The ABBs of Social Media – Always Be Branding
One of the oldest acronyms in the sales industry is ABC (Always Be Closing). It’s an easy mantra-like reminder that everything you do in a sales relationship comes down to closing the deal. For businesses (and individuals too) in the social media space there is a similar acronym to be followed: ABB (Always Be Branding). It’s a softer version than the sales-minded mantra, but no less critical. If you forget this one, you could be risking more than losing a single deal.
Two things the Internet doesn’t do: sleep or forget. If you and your company are to successfully develop a web presence, these are two factors you must contend with regularly. As you develop content, know that what you create is always going to be out there, and will forever make up the foundation of your online reputation. So it is important to always consider what you do, what you say and how you say it. Social media is continually shining something of a spotlight on your professional appearance, like the paparazzi lurking behind every parked car and tree waiting to snap a picture. Your social network is always watching.
While authenticity is a key to creating an effective social media voice, there is no denying that what you’re doing every day is branding, plain and simple. Through your authenticity you are promoting yourself and your company. However, the social media “sell” is a different beast than that of the traditional sales environment. After all, your win in social media comes from being regarded as a valuable content asset—being someone that others appreciate for the added value you give.
The thing to remember is that this is happening whether you’re thinking of it or not. So you’ll need to take some precautionary measures to prevent missteps. The best way to accomplish this is by first establishing a content strategy. Having a plan will help you stay on course, and it need not take an inordinate amount of effort to create.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1—Adhere to a short list of goals. As you create any outbound content, make sure it is serving the grand vision of your efforts. This could be to build product awareness, to demonstrate expertise, to improve customer service relations, or any other key driver to your efforts. Before you hit the “publish” button make sure the content is serving your objectives in some way. This ought not get in the way of your producing a conversational rapport with your audience, but rather, ensure that this direct chit-chat doesn’t veer off course.
2—Plan for the future. Without getting bogged down so much that it prevents creativity, take a bit of time to structure your efforts from day to day, or week to week. Based on your goals you should be able to decide on the subject matter of your next half dozen blog posts. You can also let your goals drive your decisions to participate in certain forums or groups.
3—Limit the cooks in the kitchen. As best you can, try to control your content outlets to as few people as possible. Make sure these people fully grasp the overarching strategy. It is understandably different from organization to organization, but it will be most effective if the strategists are the actual content producers. In the cases where efforts are mounted on a larger scale, it will become critical to produce comprehensive guidelines that communicate the strategy to the team that is producing content and sets measures and check points to ensure that content stays focused.
Through it all, keep the ABB mantra running in your head. It will safeguard both your reputation and the authenticity with which you build it.