What Social Media Best Practices Can Help You Develop Your Brand Image?

 

Brand image (1)

 

I recognize that in today’s dynamic digital landscape, we have no choice but to use social media to develop our brand image.  So, in order to move forward to the new millennium, I decided to change and adapt my thinking by learning the best digital practices on developing my personal brand image.  Designing my brand image in a digital way can’t be done in one day, it requires effort and consistency but it allows you to progress and grow.

The following points lists the different best practices that I have learned on how to develop my brand image through social media.

 

  • Understand the digital evolution and embracing the idea that in today’s environment, social media is how you build a presence of your personal brand and image. This includes knowing the steps of the customer lifecycle journey and that by having a presence in social media will help your brand have a competitive advantage.  First, take the time to know yourself: who you are, what is your expertise, and how do you differentiate yourself in your industry.  Then, define your target audience based on demographics, technographics, segmentation and their motivations.  Lastly, find your influencers and competitors in your industry.

 

  • Establish your brand message and image and tell a story about it. The brand story defines you in the eye of the user.  Your message may be adjusted depending on your social media channel but keep it consistent throughout.  Additionally, make sure it is align with your goals and objectives.  The following post is a great example how how Target constantly shares a consistent message and image.

 

 

  • Design a pre-strategy by utilizing the REALLY framework will really get you in the right direction by constantly revising how your personal brand is doing from a social media stand point. Therefore, constantly researching, engaging, analyzing, learning, and listening will help you be active and create a successful brand image in social media.  For example, during your research stage about your target audience you will determine what social networks they populate.  In addition, utilizing a great tool like Hootsuite, a social media management system, allows you in one place to be revising your social media presence by keeping track and managing all your social network channels at once.

 

  • Develop a site where you can blog content about your industry and show your expertise. It is important to identify the keywords that you will be writing about and use the correct density of them so when people search your keywords your blog is optimized.  In addition, microblogging in Twitter allows you to engage with your audience and influencers.  These are great ways to develop your brand and build a presence.  For example, Whole Foods has a special category on its website dedicated to blogging which include great images.

 

WFPB

 

  • Be current on best practices and changes on your social media channels. For example, today it is important to incorporate more than just text in your content.  Thus, video offers a great way for your brand to establish a more emotional connection by visualization.

 

 

  • Brand image in social media requires you develop a clear brand identity, strategy and positioning. For example, in social media, a) position your brand with a global perspective, b) focus on brand evolution strategy where the brand is controlled by the consumer and constantly changing so there is flexibility for it to evolve by listening and changing when needed, and c) leverage user generated content which will help you create user generated branding.

What is Best Way to Join Social Media:  Create a Pre-Strategy!!!

 

SMPre-Strategy

 

In order to join social media, creating a pre-strategy that is unique and works for you, will really create a foundation for success. It it is imperative to understand that social media is an evolving global technological environment that is constantly changing.  Therefore, as you design a plan, it might need to be revised as changes occur.

The following points and examples will help you create a successful pre-strategy for social media.

 

  • I believe the first step is to understand the social media landscape. The same way that social media started with multiple internet applications built on the Web 2.0 where User Generated Content was created and exchanged, now social media is about sharing, increasing engagement and loyalty, and developing influence.  Today, social media is not defined as a website, emails, or instant messaging but moving towards creating meaning of the data and its context; especially that it needs to be relevant and on the right social network as stated by Clicks “Content is King, But Context is Queen”.   In addition, Gary Vayneurchuk, entrepreneur and internet personality, gives great advice on how important is context for your audience in the following video.

 

 

  • Based on the REALLY framework created by Leila Samii, Ph.D., you should be constantly looking at your social media through the following steps: Research, Engagement, Analysis, Listening, Learning and Your Brand. First, it is imperative to spend the necessary time researching and defining your industry, target audience, and influencers to then engage and connect with them.  Then, analyzing the social media channels that you used to see if what you are doing is meeting your goals and objectives by sending the right message about your brand.  Finally, it is not anymore just about social listening but it is more important to listen and learn about your target audiences’ wants.  One great example, is how a very successful podcast, npr Ted Radio Hour that I personally enjoy listening, is now providing new content every week without re-posting past podcasts.  This desire was communicated by the audience and they listened.

