The great broadcasters were great because they knew how to tell a story. Edward R. Murrow. Walter Cronkite. Ron Burgundy. Put ‘em in front of cue cards or a teleprompter (hopefully with appropriate punctuation) and watch as they educate and inspire. Last month, I introduced a four-pillared approach that I developed a few years ago to help clients get a grip on the then-new world of social media marketing. That new world is far more settled now. I mean, does anyone still play Mafia Wars? However, the Grow. Broadcast. Engage. Optimize. approach is still relevant to local businesses working to improve their use of social media. Today, let’s take a look at how to channel your inner Cronkite to tell your brand story more effectively in social media.
Say it. Don’t spray it. Consistency is key.
I once had a colleague who’d go silent on Twitter for days and then emerge late at night to unload dozens of tweets in the span of an hour or two. I referred to his condition as Twittarrhea. Don’t spray your audience with Twittarrhea. Post often enough that your audience remembers you, but not so often – or in such extreme bursts – that they’re overwhelmed. The best social media marketers use an editorial calendar to organize their thoughts and ensure that their social accounts are being updated regularly. The consistency that comes from an editorial calendar will help your followers know what to expect.
Be yourself… which means staying on brand.
Too many brands build their social media content calendars on blatant promotions and “me too” holiday posts. You should have more to say about your business than that… especially if you read my post outlining three questions for getting to know your brand. Before you post another meme on your Facebook page, ask yourself: Who are we as a business? Who are our buyers? What are their pain points? Then get creative about how you can build a connection with your audience based on who you are and not on a trendy and fleeting meme.
Mix up your content and be relevant in your community.
Your Twitter feed should be more than just a long list of retweets and links back to product pages on your website, but at the same time don’t spend hours in meetings just to come up with a few perfectly crafted tweets. Instead, you want to offer a variety of content types across all your social media platforms. Text is good. So are occasional links. Rich media like photos and graphics are better. Facebook encourages brands to “use high-quality photos that showcase your business or products, or lifestyle images of people interacting with them.” You might even try experimenting with low-cost videos. Remember, unlike the national chains, your local business is plugged in to your community. Be sure to mix in kudos for local success stories and shout-outs to community organizations and events to stand out from the corporate competition down the street.
Social media is so much more than delivering the news.
Think back to the great broadcasters. Murrow, Cronkite, and Burgundy didn’t build their own audience. They didn’t solicit feedback. They just delivered the news. Broadcasting is a big part of a social media marketer’s job, but it’s not the only part. After all, broadcasting is a one-way communication channel. And we all know by now that social media is a two-way conversation — and a great way to tell your brand story.