Branding is a powerful marketing tool that defines how your target audience will perceive your company, products or services. It creates a mental image of what you are offering, which ultimately affects your customer’s buying behavior and their interactions with your business.
A quick question: what comes to your mind when you see a fantastic Mercedes cursing the streets? Luxury! Right? Similarly, don’t you instantly crave freshly brewed coffee on seeing that Starbucks logo? Branding creates credibility for your brand and induces loyalty among your customers, which makes it a strong asset for any business.
On the other hand, having a great social media web presence today has become an indispensable part of every big or small business’s marketing strategy. Being the most easy-to-use and cost-effective way to advertise, it is rapidly transforming the way businesses attract, engage and communicate with their audience. Whether it is LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, neither one of these are considered any less important than other.
Now bring branding and social media together, and you will have the perfect recipe to develop a winning marketing strategy. In this post,we will be sharing the best ways to create an effective social media branding strategy from scratch. Read on till the end to make sure you don’t miss a thing.
Choose the Relevant Social Networks
The smorgasbord of social media channels continues to evolve at a fast pace. As such, businesses can have a hard time juggling between the plethora of options without gaining any traction.Before you even plan on creating a social media marketing strategy for your business, you must determine which platform will be most effective for your business.
Photo Credit: HTSABO
For instance, if you are from the fashion industry, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook, all three will be equally beneficial for you business. On the hand, if you are a steel manufacturer, these three social media platforms will just be a waste of time, while LinkedIn could help you connect with the right audience. So start by choosing the right social media platform.
1. Define your goals
Having a clear idea of the expected results ensures that your efforts reach its potential. Define whether you’ll be using social media for driving traffic and increasing conversion or enhancing engagement with the audience and improving customer service. Depending on your individual goals you can determine your marketing strategy and best channels to achieve them.
2. Find where your customers are
Spending time on a certain social media platform will be useless if your target if your target audience isn’t there. Identify your targeted demographics and find out the channels where they spend most of their time. Remember, social media activity varies according to age, profession, location, etc. Make sure you include these factors in your research.
3.B2B or B2C?
The right social media channel for your business will also depend on the marketing channel your business follows. LinkedIn is the most popular B2B social media platform, while Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are the most effective platforms for B2C marketing.
Research your Target Audience
To clarify the second point above – “Find where your customers are”, here’s a breakdown on how you can identify your target audience on social media.
4.Start with the Demographics
The best place to start is defining the most obvious characteristics of the consumers who will most likely buy your products and service. To define the demographics accurately ask the following questions:
- Cost: Which group of consumers can easily afford your products and services?
- Gender: Is it for men or women? Also think of the age group you are planning to target, along with their marital and family status so that you can determine who influences the purchasing decisions.
- Location: Is your target audience local to you or in the neighboring town or perhaps across the border?
Other things to consider are if you have a physical storefront or just an online store; and if your products are targeted towards a certain ethnicity or are simply neutral.
5.Define the Psychographics
After putting pen to paper on basic information, it’s time to dig deep and what makes them tick? This will include their likes and dislikes; their lifestyle and values along with how your products and services fit into their lifestyle; what features of your product is most liked by your audience, their habits and more. Asking these questions will help you determine their buying processes and create better sales copy that connects you with your consumers.
Create an Attractive Profile
The primary factor for consumers that drives purchases is trust and confidence. Once you’ve established the credibility for your name in the market, people will automatically find value in your offerings. The right social media profile can help build this influence
6. Profile picture
Start with choosing a professional profile picture that can be used across all your selected social media channels.
7.Update the Bio/Profile Info
For building a strong brand image, it’s important to let people know who you are and what you do. Therefore, it’s important to treat the profile info or bio section as an elevator pitch that describes what your business does in the most effective manner.
8.Strive for Consistency
What is your impression of a company with different profile pictures and descriptions on different social media platforms? Let’s just say it doesn’t give that recognizable appeal to a brand that helps customers instantly click. Having a consistent image across all channels is important to build the overall outlook for your brand and drive engagement.
