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Best Practices In Brand Management

Many businesses and nonprofit organizations rely on social media to help promote their brand, their candidate or their favorite cause. Although social media is an important part of brand management, it isn’t a silver bullet. It’s more like a double-edged sword that can work for you or against you.

Social media is another form of earned media. In order to earn attention for your posts, you must build your audience. You must play by the rules and you need to refine your best practices constantly. Some organizations are absolutely crushing it on social media platforms, while others are missing in action or shooting themselves in the foot. What sets these organizations apart?

Harnessing the power of social media requires strategic planning and opportunism.

It requires a team effort that includes the executive leadership team, not just an uninformed rookie who manages social media platforms with random posts. The following best practices can help you refine a social media presence that builds your brand and your bottom line:

  1. Conduct A Social Media Audit: Where are you today? What is working? Is there an account for the organization on the biggest and best platforms? Do key executives have accounts? Who is in charge of social media? Is there a communications plan in place? Is there a goal? Do you have a blog?Video?
  2. Develop Social Media Accounts: Establish an account for your organization on the most influential social media platforms, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube. Identify the key spokespeople for the organization and make sure that they have their professional accounts established and polished. Make sure that the profile information and graphics are uniform with the organization’s brand standards;
  3. Train The Social Media Team: Be sure to assign a seasoned professional to coordinate all social media activity, including the primary organizational accounts. Make assignments to the rest of the team to support the online campaign through their personal/professional accounts. Explain how their interaction with the campaign can help build awareness, understanding and support. They can respond to posts, like them, and share posts in other ways. Encourage all stakeholders to support the campaign. Establish social media roles and guidelines for all employees. Develop strategies to get customers and influencers to make strategic posts;
  4. Build Social Media Networks: The reach of your network determines the impact of any social media campaign. The message is part of the equation, but people who care must see your message. Be sure to follow key influencers and target them in certain posts. Be sure to follow allies, members, customers, volunteers, employees, suppliers, legislators, regulators and others as appropriate. Follow people who share your posts and be sure to follow those who follow you. As your network grows, so will your influence;
  5. Research Competition/Opposition: Social media is a glass house. Your competitors will follow your posts. Keep track of your competitors on social media. Competitive research can help you be the leader on social media and in the market;
  6. Integrate Social Media & Brand Management: Establish goals, key metrics and specific assignments for the social media team. Develop a media calendar of planned posts that is strategic and meaningful to stakeholders. Many organizations are struggling to find the right metrics to measure the impact of their social media campaigns. Many metrics are meaningless. Some outcomes are impossible to measure. Network growth, number of posts, number of shares and other intermediates metrics can help you gauge momentum, but the bottom line of the organization is typically the only metric that matters. Social media is a leadership tool, a positioning tool and a relationship-building tool. It also helps build SEO for your website if done properly. Don’t back away from social media just because you can’t measure the impact of every post.
  7. Develop Toolkit: Develop graphics, GIFs, MEMEs, white papers, blogs and photographs that help tell the story. These tools also can make your post viral, which means that it will reach even more people. Make sure that the executive team members all have professional headshots (casual or formal) for their profile pictures. Dark photos and full-body shots don’t work well on social media.
  8. Post With Graphics & Hashtags: Be sure to put one or two strategic hash tags in your post. Since most social media platforms also serve as search engines, a hash tag can make sure that your post is more visible to people outside of your social media network when they are searching for a topic. You also can include a hashtag to bomb a conversation.
  9. Monitor Social Media: Social media is meant to be a dialogue, but many organizations and leaders use it as a monologue of posts. I urge you to engage with people when possible and when appropriate. It helps build relationships, while demonstrating your humanity (versus a bot). Your responses are a chance to elaborate, investigate and advocate. In some cases, you must push back against misinformation. In other situations, you may need to ignore, block or mute responses from people who are set up as trolls. Don’t give a voice to those who are unreasonable. Be the voice of reason and remember that you won’t receive support from all of the people all of the time. Social media is a numbers game, so cut the losers loose as soon as possible and engage your supporters.

Corporations, nonprofits, government and advocates can all harness the power of social media. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes and don’t be afraid of being human. As you will see, social media can be a powerful team-building tool among all stakeholders.

PR firms Phoenix Arizona

Crossbow Communications is an award-winning and record-setting brand-management company. We integrate marketing and public affairs for consistency, credibility and maximum impact.

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Author: Gary Chandler