Last year, my mom asked me to attend her church with her in Madison since I was living a couple of hours away in Kohler, Wisconsin at the time. She told me it was big, she told me it was auditorium-style and nondenominational, but nothing could prepare me for the gigantic steel structure that greeted us after we passed miles and miles of farmland. My jaw quite literally dropped. “Mom, this is a church? Are you serious?” I asked, confused by the very modern, very NYC, structure.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I was in the middle of one of my lovely night chats with my mom, excitingly telling her about the new church I found in my new home in Boca, when she said, “I’m finding that sometimes it’s hard to get the true message out of church when you attend in person because there’s so much going on socially. You get so involved in the crowd that’s there, that you forget there is a more important message you should be listening to.”
A few days later, I sat at a Bible study at my new church and found my thoughts drifting to what people were thinking, who I was going to see that night, what I was going to tell the pastor when he asked how I was doing. I then realized exactly what my mom was getting at → she heard more about my excitement of my new “social life” at church, and less about the lessons I was learning during the teachings. In a very “Mom” fashion, she tuned into the fact that I was excited about this church for the wrong reasons.
In the midst of moving to a new town, and the excitement of meeting new people, I absolutely, completely lost focus on the message.
This is something that I see constantly happening with brands on social media. They get so excited about new networks, new followers and trending topics, that they lose focus of the message of their brand → which is the reason they are on social on the first place, right?
Here are some tips to make sure your brand is staying focused and on track:
Don’t Jump Onto Every Trending Topic
This is the #1 mistake I see brands making, consistently. Not every trending topic applies to who you are as a brand and the message you want to send. Get in the habit of filtering trending topics through your brand values and message to ensure that you are keeping your brand conversation on track.
Hang Your Message In Your Office
Literally print out your brand message and hang it somewhere you will see it everyday. By starting your day revisiting your message, there’s a better chance it will stay top of mind throughout the day.
Get Comfortable With Standing Apart From The Crowd
If you insist on conforming to what all the cool social media kids are doing, you will more than likely fall away from your message. Be confident in who you are as a brand so you can send out content that accurately reflects your brand, but not might attract the masses. It’s okay if your content isn’t liked by every single person, or isn’t on every single cool network. The important thing is that you are attracting the right people for your brand to the conversation. More often than not, conforming leads to followers that have no loyalty, investment or genuine interest in your brand.
Ignore The Haters
If you are going to stand apart from the crowd and stay true to your brand message, there will be haters. Nowadays, if you even send out the most bland message ever on social, there will be haters. Don’t take their feedback to heart, and understand the concept of “trolls”. It’s also a good idea to have a plan in place for your community manage once the haters start rolling in. For more on that, read this post How To Deal With Your Haters Via #SocialMedia.
Build The Right Audience
Having the right audience is critical in social media. It’s not about having a HUGE audience, it’s about having a LOYAL audience. It’s way more important to have fans that are interested and loyal to your brand, than fans that are just there to be numbers. Use Facebook targeting and follow the appropriate people on Twitter to ensure you are building an audience that is right for your brand message. Having the right audience will also help keep some of the haters away, and might even build a community of brand advocates that defend your brand so you don’t have to.
Try these tips, and see if you’re able to stay more focused on your brand message in the future. More focus on your brand message = more valuable content and conversations = loyal consumers.
As for church, I took my mom’s not-so-subtle analogy to heart and have now started to catch and reel myself back in when my mind starts drifting to the social scene. After all, I am there for the heart of the message, and if I’m not getting something out of the message at the end of the day, that isn’t good for me or the church.
- Marji J. Sherman