advertising

Creating Your Brand’s Online Persona

Most businesses maintain a social media presence in order to engage existing customers and reach new customers. Though sharing high quality content is one of the primary ways to achieve these goals, brands also need to think about how their followers perceive their online persona.

Think of it this way: social media accounts are like extensions or additional dimension of a brand’s or business’s personality. If you haven’t taken the time to define this personality and consider how you want to portray it via social media, then your brand can come off as haphazard, dull, or even off-putting.

In other words, carefully defining your business’s online persona is kind of a big deal!

In order to address this kind-of-big-deal, what should you take into consideration when determining your business’s online persona?

What is the tone of your online voice?

  • Enthusiastic?
  • Friendly?
  • Down-to-earth?
  • Strictly professional?
  • Knowledgeable?
  • Approachable?
  • Welcoming?
  • Humorous?
  • Replete with hipster irony?

Any one of these tones can be a good fit for a brand or business. In addition to helping you target a particular demographic or audience, they can help you create content that this audience wants to share with others.

Think of it this way: let’s say you sell donuts. (I love you already.) You could post a picture of a donut with the caption, “This is a donut.” You could do this every day, with the exact same personality-less caption every single time. (This might be veering into hipster-irony territory, but let’s set that aside for the moment.) 

Or you could add some personality to those posts! Perhaps your very refined and mature and knowledgeable donut shop could add a caption about the exact amount of time it took to create this donut from scratch, from the second you pulled out the flour to the second you dipped the fried dough into the glaze. People love behind-the-scenes knowledge like that. Or perhaps your super-enthusiastic and super-casual store could add a caption about “ZOMG I WANT TO PUT ALL THE DONUTS IN MY FACEHOLE!” People love to laugh about things like that.

Better yet, people love to share behind-the-scenes knowledge and things that make them laugh.

Remember, sharing is golden. Sharing is what you want. Sharing and liking and commenting and all of that wonderful engagement is the whole point of maintaining (and, let’s be honest, marketing via) your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, and other social media sites.

You just need to determine which online tone (or tones) work well for you. And if they’re working—if they’re keeping your audience interested, engaged, and sharing—keep using them.

What tones do you want to avoid?

  • Sales-pitchy
  • Condescending
  • Devoid of any personality

People don’t want to follow you to receive an endless stream of sales pitches. It’s spammy, and it makes people angry. (It doesn’t matter if it’s irrational anger: it’s still anger, which is the exact opposite of what you want your followers to feel when they see you pop up in their feed.) They also don’t want to follow anyone—or like or share or comment on any post—that is boring. (Obviously). And they certainly don’t want to follow anyone that is rude or haughty. (That’s a quick ticket to the UNFOLLOW button.)

A carefully considered online persona, however, can help to better position you and your brand and your brand’s posts when it comes to your social media presence. The better-positioned you are, the more engagement you’ll receive. Better yet, the more engagement you receive, the more people you reach online.

How does your online voice differ from the voice on your website and/or the one in your store, restaurant, or office?

  • Is your social media voice more casual?
  • Are you trying to reach a new or expanded demographic with your social media accounts?
  • Is your social media voice your own voice, the voice of a particular person in your business, or a generic business voice?

Your business’s social media persona does not have to be exactly like the persona of your brick and mortar business site, nor does it have to match precisely the tone on your website. In many cases, successful social media accounts have tones that are a bit more casual than their corresponding websites or locations.

Whether it’s more casual or more professional, or whether it’s representative of a particular person or the brand in general, the most important point is that a brand and business determine what the persona is in the first place.

It should only take a short while to outline exactly what you want this persona to be: maybe a quick meeting, maybe a few minutes hammering out a list of qualities that you want your business to express online. Don’t worry: it’s not rocket science. It’s not even seventh grade earth science.

The point is this: once you’ve determined that online persona, and once you start using that persona in your posts, your brand will thank you for it.

Your followers just might too.

Facebook Updates Ads for Brands

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Facebook is rolling out a new way for their Exchange ads to reach users by allowing them to appear in people's desktop news feeds (and not just in the sidebar). What does this mean?

You've probably already seen sponsored and promoted posts in your news feed. But the new FBX ads aren't just your run-of-the-mill sponsored posts: their very appearance in your feed is based on your online browsing activity. As Tech Crunch describes it, the ad platform allows advertisers to direct their marketing based on “users’ online browsing habits, using a cookie based real-time bidding platform.” And now, instead of only appearing in the right side bar, FBX ads can appear in desktop news feeds: that is, the place where most Facebook users spend most of their time. (Note: these ads will not yet appear in mobile news feeds.)

