Using social media to build a better brand and engage with consumers is a special opportunity that content marketers shouldn’t take lightly.
Is your brand being represented the way it was intended to be on social media? Social media being used for an endless list of reasons, one of which is by brands seeking to engage consumers and raise awareness around their brand. Social media offers content marketers the chance to build their brands through direct interactions with consumers. However, social media is like a wild jungle and it’s challenging for brands nowadays to stand out.
With so many different platforms available and fierce competition, creating a social media strategy that is effective can be daunting. In this blog post, I hope to lay out a few common principles for brands to follow to make social media work for them. I’m a huge believer in that all brands should have a social media presence, and it doesn’t have to be a big one or expensive one either. A strategic approach that focuses on the goal of increasing brand awareness only needs time and creativity.
Branding in Today’s Age of Social Media
1. Focus on the right social media networks
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Pinterest, and Snapchat are the common networks you’ll hear tossed around that your brand needs to be on. But if you’re strapped for time or have limited resources like myself, managing a brand on all these channels is next to impossible. That’s why it’s important to focus on one or two in the beginning. Currently, my primary focus is Twitter. It’s where I get the best engagement by far. Then there’s Instagram and Pinterest. Facebook is a pay to play network so if you’re unable to invest a lot of money into it (like myself), then maybe others provide more upside. Google Plus nowadays seems only useful because it’s owned by Google and sharing content there has influence in search rankings, however big or small that may be.
2. Create visual content that’s consistent with your brand
I recently wrote an entire blog post on the importance of consistency when building a brand, and it comes to mind now again. Visual content plays a crucial role in branding on social media. I’ve been working to become more consistent with the visuals I share. How have I been doing this? It’s simply choosing a color palette that is consistent with your brand and using those colors in every image you create. Every one of my tweets will have an image that shares the same three colors I use across my website. And it’s not just colors but the types of images you repeatedly share.
If you’re not consistent, it can look like a jumbled mess and your brand won’t be any synergy between your various social media networks. My recommendation is to create a free account with Canva, which is what I use for everything…literally every single image I create. There you can save up to three colors for your brand that appear first each time you go to create an image.
3. Develop your brand’s voice & personality
Your personality and that of your team should be reflected in your social media posts. Do you want to be fun, energetic, and lively? Or more automated and informational? I like to strive for a balance between the two. Define the experience you’d like a consumer to have with your brand on social media, and use that to influence how and what you say.
4. Stay on topic and avoid sharing the unrelated “fun” topics
I curate a lot of content on Twitter by retweeting thought leaders and sharing their blog posts. Curating is a great way to help you build authority and engage with others in your industry. And no one likes a brand that only talks about themselves. Just be sure that the content you’re curating is relevant to your brand and benefits your followers. However tempting, me sharing a bunch of pictures of puppies every day is not going to help me accomplish my goals. As you scroll down my Twitter feed, you’ll see each Tweet is related to content marketing, brand strategy, and social media marketing in some shape or form. If I felt so compelled to share a photo of adorable golden retriever puppies (I mean who wouldn’t?) that’s best left for my personal Twitter account.
5. Share content on a regular schedule
Nothing will kill your momentum quicker on social media than sharing consistently for a week and then sharing nothing for the next two. On Twitter, I currently share 14 times a day. Instagram, Pinterest, and Google Plus I try to share once a day. I use Buffer to schedule all my social media posts for eastlackmedia and that helps me to share on a consistent schedule. It’s as easy as adding content to my queue and Buffer will do the rest. Their mobile app makes it extremely easy to send content to my Buffer queue while I’m out and about. Now depending on your brand, it may be best to share three times a day or thirty. That I’ll leave up to you!
6. Follow influencers and other brands
Are you following others in your industry on social media? A great way to achieve quicker results and amplify your brand awareness is to build relationships with influencers. I’m constantly in back and forth conversations with Buffer on Twitter and Instagram. I make it a point to follow everyone and anyone who works in content marketing, brand strategy, and social media marketing on Twitter.
7. Take advantage of your bio & profile
It’s unfortunate, but many brands don’t take full advantage of their bio or profile section. When you’re working to raise brand awareness, letting people know who you are and what you’re about is critical. There’s no better place to do this than in the bio. Approach your bio like an elevator pitch. How would you describe your brand in one or two sentences? Are there relevant hashtags that would be wise to include also? Is your bio on Twitter the same as it is on Instagram or any other social media network?
8. Engage and always be active!
When someone mentions you on Twitter or shares one of your blog posts, are you engaging back? No one likes to chat with someone when it’s a one-way conversation. When someone follows you, do you follow back? Now I’m not telling you to go and follow back everyone who follows you, but if their interests are aligned with yours, why not build that relationship? One day they could become a brand ambassador for you!