When looking to promote your social media presence, you want to include logos for each outlet, but you don’t want to be on the receiving end of legal issues with Facebook or Instagram. So we’ve done the legwork for you and compiled the logos each social media outlet wants you to use along with the rules for each. If you had a legal department, their ‘approved’ rubber stamp would be inked up and ready!
Use the Pinterest badge (above) and not the wordmark.
Always include a call to action and your Pinterest URL with the logo.
The logo height should be proportionate to the call to action text.
We hope this guide simplifies the use of social media logos for you. However, please keep in mind that this collection does not replace the full guidelines provided by each social media outlet, and those should be reviewed in full as well.
If you have any questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you! Post in the comments section below.
You’ve created your social media pages to reinforce and promote your brand, and you regularly dedicate your time to adding content. Now, you want to be sure you’re taking every opportunity to properly promote your social media presence. If your small business has a physical location (office, retail store, etc.), hanging a sign in a high-traffic area is a great option and relatively quick and easy.
I’ll show you the steps to create such sign in Microsoft Word.
1. Open Word, create a new blank document, and insert a rectangle. (When your cursor turns into a plus sign, you’re able to draw your shape.
By default, mine is blue. Right click the rectangle and select More Layout Options.
Set the properties to . . .
Size: 10” in Height and 8” in Width
Text Wrapping: Behind Text
Horizontal – Absolute Position of .25” ‘to the right of’: Page
Vertical – Absolute Position of .5” ‘to the right of’: Page
Set the Fill to No Fill and the Line to a Solid Line, Black Color, and .5 pt Width, choosing the Dash Type selection shown below.
2. Click inside the rectangle and type “Follow Us on Social Media”. Set the font to one or more choices that work as your heading and size to appropriately fill the space. Set the Alignment to Centered. I went with the font Candelion Regular in all lowercase at size 160 for “follow us” and (on the next line) Calibri in all caps at size 25 and added a space between each letter.
3. Next, decide which review platforms you would like to feature. We are currently active on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest and will be highlighting those. Then, go to Google to find logos. Most social media outlets will have a corporate page that makes their logo available to the public along with instructions for proper usage. For example, Facebook has a Brand Resources page easily found when searching “facebook logo” on Google.
As you find the appropriate source for each social media outlet, save the logos to your desktop.
4. Press enter within your document to advance to the next line space and then insert each of your saved logos (from the menu at top, press the Insert tab, and choose Picture) in the order you want them to appear on your sign.
Inserting each of mine took me to the bottom of a second page. So, the first step in adjusting sizing is to crop any excess space from the logos. (As you can see above, the outline of the Pinterest image is directly around the icon, so no need to crop that one.) That’s not the case for LinkedIn . . .
To crop, click Picture Tools (at the very top of the screen), click the Crop icon (at top right), drag the outer edges of the box tight around the logo, and press enter. Once all the logos are cropped as needed, try to match their size to about and 1.4” in height. (This will ensure you have adequate room for text.) To do so, click Picture Tools again and enter a height at top right.
Repeat for the other icons.
5. Click in the space after your first icon, press enter to add a line space, and type your profile name/URL for that platform; repeat for your subsequent logos. This process once again took me onto a second page.
Therefore, decrease the font size as needed. I went with size 20.
And then adjust the spacing a little for each line of text (so you have additional room between each social media outlet).
And you’re done!
6. Save your file, print, cut (on the dotted line, which is 8×10”), and frame!
A Note About Fonts and Colors: While the instructions described above will achieve the simple and modern design pictured, you can (and should) customize the look for your business. If you’ve been brand building from the start, you already have a Style Guide in place, and everything you create for your business should reflect the guidelines you’ve set for your logo usage, fonts, and colors. If you’re new to branding, be sure to review our story on The Role of a Brand Style Guide.
Special Note: Brand Building for Small Business has been identified by Feedspot (www.Feedspot.com) as one of the Top 100 Branding Blogs. Feedspot provides “the most comprehensive list of branding blogs on the Internet” so we are pleased to be part of that group.
The requests for donations of time and/or money never stop. (I know – because the need never stops!)
