If you’ve successfully integrated a social strategy with regular business practices then you get a shiny gold star. By now I am sure you have noticed that it is a full time job to manage a clean social footprint despite what some of the web’s leading blogs say. Whether you are managing and organizing the brand for yourself or a business (of any size), it is important to include this social aspect of your branding into all that you do, online and off.
The first step to social brand consistency is to take charge of the campaign and be sure that you and your team fully embrace its value to your business model. After that, begin to discuss integrating it into any and all places that a customer may have an interaction with your business. This includes, but is not limited to phone ‘on hold’ recordings, websites, newsletters, advertising and printed collateral such as brochures, business cards and promotional components. I highly recommend charting out the areas that customers may interact with you or your company on paper first and then find the best strategy for implementation.
Since this article is focused on your printed collateral, I will skip the second half of the above illustration and safely assume that you’ve already started to integrate your social channels into online campaigning.
Think of social branding as if you were to change your corporate logo. Before anything else, you would first make sure it is immediately integrated – this process would also apply to the marriage between your social campaign and everything that you do. It is ideal to build your social footprint around your company name (ex: ‘joshua hays’) so that you can avoid taking up valuable printed real estate with lengthy URLs. Instead, replace them with the social channel icons (find these via Google) you’ve chosen and a simple statement such as ‘search: joshua hays’. Most of the major networks offer a search function and if someone were to search for your company name via the individual networks, it should be first in the results and will be if that is what it is that you are branding.
There is a growing anti-print movement and while I am a tech/social enthusiast, I understand the continued need for printed media. Most of the ‘leaders’ in this online movement have never had to sit across from a client and try to sell them a real product without some sort of printed aide. Most would argue that they could simply use their laptop but unless you’ve ever been in the heat of a sale, you wouldn’t understand the difficultly of that statement. It’s all in the moment and sometimes the client needs something to touch and feel. Branding your social campaign on that printed collateral I am referring to is a bit more tricky than with online collateral, you only have so much room on the item and so much time to capture someones attention.
Unless you are selling social, it shouldn’t be the primary focus of whatever it is you are printing it on. Create a space that is small enough to work on anything, including business cards – the smaller of your printed material.
If you can properly execute all of this and anywhere a customer may make contact with your organization (that also means online), than you are in great shape! It is important to treat social branding seriously. Not only does it add credibility to your organization, it provides channels for your clients to communicate with you using other methods other than just calling you to place an order. Why is this important? With the dramatic shift and recent addition of social media to big business, it is becoming increasingly critical that you aren’t the one left out in the cold. Most importantly, you should want to provide better methods for reaching out and connecting with your customers – the personal interaction can bring great value to whatever product or service you may be pedaling.
Follow some simple steps to get started, integrate it into your online campaigning and slowly move it to your printed collateral. It is important that you see the bigger picture and that just because those networks exist online, it doesn’t mean they should be kept from paper.