certain age groups and geographic locations when you sponsor content on social media, but did you know that you could target niche groups?
You can target people based on just about anything these days including marital status, parenting, or even what type of music they listen to! This can be extremely useful when grouping your audience into specific groups. Then, you can send out specific content to best serve each type of consumer.
You cannot do your job unless you know what is being said about you.
Once you understand your audience, the next step would be to create a list of keywords that are applicable to your business. These keywords could be in regards to your brand, competition, and the industry. There are tools that can help you achieve these keywords and allow you to see what people are saying about the industry such as: HootSuite, Sysomon, and Google Alerts.
Once you have your keywords and phrases into place, listen to the conversations and see what people are saying about your brand, competitors, and industry.
Are people saying good things about your brand? Negative things? Are they saying nothing at all?
If good things are being said about your brand, reinforce those feelings and engage in conversation.
If negative things are being said, address those concerns and complaints and work to turn your reviews around.
If nothing is being said about your brand, give them a reason to talk about it!
The same analysis can be done with competitors and the industry, giving good insight on the questions and concerns being addressed in your field.
When listening to what people are saying about your industry, you have the power to create applicable content to match their needs, questions, and concerns.
Be as narrow as possible when it comes to your social media goals. If you goal is to drive sales from social media to your website, then break this goal into sub-goals to gain a clear view of each strategy that can go into the process. There is no one strategy that can achieve the best results.
From here, find what social media platforms work best for your audience and goals and begin with one or two of these platforms to begin with.
Last, but not least, what would you like your strategy to accomplish? Now that you have the who and the where, it is time to figure out what.
How can your brand awareness campaign “convert” an average user to a sale? This is what the top management team is going to want to see to prove success in social media.
What type of conversion is the most valuable for your business? These types of conversions are mainly seen in website visits and email subscriptions because it directly shows the result of exposure to engagement which can ultimately result in lead generation.
Now it is time to define your strategy. This should be a simple and broad approach to build from.
Generate album awareness with young adults (18-35) who are also interested in bands such as Yonder Mountain String Band or Del McCoury Band.
This can be achieved with selective niche audience when advertising on a platform such as Facebook or Instagram.
Create product awareness with businesses with less than 10 employees in the Boulder, Colorado area.
Once you are creating social media campaign ideas, you can check if they fit into your overall strategy to see if it is a goal that will be of value for your business.
How Will You Do It?
Now that your strategy is in place, it is time to go crazy on ideas. Once you have numerous amounts of ideas on paper, cross out any ideas that do not align with your immediate strategy. There are also some key, but simple questions to ask when implementing your ideas.
Do we have the resources to make this idea work?
Do we have the capabilities to make this idea work?
Will there be any road blocks along the way?
How likely will the audience respond to this idea vs. others?
Once you have your list, pick the top 2 of 3 ideas to begin working on and save the rest for later if you decide to create them later.
Developing a Social Media Strategy for Reputation Management
While reputation management strategy differs quite a bit from a brand awareness strategy, the beginning stages are very similar.
Listening to your Audience
Just like with brand awareness, it is important to see what people are saying about your brand, competitors, and the industry. You can use the audience perceptions to have a basic understanding if you need to focus more on correcting misperceptions or reinforcing your positive image.
Types of Reputation Management to Prepare For:
Negative Press Coverage
It is imperative to have a plan to react to negative press coverage. The planning should include who will respond and how they will respond to it. Remember, even with negative articles, it is important to give a personalized response rather than making it seem like an automated reply that took no effort.
This is by far the most dreaded component of reputation management. Tone is of the utmost important when replying to customer complaints and needs to have personalization to the conversation. Plan for this by having someone that has skills in customer service and will know how to continue a conversation rather than just a simple reply to a complaint.
Positive Press or Customer Messages
Let’s not forget to praise the people wo give praise to us! While many businesses craft up common responses to praise such as, “Thank you for your kind words!” it is a great idea to have many different responses to these good reviews. Remember, personalization is key to customer satisfaction.