It's not news that the noise on the social platforms is getting louder. It's becoming harder to stand out from the crowd. Many Facebook pages are finding themselves at a social table for one with little conversation going on despite all those "likes" they begged for in the early days.
Quality over Quantity!
Anyone who follows me knows that ever since I hopped on Facebook for business I have been preachin' that it is not about the likes. It's not the number of likes that will grow your business. It's the quality of those likes, why they liked your page in the first place and most importantly what happens after the like. You can check out this post I wrote in 2010 and it is still relevant today! "What Happens After the Facebook Like? 20 Tips to Engage Your Audience After the Like!
Many think that it's going to cost them an arm, leg and their Q3 budget to develop an online brand strategy that rocks. Yes, it is going to take time, resource, smart planning and eventually some cash. However, there is much you can do to maximize your investment. You can start with baby steps and build as you go.
Remember when it comes to marketing and branding, there is no such thing as "perfection." Learn to embrace imperfect perfection. A marketers work is never done. If you wait to launch until it's perfect, chances are you will miss the bus entirely.
If you are new to branding, you should also check out a blog I wrote recently "How to Build a Social Brand That is a Sweet Orange in a World of Bitter Apples." It's loaded with solid tips for building your social brand.
Here are a few tips to help you rock your brand on Facebook without going for broke! Most of these tips are applicable on any site, not just Facebook.
5 Essential Attributes of Rockin' Brands:
1. Deeper than a logo: Your logo is not your brand. Your brand is the essence of who and what you are. It's everything from your CEO to the receptionist that answers the phone. It's your tweets, avatar, Facebook cover image and even the description on your LinkedIn business page.
2. Consistent: Did you know it takes 6-7 brand impressions for someone to remember your brand at all? Yup, so that means every impression must count. The more consistent you can be the more easily each and every brand impression is going to leave a memorable imprint in their brain. Even if budgets are tight, find a way to build consistency across the various platforms.
3. Unique: There is only one you so be that person and business. Do not copy your competition or partners. Focus on your unique value you bring to your target markets, partners and community as a whole.
Don't just throw up your boring logo or a picture of your CEO. Think in terms of emotional brand connection. How can you truly connect with your target audience? How can you ensure you are a brand they remember, click like and want to come back and visit? Being a cookie cutter copy of everyone else is not going to get you there, sorry!
4. Relevant: Your brand must mean something and resonate with your target audience. They need to be able to connect with who you are, what you say, what you do and how you make them feel.
5. Simple: I love brands that make people think but at the same time are easy to understand.
10 Tips to Brand Yourself on Facebook (and any social network platform in reality)
1. Profile Photo: Your profile photo (aka Avatar) is the small image right beneath the Facebook cover image. This is an important image as it appears in news feeds and pages when you comment. It appears right next to your comment. You may need to mess with it a little bit to ensure that your logo or face is positioned correctly and can be seen or read in news feeds. Be sure to check it on several different types of devices such as a computer hooked up to a large monitor, laptop, iPad, and mobile phone.
2. Cover Image: Your cover image presents an amazing opportunity for you to present your brand to the world. It is a first impression that all visitors are going to see at least one time. Give them a reason to come back! Don't just grab the closest photo you can find and slap it on there. Take some time to ensure you select an image and/or concept that is fresh, unique and represents you and your brand appropriately.
Try mixing it up frequently to keep your fans inspired and entertained. If they know you keep it fresh and it connects with them chances are they may be back to see what you have done next.
Both the cover image and avatar should support your brand promise, vision and mission. This is where the consistency begins. Colors, tones, design, overall look and feel should be consistent. If you fall down on consistency starting with your avatar and cover image you are headed for trouble. Keep them clean, simple, free of jargon and something that makes your fans say "wow!"
However, even with this don't wait for perfection. Get something up there. If you are short on design resources go for simple over complicated. Make the message simple, inspiring and memorable.
3. Application Thumbnails & Icons: Each application offers the ability for you to assign a small image to it. Each of these images can be branded in a simple and unique way that can support your brand! Choose images that are descriptive of the content in the application / tab. Ensure they are simple and relevant.
Most application provides an opportunity to upload a custom thumbnail image as well as the smaller icon that is shown beneath the application thumbnail.
4. Applications / Tabs: The application pages are an excellent opportunity to integrate your brand. You can utilize many different apps that will help leverage content you have developed and published on other social and web platforms that you own or manage. This includes blogs, website etc. You can also create custom application tabs which include custom content, video etc. Even though Facebook no longer supports the custom default landing tabs you can still grab the unique url for each tab and leverage it as a landing tab when pointing to it from other social networks, status updates, blog posts or websites.
Take the time to research appropriate apps for your market, partners and community. Have fun with them and don't be afraid to try something different? What's the worst that will happen? People won't click like? Who cares! They won't click like if you bore them to death anyway!
5. Video: Creating a custom video that represents your brand can be an amazing way to organically attract the right audience. You can see the latest video we created with the launch of our new agency, Marketing Nutz, here. The video highlights what we believe in regard to social media. We believe the heartbeat of social media is YOU. It's the people, the conversation and connections made that keep the social heart beating lively. The more work you do up front on your brand foundation, the easier it becomes to create content in different mediums.
