Just for a second, I want you to think about your social media performance.
What do you think it says about you? And more importantly, do you think your social media reflects your brand?
Social media is crucial for businesses looking to forge a name for themselves in their industry. It’s the most direct channel to your audience and the best way to set yourself apart from competitors.
In case you’re looking for some tips and tricks, here are seven quick steps to building a strong brand on social media.
1. Optimise your bio
When trying to build a social media presence, it’s easy to overlook the profile and dive straight into posting.
If this is you, take a step back and look at your bio.
Those 160 characters are your opportunity to say who you are, what you do and why people should care; it’s your sales pitch.
There’s no real formula for a good bio, but there are a lot of ways to get it wrong. You might think that you need to go all out, but there’s no obligation to write something witty and clever (even if it seems all the rage).
If in doubt, just sum up your service clearly and concisely. Something simple will be far more effective than something cryptic and convoluted.
2. Provide valuable content
If you’re going to post and share on social media, post and share things that are worthwhile.
People will follow your accounts according to what you offer them. If you only ever tweet job vacancies or take the “this is not Facebook” approach on LinkedIn, you’re not likely to get very far.
The best brands deliver something more…
Give your target audience a reason to follow you – a reason beyond what you’re trying to sell. Branding is about more than just your service or product, it’s the emotional connection that customers make with you.
3. Choose your niche and be consistent
To develop a strong brand, you first need to decide what your brand is about. To do this, you’ll want to work out what your niche is (what makes you different) and stick with it.
If you’re new to the social media game, it’s easy to start tweeting about anything and everything.
Stop it! You need a focus.
Brands are built on image and consistency. So, if you specialise in Yorkshire-based recruitment, don’t start tweeting pictures of food or writing posts about things that are happening in elsewhere.
Alongside this, you’ll also want to think about your tone and voice. Do you want to be seen as industry experts? Or warm and friendly humans? Are you energetic creative types? Or a business that lets your experience do the talking?
Pick an identity and run with it.
4. Think visuals
Social media is a visual place, which makes it unsurprising that Pinterest and Instagram are so popular.
When it comes to branding, the old adage that ‘a picture paints a thousand words’ is certainly apt and this is why visual content marketing is your biggest social media weapon.
If you’re going to start using visuals, here are some basic tips:
- Use consistent and matching colours.
- Consider filters, but only if appropriate.
- Make smart font choices that are easy to read and reflect your brand.
- Use images with purpose.
- Get header and profile images that match cross-platform.
Be warned, bad graphics will make your brand look dated or tacky, so don’t do a rush job of them. If you’re going to do them, they’re definitely worth doing well.
5. Engage with influencers
Becoming big on social media is difficult, so why not piggyback off those who have already done it?
By communicating and reaching out to your industry’s social influencers, you can gain immediate access to a sizeable following.
There are numerous way to do this. You can link to websites, reply to statuses or share good quality blog posts.
If prominent names are then seen interacting with your brand in return, your brand will quickly become elevated to a higher status. Do this enough (combined with other strategies) and your business will soon be held in the same high regard as current influencers.
6. Be responsive
It’s easy to forget, but social media is a two way communication platform. As much as you want people to engage with your brand, your brand also has to engage with people.
One of the biggest mistakes that brands make on social media is taking too long to respond to customer messages (or not responding at all!)
Not being responsive to customers reflects poorly on your business. It shows a lack of care and a reluctance to engage.
Apparently, only one in 10 messages to brands get a reply, and the average response time for those that do answer is 10 hours.
If you had to wait 10 hours for a reply from a business, how would you feel about them… ?
Just acknowledge your audience; it’s that simple.
7. Use multiple platforms (but be smart)
If you want to build an online presence, you should try and hit all bases.
But don’t spread yourself too thinly.
By trying to simultaneously build a brand on all the major social networks, you can find that you never quite manage to establish yourself.
Our tip is to focus on one platform at a time. Once you’re recognised on one network, it makes it easier to work with the others.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a Twitter and Facebook and Instagram account (your audience will want to connect with you in different ways), but rather, focus the majority of your attention on what you think is the most important channel, before moving on and beefing up the others.
To sum up
Social media is a great avenue for building a brand. It’s the fastest way to your customers and an open channel for showing your personality.
The important thing to remember is that social media is a public space. Everything you say and do will be seen by all your followers and all those who search your company name. This can be both good and bad, but if your brand building strategies are up to scratch, it offers a fantastic opportunity.