Tag: social media
Choose your Platforms
First things first. There is no point in trying to be on every single platform out there. Unless you can put someone on this (almost) full-time, you will have to decide which channels are the most interesting to you and then carefully consider which of these will be your main priority. At a guess, for most of you this will be LinkedIn. Facebook may have more users globally, but broadly speaking most people will use this for their more personal updates: holiday photos, inspirational quotes, lighter news topics – and lest we forget – the “silly” stuff such as memes and name games. As such it is unlikely that you will be drumming up a lot of serious business here anytime soon.
That doesn’t mean to say you should forsake your Facebook Company Page entirely: it’s a great platform for quick updates that catch your followers’ eye and that will drive them to your website or LinkedIn profile when they are actively looking for your professional support. Use your Facebook page for the more personal approach and keep the updates coming regularly. As a general rule of thumb your content here should be around 80% industry relevant news, expert tips & advice, relevant articles, memes, videos and other entertaining content. Just 20% of your posts should include product updates, special offers, contests, and the like, if you want followers to stay invested in your story.
LinkedIn on the other hand is where businesses and decision makers hang out. This is where we go to find out about industry relevant news, making it an essential part of any company’s social media presence. As the number one* social medium for lead generation, it is the perfect place to showcase your expertise and industry knowledge, so make sure you post regular updates that stand out from the newsfeed.
Use your LinkedIn page to ask questions, post articles and industry insights, conduct polls and research, press releases and other items that you would like to share with a business audience and that showcases your expertise.
Of course, you want to ensure that anything you publish is seen by as many people as possible. The best thing to do is to publish company content through the company page and then repost it to your personal newsfeed to share with your personal contacts. Ask team members to repost the content as well, so that it can pass by their followers’ newsfeeds too. And finally, make sure to share your content with the ABRA Groups for maximum visibility.
A Professional Profile
Most likely you will already have a personal profile on LinkedIn (which of course has a professional looking headshot instead of a holiday picture with your partner cut off), but do you have a company page as well? If not, then this is the place to start.
Your company profile should feature a clear description of your services, aims, and company philosophy, as well as your contact details. Employees should link themselves to the company profile page so that “2-10 employees” doesn’t just look like an empty statement, but actually shows the people behind the organisation. We all prefer doing business with actual people, and this is a quick and easy way to give your company that personal touch. Share your most important content across different platforms for a quick and easy way to keep that newsfeed moving: with a small tweak that industry report might work for Facebook and Twitter too. Most importantly: don’t give up. There is no magic pill for instant social media success, instead it’s very much a case of try and try again before you hit the perfect note that will have new clients knocking on your door.
For ABRA Members only: Knowledge Sharing
That being said, we want to help get you the attention you deserve. Our members deliver the highest levels of service and professionalism and are each experts in their field. And with our combined knowledge base being the most extensive in the Belgian industry, we want to maximise our impact.
As well as articles published by ABRA, we want to invite you, our members, to share your expertise with our readership through the newsfeed on the ABRA website, as well as through our Group pages. If you have published a white paper, conducted industry related research or have a well-researched answer to a particular topic or current affair, then please do share it with us so we can help spread the word.
Find out what the EuRA panel had to say on leveraging the power of social media by visiting their YouTube channel.
GREAT NEWS! ABRA members receive a free best practice guide to social media sharing. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org for your free copy.
Join the conversation with ABRA on LinkedIn and Facebook.
* “For B2B companies, LinkedIn is one of the most powerful social media channels available. …research of more than 5,000 companies has shown that LinkedIn is 277% more effective at generating leads than Facebook and Twitter.” – MarketingLand
“This machine is not a space ship; it’s a time machine. It takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It lets us travel the way a child travels: round and around and back home again to a place we know we are loved.”
The compelling ‘Mad Men’ character Don Draper, creative director at a New York advertising company, pitches a campaign for a slide carousel to Kodak. While projecting pictures of his family and reminiscing on his mentor, he smartly interweaves his personal story with Kodak’s new technology and their wish to become a household name.
In every season of the Emmy Award winning television series one pitch stands out. The common denominator is the personal experience that helps sell a product. In Don Drapers words: “Trying to establish a deeper bond with the product – it’s delicate but potent.” Or, as Peggy Olson puts it during a pitch for Burger Chef: “Every great ad tells a story.”
And although we’re referencing a drama series, the show’s appeal lies in how relatable not only the characters are, but the stories they are selling too. People tell business stories to communicate and connect with employees, customers, colleagues, partners, suppliers, and the media. Business stories differ from regular stories, in that you tell them with an objective, goal, or desired outcome in mind, rather than for entertainment.
When you tell a story well, it can create an intense, personal connection between your audience and your message. Effective stories can change our opinions, they can inspire us to achieve goals that we didn’t think were possible, and they can show us how we can change things for the better.
