Branding should be one major pillar of your marketing strategy. A brand is more than just your logo or merchandise. It permeates everything. Your brand entails how you talk, how you look and the core message you are trying to relay to your audience. One of the most important places to make sure you have a strong brand is on social media.
The digital revolution has changed a lot of things and one of the most powerful agents of change has been the invention of social platforms. The days when buying a radio spot or taking out an ad in the newspaper are long gone. Not only are they needlessly expensive, but they don’t let you have genuine interaction with your customers. Being able to reply, respond, like and share the things your customers do is a huge benefit. On top of that, it can be entertaining and enjoyable.
However, the power of social media is completely lost if you don’t take the time to think through your brand and how you will position yourself in the social sphere. Here are a couple of things you should look at when you look to extending your brand into the social arena and start using social platforms as branding and marketing tools.
What do you do?
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s shocking how many people get this wrong. Your social profile should clearly convey what you do. After all, if customers and profile visitors don’t know what you do, why would they buy your product or service?
If your customers aren’t exactly sure about what services or products you provide, then it’s time to re-evaluate your social media profiles. Every social platform is different. Some, like Facebook, have large space and ample room to thoroughly explain what your company does. Others, like Twitter, have limited space and you’ll need to really think about how to tell people what you do in 140 characters. Which can be tough.
Also, think about if it makes sense to be on a particular platform. Too often people fall into the trap of trying to be on every social outlet possible. This spreads out their efforts and makes for a shallow social strategy and a shallow social brand. As you think about what platforms will be most effective, think about whether or not the platforms you choose help people to understand what you do or makes it more confusing.
For example, Instagram is a photography based social platform. If your business has a heavy visual component, like a florist, then it probably makes sense to have an Instagram account. On the other hand, if you’re an accountant it probably doesn’t make sense to use the platform. What would you take pictures of, tax returns? Not only is that probably illegal but it would be extremely boring for Instagram followers.
Develop a social media personality
Generally, people can spot a spammy social media account when they see one. If your account sounds disingenuous or over engineered people will likely know and won’t care what you have to say.
At its core, social media was designed for people to connect with other people. That’s what users still do on the platforms. No one wants to talk to a company that sounds like a robot. If people found that enjoyable, they would just call the bank and interact with the automated call tree for fun. No one does this. Which is why you should spend some time developing a personality for your social accounts.
What would your brand be like if it were a person? How does it talk? Is it causal, maybe playful? Maybe you want a more serious tone? Do you want to position your company as a subject matter expert or are you more concerned about entertaining an audience? These are just some of the beginning questions you should ask yourself when developing or revamping your brand personality. But, no matter what you decide, you should be careful not to overthink it.
Your personality on social media should arise much like the personalities of people do – 50 percent intentional and 50 percent as a result of your environment. Don’t get so caught up on sounding a particular way or acting a particular way. You have to be flexible enough to roll with the punches. If you’re not, then you might miss out on unexpected opportunities.
Use location to your advantage
Social media allows you to connect to an international audience and when used correctly can serve as an enormous benefit. At no other point in history has it been possible for one person’s message to be seen by the whole world. But, this doesn’t mean you should overlook the power of having a hyperlocal social strategy.
Focusing on the local has a couple advantages. First, if you’re a service-based business or a brick-and-mortar retail outlet then the chance of someone in another country becoming a customer is very low. However, it is likely that your next door neighbor or your kid’s school teacher will become a customer.
Another advantage is it helps you tap into a community. If you can tap into a community, it greatly increases the chance that people will follow and engage with your profiles. Think about liking, following, sharing content from other local business in the area and engage with them online. Not only is this a friendly thing to do, but you never know who your next customer could be.
Have clear business goals
It’s thrilling to watch the followers on your social accounts grow. In fact, it can become an addiction. But, if you’re not careful it will completely consume your social strategy.
While it’s important to grow your followers, rarely should that be the end all be all metric that you measure success by. When it comes down to it, your social accounts are just an extension of your marketing efforts. Which means if they aren’t bringing in business, then they are not accomplishing the most basic requirement for any marketing strategy to be successful. Having 2 million Instagram followers is impressive, but if you’re not making more money because of it, does it really matter?
So instead of trying to increase followers, maybe try increasing engagement. Try to get more and more people to click on the links you share or to comment on your posts. Engagement is much more meaningful than reach because it means people have taken the time to think about what you have to say and to respond to it with an action.
Don’t forget to have fun
It’s easy to get wrapped up in numbers and get depressed because your social following isn’t growing or because no one shared your last post. Just relax, take a deep breath and have fun. Marketing your business on social media shouldn’t be a chore and it shouldn’t keep you up at night.
If using social media to market your business makes you miserable then you should avoid it or find someone who enjoys it to do it for you. Plus, if you’re not having fun, then your audience won’t have fun either. If no one if having fun, what’s the point really?
Need help with marketing and branding for social media? Drop us a line for a free consultation. We’d love to start the conversation.