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I recently spoke at Mayven 46’s event on “How to Grow Your Brand in the Digital Era” and instead of leaving the tweeted highlights to disappear in our timelines I thought I’d share some here.

As the majority of the audience were small business owners I was acutely aware that a long-winded theoretical musing on what Social Media is wouldn’t help. Instead, I created a presentation with a few key takeaways that they could action immediately.

The first point was: always consider your audience. You’d be amazed how many brands forget that Social Media can’t be a one-way monologue of slogans and discounts. Social Media is intended to be used to build relationships and at the core of any relationship is a consideration for the other person. Instead of being “me, me, me” try thinking “You and Me” by showing how your brand shares the audience’s passion points.

The second point was to consider the environment in which you’re building this relationship. Brands must remember they’re operating in the Attention Economy, if someone is giving you their attention you need to give them something in return: add value by making them laugh, make them cry, inspire or educate them. Make this an active communication not a passive impression. 

A picture of a tweet of Cian Corbett Speaking at Mayven 46's "Grow Your Brand in the Digital Age" Event

Cian Speaking at Mayven 46’s “Grow Your Brand in the Digital Age” Event

And finally came the familiar plea from small business owners – what’s the magic secret to not having to pay for impressions on Facebook. I urge small business owners to embrace Social Media for the opportunities within:

  • Cost Effective
  • Acute Targeting
  • Engaging Formats

Notice I said ‘cost effective’ and not ‘free’. Social Media advertising is immeasurably cheaper than most forms of advertising which is why it’s growing so quickly. Yes, there are ways to etch out an organic following by cruising on every hashtag, tagging every business, hounding fans to share your content but this can be extremely time-consuming with little pay off.

My advice is straight-forward: create interesting content that your audience will enjoy and promote this content by advertising to your ideal audience. It won’t cost a lot and if you used strategically it will build affinity, loyalty and ultimately, sales.