Brand identity is the cornerstone on which any good marketing plan should be built. Clouded by the quick pace of the digital and social landscapes, it’s easy for operators to lose sight of their brand in favor of chasing likes, comments, and followers. While we often focus on tactics to drive these measurable figures, it’s critical to ensure they don’t come at a greater cost.
Social media creates an interesting dynamic that doesn’t exist in traditional channels. With instantaneous feedback and direct line for customers to communicate, social marketing becomes a platform in which your “voice” is just as important as your message. Too often, operators lose track of that voice and fall into the trap of chasing engagements to prove the platform is worth the investment of time
An increase in social media engagement is not a figure that should be measured in a vacuum. While posting internet memes or funny animal photos may achieve an increase in social engagement, this strategy will ultimately fail your business and your brand. On the other hand, a post promoting a special offer drives customer traffic. Suggesting that you shouldn’t post outrageous content is not a far-fetched concept, but considering these few simple guidelines for keeping your brand on track can elevate your business:
Define Your Brand.
Ask yourself a few important questions: What are your points of differentiation? What makes your business unique? Why should a customer choose you over the competition? Why did you start in the first place? After careful review, compile a short list of qualities that best define your brand. Let these be the pillars of your marketing. If you want to know if you’re on the right path, try placing a competitor’s logo on your marketing materials. Now ask yourself: Do they still make sense? If your answer is yes, then you haven’t done enough to define your brand.
Be Honest. Be Transparent.
When considering the questions above, it’s important to maintain a strong sense of objectivity. Engage your customers, vendors, friends,
or ad agency to provide constructive feedback to help combat any personal bias. Your brand story becomes a promise to your customer. Overstating your capabilities will quickly undercut the confidence of your customers, many of whom won’t be willing to listen later. You don’t have to highlight your weaknesses or mistakes, simply rely on your strengths – your brand pillars – to tell the story.
Create a Balance.
Think about your operation as a whole – the products, location, ambiance, service, and staff. A discerning customer base is not only concerned with quality food, they seek an experience. Consider how you can communicate that message with your brand. As much as the public loves a plated food shot, the beauty of your location, the quality of your customer service, and your community involvement can carry considerable weight for your brand. With a daily stream of information, social affords you plenty of space to highlight all of your best qualities.
You’re likely already marketing your business through other platforms. The brand story you’ve developed through other mediums should carry over to your social collateral. If you have to hit the reset button, simply make sure all of your efforts align. Again, it’s easy to fall into the trap of chasing “cheap engagement” tactics to get a few extra Facebook likes while ignoring the potential damage this may cause for your brand.
The most suitable social “voice” can only be found through careful reflection on the distinctive traits and goals of your operation.