Have you ever wondered why we buy from brands like Apple, Starbucks, Coca-Cola or Nike? The answer is simple- we trust their name. If you’ve already established credibility in your niche, you probably have a plethora of brand advocates that are constantly driving new customers to your site.
But, as an entrepreneur, you need to build your brand name from scratch and social media may be an excellent starting point for you. Namely, reports show that 80% of consumers prefer evaluating solutions from the businesses they follow online.
This is why I want to show you how to build a bulletproof brand image on social media.
1. Work on Brand Consistency
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when I say Danny Sullivan? Search Engine Land, of course. Rand Fishkin? The Wizard of Moz. Joe Pulizzi? Content Marketing Institute. These are some of the most renowned names in the digital marketing sphere and we know about them because they’ve invested years in creating strong and consistent brand personas across all online channels they use.
Brand consistency indicates authority, experience, and trustworthiness. Most importantly, people love it because it helps them know what to expect from your brand. According to some recent studies, 60% of Millennials expect consistent experiences, whether they’re dealing with a brand online or in-store.
For starters, use the same profile picture across all your social networking channels. Preferably, you should go with the one you use on your blog and website. Of course, this is just the beginning of creating your brand persona. You need to build a consistent image of your brand’s values, attitudes, tone of voice, and the overall appeal.
What’s your brand voice?
To determine your social media brand voice, you should ask yourself a few questions.
- What’s the purpose of your social media presence? Are you here to educate your followers, entertain them, engage them or sell something to them?
- What persona suits your brand the best- a friendly, authoritative, inspiring or professional one?
- What about your tone? Should it be personal, scientific, direct or honest?
- Based on what you know about your target audience, should your language be simple, jargon-filled, complex, or whimsical?
- Is it ok for you to use emojis? If it is, then go for it. Namely, using emojis will boost your followers’ engagement, but only if used correctly.
As soon as you figure out which of these approaches fits you, your conversation will flow naturally across all social networks. Remember, your tone of voice should always be pleasant and tell your customers that you are grateful for them, that you respect them, and that you’re listening to what they have to say.
Invest in your brand’s visual identity
First, make sure that your logo, colours, and typography are used consistently in all posts you share. You should also focus on delivering the same feel across all social networks. It doesn’t matter if you’re posting a photo or a video on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, make sure that all the pieces of your visual content are authentic and look like they belong together. Use the same picture size, filters, and font types.
This is particularly important when it comes to using stock photos. Namely, there are numerous brands in various industries, such as clothing and fashion, which heavily rely on sharing visual content. In this case, the chances are that they won’t be able to create all their content on their own and they will turn to stock images and download fashion images for free.
If you’re using stock photo sites, always read their guidelines and see whether they allow you to edit their photos. Choose the major sites that will offer you collections of HQ images you can use and modify without having to pay for them. With Canva, you can even create new images on your own or upload and polish up existing ones.
2. Take Advantage of Automation, but still Humanise your Brand
It doesn’t matter if you’re creating content on your own or curating industry-related articles, sharing them across all social networks relevant to your readers may be a daunting task. This is not about merely copying the link and hitting the “share” button. On the contrary, it’s about delivering the right content to the right people, in the right place at the right time. This is exactly why many marketers decide to take advantage of social media management tools, like HootSuite, IFTT or Buffer and automate their social sharing efforts.
With these tools, you can automatically upload, edit, and schedule hundreds of social media posts simultaneously. Most importantly, you can find the most relevant and trending content and instantly post it while surfing the internet.
However, you need to keep in mind that people are sick and tired of automated content they come across every day. To hook their attention, you need to show your human side and prove how authentic you really are. Just think about how you would behave in real-life when trying to connect with your potential customer. Would you shove a sales pitch in their face immediately? Maybe you would go to great lengths to explain how great you are.
Of course not.
You need open up and inspire them to engage with your brand first.
Similarly, social media marketing is also a two-way street. You should use it to share your company information and blog posts, but you also need to constantly ask for feedback and encourage discussions about your posts.
Show the real you
To connect with your customers on a personal level, you should also try to humanise your brand. For example, go live on and take them behind the scenes from time to time. You could also share pictures from your daily office life, various events, as well as the ones of your employees- it’s always good to let your customers meet the people behind your brand.
