Social Media Branding and the Naked Storefront
By: Leamon Crooms
Imagine, for a moment, a physical store that opted out of placing any sort of sign out front.
Potential clients would be unable to find the store’s location easily, and pedestrians would largely ignore the unmarked door, minimizing foot traffic. It would be an unwise move for any physical store to make, yet some e-commerce merchants – as well as “hybrid” bricks-and-clicks stores – do exactly that by neglecting their social media presence.
In a world that has undeniably gone digital, it’s more important than ever to put out a “storefront sign” in the form of social media branding. Doing so not only passively introduces your company to potential clientele, it also serves as a beacon for current customers to interact and connect with your company through digital media. Still on the fence about going all-in on posts, tweets, and snaps? Here are three crucial reasons you should be going all-in on social media branding:
It allows you (to an extent) to control the conversation.
People with problems take to social media these days, even on the smallest of complaints – think of it as word-of-mouth on steroids. If you aren’t already on social media and active enough to pick up on these complaints, these customers essentially have free reign to steer the narrative. It’s hard to argue with claims that you’re not an unresponsive or uncaring company when you aren’t even part of the conversation. If, on the other hand, you respond promptly with an invitation to take it to private messages (out of the all-seeing, all-scrutinizing public eye), you’ve instantly established that you’re willing to listen and help.
It gives you unprecedented insight into your customers.
If you had offered a company in the mid-90s a chance to eavesdrop on nearly every conversation being had about their brand, they would have mortgaged their headquarters to get access. These days, the information and access are free – or, if you’re using tools, affordable – for the taking, but far too few companies take advantage of it. A daily search for “Your Company Name” or “#CompanyName” has volumes of insights to share. You don’t, after all, want to find out the hard way that the playful brand acronym you’ve been using for a week is shared with a socially-reviled political stance. The other side of the beneficial coin, of course, is that you can also keep tabs on your competition and mimic moves that work.
It offers both brand legitimacy and vitality.
Any company can put out a periodic marketing email, but a brand that is active and engaging on social media tells a different and more flattering story. A social media-engaged company that is available for questions is one available for problems and help, which builds consumer confidence in products and services. Applying for – and receiving – the iconic blue “verified” checkmark on platforms like Facebook and Twitter also increases the impact of consumer trust and message resonance, as users can instantly verify your posts as brand-legitimate. It’s also an excellent opportunity to share digital media, such as short videos taken “behind the scenes” or photo collages of upcoming promotions.
As a final note, remember that simply being present on social media platforms isn’t enough – any more than standing silently behind a counter and refusing to help customers would be. Engage with your customers as a brand, always take the high road, and keep your eyes and ears open for marketing suggestions and opportunities. Do it right, and it’s like having a huge, well-lit, and custom-made sign affixed squarely above your storefront for all to see.