The Role of Social Media in Brand Building
To start building a brand on social media, you need to develop a real world brand first. Not just in terms of the visual aspects such as logos or brand guidelines, but in terms of voice and messaging as well. These need to be thought out and emphasized, because any inconsistency or vagueness can lead to miscommunication and hurt your reputation.
Social Media Can Help Target Your Demographic
While it is well known that the majority of people are online these days, they don’t tend to hang out in the public spaces of the internet. Everyone has slowly gravitated to websites, services, and people that provide for or share their interests.
For example, Reddit is a social media app that allows users to create their own communities called “subreddits” where as few as 1 and as many as 45 Million people gather to express and share ideas on an infinite number of topics
Tactical tip: Target a specific group and have something useful to say
Since there are fewer and fewer places where you can reach your entire demographic the next best thing is to find a close but adjacent interest or connection. For example, If you are a clothing designer, instead of trying to target everyone who wears clothes, try targeting art focused spaces. As a designer, you’ll have genuine knowledge of artistry that can be a value to the community, and, even though you aren’t designing clothes for artists specifically, the people there are the most likely to understand and appreciate your designs.
Each Social Media Platform Has Unique Advantages In Brand Building
When deciding on which social media platform to target, businesses tend to look at social media through the lens of number of users. While that may be the natural instinct, doing so will cause you to lose sight of the bigger picture as well as the ability to navigate the unique strengths and weaknesses that each social media platform provides. The truth is, the world is moving online and even the lesser known platforms have substantial user bases across all demographics. That’s why it is important to really understand how each platform is used.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Social Media Platform
Getting to know the idiosyncrasies of each platform won’t just help you reach the largest number of people, it will help you reach them more efficiently. With that in mind, here are some key factors to consider when deciding on a social media platform to target:
- Average Age of User
- Difficulty of the Algorithm
- The Current Size of Your Following
- The Type of Content You are Creating
- The Amount of Time and Effort Required to Create It
- Flexibility in Choosing the Audience
- Where Your Affiliates are Posting
- Popularity Among Your Demographic
- How Each Social Media Platform is Used
For example, it is well known that most Pinterest users are women. But did you know that a more in depth look showed that 45% of them make over $100K annually? Were you aware that 90% of users on Instagram follow at least 1 business? It’s understanding these finer details that separate those who are capitalizing on social media, and those who are shouting into the void.
Tactical Tip: Choose the right platform for your target audience
If you haven’t already, build out a detailed buyer persona. For those who don’t know, a buyer persona is a collection of the most common characteristics of a companies consumer base stacked together into one “persona”.
Once that is done, create test accounts for every social media you think your target audience may be. Start posting and interacting to get a feel for the platform and your potential customers. The benefits of this are twofold. Not only will it help you decide which social media platforms are best for your brand, but it will give you a better understanding of what the audience is looking for and the types of content that perform well.
Screen Time Is at an All Time High
The average person spends almost 2.5 hours on social media every day. That is a lot of time. But even with the increased time on social media, brands are seeing lower engagement rates on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. This lower engagement has resulted in most brands posting more often. But is that the best strategy?
One possible theory for the decline is that the over-saturation of advertising in social media has made users unconsciously aware and resistant to traditional marketing techniques. How do you combat this? Redefine Normal, by providing content that is interesting, resources that are useful, and perspectives that are refreshing.
Tactical Tip: Show up every day.
The ability to consistently and authentically communicate fosters a sense of trust and brings more awareness. Regular posting also allows you to shape your company voice as well as build your digital footprint. The more content you put out, the more of a chance it has to be seen.
Build Something Different
People crave diversity and novelty. They’re less likely to develop a strong interest in your company if you’re constantly churning out repetitive content. While repetitive content can attract more followers initially, people will lose interest when they realize you post similar items regularly.
You don’t need to post daily, every other day, or even stick to a posting schedule. Instead, work on curating creative content. Spend time thinking about what will resonate with your followers and create it. If your content is consistently engaging, you’ll naturally attract more followers, even if you don’t post weekly.
Tactical Tip: Be Yourself
There’s nothing more attractive than someone who doesn’t seek to fit the mold. People are naturally driven toward outsiders who say something different through their content. Most people don’t want to see a recycled version of another company’s posts.
When you let your creative side shine, you’ll find that your target audience will naturally surround you. It may take some time, but your time will be well worth your efforts.
Having a presence on social media is great, but you must realize that your followers will seek to build a connection with you. You can’t simply post content and then disconnect until you decide to post again.
Once you set up a social media account, you’ll need to manage it just like you would your personal accounts. You’ll need to respond quickly when a customer reaches out to you.
According to SproutSocial, 76% of consumers expect a response from a brand within 24 hours of sending a message. Simply put, you can’t afford to leave your social media accounts unattended. You’ll need to develop a system for replying to your clients quickly.
Tactical Tip: Build a Response Strategy
If your social media messages aren’t too overwhelming, you may be able to handle the communication independently. However, as your business grows, your social media accounts will too. You may need to find someone to manage your social media communications and ensure your clients receive timely responses from your brand.
One approach is to manage your clients’ expectations by clearly indicating when to expect a response from you.
There are also several platforms available that can connect your social media accounts to your regular service portal. You’ll see it in your portal immediately whenever someone sends you a message through social media. Connectivity can improve response times by eliminating the need to log into social media accounts.
Collaborate with Social Media Influencers
As previously stated, most people don’t join social media to connect with brands. They’re looking for a community they feel comfortable in, and that community usually consists of friends, family, and people they admire or share interests with.
While your brand should have a social media presence, sometimes it helps to work with influencers who have audiences you are targeting.
Tactical Tip: Find a Social Media Influencer for Your Brand
A social media influencer can use their role to promote your products and services in a way that feels natural to their audience. However, you’ll want to choose an influencer that resonates with your brand.
It makes no sense to choose a fashion mogul to promote plumbing services. Instead, you’d be better off working with realtors or other organizations in the home improvement sector.
When you find the right influencer, the collaboration will feel organic. It won’t look overly sales-oriented, and the audience will learn more about your products without feeling they are being sold to.
The Solution to Social Media Branding Is You
Building a business social media presence may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Anyone can develop a loyal brand following on social media with a bit of creativity and business sense.
Use your instincts to discover what attracts your followers and what doesn’t. With time, you’ll see a significant improvement in brand loyalty toward your organization.