Generally speaking, the causes asking for help are very worthwhile, and you’d really like to do your part . . . but didn’t that agency just make the same request last month?
While this blog can’t suggest ways to cut down the number of times you are approached, we do hope to help you view these solicitations just a bit differently – as chances “to get” as well as “to give.”
Charitable contributions take many forms. Sometimes, you are asked to sponsor an event. Maybe someone wants you to take out an ad in a program book – often honoring an individual for community service. Or, have you been given a chance to underwrite the cost of a little league team (who will wear the name of your business on the backs of two dozen kids several times a week for many months)? Or, perhaps you’ve been asked to support a high school sport, a public broadcasting station, a local church, etc.
Typically, the cost to participate is low (relative to the cost of advertising in the media) . . . and you choose the amount. Since many of us will “just say yes” very often due to good intentions/guilt/a sense of moral obligation, we encourage you to recognize the value of such local “advertising.”
Frankly, you are associating your business in a positive way with a good cause and promoting an image (and self-image) of community involvement, which can be very valuable (especially for a local retail operation).
However, you must be sure to take full advantage of the quid quo pro benefit you are provided.
Always include your logo.
Mention as much of your “boiler plate” description of yourself as possible.
If you are given ad space in a program, you certainly congratulate the honoree but be sure to also mention your products and services as well in a manner consistent with your branding (so the message gets repeated the same way every time).
If your sponsorship includes a t-shirt (or some other imprintable promotional item) or perhaps even a banner bearing your company’s name, spend time on the artwork to make your branding elements as visible and prominent as possible.
If the organization you sponsor does all of the preparation, be sure to provide the quality logo needed to produce the best results and request to see a proof of the complete artwork in advance of printing.
If accompanying radio or TV advertising for the event includes mention of you, be very specific about the way your name should be handled.
If you are in a growth pattern, use these charitable platforms to let people know you are hiring . . . and provide a link to your web site to learn more about the company, the openings and internships available, and perhaps even apply online.
While proper care will enable you to take good advantage of the benefits provided, your branding opportunity does not have to end with the event.
Use your social media platforms to post news about your involvement in the community-based activities. For artwork, you can often post the logo of the agency sponsoring the event as well as your own . . . and perhaps a picture of the person being honored. Typically, those images will generate views/readers.
Social media traffic is one factor that can assist getting your name to turn up in Internet searches . . . so your charitable efforts help you in this way, too.
(Note: Efforts to get your name to appear in searches is referred to SEO – Search Engine Optimization; future articles are planned that address this subject.)
Very often, charitable acts can be used to prepare press releases that stand a very good chance of achieving publication. For example, did your employees volunteer at a soup kitchen, watch over a Salvation Army collection kettle, or perhaps participate in a United Way Day of Caring. If so, let the world know. In fact, very often the organization you are helping will have created PR (AND social media postings) of their own so you benefit from their mention without requiring the preparation. However, be sure to request the right to review prior to submission to make sure your branding elements are included and handled correctly. (Most organizations are used to getting requests of this kind!)
WEB SITE CONTENT
News about your charitable involvements can be good web site content that allows you to reveal a different, less formal side of your culture – the kinds of information that can be very helpful in recruiting prospective employees looking to learn more about you and decide whether yours is the kind of company that s/he wants to join.
So . . . the moral of this story is to recognize the potential of charitable contributions to do good for others . . . and you, too! A WIN-WIN!! situation.
While you may have to get a little more involved than just writing out a check, the time and effort you devote will not be significant, and the benefit to your branding efforts can be great. You can become better known . . . and known as a good citizen to society, which will encourage people to think positive thoughts when they see your logo.
Your first step to your business’s social media presence on facebook is quick and easy. In the five steps below, you’ll see how to create a page for your business.
1. Log in to your personal account on facebook. Go to Create > Page.
Select Business or Brand when asked to choose a category.
2. You’ll then be prompted to input an address, or you can click “Don’t show my address. Only show that this business is in the City, State region.”
