Having a presence on social media is no longer an added bonus for businesses, it’s pretty much a necessity. Audiences for all types of industries spend their time on social and it’s important to take advantage of this.
Whether you have an e-commerce business or provide a specific service, you can use social media to promote your business in a whole manner of ways. It’s proving increasingly powerful for generating sales, boosting brand awareness and offering customer support. It also helps brands to show a more personal side, making them far more attractive to consumers.
A common issue which is prevalent on social media, however, is ineffective branding. Businesses sign up on a range of platforms with little thought about brand consistency. However, your branding on social media is just as important as on the signage above your shop or on the homepage of your website.
So, to help get you started, here’s 13 social media branding tips for 2019.
Start with your audience
For any type of marketing to be a success, it has to start with the audience and the same goes for social media. The audience you are trying to target will dictate the social channels you opt to use, the way you communicate and the content you share.
It’s always advisable to create some set customer personas. They should reflect the core part of your audience and be something you constantly refer back to when posting. This will help you to hit upon key pain points and areas for engagement to ensure your content really strikes a chord with your target market.
Set SMART goals
If your answer to ‘why are you on social media?’ is ‘because everyone else is’ you’re going to achieve very little. Like any form of marketing, it has to be driven by goals. Social media is now a legitimate and powerful form of marketing so it’s essential that you have a strategy to reflect that.
SMART goals have been around for years and that’s because they work. So, Here’s an example of how you could apply them:
Specific: Choose a social platform and identify a metric you will use to measure success. This could be anything from follower growth to engagement.
Measurable: Work out how you will measure your metric – i.e. follower growth can be counted monthly.
Achievable: Don’t set far-fetched goals like ‘to reach 1 million followers in two months’, set benchmarks that are achievable.
Relevant: Be sure to set goals that link in with your overall business goals
Time-bound: Set a timescale and work towards it.
Choose your channels carefully
Every social network has a purpose, so it’s no good signing up for them because you fancy it. Everything you post has to have a purpose relating to your business goals, so if you choose a platform that has the wrong audience, it’s not going to work for you.
Using your customer personas and this handy guide, think about the social channels that will work best for you.
Carry out a thorough audit
If you already have a presence on social media but it’s not delivering the results you expected, conduct an audit. This will help you to find where you’re going wrong and optimise your page for maximum results.
Start by taking a look at your competition. What is working for them? Think about the tone of voice they use, the content they share, how they present their brand and what their audience interact most with. Keep these findings and think about them when looking at your own page.
Then, carry out an audit of each of your profiles covering everything from images and company information to engagement metrics and referral traffic. To help, here’s a useful guide.
Consistency is key
When people follow you, they do it for a reason – they like your content and want to see more of it. So, the key to building and retaining a strong following is to keep things consistent. Think about topics that are closely related to your industry.
For example, if you run a beauty salon, consider the type of content that would be useful for your target market. Such as:
- 10 Skincare Tips Experts Swear by
- How to Achieve a Summer Glow in Winter
- Top 5 Celebrity Hairstyles in 2018
- How to Achieve a Salon Blow Dry at Home
By staying on topic, potential and existing customers are far more likely to follow you. They’ll know to expect your content and see how it clearly aligns with your overall brand.
However, if you were to digress and talk about topics like football and food, you’re followers are highly likely to disengage. Now, this may seem completely obvious, but it’s surprising how many businesses talk about personal interests on social which are completely unrelated to their target market’s.
Keep your ears to the ground and listen to your audience
Social media is all about interaction and engagement. Therefore, you don’t want to be that brand that bombards people with content yet never interacts. One way conversations do not cut it on social.
Instead, schedule in some time to actively respond to comments, questions and queries. Show that you are active and care about what your customers have to say. If you get negative feedback, don’t just ignore or delete it. Show a proactive, caring side and interact with that person. Find out what their issue is and try and solve it – turning a negative into a positive can be invaluable airtime for your brand.
By engaging with customers, you’ll learn about them, helping you to understand their pain points and what they respond well to.
Be clear on your identity
When setting up multiple social profiles, it’s important that you have a consistent identity. Your company brand should seamlessly transfer across all social channels so customers can easily find you.
It’s always advisable to use the same avatar/logo on all channels. This makes it easy for users to find and follow you on multiple platforms as well as creating a strong brand image. Think Apple, Nike and Coca-Cola – as soon as you see those avatars, you know who is behind the social account.
As well as your avatar, it’s important to consider your brand colour palette, ‘about us’ and general tone of voice. Keep things consistent when it comes to posting times too so users stay engaged.
