When building a brand, social media marketing and cultivating a social presence to connect with your audience are your top priorities. Even if you’re only an occasional user, everything you create, share, and react to helps feed a public narrative, one that can ultimately impact how potential customers or clients perceive your brand. From finding your audience to choosing the right networks to reach them, here are 10 tips to help build your brand through social media.
Considered one of the more challenging aspects of social media marketing, defining your target audience boils down to finding the group of people most likely to be interested in your products or services. For example, let’s suppose you’re a baby products manufacturer and want to boost your baby products digital marketing efforts. As an industry growing continuously with new products, innovations, and brands every year, staying ahead of the competition is a challenge. Your digital marketing strategy should include paid ads, a healthy mix of search engine optimization (SEO), and your content has to resonate with potential customers.
Before creating content and further optimizing your paid marketing efforts, you need to identify your target audience. Start by asking a few key questions:
This is best answered by looking at who’s already following you and interacting with your posts on social media. Next, you can look at whether or not they share any key characteristics, such as age, location, interests, etc. In a nutshell, these are the kind of people who identify with your brand, and you can use these common demographic features to begin building an audience profile.
Next, you’ll need to figure out what kind of information your audience is looking for and why they’re following you to get it. Once you identify their needs, you’ll be in a better place to assist them via social media. Though different people follow brands for various reasons, according to Sprout Social, there are four common motivators:
After finding out the type of information your customers are looking for, you need to determine their favorite social media platform. After all, you stand to make the most impact by reaching your target groups where they’re most active. For example, if they’re primarily on Instagram, it makes little sense to target them with a Twitter campaign. Simultaneously, customers actively reaching out on your Facebook page probably won’t be hitting the refresh button on your company’s LinkedIn profile.
Of all the insights into your target audience, this question is probably one of the most critical. Rather than having to guess, you can zero in on what your audience is talking about. You can learn your audience’s likes or dislikes regarding your business or product category. Additionally, you can learn what challenges they’re facing and the solutions they’re searching for. Most importantly, you can discover what they’re saying about your brand or your products, helping you to narrow down their biggest pain points and desires.
Building trust is essential for any business or brand, especially regarding relationships with your followers. For instance, think about your own social habits. Are there any particular brands online that you trust more than others? Do online consumer reviews influence your purchase decisions? If they do, you’re not alone, as 94% percent of customers claim a negative review will convince them to avoid a business, while 62% of consumers ages 18-34 will trust a brand based on its ratings and reviews. As such, it’s crucial to think about how your business handles its reputation. Are you responding to all your inbound messages or social mentions, whether positive or negative? While you’d only receive rave reviews in a perfect world, the reality is that you’re bound to come across an unhappy customer or two. How your brand responds to these scenarios is key to solidifying your brand as a name people can trust.
As mentioned above, choosing the right social networks is key to building a healthy brand presence and enhancing communication with potential customers and clients. With all the major platforms offering their own benefits, this leaves room for some reasonably impactful engagement strategies. Some of the main channels worth having a presence on include:
Twitter has always been great for building awareness, as hashtags provide an easy way to connect with people with similar interests that may not always be in your direct target audience.
As one of the key players in building brand awareness, this image- and video-sharing platform is perfect for building relationships. Its more than 1 billion active users include everyone from influencers to celebrities, politicians, and your aunt’s cat, making it a haven for creative types of all kinds.
As the quintessential “professional network,” LinkedIn can be an excellent choice for those working in a B2B industry or for those targeting specific business segments. With over 61 million senior-level influencers (of which 40 million are decision-makers), and 87 million registered Millenials (including 11 million decision-makers), it’s a literal gold mine of professional network opportunities. At the same time, posts tend to be more informative than casual, making it a great place to repurpose existing content for Sponsored Messages. For distributing your content, LinkedIn also provides several free options to help to grow your audience organically, with LinkedIn Events remaining a popular choice.
Like Instagram, YouTube continues to be an effective way to show off your brand’s personality and get to know your users. YouTube Shorts, for instance, helps short-form creators from all countries, age groups, industries, and niches reach YouTube’s more than 2 billion monthly active users. Beauty and skincare brands can build anticipation for new launches with quick “who, what, when, where, why” videos about upcoming products. Fashion brands can share exciting news about upcoming trends, and brands in any industry can repeat this process. In short, there’s no time wasted. Every frame serves a purpose, and the content engages the audience from start to finish. Best of all, brands have the option to deploy more long-form video content as needed or utilize any of YouTube’s highly targetable video ads, bumper ads, display ads, or sponsored cards. With so many YouTube advertising options at their disposal, brands of all sizes stand to see significant gains when they decide to turn the camera on themselves and truly connect with their user base.
