Can People Separate YOU From Your Competition?
Social Media Branding
In an increasingly digital marketing landscape it has been said over and over again that nothing hurts brand loyalty more than if customers feel like their voices aren’t being heard. With the onset of this social media revolution business to customer engagement has become more of an intimate exchange. Gone are the days of one-way, monologue conversations. Consumers have found a voice online and are talking without filters. Today, social media branding is shaping what customers and potential customers say about your company.
Although most small businesses believe social media can be an effective marketing tool, very few understand how to use it.
If you were meeting a potential customer for the first time and shaking their hand, would you start reading to them from your business brochure or answering them with canned statements? No, of course not. You would engage them, find out what they are looking for, and respond with how you would love to help. You would share your ideas and possibly other value added perks or free stuff. You would talk about things you have in common. -This is also what successful social media branding looks like.
Accountability means something.
Consumers don’t expect the business to always be perfect; they understand that things happen. They just want them to care, and make things right. In general, what seems to be important to most customers, fans, and critics on social media is that they receive a quick and helpful response.
Zappos.com vs. Shoebuy.com (ding ding…fight)!
Today it takes far more than showing up and posting content to succeed at social media. Take a look at these two competing companies and see how they use social media. Just by reading their feed, you can feel the difference in message, voice and relationship. Three things that affect the brand positioning in the hearts and minds of each customer that comments, and the thousands that don’t but simply read the engagement. You get a real sense of what is important to each company, their corporate values, culture and priorities (their strategic goals). All from when, what and most importantly how they respond to customer comments. Are they looking to engage and seeking to be helpful, or defensive and cold.
Every professional has an opinion on this type of brand engagement. The following list are a few things we think are most important to master:
- Draft a Social Media Brand Style Guide
- Keep the social in social media
- Determine your voice and tone
- Initiate a Training Program
- Create Brand Awareness- but don’t straight sell
- Be as Transparent as Possible
- Be Proactive, Versus Reactive
- Respond to Negative and Positive Feedback
- Serve your Customers
Zappos.com vs. Shoebuy.com: Social audiences expect brands to solve problems and answer questions in social streams.They are not expecting the company to be a doormat, but they can smell insincerity even through a screen. If you are providing value you would be excited or even surprised to receive you are on the right track.
These two companies sell the very same products, and post the same types of creative. However, this is not the ‘only’ value customers are receiving from them on their social media sites. Both companies use Facebook to engage with customers, answer question and provide customer support. One company has 180 thousand Facebook fans and the other over 2 million.
Taking a simple glimpse into the conversation on both Facebook pages, the differences become crystal clear.
There is a reason Zappo’s is considered #1.
For the Zappos customer it is clear what ‘delivering the WOW philosophy’ through excellent service is all about. It is easy to see that Zappos strategic goal is selling customer service. Where Shoebuy places that goal on selling shoes. In the end, Zappos is meeting a value added customer need, and selling more of everything as a result.
Zappos champions a customer focused metric, surprises people through under-promising and over-delivering and remains ever personal. Facebook is not the only stage of success for Zappos and their social media branding. They have mirrored success on Twitter and Instagram as well. Zappo’s is also great at sharing content that has nothing to do with its brand, for just purely entertainment. They are excited to serve and do whatever it takes to make the customer a brand loyalist.
Take a look at your business through the eyes of your customers and answer these questions:
- Is your offering unique to your company?
- What does your product or service do to enhance or improve their current situation?
- What key problem(s) are you solving?
- Is your product or service distinctive and compelling?
- Are you fun to follow or engage with?
How would Zappos answer? (A: 100% Yes, a lot of companies sell shoes, Zappos sells customer service)
How would you answer these questions?