If you don’t have a social media presence yet for your company, you’re missing out on a massive opportunity to reach your audience and build your brand. For companies that do use social media, the number one goal is to grow awareness. Or, in other words, branding.
Even if you do have a social media presence, coming up with interesting posts consistently that also resonate with your audience is a grueling process especially for small businesses. More often than not, people tend to put in minimal effort into their profiles. As you might expect, they get minimal returns. However, when done properly, social media branding makes it easy to reach your audience and guide them through your sales funnel as you’re gaining their trust.
Whether you’re just getting started or want to put more effort into your social media presence, your question is probably the same, “How do I brand my company on social media?”
Create a Voice and Remain Consistent Across Channels
Hopefully, you already have a good idea of your brand and your audience. You don’t want to use formal, corporate talk if your audience are teenagers. In order to actually reach and communicate properly with your audience, you need your brand to reflect not only your values but your potential customers. This might take some time to pin down, but it’s worth the effort.
Wendy’s is a great example. There’s been some recent studies that suggest young adults are veering away from fast food and eating more at fast-casual joints like Chipotle and Five Guys. In an effort to reconnect with the younger audience, Wendy’s adopted a younger, sassier voice that dished out one-liners against their competition while touting things like fresh patties and so on. While their social media presence might not directly translate to more customers in-house it does lead to building a more loyal following and showcases their unique brand voice.
Although you don’t need to follow Wendy’s exact formula, finding a unique voice for your brand is important as it will help you stand out from the crowd. Once you’ve found your voice, make sure to keep in consistent across the various platforms. Around 60 percent of US millennials expect a consistent experience when dealing with brands online, in-store or by phone. Consistency isn’t just about your brand voice, it’s also about how you present yourself from your fonts, to the colors you use and down to your layout and logo. Once you have a consistent image, people will recognize you regardless of how they find you.
Automate, but Humanize
If you’re running your business and trying to manage your social media presence, tools like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are a godsend. All you need to do is find interesting, third-party articles related to brand and schedule a date and time to post. From there, the engagements should flow, right?
Well, not quite. While automating and batching repetitive tasks certainly frees up a lot of time, it also makes you look robotic, especially if you’re only posting at the same times every day.
If you want your brand to take advantage of social media, you can’t just push out content. You need to actually interact with your audience and talk to them like a person and not a number. Think of it like this. When you meet someone new for the first time you don’t immediately dive into a sales pitch or brag to them how amazing you are. Instead, you have a conversation where you get to know each other by sharing interests, asking questions and contributing to the conversation.
What many companies forget is that social media is basically an extension of an offline conversation. It’s a two-way street and one where you should interact with your audience. Things like asking for feedback and encouraging conversation is relatively easy, but you can and should go a step further by:
- Engaging in conversations on other people’s post. You need to do more than simply but in two word responses though. When interacting with other people, make sure you’re adding value to a conversation by providing some valuable information or answering a question.
- Showing some behind the scenes images of your company. This helps put a human element to a brand, which leads to a much deeper connection. You should especially highlight acts of service you’ve done for the community as 63 percent of consumers want a business to take the lead on social and environmental change.
- Hosting live videos/feeds on Instagram or Facebook where the audience can ask questions from you. Again, this puts a human face to a name and also gives people the opportunity to interact directly with you.
- Replying to all comments or tags, even the negative ones. While you can delete troll-ish comments that don’t add anything to the conversation, make sure to respond to critical, but useful comments. People love to be recognized and feel like companies are listening.
That doesn’t mean you can’t automate some aspects. Just make sure that you’re still live responding and posting in addition to automating some posts.
Choose Your Network
There are several different social media platforms with new ones popping up every week. It might be tempting to jump on every option, but not all of them will be a right fit for your company. More importantly, you likely won’t have the time to manage all of your profiles on every single platform. Rather, you should focus on networks your target audience is most active on. For example, B2B companies should focus on LinkedIn while teen clothing companies should post on Tumblr or Instagram. When choosing your platform(s), take the following factors into consideration:
- Facebook still remains the best platform for brand awareness as they have over 1 billion active monthly users. It also has some of the best ad targeting options so you can really drill down to find your exact audience.
- Instagram is great if your company relies heavily on images such as clothing stores, restaurants, or other retailers. It’s also effective at reaching young adults.
- Pinterest is a great network if your target is primarily women in their 30s and 40s. As another visual platform, it works best for retailers, restaurants and travel. The companies that do best on Pinterest use their boards to inspire their audience.