Reply to your followers regularly
Did you know that 51% of customers expect the businesses they buy from to be available to them 24/7? Given this astonishing figure, it’s obvious that one of the most powerful ways to show your followers how much you value their presence is to answer their questions regularly.
Now, you could automate your messaging by implementing chatbots that are about to become a pretty big deal in 2018. But, no matter how well they can simulate human-like conversations, they’re not real people. Precisely because of this, to give your conversations a boost, you should take some time and answer your followers’ questions on your own.
There are literally hundreds of social networking platforms out there. No matter how popular they are, not all of them will fit your branding strategy and help you achieve your goals. Unsurprisingly, the majority of these channels aren’t even worth investing your time and energy.
On the contrary, to get the most of your content distribution and target the right people, you need to be picky and focus on those platforms your target audience uses regularly. Start you asking yourself the following:
- What are the networks my target audience uses?
- What channels are my competitors using?
- How popular is this platform?
- Can I use it to share my content effectively?
- Can it contribute to building my brand awareness?
Once you come up with a list of relevant questions, similar to those mentioned above, you will have to do a thorough research and go through each platform individually to see whether it meets your needs.
However, choosing the right social network is just the tip of the iceberg. The next step is even more important and that’s choosing what type of content you will share across different channels. Namely, posting the same content across every social network is ok, but it’s extremely boring and it won’t receive any positive response. The key to engaging the right follower base is to create and share exclusive content across different social media networks.
With over 2 billion monthly users, Facebook is by far the most popular social network out there and it may be an amazing starting point for you to start building your brand online. It gives you a chance to reach out to a wider audience and build an extensive online community. The content you share there should be a combination of live streaming, long posts in the news feed, and hosted videos.
Instagram is great for you if you have a knack for photography. With its amazing filters, stories, and live videos, you will manage to cultivate a consistent brand image and connect with your potential customers on a more personal level. For example, you could use it to share personal photos, post inspiring, branded quotes to motivate your followers, or take them behind the scenes by starting a live video.
Twitter is a treasure trove for people that want to learn more about trending topics, share short updates, connect with the people with the same interests, and look for specific answers. You should run polls to boost your conversation with your followers, use hashtags to improve your reach, and tap into industry-relevant discussions. Don’t forget that visuals work pretty well for Twitter, driving up to 150% more retweets.
When sharing content on each of these platforms, you should take advantage of hashtags to improve your brand’s transparency and help users find you easily. Create a list of hashtags relevant to your niche and use them when promoting your products or brand.
4. Offer a Rewards Program
Customer loyalty programs are one of the most effective methods of attracting and retaining customers. Namely, 2017 studies tell us that an average consumer is involved in 14 rewards programs. As the holiday season has begun, you should consider incentivizing your target audience for being loyal to your brand, sending feedback regularly, making referrals, or sharing your posts. And, social networks are a perfect place for you to do so.
There is a plenty of opportunities for you to reward your loyal customers, such as organising a giveaway on Facebook or Instagram, offering free access to exclusive content, or giving out discount coupons and gift cards to anyone who signs up for a premium/VIP program.
5. Work with Influencers
You’re not the only one trying to reach out to your customers. In fact, they’re getting hundreds of other brands thrown in their faces every day. So, to save their sanity and choose the best for themselves, they usually buy from popular brands they trust the most. So, how can small brands just like yours draw their attention and stay competitive? Well, turning to influencer marketing is a viable option for you.
Simply put, influencer marketing is based on creating relationships with the most respected people in your niche. These people invest a lot of effort in creating quality content that helps them acquire a wide community of their brand advocates. As social media influencers are true online celebrities, brands see potential in getting them to promote their brand.
Here is how you could get the most of your influencer marketing on social networks:
- Create relevant content and ask an influencer to share it on their social networks.
- Ask influencers to participate in the content you share on your own channels.
- Tag any influencers you’ve cited when sharing content to your profiles.
- After publishing your content, let them know they’ve been mentioned.
- Organise an influencer contest on social networks and promote it widely.
- Gift them one of your products and ask them to review it if they like it.
Back to You
As you can see, building your brand awareness using social networks is not about creating a bunch of accounts, randomly inviting people to like your page, and posting spammy content that is none of their interest. It’s about reaching out to people eager to engage with your brand, through the right channels.
Hopefully, this guide will help you harness the power of social media marketing, deliver a personalised user experience, and establish yourself as an authority in your niche.