“Brand is about meaning. Your brand is everything that your customers and prospective customers think, feel, say, hear, read, watch, imagine, suspect, and even hope about your product, service, or organization.” – Brian Middleton
What is social media branding? It is the concept of ensuring that your brand is the same online as it is offline. Proactively humanizing your online brand and presence to build strong connections with your audience by being consistent, authentic, and memorable. What you see online is really what you get!
Being Consistent: Ensure that the look and feel of your branding is exactly the same regardless of the platform you may use. This includes your vision, your website, your blogs, newsletters, advertising, content, videos, everything. If it is not you will confuse your target audience. For example, when we ran networking events our market was confused about the services we delivered and many times we were seen as an events company and not a coaching or training provider.
If you decide to post items three times a week then you need to be consistent with this. As you gain loyal followers they will be expecting you to deliver. Many businesses start out posting regularly and as they get busy those postings get fewer and far between. Thus disappointing their current audience.
Authentic: The face and personality you show online must be the same as offline. If you try to hide anything or pretend to be something you’re not people will find out sooner rather than later and it will leave a negative perception of your brand.
A mistake online travels very fast so ensure you are authentic in everything you do and say online. If followers like what they see they will buy from you, refer you, and advocate for you. Don’t be afraid to let people see something personal as they want to build that online relationship with you, to get to know you, and to trust you.
Memorable: Your brand has to stand out from the crowd so make every post memorable. You can post useful information, an inspirational quote, a story about your business helping a client and even a funny photo. Does your company name or your logo stand out? Is your vision statement catchy, authentic, and impactful? Have you personalised your business so your target market sees the unique personality and culture of your organisation? Be careful not to post anything controversial because if you offend people you will lose them.
Stay clear of topics such as politics, sex, and religion. Don’t put up inappropriate photos and be mindful of what you may find funny maybe offensive to someone else.
As a first step, build a detailed target market profile, and then work out what social media platform is best to reach them. We predominantly use LinkedIn and Facebook and to a lesser extent Twitter and Instagram. It takes time to make relevant posts each week so try to pick the platform that will give you the most return on investment.
Trial and error is the best way to learn so try different approaches and measure the engagements you get with each post. You will never, never know if you don’t give it a go!