 

 

  • Determine what platforms your target audience is using so you can create the right content and start engaging. For example, always thinking about your customers in terms of the consumer life cycle journey, will help you define which platforms your target audience are using through the different steps.  You need to decide in what channels you need to have a presence so your consumers can have access to your brand when doing research and also if you want them to keep buying and recommending your product.  For example, you can choose different channels like a website, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

 

  • Understand that social networks are classified and not all serve the same purpose. Take the time to understand the ecosystem and choose the appropriate platforms when planning your strategy.  All active participants in social media have different types of social behaviors, so it is important to understand them because they all can be an influence to your brand.  For example, some people might be very active just reading or liking every single post and not necessarily commenting; as in the Target post shown below.

 

 

  • Keep your message consistent, tell a story utilizing some type of visuals that are attractive with a respectful language and creates an emotional connection. For example, Chick-Fil-A is great at putting great images, as shown below, about their healthy menu.  This keep it consistent in their message when they are trying to differentiate themselves as choosing ingredients that are healthy.

 

 

As a concluding note, joining social media should be carefully planned and once you are part of it, you should think like a Journalist, as said by Jeff Barrett, a Forbes Top 50 Social Media Influencer.

 

Success in Social Media:  Use the REALLY framework!!!

 

Social Media (3)

 

As a professional in today’s rapidly technologically changing landscape, I believe that we need to be constantly learning the new ways to be current.  I realized that building a presence for my personal brand in social media was a must if I want to be part of today’s environment.  However, is not about signing up accounts in all different platforms in one day that will accomplish it.  It is a continuous process of different steps that help me built a presence in social media.  So, how did I do it? I decided to use the REALLY framework develop by Dr. Leila Samii, PhD., which if followed continuously, it will help you be successful in social media.

You first need to start by taking time to research about the culture of your audience, know which platforms to use and how to communicate with them.  The PewResearchCenter.org is a great site that provides detail information about the channels your target audience is using.  Then, determining who are your influencers and competitors in your industry so you can connect, engage and build conversations.  Finally, taking the necessary time to analyze the data on your social platforms will let you know if your brand in social media is meeting your goals and objectives by engaging with the right target audience, influencers and competitors.

The following steps and examples explain this process in more detail.

 

  • During the first step, which is research, it is important to take the necessary time to research your industry, target audience, and influencers. For example, what are the current trends in the industry, what platforms are your audience and influencers using so you will be able to reach them and communicate your message by telling your story.  For example, if you are a professional trying to build your personal brand in social media, you can start by searching in the different channels for keywords about your industry.  As shown below, Hashtagafy.me allowed me to search for influencers as well as competitors in my industry that are populating Twitter by finding hashtags associated my industry.

 

Hashtagafy.me

 

  • Once you chose the social media channels to build your presence, make sure you make a commitment with yourself to become very active on your platforms by connecting, engaging and building conversations with your target audience, influencers and consumers. For example, I opened an account on WordPress and started writing your own blogs about my industry. Sharing this content will a) identify who I am, b) allow me to connect with others in my industry and audience, and c) show my expertise.  It is critical to deliver the same consistent tone and message about your image and brand that the other platforms convey.  This is the foundation of consistency.

 

  • Using Twitter for micro-blogging really allows you to connect and engage with your audience and influencers.  The example below shows one member of my community re-tweeting and sharing content about my expertise.  Thus, if you are a company, engaging with influencers and consumers, will allow you to create brand advocates.  In addition, connecting with your target audience will also allow you to create user generated content (UGC).

 

 

  • Taking the time analyze your brand, the target audience, influencers and competitors will allow you to adapt or make changes as needed.  There are many different tools available that will create meaning to what is happening in your channels to reach your goals and objectives.  For example, using a tool like Audiense, can let you know at what time is my target audience most likely to be active on the platforms so you can optimize connecting and engaging with them.

