There is an estimated 200 million companies in the world today. This means 200 million brands! Some brands are as big as Apple and Coca-Cola and others as small as a one-person business.
With so many brands in the world, it's becoming harder to stand out and build a unique brand image. So how do you create a great brand? How can you play and win the game of social media branding?
This week we have you covered insights on social media branding. We discussed - How to build a unique brand on social:
- Why a strong reputation is essential for protecting your brand
- Strategies for using social media to strengthen your brand reputation
- Tips for keeping your brand reputation safe on social media
Read on to discover the important factors regarding social media branding.
Before you can go about building a strong brand or transforming your brand into something your current and future clients can’t live without, you need to understand what a brand really is.
What is a brand?
At its core, a brand is the 'personality' of the business. It is a sum of every experience that a customer has with your company.
Consider your business as a Person! What are the attributes that you think make up the personality of your brand?
- Brand Name - What’s the name of your brand?
- Brand Design - What does your brand wear?
- Brand Promise - What is your brand's Mission, Vision and Core Values
- Brand Positioning - How does it communicate with the prospects?
- Brand Awareness - Is it well known?
This personality varies dramatically between businesses. For instance, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video both produce functionally the same product, but their answers to the above are very different. They are unique in their own ways.
Now that we know what a brand is, there arises the next question!
What are the benefits of building a strong brand?
Your brand is your company's most valuable asset. Building a strong brand can truly pay off. Aside from giving a company a logo or a slogan, a strong brand helps to:
- Build recognition, loyalty, and a competitive advantage
- Build a connection with your target audience
- Transforming you into a trusted source
- Recruit and retain the best and brightest in a competitive workforce
Keeping these benefits in mind, this is the time you should start your social media branding! The process of actually building a brand can be both simple or highly complex, just as you want it to be!
I've simplified the path for a brand building process below, to help your company or personal brand gain a more loyal following. Let's start with the essential ways to do it.
1. Determine your mission, vision and brand values
As many of you in the marketing world begin to plan to build your brands for the coming year, one of the most important thing you can do for your brand is to think through your strategy carefully. This process includes determining the essential elements of building a brand: Mission, Vision and Core Values.
Once you have that understanding, everything about your marketing and communications will improve dramatically.
Let’s begin with understanding what the Mission, Vision and Core Values are!
a) Mission Statement: Your mission as a company or brand is more like a “special assignment”, the 1-3 year direction of the brand. It’s the path to achieving the brand vision. It’s the reason you get out of your bed every morning.
Your mission doesn’t have to be super complex; it may be something as simple as Amazon's mission statement - “We strive to offer our customers the lowest possible prices, the best available selection, and the utmost convenience”.
Few essential questions that you must answer while drafting your company's mission statement:
- What do we do?
- How do we do it?
- Whom do we do it for?
- What value are we bringing?
b) Vision Statement: Your vision focuses on what an organization ultimately wants to become in future. It is the conclusion to your central goal: it's what the world looks like when you're finished evolving it.
If your mission is to, provide your customers with lowest prices, best selection, and utmost convenience, perhaps you become the best e-commerce company in the world and become so popular that other e-commerce companies are forced to change their practices just to stay in business.
Few essential questions that you must answer while drafting your company's vision statement:
- What is it that we dream of?
- Are we solving problems for greater good?
- What problems are we solving?
- Who and what are we inspiring to change?
c) Core Values: Your values are the beliefs that guide your choices and actions. They are the rules by which you'll accomplish your mission and achieve your vision. Suppose, if your company were a person, who would it be? What values you'd want it to have?
A well-thought-out set of values can guide a firm’s actions, unite its employees, and define its brand.
What does a core value look like? Here's an example of Coca Cola's brand values:
- Leadership: The courage to shape a better future
- Collaboration: Leverage collective genius
- Integrity: Be real
- Accountability: If it is to be, it's up to me
- Passion: Committed in heart and mind
- Diversity: As inclusive as our brands
- Quality: What we do, we do well
2. Develop your brand voice and tone
Brand Voice and Tone is the element that is often overlooked among the many ways to stand out on social media. But it should not be that way!
The voice that you use across your social media platforms should be such that every time your prospects come across your social media posts, they recognize your brand!