In addition to the new placement of these ads, users can also like, share, and comment on the Exchange ads, just as they can on any other post appearing in their news feed. In my mind, there are pros and cons to the like and comment features of these ads. On the pro side, this feature gives Facebook users another way to interact with ads. So while many people might not click through to the landing page on the ad itself, that doesn't mean that they won't like or comment on a clever, funny, or inspiring FBX ad in their news feed. (And this is the kicker: a Facebook ad that's not clever, funny, or inspiring will likely ring hollow to people who come to the site for the very purpose of seeing what's clever, funny, and inspiring that day.)

In this respect, increased brand interaction will mean increased brand recognition. What's more, since the ads are already “custom-fit” to users based on their browsing habits, it might be more likely that users will pay attention to these ads when they see them in their news feeds.

On the other hand, this feature also means that brands will have to pay careful attention to exactly what's going on in those comments sections. As we all know, it doesn't take long for comments to go awry. Like any other social media activity, brands will want to monitor these ads to ensure that the comments aren't drowning out—or worse yet, damaging—the brand itself.

Beyond this specific feature, however, it seems that the new FBX ads can offer something even more enticing to brands and businesses: namely, a much better ROI than we've seen in previous iterations of Facebook ads. In fact, Ad Roll has reported a 16x return on their customers' investments when it comes to Exchange ads. With these FBX ads now given the green light to appear in the section of Facebook that sees the highest levels of activity, advertisers might soon see an even greater return.

At Bold Hive, we can help you determine if a FBX ad makes sense for your company and your brand. They just might be a way for you to reach the Facebook users who are a perfect fit for your product or services.

Dude, Where’s My ROI? 7 Top Social Media Platforms For Your Business

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One of Bold Hive's biggest commitments is to fresh and innovative solutions to business needs. And when it comes to social media, one thing we know is that your business doesn't have to be everywhere in order to develop a fresh and innovative social media strategy.

In fact - and especially if you only have limited resources and/or time to commit to social media - you likely only need to be where it's right for your business and brand to be. To explain, you don't want to invest in a specific social media platform if you're not committed to it, and you certainly don't want to invest in one if it's not a good fit for your brand. Otherwise, you risk getting no return: or worse yet, you could damage your brand.

In that regard, if you are looking to maximize the ROI on your social media investment, what is right for you and your brand?

Facebook
Though Facebook hasn't been the social media platform with the biggest buzz in recent years, this shouldn't detract from the fact that it's still a social media juggernaut. In fact, according to a Pew Internet study on social media use, 66% of Internet users in the United States use Facebook. What's more, these users skew toward an adult demographic.

Thus, the vast majority of businesses will want a Facebook presence. It's an especially apt platform for:

  • flexing your graphic design and/or photography muscles (particularly in the form of unique shareable images)
  • conducting giveaways (especially if you require users to like, comment, or share in order to participate in the giveaway)
  • engaging in conversations with new and loyal followers alike (and these conversations can be most engaging when you ensure that you aren't just filling your Facebook page with direct marketing images and statements)

Twitter
At first glance, it might not seem as if 140-character updates can do all that much for your brand.

But if your brand targets a younger demographic, then you might want to think again. According to that same Pew Internet study, 27% of young adults ages 18-29 use Twitter. (To compare, the closest demographic behind them are adults ages 30-49, with 15% self-reporting as Twitter users.)

But besides targeting your customers' demographics, Twitter is also useful for:

  • paying attention to relevant conversations (including those from competitors, market influencers, and brand loyalists alike)
  • promoting a brand event (especially when you can make use of a hashtag that can help you track tweets about the event)
  • engaging with your followers (particularly when you are able to share quick responses to their inquiries or concerns)

Instagram
Instagram is another great place to be if you are looking to create share-able images that generate excitement for your brand. You snap a picture with your phone, add one of Instagram's available filters to the image, and then share it with your followers in a matter of seconds.

Instagram is especially worth considering as a social media platform if you are:

  • willing to share images of your business's creative process (especially if your customers are excited by the prospect of seeing what goes on “behind the scenes”)
  • branding yourself alongside your company's products (particularly if you and/or someone else are the “faces” of your company)
  • wanting an easy way to share news about market events or travels (and then you can think of Instagram as the online event- or travel-journal for your brand)

YouTube
YouTube isn't only about adorable cats and viral dance crazes. Increasingly, it's also a place where businesses can share unique content and—if they're creating high-quality content—generate a whole host of subscribers.

In that respect, YouTube is the right place for your business if you are:

  • creating high-quality video content (and this doesn't mean that you need to shoot it in HD—it just means that it needs to be unique, useful, and really something that YOU would want to watch)
  • looking for a non-static approach to social media (especially if you have a visually dynamic business and/or product)
  • willing to update your videos regularly (because unless you create the next big viral video, it's not worth pouring company resources into online videos if you only have the time and resources to create one video)

Tumblr
Tumblr is a micro-blogging site that is perfect for niche blogs and/or brands looking to focus on one aspect of their business in a social blogging platform. 

