Monday, October 12, 2009

Best Practices: 10 Top Tips & Ideas for Promoting Your Brand through Social Media

1. "Learn from Others- proverb
Regardless of your product or service, your brand must take into account the success and mistakes of others who have previously used social media, especially that Web 2.0 in general is considered a new born when compared to the business and marketing industry as a whole. Experience is the best teacher

2. Avoid Conceit
You’ve been in business for years, you have great pride of what you have accomplished. This is good. Yet, when considering a shift to a new medium such as social media, you have to be ware of excessive pride: you do not know it all and yes, there are some new things you will need to learn!

3. Listen to Your Customers
As I have previously stressed in the introduction brief, customers are your greatest asset; listen to what they want, whenever possible, make it happen. As opposed to the common belief that customers are “ignorant and don’t know what they want“, today’s consumers have the power of knowledge and the ability to compare and contrast every aspect of your business or brand with others, with luxury of ease and timeliness.

4. Choose the Right Mix
When thinking of utilizing social media channels, you have to take into account that not every channel can and will suit your offering.Study the channels you want to use, one by one, test it for a while and then decide whether it will benefit your promotional purposes or negatively influence it. Twitter may seem lucrative for all brands but I have to disagree! A certain brand of hair shampoo, for example, could easily fail to utilize Twitter.

5. Avoid Being Intrusive
Whatever it is you are trying to sell, remember this: “You are entering other people’s space and you have to be welcomed!” Whichever social media channel you decide to take advantage of,you always have to keep in mind that intrusive advertising will cause more harm than good, especially on the long run!

6. Abandon Imitation – Seek Innovation
Mimicking an existing promotional campaign, or product, is easier and cheaper than being creative and innovative in your approach, I know! Yet, and with the huge number of social media users distributed all over the various channels,someone, sooner or later, will notice your ingenuity and negative publicity might hunt you out of your business!

7. Adopt Sincerity in Your Approach
Most people are well aware of your intentions, good and bad. Try to be sincere in your approach; hypocrisy will get you isolated over social media channels! Allow me to point out though that although you need to be sincere with your audience, you still need to remember your business focus and your brand objectives.

8. Be Active, Available & Consistent
I am sure that a relatively high percentage of social media “users” are inactive in their nature of usage! If you are seeking to build a good and memorable brand reputation, you have to remain active throughout the chosen channels you have picked and you must be consistent in your tone, messages and the relations you build with your groups, friends and followers.

9. You Are Always Watched – Remember That
Whether one of your employees send a wrong message about your brand, or a customer complains about your after sales service, once you choose to take your brand on the social media ride, you will face many bumps ahead! Watch out what you say and how you say it because you can’t take it back (and by you, I mean the owners and employees on all levels!)

10. Have a Contingency Plan of Action
Just like any other business investment,social media requires a special contingency plan, with different scenarios, to battle any kind of opposed and dismissive reactions to your brand. The exit plan is a tricky business in the case of social media yet, the real objective is to know when to pull the plug before losses are even more sever!

Bonus Tip: Read, continuously, about social media and its different channels. Look for well trusted sites that offer good social media tips and try to apply them whenever possible.

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