It’s the age of social media, folks.
Social media has transformed from something that is “nice to have” to something that is essential for brands to build and establish their brand. It plays such an important role in helping brands make meaningful connections with their intended audience and helping those people engage with their favorite brand. And because of social media, even small businesses are able to establish their brands.
But it’s not necessarily an easy thing to do.
That’s why we’ve come up with this definitive guide help brands, even microenterprises, to build and establish their brand on social media.
This will be a two-part guide. The first part will be covering the basics of establishing your brand, namely: building your identity, going on social media, and what you can post on social media.
First Things First
One thing is certain, however: going in without a plan means you’re doomed from the start. Your doom might come sooner than later. For others, your doom will come later rather than sooner. Some are just lucky enough that their doom doesn’t arrive at all. But you can avoid all that agony when you know what you have to do right from the get-go.
Before you begin to attempt to establish your brand on social media, it helps to create a plan. A plan will serve as your guide so you don’t get lost in all the noise and end up spending more time, effort, and money than you have to. Here are some important considerations to include in your plan.
Choose Your Network
Selecting an appropriate channel for your business is one of the most important decisions you will make, especially during the earlier stages of establishing your brand. But with literally hundreds of social media platforms available today, wouldn’t it be better to just be on multiple platforms?
No, it would not. That is because some platforms are better and more effective for your business than others. Focusing on a single platform allows you to maximize your resources (time, effort, and money) while minimizing risks.
Here are some of the top social media platforms to help you select the best platform to use in building your brand.
With nearly 2.23 billion active monthly users worldwide and about 73% of the US adult population on the platform, Facebook is undoubtedly the best platform to use for building a brand and promoting brand awareness. The best thing about it is that it has a very diverse user base, making it appropriate for virtually any brand.
For brands that rely heavily on visuals and are looking to target young adults, Instagram is a perfect choice. Businesses like restaurants, clothes and fashion, food, architecture, and technology, among others, can benefit greatly on Instagram. It has 1 billion active users per month, with roughly 77.8 million coming from the US.
Twitter is a good avenue for brands seeking to gain a youthful voice for their brand. SaaS businesses, as well as those involved in sports, marketing, and news can generate plenty of interest on Twitter with its heavy focus on “now”.
Pinterest’s demographics are astoundingly female-dominated. E-commerce businesses selling jewelry and clothing can benefit greatly from its seemingly-endless pages that allow each your business to get engagement.
For B2B businesses and those seeking to improve brand awareness among other businesses and influencers in the industry, then LinkedIn is the best channel to use.
Create a Memorable Logo
It is said that customers form their perception of a brand within seconds – and the logo is usually the first thing that customers see when interacting with a brand. That is why it is important to not only create a memorable logo but also one that displays your brand’s philosophy.
Know Your Brand’s Voice
Your brand’s voice is easy to find once you understand who your target audience is and how you would like to communicate your products and services to them. To make this even easier, create a persona for your target audience while also creating one for your business. As two persons communicating, think about how your business will communicate with your audience and what kind of language you think your audience would respond to.
As a guide, Stephanie Schwab of Social Media Explorer shares several additional factors for finding your brand’s voice.
Tone. Your tone dictates what your persona is going to be and establishes your credibility. Do you want to evoke a cocky vibe? Will you be humble and down to earth? Or do you want to give out a scientific and more formal vibe?
Language. Do you want to reach out to younger audiences? Try to incorporate more slang into your language – but don’t try too hard. Adding industry-specific jargon into your language might give off an exclusive vibe, but might turn off some of your customers.
Purpose. Ultimately, your purpose will heavily influence your brand’s voice. Why are you here? Why does your brand exist? What do you want to accomplish? Is your goal to educate, entertain, or inspire?
Use Brandable Colors
Colors can give your brand personality. According to Canva, different colors have different meanings and can evoke certain emotional responses. But on a practical level, choosing a suitable color can help your brand stand out and appeal to your target audience. In fact, studies show that colors can help improve brand recognition by up to 80%.
Here is a general color guide to help you choose a suitable color for your brand.
- Red – dangerous, passionate, exciting, and energetic
- Orange – fresh, youthful, creative, and adventurous
- Yellow – optimistic, cheerful, happy, and playful
- Green – natural, full of life, prestigious, and wealthy
- Blue – communicative, trustworthy, calming, and melancholic
- Purple – royalty, majestic, spiritual, and mysterious
- Brown – organic, wholesome, simple, and honest
- Pink – feminine, sentimental, romantic, and exciting
- Black – sophisticated, formal, luxurious, and sorrowful
- White – pure, simple, innocent, and minimalistic
Once you’ve selected a suitable color, be sure to apply those colors on your social media channel. If you’re on multiple channels, be consistent across all platforms. The same goes even for offline media platforms.
