In order for people to want to buy from you they need to know who you are. They need to be aware of your brand. Consumers often build a relationship (mental or physical) with brands that they are aware of and are more likely to try new products or buy from a brand they know or are familiar with. The key to lasting brand awareness is constant visibility and a consistent brand image.
Social media is a way to connect to hundreds and sometimes thousands of people all at once, and make them aware of your brand via conversations and communication. Social media provides a vast platform for creating and fostering your brand image and heightening awareness.
The problem is that most people don’t know where to start. Which of the thousands of social sites, networks, utilities, and a locations do you need to be a part of to make it all work? The answer always comes down to research. Luckily for you I’ve done this before, and to add the red balloons to your Lucky Charms I’m going to share some insights about it.
Brand Awareness – A half assed guide
When dealing with social media it’s so easy to get overwhelmed and to start setting up profiles everywhere. That’s wrong. You’ll never have time to actually run your business, and will get burned out on it very quickly (this is coming from a guy who has 60+ profiles on as many networks used for research). The first thing you need to do is research your demographic. Break your product down and figure out who would use it.
Once you’ve done that use guides like this sex / age based guide by RapLeaf and this World Map of Social Networks – Whats popular in what geography to help determine where your demographic might hang out. That’s where you’ll want setup a profile and start listening, then start making connections and joining conversations to bring awareness of your brand to users.
After you’ve done your research and spent sometime listening you’ll have to create a profile (or flesh out the one used for research) on those sites. Make sure to fill it out completely, put your face on it and be open and transparent about who you are and who / what you represent. Find relevant groups and start talking to those people. For your user name you can have your company name in it to help promote and give instant disclosure of who you represent. If you can be a valued, informative person in these groups then you will be able to build trust as more and more people interact with you.
One thing to remember is to not shove your products in their face. You wouldn’t like it If you were having a nice discussion with your friends and someone jumped in to the middle and yelled “Buy Fizzy Cola!” then ran off. For most people this would turn them off instantly. Social media marketing is built around conversations, value, and permission. If it weren’t it would just be called media and you’d be looking at a TV screen and talking to yourself.
A great way to build your brand is build good, relevant content on your blog / site. Information relating to your products that people want to share. When you give to the community they will give back. When writing your content keep keywords and SEO in mind, and if you get comments engage them.
If you’re going to be running a blog for your product / service then I would highly recommend Word Press. I’d also recommend installing Disqus for comments as it can help give you additional insight into your customers. Also, use plugins or widgets like Add to Any or Share This to encourage others to share your content.
Social bookmarking sites like Delicious, Digg, StumbleUpon, etc are also great places to submit your content to. There is a strategy to these tools so you don’t look like a spammer or worse a selfish person. A 10 to 1 ratio minimum (other content vs your content) is what I recommend and this helps in 2 ways. #1 you’re adding more than just your own content to the communities so people see you as a giver. #2 You’re being exposed to related content that can give your creativity a boost.
Finally, once you build your relationships spread your name by capitalizing on someone elses audience by doing guest posts! It’s a great way to spread your expertise using your own voice.
You might be asking yourself at this point “Why was this a half assed guide? Seems pretty darn good to me.” It’s because brand awareness is ultimately up to you and how much work you put into it. My ass can only give you advice on what you need to do, I can’t do it for you. Your ass needs to get out there and do it.
This is what I want from you. I want you to tell me what you’re doing to spread your brand awareness (another opportunity here). If you haven’t started anything yet then I want you to bookmark this page and when you do start doing it come back here and put it in the comments and tell me how it’s working for you.
Thanks for reading,
Josh “Shua” Peters