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Social branding has become the hallmark of digital marketing. From the smallest local businesses to major internationally recognized brands, social branding is being used to build brand awareness, entertain and engage, provide a real-time channel for customer service and of course sell.
Although most marketers find it difficult to mark proven ROI when it comes to social media, most brands see the value of these channels. According to Adweek, in 2018, 91% of retail brands used at least two social media channels. Mashable reported that 81% of small businesses were using social.
These stats are the reason smart marketers are upping their social media presence. Here are seven steps to help improve your social branding.
It can be tempting to open an account with every social channel out there. However, this is not a very strategic approach.
First, it is not realistic to manage all these platforms, and second, not all social platforms are created equal. Despite the popularity of so many channels, who they are popular with is very important. No two apps are exactly the same, and therefore no two audiences are either.
You have to use the platforms that align with your brand. For example, if an app has a target demographic that is 18-24, it wouldn’t be a match for your brand if your target demographic is 35-50. Do your homework and look for specifics important to your target audience using social media demographics.
When researching channels, ask yourself some questions:
Another good tell is watching your metrics for existing social media pages to see how your social branding is faring across channels.
Once you have chosen your platform(s), make sure you are using each channel wisely. Just because you post something on one channel, doesn’t mean it should be posted on all of them. And there’s a good reason for that. Actually, there’s a few.
As previously discussed, each channel has its own audience. Each audience uses social for different reasons. In fact, according to Global Web Index, the average person has 5.54 different social media accounts.
With these different audiences and uses, you have to make sure you are providing content that will be engaging in the context it is presented. According to Buffer, the best content for the top social channels are:
By ensuring you are choosing the right content for each platform, you will be better inclined to engage the platform users in a more meaningful way.
When taking Buffer’s advice to heart, one thing that comes up most often is the use of visuals. Although the type of visual varies from channel to channel, there is no doubt that images still speak louder than words.
Visuals likewise play a major role in setting the tone and image of your brand. They offer a first glance of your brand identity and help build brand equity.
The important lesson here is that although you are using different types of images across each channel, the tone and manner should be consistent including:
All of these aspects work together to create your social branding imagery.
Create a voice that fits in with your brand. The words you use and the tone and manner of your posts will make a strong impression even when it is just a few words for a hashtag. Take the Disney example above as a perfect example of how the company uses humor and a recognizable asset in its social media activity.
Your communication style should create a personality that fits with your social branding. Consider the following to find your voice:
Streamline your efforts to keep the topics you post about consistent. You have to avoid having a random collection of posts that will confuse your message.
Don’t be too worried that you will have to create your own content. An excellent way to remain authoritative in your industry is to curate content. You can build authority by sharing posts that are relevant, meaningful and useful for followers. This encourages likes and shares while showing people you are not focused strictly on promoting yourself. Instead, it creates trust.
Don’t be afraid to use humor when your brand calls for it; 3 in 4 people appreciate humor. You can also use a mix of curated content based on the platform such as videos, gifs, memes, and links for blogs posts and articles.
To stay on point, choose a few topics that make sense for your brand and industry whether it is celebrity fashion, designer trends on the runway and shoe fetishes for a fashion boutique or recipes, food trends and seasonal produce for a grocery store. The goal is to stick with your area of expertise, so people depend on you for the info they need.
Last but not least, be kind. 88% of consumers find it annoying when a brand bad mouths the competition. Instead, consumers buy from brands with these top three qualities:
Don’t forget that all of your marketing has to work together. If you are on social, share that information across all your profiles and marketing material. This means:
All of these steps will help build social traction. You should also encourage staff to like your social to encourage followers in their groups: He told two friends, she told two friends, and so on.
Social media is just that: social. Many organizations forget this is one of the most important aspects of social media. You can’t just keep posting stuff. Instead, you have to look for comments and join conversations to engage followers. Make sure you have someone on board who is reading comments and replying. In fact, try posting content with a question: We love these shoes, what do you think?
If you take on the burden of responses, you have to be consistent. This becomes crucial if you find negative comments or customer complaints. 32% of consumers complaining on social expect a response within 30 minutes, and 42% expect to hear from you in an hour. They found that 57% expect the same response 24/7, so manning social becomes important. If you can’t manage the demands, you might want to avoid using Twitter as 80% of social customer service requests occur on Twitter.
Leverage comments to generate more content. Often you will see common questions or get some really good insight from comments and replies to comments from other followers. Following threads and finding out what people are chatting about can provide ideas for blogs, further content, and opportunities to generate awesome conversations that show off your expertise, not to mention the fact you care about what people are saying.
These seven steps can provide your business with better control over your social strategy and fine-tune the tactics you use to improve your social branding.