You Are Your Social Media: Are You Sending the Right Message?

July 1, 2015

social media

There’s no denying it, social media platforms say a lot about the individuals behind them – and the same is true for your brand. Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram may be the first interaction a potential client has with your organization. This is only one of the many reasons you want to make a good first impression as well.

Let’s take a look at a few things you should be doing to ensure that your social media outlets are portraying your organization in a positive light and maximizing your footprint online.

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

As the online “face” of your company, your profile picture offers an opportunity for you to attract customers based on first impression alone. The key is to consider how you want your business to be perceived, the customers you hope to engage, and how to keep your brand top of mind when your posts pop up in their newsfeed. Here are a few helpful hints.

First, promote brand recognition by using the same profile picture across all platforms. This is for your audience’s benefit, letting them know they have the right organization across channels. Use a current photo. Throwback Thursdays are a great way to highlight company milestones and engage customers, but are probably not profile-picture worthy. Ensure your followers know your brand today by representing your current presence.

Be encompassing and representative of your brand. Often times companies have multiple entities or divisions. Unless your company is large enough to provide different pages for each segment, you will want to use an image that provides coverage for the company as a whole. Always stay on-point with your profile image – meaning if you are a grocery store, your image should display your logo or groceries. You can get more creative with everyday posts, but the profile image should always let the audience know who they are connecting with.

Maintain a professional and tasteful image. Last but not least, people choose to follow brands because they believe in their products or mission. Don’t ruin an online relationship with a photo that is unprofessional or out of the norm for your organization.

Let Social Media Be an Extension of Customer Service

Show interest in your fans and followers. Be inquisitive. Social media provides the opportunity to engage with current and potential customers. It’s similar to taking clients out to dinner or having friends over for a BBQ. It’s common courtesy to ask questions, gauge their thoughts, and show interest in their concerns. The same is true online. The best types of questions are open-ended, providing opportunity for conversation and continued dialogue.

Customer service also means going the extra mile to get new customers in the door. A great way to reward new and current followers is to provide coupons and promotions. Though you will want to ensure this is done with taste and integrated with additional, quality content, offering online discounts and exclusives for fans provides opportunities others may not have access to and yet another reason for them to stay engaged with your brand.

Repurposing and cross promotion can be another useful tool in customer service. Utilize opportunities you have to engage customers by sharing extended coverage from your website or blog. Better yet, let them know their needs come before self-promotion and share a variety of information from industry experts, sister companies or local businesses. An interest in keeping your customer informed can go a long way in brand credibility.

Less Is More Especially on Social Media

Don’t overshare. We’ve all been stuck next to the “over sharer” waiting in the checkout line, at the movie theater, or at a restaurant. Keep it surface level; don’t be an over sharer on social media. Your fans and followers will thank you for it. On top of that, they will engage more frequently with your brand.

It turns out, 100 characters is the sweet spot for Twitter engagement according to Buddy Media. While there’s no magical length for tweets, those with 100 characters or less receive 17 percent higher level of engagement. And, according to Twitter’s report, “Creativity loves constraints, and simplicity is at our core. Tweets are limited to 140 characters so they can be consumed easily anywhere, even via mobile text messages.”

Brevity is also key on Facebook. Here 40 is the magic number when it comes to retail brands on Facebook, according to Jeff Bullas, renowned blogger, strategist, and marketer. By measuring engagement of posts defined by like and comment rate, Bullas discovered these short posts earned 86 percent higher engagement of followers than other, lengthier posts. Though “length-of-post” engagement level may vary from each of these studies, it’s a good rule of thumb to keep it short and simple to keep your followers’ attention.

Remember, there are many things your social media platforms can say about your brand. Take a minute to evaluate your current online practices and adjust where needed. By carefully selecting your profile picture, ensuring great customer service, and keeping an eye on post length, you will be off to a great start.

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is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.