3. Next, you’ll need to add a profile photo. You’ll want to use one that can be squared, the corners rounded/cropped, and at least 170 x 170 pixels in size (which is pretty small). We would ideally like to use our logo, but it’s not one that would work well in facebook’s profile frame:
If uploaded as is (as I did above), portions would be cropped. If I added white space to the top and bottom so the sides wouldn’t be cropped, the logo would be very hard to see when displayed at 170 x 170 pixels and smaller. As a result, I went with an icon version of our logo, created for purposes such as these. White space has been added all around to accommodate the round frame.
If your logo doesn’t work for your profile picture or you’d prefer to use a photo of yourself or some other image representative of your business, just be sure to regularly include your logo in your posts (preferably as an overlay on pictures related to the post).
4. Next up is your cover photo, which displays at 820 pixels wide x 312 pixels tall on computers and 640 pixels wide x 360 pixels tall on smartphones. The minimum size is 400 pixels wide x 150 pixels tall. Since the dimensions of your cover photo will vary somewhat in different environments, a simple landscape photo is your surest best – as opposed to including your logo or other text. (If you do go the route of including your logo or other text, be sure to include lots of white space, so the text does not get cropped regardless of the environment.)
A Quick Note About Graphics Software: If you’re not quite sure how to go about creating a cover photo that includes text or how to add white space to your logo, you may want to check out Inkscape (https://inkscape.org/), which is a free graphics editor that also makes a number of tutorials available: https://inkscape.org/learn/tutorials/.
For our facebook cover, I just used the main image included on our home page for continuity purposes.
You can “drag to reposition” if desired.
5. Finally, you’ll be asked whether you want to “invite friends to like your page,” which is recommended since pages with 10 or more likes get more engagement. If you want to wait until you’ve been regularly posting for some time before inviting a lot of people, you can start off with a small group of your close family and friends until you get better established.
And you are done! You have a facebook page for your business. Unfortunately, that was the easy part. The challenge is creating a regular posting schedule and sticking to that plan. How often . . . ? A number of sources cite one facebook post per day as optimal. If you can commit to that, great. If you feel like twice a day is better for you, just pay attention to your engagement. If those posts aren’t getting sufficient attention, facebook may decrease your visibility and put your posts into a “spamming” category. If you’re like us, once a week is a much more reasonable goal. Do what works for you and your business, experimenting a little to find your optimal posting schedule.
Good luck! Stay tuned for more posts about facebook. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a reply below.
When looking at the above headline, what do you see?
OPPORTUNITIES NO WHERE
OPPORTUNITIES NOW HERE
If you see the latter, you are probably a good candidate to recognize and utilize every available chance to brand your product.
Remember . . .
While branding is certainly a reflection of decisions you make about logo, color, font, byline, etc., branding is more importantly your way of telling the world just who you are, which encompasses all aspects of your daily operations and customer service.
What prompted me to write this article today was a recent great branding opportunity . . . and my curiosity about the percentage of you that did (and did not) take advantage of . . .
SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY
“What is this event,” you might ask, “and why do I care?”
“First observed in the United States on November 27, 2010, it is a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which feature big box retail and e-commerce stores respectively. By contrast, Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local. Small Business Saturday is a registered trademark of American Express.” (nicely summarized by Wikipedia)
In other words, Small Business Saturday is a national event accompanied by a considerable amount of publicity and fanfare that you can use as a springboard for your own initiative (taking advantage of ad exposure without having to pay!), which is always an ideal circumstance. Furthermore, you will be associating your business and your brand with the positive small business characteristics being extolled.
So . . . what can you do to capitalize on Small Business Saturday?
Add a reference to the event on your web site.
Plan a blitz of social media postings.
Have a sale.
Write a press release or op-ed article supporting the cause.
American Express, which helped create this nationally recognized day, continues to promote the occasion and makes lots of information and tools available from their web site. (Be sure to check out the section labeled “How to Participate.”)
About now, you are probably pretty annoyed at me for getting you all fired up to participate in Small Business Saturday just a few days AFTER the celebration has passed.
Cuz now is the ideal time for you to start thinking about the ways in which you might take advantage of:
National Small Business Week
(May 3rd – 9th, 2020)
According to the Small Business Association (SBA):
“For more than 50 years, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. As part of National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories. Every day, they’re working to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness.”
Visit the National Small Business Week page for the latest news and events.