Give a Personality and Voice to Your Brand
Once you’ve created your profile on the best social media channel for your business, the next challenge is how to get people to connect and engage with you in an effective manner. After all, people want to connect with other people on social media and not a brand or logo. As such, humanizing your brand and creating a magnetic persona is the best way to build a social media presence your audience resonates to.
9. Have a Vision
If you don’t know what you want to be known for on social media, how are your potential followers suppose to perceive you either? Get to know your brand and determine what you want your brand to be on social media before trying to establish its personality. Keep your target audience in focus while defining the strategy.
10. Develop a Brand Voice
Whether you like to keep your brand voice funny, casual, witty, personal and conversational or you want to go with a formal and professional tone; all work well on social media. But make sure that your brand voice embodies your brand values in all your communications across social networks.
11. Be Authentic
Whatever your brand voice develops into, make sure it is authentic to your business. This day and age, social media users crave authenticity. They are smart and can easily differentiate between who is actually trying to connect with them and who is simply trying to push sales. Therefore, an effective social media marketing strategy is the one that focuses on building a relationship with the target audience.
Develop a Posting Strategy and Schedule
You can have the best social media marketing strategy, but all your efforts will go in vain if you are posting irregularly. Inconsistency on social media can kill all your branding efforts, therefore having a posting strategy and schedule is just as important as being on social media. It’s a simple equation:
Amazing content + perfect timing + ideal frequency = enhanced engagement!
12. Amazing Content
Social media is the most powerful platform for directly engaging with your target audience. But at the same time, it is highly saturated with almost every big or small business trying to take its advantage that sometimes it can be difficult to cleave through the noise and stand out. The content you post on your social media platforms will give you the power to build a loyal follower base and enhance engagement.
13. Perfect Timing
You can have the most contagious content, but what good is it if your target audience doesn’t even see it. Your posts will be buried deep down in your follower’s feed unless you schedule them at the perfect timing when your audience is most active. Software like sprouts offers great social media analytics and publishing tools that enable you to schedule your post at the time when your followers are most active so that it gathers maximum reach.
14. Ideal Frequency
Now let’s talk about the third ingredient of a winning posting strategy- ideal frequency. How are you supposed to maximize social media ROI of your posts when you are just posting once a day. Both the perfect timing for posting and ideal frequency will depend on your target audience’s behavior on social media. Consider that while developing the right posting strategy for your social media.
Create Engaging Content
We’ve already spoken about the power of content in your social media branding strategy. Now, let’s see how you can leverage it to yield you the best returns.
15. Invest in some keyword research
Make keyword research a part of your content strategy to really hone your content and get it to catch the eyes of your current and potential followers. Software like Hootsuite and Serpstat have great social researching tools that can help you search social media platforms and see in which context your core terms usually appear. You can gather loads of information using these tools and use it as inspiration for developing content.
16. Create shareable content
Since you are trying to connect with humans on social media, creating emotive content that speaks to their hearts is the best way to engage with your target audience. Content that is funny, moving, cute, inspiring, shocking, illuminating or even controversial is more likely to get shared and go viral instead of posts that focus on marketing or selling. An effective social media marketing strategy ensures that its content speaks to its target audience’s psychology and connects with them.
17. Pay Attention to Visuals
Science says when people hear information, they only remember 10% of it three days later however, if the same information is paired with relevant images, people retain 65% of it three days later. Visuals play a vital role when it comes to social media branding and 74% of social media marketers are using the same to engage with their customers.
Automate the Processes
When it comes to social media branding, managing the accounts, between updating the profile, responding to the customers and creating shareable content for your target audience, it becomes a full-time job. As such, a business can definitely save a lot of time by automating the processes and lighten their load of social media maintenance.
18. Assign tools and apps
Automation software and apps like Hootsuite, Buffer, Social Flow, Social Oomph, Sprout Social, etc. are the easiest way to automate your social media accounts. Each tool offers a wealth of unique features that enable you to schedule the posts in advance and monitor their reach. Find the one that works best for you and socialize.
19. Sync your blog
If you have a blog on your website, why not share it with your followers on social media. All you need to do is add simple social media sharing buttons and plugins on your page and it will automatically post your blogs on social media.
