Social media is a beast of a free tool for every brand and business out there. The best part is, both large and small brands can benefit in similar ways. When you understand the formula, it's easy to see why social media is so crucial to building a brand and engaging relationships with your consumers. So when it comes to getting started with your social media plan, it's vital to understand the right methods of practice to get the most out of the platforms. Trust us, you won't regret it!
Let's look at some quick stats. In Australia alone a combined 30 million people used Facebook and Instagram a month. That's not including the various other platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube, Twitter and so on. That's a potential 15 million unique users you can reach a month. Mind boggling right?!
Also, a staggering 80% of consumers are more likely to evaluate solutions from the brand they already follow and engage with on their social channels (BopDesign).
Having a large reach of brand awareness that is also authentic and engaging is cited as the absolute top priority for marketers. Social media channels provide a free solution to this need and can be utilised so simply that there really is no excuse for a brand not to be taking charge of their channels.
So how do we utilise social media platforms for better brand strategy? Let's dive into this now.
Define Your Branding
Having a defined brand isn't just about your logo or name. Your brand is a reflection of how consumers perceive your product, services or even you as a person. The absolute goal of a well defined brand is to make sure the perception people have is the perception you want. Even if you don't bother with social media and defined branding, people will still draw their own conclusions to your brand so you may as well push them to have the correct conclusions.
So how do we begin to define our brand? Well, you need to assess what your goals are when it comes to your brand's identity. Some goals you might have are:
Far reaching awareness of your products or services
Higher customer loyalty
High perceived customer service
Sustainability or well perceived ethics
Equity and Equality in the workplace
And so on. You might align to some of the above examples or we may have left some out, either way, you need to begin defining what you want your brand to focus on.
Once you have you goals, you now need to define the brand itself. With the glorious age of the internet and easier access to technology, consumers are bombarded with 'brand stories' so you need to be the one that can cut through the audience's attention span. The best way to do this is to understand your ideal consumer or client - that will pave way to defining the brand.
Ask yourself the below questions:
What is my brand name?
Why did I choose that name?
What does my brand stand for?
What does my brand offer?
What makes my brand different to others?
Why is my brand helpful?
Who is my brand helpful for?
Who benefits the most from my brand?
What impact is my brand making on the world?
It's okay if you don't have the answer to all of these right now. Sometimes you'll need to figure out the answer to one question before you can answer the other. Take your time. Work through the brainstorm and get your brand so well-defined that answering these questions are a breeze.
Consistency Is The Key
It's not enough to simple be on every social media platform out there, you must be consistently posting, engaging and interacting with other profiles in order to make any meaningful progress.
In fact, you don't even need to be on every social media channel because your ideal audience isn't likely on every channel either. This is where your newly defined brand comes into play. If you know who you brand is helpful for, you should have a good idea of where they like to engage online.
For example, makeup and beauty brands tend to be more successful on Instagram and YouTube. Beauty consumers tend enjoy seeing people interact with products in a realistic and authentic manner, such as videos and Instagram stories. They also love the aesthetic layout of the IG grid. However, an accounting business wouldn't be as well suited to these platforms. They would do far better on LinkedIn and Facebook as they prioritise a more professional engagement.
Keep in mind that building a brand online doesn't happen overnight. It takes a lot of hands on dedication to build the viral growth you see with big brands. Apparently, it took Nike over 15 years by focusing on being consistent and active across every channel they were on - including their advertising and customer service.
You also need to be consistent with your graphics style, your colours and language. They need to match your branding kit but also work to engage your ideal audience and not be isolating. For example, our logo for Evie Studios is basically a squiggly paintbrush stroke with a blue gradient to purple colour. You'll notice on the social media channels we are on (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook & Instagram) that almost all of our images have purple or blue as a primary focus.
Keep your brand congruent so it pleases your audience's eye and looks interesting enough to follow and engage with.
Know Your Brand Voice
Similar to the above, not only does your imagery need to be congruent, your tone of voice and language needs to be too. Again, because you've defined your brand, you should have a solid idea of the type of voice you'll want to have on your channels. This is particularly determined by the demographics of your target audience.
Have a look at the below diagram - you need to select just few aspects from each box to create a well rounded formula for your brand's voice on social media.
Also don't forget that you tone of voice and style can change from platform to platform. For instance, you may choose to be more authoritative, jargon filled, direct and educative on LinkedIn compared to Twitter where you might be slightly more inspiring, simple, humble and informative.
Three aspects to always keep in mind are:
Tone - Make sure it is very clear to your followers how your brand communicates online and how it differs from each platform
Language - What kind of language can your audience expect? How will you respond to their comments and messages?
Purpose - Show your audience why you're on social media. What value will you provide your followers?
Keep this brand voice in mind at all times and never sway from it. Audiences will always reward your consistency.
Create value, not advertisements
The biggest mistake we see brands make on social media is constantly plugging their products or services. Audiences are bombarded with advertisements interrupting their feed all day on every platform. Facebook alone has 3 Million businesses advertising on their platform - that's a lot of ads!
So if your audience already sees hundreds of ads a day, why are you contributing to this? They will simply unfollow you. At Evie Studios, we post one 'advertisement' a week showing off a service we think our audience might find helpful. For example, check out the below post.
The ad is congruent with our language style, voice and colours. It's calming and interesting to look at even though it's a promotional post. Better yet, most of our followers have a keen interest in digital marketing or are small business owners. For them, having leads come in at 6cents a piece is actually a valuable proposition to their business. Furthermore, we post at minimum 9 times a week with valuable content, articles, inspo posts and culture pics - all which provide further value to our followers. So one promotional post isn't too invasive.
Along those same lines, focus on building a two-sided relationship with customers by actually engaging in their content as well. Don't just post a bunch and expect people to randomly follow, like, comment and share your stuff - no one wants to follow a brand unless it provides value to them. You can do that with your posts however at the end of the day, people want to be interacted with and what better way than to contribute to your audience's posts?
Moreover, try and bring your audience into the culture of your brand or workspace. Tell a story, get people enthralled and interested. Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn are all amazing platforms to tell stories on. Give a little history on your brand, why you made it. Show a day in your business' life or share the cute office dog you have. Just be a human, don't hide behind your product or service.
This is of course just a simple overview of what it takes to get started on social media but getting started is vital for your business' digital journey. Define your brand and start engaging with you ideal audience today - you won't regret it!
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