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Many small businesses get their social start among personal networks. Friends, family and close connections will follow, like and link along — helping you to get the ball rolling toward valuable online engagement. The boost can be awesome, but it’s important to draw a line between your personal and professional social outlets in order to make the most of your social media marketing efforts.
Making the leap to thinking on behalf of your brand instead of thinking solely on behalf of yourself can be tough. Typically, for one reason: you’re forced to relinquish some tiny bit of what built your business in the first place — you. The brands that succeed in social media tend to follow very similar patterns:
Branded accounts are not soap boxes
The audience that follows your account does so with a very specific reason: they want to see more about your brand, business and product. By clicking “follow,” they’ve chosen to subscribe to your promise for more cool stuff. When you deliver irrelevant rants, political opinions and soap box-style monologues unrelated to your brand — you’ve compromised their trust. Keep your messages on brand and on target to uphold that promise to your followers.
Branded accounts are for the customer
Customers return for content that is created for them, not content that is created for you. Marketers will guide you toward content that caters to both — allowing you to deliver a well-timed message within truly valuable content. But, at the end of the day, it’s the value to your audience that matters most. Ensure that the content you deliver on your social networks is worth their time and attention.
Branded accounts don’t accuse
Social media is not the place for putting people or situations “on blast” — especially where you branded accounts are involved. I once watched a local business accuse their entire Facebook following of stealing a snowboard, only to — hours later — be forced to admit it had simply been misplaced. The entire situation could have been much better handled by posting a “Lost! If found…” statement or encouraging customers to protect personal belongings. Instead, the brand jeopardized the trust and engagement of their entire community in the name of finding an item not even comparable in value. Jumping to assumptions, throwing accusations and pointing blame has no place in your social strategy.
Branded accounts keep it positive
Building on the previous point, good branded accounts always keep the peace. Your customers are visiting for a fun, enjoyable experience online — and they’ve chosen to engage with you! Be grateful for that attention and opportunity. Engage with positivity and your audience will follow suit — keeping your comments and feedback on target as well.
Branded accounts are thoughtful
Branded social media accounts are rarely built on the fly. In addition to having a social media strategy with goals and tactics to support it, accounts are fueled by meticulously planned content. Each piece is designed to support, engage and grow the brand. If you’re still posting your most recent main dish, it’s unlikely that your content is supporting your ultimate social media goals. It’s time to start thinking more strategically, and we can help you with exactly that.
While properly managing branded social media accounts can put a great face to your business — poorly managed personal networks can continue to cause irreversible damage. If you intend to be a face of your business while also maintaining publicly accessible personal social media accounts — keep in mind that your audience’s experience with your personal account can easily reflect on the brand you’ve worked so hard to build.
In the event that you do build separate personal and branded accounts, all of the branded account principles above still apply to your personal posting. Using social media as a sounding board for politics, religion, personal views and polarizing conversation — even when it’s limited to your personal accounts — can leave you with some pretty ragged customer relationships. The nature of those topics on social media is rarely positive, regularly heated and hardly ever productive. On the other hand, sharing in valuable, positive conversations can also shine brightly on your brand — earning you respect and strengthening your following.
One surefire solution to successful social media management is to engage a marketer to develop a social media strategy. With the proper guidance and a plan for how your brand will engage online — you can have the best of both personal and professional social media worlds without sacrificing your audience’s support for your business.
Reach out at email@example.com to get started.