Social media for business – the Emperor’s new clothes?

Many companies started using social media simply because everybody else was, but how many are actually seeing results? And how many accounts haven’t been updated for months?

In a business to business environment, I think that life is simply too short (and time is too expensive) to be attempting to engage customers on every social media channel. Look at the options as part of your integrated communications strategy and decide which ones are appropriate for your target audiences. For example, your Facebook page may present a friendly face to your audience and focus on your customer service. You may use LinkedIn to demonstrate your expertise and Twitter to drive visitors to your website. There’s also Pinterest, Google + and YouTube, to name a few, but they are not all compulsory! You might just decide to concentrate your efforts on blogging. Using fewer platforms effectively is much better that trying to cover them all at once.

Social media is now part of a company’s PR mix, and a Facebook page or a blog that hasn’t been managed or updated for months could damage a company’s reputation more than not having one at all.

So when engaging in social media:
• Work out a communications strategy that will work for your business
• Set objectives for each media channel – they may not all be appropriate
• Set clear guidelines on who can post information on behalf of the company
• Establish how you will monitor and manage response
• Ensure you have a social media usage policy in place for employees
• Make content relevant and post it regularly
• Don’t neglect other communication channels – social media should integrate with your communications plan and be consistent with your brand values.

If you need someone to help you work out a social media strategy or write your blog content for you, then we can help.

Is branding still important in the digital age?

Yes. In fact, the expansion of digital marketing means that the strength of your brand is more important than ever – it needs to stand out against all the other brands in the marketplace that are competing both online and offline.

Increasing use of digital communications means that people have more choice in the way they receive information and are being more selective in what they pay attention to. This means that your brand needs to act as a differentiator – it’s crucially important if you want people to remember you.

You can use digital marketing to increase your brand awareness. If your digital branding accurately reflects what your company means to its customers and is consistent with all your other marketing channels, then this will help to strengthen your brand.  Digital communications also allow you to target more precisely, reaching even the smallest groups of customers, so your brand matters more to people.

What makes a strong brand?
Your brand should be instantly recognisable, wherever it is seen. This requires a strong design (often very simple) used absolutely consistently. Only a well-established brand can use its different elements separately or in different ways without diluting the brand.

You need to deliver on your promises. Fundamentally a brand is a symbol of consistency – a promise of the quality of a product or service to be delivered.

Your brand’s essence, personality and tone of voice need to reflect your business and be relevant to target sectors.

It’s all about consistency – of identity, message and delivery

How relevant is this to companies in business to business sectors?
Although the world’s biggest brands are consumer brands, in business to business environments branding is still a crucial differentiator. It can:

  • Make your business stand out against the competition
  • Provide a short-cut to processing large amounts of information when making a purchasing decision
  • Be the deciding factor in a closely competitive situation.

For advice on how to make your brand work harder for your business, call Butterfield Marketing on 01604 468855.