Tumblr might be a good fit for you if you are:

  • hoping to focus on one facet of your business in a blog (especially since tumblr accounts tend to generate most social buzz when the account has a narrow focus)
  • looking to create short blog posts (including posts as short as a caption-less image or a short quote!)
  • wanting to expand your image-sharing beyond quick posts on Facebook, Instagram, or other image-sharing sites (because you can say a whole paragraph or more about the picture on tumblr)

LinkedIn
As a professional social networking site, LinkedIn trends toward a different demographic than most other social media sites. Its users tend to be over 30 years old, and they tend to earn a higher income than the users on other social sites.

LinkedIn should suit you and your business well if you are:

  • looking to recruit new employees online (especially since you can make use of their online recruiting tools)
  • wanting to keep track of relevant business news (including news shared by the professional groups that LinkedIn allows you to create and/or join)
  • hoping to engage with like-minded leaders in your field (both by following their  status updates and by “making connections” with relevant business leaders)

Pinterest
Pinterest is a virtual “pin board” where users can “pin” anything and everything that they find interesting. (Think of it like a highly organized and categorized online kitchen corkboard.)  It's also no secret that Pinterest appeals mostly to a female audience, with 19% of female Internet users (as opposed to 5% of male Internet users) describing themselves as Pinterest users. 

You might consider starting a brand presence on Pinterest if your company is:

  • targeting a largely female demographic (and even if you sell products geared mostly for men, remember that there are plenty of Pinterest boards devoted to gift-giving for men)
  • promoting products that are image-oriented (especially since each “pin” is accompanied by a relevant image)
  • generating high-quality images, how-to's, or other buzzworthy content on your website (particularly since visually stimulating pins can both create excitement for your product and increase traffic for your website)

At Bold Hive, we can help you determine what sort of social media presence makes the most sense for you and your brand and that optimizes the ROI on your social media efforts. You don't have to be everywhere, but you also don't want to miss out on an opportunity to grow your brand and your business with a strong social media strategy.

Putting the “Social” in Social Media

Though many recent analyses suggest social media sites aren't always the best platforms for brands to directly advertise their products to social media users, this doesn't mean that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and so on are useless business tools.

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In fact, it's quite the contrary: social media use can be an excellent tool for increasing your brand's visibility and amplifying your company's message.   You just need to remember to keep the “social” in social media.

What exactly does that mean?  Here are three tips to get you on track when it comes to social media:

Define yourself as a media resource
Think of your social media presence as its own source for media.  You don't want your followers to see you simply as a company megaphone: you want them to see you as a resource for tips, information, and even inspiration too.

Ask yourself: Who are your existing customers?  Where are you looking to expand your sales or your brand influence?  And then what you do want to share with themWhat might they want you to share with them?

You don't want to just
“talk about yourself”

Keep in mind that you don't want to just “talk about yourself” either!  Find news that is relevant to your customers.  Post images or photographs that your followers can't find anywhere else.  Even if what you share isn't all about you, you can still define you and your brand as a resource for whatever is interesting, pertinent, or newsworthy to your followers.

 
 Photo couresty jenny downing

Photo couresty jenny downing

Engage: listen and talk with, not at
Social media users are pretty savvy about recognizing when a brand's social media platforms are only a one-way street.  Most don't want to see you talking at them all day long.

Take some time to listen to the conversations that people are having.  What topics are they discussing on Twitter or Facebook?  What groups are people a part of on LinkedIn?  What are people sharing on Pinterest?  What are people doing in the images they share on Instagram?

After you've listened for a while, then you can start to engage with your followers and/or those you follow.  Retweet, favorite, or even respond to people on Twitter.  Share or comment others' posts on Facebook.  Participate in LinkedIn group discussions, re-pin on Pinterest, and like and comment on Instagram.

Finally, when you create your own content, make sure that it's something that others would want to listen to as well.  To reiterate, you want to position yourself as media resource for others.  The more social you are, and the more share-worthy content you create, the more you do to amplify your brand.

 

Think beyond audience: think community
This is what it means to be a media resource who listens to your followers and creates share-worthy content: instead of building an audience for your brand, you create a community around it.

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For an audience can only listen passively to you.  Worse yet, they can “walk out” and unfollow you.  But a community engages and interacts with you.

And when it comes down to it, having customers—or even potential customers—who engage and interact with you on a regular basis might be more useful in the long run than any static ad on Facebook or Twitter could ever hope to be.