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Brand Thinking
Bleeding edge thinking on branding and marketing

big idea

Making Brand Connections with Social Media

By Greenfield/Belser
October 4, 2011
Making Brand Connections with Social Media

Designing Your Social Media Pages

For marketing teams, social media is a blessing and a curse. It’s yet another channel to figure, manage, promote and leverage. Heavy sigh. But it keeps your audiences informed, reaches targets in a way that traditional media can’t, and, if handled right, can further extend your brand and its personality online. That’s the good news.

The other news is that most of the “let’s get it done” or “check-the-box” social marketing efforts we see leave branding opportunities unchecked. That is, they help make connections with audiences, but not with the brand.

Examples:

  • It’s common to find business pages for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter with only partially completed profiles. LinkedIn claims that you are 40 times more likely to come up in a search if your profile is complete. Having an incomplete profile sends the wrong brand message. It’s like having a gym membership, but not showing up. The lack of effort will be noticed.

  • Many company social media profiles lack a logo (really?), have lackluster company descriptions or contain none of the interactive content like videos and photos that make social media so engaging and, well, social.

  • Few have taken advantage of new tools to adapt the standard look and feel of their social media pages to reflect their brand’s look and feel or unique promise of value.

Amid all your other marketing responsibilities, it’s easy to overlook branding opportunities or miss the mark with social media. We have been watching and experimenting with our own pages so that we can inform and improve yours. What follows are some big picture, best practices and specific recommendations for the most popular social media “channels.”

  1. Make it interactive: Use these pages as a forum to share news, client accomplishments or encourage newsletter sign-ups and whitepaper download requests.

  2. Personalize it: Use videos, photos and your people to preview what it’s like to work with you.

  3. Entertain: Use movement, graphics and rollovers to draw in users. Most social media platforms now have the capabilities to deliver substantive information graphically.

  4. Finish what you started: Make your profiles 100% complete. Easily increase your search engine rankings, by using these powerful domains to link back to your company website.

Channel specific ideas:

Facebook

We all have to abide by Facebook page borders and navigation, but Facebook’s new features and page layout tools have provided a greater sense of control over your brand. Consider:

  • Offering news, service descriptions, or recruitment information in the 500×1200 space provided, but don’t limit it to words.

  • Customizing your navigation on the left-hand margin to add information beyond the standard.

  • Updating your page with interactive banners, news feeds and case studies.

  • Turning your page into a mini-site using existing features on your website.

Check out our page below for a look at what’s possible, including a promotion for our monthly Big Idea.

issue 37 brand connections inline1

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is also making it easier for companies to stand out and show off their products and services with new dedicated tabs, but many haven’t paid much attention to this new function. Some possibilities:

  • Promote offerings and link these services back to your website to optimize your search engine rankings.

  • Provide brief descriptions and make it easy for potential clients and recruits to find out information about your organization, just as you would in your website content.

  • LinkedIn also provides space for a three-image rotating banner to highlight key promotions and messages.

Utilizing all of these features on the most popular B2B social network is one way to provide your audience with a truer sense of your brand.

Twitter

The screen shot below of our page shows how Twitter can accommodate your brand’s look and feel with relative ease. If your visitors see the Twitter-provided background or profile picture, you’ve lost a chance to connect the audience with your brand. Keep in mind:

  • To fully utilize this space, we recommend overtaking your entire profile page including the profile picture and background.

  • It’s also important to enter a description with your brand promise and service offerings.

  • When crafting tweets, it’s a good idea to create your own hashtag to track and monitor your impact.

Beyond look and feel, we’ve come to learn that the best use in professional service marketing for Twitter, is as a promotional tool to push out news and accomplishments, link back to new thought leadership content on your website (i.e. blogs, whitepapers, articles) or promote upcoming events. The trick is boiling down your content and substantive information into Twitter friendly blurbs.

issue 37 brand connections inline2

YouTube

YouTube should be an obvious choice to centrally house all of your video content. Why? 1) YouTube has tracking capabilities to understand video performance, 2) it’s another way to distribute content and 3) videos are becoming incorporated into search engines in a big way.

If your audience lands on your YouTube page, the hope is that they find a way back to your website. Not all do, however. Some ideas to earn more attention for your brand on YouTube or enroute to your site:

  • Spice up your YouTube page with a custom background, title and profile picture to make the best introduction to your brand.

  • Design video templates to automatically insert an opening and closing frame to any uploaded video to be brand-consistent.

Making a social brand connection (and extension) should not be hard

Branding all of your social media channels may seem like a big undertaking, but it can be done in under a month; more often than not, you already have the right assets. Brand elements just need to be resized, reformatted or linked to turn your ordinary social media pages from bland to brand. See you online!