Rules for brands in social media

by Tony Fannin, President, BE Branded

How do brands operate in the new world of social media? Everyone has an opinion and many are worth listening to. Many are worth forgetting as well. I ran across an article by Taddy Hall who had some interesting thoughts. I would like to share them with my variation “spin” on them.

• It’s not about big numbers – Too many people use a large number of visits as a measure of success. Data suggests that a small number of site visitors are responsible for a large portion of site visits. Only 0.6% are influential users on any given site, but these influencers generate 20% – 50% of your traffic. To make your social media more effective, you need to identify and engage this group.

• Recommendation = conversion – When influencers recommends a visitor to your site, they are 4x more likely to covert into a buyer than if they were taken there by any search engine (including Google), web ads,  and any other link source. This means the more people who come to your site from a social site or shared links are most likely to buy. You need to find ways to offer specials to these groups and incentives to share your site with others like them.

• It’s not what you do, but what they do – It’s far more important what customers do with your content than what you do with it. What your brand means to them is far more relevant. Give your customers freedom to shape, share, and engage your content in any way they see fit. Whether it’s supportive or critical comments and uses, engage with them and explain your position. Don’t be a gate keeper, but show you’re willing to participate in conversation so both of you will learn. This creates credibility and trust.

• Control your venue – Don’t run your social media campaign on platforms you don’t control such as Facebook and YouTube. Data shows it’s hard to convert and retain these visitors, no matter how many you have. If it’s brand building, these venues are fine. If you want to make sales, you’re better off having your own platform or forum.

• Fuel their fire – Make it easy for customers to find your content and easy to share it. You also need to promote your influentials, link to them, tweet their content, and supply them with any content and support they need. Don’t be overly guarded about copyrights or authorship. There’s a reason why “social” is first over “media”.

• The old stuff still works – Just because Twitter is the newest craze on the block, research shows that the old ways of marketing still remain popular and effective. Tactics such as e-mail and IM are still extremely valuable. By incorporating Facebook and Twitter into your other social media marketing just enhances the effectiveness.

• Make your content fit the media channel – It’s not good enough to stick your TV spot online as your social media video. Just as it is not effective when you use blog copy as text for your ads. Tailor your message and execution to the medium. Whether it’s social media or traditional marketing, each media channel has different strengths. Some are better at brand building while others are better at relationship building, while still others, are best at making a sale. Know what channel is for what and execute your marketing accordingly.

• You can’t fake it – Trying to “seed” PR content into the social media arena is not effective. Data shows that more than 90% has no material effect on getting responses or driving traffic. Be real and be relevant.

• Be useful – Social media campaigns succeed most when they provide some kind of useful service to their customers and the social media world at large. This increases brand image, engagement, and conversion. People see you as trying to contribute something useful to the conversation instead of trying to be a used car salesman.

No not all of these may apply to your company, but try them, see what works for you and what doesn’t. Don’t just do the same things you’ve done before if you want different results. The definition of an idiot is someone who wants different results, but continues to do the same things.


About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.

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