What to expect when you finally decide to take your brand to social media
By Minenhle Khumalo
Moving your brand to the digital space can feel a lot like being unexpectedly assigned into a group for a high school project. It’s confusing, uncomfortable, nerve-wracking, and even a little weird. Hello, flashbacks! Psychological Researcher Bruce Tuckman summed up this experience in his 1965 theory of the stages of group formation: forming, storming, norming, and performing. As Tuckman said, the phases are all necessary and inevitable for a team to grow. In your case, it will be to grow your brand in the digital space, specifically social media. Here’s what you can expect after you have decided to finally step into the digital era and take your brand to social media.
Stage 1: Forming
Choosing your social media platform
During this first stage, you are a jumble of emotions: excited, nervous and curious. No matter what your reaction to the task you are about to tackle, one emotion is certified to surface: uncertainty. You’ll find yourself asking questions such as, which app should I choose? What will the app do for my brand? Do I only have to pick one or should I sign up for all of them?
It’s never all of them. The trick to getting through this stage is finding out where your target market likes to hangout digitally. Start off with the basics like Facebook and then move on to your Twitter, Instagram or even TikTok. Follow your audience or consumers where they are.
Stage 2: Storming
A bump in the road
The second phase is the most critical to pass through. It’s your chance to show what you’re made of. Your digital fight or flight, if you will. As Tuckman explained, this is when conflicts surface and productivity slows down. Frustrations over the slow progress of growing your online account and digital presence will arise. A few friends will join in with the frustrated voices in your head: the green monster of envy; as well as the black-masked online stalker who will spend hours looking at other accounts, their followers and engagements.
You may find yourself spending too much time browsing other accounts and being generally unproductive towards your brand. Counterproductive as all this may seem, it is a crucial step to overcome. Through all the seemingly useless browsing and brand stalking, you will pick up some trends and tricks from others who have been in the game longer.
It’s important to remain aware of how you’re spending your time online and addressing your internal conflicts. Along with awareness is skills development. During this time, you will notice your digital and social media skills. Take some time to invest in a skills course, such as the Marketing Strategy Master certification from The International Institute of Digital Marketing. Failure to do so, or succumbing to doubts, will be the end of your digital presence before you even truly begin.
Stage 3: Norming
Getting down to social business
Fear not, for the internal conflict does end eventually. You’ve gone through the fire of self-doubt and came out informed, sure of yourself and ready to be productive. Cohesion, unity, increased performance and focus characterize the third phase. You’ve gathered information from watching other brands, you’ve learned some tricks, you’ve defined your brand and your social media goals. You’re sure of yourself and ready to get going.
This is the stage to capitalise on your energy and newfound knowledge. Reach out to your target audience. Let them know you’ve arrived. Create beautiful, unique content to promote your brand. Post regularly and engage with your audience when they acknowledge your presence.
Stage 4: Performing
The sweet taste of social media success
Now they can call you Stella because you have found your groove. You’re making strides on your chosen social media platforms. Your content is organised, your brand message is clear and you’re committed to the goals you have set. Sure, you may still encounter conflicts in the form of negative feedback, the arrival of a new trend or even a change in your chosen social media platforms. However, because you know your brand and are committed to your mission, you can overcome or adapt to changes, while remaining authentic to your brand.
There is a final stage to the theory of group formation that was added by Tuckman, and this is Adjourning – where the group concludes their task and breaks apart. However, when it comes to your brand, you can go ahead and leave this one out. Digital marketing is the present and the future. You are far from done, if ever.
Entering the digital space is a lot like forming a new group. There are vital stages you need to pass through to ensure the success of your endeavours. The first is forming, when you first pick out the social media platforms that are right for your brand. Second comes storming, where you will be faced with internal conflicts and doubts. Following this is norming, where you finally reach a sense of cohesion and your performance increases. All this leads to the final stage, performing, where you’re soaring and committed to your brand image and social media goals.
It’s a bumpy ride, but it’s worth the effort to get your brand out there. The digital age is here and here to stay. As Bill Gates put it, “If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.”
About the Author
Minenhle Khumalo is a Digital Marketing Analyst with the International Institution of Digital Marketing. She is a Communications graduate from the University of South Africa with a love for literature and Psychology. You can follow Minenhle on Twitter @Minokhumalo or LinkedIn. To find out more about the International Institution of Digital Marketing, you can click here.