Here are some digital marketing tips to help you get started to create your fan base. These 4 simple tips will help you grow your fan base into a dynamic and stable following you have always hoped for.
1. Be Visible
Because the internet has become the primary source of information for people when it comes to deciding on what pages, business and the like they will frequent, it’s critical that you are present in multiple locations on the web. Ways to become more visible include having the following:
- A professional-looking website that’s updated frequently and contains menus, location information, and hours. The website should also include a blog to help you tell your story and links to your other social sites (Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, etc).
- A Facebook or Tumblr Page that it is updated constantly with your content.
- There are other ways to be visible such as Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
2. Tell Your Story
Your fan base love to know the back story of how you came about. They love to know things like how you got started, what the significance behind your posts, and what you’re passionate about. Social media tools are the perfect platform to tell you story and encourage your fan base to share your story with their circle of friends.
3. Listen & Engage
People like to feel like they are being listened to, even online. A social media strategy is an easy way to establish a two-way channel of communication in which you are giving your fan base the opportunity to communicate with you with the click of a mouse. Successful blogs, websites, etc. encourage people to interact and engage with them online. They encourage feedback through tools like Yelp, Digg, StumbleUpon. Welcome any communication you get and make sure you reply! This engagement will payoff in the long run.
4. Think Outside the Box
Don’t be afraid to try something new. There are some real innovative social media platforms out there. Some like Empire Avenue allow you to engage your fans while linking incentives to your posts on your blog or your tweets on Twitter.
But like I always say, at the end of the day this will work if you have content that people like to read, share and talk about.
Anyone who has spent time in the brand space will have certainly come across Marty Neumeier’s “The Brand Gap” – it’s one of the foundational books on how to cultivate a brand, and is a must-read for any brand manager.
The central premise of the book is that a brand is not simply a logo, identity or even product. Neither is it what you, the brand manager say it is. Rather, a “brand is a person’s feeling about a product, service or organization.In other words, it’s not what you say it is, it’s what they say it is.”
Branding is all about creating an emotional clarity by providing a story around what you are selling, and social media will fan the flames of those companies that live up to their brand promise, or quickly take down those that are merely selling a false idea.
But what kind of role does social media play in crafting successful brands today? If at it’s core a brand is “what they say it is,” and we have more “theys” sharing their thoughts and ideas with the world, then what does that mean for how brands grow in today’s marketplace?
Let’s take a look at Neumeier’s five basic principle of branding, and how each idea is transformed by social media.
When setting out to launch your product or company and embark on thinking about what kind of brand you want to help shape, don’t start with thinking about the website or the kind of ads you’ll run. Instead, focus on how you can foster interactions with your customers. It’s through those interactions with your consumers that your brand will be shaped and influenced.
The Brand Gap spells out five key disciplines about how to build a brand:
So where to begin?
Well, just as social media has impacted marketing, customer service and public relations among others, it is influencing these five core disciplines of brand building.
Differentiate: Great brands start with great products, and that differentiation needs to continue through to delivering great customer service and attention to their needs. Some have suggested that customer service is the new marketing, and brands like FreshBooks and Zappos are setting themselves apart from the competition through not just a solid product, but through a passionate desire to build relationships with their customers.
Collaboration: Perhaps more than any of the five principles, social media is giving companies the ability to collaborate with their customers and extended communities. It’s more than just crowd sourcing for “cheap” advertising. Shops are taking it another step further and letting customers shape actual products and services. Champion’s Hoodie Remix not only let’s their fans design a sweatshirt and vote on the best entry, but that winning hoodie design will be added to Champion’s product lineup.
Innovate: How do you know when an idea is innovative? When it scares the hell out of everybody – it’s continually pushing the boundaries and trying something new without ceasing. Social media can be scary ground for some organizations, because when done well, it forces brands into an honest reckoning with their customers about who they really are.
Validate: Neumeir sees Validation as bringing the audience into the creative process, and brands that are listening first on social media platforms are going to gain the insights needed to better meet their customer’s needs. Starbucks, Dell and even American Express are learning how to connect early and regularly with their customers, even in the face of the economic downturn.
Cultivate: “If the old paradigm of brand management had been to control the look and feel of a brand, the new paradigm is to influence the character of a brand.” Paul Isakson addressed this beautifully in his presentation on Modern Brand Building:
The way and speed with which people discover, process and share information has changed dramatically. Create room for agility, flexibility and iteration.”
With some advertisers contemplating a massive $3 million Super Bowl ad buy this coming Sunday, one has to wonder whether a company should attempt to strengthen it’s brand through a mere 30-second spot, or 365-days of continually providing the channels and platforms for developing meaningful connections with their customers.
The brand is no longer omnipresent. Consumers’ response is fueled by tweaks to a brand which are fueled by more change. It’s a symbiotic relationship that allows for more transparency and through that constant discussion, produces better creative and a more honest message for for both the consumer and brand.
How has your social media strategy impacted your company’s brand?
In NYC? Be sure to tag your photos #manhattanhenge!
Don’t miss out on Manhattanhenge! Tonight is one of only two times a year when the setting sun aligns perfectly with Manhattan’s east-west street grid. This makes for a perfect chance to snap photos of the sun setting between the skyscrapers of Manhattan! Take a look at photos of this unique sunset on Instagram by browsing #manhattanhenge.