The Importance of Branding In Social MediaOctober 8th, 2009 by Mike
It seems more and more large businesses are finally adopting social media as a part of their regular business practices. Shopping centers, malls, even fairs are jumping on the social media bandwagon because they realize it is a valuable resource for connecting with potential customers and also as a way to get feedback from customers. However, I am seeing a trend recently that could impact usability and also make imitation accounts a serious problem.
Let Your Customers Know Who You Are
Earlier this year the Los Angeles County Fair promoted it’s events on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, and even Flickr. On the bulk of its promotional material you would see the words “Find us on…” followed by each of the services logos. The problem is they didn’t identify themselves.
More recently I saw an electronic billboard for a local shopping center called Dos Lagos and at the bottom of their advertisement it says, “We’re on twitter” again without identifying themselves.
Without giving me a username for any of these services I am left to search or guess the username. In the case of the L.A. County Fair I simply typed in twitter.com/lacountyfair and was fortunate enough to find them. However I am probably a bit more social media and net savvy than the average consumer. If you do a search for la county fair in Twitter you get zero results, whereas L.A. County Fair or Los Angeles County Fair both produce numerous results none of which were the actual L.A. County Fair twitter account. Unfortunately when it comes to a Twitter search, finding the L.A. County Fair is hopeless.
Dos Lagos, being a smaller shopping center with a unique name, is a bit easier to find on twitter, but still has a few name competitors that come up when you search Dos Lagos.
The key here is to identify your business’s username. If you tell the consumer who you are, you make it that much easier to find you.
Keep Your Brand Consistent
I’ll admit that sometimes grabbing your preferred username on a social network can be a bit of a crap shoot. I myself had to bounce between mwilton13 and mwilton on a couple of occasions simply because my preferred username of mwilton13 was taken. But as a business it is often much easier to get your business name, especially if it’s unique. In the case of the L.A. County Fair, they consistently used their lacountyfair username across each of the social networks advertised where possible.
By consistently using the same name across multiple networks you can easily tell consumers who you are without having to give multiple usernames or URL’s. This makes finding you significantly easier and it also cuts back on ad copy for identifying yourself.
These concepts might seem redundant or too simple to a lot of marketers and advertisers, but it’s important to remember the consumer. Not all of your consumers are going to be net savvy, yet many of them might be trying their best to navigate the social web that we’ve created. The easier you make it on them, the quicker they’ll find you and the sooner you can interact with them in your social media campaign. Remember the importance of identifying yourself on the networks you market on and when possible keep your branding consistent.
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