Whether it is your own personal brand, you have spent years cultivating or a brand you just launched, the language you use on social media, can make or break your success.
In this post we will look at how using an appropriate vocabulary for your message is the single most important factor in how your posts are perceived.
The language chosen must be carefully considered and not left to chance. Many businesses do not realise the implications of leaving social media duties to junior or inexperienced staff. Social media must be considered the mouthpiece of any modern organisation. Social posts must always embody the profession message and spirit that your company ethics are built upon.
It is generally accepted that social media is a key element of any 21st century marketing plan. Its importance is rarely questioned, but the real question is what value does it actually provide and why does the language its content, has to be so carefully curated? To understand the the answer to this very important question we must first touch on the five pillars of support social media brings to a brand.
1) Brand Legitimacy
When consumers discover a brand of interest through advertising channel or word of mouth, the first thing they will do is search for this brand on line. Most businesses have a website, these days it very common to feature dynamic content and show visitors new products, updates, projects and clients. Whilst a continually updated website is part of a solid overall content creation strategy, it is one dimensional. In the era of web 2.0 consumers crave authenticity and to see the reactions of other consumers. Once a consumer can see others engaging with a brand, the brands comes to life and is used as legitimate. A brand without a social media presence is often viewed as suspect and with most likely something to hide.
2) Brand Awareness
In order for any product or service to thrive, the public must be aware of its existence. Many business owners and products creators, mistakenly believe that simply having a great product is enough to attract engagement both on and offline. Going into 2016, 20% of all web traffic is on Facebook. It is impossible to ignore that one fifth of all online activity is based on one website. Facebook offers many powerful features to help any sized business build brand awareness. We will be covering many aspects of Facebook marketing in great detail in coming blog posts.
3) Generating Sales
Ultimately, all social media marketing efforts must be designed with one final goal in mind, that goal being generating sales. Every step we take from follower acquisition and promoting engagement must be bringing consumers one step further in to our sales funnel, to provide us with the highest ROI possible. Social media platforms have now harvested incredible amounts of data about our everyday lives, every aspect of our behaviour online has been carefully monitored and analysed. Is now possible to inexpensively target niche audiences with a level of precision in a way that has never been seen before.
4) Content Distribution
Social media platforms are the perfect place for a brand to distribute its content to an audience who have already expressed interest in its niche. Distributing content to an interested niche leads to increased engagement and more favourable ROI on the cost of content creation. People are actively seeking interesting content to share on their own social media presences. All brands need to prepare a solid content planning schedule to maximise their reach and engagement with online consumers. We covered how to create an in depth content creation plan in this blog post.
5) Customer Service
Social media provides a unique proposition, in the fact that it allows a brand to turn an unhappy customer, into a raving fan again in full view of its followers. It is important that all social media channels are monitored for customer questions and complaints, and that these are dealt with promptly. Never get into a dispute with followers and always work with the mantra “the customer is always right”. It may be the case the customer is wrong, but its all about damage limitation. When a customer has a negative experience they are much more likely to tell others about it and this can lead the knock on effect of losing more customers.It can sound a bit scary but the upshot is that you are able to offer immediate resolution to your customers complaints.The key take away here is do not ignore followers and engage with them as quickly as possible.
So having established the importance and benefits of social media, let us now look at how optimising your language will bring you the best results. The first thing you must do is etablish a house style and be consistent with it. You need to find the voice of your brand and brief everyone who posts via your brands account to follow this style accordingly. Some brands like to add a slightly more personal touch by having their team finish posts with their own name, as shown below:
This is a definitely a great idea as it delivers a personal touch, humanising the whole affair and increasing the value of the interactions as it lets them know there is a a real human on the other end! If you choose to take this route just
make sure your posters keep it focused, brand related and not to post anything too personal!
The most important thing is to remove any negative language from both your social media vocabulary and your posts. Never criticise or post slanderous remarks about your competitors or bad clients, no matter how tempting or true it maybe. Posting negative remarks presents your brand as totally unprofessional. The saying “all publicity is good publicity”
simply does not apply to the world of social media.
