When you think of ways in which to increase your reach on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and the like, is brand strategy the first thing that comes to your mind?
Something that you may not be aware of is that getting your brand right is a key step in building your commercial success on social media.
These days, something like 80% of consumers research businesses online before making purchases. This is nothing new.
Something new that we are seeing though is the increase in searches taking place within social media platforms themselves, instead of via the more general google type searches.
What does this mean from a branding perspective?
What this means is that now more than ever it’s become the job of social media to represent a brand in the same way that brochures, signage, business cards, flyers, etc did in the past, and a website has done in more recent times.
But, the biggest opportunity with branding your social media is that it takes it one step further than all of these methods by allowing you to form personal connections with your customers, which enhances loyalty and enables you to understand how you can better meet their needs.
Effectively branded social media takes more than just uploading your logo as your profile picture. However, it doesn’t need to be that complicated
By following these 5 simple tips, you can ensure that you are getting the most out of your online time.
Align the Online with the Offline.
The number one rule when branding your social media is to ensure your online image is a true reflection of the way your brand is presented through all other channels.
Start by reviewing your brand guidelines if you’ve got some, but also take a look at your branded materials, such as
- Blog posts
- Business cards
The colour scheme, images and tone presented in these channels should match the visuals and captions on your social media.
For example, if you’ve got a corporate identity, it’s best to stick to a more professional image on social media. Likewise, if you’re an activewear brand for middle aged women, it’s best to ensure these women are represented in the images you post.
Share Relevant Content.
When choosing which news articles, interviews and jokes to share on social media, keep your customers in the forefront of your mind. Ideally the content should be useful and engaging for them, but also link back to your brand in some way.
Instead of focusing on what your business does directly, think about what your customers will find interesting and the type of lifestyle your business helps them achieve.
For example, if you’re a home loan broker, instead of sharing information about the latest loan rates, you can share articles about decorating houses and the area’s most popular suburbs.
Promote Your Culture.
Social media is all about real people. We don’t go on there to see faceless brands. In your mix of articles and memes, be sure to throw in a few updates about what’s going on in your day-to-day life.
Pictures of staff, client meetings, birthday cakes or events you’re attending are a great way to add the human element and show people how your brand ties into your company culture.
By giving your brand a human face, you are giving followers something to personally connect with, which will help you build more meaningful relationships.
Turn Employees into Ambassadors.
Encouraging your employees to interact with and share your social media content will extend your reach and further promote the real faces behind your company.
You can tag them in posts and invite them to list your business as their workplace on their profiles. For example, on LinkedIn, your staff can tag your business when adding it as their workplace so people can click the link and be taken to your company page. This will make it quick and easy for people to find out more about your products and services.
By involving employees in the public persona of the business, you will amplify awareness amongst their network and provide positive reinforcement for your brand.
Review your activity regularly.
Once a month or every few weeks, it’s important to look back over your social media profiles and updates to ensure they are presenting a strong brand image. When reviewing this, you’ll be assessing three main things:
Clarity — Are you clearly communicating how you want your brand to be perceived? Are your key values represented in the content you post?
Consistency — Is the identity you are presenting consistent across all your social media profiles? Does your colour scheme, imagery and tone align with the image you present offline?
Accuracy — Are all your profiles accurately representing the way you want to look, sound and feel to customers? For example, a brand identity can be presented clearly and consistent across channels, but is this an accurate image of your business?
It’s also helpful to take a look at how people are engaging with you online. Note which posts receive the most likes, comments and shares, this will help you get to know your community and better cater to their interests.
Once you’ve found your groove, managing your social media can become one of the most fun and lucrative marketing activities you can do for your business.