Social media is conversational, it’s not the place for traditional, formal business speak. Whether you’re a corporate accountant, grocery shop or nail salon, you have to master a personable tone of voice.
Corporate-speak doesn’t cut the mustard, it’s all about personal, friendly language. Obviously, this must still fit with your overall brand so if you’re a corporate bank, funny videos and memes won’t necessarily work. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be witty and engaging in other ways. Here’s a guide on finding your social tone of voice.
Choose influencers wisely
Working with influencers on social media is one of the most powerful strategies a brand can adopt. With strong, engaged followings in set niches, influencers can drive some serious sales for businesses.
However, it is vital that you choose them wisely or risk a low return. Take some time to research the movers and shakers in your niche. Who are people engaging with? Are their followers genuinely engaged with them? Is their audience going to respond to your product? Remember, it’s not all about the high numbers of followers – think quality over quantity. For instance, a micro-influencer with 3,000 followers may deliver much better results than a celebrity with 2.3 million. Micro-influencers can have a more engaged following, meaning that their posts have much more of an impact.
Here’s a few tips for finding the right influencers for your brand:
- Use Google – for example, ‘beauty blogger in Manchester’
- Use hashtags that are closely related to your brand or industry
- Have a look through your followers. Anyone with a decent following? If so, it could be worth approaching them as they are already a fan of your brand.
When you’ve narrowed your search down, then consider the following:
- How regularly do they post? Are they regularly active?
- Check that they get good engagement levels – they may have 30,000 followers but only get around 10 likes a post. This won’t generate the airtime you’re looking for
- Do fit well with your brand message and values?
Stop selling and start offering value
Social media is not the place for the cold hard sell. It’s all about building relationships and showing that you care. Therefore, plugging products, sales and offers is not going to get the response you’re looking for. Broadcasting doesn’t work on social, it’s all about conversation.
Brands that succeed at this provide valuable content which their target market will actively engage with. Offering something truly useful for free can go a long way. Then, when you have an offer or new product to share, your followers will be far more likely to respond. For more on this, check out Gary Vaynerchuk’s Jab Jab Jab, Right Hook.
Successful marketing in 2018 has been all about storytelling and that’s still set to ring true in 2019. People resonate with stories, fact. As humans, it’s what we’ve been brought up with whether in film, literature or general everyday life. We love telling them but we also love to hear them.
When brands tell stories on social media, they capture attention in a much stronger way than straight up selling. This is because people can associate their own life or experiences with stories.
The Facebook page Humans of New York has mastered this. Conventionally, Facebook posts with short, catchy captions work best. However, Humans of New York tell lengthy stories which compel people to hit ‘see more’ and read the full entry. These posts receive an impressive amount of engagement and it’s all because they tell captivating, real-life stories.
Here’s a guide on telling stories on social media.
You may think that posting daily is working wonders for your brand but if you’re just sharing any old thing, it could do far more damage than good. It’s important that every single thing you post or share has a meaningful reason behind it. Something you know your target market will relate to.
Here’s a few tips on how to stay relevant:
- Don’t think you have to constantly reinvent the wheel. It can be difficult to constantly come up with engaging content so turn to other businesses or industry leaders and see what they’re posting. There’s no harm in re-sharing – remember you don’t have to be 100% original all the time.
- Be helpful and share useful content
- Make sure you are being interesting by checking to see what’s currently working and what your audience is reacting to.
Create a user guide
It may be the case, once set up, that multiple people will manage your social media profiles. This includes everything from content creation to user engagement. It’s therefore key that you have set guidelines in place to ensure everything is consistent.
When putting your policy together, think about the following:
- Rules against sharing confidential company information or defamatory content (yes, this should be obvious but it’s important to make it clear)
- Tone of voice – provide some examples so people are clear on this
- How to respond to comments – both positive and negative
- Include a crisis response plan so you and your staff are clear on how to act in conflicting situations.
To sum up
Social media can be a daunting place at times. Ever-changing algorithms and updates make it difficult to keep track of what works. However, a strong brand presence is something that will always work – change or no change.
When setting out to do this for your own business, take a look at some of the world’s leading brands and identify the elements that are consistent across their platforms. Their visuals, tone of voice and content will all line up with their overall goals as a brand so really think about this when creating your own profiles.
The above pointers should help you to create a solid social brand presence as we head into 2019. Just be sure to keep referring back to your goals and objectives to ensure everything stays firmly on track.