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Make Your Online Presence a Strategic Extension of Your Brand

Decibel GraphicsExplore, Evaluate and Engage
We’ve already talked about first making sure social media is an appropriate tactic to support your marketing, communications and branding strategies.  Creating a Twitter or Facebook page because it makes you look young and cool is hardly a strategic decision. As Dan Schawbel, author of Me 2.0 notes, “the single biggest mistake people make is that they either brand themselves just for the sake of doing it or that they fail to invest time in learning about what’s in their best interests.”  First, you’ll want to explore what people are saying about your brand in the social space, evaluate how open your company is to criticism and whether you have the resources to manage the page, then engage with people in a way that’s transparent and adds value to others.

Consistent Communication
Consistency is king in social media.  Everything from your “About” or “Bio” section to what messages you post should be consistent with other communication, and you should engage on a regular basis (without posting too often).  Multiple personalities from one source don’t work well in social media.  Creating a “social media voice” that provides consistency in style and tone will allow your brand to communicate consistently across various platforms.  It’s important to consult multiple departments of your business (not just marketing) to help create it, too.  The voice should be consistent with your corporate culture, within the legal guidelines of your company and the social media space, and appropriate for the audience you’re trying to reach.

Give a Little, Get a Lot
Don’t just allow fans, friends and followers to talk to you online.  Engage with them in two-way dialogue and allow them to help shape your brand.  If you’re going to be on multiple social media platforms, give people unique content on each.  Once you have a presence, you’ll want to decide how you’ll measure success.  How do you do that?  That we’ll save for another post …

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