Social Media Branding
Let Feedback Strengthen Your Brand
Social media has become the most powerful extension of small business because of its immediacy, interactivity and popularity. The key to combining social media and branding is to blend information with entertainment, which essentially is the same dynamic for developing a successful blog. Through audience feedback you will learn which social media strategies work and which ones don’t.
The number of likes you get on Facebook and +1s you get on Google+ are strong indicators. However, do not be sidetracked by these statistics as final judgements of your posts. Look for consistency over time, since any given post can be missed by lots of people either because they weren’t online that hour or they became caught up in news stories. Although likes and +1s can be easily manipulated at any given time to distort reality, if you look for patterns over time you will see the bigger picture as to how people respond to different types of posts.
Social media can also be a haven for studying consumer reviews. Facebook and Twitter are set up more for quick one liner reviews while Google + is more designed for deeper analysis. Use each social network with its limitations in mind, such as character limitations and how feeds are delivered. You can have a thousand friends on Facebook, for example, but if you don’t engage with them on a regular basis, they might not see your posts in their feeds. When you do come across customer reviews on social networks, respond to them by adding information in a friendly way. Never over-react in a defensive manner to negative posts.
Learning From Feedback
The reason for engaging with customers in social media is not to put them in their place if they “don’t get it” or are simply “off-base.” Every interaction you have with them should have the goal of strengthening your relationship with them. One way you can do that is by acknowledging their comments. Social media and branding work together because it’s a two way conversation that does not occur in traditional one way media. While traditional media relies on lengthy studies over time to gauge audience response, new media creates research of feedback in real time.
You can learn a lot from social media because it can tell you flaws in your product for certain people in certain situations that you may not have considered. By clicking an individual’s name and studying their profile and personality, you can gain deeper insight into their mindset than a traditional research study. You can also learn from positive comments about brand strengths that you may not have been aware of. Furthermore, you can learn what friends of friends think about your brand.
Different businesses have different priorities for monitoring customer feedback. Social media and branding as a combined process is not an exact science, but it’s a useful tool for refining your business model. Several metrics will provide insight about how your followers perceive and respond to your brand. The most important metric for most businesses is return on investment. You may not be able to easily measure the thinking of your followers, but you certainly can measure to the penny the amount of money you spend on marketing campaigns and the amount of revenue you earn from those efforts.
Some of the other ways to measure user response are to calculate percentages of users that become buyers, the percentage of clickthroughs to product pages that become sales, the number of visitors who engage with you about your products and the number of people who inquire about your products.
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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.
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