So many companies treat social media like a free-for-all, and they just scatter their efforts and hope that something sticks.
Yet social media marketing requires the same research and strategizing that your other marketing efforts do. A key part of that is establishing your brand to create awareness and encourage customer loyalty.
Here are a few keys to successful social branding:
Have the Same Visual Identity
You don’t have as much control over how your page appears on social media as you do for your own website. Basically, you fill in the information, and the site uses the same template for your profile as it does everyone else’s on the site.
However, there are enough elements that you can control that you can create a consistent visual identity to help followers recognize your brand.
For example, on Facebook, Twitter and some other sites, you can choose a profile photo and a cover photo. You can use your logo here and choose other photos that represent your brand values or lifestyle. You can also create a branded banner image.
When you have the option to use HTML on your page in any way, such as through widgets, you can take more control and use your brand colors and fonts (where possible). Otherwise, you can get more of your visual identity onto the page by sharing photos, graphics and videos that reflect it.
Be on the Right Networks
Not every brand needs to be on every social network. In fact, in some cases, it could hurt your brand identity to be on a particular network.
For example, if you operate a wealth management brand for millionaires, you might not want to be on Pinterest or Snapchat. However, you could do very well on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.
There are no hard-and-fast rules about what brands should be on what networks. You just need to think carefully about what audience is on each network and how your presence on a specific network contributes to or detracts from the brand image you are trying to create.
Be Consistent and Honest
Many brands try to stand out on social media by being quirky and different. The chatter on these networks can be so loud that they feel it is their only option for rising above it.
Unfortunately, people can see through these gimmicks easily, and they won’t be swayed by them. And if these strategies aren’t true to your brand identity then they are also hurting you.
You need to be genuine in your social marketing and use your authentic voice. Don’t rely on gimmicks, and don’t follow trends. Share useful information from an honest place of wanting to help your audience.
Over time, your audience will respond to that consistency and will know what to expect from you. That will earn their trust and establish you as the authority that you are.
Everything that you share, every post that you make, and every like that click tells your followers who you are and what you value. You need to think carefully about what you are telling them with your behavior on social media.
Thinking of sharing a cute cat video on a Friday afternoon? That might be fine if you only do it once in a while, but if you’re a serious consulting company, you will end up hurting your image if you are sharing cat videos every other day.
That example might be obvious, but you might be surprised at what other ways you are undermining your social brand identity with what you post.
It is important for you to create a content plan for your social media just as you do for your blog. Analyze everything that you have posted and everything that you intend to post to make sure it consistently reflects what your brand represents.
Get People Talking and Sharing
Not everyone is going to come to your page. If you want to establish your branding, you have to get people talking about your content and sharing it so that others learn more about your brand, as well.
Even if people are liking or commenting on your content on your page, that activity will show up in the streams of other users, so they will learn about your brand. If people share your content or mention your brand all their own pages, you’ll get even more visibility.
You can encourage this activity by offering content that encourages user engagement, such as liking, commenting, favoriting, and sharing. Ask questions about your content. Share provocative opinions. Tell compelling stories.
The more you can do to engage your users, the more likely they will be to respond to your content, which will improve its visibility.
Social branding is just as important as your other online branding. Make sure you are following these tips to establish a consistent brand identity on social media.