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- Let your customers know when new products come out.
- Let your customers see what you go through in building your business.
- Feature your customers to your other customers or businesses to other businesses or customers.
- Use your email list for giveaways and upcoming event.
Those are the findings of a new study released by research firm Clutch, which polled more than 350 small businesses of varying sizes to arrive at these results.
But the poll also revealed that small business that are utilizing sites such as Twitter and Facebook to boost their online profile are pleased with the outcomes. Of those with active social profiles, 38% said they plan to increase employee time dedicated to social media in 2015, while 30% said they plan to increase spending on social advertising, and 12% had plan to increase spending on an outside agency or consultant to help them step up their social media game,according to the report.
“If small businesses want to compete, they have to be participating in social media,” Mike Rosa, director of marketing at online marketing agency 180 Fusion, said in the release. “More and more, people are becoming a little bit wary of traditional advertising. They’re much more likely to take referrals and reviews from people that they know and trust, which can be found on social media.”
How to use social media to boost your brand. You’re probably aware that social media is sort of a thing now. It can help your business in all sorts of ways, like connecting you with clients and prospects, getting your content out there and handling customer service issues. But social media is particularly important for that nebulous yet crucial thing we’ve been talking about this month: branding.
Using social media to establish, bolster and promote your brand isn’t difficult per se, but it requires planning and intention. Here’s how to you can nurture your brand through social media.
Start with the right platform
Remember: Social media will probably not get you the results you want if you’re not on the right platforms. So before you even dive into branding pools, you need to make sure you’re jumping off from the right diving board. It comes down to knowing your demographics and knowing which social media platforms they use.
You should also use a platform that’s most beneficial to you. Our social media specialist, Jill Jones, breaks down platforms thusly:
Facebook: This is more of a content-centered platform, so if your brand is heavy on the content and/or wants to brand itself through content, Facebook is ideal.
Twitter: Twitter is a hybrid – it’s a platform for content, sales and customer service. It’s sort of the all-around branding platform.
Instagram: Unsurprisingly, a visual branding platform. Great for companies that promote lifestyles and lifestyle-related products, more difficult for service providers or B2Bs.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is all about very professional branding, but Jill encourages small businesses to focus their efforts elsewhere since brands that do well on LinkedIn are generally much bigger with a wide reach. However, if you are your brand, LinkedIn can be valuable for networking.
Your brand’s voice and aesthetics need to remain consistent not just across social media platforms, but also across social media and your website. It might be tempting to create a Facebook brand, a Twitter brand and a website brand, but it’s not the way to go – it will just be confusing.
Your profile picture should be the same on any and all platforms you use – and that picture should be your logo. Your cover photo should be something illustrative of your brand – an office location or your product or service in action.
This example from Joe’s Farm Grill is perfect: Their logo is their profile picture, and the cover photo illustrates their fresh, healthy food.
LeadPages is another great example. For their cover photo, they chose an illustration consistent with their brand aesthetics and added their tagline. Notice how their cover photo sticks with their color palette.
Consistent voice and compatible content
The brand experience is not solely a visual one – voice and content tie your brand aesthetics together. That means you need to be consistent in your content and your voice. Don’t vary your voice by platform, and don’t vary your voice much from your brand’s website voice. So it’s important to have an established brand voice before you start social media – or as soon into the process as possible.
You also need to have content that’s compatible with your voice and who your brand is. If you run a photography business andyou also happen to be a huge fan of UFC … you shouldn’t go posting UFC-related content on your social media feeds. It’s not consistent, and it will just confuse people.
Be consistent in person
If your brand looks fun, you need to be fun in person. Say you run a photo booth company, and your social feeds are great: you look fun, exciting and like the best thing that could happen to any party.
But if you show up and you’re sort of flat in person, or aren’t very social and aren’t smiling and talking to people, your actual persona will be inconsistent with your brand. So when you’re creating that social media persona, make sure it’s something you can maintain in person.
What isn’t helping is hurting
One of the most common social media misconceptions is that if it’s not helping, it’s at least not hurting. False. If it doesn’t help, it hurts. If you don’t update for a while because you don’t have anything to say, not only does in not help you – it hurts you.
The same is true for inconsistent posts. Jumping on social media trends that don’t relate to your brand just because they’re trendy isn’t good social media. If you run a family photography business, you shouldn’t be posting #wcw or #mcm (Woman Crush Wednesday or Man Crush Monday) because it’s not consistent with your brand. Of course, if you’re in the lifestyle, fitness, fashion, beauty or other industry that work with celebrities or use them as inspiration, you can leverage those trends to your advantage.
Forget trying to be trendy – keep your social media pages as extensions of your brand. That doesn’t mean you should forgo trends all together, just be selective about the ones you do jump on. For instance, if you run that photo booth business, you can provide tips for using your selfie stick (trend!) on a Friday night.
Just as non-social branding, it’s about consistency, using the right channels and sticking with who you are. Don’t think that just because social media seems fleeting that its impact to your brand will be fleeting, too.Thanks to Infusionsoft.