Achieving success for your brand on social media does not require an intervention by the Deities, a bigger flute than the Pied Piper, or more luck than a Powerball winner. The so called secrets of social media aren’t secrets at all but very simple, straightforward strategies which are essentially common sense to anyone who has even the barest inkling of what maintaining a brand presence on social media is all about… or being in business at all.
The slings & arrows of outrageous decimation
It’s amazing how many online brand marketing managers will spare no expense or effort to trumpet the quality of their products while ignoring the quality of their social media offerings. Essentially there is no fundamental difference between building quality into a tangible product and doing the same for an intangible one. Just like your brand’s reputation would suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous decimation if your latest product fell apart within a few days of normal use, your social media presence requires extensive quality control to prevent that same type of damage. When an individual follows your brand they are providing you with a representation of trust. They trust your brand and they are furthermore trusting that you will honor that relationship by living up to the standards you have promised. When your social network posts run off the rails into the land of the irrelevant (or worse yet the self-deprecating or outright offensive), you are violating that trust while loudly and clearly informing your followers that you do not consider your relationship with them to have any real value other than “just shut up and go to check out.”
Listen & acknowledge, don’t just pay lip service
Humility is a primary factor in the maintenance of any social media brand presence. As soon as you start tossing around hype about how great you are and how your brand squashes any competition, you’re well on the way to losing the followers you have worked so hard to obtain. It is imperative that your brand also be ultimately and fully approachable in every sense. The customer must understand that you care about their experience with your brand and are ready and willing at any time to do everything necessary to ensure that if something has gone wrong you’ll fix it. An extension to this basic concept is that you need to take the customer’s input seriously. If they have a suggestion to improve your offerings at any level between the provision of customer service right down to the actual final product itself, you need to actually listen and truly and honestly acknowledge, not just pay lip service. The signal to noise ratio in your social media offerings needs to be extremely high in signal and low in noise, so ensure that every post and tweet carries an inherent value and relevance specifically designed to engage your customer.
Turning the other cheek is a social media brand prerequisite
The pressures of conducting business in the second decade of the millennium are certainly severe and you might feel that you might be justified in using your social media platform to respond to a customer or competitor with a vehemence that they “deserve.” However, you would always be wrong. Turning the other cheek is a prerequisite to maintaining a social media presence for your brand. Maintaining trust with your online customers involves providing authoritative and useful information about matters that interest them. Those topics do not include replying in kind to an expletive flinger, badmouthing your competitors, off color commenting on issues that have nothing to do with your brand such as politics or unrelated current events, or just flying off the handle to let off some steam about something or another.
No matter what is tossed at you in the social networking sphere, the only way to maintain your brand’s reputation is to equally maintain your head. Therefore, if Rudyard Kipling had lived in our age, he might have written:
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you
You’ll be a quality social media marketer.