There’s a lot of hype around the power of social media platforms, but some of it is misplaced.
Today, social media participation is no longer a measure of popularity: it’s an engine for building a brand’s reputation. Many experts will tell you that building a successful online brand is the single best way to attract more customers and build lasting brand loyalty.
And once you build the trust of your buyers, they’ll be more likely to buy from you again.
It’s crucial to strategically use it to grow your target audience, increase loyalty among your existing customers, and attract new prospects, generating more sales.
As groups or individuals, identifying the people that you want to access to build your brand trust and create loyalty is only the first step. It may be a straightforward step because you have clarity around your desired outcome, but there are two dimensions to segment the identified groups and people further.
The audience is the place to start.
The whole idea of this social media activity is to create sustainable relationships. But the first step is to establish where you sit in the relationship growth continuum at the start of this social media activity.
The first dimension is to determine how well you know each person or group. This information alone will inform your strategy and tactics to access, connect, and improve your ongoing interactions.
This planning activity lends itself to handwritten names or groups on post-it notes that you can plot onto a table or whiteboard. You now have broken your relationship-defined tasks into two clusters.
When you consider content creation, this relationship mapping enables you to be specific in your messaging and any associated call to action.
Any level of specificity will matter for current customers and those you don’t have a relationship with, as both group’s radar for generic content will be high.
It is now time to determine what matters most to your audience, regardless of whether it is at a group or personal level.
To do that, I work within the following framework that governs my content creation:
- Business ratios – financial or operational
- Create an understanding of metrics that matter to your audience
- Being able to communicate by using or referencing content that has linkage to business outcomes will be meaningful and move your brand above a generic layer
- Annual reports and earnings calls are two very effective and high yield places to start when looking for this information
- By understanding your audience, you also set yourself up to have an opinion about their market
- With innovation happening at a breakneck speed, highlighting associated competitive influences can also establish your brand
- Business investments
- Showing ways to leverage existing investments establishes insight that will imply an understanding of business imperatives and industry
- Future investments require business cases and rely on a return that will reflect in business ratios and increased competitiveness
Establishing your content strategy and generating relevant content that drives your social media engagement does not have to be restricted to the value framework outlined above. But it forms the basis for a consistent approach, which you would like to portray when building a brand.
The next step is to bring your relationship mapping and your value segmentation into a composite framework.
As an example, your planning process for content creation and distribution could look like this:
- I manage a bank as a customer, and when trawling for potential prospects, I will look for content that is from the financial services sector and push it to a mix of social media channels
- There are two people inside “bank x” that I have no relationship with but would like to establish my brand
- Joan Smith is a manager in the retail bank, and they are trying to attract the youth market
- I will generate content that shows an understanding of the retail bank’s intention and my understanding of the youth market’s online habits
- Alice Jones is a technology architect, and her blog posts highlight experiences with start-ups
- I will look for content associated with innovation in the banking sector, significantly associated with fintechs
Understanding your audience, explaining business value, and identifying meaningful content are crucial elements when building that brand and customer loyalty through a social media presence.
But to differentiate yourself, have a point of view.
Without this, you risk not maximizing your return on this valuable investment.
Take the time to generate, at a minimum, 2 to 3 sentences that lead into your sourced social media post. Use this opportunity to establish your voice and personality.
There is a lot to be said for bringing business savvy content and commentary to your social media channels, but ultimately we are trying to establish a relationship.