How to leverage your social media as branding tool
Branding is an essential component of any business that wants to find its feet in the competitive environment of modern markets for just about any product or service.
With the advent of social media, there was a drastic change in the best practices and scope of the activities for the purposes of branding – it is now so much more than simply slapping a logo on your merchandise and calling it a day.
Today’s branding is inherently social in the sense that it also involves the way businesses talk to their audience across all of their communication channels.
Social media, being the fastest growing business-to-customer touchpoint, is a fantastic (and cost-effective) branding tool.
In this post, we will discuss 6 strategies to get your started with social media branding.
1. Keep your branding consistent across platforms
The first step in establishing your brand on social media is to make sure that you have the same handle and consistent visual branding across all your social profiles. Since visual elements are the most in-your-face component of branding, it’s the easiest way to show that all of your accounts belong to the same larger family.
In this example, Evian uses the same profile picture and the cover image on both their Facebook and Twitter profiles. However, it is by no means necessary to have the same branding imagery on all your platforms. Sometimes, different audiences will reside on different networks, and you may want to adapt your visual branding accordingly.
2. Brand your content
Once you’ve established consistent visual branding across all of your social profiles, it’s time to take it a bit further and establish branding consistency over your content too. To this end, you would want to first decide on the visual elements (color palettes, typefaces, animations) and their uses in a visual style guide, and then use it when creating your content.
If you’ve ever seen a themed Instagram feed and wondered how it looks so well put together, that’s because it has all been planned out in a visual style guide. For example, check out this designer’s Instagram feed. It has clearly been planned out in advance as evident from the consistent use of the same color combinations across all of her posts.
Overtime, consistency will get your brand followers to gradually recognize your content without checking your handle or seeing your logo. This is huge for brand recognition, the first stepping stone to brand awareness – one of the most challenging aspects of branding for marketers!
3. Find your brand’s tone of voice
After visuals, the next step in social media branding is to establish your brand’s style of communication – your brand voice. Your brand voice is the way you talk to your target audience, and it can have any style, as long as it embodies your brand values and communicates your personality.
Start by choosing several descriptive adjectives that reflect your brand identity. These should be words that refer to a personality trait or a disposition such as passionate, reliable, serious, snarky or sarcastic. These descriptors will inform the tone of all the content you publish.
Once you have an idea of your brand’s tone of voice, illustrate how it would manifest more concretely in your communications with a brand voice chart. This will be your team’s reference guide to ensure that they are addressing your audience using the same voice.
4. Segment your audience into specific marketing personas
Segmenting your audience into marketing personas is a fantastic way to develop a more customer-centered branding. To this end, consider developing a distinct marketing persona for each social channel you will be using.
For example, your Facebook account could target mature 35-65 year olds (being the largest Twitter age demographic), while your Snapchat and TikTok – teenagers (since these platforms are most popular amongst the younger generation). Segmenting your customer base into network-specific marketing personas can help you tailor your content ideas and maybe even adapt your tone of voice.
5. Develop your brand awareness strategies.
Once you’ve established your brand voice and got your visual branding strategy underway, the next step is to develop strategies to help you develop your brand awareness and really hone in on what your business is all about. Here are some ideas to get your started.
- Create a brand hashtag and promote it on Instagram and Twitter. This can go a long way at creating your brand ambassadors who will help you grow your brand awareness through user-generated content. For most impact, your brand hashtag should be short, memorable and in alignment with your brand voice.
- Running contests is a fantastic way to get brand exposure and a massive amount of engagement you wouldn’t get with regular posts. For example, you could run a classic brand awareness tag-to-win contest whereby you give your followers an opportunity to win a prize if they tag their friend in the comments section of your post. For more contest ideas, check out this post by Neil Patel https://neilpatel.com/blog/best-instagram-contest-ideas/
- Influencer marketing means leveraging the legions of followers and trusted voice of influencers to create a buzz around your brand. There are many ways to use influencers to build brand awareness. The key is to select an influencer that upholds your brand values and whose audience resembles your target customer the most.
6. Measure the impact of your branding efforts
Since branding is qualitative in nature, it can be difficult to gauge its impact through conventional methods used to assess other social media marketing efforts such as those geared towards improving reach and growing engagement. However, you can still gauge its effect through techniques such as social listening and brand perception surveys to find out how they perceive your brand and whether it is what you are aiming for.
Establishing your brand on social media does not happen overnight. The most popular brands – the likes of Dyson and McDonalds – have become that way because they’ve invested many years (and considerable sums) into building a brand around their business. Follow the strategies in this post, stay consistent and you will slowly but surely see your business become a recognized and trusted brand.