The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Branding for Small Businesses
Social media is turning out to be one of the most powerful tools to market your brand and stand out of the crowd. When social media branding is done correctly, it can and will help you connect to your target market in an optimal way. Social media branding forms a natural but an essential part of your overall marketing efforts on major social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Social media branding is about consistently using the right methods to engage with your target audience on social media platforms. The aim or purpose is to boost brand awareness. By leveraging the power of social media branding, you can build a robust network of fans who are not only loyal to your brand but are also eager to buy from you.
In a research report by Social Fresh, they found that the number one goal of brands- both personal brands and businesses, with social media is to grow awareness. Which clearly shows that social media branding is a priority for most brands.
Branding is an important stage for any business that wants to generate long-term business. It’s about defining what you stand for and at the same time attract prospects that are likely to turn into customers. In the initial branding stages, every business lead is important, which is why it’s necessary to start the relationship on the right note.
Social media branding makes it easy for you to get more relevant people into your sales funnel by giving them a reason to trust you. When you get social branding right, the rest of the sales process becomes more efficient.
Right from brand exposure to customer retention, you not only see results, but measurable results. Which means better business and stronger customer relationships.
There are four key areas that you need to work on to improve your social media branding game:
1. Your Identity: In order to find success with social media branding, you need to know your business. What defines your brand identity and how does it differentiate from the others? What does it seek to achieve? Who and how does it want to impress? The clearer you are about your brand identity, the easier it will be to craft the right message.
2. Your Audience: A big part of social media branding is understanding and knowing your target audience like the back of your hand. This allows you to take a precise, tailored approach with your marketing efforts, rather than a blind, blanket one.
If you want to help your audience, you need to get into their shoes. And look at their problems, wants and needs from their eyes. Ask yourself the right questions to identify them. For instance, what age group does your audience belong to?
3. Your Content: share on social media shapes your brand, which is why it is integral that you share the right type. The content you share has the power to make or break your social media marketing campaign. So sharing the appropriate social media posts on each network should not be ignored.
For instance, the power of video marketing in social media is something marketers shouldn’t disregard as the traffic from this content is expected to rise up to 82% in 2022. Although that’s a good percentage for potential consumers, keep in mind that the number of competitors is also growing, especially on YouTube channels. Yes, that is the inevitable reality of social media growth. And since statistics state that you only have two seconds to capture a potential buyer’s attention, you’d better create a strong video content that would stop the users from scrolling past your video post.
4. Your Design: Visual elements such as color palette, typography and etc. play a crucial role in how your followers perceive your brand on social media, which is why aligning your brand design with your digital marketing strategy is a step you cannot afford to ignore. Remember, our brains tend to process visual content 60,000x faster when compared to regular text. It helps you build your brand recognition more.
Social Media Branding Myths to Avoid
Being a business, it’s important that you focus on getting favorable results from your social media marketing efforts. And for that to happen, you need to ensure that you’re not looking at social media marketing from the wrong lens. In other words, you should avoid believing in the following three common myths in order to get positive returns.
Myth #1: Social Media Can Make Your Brand Popular Overnight
A lot of social media marketers are focused on getting their content to go viral on social media and get as many votes or likes as possible. Their aim? Get super popular overnight. They want more and more people to know their brand, in little time. Which is a mistake.
Now, regardless of how you see social media branding, it’s simply not possible in real life to get hundreds of thousands of genuine followers in a few weeks on your Instagram account. Nor can you get an unrealistic number of likes or shares in a few days on your Facebook page. Even if you do manage to make it happen, it’s not going to be ethical. You will end up interacting with the wrong people. And along the process will hurt your brand image.
Try and build a real relationship with your target audience by using social media as a tool. Don’t think about getting quick results. Rather, know and understand what makes your brand tick. Taking the slow and steady or the more patient approach will make your brand look more trustworthy in the long run.
Myth #2: Being On Every Network Is Crucial For Social Media Branding
Finding success with social media branding starts with your focus. If your focus is in the wrong direction, you may send an irrelevant message to your audience. Or worse, you may end up not reaching them at all. Besides that, you have a limited amount of time to spend on social media, so you have to use it wisely to ensure you’re getting a good return on your time investment.
