The Five Modes of Social Media, part 1: Branding & PR

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Social media is awesome and can do so much for your business, but with so many modes of use that it can provide, how do you prioritize and where do you start? Great questions – let’s start out with listing all 5 modes:

  1. Branding/PR
  2. Sales channel
  3. Promotions
  4. Customer interaction
  5. Reputation management

This is the first of a 5-part series where I’m going to cover all 5 in detail. We’re going to start on branding and PR to talk about the different social media platforms that allow solid brand communication.

Branding & PR

Any marketing guy will tell you that everything your brand communicates comes with a voice. Your social media activity does the same thing – it carries a voice. Now, whether or not it’s the voice that you have chosen for your company to put forward is a different story.

This can either be an advantage or a detriment, based on planning and coordination. Lots of times, social media is left up to an intern that hasn’t been with the company for very long. This is fine to do, but coordination over your communication needs to happen so that lowly intern will know the rules of your brand. Although a full social presence is time consuming, it makes much more sense to be handled by someone further up the food chain that has more skin in the game, and has a wider view of the broad company strategy.

Remember to be real and participate in the conversation, because no one likes a selfish person or organization.

Blogging

Your blog is a branding nightmare. Depending on your posting schedule, from several posts per day to a couple per week, you likely have more than one writer. Getting several writers on the same page,educated to stay on brand, and updated on strategy is obviously more difficult than working with one person.

You have so many options with your blog, and expectations from the public are that blog content is going to be fairly transparent without the stiff, unapproachable language. Talk to people. Blog posts aren’t expected to be peer reviewed or published. This shouldn’t be an excuse for poor quality; rather, take it as an opportunity to look great. Too many blog posts out there contain misspellings and unrevised content. Whether quality is expected or not on a blog, it’s still a huge flag against credibility when someone recognizes errors, regardless of the content of your posts.

Use your blog to establish your credibility in your industry. The authority of your industry will surely be the one that is constantly staying on the bleeding edge of techniques, tools, and happenings. Blog about these things, and talk about them first. Soon enough, early adopters will find your articles through search and will spread it over Twitter and Facebook.

Twitter

The microblogging tool Twitter is fantastic for branding. Here is your chance to show you’re on top of your game. Send out links to news in your industry. Comment on stuff in the twittersphere, and retweet other awesome stuff that you didn’t get to first. This makes a strong statement about your authority in your industry and others will follow you.

Make sure your 140-character blasts are on brand and portray you in the way your strategy outlines. You’ll love the perception that active Twitter usage provides for your expertise – if you want to be an industry expert, start acting like it! There are lots of other purposes behind your tweets, but we’ll talk about that in the next item of the series.

Also, get your design team on a customized Twitter theme because your page feel and description says a lot about your brand. You can see ours here.

Facebook

Almost the same rules apply for Facebook as apply to Twitter – take the time to customize the look and feel of your fan page. Take the time to learn FBML (FB markup language) to help you style your page. Don’t be over promotional because that makes people less inclined to become fans. Talk about your industry and yourselves. Did your company just achieve a huge goal? Shout it. Did you get a hot mention from around the interwebs? Preach it. This is your chance to use your voice and establish your business as an authority. The fact of the matter is that there are relatively few businesses that utilize social media to its full extent. Be there and get in early, and be the expert so you can stay there.

Watch for the next post where I’ll cover using social media as a sales channel tool.

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