 

Picture1-AudienseReportonBestTimeToTweet

 

  • It is also important to recognize that the conversation in social media goes on without you. Therefore, you can’t control the conversation but you have the ability to be part by listening and learning from what is being said.  A great tool that shows the sentiment towards your brand, is Social Mention.   It can be very helpful in learning if you need to fix any negative comments.  However, it is important to also know how to read the data given that a negative word maybe not be related to your brand.  Thus, knowing that control in social media has been shifted to the consumer and it is not completely owned by the company anymore creates a higher must on having a presence in social media.

 

  • Establishing a clear and consistent brand image across the different platforms will avoid confusion or doubts in your authenticity. It is important to adjust your message depending on the media channel and integrate your social media with your traditional media to meet your objectives and goals.

 

  • Leveraging user generated content (UGC) will allow you to create user generated branding which involves your target audience to create your brand.  A great example is how Texas Tourism asked their audience to participate in a coloring sweepstakes. People responded by sending amazing images of their colorings.

 

As a final note, make sure you are socially responsible and don’t forget to be yourself, interesting and authentic.  Again, remember that our current business landscape is very dynamic and rapidly changing.  Therefore, you should always be constantly looking at all the steps of the REALLY framework so you can adapt or make changes, if necessary, to your social media marketing strategy.

Leaders, Are You Ready to Lead With A New Mindset??

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

I believe that in order for organizations and their employees to survive in today’s dynamic environment, leaders need to be constantly learning innovative things in new ways.  Our economy is going through a generational transformation that involves connecting with the millenniums by having a new mindset.  Thus, leaders can help the organization and its employees move forward and not get trapped into a stagnant mode that will make them obsolete.  For example, leaders must be willing to lead collaboratively; which is one of the newest skill that they need to learn in order to be effective in today’s complex business landscape.  In addition, developing emotional intelligence (EQ) skills are critically important for success in leadership.  This is the new mindset that the best leaders need to have so they can connect with the new generation and lead effectively.

As seen in his TED video, leadership expert, Simon Sinek shares that it is critical for leaders to make their employees feel secure, therefore, creating trust and safety.

Mindset

As the millennials take more of the workforce and technologies advance rapidly, successful leaders will need to mold their approaches and develop new skills in order to lead successfully.  Leaders will need to be able to:

  • Technologically transform their organizations
  • Meet the needs of the new generation as employees and consumers
  • Lead collectively

We stand in an unpredictable environment where the design of innovations don’t take years to be embraced by the people and business strategies need to be constantly adjusted. In addition, as more and more organizations are collectively finding solutions to complex problems through collaboration, it is important for leaders to start embracing this new thinking as a way of leading.  Finally, it is crucial to offer a culture where the millennials feel they are fulfilling a purpose.

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Emotional Intelligence

Today’s organizations not only value your quantitative knowledge but to be successful in today’s technological landscape it also requires an emotional connection with employees and customers.  Thus, leaders need to have soft skills by using emotional intelligence (EQ) as much as your technical knowledge.  For millennials it is important to work for a company or buy products from one that offers that type of sentiment to their culture.  For example, a company founded on the values of kindness and empathy has a competitive advantage and shows how a leader is more successful if it connects with the new millennium mindset.  Therefore, developing and valuing emotional intelligence is required to lead in today’s environment.

How Are Change Leaders Redesigning Organizations?

 

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

In today’s dynamic business environment, great leaders that are leading change need to redesign their organizations.  Leaders need to have a new mindset to be able to survive.  From how they internally run their organizations to how they sell their products. Today’s world is dynamic; changeable, uncertain, and complicated.  Therefore, organizational strategies, which I describe them as ‘gel strategies’, need to be created in a way that they can be constantly adapted.  This new complex organizational environment creates a constant need to learn, design and adapt technological internal processes and business models to keep growing.  Therefore, adjusting the companies’ culture to what is important and motivates the employees.  To validate these points, the following examples show how different organizations are rapidly adapting to a new mindset.

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Redesign Processes and Business Models

Many companies spent so much of their efforts changing their technologies to meet the customer experiences; front-end functions. However, that will not be enough in the future.  Companies will also need to be constantly changing their internal processes like digitizing back-office functions, so they will have opportunities to provide services more efficiently and partnering with newer digital organizations that provide innovative services at a lower cost.  Another example on how companies are changing their business models to adapt to today’s digital world, is IBM deciding to redesign its digital marketing services group by acquiring their first digital creative agency.  The company saw a need for more powerful data and analytic services to help their global clients.

