While building brand is a top social media marketing goal, brands aren't always incorporated into the related social media executions. By contrast, legendary Mad Man Leo Burnett, creator of brand icons such as the Marlboro Man and Tony the Tiger, would have had no trouble integrating brands into social media executions and content because he viewed a brand symbol as "anything that leaves a mental picture of the brand's identity."
7 Tips to Enhance Your Brand on Social Media
To build your brand encompassing the shorthand marketing messages that create emotional bonds with consumers built into your social media marketing, break it into its component parts and consider how to apply each to your social media execution and content.
What's your brand promise? What's the one thing your brand always delivers to your customers? It has to be easy to describe so prospects, customers, and fans remember it. Blendtec's Will It Blend videos consistently show its industrial strength blenders by humorously testing them with a variety of well-known products including iPhones and iPads in a lab setting complete with hard hats, protective eyewear, and white lab coats.
How is your brand positioned? Jack Trout and Al Ries taught that positioning is what you do in the mind of your prospects and consumers who own your brand. American Express Open created a social media forum for business owners to help them build their dreams. By providing premium quality, useful content their customers need, American Express helps businesses while positioning its brand.
What's your brand's personality? To extend this to social media, think about which social media platforms you plan to engage on. How will you engage with prospects, customers, and the public? Remember, you must be consistent in your social media approach. Cable provider Comcast created ComcastCares on Twitter to interact directly with its customers and give its customers another conduit to reach it. This has helped Comcast's brand image.
What logo, icons, or other graphic elements represent your brand? Think in terms of how you represent your brand across various media formats, including text, photographs, video, and audio. Wrapped in its blue and white packaging, Oreo's Facebook fan page puts the classic circular sandwich cookies and its customers at the heart of its social media presentation with weekly photographs of customers eating Oreos.
What colors represent your brand? JetBlue takes its brand color so seriously that it's in its name. JetBlue believes in being where its customers are. The airline has over 1.6 million followers on Twitter and over 500,000 fans on Facebook. JetBlue has integrated its high brand values including caring, integrity, fun, and passion into its social media interactions. As a result of the relationships it's built with customers across these platforms, JetBlue has withstood PR issues like Steward Steve Slater's rear airplane exit.
How does your brand sound? Does it have a human voice? What type of language does it use? Traditionally, marketers focus their brand audio on advertising jingles. But brand audio has come a long way. Who doesn't recognize Microsoft's tones when they turn on their PC? On social media, your brand can use audio in a variety of ways, including podcasts and videos. Old Spice leveraged brand icon Isaiah Mustafa's deep sexy voice in its viral videos where he actually communicated directly with celebrities, social media influencers, the media, and the public on social media platforms in real time.
What's your brand story? Every product and company has many potential stories upon which to build its brand. The challenge is determining which stories resonate best for your social media interactions. On social media platforms, the stories don't have to be just about your firm. Dominos used social media to turn around its image and product after damaging viral videos became social media fodder. It created Show Us Your Pizza with related social media components to engage customers.
5 Branding Metrics to Monitor
Assessing your social media marketing's contribution to building your brand can be challenging since branding metrics are often softer qualitative metrics. To this end, incorporate a call-to-action and related promotion code to aid tracking. Here are five high-level metrics to monitor.
Brand mentions. Even if your firm isn't involved in the social media ecosystem, it's critical to track your brands, products, company, and senior executives to determine the conversations around them, the sentiment of social media mentions, and to respond where appropriate. To be effective, you need to be involved in the conversation and respond in an appropriate, timely manner.
Brand improvement. Track how consumers feel about your brand and their intent to purchase based on your social media activity. These classic branding metrics should improve with a strong social media presence.
Consumer engagement. Are consumers and the public interacting with your social media executions and/or content? Include social media sharing, comments, and other forms of engagement.
Sales. Have revenues improved in the period that your social media executions have been live? Even better, do you have links within your content or other platform to drive buyers to the specific product page on your website?
Expenses. Track the expenses for your social media executions and content creation. Include the related design, presentation, and marketing costs.
What matters most for your brand is "Do your prospects, customers, fans, and the public recognize your brand regardless of where or how it appears on social media platforms?" Remember, a brand must create perceived value for consumers causing it to stand out from other similar products.
What would you add to this list of brand attributes that need to be portrayed on social media? What examples would you use as good and bad?
Heidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies, an interactive marketing consultancy. She has over 20 years' experience helping clients increase profitability by developing innovative marketing programs to acquire and retain customers based on solid analytics. Clients include New York Times Digital, AccuWeather.com, CheapTickets, and the UJA. Additionally, Riverside Marketing Strategies has worked with numerous other online content/media companies and e-tailers.
Prior to starting Riverside Marketing Strategies, Heidi held a number of senior-level marketing positions at The Economist, the Bookspan/Doubleday Direct division of Bertelsmann, and Citibank.