Again, you have an event garnering national and local attention and publicity. Make your current customers aware and ask them to spread the word further. Perhaps you’ll want to use this week as an opportunity to request reviews and testimonials from your existing customers. You might want to recognize your employees and call attention to the local, personalized service you provide on a daily basis – nice qualities to associate with your brand.
Simply stated, countless opportunities exist to promote your brand in a very visible way without necessarily incurring significant expense and very often enabling you to generate new customers and sales. When no event exists, try to find a creative way to make one, which is, of course, the way in which Small Business Saturday began.
Good luck . . . and don’t forget that holiday cards and gifts represent great branding opportunities, too!!
In a recent article, we discussed some of the benefits and obstacles encountered in utilizing a direct mail/e-mail initiative to further promote your brand and perhaps realize some additional new sales along the way. Since we expect many (if not most) small business owners must take a very hands-on, DIY approach to such activities, we figured we’d devote this short article to illustrating the ease with which a Mail Merge letter can be used to generate a physical mailing – using our blog (as always) as an example/Guinea pig. Please note that while we will be utilizing Microsoft Office products in our example, both because of their popularity AND the fact that we happen to have those apps on our machines, other competing products offer similar functionality.
Our particular plan calls for sending out inquiries just a few at a time – requesting that a link to our blog be added to their web site. Therefore, the next step was to take the information yielded by this search and start constructing our database a few entries at a time. (Interestingly, we’ve elected to include the clearinghouse that assembled the search results as one of our prospects.)
As you can see, little detail is provided, but the name links to a
website, which can be used to develop complete information. Very often, the “About Us” content provides a
good lead to the correct recipients (and often includes a means to track down
the prospects’ e-mail addresses).
Once the data is assembled, you need to create a simple Excel
spreadsheet. Each column can be used to
store a piece of relevant data. (You
will pretty quickly identify which items should be kept separate because the
information will be used that way and which can be combined because the content
is always called as a group – EX: city,
state, and zip as three fields as opposed to citystatezip as one.)
Your spreadsheet will be very simple and can use row one as a header for labels (later used by the Word mail merge function for field names).
In a few cases, I found several contact people that seemed worth approaching, so each of them is included in a separate row with most of the fields simply duplicated. Zip codes that began with a leading “0” were converted to text because the app drops the lead number “0.” (In case you are wondering, you can change a number to text by highlighting the cells to be affected and selecting “Format Cells” and then “Text” from the drop-down menu.)
The Merge Letter
Now that your initial pool of recipients has been identified, you can open your sample letter (the text included in our previous article) and begin the simple merge process.
As you can see, placeholder names have been included where fields
will be added.
Next, select the “Mailings” tab as shown below. While several paths can be taken at this point, including a helpful wizard, this example will begin by choosing “Start Mail Merge.”
While we are selecting “Normal Word Document” for this
example, please note the other useful functions available from this submenu
(including the ability to generate labels or envelopes, though that’s a
separate article set for a later date).
For now, press “Select Recipients” and “Use an Existing List” as shown below. You will be given the opportunity to browse to the Excel database you created.
At this point, you are ready to “Insert Merge Fields.”
A list of fields will be displayed that correspond to the
columns you defined in your spreadsheet.
So, start replacing your placeholders with actual fields. (i.e., You delete the placeholder; then, with the cursor already in the desired location, select the field by the same name from the drop-down). Note that “date” could have been supplied to the template via a preexisting function, though we elected to handle ourselves.
Once all of your fields have been applied, you should “Preview Results,” which will allow you to proof and check your work. (See Completed Template with fields.)
Once satisfied that the output is as expected, “Finish & Merge.”
Be aware that you will be able to select your output device. For illustration purposes, I routed the merged letters to a pdf that can be printed and mailed at a later date. Be sure to check your final documentsvery carefully. Then, you are done.
While we will be mailing the letters we created, we will also be reinforcing this exercise with an e-mailed copy. (With this particular letter, the ability to link directly to an exhibit is significant.) In another article, we will be discussing the multitude of options available to you. For now, we are looking to generate just six e-mail messages. As a result, our selection of tools will be based on the situation.
