Last week a group of media moguls, business leaders and entertainment stars named the best and the brightest on social media at the Shorty Awards in New York City. The award ceremony included a wide range of categories in social media excellence, from the Best Comedian to the Best Video Campaign to the Best Use of Vine.
It is definitely worth checking out the entire list of Shorty Award winners--after all, these are the individuals and companies you should be emulating on social--but one important honoree to note in particular is The Brooklyn Circus. The retail and design company (based, of course, in Brooklyn, New York) won the Shorty Award for Best Small Business on social media--even without a staggering number of tweets or social media followers.
The Brooklyn Circus didn't even have the most followers among the finalists in the small business category (She's the First, a sponsor of girls' education in developing nations, and a finalist in the category had more). So how did the company, which has a social media team of just two people, bring home the Shorty? Inc. spoke with BKc founder and creative director Ouigi Theodore about the brand's social media strategy. Here are some of the major takeaways:
Find your voice and be consistent
Theodore stresses the importance of developing a specific voice on social media that creates a unique mood. He says that you won't find BKc chiming in on what is happening in politics or around the world. "We always make sure that the voice [on social media] is the brand's voice and not Ouigi's voice or anyone else's," the founder says.
Once you find that voice, he adds, it "has to be consistent--whether it is on Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, or Tumblr, and so on and so forth. That voice has to be pretty much what we are saying offline."
Approach each platform with a strategy
It is important to understand that being consistent doesn't mean that you copy and paste a tweet to your Facebook page. BKc uses individual platforms differently. "Of course they all have to link, but every one of the platforms needs a separate strategy," Theodore says.
The BKc team's main focus is Instagram, on which it uses imagery to illustrate its brand and products. The company uses Twitter to quickly interact with customers, and views Facebook as a place to communicate with the business's older customers.
Don't focus on numbers
BKc currently has more than 23,100 Instagram followers, more than 12,600 Twitter followers, and more than 9,400 likes on its Facebook page--not a bad following, but to Theodore, these numbers are meaningless. He stresses that social media isn't a numbers game; what matters to him is how many people are actually listening to what BKc has to say.
"I know in social media, people tend to count how many, but for us it's about how many of these people are actually interested in what we are saying, will actually do what we tell them to do, and how many of them actually get the message," he says. "It is really about our ability to move a crowd."
Don't become a victim
Theodore adds that although it is important to be accessible to customers on social media, there is a line you shouldn't cross. "At the end of the day, we have to run a business. We are operating a brand. That is very important and it shouldn't take a backseat to all the people asking you questions online," he says. "We don't allow ourselves to become too available. If [a customer] asks a question, we will be more than happy to answer it, but there are some questions you just can't answer."
Gary Vaynerhcuk: How It All Got Started
When Gary was 6 years old, he had a chain of lemonade stands.