Your Company Name on Social Networks

In an earlier post on Social Marketing Strategies, I encouraged you not to use your company name as a screen name for an on-line persona marketing your company to prospective customers. The whole point of incorporating social networking into your marketing activity is for you to engage people in conversation. Presumably, other participants on the network are there also to have conversations.

If I’m looking for someone interesting to chat with, I’m much more likely to focus on human names than I am to focus on company names. When I want to find a company by its name or commercial interest, I’m most likely to launch a search on Google… not on a social networking site.

Register your Company Name

Register your company name as a screen name on whatever social networks you plan to employ in your social marketing strategies. If you’ve registered with a human name on a network to build your reputation, you should register with your company name on the same network. Use this on-line persona to represent your company to the network.

Your company screen name can, and should be a miniature version of your company’s marketing activity. Make product announcements, share how-to tips, explain product features, describe upcoming events, tell about events recently-passed, make promotional offers, offer discounts… in short: make this an account that appeals to your customers and enthusiasts. If you have a product or service that has a life of its own, serve its users with a screen name for that product or service.

Differentiate your Company’s on-line Personas

Your company name screen name is the go-to guy for information about your company. If I sign up to follow your company name, I’m probably a customer, a journalist, an industry analyst, or a competitor. I’m following so I’ll know what’s going on with your products and services. If you register a company name screen name and you fail to keep me informed, it will reflect badly on your company; your company’s continued participation through social media will become an important factor in customer satisfaction.

Your human persona, clearly identifiable as an employee of your company, is the accessible, savvy insider who actually talks with outsiders and builds a reputation as being knowledgeable and helpful. Do not use this screen name to spew company propaganda. Rather, use it to join and start conversations on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, forums, Youtube, and so on.

This screen name talks with followers about their interests. If your company supplies products for equestrians, this screen name chats about horse training, horse birthing, horse shows, horse diseases, horse equipment, horse feeding, and anything else horse that comes up in conversation with horse-lovers. When the conversation goes into unfamiliar territory, this screen name learns along with its followers.

Your human screen name—without pushing—invites followers to check out the company. It shouldn’t volunteer product information except when answering questions… and then, it shouldn’t sell, it should only inform. This means making such statements as:

Liniment should help. Of course, I’m partial to Beacher Equestrians’ Feral Horse Balm http://www.beacherhorse.com/balm

My company, Beacher Equestrians, is sponsoring a giveaway at http://www.beacherhorse.com/giveaway

It’s even reasonable occasionally to suggest:

You can keep up on my company’s products and events by following @BeacherHorse on Twitter.

(I must point out: if you think the domain name and screen name BeacherHorse is good for business, seek out a marketing course at your local Small Business Development Center.)

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