As the fastest-growing social media platform, TikTok also offers an exceptional opportunity for brands and digital marketers to engage their target audience with dynamic, full-screen ads. At the same time, TikTok’s partnership with Shopify has had a significant impact on social commerce, with viral trends like #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt helping businesses of all sizes generate millions in revenue. With 82% of all internet traffic set to come from video in 2022, this highlights a growing need for quick, focused content to capture and maintain user attention.
It’s no secret that business accounts on the major social channels (like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn) offer more business-related features compared to personal accounts. If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to launch or update your own, converting your existing ones as needed. Not only do these types of accounts allow you to promote your posts, but they also provide analytics tools to better gauge how those posts perform. In short, they provide valuable insights into how your audience is interacting with your brand on each platform.
At the same time, you’ll want to go ahead and “claim” or verify your business on your social media accounts, as this will tell users that you’re the “official” business account for your brand. While the process will be different for each social network, it’s well worth the time and effort it takes to accomplish. Following that, be sure to completely fill out your profile for each social network, including a photo or logo for your brand, the link to your professional website, and a brief bio describing your company, products, and services.
Once you’ve identified your target audience and determined the platforms to prioritize, it’s time to start crafting your brand’s social media persona. While this might sound complicated, it’s actually pretty easy, as you’ve got some solid room for fun and creativity. Bear in mind, however, that your “alter ego” will need to be imbued with your brand’s message, exuding everything your business stands for. This will naturally affect how you respond to messages on social networks and the content you produce. Here’s a rough breakdown of how that process should work:
Ask yourself, what’s the image your brand portrays to your target audience at face value? Is it serious and professional, or is it more playful and lighthearted? If your brand was a person, how would you describe their personality? What about that of your competitors? These are a few questions to consider, and they’re essential for determining how your voice can align with your brand’s overall messaging.
Once you’ve found your company’s voice, remember to use that voice humanely. After all, it’s crucial that followers and potential customers feel as though you’re genuinely hearing their concerns and answering their questions as an empathetic human would. In other words, you don’t just want to sound like a business trying to free them of their hard-earned cash. This is especially relevant to customer service concerns, as you’ll likely provide some basic level of customer support through your social networks. As a bonus, you can humanize your brand by using posts from people who work for your business. Not only does this put a real face to the brand, but it also gives a small “behind the scenes” look into your business, which often resonates well with followers.
While the voice and language you showcase on social media are important, the colors and images you use can play a considerable as well. Humans are naturally visual creatures, and many of us can’t help but judge things by how they look. This extends to business branding as well, as the aesthetics of a company’s branding can often make or break a first impression. These impressions can sometimes last for decades, as simple color choices can affect customers on an emotional level. Whether it’s passionate or appetite-inducing reds or the calm serenity of deep blues, the psychology of colors can work wonders for brand recognition, especially in crowded markets and industries.
Imagine that you could decide the value that big brands bring to the table. What would be at the top of your list? Would it be a brand’s ability to deliver unique and interesting products or services? Would you place brands that strive to innovate above others, or would you value excellent customer service above the two? While these certainly make the cut, chances are you’d focus on whether companies communicate honestly about their products and services. In other words, you’d value an authentic experience above all else.
You can often find this type of authenticity in a brand’s consistent use of their chosen voice, their images, and their tone when speaking to customers and clients. No one likes a bait and switch, and given these are all tied to how you present your brand to the general public, the last thing you want is for current or would-be customers to feel as though they were duped. If you’re worried about making mistakes along the way, don’t overthink it. Own up to your issues and mistakes and show your customers or clients how you’ll address them. Stick to your word, and don’t overpromise or oversell your business or product capabilities. At the end of the day, all consumers want the same thing: consistent, authentic, and honest interactions with their favorite brands.
