A few months ago I attended a Guardian Master Class on Data Visualisation hosted by Tobias Sturt, Head of creative at Guardian Digital Agency and Adam Frost, Data Visualisation Manager at Guardian Digital Agency. Both were incredibly friendly, down-to-earth and made the class very enjoyable. I highly recommend checking them (and their work) out. Data ...
Your social media brand could be defined as a consistent and recognisable presence across multiple and different social media. Selecting which social media on which to be present and at what level to engage/communicate is a whole other topic in itself. In this instance we're assuming you know where and how you want to engage your audience, but you're seeking to understand how to develop a thorough and consistent presence.
1. Be discoverable
From Facebook to YouNoodle, many social media/networking websites offer you the chance to have your content surfaced to the search engines. DO take advantage of this opportunity. Firstly this is valuable from an SEO perspective as these sites and your presence on these sites can be spidered by search bots. Such reference to your brand and links back to your site from high-volume high-credibility sites, helps improve your own PageRank. Second reason to tick that box, is that if anyone searches for your brand, they will be able to see not only your own website, but also your presence on the social media websites you have chosen. Provided you are consistent in referencing your brand (more on this in a second) this helps add validity to your organisation and faith in your brand as the user is confronted with a back-up reference to your brand from additional trusted sites. Incidentally, if your own website appears below your Facebook/Linkedin/Crunchbase profile - come see us and we'll sort that out for you!
2. Be consistent
Your brand is your intellectual property and should be treated as such. Larger organisations tend to have entire rulebooks dedicated to their various brand identities, corporate fonts, logos and other marks. Every brand, (no matter what size) should have some basic rules in place regarding company name, logo(s) and profile. As an example - our company name is theMediaFlow (all one word, with the emphasis on Media and Flow by the use of a capital 'M' and 'F') if you search for "themediaflow" using Google, you will find a number of results on page one, including our own site, our Linkedin profile, our CrunchBase profile and various news stories about us. In nearly every case the result references "theMediaFlow". If a result references "themediaflow" this appears to be an inconsistency, and it would be natural for a reader to place less trust in such a listing. Your social media profile is your chance to reinforce your exact brand identity, image and message in a consistent, professional and controlled way.
3. Be your own biggest fan
Unless you're McDonalds or CocaCola (in which case, "Hi, we'd love to manage your SEM. Skype me!") you probably can't afford to advertise on every billboard in town and in the Corry Street ad breaks. Until that time, social media is your space to promote your business and talk about how wonderful you are, what you do and who you do it for. Do not be ashamed to big yourselves up. Never feel silly writing in the third person; and DO remember to be consistent.
4. Be yourself
You can't win every single deal and you can't please every single customer 100% of the time. Each organisation has its own cultural ethos and identity. It's what makes an organisation most distinct from competitors. Ask anyone who has just chosen a supplier what clinched the deal for them, and oftentimes they will state that "the organisation was a good fit"; "the people really understood our business," "we got a really positive vibe from the team" etc. It is therefore important to allow some sense of your organisational values and culture to permeate your social media communications.
You will find that the technical/functional differences between networks contribute to a certain tone of voice, i.e. Twitter's 140 character limit promotes familiarity and less formality than say a Linkedin profile; therefore trying to have the same rigid tone of voice across all your social media may seem insincere.
Please note: I'm not advocating that every brand should do their own social media communications, but a good third party social media professional should be able to communicate with your audience as an extended member of your team. They should be able to speak of "we" and "our" goals and missions; and be able to understand your business objectives, core customers and values.
We hope you found this post interesting and useful. Please do add any other pertinent points that you think we have missed that are important for growing your social media brand.