One concept has become so ingrained in the social media experience that it is now inescapable: branding.
When done well, branding allows companies of all sizes to build great relationships with their customers, while creating positive awareness of their products and services.
Are you a small business or entrepreneur looking to make your brand irresistible online? If so, here are 10 tips that will help you take your social media strategy to the next level.
A few weeks ago, I emailed Chris Brogan after reading one of his newsletters. I loved the message so much that I wanted to share it on my blog. My request was granted within a few minutes (you will find the article here).
Chris was already one of my favorite experts on social media marketing. However, his fast (and kind) response turned me into an even bigger fan of his work.
Approachability will make a major difference in your audience’s experience. So, be as genuine online as you would be offline. Let people get a glimpse of who you are through your personal story. Tell them how you became the person you are today, and how you managed to overcome your challenges and struggles.
People love a story with a great ending.
The first time I heard Abba’s music, I was 16. I fell instantly in love with the band’s sound. Now, more than 15 years later, they are still one of my all-time favorite acts.
Abba had none of the social media tools we have today. They simply won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 with “Waterloo.” Then, we all know the rest of the story: 370 million records sold worldwide and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009.
How did Abba manage to become one of the most successful bands in history? Simply put:
- Four hard-working individuals willing to reach out to global audiences.
- One-of-a-kind melodies with timeless appeal.
- Two female singers with amazing voices (Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad).
- Slightly eccentric dresses.
Many have tried to copy Abba’s style, to no avail.
Irresistible brands stand out from the crowd because they are not scared of letting their unique voices shine in everything they do. They take risks in order to create an unforgettable experience for their audiences.
Expertise and credibility
I have a question for you: Would you trust the brand below?
Of course you would not!
To be successful online, you first need to gain the trust of your audience.
How do you achieve that? Here are a few ways to do it:
- Fill all your social media profiles. Include relevant information, links and keywords, and upload a logo or a picture of you.
- Use your blog / website to display your skills and establish your expertise. Offer some free products (eBook, podcast, online course, webinar…) and a newsletter.
- Never show off. Instead, let others speak for you by sharing testimonials from colleagues and past clients.
- Partner with influencers in your niche. This will allow you to tap into a new network of people that are right for your business.
The benefits of such a strategy are huge. Your ultimate goal is to become to go-to source to which people flock when they need answers to their questions.
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” – Winston Churchill
Have you noticed how some people tend to attract others like honey attracts bees? That is because they never let challenges stand in their way. They actually turn difficult situations into positive lessons — and share those lessons with their audiences.
As I mentioned earlier, people love stories with great endings. When brands are able to deliver that kind of messages, they show that they are managed by human beings.
Audiences are not looking for perfection. They want to interact and build relationships with you. They want to feel that you are paying attention and care for their needs.
McDonald’s, Starbucks, Coca Cola, Apple, Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah Winfrey… The biggest and most successful brands have one thing in common: consistency. This consistency is what makes them recognizable everywhere.
The success of your brand depends on how memorable you decide it should be.
Make sure that all your actions are in keeping with your overall message. Whether it is your logo, slogan, Twitter account, Facebook Fan Page, Pinterest account, or blog/website, everything must be part of the whole “personality” of your brand.
One great way to achieve this is to update your social networking profiles and blog several times a week with useful written and visual content. And do it in your own voice.
Many of the entrepreneurs who come to me for advice on how to improve their social media strategies ask this question: “How can I get my audience to engage more with me on social networks?”
Most of these people happen to be independent artists. From experience, I know that they always make the same mistake: They have never really asked anyone for constructive criticism regarding their brands. As a matter of fact, they often dismiss it under the excuse that those who slightly disagree with them do not understand their business.
A successful brand is managed by open-minded people who pay attention to what others say. They monitor conversations on social networks and use these conversations to fuel the ongoing evolving process of the brand, while creating an open platform for solid relationships.
One of the most effective ways to build a loyal audience is to be as transparent as possible about your business. For example,
- Be accountable for your actions. If you make mistakes, acknowledge them and apologize publicly. Twitter and Facebook, for example, are excellent tools for that purpose.
- Make it a priority to use a language that even someone with a basic level of English can understand. Do not hide your intentions behind a layer of cute words.
Leadership and community
An irresistible brand focuses on building a community where followers and advocates become an essential part of its story. It does not broadcast sales messages on a constant basis. Rather, it leads the community by example.
Great leaders act responsibly. They are aware that social networks are public forums and that everyone, even children, have access to their content.
As a brand, you have a responsibility towards your audience. Only share things that you know are acceptable, respectful and promote positive interactions. Do not give drama any room to grow.
Respect and gratitude
Yes, practicing gratitude is contagious!
When you acknowledge the little things that your audience does for you, you actually send a great message. You tell your followers that you care about them.
Respect and gratitude for others will get you respect and gratitude in return. The more you practice it, the more positive results you will see.
If you do not do it for your brand, at least do it for yourself. It is a great habit to keep!
The other day, I had a short conversation with someone who was unhappy about the recent “syncing break-up” between Twitter and LinkedIn. They stated that the ability of posting their tweets automatically on their LinkedIn page saved them precious time. “Why should people who use Twitter properly be inconvenienced because of those who automate,” they asked.
I understand the person’s frustration. It always seems unfair that a majority of people should pay for the mistakes of a minority.
However, let me play the devil’s advocate here. There was a time when I automated some of my social media presence to save time. The result? Low engagement. As soon as I started sharing content, updates and pictures manually on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, and customizing each one of my posts (with hashtags, for example), reactions changed almost instantly. On Twitter, in particular, more people now tend to retweet my content.
So yes, manually updating your social media profiles may force you to work a little more every day. However, the long-term benefits are huge. It is a fantastic way to give your audience a more personalized experience and show how multi-faceted your brand truly is.
Making your brand irresistible online takes time, commitment and hard work. However, the more genuine and interested you are in your audience, the faster you will stand out from the crowd.
Now, it is your turn to speak. What are your tips to make a brand irresistible online?