Every day, you see companies building reputations on various platforms. Some companies have figured out the Holy Grail of marketing – social media. And it doesn’t matter if you’re the Chief Information Officer, a project manager, the owner, or a freelancer. Your voice could be heard by the millions if you know what to say when to say it, and where to say it. But, it’s not always what you say when or where – it’s all about how you say it.
So how do you establish the type of brand that gets noticed? By using social media. But there’s a lot more to using social media than just putting out some posts and crossing your fingers. Of course, you want ‘likes’ and ‘retweets’, but how do you achieve these objectives?
Establish yourself as an authority.
And in the history of mankind, there’s never been a better means of reaching the largest amount of people in the shortest amount of time than with social media.
To ensure your marketing and branding activities deliver a big impact with little effort, here are a few tips on how you can use social media to build your brand:
- Be consistent
- Create a logo
- Use colors that speak to your audience
- Know your voice and brand style
- Talk like you would with your best friend
- Instead of plugging, converse
- Tell a great story
- Post content your audience is interested in
- Post non-verbal content
Let’s delve into these a bit deeper.
Content is King?
While content obviously is a necessity, what’s King of the Social Media Jungle is consistency. Brand-building isn’t an overnight success kind of thing. Just ask the marketing teams at Pantene or Nike. It took Nike around 15 years to solidify their brand. How? By ensuring their voice was consistent across all available platforms at the time. Nike was introduced to the public in 1964, but it wasn’t until the early 1980s that the brand really took off.
[Read: What Do Consumers Want from Branded Content?]
Logos and Brand Philosophy
Your logo is what people will remember most. Is your logo memorable? Does it speak to your brand’s philosophy? When you’re designing the logo that people are going to see every day, ask yourself:
- Does it clearly illustrate what your brand represents?
- Does it show what your brand doesn’t represent?
Another important point to note is the color used within your logo and other marketing materials. How are you using colors?
Colors and Making a Statement
Colors can give your brand personality – or detract from it. By choosing the right colors across all marketing and social avenues, you’ll impact and appeal to your audience. And again, be consistent. No matter where your brand is seen, whether on- or offline, your look should be consistent and professional.
What is Your Brand’s Voice and Style?
Your products or services and your target audience help you determine your brand’s voice and style. Nowhere is this more evident than on social media platforms. When deciding on your brand’s voice and style, consider your brand to be an actual person. How would he or she speak? What would they consider shareable on social media? Define your brand’s gender, personality, age, and interests (which is essentially that of your target audience). To better define your brand voice, consider the following:
- Tone – Is your brand cheeky, socially awkward, serious, or formal?
- Language – What language does your brand speak? If you’re attempting to market to the younger, hip generation, you might attempt a bit of slang. If your brand falls into a specific niche, perhaps you’d use acronyms or industry-specific language.
- Purpose – What is your main reason for being on social media? Do you want to educate your target audience, or entertain them? Once you’ve decided on your purpose, consider putting together a style guide that can be read by anyone in your company. It can be a living document for anyone who’ll be responsible for speaking on behalf of your brand.
Once you’ve developed the personality of your brand, use it to build trust in your company. The best way to do this is to speak human. The last thing your audience wants is to feel like they’re speaking with the president of the company, especially if you’re targeting a younger demographic.
When you respond to users on social media, use their first name. Use humor, and don’t be afraid of colloquialisms. Whether your voice is quirky or serious, if you talk like a human would, it makes you all the more relatable. And sometimes, really clever and genuine posts can go viral.
[Read: 5 Tips on Building a Positive Reputation Through Social Media]
All this talk about how to talk – you might feel like, “Great! Now it’s time to tell them all about our new products!”
But no, not really. There are ways to weave in shameless plugs, but in the social media building stage, it’s all about relationships. How do you build relationships in the offline world? By talking, engaging, and really caring, right? The same goes for social media. Real, two-way conversations are the name of the game. People don’t want to hear all about everything you’re selling – this goes for on- and offline communication. Your goal is to develop an inherent trust for your brand among your target audience, and this takes time, patience, and effort.
Tell Compelling Stories
Okay, so we’ve established that you don’t want to talk about what you’re selling – what to talk about, then? Why not simply tell a story? People love stories. People often take a story and weave it into their own experiences – making it their own. By telling a story, people will do the same with your brand – the idea of your brand becomes a story of which they’re a part of. And if you set out with the goal of involving your audience in your story, you’ll watch as they begin engaging with it and with your brand.
As with any long-term relationship, transparency is key. Give your customers a glimpse behind the curtain – this can be a turning point. Use your social media accounts to help your audience better understand your brand, what it is and how it works, helps you establish a healthy relationship with your audience members.
Okay, so tell a compelling story. Engage your customers. Be transparent. What else is there?
Relevancy. If what you’re offering, your stories, etc. is of no use to your audience, you run the risk of turning them off and them tuning you out. Don’t put up posts just for the sake of putting up posts. Your posts should be relevant to your audience, and meaningful. If you post too much or your posts are irrelevant, your target demographic will respond in kind with unfollows and unlikes.
It’s been shown that posts that incorporate the use of visuals – photographs, infographics, video, etc. – on average get more engagement than posts without. Platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr are perfect for posting and sharing images.
[Read: Get Ahead With These 9 Emerging Video Trends]
Social media is a great tool when combined with other resources in your marketing mix. You won’t be perfect for everyone, but once you develop your core areas of experience, expertise, and overall message, the majority of your audience will see you as trustworthy, unique, and relevant. As you grow your online reputation, your opportunities will expand.