The social brands Top 100 survey was released recently and at first glance it would be easy to think that the list means nothing to the average SME or sole trader.
They dont have the name or resources to make them a Dell (#1) or Nike (#2). Of course it could be argued that neither did Dell or Nike when they started out. I believe that small businesses can learn from the survey and a brief glance further down the list demonstrates that its not all about big-name companies with a large social media savvy marketing department. Take giffgaff at #4 little known compared to others on the list but a great example of how engagement can pay dividends. So what are the lessons from the list that every business can learn?
1. Create your community
Whether you sell cupcakes in Cardiff or tyres in Truro youll have competitors. Social media will help build and retain your customer base. But dont just post messages about your business – start creating a community that people will respond to. That might mean posting stuff that is relevant to your customer base, talking about local stuff and linking with other businesses. It wont all be about your selling your business but it will all be about building a brand that is interesting and trusted
2. Be human
We love to complain about faceless customer service, and nobody likes being held in a queue to make a complaint. So why not make being human one of your companies brand values? Let your customers get to know you as a business person, a parent, an employer. Encourage them to post customer issues via social media. This may include complaints but how you deal with these may actually improve your companies brand at least people will know the real human being they are dealing with.
3. Brave new world
Social media means changing the way we have always been taught to work. One of the key reasons for a social brands success is its ability to respond to customer engagement quickly, and to create content driven by often very immediate issues. This forces business to realise that marketing, PR and customer service are not add-ons to a business, to be dealt with when [or if] time allows they are an integral day-to-day indeed hour-to-hour part of a business
Dell and Nike do have a head start over the Cardiff cup-cake seller in one respect; they spend millions on brand-creating advertising and PR. Even without social media they would still be a brand. Small businesses today realise that to create a brand they MUST largely rely on social media. It is a golden cost-effective opportunity for them to make that emotional connection that brings more customers, retains them and offers greater selling opportunities. Whilst the tools of social media are free, anything that takes time and resources has a cost. Talking to a reputable Web Design and SEO consultancy who specialises in social media marketing services will help you plan and achieve your social media goals. Don’t forget to use blogs and forums where possible as there will be lots of people who are happy to provide further support and talk about their own experiences using social media to build their social brand.
Image credit – Jason Howie