How can a brand and its positioning efforts take into account social media?
The consumer driven face of the web is changing a lot of existing brand dynamics.
Advertising is not communication; advertising is positioning. The best advertising communicates precious little about the product or service. What the best advertising does, however, is to establish and reinforce a position in the customers mind.
How does this translate on-line? How does a brand reinforce a position or even build it in the first place if it is a new one.
How does a brand use media that is beyond its control and is multidimensional when it is used to a one dimensional straightjacket environment traditional media provided it with?
Being part of consumer driven media itself is a positioning step.
The second is the selecting the right consumer segment to be the brand voice, and this is critical.
Brand conversations perhaps define position the best. How you tweet, what you tweet. Whether you blog and how do you go about doing it. How active you are on YouTube and what kind of videos are made, all defines and positions the brand. It defines consumer perceptions of the brand and when shared on social media, it reinforces the brand position.
Understanding Social Media Options
Social media platforms ebb and flow, however there are several that have gained a level of use that makes them worth consideration for retailers wishing to use social media successfully. They include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn. Each platform deserves consideration, as their appropriateness will differ from retail sector to sector and target audience to audience. Of most importance is the need to include social media into overarching business strategy.
Developing a Social Media Strategy
Each retailer must make their own decisions on how best to align with optimal social media channels.
This requires research and in-depth knowledge of the behaviours and decision-making processes of the target audience.
To illustrate how a retail brand can leverage social media consider the example of Facebook below:
Setting up a Facebook page is simple, it only takes a few minutes to do and before you know it your brand will be available for 1000’s of potential customers to see. Setting up the page is the easy part, however in order to optimise your page so that it stands out amongst the over populated Facebook crowd there are a number of ways to improve your profile so you can be sure you are getting the most from your social media efforts.
Optimising your Websites Share Preview
One of Facebook’s key strengths is the viral spread of data shared peer to peer. When anyone links to your website using the ‘Like’ button, the user will be offered a selection of images pulled from your website to be displayed in the link. If you have a website that is mainly Flash-based this could cause a problem in providing the user with suitable images, therefore you will need to define a custom share preview image. This is very easy to do, and Facebook provides details to help you achieve this.
Displaying Content for Fans and Non-fans
Facebook has for some time now allowed Page admins to display different content to fans of the page to non-fans. This is achieved by inserting some clever, but relatively simple FBML (Facebook’s own programming language; known as Facebook Markup Language) code into a new tab. There are plenty of tutorials for this around the web, so take a look around and pick one that suits your needs.
Defining a publishing schedule for your content
Introducing a calendar system to strategically organise when you make your Facebook updates is good practise to get the most out of your Facebook page, and your fans. By guiding your updates you will be able to spread them out so that you can be a persistent presence online, but not annoying. Try to vary your updates through images, status updates, offers etc. Do not sell in every update, this is a quick way to annoy your fans and become unpopular on Facebook. By using tools such as tweetdeck you can create all of your status’ for the day, and schedule a time for them to be posted, meaning you do not have to have access to your page at all times to continue being active. Use a tool such as http://webstat.com/ to monitor the time of day your website is most active, and use this information to post relevant information on Facebook. Facebook is generally more active between 7pm-10pm; so don’t restrict updates to 9-5 office hours.
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