Once upon a time Jesus is said to have proclaimed that his followers shouldn’t “hide their light under a bushel.” Actually, I didn’t know Jesus coined the phrase until I looked it up. But 2,000 years later, in the same spirit, I proclaim that you shouldn’t hide your social networks under a bushel.
An incredible number of brands maintain profiles on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other social networks. Why, oh why wouldn’t they promote participation in those networks on their sites and blogs?
Let’s pick on a couple of big brands:
Old Navy: The only place on their site where they promote their Twitter and Facebook profiles is below the fold on their stores & events page. Why not as a standard part of their template near the e-mail sign up form?
Banana Republic: Old Navy’s big sister similarly hides their social profiles away on the mysteriously named Style Download page. Again, its below the fold, even though they participate in 3 networks (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube). Who would think of looking for Banana Republic on YouTube? If they promoted it, even passively, on their site’s template and as a standard inclusion in their e-mail marketing template think how much more exposure they would gain. The sad part is that in a couple of months they’ll likely decide that this social media thing just doesn’t work, when part of the problem could be their own lack of promotion of these channels.
DSW Shoe Warehouse: They actually have an active Twitter presence, with tweets to the media that cover them, tweets to customers and tweets to other shoe lovers. But not a single mention of their Twitter life on their ecommerce site.
It’s as if some ecommerce sites don’t want to come out of the closet on social media. They want the benefits, sure, but they don’t want to rick losing their shoppers to a medium where customers can’t directly convert. Guess what, when a customer follows your brand on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or another social network, they’re actually volunteering — opting in — to receive your message. These are your brand loyalists. What do you gain by making it harder for them to follow you on the network of their choice?
Social media promotion has upside, folks. When that brand loyalist fans you on Facebook or follows you on Twitter, she’s saying “YES tell me more.” And when you follow up on that request to tell her more with intelligent tweets about your products, charitable initiatives, industry insight into coming trends, product intelligence tidbits, as well as sales and promotions, you’re helping her feel in the know. And she’s going to crow about that to her friends and fans. As your fans and followers spread your brand’s messages to their networks, it widens your brand’s reach for at least that single communication. As others in her network like what your brand has to say they too may opt in to be in the know. And now your brand’s sphere of influence has increased as well.
Let’s look at a couple of brands who do this well:
Kansas City Steak Co: Persistent Twitter & Facebook icons in the left navigation, on every page. They’re a nice size to draw attention but not dominate, and they may even be in the first page view on some screens.
Eastbay: Persistent Twitter and Facebook icons in with the footer with their e-mail sign up on every page. I could wish they were more prominent and perhaps a bit larger, but they’re there on every page at least.
Sure, critics may say something you’d rather they didn’t on your Facebook wall or in a Twitter mention, but a brand’s visible response to that individual in a caring and professional manner reflects well on your brand. Trust me, if they’re going to say bad things on your profile, they’re saying them anyway. Your management just doesn’t know it yet. Owning your brand and promoting it via social media just gives brands the chance to respond and turn something unpleasant at least into a neutral in the eyes of the fans following the brand.
You’re spending the resources to create and maintain social profiles. Claim them loud and proud to get the benefit from them, before upper management decides that social media doesn’t work for your brand.
Image source: Poeticpixel
Originally posted on Web PieRat.