 

Organizational Culture

Companies are also adapting their culture and working space to accommodate the new type of workforce; one with a different mindset.  These new ideologies requires leaders to think in a new way and develop approaches that build around flexibility and purpose.  However, there are still many generation X employees in the workforce.  As a result, great leaders are aware of this generational gap, so changing to a new environment for established organizations is a big challenge.  Changing the prior generation’s motivations to accommodate today’s expectations requires a great set of new skills.  Nonetheless, many of these organizations are starting to realize that in order to survive, they need to change the organizational culture to close the gap.

I belief that everything starts by leadership communicating with the employees what are the new ways, so they can be part of the change and embrace it.  As we can see, startup companies are being formed with that new mindset.  For example, Kurgo, created a dog-friendly office where it believes that this type of flexible environment relieves stress and boosts creativity.  The more we move into the future, the more need there is for leaders to redesign organizations so they can continue growing by blending both generations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Organizational Change:  How Leaders Successfully Transform Established Organizations

 

Image courtesy of cooldesign at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of cooldesign at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Two areas that always called my attention during my work as a consultant during organizational changes were that as the companies were implementing new technological systems, there were other teams simultaneously designing the next more advanced system to be rolled as soon as it was completed.  Therefore, a constant learning on what is the next, more efficient, innovative way of doing business was always a priority in the change leaders mind and somehow embedded in the culture of the company.  In addition, communication and collaboration were critical aspects for an implementation to be successful or not.  How often and openly leadership and employees collaborated with each other was a top determinant of a positive or negative outcome.  These key approaches are strategic for change leaders to master as they are driving organizational changes.

 

Image courtesy of smarnad at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of smarnad at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Communication

Change leaders need to start with a clear and motivational message about why the organization needs to change.  The message should not only include a reason why the status quo needs to change and consequences of not changing but a vision of how things will look like after the change.  For example, by sharing how other companies have benefited by adapting to innovative ways.  In addition, reaching out to the employees openly, will create a feeling of belongingness, which in turn, establishes an emotional connection that they are part of the organization.  Thus, employees will feel needed to continue existing and a sense that they can successfully help transform it.  However, as stated by Amy Cuddy, Harvard psychologist, it is critical for leaders to be authentic as they communicate in order to be successful.

 

 

This creates a positive attitude for adaptation to the new landscape.  Great leaders know that by keeping constant communication and letting the employees know how the change is going, in turn, validates their efforts.

 

Image courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Collaboration

For an organizational change to be successful, collaboration is critical.  In a changing environment collaboration is a process that requires all employees to work together to accomplish a new way and they must feel that they are part of it.  For example, creating a collaborative way for employees to give input, ideas, and feedback on how the change is going, brings about a feeling of accomplishment and achievement.  Therefore, internally using collaborative applications are a must in today’s corporations so employees can jointly and simultaneously share knowledge.

 

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Learning

Any organizational change requires from the beginning to have training and education available to everyone in the company and not just for a specific department.  This goes in parallel with every step of communication.  During the initial phase of communication where the reasons are given for a need of change, learning in the form of training and education needs to be offered across all functional areas of the organization.  Thus, explaining the employees how things are being done right now in innovative ways in other companies.  For example, if the change is in how a product will be marketed, teaching all employees how marketing has evolved, the new ways of advertising and the innovative ways on how customer relationships are being formed will create an environment of support for the change to take place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learn.Design.Adapt.Progress.Grow

I believe organizations, employees and consumers need to adapt to the rapid changes in the business environment in order to progress and grow in today’s dynamic landscape – they have to Change to Move Forward… I am fascinated by change and how learning the new ways move you forward so you can enjoy the present.  In this site, I will share what organizations and their leadership should be or are doing today, by learning and designing new approaches, to keep up with the new changing landscape.  Our economy is going through a transformation; not only technologically but also generationally.  It is really exciting to see how companies are reacting to it.