Does this sound familiar: You just opened your new business or you’ve been in business for a little while and you want the world to know about your brand and all that you offer. STOP right there! It’s incredibly easy to go digital. It literally only takes about 5-10 minutes to create a basic profile, but that’s where most businesses go wrong. They overlook the following critical steps when digitizing their brand.
Now’s the perfect time, if you haven’t already, to assess who you are as a brand. What’s your story? What do you offer that your competitors don’t? What are your value proposition and weaknesses? How will going digital help you? Many small businesses fail to realize the purpose and potential of social because they underestimate the value that already exists within their business, ALONE.
Getting on social can wait and is advised if you don’t have a good marketing foundation or plan already laid out. Many businesses expect to hop online and have hordes of customers coming their way, but it doesn’t work that way. You’ve got existing competitors, SEO, and a number of things already in place so you have to be prepared if you expect to make a dent in the over-saturated digital world.
Be Real About Your Commitment
Next you want to realistically (emphasis on realistically) think about your level of commitment and availability to manage your digital presence. Just because you create a social media profile, doesn’t mean that that profile automatically takes over and does the promoting and community engagement for you. You’ll need a handy social media strategy to know how much you’d like to post, what topics you’d like to promote, and to whom. Once you’ve created a plan or system, then you can figure out the best time to post, as well as your target audience from analytics.
The next step you want to take into consideration is figuring out who you plan on promoting to. Think about advertisements you see everyday and the time that goes into copy, casting, color, timing, vehicle, etc. That’s essentially the task that you’ll need to take on in order to communicate with and reach the right customer. Knowing your target audience in and out can help you tailor content to their tastes, lifestyle, and buying habits. It can help you cater in-house events, and host influencer take-overs that could increase brand awareness for your business. Embarking on the path of digital presence isn’t for the meek.
It’s All About Timing
You’ll want to think about the appropriate time to schedule content so that your precious target audience is able to interact with it and amplify it to their social networks. You’ll also need to consider how much time is required to create content or if you’ll need to resort to stock photos or the very popular user-generated content. Timing is important in social and can ultimately make or break your message. Imagine if your favorite ad ran at 3AM in the morning. Sure some people might see it, but the reach, and impact of that ad is significantly reduced because of timing.
Messaging Is Key
When was the last time you thought in-depth about messaging and its vehicle? I’m not talking about a ’98 Ford Escort, I’m talking about the method in which the message will be delivered to your audience. You could want to mail out dozens of postcards to promote a new service you offer, or create an event listing in a popular community magazine. Whatever or wherever, make sure you know the vehicle.
This is important in terms of social media as most businesses have an ‘everywhere’ mentality meaning they create social profiles on every platform to be as the main vehicle for their brand message. This is a very poor strategy and creates unnecessary clutter online as you’ll probably only use about 2 of those profiles for your business. I recommend picking 1 or 2 social media platforms that BEST work with your message and business.
Quality is KING
Once you’ve established a vehicle and platform for your message, you can begin crafting your message or tweaking existing copy. Make sure your content and copy is cohesive across all platforms and speaks directly to your core brand message. Don’t go crazy on the posts. People value quality vs. quantity. Take your time and really think about what you want to say, how your prospective customers should hear it, and what they should get from it.
Creating great content is something that every marketer and business alike struggles with, and you won’t get any closer rushing through this critical step in the process. Amazing content starts with you and your story. Anything replicated from other brands you follow, or day-to-day trends simply won’t work. It’s important to remember that what works for some won’t work for all.
These tips will help you stay organized as you plan to go online, but make sure you have a plan in place as you expand your business!
NaBeela Washington, Founder of Prae, enjoys helping businesses and non-profits succeed by crafting unique branding and marketing strategies, digging deep into the community through market research and developing content that is meaningful and makes a statement. She’s also a foodie, photo junkie, and loves cooking Southern staples. Follow her on Twitter @Simplee_B and @praeagency.