As a social media manager, I’m about to say something that may shock you…Establishing your online branding is about way more than just social media.
Don’t get me wrong — social media is a critical part of any modern marketing strategy, and it can be a total game-changer for building relationships and driving business. But (and this is a big BUT) it can’t do all the work on its own.
To optimize your marketing efforts, get these five critical elements in place before you even begin to focus on social media.
1. Creating Strong Online Branding
If you want to gain leads, build your customer list, and turn referrals into long-term clients, you have to have a brand that’s easily identifiable.
Think about it: When you’re scrolling through Instagram, flipping through a local publication, or even driving around town, what brands do you notice and instantly recognize? I’m going to go out on a limb and guess it’s the ones with consistent logos, colors, and fonts that catch your eye and stand out from the competition.
I actually have personal experience with this strategy. My husband and I are the owners of Casey’s Automotive in Chantilly, Virginia — an area with lots of shops to choose from for your automotive needs.
To set Casey’s apart, we opted for a bright green and black logo that people would instantly recognize with just a quick glance. We even had one of our trucks wrapped in neon green — a little crazy, I’ll admit, but it’s worked wonders for our business!
2. A Professional Website or Landing Page
As people begin to learn about your business, you’ll need to have a professional-looking website or landing page to send them to.
This is where you will show potential clients who you are, what you offer, where you’re located, and how they can best get in touch with you. (To make this part super simple, put your contact information or a “Make an Appointment” or “Get a Quote” button at the top of every page.) And remember: Even if you’re a small business with a tight budget, you can still set up a landing page or PDF link to provide potential customers with the information they need.
Also, a well-designed website has the potential to drive organic traffic to your site through the use of SEO keywords and original content. Keep your wording clear and concise, and make sure your site is easy to navigate. (The last thing you want is to lose a potential customer because they get frustrated after clicking around your site only not to be able to find the information they need.)
3. A Google My Business Page
If you’ve ever done a basic online search to find “places to eat near me” or a “nearby gas station,” you’ve experienced the power of a Google My Business page.
When you conduct this type of search, Google provides you with a list of locations based on your current location — and chances are you’re going to pick one of those options when choosing a place to eat or fill up!
If, on the other hand, those businesses hadn’t had a Google My Business page, they wouldn’t have shown up and, therefore, would’ve missed out on your business. This means, as a small business, it’s absolutely crucial that your Google My Business page be set up and complete as possible.
Special note: Even if you’re a business owner who works with local folks (like me) but works from home and doesn’t want to share their home address (also like me), you can easily set up your page to just show your city and state and not your personal address.
4. Exceptional Customer Service — Always
From the way you answer the phone, to the appearance of your waiting area, to how you handle challenging situations with customers — all of these things add up and have a big impact on your level of service.
Create a culture of customer service to show your team that you care about them and your clients. By prioritizing customer service in everything you do, you’ll experience more pleasant interactions, generate more referrals, and empower your team to feel like they can go above and beyond for your customers.
5. Shared Reviews & Testimonials
Deliver quality service and enjoyable experiences to your clients and positive reviews will follow.
Online testimonials are one of the first things new customers look at before inquiring about your business, so be sure to follow up with every customer to request a review. (Even if they respond with less-than-positive feedback, you’ll be gathering invaluable information that you can use to better your business.) Fortunately, there are many Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems that can automate this request for you, so it’s taken care of without you having to lift a finger.
Your social media strategy is important, but it’s not everything. Taking the time to build the foundation of your brand can have a big impact on your business.
So, think about it: Do you have all of the above in place for your business? What areas still need work?
If you’re struggling to create a marketing plan or need some guidance on how to start, Brand Social Marketing is here to help. Check out our Services page to see what we have to offer and, as always, please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have.