Small businesses should think about a social media strategy. It shouldn’t be the end all of their marketing, but it definitely needs to be incorporated in some way.
Brand Recognition, and Building Loyalty
When people see a logo, they subconsciously react to the logo in two ways: first, a consumer will recognize the brand, and secondly, the person will experience his or her feelings that surround the brand, and experiences he or she has had with it.
Although a brand must first be recognized before it is associated with feelings, those feelings are in fact the amino acid of relationship building and loyalty. How does a business gain brand recognition, in order to begin building good feelings for that brand?
For one, make sure you’re getting a branded handle. Don’t get some obscure Twitter handle and expect that you’re going to gain natural traction with your brand. It needs to be a name representative of your brand, and it also needs to have someone managing it- whether that’s in house or not.
Customer service should be key on your company’s social network accounts. Use this opportunity to hear your consumers, address problems, and just engage and have fun. Roll out interesting information pertaining to your industry, or just info that you know your target market is interested in.
Viral Marketing, the Virus a Consumer Can’t Shake
Linkbait, or the act of acquiring backlinks from potential customers and industry insiders via entertainment, interesting content, infographics or memes, is a great technique to use as well.
With viral marketing, you can “infect” a wide audience of readers on sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Delicious etc. Tens of thousands of people a day could click a link that leads them to your site (initially for a humorous photo, great piece of writing, or infographic, but later the “infection” spreads to general loyalty).
Over a period of time and several memes, a company can become a household name, and well-recognized brand. Not only does linkbait build brand recognition, but it also immediately instills feelings of happiness, humor or new knowledge. Companies that are involved in viral marketing campaigns should stay on top of their games by monitoring news online.
With the help of programs like Trackur or Radian6 , a business can receive instant messages when their name is mentioned. Viral marketing is made easy by instant analytics like this.
As linkbait content is free, whether it’s a funny game, amazing photo, or infographic that makes micro economics seem easy, they automatically instill a feeling of debt in a reader. The reader is much more likely to browse the site where linkbait is hosted, as a ‘transaction’ in response to this free entertainment, especially if a company has attracted the same stream of viewers time, and time again.
Don’t Neglect your Website Presence
Regardless on how much your brand lives on social media, you need to have a home for your company where users can go to get fully formed information about the industry and what’s going on in the company.
WordPress.org is a great free platform (given that you have a domain name, which you can buy from GoDaddy etc) and you can always upload free themes, such as Business Turnkey or Notepad, to help spruce up your online presence until you get a fully branded site going on.
Make sure you’ve actively contributing content or updating your site so consumers know there’s another consistent place to find you if needed.
After some time, users will become more and more interested and will start investigating products. This is the point when social media strategies lead to more links, brand recognition, and sales.