People from over 200 countries across the globe flock to Facebook to connect people. But what connection are they truly making — what connection to their favorite brands are they making, more importantly? What does the average user really want out of their Facebook experience? The realm of Facebook encompasses more than profile pictures and relationship statuses. It surrounds the basic human instinct to feel important; to feel as though your voice is being heard. That being said, what can be done on your page to encourage people not only to like your page but to enjoy going there on a daily basis. Breaking down the fundamental communication value of Facebook is key to incorporating a successful social media strategy into your brand. I will be using Coca-Cola to demonstrate three tips that can be developed over time to build something more than a brand — a true following. With over 41,000,000 likes, Coca-Cola has built a following with a social media empire to match:
1. Be True to Your Fans
There is a reason that people buy your product or partake in your services. Keep yourself rooted in that essential part of your business that got you fans in the first place. If you are going through a re-branding phase or are considering making a jump to a social media campaign, remember that within your innovation, there needs to be a core value that your business has carried and that has been related to your customers.
Coca-Cola is a great example of a company who keeps up with their evolving image while staying true to the basic values that most people associate with it. This is America’s brand and has always upheld this image with their advertising campaigns. Their cover photo on Facebook emulates the same emotions that some of their earliest advertisements did: wholesome, youthful, fun, tradition — a refreshing beverage to be enjoyed by all.
The mind-boggling thing about Coca-Cola is that it is virtually one product (beverage) that has made such a powerful throne as a brand. According to their website, “From humble beginnings 125 years ago, our Company has evolved from one product – Coca-Cola – to more than 500 brands in 2011. We’ve grown from selling a modest 9 drinks a day in 1886 to 1.8 billion a day. And we’ve expanded from one city in one country to availability in more than 200 countries around the world.”
1.8 billion a day. That could translate to roughly 26% of the global population buying a Coke on a daily basis.
2. Give Your Fans a Voice
Something that every good salesperson knows is that people love to talk about themselves. If you get them to tell you what they are truly in the market for, it is simple to sell it to them. Coca-Cola gives their fans a forum and an opportunity to be heard. The company encourages fan involvement and they put that right in their Facebook introduction, “The Coca-Cola Facebook Page is a collection of your stories showing how people from around the world have helped make Coke into what it is today.”
What fan wouldn’t want to be part of one of the biggest brands in the world?
So what you need to do is give your fans and opportunity to do your marketing for you. It’s as basic as the word-of-mouth method, but translate that into social media. Let them tell the story of your product and partner with local businesses and archives to do the same. This is the simplest way to let your loyal customers, the ones who actually spend a lot of time using your product, tell you what they want. It’s the survey, the research, the data collection, the analysis all rolled into one. And it’s free!
3. Incorporate All of your Branding Materials
Not only has Coke taken over the web, they’ve taken over color association. When you see red and white or even a red bottle icon, you know that it’s Coke without even having to think about it. Their social media is no different. It reeks of red and white and the Coke brand in a way that associates all of your fondest childhood memories with their Facebook. Remember being barefoot in the summertime grass, drinking a Coke and eating chips. Maybe waiting for 4th of July fireworks to start. Maybe playing with your best friend that moved away when their dad got a job two states over.
This branding pulls everything together with two colors, focusing on their heritage and yet calling people to action by telling them to “express themselves.” What Coke has done, is it’s become a cultural icon to the extent of which almost every significant image used in their advertising gets sucked into their image vortex. Polar bear. Santa Claus. These are things that have become part of their strategy and part of the reason why people drink 1.8 billion a day.
So how can you take this theory and apply it to your business? Incorporate a strong color association with your brand name. People associate by color more than almost any other medium because it’s usually the first thing you notice when looking at an ad. Develop a strong design and utilize colors in your branding efforts. Then, once you have developed the strong brand, make sure that your different networks, websites and other branded items are plastered with the same palette. Keep it consistent. This is crucial to getting your branding materials involved on Facebook.
Be sure to incorporate other things. The logo, pictures of the storefront, pictures of the employees. Show them who you are as well as what you do. This will encourage trust, which is essential in building any relationship. Keep your brand strong and consistent and be sure to incorporate these things in your Facebook page.
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