If you’ve been reading my blogs the last couple weeks, you’ll know that I’m all about content and customer engagement. It’s been a common theme and uphill trend all businesses have been jumping on. But there are so many channels of engagement and strategies in using each one that one can get really bogged down by the details.
The way I like to think about it is two-fold. One, you need a team dedicated to your digital marketing and strategies. Your brand is your money-maker because all your values and ideals revolve around that name and culture. So by definition, the team needs to think, live, and breathe this brand to be able to build brand-awareness and a solid social media
presence. A really good example of this, and one of my personal favorites when it comes to content development and relating different contexts to the core competencies, is Red Bull.
Check out their homepage. What do you see that relates to energy drinks? Nothing except high-energy sports and activities. Granted, this is a huge company with a lot of wiggle room, but they gave themselves that wiggle room by taking risks and sponsoring events that relate to their core business. And if you really want to learn more about their products, you have to go searching for the “products” link.
How does this relate to my social media rant? Take the brand awareness, and allow your employees to become a part of it. If I worked at Red Bull, I’d want to take a few minutes out of my day and post about the awesome work environment or the high-energy activity I did this weekend – maybe Red Bull sponsored that event, maybe they didn’t, but it’s an event that relates and is probably something I’m passionate about. When your employees are passionate about your brand and it becomes their brand, and their passion, it’ll show. Then you’ll have a whole bunch of brand ambassadors in the building!
Now, obviously there can be some downsides to this plan but the strategy here is to mitigate those issues before they happen. “What if one of my employees posts something about the company on social media that doesn’t fit with our values or doesn’t help brand awareness?” Mitigate this through a few easy steps.
- Training: When starting to implement something like this, there needs to be some leg-work involved from management. Make sure your employees know the boundaries of what to post. Obviously there’s free speech, but slander will get everyone in trouble and in many industries, those lines can be blurry. Provide some sort of employee handbook or additional pages to the existing handbook about social media and public relations.
- Give a few select people the power to post on the company’s behalf. If you have someone in-house that’s managing marketing for you, ask them to lead this endeavor. They’re already invested and if they’re your right-hand-man (as a marketing professional in a small business should be), they’ll already have an idea of the overall goals and strategies to focus on.
- Let them make mistakes. This is a hard one to swallow but everyone makes mistakes, and they learn so much more from the mistakes than the successes. Ensure someone has veto power or that you’re editing before things get posted in the first few months. The employee will quickly realize what’s fitting of the brand, and what’s not.
The second side of this strategy, is to focus on which channels make sense for your business. Another great brand that I love is MyFitnessPal. It started out as a calorie-
counting phone application, and has morphed into a fitness center. What tools do they use? In addition to their app and website, they utilize Facebook, Twitter, and my personal favorite – Pinterest. I can look at Pinterest all day long. Although I’ve only been an active user for a little over 2 years, my profile looks like I’ve been pinning half my life. Because I’m a very visual person, I see a picture of a girl who’s clearly doing some interesting looking exercise with the words “3 steps to lose love-handles” and I’m all over that. That picture, if you’re unsure of how Pinterest works, leads directly to the post on MyFitnessPal.com that speaks about losing love-handles. Website traffic from a well-placed image-done!
Put these strategies together and there’s a good chance that some of your brand ambassadors who love a specific social media channel will share their other passion — your brand– with their networks.