Before launching a social media effort for your business, think about how the company will use it. What types of content might gather interest from viewers? What would get the audience engaged? Also, understand the strengths of each social media network in advance. For instance, if you build a brand presence on Instagram, be sure to schedule ongoing photography that is relevant to the business, product, or location. Start a social media calendar where you can continually add and schedule the posts that will go out on each platform.

It is better not to launch on a platform at all than to launch on social, post four times and then forget it.

branding with social media

How do you retain brand identity on social media? Pre-planning and strategy are important, as is ongoing maintenance.

Plan the social media strategy

Integrate social media into the existing marketing approach for the brand. Social media tone and imagery are an extension of branding. Is the brand conservative? Trendy? Family-oriented? Funny? Social media posts should always match the company’s voice and values.

Create and follow social media guidelines

Create guidelines in advance so posts are always consistent. Start with questions about the existing brand identity. Think about tone and approach with comments and other audience interaction. Some helpful questions to ask may include:

  • What is the brand’s stance on controversy? Is the brand edgy or traditional?
  • Is there a political leaning? Alternatively, do you avoid politics completely?
  • Is the brand referred to as “we”?
  • How often will comments be monitored?

Retain the visual brand identity across platforms

If you are launching business pages/profiles on multiple social media platforms, be consistent. Use the same company name and handle including spelling, capitalization, and abbreviation. This allows consumers to find the brand anywhere. In addition, use the same colors, images & logos on all social platforms.

Understand the target audience

Take some time to think about the core target audience for your business. Who buys the product? What are their common likes, dislikes, behaviors? Are moms, retirees, or millennials the core audience? How does the audience use media? Once you have a solid understanding of the social media audience, think about what those people want to read. Social does not work if all you do is sell.

Find shareable content

Social media is personal and interactive. Provide value to the target audience by moving beyond sales and promotions. Seek out and share news and information about the industry, entertaining facts, or inspiration. The brand guidelines and audience interests will determine the type of content to seek out and post. Invite followers to provide opinions and interact.

Manage negative social media comments

Always have a plan for managing comments before a social media launch. When negative comments are posted, do not ignore or delete them. One exception would be “trolls,” who are intentionally cruel or rude. Address any follower who has a legitimate complaint directly and quickly. Acknowledge the complaint. Always remain polite. In addition, never make an excuse or try to shift the blame. When handled correctly and professionally, negative comments can be an opportunity to show off great customer service.

Engage with positive comments

Reply with a thank you when followers engage with praise for your product or brand. Do not send scripted responses. Instead, reply in a personable way using the customer’s name. Take the opportunity to ask for a review or continued business, whenever applicable.

In summary, social media for business provides a unique opportunity to show the human side of your business. It is a chance to interact directly with customers and prospects and highlight your dedication to customer service. Social engagement is important for any business, and a little pre-planning can ensure it is a positive brand extension.