Social Media Branding For Beginners: 5 Easy Steps To Get You Going
Social media branding is considered new when compared to traditional media. Although it’s new, it is extremely important.
Social media brings many opportunities to every company. It makes connecting with your target audiences easy and instant. Almost too easy.
How do you know if your social media messages are consistent with your branding? Is there a way to know or is it just a “cross your fingers and hope it works” type of situation? This post will answer those questions and help you get a better understanding of social media branding and how to go about integrating it with your brand.
Know Your Brand Voice
Before you even start the process of worrying about social media branding, you need to know your brand voice.
Brand voice is the quality of the brand’s presence in the marketplace. It’s how the brand communicates its purpose, values, mission, reputation, and experiences. When working with social media, it’s important to use brand voice. Why?
1. It helps keep you consistent.
Using your the same voice in all your communication with customers helps build trust with your audience. When you build trust with your audience, they’ll go to you first and recommend you.
This may prevent you from jumping on the bandwagon with the latest trends, but it will help keep your brand consistent. (Which is important because it builds trust, remember?)
2. It helps you stay on track.
Think about how your customers will receive your blogs, websites, social media and other content. Social media makes it extremely easy to get off track with your branding. Use your brand voice as a guide to help you to stay on track.
Using your brand voice will help your brand stay on track when trying something new, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. One of my favorite examples of using brand voice to try something new is DiGiorno Pizza. Their Twitter account is personable and quirky. They are able to use their brand voice and interact with trending hashtags and topics.
a tie is like the opposite of pizza #PortugalvsUSA
— DiGiorno Pizza (@DiGiornoPizza) June 22, 2014
They got involved with the World Cup.
— DiGiorno Pizza (@DiGiornoPizza) June 23, 2014
They used their brand voice to tweet during ABC’s new competition singing show Rising Star.
— DiGiorno Pizza (@DiGiornoPizza) June 24, 2014
They even use their brand voice when getting in on the action with WWE Monday Night RAW.
By using their brand voice, DiGiorno Pizza is able to engage with their target audiences.
3. It shows you are human.
Brand voice reflects on the humans behind the brand. It shows what the people behind the brand are passionate about bringing into this world and what they are contributing to it. By doing this, your brand voice helps set you apart from the competitors. It’s what makes you different.
What’s the difference between you and the other guys. Why should people choose you over your competition? What makes Walmart different than Target? McDonalds vs. Burger King?
Help your brand be something and create a brand voice. Think about your brand’s values. What makes your brand stand out from the competition? What’s your brand’s personality?
Building Your Social Media Brand
Once you have your brand voice, you shouldn’t just start posting anything to your social media. There are a few key factors to consider.
1. Create A Strategy
First, you have to create a social media strategy.
Creating a strategy for your social media platforms is another way to use your brand voice and stay on track. This will help keep you consistent and your audience will know what to expect from you.
- Choose the right platforms. Know your target audience and pick the platforms they are on. There is no use being on Twitter if your target audience is over the age of 60. That would be a Facebook audience. Pinterest has mainly female users, not males. If your brand isn’t visual, Instagram probably isn’t the best platform for you to be on. Just because a social network exists doesn’t mean your brand needs to have an account.
- Know all about the platform. Know how to use the social networks you choose. Do some research. You wouldn’t write a blog post with out knowing what you are talking about, so don’t engage on social media platforms that you don’t know how to use.
- Know the best timing. Understand when your audience uses the platform you’ve chosen, and post at the best times, when you know they’ll be reading.
- Create a social media campaign. A social media campaign is basically a game plan or outline. When you create the plan, decide what type of content you will be posting (will it be on or off topic, trivia, inspirational quotes), how often you’ll post, and so on.
- Make decisions about ads. Decide if you will use paid ads to help your social media content be seen by more people. Perhaps you’ll use promoted tweets on Twitter, or ads on Facebook.
2. Create Your Content
There are a few important guidelines to consider when creating your social media content.
- Content must grab attention. Does your content stand out from the crowd? It’s more likely to be shared which exposes your brand to wider audiences.
