It is well known that social media can be an important and powerful marketing platform for businesses of all sizes, but what do you do if you have multiple brands, such as different products and services? As a small business do you create an identity on all the major platforms for each separate brand? What social media strategy would be most beneficial to your business?
Where people write books, there is a tendency to have a specific website and profiles for the book, but is it really a good idea to have a distinct profile for your book and your business on Facebook, Twitter, Google plus and so on?
My own experience
Personally, this has been a question I have been asking myself recently. In order to market my new book Legally Branded, we created separate social media profiles for the book a few months ago, as well as maintaining the main Azrights profiles. However, now the book has been released for a few months, I find myself questioning the logic of having multiple social media profiles.
I think the main issue here really depends on what you are trying to achieve by having multiple social media accounts. For me, although it seemed logical to keep Azrights and Legally Branded separate as one was a book and the other a business, in reality the two profiles covered very similar topics which were primarily intellectual property, and branding. So whilst they were two separate products – a service business and a book – they essentially were promoting the same values. In fact Legally Branded was always intended to benefit the Azrights business rather than being something separate.
As business owners we learn all the time. What I’ve been learning in the last few months is the increasing number of new social media platforms which keep popping up. Many of them are essential to join if your aim is to optimise your website for the search engines. So, as your search engine optimisation strategy increasingly means adding new social media platforms (such as PInterest) to the mix, it becomes critical to focus resources on the main business brand. That means not spreading ourselves too thin. Therefore, for it makes sense to merge the two profiles in order to concentrate our efforts on the Azrights profile
What is best for businesses with distinctly individual brands?
But what if your business has brands which are separate and are not necessarily going to cover similar products or talk about the same topics? Building engagement on social media is about communicating with your customers on their level so that you are posting content that they will be interested in.
If you have different brands that might have different audiences, then having multiple platforms could be a good idea to ensure that each profile is suitably optimised for its specific audience.
On the flip side, John Souza, argues that ‘having the same person [a single business] communicate between brands can confuse and irritate people’
On top of the risk of confusing people – there is also the question of resources mentioned earlier. Even managing one profile across the many different social media channels that now exist can be time consuming enough, but add another profile into the mix and you might really start to stretch your businesses capacity.
As Jane Treadwell-Hoye, an expert in customer operations, says, the ‘biggest challenge is being able to ensure consistent, excellent customer experiences across all’. She assured that it ‘can be done’ with the right resources. However, it really is important not to sacrifice customer experience if these resources are scarce.
Ultimately it comes down to the different products and the overall business aims. If your company has different brands, and each of them have unique and distinct personalities, and you have the capacity to maintain separate profiles to a high standard, then multiple profiles might be the best way to go.
Certainly for large companies such as Unilever that have a huge portfolio of brands, having separate profiles is almost mandatory. (Although of course a company does not have to be a house brand like Unilever to justify this tactic. Hershey’s has multiple Facebook profiles for their individual chocolate brands which has worked for them)
However, if your brands or products have not yet taken off as separate entities, or if you simply do not have sufficient resources, it is best not to follow the trend of having multiple profiles. It could be confusing to customers and could lead to two profiles that are only half as good as they could otherwise be. In such situations using the founder’s own personal brand for discussing different products and services might be a better option than compartmentalising the product into its own separate profile.
If you want to learn more about online profiling, and the different approaches a company can take when naming products and services, why not buy a copy of Legally Branded?