If we happened to be using a compatible version of Outlook for our e-mail activities, we would have been able to merge from Word directly to that app. Since we are not and want the simplest possible way of getting the electronic follow up out quickly and easily, we will be simply copying from the already merged Word document and pasting the results into six separate messages. (What can I say – sometimes the low-tech solution is the most efficient, though better answers are needed for larger or more frequent mailings.)
That said, lots of checking and testing will still be required to
identify any of the countless anomalies that can turn up when dealing with a
wide variety of e-mail platforms.
Once the mailings are out in the world, we will immediately start
tracking our results. If you happened to
guess that we will be doing an article on the task as well, you’d certainly be
right! Please watch for our future
installments and feel free to provide feedback.
As always, thanks for your interest in “Brand Building for Small
Business.” We hope you come back soon.
Alternative Ways to Use Our Samples as Templates: Download our letterto your desktop and open in Microsoft Word. Click ‘yes’ when asked if you’d like to continue, navigate to your database when prompted to ‘Select Data Source’, and click ‘open’. Include your logo and adapt the letter as needed to work with your spreadsheet. Then, go to Mailings > Preview Results. OR, download our databaseto your desktop, open the file in Excel, delete our information, and include your own.
Postscript: Need to generate an envelope from Word but can’t wait for our article? See the envelope template we used to generate our physical mailing (same Excel spreadsheet as the letter).
My number one first suggestion to an individual looking to promote their business on any social media platform is to get to know your target. If you’re looking to create a facebook business account and reflections of your first facebook profile picture trigger a ‘wow, look how young I was’ reaction, you can probably safely cross this item off the to-do list. If you’ve got a sad, faceless, white silhouette or no account at all, your first step is to dive — head first — into the unknown realm and fully immerse yourself. The definition for full immersion (or your threshold for comfort in the new environment) will vary by person, but I would recommend you spend AT LEAST a few hours over the course of a week or so bravely exploring. While a great supplement, research cannot compare to real-life experience.
So I’m going to assume you have an individual account on
Pinterest, and you know that a ‘pin’ is an image most often representing linked
content, a ‘board’ is a stored collection of like pins, and the Pinterest site
or app is often used as a visual search engine.
WHO ELSE IS ON PINTEREST?
A closer look at Pinterest’s demographics (below) shows a
more female tilt (though that tilt decreases in intensity every year) with
other lesser represented demographics including individuals 65+ and people with
income less than $30k.
WHY ARE THESE FOLKS ON PINTEREST?
The big topics traditionally associated with the platform are
food and beauty/style. If your business
is focused on one of these categories, Pinterest is the perfect match for you.
The impetus for me writing this particular article is that
we are currently looking to promote our blog, Brand Building for Small
Business, on Pinterest. Since we’re
not a sure-thing kind of fit for this outlet, I went looking to confirm my
personal impression that DIY business topics do perform well. Pinterest’s top 100 trends for 2019 fall into
I hope your business is faring well here, because ours it
still on the fence. Actually, we may not
have even approached the fence yet. The top ten trends within each category are available on
Pinterest’s web site. Upon drilling
down, I see we have some potential in the Hobbies and Interests category: the first item listed is, “Do the hustle:
People are turning their passions into profits—from canning to DJing to online
tutoring. (Searches for side hustles at home +690%).” Apparently, lots of small businesses are
blooming, and these at-home entrepreneurs are turning to Pinterest. I’m optimistic that your review of the top
trends was equally encouraging. This
social media platform really has evolved significantly over the years, and I believe
a large percentage of businesses can find a comfortable home in today’s
MAKE YOUR BUSINESS PINTERESTING (sorry, just had to . . . )
1. Create Your Business Account
You can either add your business
profile to your personal one (by clicking in the top right corner, then “Add a free
business profile,” and completing the following prompts) or you can create a profile
independent of your personal account (log
out of your personal account, go to pinterest.com/business/create/,
fill in your email and password, click “Create account,” and answer the
questions that follow).
In that process, you’ll be asked whether you would like to
add the Pinterest save button to your browser.
While certainly not a necessity, the button can ease your future pinning.
2. Edit Your Profile
Click the pen to the right of
your business name for your business account settings. Your profile photo should be
consistent with your brand, square, and at least 600 x 600 pixels. In the About section, you have 160 characters
to be as descriptive as possible while including keywords and phrases that your
target audience might search.