- Content should be personal. Users share content that is more personal, so it’s important to get the right mix. Try to avoid promotional content, and use the 70-30 rule: 30% promotional, 70% personal. Personal posts might be fun facts, photos, inspirational quotes–anything but promoting you and your business/blog. Make sure your content is useful; useful content is the sign of a trustworthy curator.
- Content should be consistent. People like a familiar and comforting pattern. Be consistent with when you publish, and what you publish. Does it fit in your niche? Does it fit with what you’ve shared before?
3. Plan For Mobile
Make sure your content looks as good on mobile devices as it does on a computer screen. Most social networks adjust your content to fit their mobile apps, but having a responsive website that adjusts to any screen size is still important. When your fans click on your social media content, the link should take them somewhere mobile friendly.
This post has some great statistics about mobile marketing statistics. What’s interesting to note is that more than half of consumers hop between using their desktop and mobile devices, meaning it is important to create a similar experience on all devices. Additionally, consumers are using their devices at specific times of the day. Tablets are popular in the evening, while desktops are popular during the day (while at work).
4. Be Active About Engagement
How do you get engagement to happen?
You might start by getting influencers and other bloggers involved. Bloggers are often the highest influencers, so partnering your brand with bloggers that reflect your brand would be a good match for both of you.
You could promote your content through the careful use of contests. If done well, once you have a fair number of fans and activity starting to build, contests and giveaways can increase your exposure. By retweeting, commenting, sharing (or any engagement with the brand), your fans can be rewarded with a discount, or have a chance to win a prize. Whatever you choose, make it a good reward. It has to be something your audience actually wants, or your contest will bomb.
5. Take Visual Branding Seriously
Visual branding is an important part of the package, and it ought to be consistent across all platforms, sites, and promotional materials. Why does it matter if your brand has the same look across different networks and platforms?
Using too many different fonts, elements, visuals, and stock photography can hurt your brand because it will confuse your audience. People like consistency. On the CoSchedule blog, we stopped using stock photography and went with custom graphics. We have standard fonts that we use for graphic headers. While our readers might not recognize or be able to name the fonts, they quickly become familiar with the look and expect to see it.
By having a visual presence you are increasing the likelihood people will look at your content, and be more likely to engage (the ultimate goal.) Did you know that 90% of the information your brain receives is visual? Your brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text. By putting a video on your landing page, you can increase conversions by 86%. What this means is that visuals make things happen, and you need to use them.
You need visuals. They need to be consistent.
Measure Your Results
It’s important to measure your social media campaigns. Is your social media branding working? Do you need to change direction? Are people engaging with your posts? Who’s seeing your posts? What could be done better?
By measuring your social media campaign, you’ll understand what you’re doing (and not doing). You’ll be aware of what works for your brand and what doesn’t. It’s important to measure the right things. How do you do that?
There are some great social media analytic sites that will help you determine which posts are successful and which are not. CoSchedule recently released a new Social Sharing Analytics tool that will help determine how often your blog posts are being shared. Even Google Analytics can help you with social measurements in some of their social reports.
The Biggest Measuring Mistake
Sometimes the mistake we make isn’t that we aren’t measuring, but that we aren’t measuring what matters.
I would encourage you to read the book Measure What Matters by Katie Paine. This book is great for learning what to measure, how to measure, and why you should measure. It focuses on building and maintaining relationships, and starts out with helpful advice right in Chapter 1.
What is it that so many people consider to be most important, but really is the least important? It’s your Fans/Followers.
The amount of followers you have means nothing. Facebook decides who sees what in their news feeds. Even if people “like” and interact with your page, Facebook still has the control to prevent your fans from seeing your posts. Twitter’s news feed is real time and moves quickly. If your followers aren’t on Twitter 24/7, it’s likely they will miss your content.
What does matter is the engagement of your audience.
A brand with 300 followers and a high percentage of engagement is doing a much better job of social media than a brand with 3,000 followers and a low percentage of engagement. This basically means a small business can compete with a large businesses and be even better at social media than them.
Hopefully, you now see why social media branding is so important. It keeps your brand voice alive and consistent and it builds trust with your audience. Don’t be afraid of social media. Embrace it.