Social media – It’s no longer just a phrase, but a culture; a living, breathing and growing world. Social media has created an arena where real people come to make meaningful connections in a virtual world. In less than a decade, a site that was created overnight for an elite group of college students has grown into an integrated online community of more than 800 million active users that can communicate in more than 70 languages. Social media has not only changed communication, but redefined it.
The social media boom has brought to light the importance of having a social brand strategy as part of a brand’s development. Creating a social brand strategy may seem like an impossible task to anyone unfamiliar with this once in a generation phenomenon, but there is a starting block for everything. There is no generic, one size fits all, step-by-step guide to turning your current brand into a social media powerhouse. However, there are four questions you can ask yourself to help get your bearings as you begin to shape your social brand. Let’s begin.
Question 1: How can I integrate a social brand strategy into my current brand strategy?
It’s key to review your current brand strategy before considering and creating brand strategy goals for an unfamiliar online world. Your social strategy should not be a stand-alone piece apart from your core brand strategy, but should act as a virtual extension of your brand.
Question 2: What are my brands social objectives and how do they fit into the larger marketing and communications goals?
What do you want to realistically accomplish by developing your social brand? Is it your goal to increase awareness, grow sales or simply develop an online community that provides a forum for communication between users? Determine where you want to go, how many resources you are willing to use to get there, and how you’ll determine success.
Question 3: What social media outlets will my brand utilize?
Determine which social media outlets will make your brand most accessible to your target market. After all, not all social or professional networking sites will fit into your brand’s social portfolio. For instance, a fresh meat supplier that sells a branded line to retailers may benefit from a strategy that is focused on a combination of networking via LinkedIn®, providing retailer support on Facebook®, and contributions to other professional social sites/trade organization websites and articles to develop industry connections and create positive discussion. When deciding the right mix for your brand, try to leave room for the future as well. This brings us to the final question.
Question 4: What is ___________?
There are new social media sites being created at an extremely rapid pace. With such a multitude of new online cultures, there will be many new and exciting opportunities to communicate. Twitter® users “Tweet” and Facebook users give “status updates.” The next online community will have their own form of sharing. The point: never stop learning about social media opportunities. Set timetables to revisit your social strategy and to assess the new opportunities of the day.
At Midan Marketing, we specialize in marketing to the fresh meat industry. This is currently an industry where social media is just beginning to make its mark. Facebook pages are being created, Twitter feeds are being managed and blogs are starting to pop up here and there. However, the true potential of social media for this industry has yet to be realized. There are underutilized and untapped sources of social brand potential just waiting to help make meat more relatable and relevant to consumers.
Regardless of your industry, there is an entire virtual world accessible to your brand. A social brand provides an outlet to all involved unlike any other. The door to the social world is within reach, and it’s wide open. Come on in, your customers will thank you later.