Using social media platforms only to post content and create a web presence is like talking to yourself. To make your brand known to people on social media, you will need to engage and interact with other users.
Driving engagement on social media platforms can be as easy as responding to a tweet or commenting on Facebook and Instagram posts. Apart from letting your followers know that you are there for them, it will also enable you to offer better customer service.
21. Encourage discussions
How about asking your followers some witty questions that are bound to trigger a response and inspire engagement? Create posts that are intriguing and are likely to get plenty of responses from your fans. Encouraging discussions can be a great way to get to know your audience better and also to resolve any queries and apprehensions your customers might have regarding the product or services that your offer.
22. Encourage User-Generated Content
User-generated content is one of the most excellent ways to drive engagement and get people talking about your brand. Take inspiration from Lays who launched a “Do us a Flavor” campaign and invited people to invent their own flavors. The brand also offered an extremely alluring prize for the winning flavor. The engagement was taken up a notch by asking customers to vote for the winner on Facebook and Twitter.
23. Connect With a Social Cause
Embracing a social cause and promoting it on your social media networks can make you a socially aware and sensible brand. Followers are more likely to engage with socially responsible content.
24. Have contests
Did we tell you the massive participation Lays’ contest on “Do us a Flavor” gathered? A whopping 3.8 million submissions to be exact. Contests, if done right can take your brand engagement to the next level.
25. Leverage Communities
Communities offer the strength of numbers when it comes to promoting your pages to more and more social media users. Join and become an engaging member of a relevant community that also hosts a large number of your target audience. This will help you get in the eyes of potential followers and increase brand awareness.
26. Maximize your Brand Influencers
Taking help of influencers is a great way to amplify your social media branding efforts. Influencers allow you to reach your target audience through their already established follower base. Find an active, authentic, engaging and expert influencer in your niche and get them to promote your business.
27. Paid Promotion
Paid social is becoming more and more mainstream these days. The concept focuses on paid promotion of your content in the news feed of social media users and gets guaranteed visibility from the relevant audience.
Track and Monitor your efforts
You might begin your social media campaigns with grandeur ideas with a vision to skyrocket your brand awareness and sales. If only, social media marketing was that simple! Unfortunately, the success of your efforts not only depends on a solid strategy but constant monitoring and tracking of its implementation as well.
28. Use Social Media Monitoring Tools
Most of the tools that are used to automate social media campaigns also allow users to monitor the results, track conversations as they happen and know when people are talking about your brand. You can leverage tracking tools and monitor the engagement levels from your posts. These tools also have the option to optimize alerts. Creating automated alerts will notify you when anything different from normal happens, which can be used to improve results.
29. What to look out for?
Social media tracking tools offer loads of information. To gather maximum benefit from that information, you must know what data is most useful for improving your social media marketing plan. We recommend you look out for the following:
- First-touch analytics: This tells you exactly how much traffic your social media campaigns are driving.
- Content Analysis: It will help you determine what type of content is generating most buzz amongst your followers.
- Timing analysis: Know what day and time of posting in social media gets you the best results.
- Multichannel analysis: This will tell you which channel is getting maximum leads and which platform needs improvising.
30. Spy on your competitors
Knowing what your competitors are up to is important to gain an extra edge over them. Your social media marketing strategy should be sneaky enough to gather intel on your competitors and evaluate their efforts. This way you can set new business goals to beat your closest competitors.
There is always a possibility to improve your marketing efforts and get better results. Monitoring your social media activities offers sufficient insights that can be leveraged to improvise your social media marketing plans. Here’s how you can make the most of it:
31. Garner Feedback
Your audience’s reaction to your marketing campaign, products or announcements, etc., is an invaluable feedback that can be used for the improvement of your products and services.
32. Negate harmful social buzz
Social media listening can be very effective tool for the brand’s reputation management. You can easily tailor your services and products according to the needs expressed by your customers on social media. You can also know if your brand is attracting negative media promptly and form strategies for damage control.
33. Improve your social media marketing strategy
In the end, it all boils down to implementing the strategy that yields the best results. Knowing what’s working and what is not can help you create a better approach and reach your maximum potential.