With a clear indication of who your audience is, what you’d like to say to them, and how you’d like to say it, it’s time to start organizing those ideas into a social media calendar. Not only do these calendars allow you to plan out months of quality social posts ahead of time, but they save you time as well. While some companies can churn out engaging social posts pretty quickly, it’s not every team’s strong suit, and that’s okay! Marketing agencies might take weeks to plan out tweets to send out on behalf of their clients. In contrast, larger businesses might plan their posts out months in advance, especially since most social calendars will naturally combine big holidays, interesting cultural events, and, in some cases, internet holidays. No matter how you choose to map out your social posts, you can find quick tips and guides on how to create a social media calendar from several reputable sources.
With some ideas in place and a social calendar to fill, it’s time to create content that can convert, whether that’s through online sales, leads, email signups, or form completions. Given that this is the primary function of a business’s social media presence, it’s not to be taken lightly. Success won’t come overnight, and it’s important to remember that you’ve got options when it comes to the type of content you send out.
For starters, while your first instinct might be to keep your content solely focused on your business, think again. Remember, the key to great content is “value,” and even if your content doesn’t necessarily relate to a product or service, it’s still going to do its job if your followers or potential customers think it has value to them. This might be found via links to past blogs or other engaging posts like infographics, testimonials, and more. No matter the type of content, it should still maintain the tone and persona you previously defined.
An alternative route is to ask users and followers to provide content directly to you. Known as User-Generated Content (or UGC for short), this strategy is most successful once you’ve already established a following, with the goals being to encourage your users and customers to submit photos or videos of themselves using or reviewing your products. This content is especially valuable to eCommerce brands, as it gets down to the nitty-gritty of what your business provides, giving customers an honest look at how others feel about your products and services. Similarly, other UGC methods might entail having your customers or clients document and record what they do for a living, hobbies, etc., showcasing how your business positively added to their experience. In turn, this can provide potentially game-changing feedback, giving you insights into what’s working and how real people feel about your products or services.
That being said, be sure to set some ground rules for UGC content, giving users a heads up that you’ll use the content for your marketing purposes. This can help avoid headaches for you and the users involved. Should you find yourself concerned about how much content you’ll be able to generate from this strategy, try not to worry, as it’ll eventually get easier with practice. You’ve already done the legwork of defining your brand identity, thus making the search and development of social media content a bit easier every time. Best of all, you can always repurpose content for different posts after some time has passed. If you truly get stuck with inspiration, there’s no shame in seeing what your competitors are doing to formulate some ideas of your own.
Like any relationship, your relationship with your customers and followers is a two-way street. Your social audience needs to feel like they’re part of a community and be engaged regularly. Keep your posts positive, and remember that your interactions and content are a reflection of what your company stands for and its personality.
While you need to demonstrate your industry expertise, don’t be afraid to take a fresh approach to the types of updates you share on your social media channels. Feel free to talk about your company’s achievements or add engaging tidbits about your employees. Above all, remember to show, not tell. Challenge yourself to add images to most of your posts, rather than boring blocks of text. Just be sure your images match the text around them, as they’re meant to drive home your main points, not merely break up blocks of text. Given that people retain visual information 65% more often than text, try and take advantage of this by recycling your best pieces of evergreen content into conversion-friendly graphics, infographics, charts, and social media images.
If you’re in eCommerce, this is also an excellent opportunity to host contests where users can like and share to enter or tag a friend to provide even more engagement. Likewise, you can use the UGC methods highlighted above and ask users to participate in a theme or tag your business to enter. The possibilities are endless, and businesses of all sizes can leverage the easy-to-follow promotion guidelines for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other major social media networks.
With so much happening in the world of social media marketing, it’s also essential to keep an eye on your metrics and analytics, especially as you experiment with different marketing strategies and techniques. From a content perspective, some things will be obvious. For example, posts with visual content will nearly always perform better than those with plain text. Still, it’s not always going to be so black and white. You’ll need to dive deep into your analytics to see where you’re having the most success.
Thankfully, nearly every major social network will offer some way to view your profile’s analytics. You can also gain valuable insights into the best times to post and adjust your social media calendar accordingly, though this is just the tip of the iceberg.
All in all, the best way to build your brand through social media is to understand the fundamentals. With so many moving pieces, it’s important to dig into your core audience and set actionable goals that you can build on over time. If you want to learn more or simply don’t have the time to manage your brand’s social media marketing, we’d love to help! No matter your business or industry, our search marketing and social media experts have over 10 years of experience with SEO and social media strategies, with proven results that rank us in the top 3% of digital marketing agencies worldwide.
Reach out to VELOX Media today to learn how we can help you improve and optimize your digital and social media marketing strategies moving forward.