While it may be tempting to be active on every major social media website out there, it can work against you. Why? Because each network is different, and has a unique set of users. You can’t spend time posting on Snapchat, TikTok and Pinterest when you’re running a B2B company. Your brand building efforts should be directed towards the right type of people who would be interested in your business. The point is, social media branding takes work, and you certainly don’t want to dilute your efforts by spreading yourself too thin.
Myth #3: You Need Hundreds of Thousands of Followers for Brand Building Via Social Media
Building a big social media audience definitely has its perks. But is it really necessary to see great results? Do you really need a huge number of social media followers slash fans to grow your brand’s recognition? The answer is an obvious no. As a business, your goal should be to leverage social media to build a better connection with your customers and prospects.
Your brand’s popularity won’t shoot up overnight on social media, so there’s no use fretting about vanity metrics such as follower count. What you should rather be aiming for is building a loyal and dedicated following. The size or the quantity of your following matters far more than the quality.
There’s no doubt that having more followers will fetch you more business. But as a strategist, you need to keep in mind that these people should genuinely recognize and like your brand.
One of the key advantages of having a laser-focused following is that your content is seen by only those followers who truly like and trust your brand. This way you wouldn’t be crafting content that is uninteresting or boring. But rather something that is highly relevant.
Myth #4: Social Media Branding Is “Set and Forget”
This is far from the truth because your social media activity directly affects how people view your brand. If you want to be known as an influencer in your industry, you have to be active on social media to showcase your brand’s professional side. You want people to see you as a brand that cares by being responsive in every possible way.
You’ll have customers and prospects posting on your social media accounts from time and time. This is your opportunity to show them that they matter by responding to their comments. It doesn’t take much effort to interact with your social media fans, but it can make a positive impact on their lives. The indirect effect of being active on social media is you’ll see more business coming in.
Every time someone leaves a comment on your social media content, they’re taking out the time to voice their concern. Or simply share their thoughts or opinions. By getting back to them, you not only show them respect but also make them feel important. A simple reply or tweet can go a long way. It’s easy for people to take the wrong impression if they see you inactive. This may even lead to people unfollowing you or forgetting your brand. Which is the last thing you want.
5 Social Media Branding Strategies that Work
Social media has evolved over the years in terms of helping businesses grow their brand and reach out to customers. It is no longer just about building a social presence. Today, it’s also about creating a brand image strong enough to increase traffic, leads and sales. It’s about taking multiple approaches to build a brand that truly cares about its audience.
However, as more and more businesses realize the importance of social media, it is becoming a crowded space. Which in turn is making it harder for brands to stand out from the rest. It’s not enough to just have a unique selling point. You have to have a complete social media branding plan to get the best results with the least amount of risk. Whether it’s Facebook or Instagram, you will need to take the right steps to give your brand a unique edge over the competition.
Let’s look into some efficient social media branding strategies that can help you represent your brand the way you want. Don’t worry, these tips are simple to apply, but when followed consistently over a period of time, can give big results.
Strategy #1: Choose and Leverage the Most Appropriate Social Network
The type of social network you use can literally make the difference between success and failure on social media. Because the last thing you want is for people to see your brand as incapable or negative. You want your social media progress to be in sync with the efforts you’re putting in. Being active on the wrong social network will drain your energy with poor results.
Unlike in SEO wherein you can simply focus on Google, when it comes to social media marketing, it is very different. There are many social media platforms out there that you can work with to reach out to your target audience. Your goal should be to test out each of these platforms to find out which goes with your brand’s overall objectives. What do you want to achieve with your social media branding efforts? And how do you want your social media activity to impact your bottom line?
For example, if you’re a B2B business, such as a residential management company, then you may want to tap into the power of LinkedIn for building your brand. Why? Because LinkedIn has many business owners actively using it. But if your business is more on the B2C or C2C side, you may want to get more active on Facebook or Pinterest, and use these networks to grow your social media presence.
Remember, every social media platform has an audience that is used to seeing a certain type of content. When you understand this, it will be easy for you to decide on a social network that helps you achieve your branding goals.
Strategy #2: Be Consistent with Your Messages
Brand building on social media isn’t complicated. In fact, it becomes far more simple when you understand the importance of crafting the right kind of messages – consistently.
