Many would argue that social media is not a place for corporate brands, after all, traditionally social media has been a place for people to be causal, and to interact outside of working hours. Which many would observe – by the by, suggests that corporate brands don’t really belong there.
And yet, with the rise of social media marketing – we’re not one t miss a trick. And let’s face it – if you can market yourselves for free (or very little – which is essentially the draw of SMM) then why wouldn’t they give it a go. There are many corporate brands now on social media – some succeeding and some not so much.
It’s no surprise though, that there seem to be as many failings as there are successes in this niche’s social media attempts – because it’s such a difficult combination to get right. So what should you be focusing on, and how can you make your efforts a success? Here I’ve tried to put together a brief guide for those looking embrace social media on behalf of corporate brands:
1. Understand your focus and voice
A corporate brand has a distinct voice and a distinct aim, and that is something that needs to be outlined and discussed before you go any further. With corporate brands, you often need to discuss the “don’ts’s” rather than the “do’s”. You have no doubt elected someone or (perhaps) a few people to update on behalf of the brand – and it is these people you need to brief about what is and what isn’t in keeping with the tone of the brand. Talk about what might be damaging to the brand’s reputation – and make sure these things are then avoided at all costs. You’ll also want to discuss how sales-heavy you will make updates. Are you pushing your service using social media – or do you simply want to suggest your services to those who might find it helpful?
2. Schedule updates where possible
There are some great tools out there for scheduling updates (Buffer being a favourite of mine)– and where possible you should try to do this. For corporate brands you may not want a sporadic and spontaneous approach to social media – infact you probably want to take the opposite approach. Discuss with your team monthly news and updates which you have clearance to post and discuss and can schedule ahead of time – and highlight anything that is confidential and shouldn’t be posted. This avoids all kinds of disasters.
3. Interact with other businesses and brands
Whilst you won’t want to be promoting anything your competitors are doing, you will still want to use social media as a platform for building good B2B relationships. This makes your brand look good (social media isn’t about being selfish after all – it’s about engagement) and hopefully by encouraging and interacting with other brands, you’re inadvertently raising awareness of your own. Just be sure to black-list any major competitors from this – the corporate world is a competitive one – so don’t be fooled into promoting a product or company directly in competition with your own – just because they tweeted you or liked your status. You have to be nice – but you have to be smart too.
4. Choose an appropriate platform
Social media marketing isn’t just revolved around Twitter and Facebook – believe it or not there are many other networking sites you can get involved with. One of the most successful for high-end corporate brands is LinkedIn – as this is specifically a business network and therefore protects businesses and brand’s best interests. If you were only going to take it one step at a time, I would recommend trying LinkedIn first – as it offers the least risk to corporate brands. Try not to jump the gun and join everything and anything available – whilst this may appear to give you an upper hand, it most definitely doesn’t – especially when a few weeks down the line you’re struggling to update them all and keep them al properly managed.
5. Try not to act corporate when communicating
Lastly, remember that the people on social networks are real people – and behind every profile photo is a genuine person (usually!) with genuine interests. Don’t talk down to people and don’t reel off a load of corporate copy and pasted text either. If someone has taken the time to communicate with you and reach out to you – then offer them the same level of respect in return. You can be professional, whilst also being friendly, so find a good balance. Elle-Rose Williams is a freelance writer working with Who Is Hosting This, you can find out more about what she’s working on here.