Your 2018 Social Media Branding Strategy in 8 Easy Steps
Social media is a window of opportunity to get your voice heard far & wide. Your online reach is beyond the fantasies of the physical businesses we grew up with (showing my age…). The speed with which the internet has changed commerce to e-commerce has been astonishing, and revolutionary.
Social selling, trust building, audience multiplication, and new venture launches are just some of the possibilities available to you that were previously either unthinkable, or far tougher to achieve!
Getting your voice heard among the noise on social media is the new pain-point for businesses. The competition to be noticed on a social media feed is not only the businesses but also the personal friends & family of your target audience. So how do you make an impact?
1. Are you on the right networks?
There are hundreds of social media networks and not all of them are right for you. Don’t sweat it! Start with the business’ customer avatar and analyse the demographics. This will give you a clear ‘yes/no’ for each of the social sites you use and help you to refine the content that works on those sites. If your brand is visually appealing and has lots of beautiful photo opportunities then Instagram is a no-brainer, but Pinterest will also serve you well. If you’re B2B then Twitter & LinkedIn will have a closer demographic.
– Use the demographics of your most engaged audience to sense-check your avatar. Don’t flog a channel that isn’t working for you without going back to basics and finding out why.
2. What’s your tone of voice?
AUTHENTICITY is the key here! If you choose a tone of voice that doesn’t resonate with you or the brand then it will never gain traction. You develop your tone of voice by taking in to account the customer avatar you’ve built and the sensibility of your brand. If you’re appealing to parents of youngsters then an informal, conversational tone with a bit of mischief will serve you well. If you used the same tone for a B2B supplier of safety equipment it would feel quite odd!
A good tip here is to look at the culture of your company. The people you work with will already have the right tone for your customers. What does your company stand for? Why would someone want to work for you?
Keep the tone of voice as natural as you can. If you complicate it then you will remove the ability to converse and create identifiable posts in that tone. Once you have the tone right, communicate this clearly to anyone who will be posting as the company to ensure consistency.
– Speak to your team, key customers, and target audience to find out what resonates with them and how they engage with you.
3. Are you consistent?
Not just in the tone that you use, but also in how frequently you post, what you post about, how often you engage and in what way. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc. are all great for curating content which means you can build up a reference library to boost your own content. Providing information and interest-rich content will keep your followers on your page for longer, and bring them back for more.
Your content strategy should be both robust and flexible. You need to understand what you’re looking for, where you will find it, and who it will appeal to. Stick to your strategy and analyse the results frequently so you can enhance and develop it as your business grows.
Posting daily, or multiple times per day if the platform requires it, is imperative. Not only will your audience forget you if you are haphazard in your posting, but the algorithms will deem your content to be underwhelming and reduce its reach. Facebook have just updated to give priority to video sessions that have a returning audience, giving a boost to content creators who produce weekly videos in a TV-style series.
– Use a curation app such as Pocket, Trello, or ContentCal to store interesting and relevant articles/posts/images.
– Build a library of curated content and your own evergreen posts that you can refer back to.
– Make your content easy to access by segmenting it in the same way as your content strategy pie chart.
4. Are you visually appealing?
Strong images and recognisable branding will go a long way in establishing your credibility on social media. Did you know that 94% of the world’s population recognise the red CocaCola logo? Across all of their social platforms the colour, font, imagery are instantly and unmistakably ‘CocaCola’. It may give you good reach to provide some random quotes here and there, but if they’re not relevant to your brand then they only serve to distract. Worst case, they will confuse the message you’re delivering.
Beyond the immediate branding of the logo and colour palette, is the brand you create on your social feeds. Instagram for example is a 9xSquare picture. Putting something that feels wrong alongside your other posts, or getting the colour slightly off, makes the feed look pretty amateur. Once you decide on how your business is going to look, make a note of the Hex Colour, RGB codes, and Filters you use to ensure consistency and a visually appealing feed.
– Create templates for image overlays, blog headers, and other graphics you build for social media. By doing this you will have quick ‘go to’ library that saves you from the dangers of a quick ‘that’ll do!” post fail.
– Create a brand-pack that communicates the colour codes, fonts, filters, and sizes to everyone who has access to posting on your feeds. Ensure they understand how important it is that the images are carefully curated.
5. Do you know who your influencers are?
An influencer can be an individual or a brand that is already popular with your target audience and has a following that is highly engaged. When these brands post on their social feeds they get strong engagement figures because they have huge and loyal followings.
By engaging with their social media feeds you can build trust and get your brand known by their followers. Of course, it goes without saying that you will only gain followers this way by providing useful and thoughtful comments yourself.
Influencers work hard to be authentic, engaging, consistent, and are highly active on their social media feeds. They provide expertise in their field and have a loyal following. Developing a relationship with these influencers that results in an @mention or co-post will put your brand in front of their audience with the additional weight of their credibility, too.
– Influencers have a highly engaged following. The number of followers alone doesn’t qualify them. Engaged followings are more likely to respond positively to your activity.
– Don’t be spammy and in-authentic. If the influencer is right for you then you will have constructive and interesting comments to add. Build the trust and relationship before you engage the marketing.
6. Who are you?
Each of the social media platforms gives you space for your own mini-profile bio.
This is the first place someone will go to see who you are and what you do. Once you’ve captured them with an interesting post, or a comment on an influencer’s feed, they’ll want to check you out before deciding whether they want to engage with you, or not.
Use the bio space to describe who you are, what you do, why you do it, and for whom.
When you choose your social media platforms ensure you are consistent in the name you use.
– This is your online elevator pitch. Don’t waste space with ‘cool’ quotes or irrelevant hashtags. You’ve got 2 sentences, max. Nail it fast!
– Even if you are not going to use a platform it is worth signing up to ‘claim’ your name and prevent others from doing so will lead to confusion for your audience.
7. Can you be social?
Social media is social. You need to be present, engaging, and interesting for your audience. While scheduling your posts ahead of time is a great way to ensure you are regular and consistent in your posting, you still need to spend time every day engaging directly with your audience, influencers, and groups.
– Choose your platforms wisely and don’t spread yourself too thinly. It’s far better to do two platforms well than 4 badly.
– Review and analyse your progress and engagement within groups and with influencers. While this isn’t an ‘overnight’ strategy you will get a sense within a few weeks as to whether you’re gaining traction.
8. Do you cross-promote your profiles?
Your target audience may well favour one site over another but that doesn’t mean you can’t cross-promote. Sending your Twitter followers to your Instagram, or Facebook, page means you can show them a different set of content. Cross promoting can boost engagement and reach as you’re tapping in to different sets of demographics.
– Ensuring the imagery and brand colours are consistent across your channels helps the audience know they’re in the right place.
– Running a competition on one platform and promoting on others is a great way to do this.
The key take-aways:
– Consistency in all areas is the absolute key to a winning brand strategy.
– Tone of voice must be yours, authentic, and resonate with your audience.
– Developing your content strategy prevents random and confusing posts in your feeds.
– Scheduling enables you to keep consistency of post topics and daily frequency.
– Engaging with your audience is critical to a successful social media strategy.
– Your name and bio are your elevator pitch – don’t waste them or give them away!
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