what-is-digital-marketing-pt3Digital marketing has a lot of moving parts. If you have been following our “What is Digital Marketing?” blog series, then you’ve already learned about the importance of developing an engaging website and getting it listed on local search sites so potential customers can find your business. Now it’s time to show them what makes it stand out from the competition.

Using social media is an excellent — and affordable — way to manage your brand and cultivate relationships with prospects.

Although social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest were introduced as a means for individuals to connect with one another, it didn’t take long for digital marketers like The Web Guys to recognize their brand-management potential. Sure, these channels make it easier than ever to keep up with high school friends, share cute pictures of the grandkids, and find inspiration for wedding planning, but they also can be a powerful business tool.

How Can Brands Leverage Social Media?

Pretty much every business has a profile on relevant major social media outlets these days, and the reason is simple: Participating allows a company to add a touch of personality to its brand and connect with its target audience.

The ultimate goal, of course, is to get visitors to your website and persuade them to try your goods or services, but prospects are much more likely to engage with the content when it comes from an entity they already know and like.

Social media provides a venue for you to carry on conversations with current and future customers — and to show them that your business cares about something other than the bottom line.

Build Trust, and Followers Will Spread the Word

If we as a collective people hate anything, it’s being “sold to.” We know all about sales gimmicks and empty promises, and we want no part of either. But we don’t mind listening to a friend tell us about the awesome gadget he just picked up, and we usually end up wanting one of our own. Why is that? Two reasons. We trust our friend, and word-of-mouth referrals are powerful.

Trust is incredibly important in any relationship, and savvy companies use social media to make the case that they’re worthy of customers’ confidence. These interactive channels give users an inside look at you and the other faces behind your brand. They allow prospects to hear your voice and laugh at your jokes.

I like to think of social media as a living review board. After all, many consumers nowadays navigate to Facebook or Twitter when they want to learn about a business. Having active profiles in places they’re already visiting gives them a sense that your doors are open and that yours is a trustworthy brand with nothing to hide.

Once you establish that connection, your social media followers can help to amplify your message online by liking, sharing, retweeting, or upvoting it, for example. Any news about a brand, good or bad, spreads like wildfire these days, and smart brands keep a close eye on the flames reinforcing the positive and extinguishing the negative.

Social channels make it easy to monitor what the public thinks about your brand. If your company isn’t active, how will you know what people are saying?

Keep it Simple on Social Media

If you’re just beginning to explore these powerful channels, start small. Create a profile on the main social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. Being active is key. You don’t want to let these profiles languish and give users the wrong idea about your brand. Don’t go crazy and over-post, either. Set aside a small block of time each day and post something to each profile. You can even use the same content in different places.

As for the posts themselves, make them fun and engaging. Feel free to promote deals your company is offering, but be sure to mix those in with posts that add personality. Not every entry should be a sales pitch. In fact more often than not, simply getting your name out there is enough. Share a simple, funny meme or something else that shows the lighter side of your business and makes it seem approachable.

Need some help with your digital efforts? Contact us at (317) 805-4933 today. To stay up-to-date on digital marketing and what The Web Guys can do for you, be sure to follow our weekly “What is Digital Marketing” blog series.

What is Digital Marketing?

Part 1: Building a Solid Foundation 
Part 2: Joining the Local Search Community 
This Week: Managing Your Company’s Brand Online 
Part 4: Managing Your Company’s Online Reputation
Part 5: Keeping Up on SEO
Part 6: Making the Most of PPC Campaigns
Part 7: Wrapping Up Your Digital Marketing Takeaways