- LinkedIn is the largest professional social platform on the web and is perfect if you’re a B2B company or for promoting business-related content.
- Twitter still remains one of the best ways to interact with people on a more “casual” basis as the platform is meant to act as more like a micro blog. It’s also great if you’re targeting younger men.
Provide valuable and shareable content
You’ll create a much stronger brand reputation if you focus on providing content that your audience will want to share. Yes, there are multiple guides that tell you the ideal posting frequency, but if you don’t think you can offer high quality content every day, it’s okay to drop your posting schedule down to 3 times a week. When crafting your content, keep the following in mind:
- Make sure every piece of content supports your brand image. Memes might get you some hits initially, but if it doesn’t make sense for your company, avoid it.
- Do some research and find out what types of content will gain the most visibility in your network. Images might work better than blog posts and vice versa depending on your audience.
- Keep your feed clean. Only post and share things that relate somehow to your brand or business. Yes, the internet loves cats, but unrelated posts can dilute your timeline. Streamline your efforts and stick to a few topics that make sense.
- Mix in visual content. Don’t be afraid to use images or videos if you think they can provide a better overall story than simple words. After all, studies suggest people retain information 65 percent better when a relevant image is paired with text.
You don’t have to post every day, but you should keep a regular schedule. If you tweet once every few days or upload one new Instagram picture a month, people will forget about you. That doesn’t mean you should post multiple times a day.
How often you post will depend on the platform and your audience. For example, it’s okay to post 12+ times a day on Twitter, but people will quickly get annoyed by you if you try to do the same thing on LinkedIn or Facebook. It will take some trial and error to find what works best for your brand, but there are some optimal posting frequencies on each platform:
- Facebook – post at least three times a week and at most two times a day.
- Twitter – while the studies vary wildly in terms of posting frequency, in general you should aim for between 3 to 30 times a day. Tweets have an incredibly short shelf life so you want to spread your tweets out throughout the day.
- Pinterest – Pinterest has one of the longest half-lives around, but that doesn’t mean you can get away with posting once a month. Instead, the optimum frequency is between 3 to 30 pins a day.
- Instagram – Unlike Pinterest, you don’t need to post as frequently and somewhere between 1-2 posts a day should suffice.
- LinkedIn – as a professional network, you don’t want to inundate your followers with constant posts. Posting around once a day is enough to build up your audience, but you can go as low as twice a week.
Once you build up a backlog of posts, check out the analytics on each platform to further narrow down the best time and day for you to post for maximum results.
Connect with influencers
You might look at your competitors and see that they’re getting a ton of engagement on their social media profiles. While it might be discouraging, if you’re just getting started you don’t have nearly the same audience or brand awareness as more established companies.
A great way to achieve results and amplify your social media branding efforts is to connect with influencers. These might be bloggers, vloggers, Instagram celebrities, etc. These influencers have already earned the trust and respect of their followers. Getting them to promote your brand allows you to get in front of their audience and potentially reach new customers.
With that said, not all influencers are created equal. Before you reach out to any and all options, make sure your brand makes sense for their audience. You wouldn’t want to reach out to a game streamer if you’re trying to promote makeup. As well, you should spend the time to look over the influencers social media profiles to make sure they have the following traits:
- Authenticity – they believe in your brand
- Expertise – they’re an authority figure
- Leadership – they can get topics to trend instead of following others
And, it should go without saying, but they should be active and their posts should receive a lot of engagement. If an influencer has a large following but low engagement, that’s a good sign that the majority of their followers are bots.
Promote your profiles
Building up initial traction to your profiles is a major challenge all businesses face when they get started. The first 100 followers seem impossible, especially if you don’t know where to start. It can be easier if you’ve been in business for a while or if you have other web properties like a site, blog, email list or other social media account. If this is the case, then start with your built-in audience. You might think that people will automatically find you, but the truth is no one will know about your social media presence unless you tell them!
If you’re completely new, building up your brand on social media can be challenging, but not impossible. Reach out to friends, family and even employees and get them to follow your profile. From there, ask them to recommend your page to their network in order to get those initial numbers up. While they might not be your exact audience, nobody will follow a profile that has 0 followers. It’s the classic empty restaurant conundrum. Once you manage to get those first 100 or so followers, it will be easier to bring in more people.
Don’t take the passive route when it comes to social media branding. You need to actively promote your profiles. That means including it on your business cards and other promotional items. Make sure to list it on your site and even your email signature. The more places you place it, the better your chances.
How have you approached social media branding for your company?