Social media has become such an integral part of our everyday lives that it is hard to imagine going days or weeks without it. It has changed the way we connect and interact with others, whether for personal or professional purposes. Some individuals describe social media as addictive and while this may be true in some cases, for most individuals, the benefits outweigh the pitfalls.
The impact of social media has grown over the last five years and is likely to keep increasing; the most popular social networks include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, You Tube, Google Plus and various microblogging websites. Facebook is mainly used for personal interactions; twitter is real-time and is quite handy in terms of getting current news and information around the world as well as keeping in touch with a number of users. LinkedIn is targeted at professionals and is useful for building up your network; You Tube is home to loads of videos on anything and everything, from music videos to ‘How to’ instructional videos. Google plus is the new kid on the block and is picking up quite fast. All these social platforms offer individuals and organizations a chance to connect with their target market, promote their services and products while reinforcing their brand in the minds of consumers.
Social media has the power to cement your brand in the mind of your target audience; not only in terms of brand recognition but through building brand awareness and ultimately repeat sales that will result in brand loyalty. However, use of social media in brand building needs to be carefully planned, implemented and monitored to ensure best results are achieved. Also, the need to have a consistent message cannot be emphasized enough; decide what you want your message to be, what you want to convey and let it be consistent throughout your social media accounts. Inconsistent information leads to doubts about your company’s brand and the products and services that it offers.
Here are some of the benefits of social media in building up and reinforcing your brand:
Fast, Affordable and Convenient
All you need is access to the internet and an active set up social media account. Once the accounts are set up, you can log in at any time and update your status with snippets about your brand or any other valuable information that is vital to your brand. You can create a Facebook page allowing the target audience to like your page and leave comments or suggestions. A twitter account could be used to push out new information to your followers while a creative use of You Tube could be to upload a fun, instructional ‘How To’ video on how to use your products or service. All these methods plant your brand name in the minds of the target audience thus acting as an incentive for them to buy into your brand.
New Client Service Dimension
Through social media, your brand can offer a new dimension of customer service which is more accessible to your tech savvy target audience. Any complaints or problems can be directed to the company or individual’s Facebook page or Twitter handle and responded to in real time. Satisfied customers will then keep coming back thereby cultivating brand loyalty.
Social media platforms offer an avenue for better interactivity with your target audience through regular updates and even addressing their concerns on a one-to-one basis. Customers can also give feedback and suggestions and these can be incorporated to make the brand more successful.
Individuals and organizations can adopt social media as a promotional strategy to supplement the traditional promotional tactics. This will lead to more strategic marketing campaigns owing to better understanding of clients and their needs. Also, your target audience can share your page with their peers and influence them to try out your brand. This strategy sets your brand apart from the rest by giving it better visibility and staying power.
When your brand has a well managed social media presence, one of the perks will be leading interested parties to your official website where they have access to more information about your brand. More hits to your website may result in more sales and consequently, increased revenues.
It is clear that social media is becoming a force to reckon with and used well, it will add to your brand value over time; however, caution should be exercised as it can be a two-edged sword as the McDonalds twitter hashtag promotion illustrated.