When it comes to generating traffic, Facebook is usually the number one social media platform that a majority of brands utilize to get their messages across. This is understandable, given Facebook’s mass appeal and built in user base that reaches well into the tens of millions. However, Facebook is also one of the few social media forums that has capitalized on its global demographic in such a way where it can now charge businesses a certain amount of money. Such fees are in direct correlation to the number of users that the business would like to reach. Simply put, the way this number is calculated is based upon the number of users to which that business wants to appeal. Because of this calculation, certain companies have chosen to not utilize the network, or even have decided to leave Facebook altogether. This situation most recently occurred the last month when the online food delivery service, Eat24, decided to cut ties with Facebook.
In a rather amusing move, Eat24 publicly vented the company’s frustration with Facebook through a post appropriately titled, “A Breakup Letter to Facebook from Eat24,” where it disclosed various frustrations with the social media forum by stating, “When we first met, you made us feel special. We’d tell you a super funny joke about Sriracha and you’d tell all our friends and then everyone would laugh together. But now? Now you want us to give you money if we want to talk to our friends. Now when we show you a photo of a taco wrapped with bacon, you’re all like “PROMOTE THIS POST! GET MORE FRIENDS!” instead of just liking us for who we are.” (http://blog.eat24hours.com)
Twitter is another popular social media network upon which companies heavily rely on to further broaden their appeal and reach. Twitter allows companies- through the means of rather restrictive context of posts under 140 characters- the ability to showcase more of its’ brands personality. This particular social media venue offers an immediate- through limited because of its 140 character limit- way of reaching actual and potential clients in real time.
Social media can prove to be the most effective platform for a company looking to build or improve its brand. However, there are a few basic concepts that should be taken into consideration when it comes to a company or organization looking to increase their brands visibility through a social media platform.
Choosing the best profile picture in which best represent the company.
Two different questions arise when companies must decide which profile picture best represents them: whether or not to use its brand’s logo as the default picture or instead choose a picture of a person or another figure that might best and more clearly embody what the business represents. If a business already has established a strong presence- where the brand or logo has already developed high recognition amongst the targeted companies with their intended demographic or customer base- then it would be highly advisable for the company to keep the brands logo as the default profile picture.
However, if the company and/or organization is relatively new and still in the early stages of developing its brand, then perhaps putting their respective logo as its profile picture, might not be the best choice. In such cases, the profile picture might want to be represented through a photo of a person. Studies suggest that users on social media are more inclined to interact directly with a company whose profile picture is of a person rather than a brand logo.
Posting an ever-changing series of photos of fans as well as celebrities enjoying the products is also very helpful in getting the word out. Doing so ensures that the product/brand will remain fresh and interesting.
It is also important, once a profile picture has been decided upon, that the company keeps the same picture for every social media platform, for it effectively makes brand recognition easier for the user if the brand logo/photo remains the same. Companies’ sales and marketing departments’ goals are to reach the most possible number of potential customers by using all types of social media, and they know that by keeping their images consistent in the various venues help consumers more easily navigate them.
What Should be Included in a Companies Profile or Identity?
Building a brand requires foresight into what, exactly, the brand is meant to represent and what ideals best capture a desirable image of the businesses. Clearly delineating their goals is the reason for the importance of mission statements, which is where businesses inform the public of not only what companies produce or why they exists but also describes the ethics and morals upon which the organization has built its foundation.
Social media has given companies a platform through which they can inform users their mission statement. This is a much more personal and direct form of contact with the public, demonstrating the way that the company chooses to present itself on social media.
It is also through social media that companies showcase their brands’ “personality,” which can be seen in their posts, photos/video uploads, articles, etc. Social media is a medium that also allows a business to develop a much more intimate and direct relationship with the public. Perhaps more important, it also allows corporations to be able to see the public’s response to their product through user comments. Such feedback, in turn, is beneficial to the company as now it can be more informed on how its product is received. Not only that, but it is also now privy to information as to where or what improvements should be made.
As far as to questions regarding what content companies should include in their social media profile, they should always incorporate information that showcase, in a few sentences, what product the business produces and why it is important for their company to produce this specific product. Examples of this are organic diapers made in the United States where part of the proceeds of every sale will go to the mothers of infants that do not have access to or funds needed to get clean diapers. The company profile should also include the goals and ethics of the company: American Apparel boasts of being a clothing company that manufactures and produces all of their merchandise in the United States, with a responsible work ethic where the employees of the company are valued and treated fairly when it comes to their wages and the way in which their employees are promoted. This portion of the companies profile and identity should be stated in the “About me” section of Facebook where such information should be stated in a few short sentences.
It is through a social media profile that companies are now are able to form an identity, one where they can become more humanized. However, just like anything else on the Internet, once something has been posted, it’s impossible to retract a post without it going undetected. Regarding that last statement, I cannot help but think about US Airways recent blunder in which the airline accidentally tweeted an image of a pornographic picture as a response to an angry customer. The tweet ended up becoming a top story in many of the news stations in which the public response was not so much shock and outrage, but more of a lapse in judgment in which many considered to be amusing and comical. Whether or not this “accidental” tweet was a ploy in marketing or an actual slip up still remains a mystery, but one thing cannot be denied, as a result, US airways become one of the leading stories of the day and the tweet proved to show a more human side of the company, one that makes mistakes.
Visual Content: Images or no Images?
If Twitter and Instagram have proven anything, it’s that users are now more interested in seeing pictures and short video clips than anything else right now. Photos, videos and visuals are in the process of replacing text messages.
Companies have begun to notice this change in user behavior and are increasingly relying more on uploading photos and videos as a new method of self-promotion. This shift in social media marketing and advertising are, according to recent analytical studies and surveys, apparently resonating the most with potential consumers.
As a result of this change in the styles of communications, when it comes to audience engagement, visual content is now at the forefront of where companies can maximize their exposure, becoming the easiest and quickest way for a business to promote its brand. By simply uploading a photo of the most recent product or uploading a quick video, users are able to see some behind-the-scene footage of a production, a certain product, or upcoming showcase.
Whereas a user can ignore a post by simply scrolling over the text; in contrast, an image cannot be so easily passed over. This is because a picture does not require any work on the user’s part, it simply is a flash of an image that, whether the user scrolls over it or not, tends to resonate in his or her memory. “Uploading photos is the most popular activity on Facebook. Therefore, it’s recommended that your business implement this popular trend as an element of your marketing strategy. Uploading photos to Facebook is one of the best ways to keep your friends interested in and aware of your business.” (www.business2community.com)
The same concept also applies to Twitter since it, too, only allows users the ability to tweet updates that are limited to 140 characters, thus minimizing the clutter. When attempting to generate visibility for a company, Tweets do not necessarily have to always revolve around promotion. Instead it can be used as a platform in which to show the brands personality. “Only tweet things you’d be interested in. Twitter isn’t an ad column so don’t bore your followers with constant sales pitches. Use discretion in your tweets and don’t tweet unto others, what you wouldn’t tweet unto yourself.” (http://www.business2community.com)
Social media has allowed corporations and organizations alike to have presence amongst the viral community, one that allows instant communication. The benefits of such daily interaction are what allow businesses the opportunity to increase their own visibility in hopes that it will generate more traffic. But, as with any business, social media does not guarantee success. It still requires daily attention and strategic planning in which it is just one aspect in which a company can use to help further attain its goals and grow its brand.