Social media branding has been embraced successfully by iconic companies like Nike, Apple, and Google, however many smaller organizations and individuals are challenged to develop brand image on social media platforms. Many organizations simply do not know where to start. Outlined below are 5 steps to get you started:
#1 Know Your Target Audience & Where They Play.
For companies that are established, an easy way to identify your customer demographics is simply to analyze the customers you already have. Many customer relationship management tools allow businesses to analyze their customer data. For small businesses who have not invested in a customer relationship management/CRM system before, Hubspot offers one for free to get you started. You are also able to use tools like Socialbro to analyze the demographics of the existing Twitter account. Another way to get an understanding of demographics and psychographics.
Once the target customer has been identified, you will need to research what social media platforms your target customers live on. For example, if your target customer is 17 years old, in high school, and mobile connected, there is a good chance that the customer is active on Snapchat and Instagram. This is critical to know, because you will need to identify what platforms will be most effective to reach the customers you want to reach, while also ensuring that the platforms are consistent with the brand you are looking to develop.
#2 Identify Your Influencers & Leverage Them.
Building relationships with influencers is paramount to developing a successful social media brand. The easiest way to identify influencers is simply to Google top influencers in your industry. Another tool that is effective is an application called Klout, which will allow an organization to identify top social media influencers based on Klout scores, which defines social media effectiveness and reach. Once you have identified the influencers, you should connect (or follow) and begin engaging the influencer. Share their content and mention them in content that is posted. Nurture this relationship, and the influencer will help your business multiply its reach. Hootsuite has a fantastic blog that provides a deep dive on locating and engaging influencers.
#3 Provide High Quality Content, Often.
Developing a brand that customers trust hinges on a company or individual’s ability to deliver quality products and services. A company’s social media presence is a reflection of that quality, and so it is critical to ensure that the content that is being shared is relevant to the audience, consistent with the brand, and of the highest quality possible. Brands that post valuable, high quality content on a consistent basis find that they build customer loyalty. Companies like HubSpot and Marketo built entire businesses around this model. There are a number of resources to provide free, great looking content, like Canva. Canva allows users to create great web ready graphics with no design experience. Follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of what you share should be quality, shareable content that is sourced from someone else. 20% should be original content from your brand. Applications like Klout and Hootsuite make it very easy to pick content that is relevant to your brand and share it via social media with a click of a button.
#4 Be Responsive.
Social media is all about engagement. Your customers and prospects can and will use social media to engage your organization. If a company is unresponsive on social media, or does not respond quickly and consistently, those customers will disengage and may leave for a competitor. Managing social media accounts and responding effectively is a daunting task for a small company. Most experts recommend using software to manage this. Applications like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, and Hubspot provide tools to manage this process. Replies can be automated to an extent, and you can ensure you never miss a message.
#5 Be Consistent.
Consistency goes beyond the content of the message. Yes, the content of the messaging should be consistent with the brand across all channels, however consistency does not end with content. Small organizations with limited resources might consider using a simple solution like Canva to begin experimenting with designs and company identity graphics. Colors, graphics, and even fonts should be consistent across channels. By doing this, as customers go from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., they will never be confused about what company or organization they are looking at. This is a failure of marketing. Do not allow the details to get in the way of successfully retaining and growing the customer base.