3. Create Your Boards
Next, you’ll want to decide how to structure your
account. If you’re a photographer, you
might want to have boards for each type of photography you do (weddings,
babies, etc.). If you own a salon, you
could create a board for each type of service you provide. As a blog for small business branding, I’m
going to create a board for each brand component we focus on (logo design,
style guides, direct mail, etc.).
To begin, you’ll need to switch from your Business hub to
From your profile page, select boards, and click the plus
You’ll again want to be as descriptive as possible with your
board names while keeping keywords in mind and limiting your character count to
Return to the boards page, hover over the name of your new
board, and click the pencil icon to enter more details. Enter a description, choose an appropriate
category, and save your board.
Repeat this process for as many boards as you’d like.
4. Get Pinning
Next, you’ll want to add some pins to your boards, which
should include a mix of your products and services, related content that is new
to Pinterest, and related content already on Pinterest.
The easiest route of course is simply repinning, but you
usually need new content (in addition to your products and services) to make
your board worth following, though exceptions certainly exist.
If you chose to download the Pinterest save button to your
browser when creating your account, you can simply hover over pictures you’d
like to pin, and the Pinterest save button will appear at the top left of the
picture, as you can see below on our home page.
While a great neutral image, nothing specific is communicated and would
therefore be largely useless as a pin.
You want to use an image that is visually appealing and clearly conveys
the viewer’s destination if he or she were to click. Your logo is a nice addition but not a
Once you’ve got your image and are ready to add your new
pin, click on your applicable board, and click the plus sign at top left to
Upload your picture, add your title, explain your content,
and include a destination link. (Once
again, be mindful of keywords people might search to find content like yours.)
Quick Note About Rich Pins: With a business account on Pinterest, you have the ability to add greater depth to your pins for products, recipes, articles, and aps: – Product pins include real-time pricing, availability, and purchase information. – Recipe pins display ingredients, cooking times, and serving sizes. – Article pins show a headline, the author, and a story description. – Ap pins include an install button. While these additions can be very helpful, rich pins do require some initial groundwork. They function by displaying metadata associated with your content that’s included within the HTML of your website. For information on setup, see Pinterest’s Developers’ Overview on Rich Pins.
YOUR PINTEREST PLAN GOING FORWARD
Pinterest recommends you pin at least once per day during
peak times (i.e., evenings and weekends).
You can also schedule pins if you’d prefer to get a large amount ready
all at once. To do so, just select
“Publish at a later date” when creating your pins. You can schedule as many as 30 pins up to two
weeks in advance.
Happy pinning! If you
have any questions, leave a reply below.
To shamelessly borrow Nike’s slogan, forward movement is the best route for small businessowners looking to broaden their marketing and branding efforts into social media. If you’re a large company with a department or firm devoted to your marketing and branding, you likely have a person or staff of people responsible for social media, and they can analyze demographics, develop goals, create a content inventory, and schedule posts. If that’s a feasible undertaking for your business, this web site probably isn’t for you. Our target is the small businessowner, who is looking to embrace social media while simultaneously doing most everything else . . . which could include staffing, management, finances, strategic planning, daily operations, sales, and customer service as well as marketing and branding. Dedicating a huge amount of time and financial investment to social media simply isn’t feasible and is frankly unnecessary in order to be successful.
JUST DO WHAT?
So how do you move forward into this new corporate endeavor? Focus on what you know. For example, if you don’t have a personal
twitter account and aren’t really sure what or why one would tweet, that’s
probably not the best place for you to start.
We’ve recently decided now is the time to start promoting
our blog content on social media. Personally,
I currently frequent Facebook and Pinterest.
Bob, the other voice of Brand Building for Small Business, frequents
Facebook. (Frequent is actually probably
an overstatement, but he occasionally visits Facebook.) Since we have real experience with these platforms,
we have a pretty good idea of who else is using them without any research. However, a quick glance at the following
chart, and we can solidify our understanding of the demographics of the most
popular social media platforms.
Facebook and Pinterest’s demographics sufficiently align
with our target audience. We also know
from experience that our content would be an appropriate fit. . . .