6. Content: How long has it been since you reviewed the description, about section and other content on your Facebook business or personal page? Many people and businesses set up their pages when they are still learning how Facebook works. They often forget to go back and modify the content so it properly aligns and represents their brand.
Even if you think your content on these sections is fine, I challenge you to go back and double check within the next week. Take a minute and refresh the content and be sure it is the best possible representation of you and your brand.
Check the urls and other contact information to be sure it is accurate and up to date!
7. Status Updates: Many people over look the simple status update or don't see it as a branding opportunity. Remember, your brand is not just your logo. Everything you say, post, tweet and update can and will be used for or against you when it comes to brand perception. Your brand are the people you hang out with both online and offline. Your partners, clients and even Friday night dinner friends if you're posting photos to Instagram and tweeting them to the world!
Take the time to plan an editorial calendar if possible. Doing this will help ensure your status updates align to your goals and objectives and are not simply Random Acts of Marketing (RAMs).
The more you can inspire your fans with good content, the more they are going to click like, comment and share with their friends. The more they do this, the higher your edgerank score will be and thus your chances of Facebook presenting your status update in the news stream of your fans increases. Facebook is definitely becoming an animal to manage when it comes to edgerank. The best thing you can do is focus on your audience, their needs and how you can help them. Spend more time focused on adding value than you do on tweaking the edgerank algorithm. The only guarantee with social media is change. So go figure, just as you think you have mastered the Edgerank algorithm... guess what!? It's going to change!
8. Contests: Contests are a great way to integrate your brand in a fun way. Are you launching a new product or logo? Leverage Facebook as a way to poll your community on their top preference. Or even use it to help them select a tag line, product name or logo. There are many apps that can help you do this without a whole lot of custom development or effort.
We have hosted some very successful campaigns for our clients even on limited budgets for helping them name products, businesses, select a logo etc. They can be a great way to engage your audience pre-launch and start to build a community who helps build you and your brand from day one. The benefit of this is that if you are humble and share your ups and downs as you grow, then when you win, your community celebrates with you, as they helped you get there!
9. Images & photos: Obviously the social networks are becoming more and more visual. Pinterest receives 1.3 million visitors a day! Ensure that images are a core component of your brand strategy. Select at minimum a handful of images that support your brand. Use them consistently on social profiles, for product descriptions etc. Images can really drive home key messages and be the glue of consistency you need to make the most positive brand impression possible.
Use images as a foundation to demonstrate that you have developed and integrated a consistent brand across the various platforms. You can write a blog post and insert a branded image. You can then share that blog post to Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn etc. Each time you share the post the featured image will come right along with it. As a result it increases the ROI of the blog post, investment in the image and your brand as a whole. It's a great example of why integrated marketing developed with a plan based upon goals and objectives delivers far better results than a set of random acts of marketing (RAMs)!
Did you know photos are the most viewed content on Facebook? Next time you are at an industry event or host a fun team meeting, take some photos! Post them to your different social profiles such as Pinterest, Flickr, Instagram etc. Leak them to Facebook over time. Maximize their life time. I like to load a few at a time over a couple of weeks if it makes sense. Sometimes it is better just to upload them all at once depending on the event and purpose of the photo.
10. Be Available! Don't just launch your page and never go back or only visit once a week. Ensure that you have the email notifications setup if you do not frequent Facebook often. Most people who ask a question want an answer fairly quick. If they happen to ask a question on your page and don't get an answer, chances are they will hop right over to your competition. Every conversation you can have with your fans is an opportunity to build relationships. Don't look at it as a negative. It's a good thing when people come to you as a go to source of information. Embrace it and ensure you have proper resource to cover the demand and respond in a timely manner.
I don't think there is anyone better at "being available" 24/7 than Mari Smith! She ensures that someone is always available on her fan page to answer questions. If she is going to be out of town she assigns a resource to cover the page and questions and tells her community who it will be. I know I can always get an answer from her within 24-48 hours MAX even if she is out of town. Love it!
Remember, everything you say and do is a brand impression. This includes being available and ready to engage, inspire and connect with your community on a regular basis!
Free Facebook Cover Image Template: Free Facebook Cover Image Adobe Photoshop Template
Additional Facebook Resources:
Below I have compiled some of the top Facebook resources to help you get acquainted with the most recent changes as well as the standard guidelines for Facebook features such as advertising and promotions.
Start setup of a new Facebook Business Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages
Facebook Basics: https://www.facebook.com/help/?page=260315770650470&ref=hcnav
The Facebook Blog: https://blog.facebook.com/
Facebook Marketing Solutions Timeline Page: https://www.facebook.com/marketing
Build Your Brand with Facebook Pages: https://www.facebook.com/help/?page=198605806884743&ref=hcsubnav
Facebook Ads & Business Solutions: https://www.facebook.com/help/?page=195623423828629&ref=hcnav
Facebook Advertising Guidelines: https://www.facebook.com/ad_guidelines.php
Facebook Promotions Guidelines: https://www.facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php
Facebook Cover Guidelines: https://www.facebook.com/help/search/?q=cover+guidelines
Facebook Pages Guidelines: https://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php
What do you think? How is your Facebook brand doing? Is it a good representation of your company brand promise? Or could it use an update? If you have made huge strides in the development of your online brand, what tips can you share with others who may just be starting out?