SMB Branding and Social Media
In the 21st century small business branding is most effectively achieved using a variety of online tools, particularly social media. Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest are popular social media networks where you will likely reach the most followers, but you may also want to explore social networks that specialize in your industry. Independent musicians, for example, will find ReverbNation very useful when combining it with Facebook. If you want to simplify social media and narrow your focus on one platform, then Facebook is definitely a winning choice.
Building a Base
Social networks are excellent for building a base of online followers. Platforms like Facebook allow you to create a public business profile page and invite people with similar interests to become friends. You can build an audience of thousands of people who will see your daily posts. With Facebook you have the option of who gets to view your posts and who can respond. It’s up to you if you want to deliver one way messages about your business and industry or if you want to allow feedback from your friends.
You can build marketing lists from social media and track who your top followers are. Attracting thousands of followers gives you the opportunity to not only deliver your message instantly to people, it gives you better insight on the tastes of your target market than can be gained from typical market research. Each day you can learn a lot how your followers feel about other products and activities beyond what you have to offer. This in depth information can inspire you to provide creative new solutions that may not be met by current market conditions.
Sharing News and Views
As a social media participant, you are able to post a variety of information about your brand. You even have the flexibility of going beyond your brand and sharing wider information that appeals to your market. You can post news stories or songs that associate with your brand. It’s a way of expanding your dialogue with followers beyond the predictable jargon of your industry. Social media is powerful for small business branding because it lets you be your own journalist instead of waiting for the media to tell your story. You can also provide links to your website and blogs that can go into much more detail.
Facebook allows you to express your brand with your own videos, audio and photos in a seamless way. YouTube is also considered a social network because it allows people to subscribe to your channel and post comments. At one time online video was complex and expensive, but YouTube has made it simple. You can host your videos on YouTube for free then link to them on Facebook, your website and other online resources.
Facebook’s “like” button has become important in many ways to small business branding. Every time someone likes your profile or post it is perceived as an online vote. These votes can add up to big numbers and attract more attention, which can fuel more likes. You can also bond with others by liking their posts. If you’re the only one who likes an individual’s post, they will probably remember your positive gesture.
One way to create a chain reaction of new followers is to visit the profiles of friends and comment on their posts. When people respond to your comments it can inspire them to add you as a friend or vice versa. Social media will be most effective for small business branding if you avoid random friends and streamline your list to focus on loyal followers.
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Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America. OTR Web is a Value Added Partner with HubSpot.
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