Your brand becomes more involved with your target audience when you regularly use visuals and text that matches with your purpose. People on social media are used to identifying patterns or themes, so it always pays off when you are consistent in your efforts. The longer you do it; the better results you will see.
It doesn’t matter at what stage your brand is on social media. You should try to be consistent with your messaging right from the start. Every single social media channel has the potential to help your brand grow, given that your audience is able to rely on your consistency. When your messages are consistent over a period of time, it becomes easy to win trust and build rapport.
In the beginning, you will have to test out different types of content and hashtags to see what works the best for your target audience. However, this trial and error is more about understanding their demands and less about your own potential to create good, relevant content. It takes some time to get it right, but once you have recognized what works and what doesn’t, you will find it easier to be consistent.
Strategy #3: Post as Frequently as Possible
While maintaining a consistency with your content is important, it’s also critical to post good content on a regular basis. How often people interact with your brand on social media has an impact on how much they connect to it. Creating an account on the right social media platform and making it look perfect it’s just the first part of the equation. The other part is getting your word out there.
As a business, when you’re starting out, you should aim to make the best first impression on your social media followers. Because that’s the first step building a strong, long-term relationship with your target audience. It’s easy to lose your presence in the middle of the chaos on social media platforms. But by posting regular, informative updates, you manage to stay in front of the mind of your social media audience.
You should at least post these many times on each social network you’re active on:
It is safe to say that social media marketing has many components or moving parts to it. And in order to make sure they are running together smoothly, you have to ensure that you’re publishing engaging content frequently. The most practical way to do this is to create an organized content calendar. This way, you won’t lose track of your social media postings and will be able to make it top priority.
With a content calendar, you can plan your messages in advance. You’ll get a bird’s view of what messages you’re sending out and how they’re impacting the overall results you’re getting. You can always use a social media management tool like Buffer for planning your content and scheduling your updates.
Keep in mind that it is important to maintain a healthy balance between value-oriented content and promotional posts. There has to be a ratio that doesn’t make you look like a social media spammer. Or else you may end up having people unfollow you.
Strategy #4: Find Your Brand Voice
Every brand has a personality that differentiates it from the others. This unique personality not only helps a brand connect with its target audience but also helps it build better relationships. But if your brand’s personality isn’t reflected in your social media content, it will be hard to get heard. This is why you need to find and develop your voice on social media.
Whether it is posting an update on Facebook or a video on Instagram, it is important that your message gets heard. Developing a voice doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a while to find it and get comfortable with it. But once you do, creating the right kind of content becomes more practical and easier.
Here are two things to keep in mind when developing your voice
1. Say No to Templates
While using templates for your social media content makes things easier, it will soon get noticed by your audience. Also, it defeats the whole purpose of finding your own unique voice.
Posting text, images, infographics and videos in the same format is a strict no-no when you’re trying to build a brand on social media. Your audience shouldn’t feel that you’re being lazy. Rather, they should know for a fact that you’re innovating.
Also, avoid posting duplicate content when you can. If for some reason you have to re-post or re-promote some content, then do so with a difference.
2. Include Subtle Yet Consistent Branding
The updates you post on social media should not scream your brand. But at the same time, they shouldn’t be empty of any branding. In order to make sure you have a successful and noticeable social media presence, make sure your content has consistent branding. Just don’t over-do it. For instance, the images that you post can have a color coordination with your brand’s logo. Remember, be subtle and persistent at the same time.
Strategy #5: Optimize Your Profile Bio
As a business, you shouldn’t look at social media profiles like an average user. No, your social media profiles hold a lot more importance since they help you put business’s message across to your audience. They give you an opportunity to pitch social media users who are interested in learning more.
If you want your social media branding efforts to pay off, don’t ignore the bio section of your profiles. Don’t leave your visitors clueless about who you are and what you do. Your business may be offering the best service or products, but what’s of being on social media if your profiles don’t reflect your values?
A lot of brands make the mistake of adding irrelevant information in their profiles. Information that gives zero clarity about their business. So instead of adding random motivational quotes in your bio, use it to describe the purpose of your business in a few words.
You can also choose to showcase the benefits or advantages of your company offerings in your profile description area. Make sure to optimize the content of your profile with relevant keywords along with a contact button to help people find you and get in touch.
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Zinora Media.