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Getting Global With Social Media

By: Colette Mason and Ian Gibbins
Posted: July 9, 2012, from the August 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Also, if you are targeting a particular country for growth, ensure the social media outlet you want to use is widely available and accepted there.

Connecting

To begin building up a larger social media presence, use your e-mail address book to look for new connections and to invite new users to like your brand on Facebook or join your LinkedIn group. Some websites even let you upload your e-mail address book and look for social media matches automatically. If you have a connection through your brand with these contacts, it’s time to let them know about the new ventures and avenues you are taking your brand on.

If you feel uncomfortable directly contacting people in this way, you can always be strategic, picking and choosing those who you’d like to invite to participate in your social media interactions, depending on what your goals are. However, remember the point is to gain a larger global footprint for your brand, and one of the best ways for people to learn about new products, promotions and procedures from your business is from your own company and brand efforts.

When developing these groups and connections via social media, consistently question yourself about what you are looking to gain for your brand out of this connection, looking back at your goals and judging how your efforts will achieve them. Will they generate more sales and leads? Boost brand awareness? Or increase brand loyalty?

More than that, also consider why these people might want to connect with and follow your brand. You need to share something they value in order to sustain the relationship for the long run. Engagement on your part means you figuring out what they want from you. Some possibilities of what they might be looking to gain through this interaction include:

  • learning about new products or new trends or new uses for familiar products that they may not have experienced before.
  • saving money with special offers only available to social media friends.
  • receiving tips and advice from trusted/new beauty brands.
  • discovering more about your company’s practices and learning more about your efforts in being an ethical company with values they appreciate through demonstrations of your corporate responsibility.
  • saving them time by demonstrating why you are a quality choice, clearly evidenced through fan feedback on your profile page/via group messages or retweets saying you’re good at what you do.

The golden rule of social media is to maintain two-way, respectful conversations with your followers. Be polite, share useful information like hints and tips, listen to their opinions and respond thoughtfully. Use social media to engage in the storytelling for your beauty brand—everyone everywhere enjoys a good story, and it’s much more likely to engage new fans, followers, customers and consumers.

Also, don’t be afraid of making mistakes, as long as you learn from them. Your brand’s social media presence shouldn’t be an outlet for you to constantly defend your brand, or to relentlessly spout self-congratulatory promotional information. It’s your chance to hear from consumers and to incorporate their ideas into your growth, not force your brand onto unsuspecting followers.

Starting a profile and then abandoning it, leaving it to gather dust, is another social media don’t. If you aren’t managing your own story and engagement, someone else might be. When consumers have questions about your brand, you want to make sure you have the appropriate presence and outlet from them to turn to in order to learn the answer—or at least to more information about what your brand offers.

Making ROI

If someone tells you he has the perfect system for accurately measuring how profitable your social media campaign is, be highly skeptical. Because social media is one of the newest ways to market a business, it’s not the only technique your business will be using, and unless your other existing marketing activities stop, how can you be 100% sure a sale has come from social media alone? It’s just not feasible to measure it in complete isolation.

Winning over hearts and minds is a long-term activity and difficult to measure accurately. What can be measured, however, is if your efforts are growing or shrinking your following, and how many people are following your calls to action—taking you up on special offers, visiting websites, signing up for an e-newsletter, making a brochure request—whatever it is you want them to do. Its reach is nearly unrivaled, and if you aren’t taking advantage of this relatively inexpensive form of marketing, it’s time to.