Social media marketing and branding, when it is done well, goes a long way to helping build business success.
That’s a fact, don’t you agree?
In fact, market research demonstrates that referrals from social media result in thirty percent of all website traffic (Source: Shareaholic.com).
This is a huge bracket of consumers being positively influenced by a business or brand’s social media profiles and activity.
We recently looked in depth into how social media marketing can be used to trigger consumers to purchase. But this is not the only value of social media for business.
Social media can also be harnessed as a powerful tool to drive branding – in fact, social media and branding go hand in hand.
So what is branding?
Branding simply refers to the practice and process of creating and implementing a unique and recognisable name and image for a product in the mind of consumers.
It is used to provide consistency through advertising campaigns and to ultimately foster brand loyalty. Through branding, a business is able to establish a differentiated and significant presence in a competitive market for the purpose of attracting and retaining paying customers.
Branding includes your name, logo, colour scheme, and overall image. It will, if created effectively, evoke a positive emotional response in consumers. Your brand is your promise to your customers.
A highly effective brand strategy gives a business a distinct competitive edge.
With strong and powerful branding, consumers know exactly what they can expect from your business, your products, and your services. They know how you differ from all the other businesses out these who could potentially compete for their patronage.
In its simplest terms, your brand derives from who you are as a business, how you wish to be seen, and how you are perceived by consumers.
Branding can instantly identify you in the minds of consumers as any number of things:
- High cost, high end, or aspirational
- Low cost yet high value
You can’t be all things to all people; you need to look at your product or service, your target audience, and brand accordingly to suit your niche.
Ideally ask yourself, who do your target audience want or need you to be? You need to be accessible and reflect who they are or who they aspire to be.
Branding that is consistent and strategic results in brand equity; this is added value which great branding provides and which allows you to charge more for your brand products and services than an identical product which is branded differently or not at all. Consider a plain black T-shirt from an elite “name” brand sold in David Jones as opposed to an identical T-shirt from Target.
The only difference between these products is in the brand label – and the price of $100 versus $15. Why the discrepancy?
Consumers who love their high end brands will pay the extra costs – even if what they receive is not better in reality, in their own minds it is because of the branding attached to it.
By associating themselves with the brand, the consumer feels like they too are an embodiment of what the brand reflects.
Social media branding strategies
Brand strategy incorporates the what, how, why, where, when and who of your delivery of brand information. Social media branding is one way to impart this message.
Social media provides a unique way to communicate your brand marketing messages with a potentially infinite number of consumers, generating new leads effortlessly at any given moment.
The very nature of social media, with likes and shares, increases your visibility.
The 4 fundamentals of social media branding success include:
- Select social media networks that complement your brand image.
§ Facebook is a fantastic platform to promote almost any brand, as it has a huge, active, and heterogeneous user base. It is quite evenly distributed between male and female users, equally from urban, suburban, and rural areas. All ages and income and education levels are represented quite equally.
§ Google+ is ideal for reaching male users who operate in technology and technical professions, with more male users.
§ LinkedIn is the optimal choice for business to business marketing, connecting with corporate employees, and promoting content that is business-related. Slightly more men than women use LinkedIn regularly, with all age groups evenly represented. More users are located in urban areas, and users tend to be more highly educated, on higher incomes, and are currently employed or seeking employment.
§ Instagram, being so image-focused, is ideal for retailers, travel operators, clothing companies, and their ilk. It’s also the perfect platform for reaching a younger audience. Instagram is used by more women than men, with more than eighty percent of users being under fifty years of age. All income levels, education levels and locations are reasonably equally represented among users.
§ Twitter is currently the top social customer service option. Male and female users are equally represented, with all age groups represented as are locations, education, and income levels.
2. Provide value in your content. Your brand reputation and authority will be enhanced if you create and share content that is of high value, interesting, inspirational, and enjoyable.
These are the posts that will be shared. Don’t focus too much on selling; instead provide an array of types of content that all support your brand image. Effective use of memes can be great for building your brand. Include plenty of high quality images.
Note that Twitter posts with images attached gain twice the number of views as text-only Twitter posts.
3. Promote content with social media posts. Include contests that incentivise users to interact with and share your posts. Consider participating in paid or sponsored campaigns.
4. Develop your brand’s voice. Your branding should extend to every aspect of your social media posts, including your “voice”. What do you stand for? Who is your audience? Is your voice authentic? Finding your voice, and your brand image for that matter, mean not trying too hard. Consistency is crucial.
8 other tactics to drive social media branding
1. Link to longer content, such as your onsite blog. Use link shorteners and include a preview if using Facebook. Blog content that includes images will capture more engagement.
2. Custom-format tweets with line breaks, font colour, emojis or other symbols to add interest and stand out.
3. Create and manage a Facebook Group.
4. Are your Facebook like numbers and your follower numbers very different? Ideally, these should be close – all the likes in the world don’t matter if your “likers” don’t follow your page – they simply won’t see your posts. If this is happening on your page, ask yourself what you could do better, or what you’re doing that’s turning followers away.
5. Include embedded calls to action.
6. Market your content across platforms. This can help you to convert Facebook followers to Instagram followers or Twitter followers, and LinkedIn connections can become part of your Google+ circles.
7. Surprise users occasionally – in a good way! Also be sure to personalise your posts and show your humanity – don’t just be a faceless brand.
8. Always be positive and “share the love”. Social media is full of ranting, anger, hate, sadness, and ugliness. Instead or participating or encouraging these negative features of social media, be an ambassador for optimism and uplifting content – it will reflect well on your brand and your business and keep users coming back for more.
Is your social media branding strategy working for you? A strong brand identity is just the first step to social media marketing success – but it is a very important piece of the overall puzzle.
Want to know more about persuading people to buy from social media? Check out these blogs!
Social media today is like a customer hotline to your brand and business. The trick is to generate leads from your social media channels and to funnel them through the sales process so that they ultimately purchase from you.
So how do you achieve this? Well, It requires a clever social media strategy plan.
Find out what the key is … READ MORE
Continuing on from last week’s blog post, today we look further in depth into an effective social media strategy plan and ways to trigger purchasing via your social media business profiles.
Psychological triggers for purchasing … It’s really important to understand how consumer behaviour works, and to know how to communicate with consumers, not from a sales perspective, but from a buyer perspective.
To find out the triggers … READ MORE
Meanwhile … maybe you know we LOVE LinkedIn … Do you know about our 4-week LinkedIn Optimisation Course?
Not only do we share a bunch of valuable, relative and useful info on our blogs, but we’ve got a free LinkedIn eCourse to help you get the most out of this platform especially for B2B enterprises. If LinkedIn is your preferred social media channel, take a look at this course to raise your profile, generate leads and boost your business – so LinkedIn can start working for you.