Things to Sell and Stories to Tell
“Entertainment and corporate communications have intertwined for as long as there have been things to sell and stories to tell,” writes Alan Berkson from Freshdesk in a zdnet.com blogpost.
If traditional advertising is dead, brand storytelling is experiencing a meteoric rise, proving that although times may change, human nature does not. The easiest way to someone’s heart is through a perceived personal connection. Whether it’s your ‘about us’ page, your Twitter feed, LinkedIn profile or Facebook page – even the tone of voice of your internal communications – your ‘story’ is what turns your stakeholders into believers. Authentic, transparent and relevant communication holds the key to your success.
Thankfully, great communication isn’t exactly rocket science. From your clients and suppliers right down to your team members, you’ve already built a relationship. Strengthening that bond is simply a matter of combining all the ingredients you already have lying around to create your narrative:
mission + vision + values + strategy = brand story
In Alan Berkson’s words: “It’s what your company stands for, and how it’s making the world a better place. It’s a story that comprises your strengths AND your weaknesses.”
According to Incite’s Summit White Paper 2016 on Corporate Storytelling “your brand story extends beyond your marketing campaign and defines your company holistically. People buy into that story, not your product. They are alienated when you don’t live up to that story, and they are increasingly loyal and passionate when you do. Customers have plenty of choice nowadays. Yours is not the only option. You want them to choose to associate with you, not the competition.”
And it’s not just customers either, employees too want to know the ‘why’ of the company they work in, they want to feel connected and inspired. Chances are you chose your employees and suppliers conscientiously and without them your business wouldn’t be the same. By making them an important part of your narrative you are able to show how much you value and appreciate them.
“It [storytelling] is especially useful for leaders, for example when leading people into the future, taking them through change, influencing, unifying people towards a common purpose, transmitting values, motivating and inspiring. Incorporating stories into your messages helps to develop a shared sense of identity.” says Vera Woodhead, coach and brand developer, on allthingsic.com.
Some more sound advice from Alan Berkson: “Companies and their brand managers need to come to terms with the reality that they are no longer the only voices in the conversation. It begins with listening. You need to have the right tools and processes in place to hear and, most importantly, understand the consumer and then weave them into you corporate story. [That story] needs to be infused into everything, from marketing, PR and customer service, to HR, product development.”
It’s easy to miss an opportunity to connect so you want to be both selective and aware of your approach. In order to engage your audience your message needs to be concise, memorable, understandable, differentiating. A proper strategy is key. Your story is made up of different elements and not all of those are suitable for every channel. Once you’ve formulated your story and plan of action it’s time to share your message wherever, whenever you can.
We’ve all been there: we’ve dedicated time to keeping our lines of communication open, have raved about our great new services and special offers to clients and have shared our best photographs and most titillating insights on social media, only to find that we’ve failed to garner the reactions that we were hoping for. Our audience has failed to connect, our message has simply passed them by.
In fact, it’s your corporate storyline that ties everything together and not making use of what you already have is quite simply a missed opportunity. In order to build a dedicated following you need to make sure that your narrative holds across the many communication channels you utilise.
Messages have to reflect your vision in order to stand out from the crowd. Simply reposting interesting articles that are relevant to your field of business won’t do anymore. Where is your company’s view on the matter? Why should people care what you’re up to? What does your team have say? Get your story straight and your audience will start feeling that personal connection you’ve been seeking.
Not everyone gets away with Don Draper’s charades, but if you stay aware of pitfalls and keep it real, your story will surely be one of success.
Our top picks from Incite’s White Paper:
1. Determine where your brand story will come from. The main lesson here? Don’t manufacture something from nothing. Pick something you’re already doing. This can be aspirational (a “campaign for real beauty”), it can be a legacy point (the rich history of…), it can be based on sustainability and corporate responsibility, or it can come from your employees.
2. Don’t tell it yourself. This is beyond marketing and communications. You want to accentuate a message that’s already out there. Twenty percent of marketers say customers have more power to define your brand than anyone else. Your employees are a good bet, too.
3. Make sure you can tell it persuasively. If you’re going to ascribe the responsibility to tell the story to employees instead of the marketing and communications departments, you’ll need a different set of processes to sign off. You can’t strangle a story by running it past legal every time you have an opportunity to propagate it.
4. Ensure that this is for the long term. A brand story is most emphatically not a campaign with an end date. It’s far more wide-reaching than that. You need to plan further ahead and build foundations that last longer than any typical marketing campaign planning process you’ve done before. That means getting employee buy-in (which is why we talk not about creating a story, but about accentuating an existing one). This isn’t a paint job – it’s something people sign up for.
5. Use the story with more than just your customer base. Your brand story will help engage and build morale with your workforce, too. Use it to do so.