Representing a brand online sounds easy enough… start a facebook fan page and hire an intern to manage it, right? Wrong. But we’ve all heard of similar situations even at a time when companies are allocating 25% of their total marketing budget to digital marketing. As social media manager for a large restaurant group, I can tell you that a successful brand in the social media sphere follows these 3 simple rules:
- Acknowledge: How fortunate is a brand to have a direct connection to our customers? It’s invaluable. Customers can tell us about their experience (directly or indirectly). So when a customer mentions your brand, acknowledge it! Reply to their comments, ask them to share more about their experience, or broadcast their message to your fan base. Customers deserve to be heard and who doesn’t like to be called out on social media (why else does Klout exist)?
- Add value: As much as your customers want to be acknowledged, they ultimately follow or like a brand for the inside scoop. If you’re a restaurant, share recipes or wine pairings. If you’re a hotel, provide travel tips. Entertain while you educate. Providing that mix of ‘edu-tainment’ along with your brand’s specific product or service offers inevitably makes your followers a brand ambassador. It’s a privilege that customers choose to let us into their newsfeed so it’s up to the brand to make it worth their while.
- Drive sales: Bottom line, if a brand isn’t bringing in revenue from its social media efforts, than it’s time to reconsider the investment. A good social media manager will have a pulse on your customers (not to mention a good pulse on marketing, PR and customer service) and will be able to give you concrete examples of conversions from social media to transaction. Use facebook insights, google analytics, impressions and these twitter resources to further evaluate.
Following these three rules do for the brand will gain a loyal following, create brand ambassadors, bring in repeat business and customers will provide their feedback and opinions.
What do you think? Do these three rules provide enough direction for a brand to make a positive impact in the social media sphere?