One of our consultation packages is our “Rebuild the Brand” consultation, where we help established brands re-brand their public image, create better social media strategies, or even refresh their logo. Most of our clients are pretty open minded to our recommendations and trust our judgement, yet there’s one thing many independent business owners have a difficult time accepting; the social media profiles that are meant to be a representation of your business should be just that, and nothing else. (Tweet This!) It’s hard to convince young entrepreneurs that while posting personal photos and opinion based meme’s may generate “likes” and “user engagement”, if it’s not translating into profits, it could be hurting your business.
Now this isn’t to say that some brands don’t grow and excel by sharing their personal lives on social media. For example MissDunnieO, a Los Angeles based special events coordinator, uses her Instagram profile to represent herself as well as her brand, and it works simply because she is her brand. She has grown an audience of professional and personal followers and caters to both of their needs by posting a variety of photos from her work-out secrets to behind the scenes photos of her most notable project #FacetFashionWeek. While her post topics vary in nature, they are similar in that they never detract from her professionalism or her brand, and they don’t promote personal opinions that could create a negative stigma towards her and her brand. If you’re unsure about how to build your brand on social media, here are some tips to help.
1. The 80/20 Rule
Eighty percent business, twenty percent personal. When a potential customer follows a link to visit your social media profile, more than likely they’re looking to learn more about your business. If they have to scroll through countless photos of your favorite meals, your daughter’s school play, and selfies, which are almost always unacceptable on a business profile, more than likely they won’t take the time to actually find the product. You have to remember to make it easy for potential customers to find the information they need. While they don’t always want to be sold to, the key is finding the right balance between brand related and personal photos. If you’re unsure, 80/20 is a pretty safe starting place.
2. Opinions are like…well you know the quote.
We’ve seen brand profiles for interior design, catering, and many other companies, and have been astonished by how much opinion based posts some entrepreneurs post. For example, one of our consultants met a young fashion designer at a networking event, and they exchanged social media information. When our consultant went to view the brand designated instagram page, instead of seeing various product shots, behind the scenes pictures from photoshoots, or even event coverage, what she saw was quotes about “homewreckers” and “bad b*****s”, and a lot more unmentionable things. As one could imagine, our consultant did not proceed to make a purchase. Not because the designers products weren’t good, but simply because she didn’t want to have to scroll through images of the designers opinion on why black men date white women, just to view products. Your personal opinions are valued and important, but be mindful of what you portray as the opinion of your brand. Motivational quotes are ok, but even those sometimes need to be screened for word choice.
3. W.W. J.D.
The “W.W.J.D” acronym traditionally stands for “what would Jesus do” and is meant to encourage people to make better decisions in difficult situations. We’re going to borrow that acronym, and for the sake of this concept explanation, we’re going to replace the J with an E. “What Would Edelman Do”. Edelman is one of the worlds largest social media and public relations firms, and we like to look at them as an example of certain levels we’d like to reach. (You can replace the J with the first letter of whatever larger brand you may be inspired by or look to as business motivation.) Everything they post is professional, relevant, and promotes user engagement. For example, their post on Valentines Day was an in office photo of two-employees sharing pastries and mimosas in the office. The photo was professional in that it did not include any inappropriate hand signs, clothing, or verbiage. It was relevant to the holiday, as well as the brand, by including the employees in the photo in a not so serious manner. And the photo promoted user engagement by relating to a topic that most followers celebrated and participated in. Edelman always presents themselves as professional corporation, which helps establish a solid brand. What corporation do you feel exemplifies perfection in your industry? Use them as your guide. If they wouldn’t do it, you wouldn’t either.
Now remember, this is not to say that no brand should make personal posts on social media. It’s important to learn and understand your customer. If they come to you looking for advice on go to restaurants in Atlanta, then by all means posts that plate. But maybe reconsider posting the drunken group photos taken by the end of the night. They may seem harmless, but remember you’re building a brand. You don’t want anything coming back to haunt you when you’re business becomes a household name. By following these 3 tips to building your brand on social media, you can prevent your social media profiles from scaring away potential customers.