Don’t judge a book by its cover. Beauty is skin deep. It’s the personality that counts. All of these adages, with us since our formative years, are pertinent when developing a winning brand in this digital age.
Creating a successful online brand is not a challenge for the faint of heart. It takes work, investment (of time and money) and a level of skill and understanding that does not come naturally to everyone.
For lots of small companies, social media has simply become another box to tick on the start-up checklist. They set up profiles on Facebook and Twitter, build up a modest following, knock out a few tweets and link Facebook to Twitter, thereby killing two birds with one stone. Job done. Right?
In a word – NO. A successful social media strategy will make your brand SOCIABLE, LIKEABLE and PROFITABLE, but you’ve got to put the effort in. And you’ve got to have self-awareness, or at least awareness of how you are perceived by customers and prospects.
I always recall a meeting with a retailer who, during one of his many abrasive yet dull monologues informed me that he modelled his brand’s social media personality on his own – “clever, sociable and witty”. Our survey says eeeeh, uuuuh (Family Fortunes reference – I can’t quite figure out how to write it phonetically). His online persona did mirror his real-life personality, but needless to say it displayed none of those attributes.
Creating a great digital personality for your brand does not always come naturally. The days of loudly touting your wares via broadcast marketing techniques are well and truly over. The modern way requires a customer-centric way of thinking and the ability to listen and change tack according to what you hear. Consider social media a virtual dinner party. Your challenge is to be the most charming guest.
This is achieved by getting striking the right balance of, what I call (in a Miranda stylee), Campaign and Brand messages. Spend 70% of your time on Brand messages – decide on key topics of interest for your target audience and use this as a basis for your curated content. DO NOT talk about your brand, but rather, flesh out its personality, bringing it to life and making it likeable.
Spend the remaining 30% of your time promoting Campaign messages ie, incentives, competitions, calls to actions etc. (basically anything with traditional marketing scope)
By maintaining this balance you will be the entertaining dinner party guest; the fascinating, witty person that everyone wants to sit next to, not the ‘let’s talk about me’ bore that everyone avoids. And if you’re struggling, why not call in the experts?