What Content to Share
The content that you share will affect your reputation as a brand as it holds a piece of your brand’s identity. But before your churn out content that you think is relevant, it is important to understand first what type of content will resonate with your audience. Here are some ideas.
Interactive content allows your audience to, well, interact with your content aside from just viewing, liking, sharing, or commenting. These can be in the form of a quiz, poll, contest, or a Q&A. BuzzFeed is a brand synonymous with success through interactive content on social media, with more than 75% of their traffic coming from social media.
User-Generated Content (UGC)
Using content generated by your audience is one of the best and easiest ways to earn impressions and improve engagement, especially on Instagram. While it is, indeed, easier to post your own content, using UGC has plenty of benefits such as instantly gaining followers by making your audience the focus of the story, instant interaction with your audience, and cultivating brand trust. Gain UGC through online contests where your audience can make their own captions, create stories, capture visually-stunning imagery, or draw their own pieces.
Streaming live videos on Facebook or Instagram may still be relatively young, but it’s already one of the best ways to connect and engage with your audience. Streaming live sessions allows you to have intimate, unscripted moments with followers. In fact, it has become a better way to achieve longer streaming as users tend to spend 3x longer watching a live video than other media. Facebook has also made live videos one of their priorities as they are pushing up live streams higher in user News Feeds. This means you gain plenty of organic traffic each time you broadcast live.
If you ever felt the need to explain complex concepts and thoughts in a simple, easy-to-grasp way, then infographics are just the thing for you. The addition of images to text makes the message 25% more comprehensible, in addition to making it more eye-catching and engaging. The best thing about infographics is that they are the most shared form of content on social media.
It’s a well-known fact: content that contains images are so, so much better than just text. In fact, audiences are 80% more willing to read posts that contain color visuals. That is why it is recommended to add visuals to your text.
Visuals are not just limited to images. You can also create videos that can get your message across more easily. Complex concepts can become easier to grasp and are generally easier to consume in visual form. Add humor to your content to boost engagement even more.
Content that Evokes Strong Positive Emotion
According to research conducted by Coschedule, social media content that evokes strong, positive emotion, specifically happiness, awe, and amusement, are most likely to inspire people to share. It’s certainly the reason why Upworthy has skyrocketed to viral success on social media in the past 5 years. They credit their success to the incredible response they’ve been getting from their audiences – “it’s not because they click, it’s because they share.”
Articles in the form of lists, the aptly named “listicles”, have dominated the digital content scene for years. Digital marketers have always used ranked lists to drive conversions – and for good reason. They are easily-consumable and are highly-shareable.
Research published in the Journal of Consumer Research explains that the popularity of lists is strongly tied to the brain’s tendency to use categories and exaggerate their differences. That is why marketers recommend leveraging this human behavior to create content that resonates with your audience.
One of the biggest reasons why Twitter has been so successful is its focus on “the now.” In raw numbers alone, news articles get the most social shares out of any other type of content. That is because people are so obsessed with current events.
But there is a catch: it’s difficult to be a primary news source. You’d either have to be a big news organization or a niche site involved with news. It’s even harder to be a source of news that breaks news as it happens. Most businesses would rather spend most of their time with long-form content than the “happening now”. So unless you’re in the technology, news, or entertainment industry, go for other forms of content.
Choosing the Right Content
Sprout Social found that 75% of consumers found that there is value in humor, but only 36% are willing to purchase from brands that are funny. Add to that the fact that 51% of consumers say that they will unfollow brands that annoy them, with 23% saying they will never buy from that brand ever again.
It is very important that as a brand, you create and share content that resonates with your audience. Stick with content that supports your brand identity. This highlights your willingness to stay true to your identity as well as show how much you value your audience.
Before you choose what type of content you want to share, ask yourself these questions:
Related: The Anatomy of a Great Blog Post
Does it match your vision of your brand?
Choose content that matches your vision of your brand such as those that match your brand’s voice, tone, and image. What do you think is the best format that would match your brand? Be sure that it matches your identity – and stick to it.
What can you commit to?
Consider the amount of help you’ll be having. Will you be writing the content alone or do you have an entire team committed to the content? This will affect the number of posts that you’ll be posting as well as the frequency.
What type of content resonates with your audience?
Identify your audience. Learn everything there is to learn about your audience so you understand what type of content resonates with your audience. Your content should always be about your audience.
Watch out for Part 2 of this definitive guide.
- Is Social Media Really Free? What to Do to Gain More Engagements
- Will Social Media Influencers Help Your Brand?