“CONTENT IS KING”
What can you, on behalf of your business, contribute to
social media (with the expectation that a meaningful contribution yields
dividends for your business)?
At the risk of sounding repetitive . . . focus on what you
know. You are likely an expert in your field.
You may have managed to generate an income selling your products or
services. You possibly generate revenue
that supports a small staff of people. Or
maybe you just started out and are hopeful about the profits to come. Regardless, you likely have a wealth of
You also no doubt have a personality. I’m sure you’ve got a pretty great one at
that. You may be clever, witty, cultured,
or sarcastic. You may be optimistic,
dark, curious, or creative. You have a
voice. Hopefully, that voice is
reflected in your brand, and you can express yourself and your brand on social
media, resonating authenticity with your audience.
A FEW GREAT EXAMPLES . . .
The popular brand of toaster pastries Pop-Tarts has a
Twitter account bursting with personality. . . .
Pop-Tarts’ parent company, Kellogg’s, has a more conservative brand and voice. They have approximately 98,000 Twitter followers while Pop-Tarts has 205,000. With a 280 character limit (up from 140 a couple years ago), a little bit of creativity goes a long way.
A provider of furniture and home goods, Wayfair utilizes the
visual nature of their business on a platform optimal for visuals. Wayfair has approximately 1.3 million
followers on Instagram, and they most often post pictures of their products
with simple captions that engage, entertain, or educate. Many posts will lead you to the link in their
bio, which ultimately leads you to shop the pictured items on their web site.
Digital media website Mashable uses Pinterest as an outlet
to reinforce brand awareness and drive traffic to their web site. They have 58 boards, ranging in topic from
“3D Printing Creations” to “WTF” . . .
Mashable has 10 million+ monthly viewers on Pinterest.
A JOURNEY WITHOUT A MAP
Let’s say you glean some inspiration from these social media giants, and you create accounts for your business on the platforms you frequent; you begin regularly posting content – at least once per week – that is optimal for that platform (based on your personal experience), your products or services, and your unique brand; you promote your social media presence as part of your brand on all advertisements, correspondence, etc.; and little by little customers AND potential customers start following you. Fantastic! What now?
According to Comm100, some commons social media goals are to:
Connect with Customers
Increase Brand Awareness
Drive Traffic to Your Website (directly from
social media and indirectly by enhanced search engine results)
Generate Sales and Leads
Boost Brand Engagement
Increase In-Person Sales
Build a Community
Improve Customer Service
While one or two items on this list may be more important to you than others, all of the goals are worthwhile in some respect. See what develops for you as time goes on. You may find that your most useful outcome of social media is invaluable market intel that comes from the comments on your product posts that you originally hoped would generate sales. Or perhaps people start leaving reviews for you on Facebook, which become an important tool in converting leads into sales. Maybe you find that you get complaints via social media that provide an opportunity for you to offer outstanding customer service in a very public way. Navigating without a roadmap means you need to pay attention to your journey. Try to find an opportunity in the issues that arise. Be open to suggestions. Think of creative ways that you can utilize and expand upon the positives you encounter. Grow and evolve. And be patient. Good luck!
At some point after initial development of your branding elements, sales and service activities begin to overlap and incorporate brand management. To ensure ongoing progress toward the goal of building an established, identifiable brand, a “Branding Calendar” can be a very useful tool that helps to add structure to an amorphous task.
The following is a list of activities that can and should
occur within a month to promote consistent progress . . . and results.
Explore opportunities for charitable contributions/community
involvement. (Could involve a monetary
contribution, a give-away item with a logo, OR the gift of time and can be used
to develop promotional materials.)
Prepare and submit press releases (could be
personnel or product/service-related or more geared to civic involvement as
Send direct mail/e-mail to sell product/service
but simultaneously support brand awareness.
Perform Social Media postings for product or
community-related news (as mentioned above); every press release, ad,
charitable gesture, mailing etc. can potentially benefit from a social media
Perform a customer care activity to try to make
sure you know who they are and that they are well served. Remember, your branding will only ever be
effective when the customer’s experience is being reflected.