The voice that you make use of should be closely aligned with your mission and vision statement. Finding a voice for your social media marketing can be difficult but using the following four-fold formula suggested by Stephanie Schwab, you can easily define the overall voice of your brand.
This formula breaks down the voice into the following four elements:
- Character/persona: If you consider your brand as a person, who does it sound like?
- Tone: What is the general vibe of your brand?
- Language: What words do you use in your conversations on social media?
- Purpose: Why are you on social media in the first place?
Finally, put together a social media style guide. This document will act as a useful reference for anyone in the company who speaks on behalf of a brand.
For instance, one brand whose posts resonate well with its audience is - Netflix. It has a great brand voice. If you look at the streaming giant's social media accounts, you’ll notice plenty of posts denoting it's genuine, authentic and consistent voice.
3. Be unique to bolster your social media branding
Being a social media marketer I've heard this a lot. “Our competitor, A, is doing B, and we should be doing that too” or “A is the market leader, and they have B, we also need to have B as soon as possible“. But this should not be the case. Never try to emulate your competition. Never!
“Don’t focus on the competition, they’ll never give you money.” – Jeff Bezos
If you try to compete with someone on the same level you would always lose out to them. This is where I'd like to introduce you to the blue ocean strategy. This strategy is about creating and capturing uncontested market space, thereby making the competition irrelevant.
Let your organization’s pure essence shine through.
4. Being consistent is essential
One of the primary reasons that people buy products from a business is because they trust their name. If you’ve established credibility, then people quickly see the value of your offerings.
But remember, building a credible brand doesn’t happen overnight! It takes a great deal of time and dedication.
For instance, it took several years for brands like Nike and Adidas to establish a credible brand. These brands had to remain consistent in communication and experience across the following:
- Print, signage, packaging
- Website & online advertising
- Content marketing & social media
- Sales & customer service
So with this in mind, it is crucial to building a strong and unique brand that is consistent across all these aspects. I can't stress this enough - CONSISTENCY IS THE KEY! to building a strong brand on social media.
- Use your brand voice and tone for every piece of content you create!
- To promote consistency, document all the brand guidelines and distribute internally for reference.
- Never repeatedly change your branding. There are chances that this inconsistency will make a long-term brand building more difficult.
5. Growing your brand on social media!
So now you've known that the basis of building a strong brand, now is the time to grow your brand on social media. You have to be very smart when it comes to growing your brand using social media. You need to do the following:
a) Use the right social media platforms
It is vital for you to understand that along with identifying your target audience, you also need to determine the appropriate social media platform for promoting your brand.
For instance, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat are the social media platforms that are going to work the best for industries that are visually-driven. Whereas if you are a software brand, then Facebook and Twitter are platforms that are meant for you.
Simply remember that you don't need to be a jack of all trades. You only need to make a wise choice for your brand. The simplest way to choose the social media platform is to do some competitor research. Check whether they have engagement?
If they have enough engagement, then it is suggested for you to use that social media platform.
b) Engage with your target audience
Engaging and interacting with other users can help you bolster your branding efforts in a significant way. But whenever it comes to engage with your audience on social media, it might seem that your efforts are not enough.
Social Media Branding How to effectively engage your audience on social media?
Do the following:
- Start the conversation with your audience
- Promote your brand enthusiasts
- Jump on discussion related to current events
- Be receptive with your audience
- Make sure your team is well equipped and ready to handle incoming messages
c) Form connection with top influencers
An excellent way to achieve faster results and strengthen your social media branding efforts is forming connections with influencers. Influencers have already earned enough trust and respect and as a result, have a great loyal following. If you manage to get a mention from an influencer specific to your niche market, you could spread your content across the desired audience.
One thing that you need to keep in mind is that a significant number of the following does not make a good influencer. A good influencer should possess the following qualities:
The most significant that you could do for your new or existing business is brand building. If you want to transform your business from a small player into a successful competitor, a strong social media branding process can prove to be a boon.
With a successful social media branding, you'll discover that your customers have started developing a deeper level of trust for your brand. All you need to do to maintain this trust is, develop a consistent message and visual identity to reinforce your mission.
Integrate your brand into every aspect of customer experience: from your social media profiles to your website, to your personal interactions!
Update: If in case you missed our webinar, don’t worry! You can now access the full webinar recording here. Also, you can find the SlideShare of the webinar here.