Historically, this will have been through your brochure or website, the way your employees behave, the tone of voice you use when writing, or your customer services. More recently there have been enormous changes in the way brands interact with consumers and – more importantly – the way consumers interact and engage with brands. Social media now plays a significant role in building brands – both in terms of consumer acquisition and retention. In this post, we look at how you can use social media effectively to communicate your brand.
For small and medium sized businesses, social media is an affordable way to build your brand online. It’s really powerful when a brand uses social media continuously to reinforce overall brand messaging and tell its story in a more personal way. People who love your brand are more likely to engage with you through social media, so it’s a great way to build brand loyalty, as well as encouraging people to ‘share the love’ with friends, family, colleagues, employers and peers.
So, how do you make sure you get your social branding right and how can you maximise the use of social media to assert your position in the market and communicate core brand messaging?
Here’s the Preface Studios checklist of six ways to improve your social branding:
- Create content that counts – think carefully about why your customers or potential customers would want to connect with you on a regular basis via social media. What is it that they love about your organisation and brand? What do they really care about? Keep this front of mind for any posts – what can you tell them that adds value to their day? Good content and thought-leadership tells the world you’re an expert in your field, that you understand the issues affecting consumers and also strengthens your reputation. Are readers going to save money, learn something new, be the first to get an exclusive deal, change the way they think, or gain valuable insights? Make sure your content is shareable and compelling enough to evoke emotion – articles, industry news, videos or stunning images can all go viral.
- Monitor and participate – social branding, as with all branding, is not about what you say – it’s about what people say about you. In his book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR, David Meerman Scott says – “I find that finding time to participate in social media is just like finding time to exercise… success comes from engaging in the activity regularly.” Maintain regular and consistent updates, monitor the online conversation and make sure you act quickly to respond to positive comments and also address issues or complaints. Engage in conversations that are trending from pages and brands with high traffic and follow like-minded people. Participating on sites with relevant content builds online goodwill and can draw an audience across to your social media pages.
- Tailor your posts – branding is all about making emotional connections with existing and potential customers. With traditional marketing, you tailor your content depending on the channel. The same applies to social media: you can still maintain the same brand voice across each platform, while adapting your posts … don’t just copy and paste. Different content works better on different platforms. For example, you need to think carefully about using short, high-impact copy on Twitter; a LinkedIn company page requires content with a clear business benefit, thought-leadership or added value; and Facebook responds well to shareable content, videos, images and inspiring quotes.
- Be consistent – applying your brand guidelines carefully will help to strengthen your brand – make sure you use a consistent look and feel. Invest in great design that allows you to communicate your brand through your social media profiles. Even the style of photography is important, because people will recognise your brand through the images you share.
- Encourage sharing – with social media, the ‘share’ is the call to action, so make sure it’s really easy for people to do by positioning share buttons at the top of the page where the reader can easily find them.
- Get personal – let your personality and passion for your brand shine through. Social media is a great way to get your brand messages across and reflect your values through the personality of your leaders and employees and the way they interact. Don’t be afraid to use humour. Showing character gives a real and true expression of the people behind the brand. Be human, be social!