Social media is a lot more than what meets the eye.
Social media is the only thing that’s keeping everyone connected in the era of social distancing and country-wide lockdowns. When it comes to brand building, platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more offer a ton of value to businesses of all shapes and sizes. It’s hard to debate this fact when you look at the stats. There are roughly 4.5 billion internet users worldwide, of which 3.8 billion are social media users.
Brand awareness happens to be one of the critical objectives for small-to-medium-sized businesses, and social media is one of the easiest and most accessible solutions. By building a strong brand on social media, companies can reach and influence a large audience. So, how do you build a brand on social media? It starts with knowing what to do before starting your business, which includes understanding the basics and then applying some tips and tricks to build and enhance your brand online.
Simply put, a brand is how your users perceive your business and your products/services. It’s not your website or your logo (although they play a crucial role in building a brand). As an entrepreneur, your goal is to build a user perception of your brand. Whether you actively market your brand or not, this perception exists. The core of the brand building is to shape and influence how people feel about your business.
Brand identity is the face of your business. How your brand looks (visually), its values, ideas, and personality--all this is represented through your brand identity. This is how customers identify you; it builds customer loyalty and makes your team feel proud of being a part of the organization. A beautifully designed brand identity doesn’t just support your brand; it elevates it. From your logo to your website to your social presence, a well-designed visual identity immediately communicates who you are, what you stand for, and why your customers should care about you.
On the contrary, a weak brand identity can impede your brand experience. Most businesses assume that by just having a logo, a colour scheme, and a brand book, they’ve done what’s necessary to build a brand identity. But if your visual identity isn’t well-thought-out and consistent across all your communication, it reflects poorly on your brand and fails to tell a cohesive brand story. This restricts you from building a meaningful connection with the people you’re trying to reach.
When looking at brand identity examples, a few brands have artfully used their brand identity to engage and entice their audience for decades. For example, Coca-Cola was created way back in 1886, and while the brand has updated its identity over the years, it has retained its core characteristics that started 133 years ago. This includes the brand’s signature bright red and white colours instantly recognizable, paired with Coca-Cola’s widely identifiable typeface.
To start a business and build a brand on social media, you need to get your foundation right, which includes the following:
How do you expect your users to recognize that you upload an infographic or a particular video is created by you? Or it’s your brand that shares those regular funny and witty updates? You can’t share your business name in every form of social communication. Your logo does this promotion for you silently but effectively. A good, well-designed logo tells your audience how professional you are. For example, you could create an infographic and put a long link to your business website at the end of it in a tiny font.
How many people do you think will notice or pay attention to that? But if you put a professional logo, it comes into notice, and people know who has posted the infographic. Your logo gives a face to your business, and it can be a powerful tool to build a strong brand on social media.
The brand message refers to your brand’s core value proposition and the kind of language you use to convey that. For example, you could be witty, snarky, friendly, or formal in your tone. This is what makes a certain segment of the audience relate to your brand by motivating them, inspiring them, and ultimately convincing them to buy your product.
Through social media, you can reach that segment of your audience in real-time. And by regularly engaging and communicating with them, you can get their attention and convey your brand message.
Brand voice is that unique personality that your brand portrays in its communication. For example, imagine you’re at a cocktail party, and one of the guests stand out because they’re funny but in a distinct way. The way they say something, the kind of words they use, and their personality all combined gives you a whole different experience when talking to them. When you’re re-telling that joke to someone, you immediately think of them.
Having a clear brand voice and communicating clearly in your social posts can help you build a strong social media brand.
Would you turn away from a good story? Human beings love stories, and storytelling is central to human existence. Telling someone a compelling story that your users can personally relate to can have a powerful effect on getting them on board. When they feel like they’re part of that story and they have a role to play in it, they’ll be more inclined to engage with you.
For example, TOMS does a beautiful job on its Facebook page where they share their products and highlight the story and the role you can play in it to feel engaged with the brand.
Each social media is distinct from each other. At its core, all the platforms facilitate better connection and help friends and family stay in touch; the way these platforms operate is very different from each other.
Once you know your brand story, you need to break it down into small, easy to consume social media posts. While on Twitter, you can be word-heavy, on Instagram, you’ll have to tell this story through pictures. But on Facebook, you can do a bit of both.
By understanding the platform, its audience, and how that audience reacts to your content, you can share your story and engage with them. However, the key to building a strong brand on social media is to stay consistent. You can’t post once a week or once every few days and expect your users to engage with you.
While you’re telling your story, make sure that you’re actively conversing. Focus on building a two-sided relationship with your users by interacting and by genuinely caring. Avoid using your social platforms to plug in your products.
Cash in on active trends and have a conversation maintaining your brand voice and personality. For your business to grow, your customers need to connect with your brand and your values.
Talking to a robot is no fun. So, ditch the corporate talk and speak with your customers on a human level. Keep a more conversational approach. Please don’t be shy to use colloquial dialogue and talk to your users using their first-name. If your brand was a person, how would they react to a situation?
Would they say, “we apologize for your inconvenience.” Or would they say, “I’m so sorry you had to go through that, Jill. Please DM me what happened, and we’ll try to find a solution for you immediately.” Talking like a human being with a personality will make your brand more relatable. And if you do it well, it may even go viral.
Social media can be a fantastic tool to build your brand and enhance your online presence. However, as more brands jump on the bandwagon, the noise increases and competition gets more challenging. Avoid using social media just as a branding tool and truly stand out and keep customers engaged and interested.
Do your homework before starting your business so that you know what you’re building. Then take small steps such as getting a domain name and designing a logo. Slowly, you’ll make your foundation, which will help you create a compelling brand on social media.