9 Strategies for Building Brands and Attracting Fans on Social Media

Christine de la Huerta

Brands both big and small are expanding their audiences daily on social networks. The do and don’ts for communicating with your audiences across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and other social channels are growing by the day, as each social platform evolves and vies for more attention. At PR News' One-Day Bootcamp for Emerging PR Stars, Christine de la Huerta, VP at RBB Public Relations, and Chris Smith, senior VP, enterprise social media marketing at Bank of America, provided several tips on how to build a brand's social media presence. 

1) Focus on the big buzzword: storytelling. "Create a story for memorable content," said de la Huerta. Storytelling creates loyalty and extends the lifetime value of a customer." To capitalize on this trend, Facebook just bought a storytelling content management system called Storylane, for creating and sharing online content. 

2) Have an evolving content strategy: "Fans and consumers want to be entertained, and visuals are crucial to the social media experience," de la Huerta said. "Forty-four percent of fans are more likely to engage with photo posts from brands."  

3) Tap LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the most important social site for B2B companies, according to de la Huerta. "A quarter of Fortune 500 CEOs are on LinkedIn and less than 8% are on Facebook," she said.

Company Pages: Linkedin profiles and company pages rank highly on SEO, de la Huerta added. The LinkedIn company page can basically serve as free website for your company. "Company pages have a section that whenever you put out news, people who follow you will see it," she said. 

Groups: To extract maximum value from LinkedIn Groups, de la Huerta stressed that PR pros need to check each group's statistics and demographics and find out if its members are apprpriate for your brand. Once in a group, you can view the latest 20 discussions, which you can "like" and/or comment on to join the discussion.  

4) Play on Pinterest: Why play on Pinterest? "The media are participating—they are putting up original cogent and repining others' content when it fits, which equals opportunities for new pickups," de la Huerta said. According to Blogher, more women made a purchase based on a Pinterest recommendations than any other site, and trust is higher than with any other social media platform. 

"Remember it's a social network, so re-pin others' content when it fits with yours—there's a give and take with social that's good to remember."  

Feature user generated content: Collaborative boards allow brands to leverage customer testimonials, develop brand ambassadors and crowdsource suggestions and contributions from your customers, de la Huerta said.

5) Indulge on Instagram: It's not for everyone and it does require a strategy and a goal for being on it. Fifty-four percent of the top brands are on Instagram. The beauty of the platform is being able to show—not tell—your story, de la Huerta said. "Fit in, show compelling content, watch your frequency, harness hashtags for extra exposure, be social (like, follow, comment)," she said. "It's mobile only in terms of uploading; there are no admins for brands, and there are few tools to track engagement, but statigram is useful." 

6) Incorporate a listening strategy: "Social listening is the foundation for any social strategy," Smith said. "Sure there are tools out there, but the tools are almost meaningless. its the process of collecting the data that is meaningful—purchasing a tool does not automatically generate quality listening programs." 

7) Employ Smith's best practices:

On Facebook: 

-Spell out the propose of your page and ground rules for discussions.

-Link build in the About tab.

-Remember photographhy is the number one activity on Facebook.

-Respond to questions and celebrate small victories.

-Keep it short—even shorter than on Twitter.

-Develop a personality/tone.

-Think mobile—start phone-first then pull up how it looks on your laptop.

-Worry about EdgeRank.

-Have a paid approach. Even though this is PR, it's still critical. 

8) On YouTube: 

-Optimize your description and transcripts.

-Link build.

-Playlists are your friend for content discovery.

-Connect your YouTube strategy with Twitter to expand reach.

-Have a paid approach.

9) On Twitter: 

-Think mobile first. 

-Develop a personality/tone.

-Curate other smart people.

-Respond to questions and shootouts (FF still exists).

-Have a paid approach. 


  • Nick

    Great article thanks, what does ‘Have a paid approach’ … Pay per click ads?