In my last article, I wrote about 6 ways to brand your business using social media. Each of those 6 ways was relatively simple -- something just about any small business could do -- yet many overlook.
I’m back this month with another six ways. Again, the focus is on activities that you don’t need a big budget for -- just a little time and some elbow grease, and you, too, can take advantage of these ways.
I'll pick up the numbering where I left off, starting with #7:
7. Link to Social Icons on Website, Email and Blog
There should be a breadcrumb trail from your website/blog and emails to your social media profiles – and vice versa back to your website. It shows that your social media profiles are an extension of your brand.
Make it simple for visitors to click to your profiles to connect and follow. Test the buttons periodically to make sure they are properly configured and actually work (at least 15% of the time I encounter sites that return error messages when you click on the social icons, making the icons useless).
8. Use Google Authorship
One of Google’s newer updates includes Google Authorship, which connects your blog posts around the Internet to your Google+ profile. If you set it up, your Google+ avatar will appear next to your posts in a search, making it easier for people to connect with you and share your content.
This is a good way to establish thought leadership and a high profile for company executives. It’s also great for cementing a personal brand.
9. Diversify Your Updates – But Not Too Much
Spitting out a steady stream of retweets, self-promotional posts, or questions is enough to make the most dedicated fan click “unfollow.” Keep followers interested by creating varied types of posts, including:
- Comments on others’ posts
- Links to your content and that of others
- Questions to your audience
- Videos and pictures
- Company news
- Discounts and special offers
However, don’t make the mistake of updating about everything in the world. People follow brands for a specific reason – and it usually has to do with the fact that they are interested in your business-related content, product information, and discounts and special offers.
If one week you are tweeting about industry information or your business, and the next about politics, you will lose followers.
10. Get it on a Calendar and Schedule Updates in Advance
This is a fabulous time-saving strategy. Rather than having to spend all day on social sites, you can boil down the time you spend to minutes a day by pre-scheduling your content.
More important, it makes your approach to updating your social networks consistent. When you’re inconsistent and sporadic – perhaps updating 30 times one week, and then nothing for the next three weeks – it’s hard to develop a connection with followers.
And what does that say about your follow-through on projects or work with customers? It suggests subtly that you might be just as inconsistent.
Then check in once a day to respond to anyone who has sent you a message or commented.
11. Follow the Right People
Following is a two way street. Following others in a targeted way helps you gain targeted followers in return.
Simply following anyone and everyone won’t net you the results you’re looking for on social media. Search for specific keywords, such as the ones that people search for to find your website. See who’s talking about your brand or competition. Follow customers and those who fit your customer demographic. It’s better to grow your following slowly in a more targeted way than willy-nilly.
This gives you a targeted audience that you can satisfy with content and updates related to what they are expecting. And you will be more interested in what they have to say if it’s related to your industry, and you can learn from them also.
Remember, followers may eventually turn into customers. According to a recent study by Twitter, 72% of your followers are more likely to buy from you after following.
12. Join Groups
LinkedIn caters to every imaginable industry. There are groups for content publishing advice, farmer’s market vendors, and even pet industry professionals. Join active groups in your industry, or one filled with your target market. Dive into discussion. Participate. Share.
Groups are a great way to reinforce thought leadership in a particular industry, and gain attention for your brand among interested parties. Check out the Directory of LinkedIn Groups to find one.