As the influence of brands and their social networking profiles continues to grow, so does the number of brands wishing to make the first step into the social realm to attempt to gain an increased following and customers base.
Of course, it isn’t as easy as simply jumping in, setting up a profile and waiting for the customers to start following – marketers need to determine how best to target their online audience and who should be responsible for managing this process.
The first step is to acknowledge which networks will be most likely to reap rewards in terms of fan numbers and subsequent traffic to the brands website.
While Facebook may currently be the top social networking site, this doesn’t necessarily mean a brand will see a deluge of fans looking to follow and therefore interact with the brand. Marketers must first look to determine which pages are likely to see the largest return on invested time, and plan a strategy thereafter. Each profile must then be created to represent the brand in a similar tone as is being used across all profiles, unless the nature of the network negates this.
Once the differing profiles have been agreed upon, it is vital to delegate responsibilities between employees. Using different employees for different tasks is a great way of varying the content across social profiles, helping to create a more ‘human nature’ to the brand’s content, rather than appearing more formulaic and boring. However, the brand need to ensure that the overall message and tone-of-voice adopted by employees when speaking on behalf of the brand is consistent across all social media communications and interactions. Whilst different networks may be targeting different audiences, the brand’s key message and values still remains the same, and brands need to be wary of employees varying off course. Employees must remember they are a personalised representation and extension of the image and identity of the brand, and the image they convey through these profiles may have a detrimental effect on the brand’s engagement efforts if not managed effectively. Further to this, delegate specific tasks to specific employees to ensure there is no cross over and subsequent duplication of content. Brand protection across online portals is essential, and the first step towards this must lie with ensuring employees have a detailed understanding of their role within the brand’s social media tactics.
Of course, at first this may be a learning process for both the brand and its employees, but setting in place strict boundaries for employees to follow is a vital first step in ensuring the brand is on target for a sound social media strategy.