A classic example of why this is never a good idea is the case of Amys Baking Company, who were featured in the ITV Studios America TV series “Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares”.In the TV show celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey had ditched the hapless restaurateurs as they had failed to take any of his advice or cooperate to improve their business in anyway. Many allegations of stealing servers tips and being agressive to customers who complained surfaced in the press in the days after the episode was aired. It also transpired that most of the menu was not actually made at the restaurant and was simply repackaged goods from elsewhere. These accusations caused a storm on Reddit resulting in the owners calling their critics “stupid” and “poor”. The picture below is the perfect example of what not to post, under any circumstances!
The couple behind the restaurant lashed out on facebook with a series of highly aggressive, offensive and negative posts to their fan page. At one point Samy Bouszaglo, (owner and husband to Amy) challenged anyone who had posted any comment about the restaurateurs behaviour to come to Arizona for a showdown. It goes without saying challenging this kind of behaviour will
yield nothing but negative results for your brand. Once social media got wind of these outbursts the situation exploded into a full on meltdown. The situation ended up with the couple stating their Facebook page was hacked and that they did not make a majority of the negative comments.
The Facebook fan page was eventually pulled and the couple ended up as internet Memes as of September 2015, the restaurant is closed and the phone disconnected. The owners claim it has nothing to do with the TV show or the ensuing negative social media publicity, the internet does not agree! So the take away there is, do not engage in feuds or negative publicity!The best thing to do is not to respond and if needed, just shut down your pages and wait for it to blow over!
When posting its always important to have a focus or purpose for your posts.Is your purpose to extend your brands professional network, or is it to engage new followers? It is highly recommended that if you are new to posting as a brand on social networks, you should follow some leading brands who are in the same space and observe their posting techniques.A great technique is to visualise whether you would say to someone in person what you are about post, if you would not – do not post it!
Its important avoid being too brandcentric in your postings, please bare in mind there is a limited amount of news people will want to hear about your brand in a given time frame. To be successful a brand must engage in conversation and act like a human. Finding content that will appeal to your followers that is produced by other thought leaders or brands is a great way to avoid this. Sociocaster provides you with a really simple way to find engaging related and post it quickly.
No doubt the next tip is obvious but never post anything you would not want your family, clients or employees to see or read. Please remember once something is posted, it can not be unposted. Yes it is technically possible to delete a post. However if you have posted anything that is likely to cause an online social media meltdown, someone has no doubt screen captured it and posted it to Reddit!
For a lot of young start ups it may seem like the “cool” thing to do tweeting about how drunk you got at that networking event or how hungover you all are in the office today. Its not “cool” its just putting information into the hands of future clients that could potentially derail their interest in you. When a new client is considering investing your service, they will often apply “due diligence” and take a scan back through your social media posts. Whilst a few light hearted pictures and comments about you had an enjoyable evening meeting new people and engaging with a spot of networking is definitely a good thing, make it about the people, the event – not the booze! Just remember the party “vibe” that surrounds a lot of start ups is just that a “vibe” and any success is always built on hard work. Also avoid making any posts whilst intoxicated as you may live to regret claiming “to of invented something that is going to be bigger than the internet” in the morning. When these claims are not met with actions it erodes the value of your word and your message, so in short – do not do it!!!
Its absolutely crucial for any successful brand to remain totally impartial on subjects of religion and politics. The only exception to this rule is if you are involved in religion or politics as the chances are your online networks will be made up of people who have chosen to follow and engage with you due to sharing your belief. It is completely unacceptable to attempt to push your religious and political views on your followers if your brand is not operating within either of those spaces. Expressing these views (no matter how passionate your are) will result in a sharp drop in engagement, distract from your product/service and cause your followers to descend into an anarchic meltdown. Social media is all about connecting with brands on a human level and to connect we have to like the person we perceive ourselves to be engaging with. Nothing divides otherwise peaceful conversations like these two topics. These are personal, explosive, subjective topics with no definitive right or wrong answer. Please respect your brand and your followers by keeping your postings relating to your niche and subject matter.
It is absolutely fine to wish your followers a great religious or public holiday, this demonstrate you
are in tune with their culture, but leave it at that!
The final point is simply avoid commenting on world issues unless you are a charity or news platform. It can often come across as insincere, bandwagon and insensitive. If you are raising money for a particular charity that is great, by all means go for it. However never be a grief thief and post because you think appearing to emphasise with a current world event is going to win you favour with your followers.
Just remember to be authentic, focussed, friendly and positive! I hope you have found these tips useful and actionable.
I’ll be back on Wednesday with another in depth post on measuring the success of your social media campaigns.