Address SEO (search engine optimization)
activities, evaluating current search results and exploring possible ways to
improve such as running campaigns to increase backlinks, adding content to
site, channeling contact and sales information through the web site to build
All of these activities represent opportunities to promote your brand, circulate your logo, incorporate any slogans/by-lines, reuse standard boilerplate language etc. We suggest utilizing our Branding Calendar as a guide to monitor and structure your progress and make sure your sales activity incorporates the branding elements you’ve decided upon.
Obviously, we encourage you to use our calendar as a
starting point for you to customize to your specific operations. For instance . . .
Perhaps telemarketing has proven to be a
successful sales and service strategy for you.
Then, include that item and make sure your telemarketing staff has
scripts that reflect your branding.
Perhaps advertising is a key for you. If so, be sure to add several days to create
ad copy, build web landing pages, submit your creative, etc.
Tradeshows important to your operation? Then, use them as an opportunity to promote
your brand and deliver your message both verbally and in print, including the
content of your trade show booth.
Our intention over time is to create separate articles about each of these potential vehicles for building your brand so we can explore the topic in greater detail and hopefully offer some very specific, concrete tips related to the activity. Till then, hope you find our calendar a useful starting point in customizing your own. (Download our Branding Calendar template and activity worksheets.)
Reviews have become an important part of our lives. We look at them when choosing a restaurant, selecting a contractor, watching a movie, or even buying a new pair of jeans. As a result, having an abundance of glowing customer reviews can have a big impact upon your business. However, you know that already, which is why you’re here. So, let’s get started. . . .
I do believe the most effective way to convince a happy customer to go the extra mile for your business is to personally take the time to ask for a review. However, a personal request isn’t always feasible. For those occasions, a sign placed in a prominent area (possibly next to your register) that makes the request visually can be a good idea. I’ll show you the steps to create such sign in Microsoft Word.
1. Open Word, create a new blank document, and insert a rectangle. (When your cursor turns into a plus sign, you’re able to draw your rectangle.)
By default, mine was blue. Right click on the rectangle and select More Layout Options.
Set the properties to . . .
Size: 10” in Height and 8” in Width
Text Wrapping: Behind Text
Horizontal – Absolute Position of .25” ‘to the right of’: Page
Vertical – Absolute Position of .5” ‘to the right of’: Page
Right click on the rectangle again and select Format Shape. Set the Fill to No Fill, and set the Line to a Solid Line, Black Color, and .5 pt Width, choosing the Dash Type selection shown below.
2. Click inside the rectangle and type “Review Us”. Change the font to one that works as your heading and increase the size as needed to appropriately fill the space. Set the Alignment to Centered. I went with the font Georgia in all caps at size 60 and added a space between each letter.
3. Press enter to advance to the next line and then insert a star. Once your cursor is a plus sign, draw the star about a half inch or so in size.
Right click your star and select More Layout Options: within the Text Wrapping tab, select In Line With Text from the Wrapping Style section; within the Size tab, make the star .7” in Width and Height; press OK.
Right click on the star once again and select Format Shape: set the Fill to No Fill; for the Line, select Solid Line, Black color, and 1.5 pt Width.
Right click on the star one last time and select copy. Add a space and paste your star. Repeat three more times.
4. Press enter and add your company name. I used the same formatting as the “Review Us” heading but decreased the size to 36.
5. Press enter and include your review request. I went with: “Your feedback is extremely important to us. Take a few minutes to share your thoughts and help us spread the good word.” I kept the font the same and just changed the font size to 24.
6. Next, decide which review platforms you would like to feature. I decided to use TripAdvisor, Facebook, and Google. Then, go to Google Images (https://www.google.com/imghp) and search for the logo of one of the companies. I searched “tripadvisor logo”.
Save your selection to your desktop. (I chose the 4th logo of the top row. ) Press enter to add a line space to your Word Document and insert the logo.
As you can see, the logo is quite big. Since I plan to include three logos, I decreased the size a bit.
Repeat the process for each logo you would like to include, adding a line space between each one. If you extend onto a new page, don’t worry.
7. The last step in Word is simply a final tweaking so that everything looks nice and professional on the page. I increased the line spacing after the company name, the paragraph, and in between the logos, and decreased the size of each of the logos.