When everyone and their dog is tweeting, snapping and gramming, being able to capture curiosity in a couple of seconds is the tricky task your brand can help you conquer.
In the digital-first world we live in, where 75% of shoppers research businesses online before making purchases, it’s become the job of social media to represent your brand the same way your business cards, flyers and shop front have done for years. But branding your social media takes it one step further by allowing you to form personal connections with your customers, which enhances loyalty and enables you to understand how you can better meet their needs.
It takes a little more effort than making your logo your profile picture, but following these tips can help ensure you get the most out of your online time.
1. Align the Online with the Offline
The number one rule when branding your social media is to ensure your online image is a true reflection of the way your brand is presented through all other channels.
Start by reviewing your brand guidelines if you’ve got some, but also take a look at your branded materials, such as:
- Business cards
- Website The colour scheme, images and tone presented in these channels should match the visuals and captions on your social media.
For example, if you’ve got a corporate identity, it’s best to steer clear of a colloquial tone and stick to a more professional one on social media. Likewise, if you’re an activewear brand for middle aged women, it’s best to ensure these women are represented in the images you post.
2. Share Relevant Content
When choosing which news articles, interviews and jokes to share on social media, keep your customers in the forefront of your mind. Ideally the content should be useful and engaging for them, but also link back to your brand in some way.
Instead of focusing on what your business does directly, think about what your customers will find interesting and the type of lifestyle your business helps them achieve.
For example, if you’re a home loan broker, instead of sharing information about the latest loan rates, you can share articles about decorating houses and Melbourne’s most popular suburbs.
3. Promote Your Culture
Social media is all about real people, we don’t go on there to see faceless brands. In your mix of articles and memes, be sure to throw in a few updates about what’s going on in your day-to-day life.
Pictures of staff, client meetings, birthday cakes or events you’re attending are a great way to add the human element and show people how your brand ties into your company culture.
This will give followers something to personally connect with, which will help you build more meaningful relationships.
4. Turn Staff into Ambassadors
Encouraging staff to interact with and share your social media content will extend your reach and further promote the real faces behind your company.
You can tag them in posts and invite them to list your business as their workplace on their profiles. For example, on LinkedIn, your staff can tag your business when adding it as their workplace so people can click the link and be taken to your company page. This will make it quick and easy for people to find out more about your products and services.
By involving staff in the public persona of the company, you will amplify awareness amongst their network and provide positive reinforcement for your brand.
5. Take Advantage of Keywords and Hashtags
The way you use keywords and hashtags changes depending on which social media platform you’re on, but here’s a quick run down:
On the flip side, you can search for specific keywords and hashtags to find out what’s going on in your community and join conversations to broaden your network.Using keywords and hashtags enables you to brand your profile as part of your industry community. This makes it easier for people to find you and allows you to position yourself as an account to watch for news, updates and discussion on topics related to your industry.
It’s also handy to know a few general hashtags that will enable you to join conversations outside your industry. This could be related to location, such as #InMelbCity or #MelbMoment, or to your audience’s interests, such as #StartupAus or #BusinessChicks.
6. Review Regularly
Once a month or every few weeks, it’s a good idea to look back over your social media profiles to ensure they are presenting a strong brand image. When reviewing this, you’ll be assessing three main things:
- Clarity — Are you clearly communicating how you want your brand to be perceived? Are your key values represented in the content you post?
- Consistency — Is the identity you are presenting consistent across all your social media profiles? Does your colour scheme, imagery and tone align with the image you present offline?
- Accuracy — Are all your profiles accurately representing the way you want to look, sound and feel to customers? For example, a brand identity can be presented clearly and consistent across channels, but is this an accurate image of your business? It’s also helpful to take a look at how people are engaging with you online. Note which posts receive the most likes, comments and shares, this will help you get to know your community and better cater to their interests.
Once you’ve found your groove, managing your social media can become one of the most fun and lucrative marketing activities you do for your business. For more information about getting the most out of your social media presence, check out our Marketing page.