With more than half of the world’s population on it, social media offers great potential for success, particularly when one builds out their social media brand! Businesses that want to reach large numbers of consumers locally and over wider areas must not only maintain a strong presence but also exhibit character. Let’s see how that looks!
What is a Social Media Brand?
It’s easy to understand the concept of a social media brand if you think of a brand as all the attributes that make your business distinguishable in the market coming together to form a distinct identity. This identity is the brand of the business – and that identify needs to carry over online, creating a social media brand, of sorts.
Businesses go to great lengths to establish their brand, as it increases the chances that customers will remember to buy from them the next time they need their kind of product or service. Branding improves recognition, trust, and loyalty in consumers while developing pride in the employees.
A social media brand is the totality of the distinguishing attributes of a business expressed online. Its purpose is to conjure up the benefits of branding to enhance social media marketing.
And a consistent message as key, as it will builds trust – and audiences love a trustworthy brand! Studies show that it takes less than 10 seconds for consumers to get an impression of your business. Further, people that know about you will more readily spread the word if you invoke feelings of familiarity and loyalty in them. Your brand enables marketing like a honeybee does pollination.
Your social media brand is inextricably linked to your social media marketing efforts. And if you don’t take the time to clearly define your social media brand, you are sure to also have inefficient online marketing. This guide will help you take that next step in growing your business.
How to Build Your Social Media Brand Step by Step
We have much to cover. By the end of this guide you will have learned more about how to build a social media brand than many businesses out there today. Most merely have an online presence without a social media brand in mind. That’s a mistake. Here’s well share:
- The goals you need to set
- How to recognize your social media audience
- Picking the right platforms
- Brand voice
- How to build a relationship with your audience
- Effective social media management
- How to measure success
- The need to keep learning beyond this page
Did you know that more than 90% of millennials (b. 1981 – 1996) use social media at least once per month? Huge potential if you are targeting this demographic. Here are some more statistics to inspire you:
- Social media is one of the most popular things ever: More than 57% percent of the world’s population uses social media. Users spend an average of 2 hours and 27 minutes daily.
- There are plenty of social media users who don’t meet the required minimum age of 13 years: 87% and 44% of 12 – 15 year-olds and 8 – 11 year-olds respectively, use social media.
- Business has put its money where the mouth is: Social media ad spend reached $154 billion USD in 2021.
Excited? Good, let’s get into the steps.
Set SMART Goals
Goals establish a definite course of action towards desirable results. They can also be motivating and a benchmark for success. To attain these goals, it’s important that they be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely (SMART).
Just as important, your social media branding should have foundation in SMART goals. Every business has unique objectives, and there is no doubt that you have some ideas about what you want to achieve with your social media brand. Let us then attempt to help you fine tune those ideas.
First, you need to know what matters, generally, in social media branding. And what determines the success of a social media brand is its reach and engagement. Reach refers to how many people are aware of your business; engagement is the level of emotional connection with the audience. Remember, our goals must be measurable. So, how do we measure reach and engagement?
For that, we have standards called key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics. A KPI is a signal that tells you that your strategy (or aspects of it) is working. A metric is the magnitude of that signal i.e. how well is it working? For instance, if you wanted to reach more consumers within a specific time frame, the KPI might be an increase in the number of followers and the metric will be the exact number of new followers or percentage increase.
Therefore, your social media branding goals should be based on KPIs and metrics that are important to your business. Some of the most important are:
- Reach:- Audience i.e. number of followers; awareness i.e. size of the audience reached by the message; and mentions i.e. when your brand is brought up in conversations.
- Engagement:- Action, which may be revealed by the number of clicks on your links, likes, comments, shares, and profile visits.
From these, a SMART goal might be: Grow my daily mentions on social media to consistently hit 5,000 by the end of Q1 in 2022.
Create a Model of Your Target Audience
Successful social media brands avoid targeting the social media audience en masse, because the online community is vastly versatile. Truly, it is one of the main reasons why social media branding is so effective for marketing.
To see success, you have to carve out your sculpture from that grand marble. And this means understanding the attributes of your target demographic and the characteristics of your ideal customer.
Like the goals, an audience persona keeps you on a direct path to a specific end. You will know what type of content to share, how to react, and your audience will know what to expect from you. As the social media brand identifies you to your audience, the attributes you tease out will give your audience a distinct identity.
The most necessary elements of the profile are:
- Demographics i.e. the population characteristics. These include the location, age bracket, and gender.
- Traits i.e. personal attributes. They may include marital status, dependency, and income level.
- Career i.e. professional life. This may include job title and industry.
- Motives i.e. goals and objectives. Information on what may lead your audience to buy from you.
- Interests i.e. secondary characteristics that may shed a brighter light on the audience.
Having created a model of the audience, let us go back and see if we can improve our goal: Grow my daily mentions on social media to consistently hit 5,000 by the end of Q1 in 2022 by targeting millennials interested in health and fitness across the United States and Canada.
Pick Your Channels
How many social media sites do you think there are on the internet? Very many is correct – more than 100. The good news is that you don’t need all of them. In fact, you need very few and you can easily determine which ones by reviewing your goals, understanding who your audience is (as we just spoke to above) and sorting out where your audience is active. That is where you’ll want to focus your efforts.
Depending on what they offer, you can build a strong social media brand on any of the key social channels – and track your progress in real time using AI-powered analytics. Your main options, the massive audience numbers found on each, along with the kind of content that lives on each are bulleted below.
- Audience:- The largest social media site on the internet with 2.9+ billion users
- Content:- Text, visual, and live
- Activity:- 1.9+ billion daily active users
- Audience:- 1+ billion users
- Content:- Visual and live
- Activity:- 500+ million daily active users
- Audience:- 400+ million users
- Content:- Text, visual, and live
- Activity:- 199 million daily active users
- Audience:- 400+ million users
- Content:- Text and visual with limited live
- Activity:- 52 million daily active users
- Audience:- 1 billion users
- Content:- Visual and live
- Activity:- 50 million daily active users in the United States
- Audience:- 500+ million users
- Content:- Visual
- Activity:- 290+ million daily active users
- Audience:- 2.3 billion users
- Content:- Visual and live
- Activity:- 122 million daily active users
- Audience:- 140 million users
- Content:- Text, visual, live, and voice
- Activity:- 19 million active servers per week – a server is a “space” or community
After you decide which social media networks to target, you can adjust your goal to make it more specific: Grow my daily mentions on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok to consistently hit 5,000 by the end of Q1 in 2022 by targeting millennials interested in health and fitness across the United States and Canada.
Develop Your Brand Voice
A tweet reads, “No, I will not ‘rise and grind’; I will sleep and weep.” Another one says, “Be kind to yourself; be kind to others. Have courage and talk about it. There is a lot of love out there for you <3.” And one more, “If left untreated, the symptoms of schizophrenia can be persistent & disabling.” All three users are doing the same thing: Raising awareness on mental health. But one uses self-deprecating humor, another is encouraging, and the final is focused on educating. This is voice on social media.
It is not uncommon to hear brands described as having a voice and tone. So, what does it mean to have a voice? Your social media brand voice is simply your style of communicating with your audience. It adds to your character as a brand and can help develop an emotional connection with your audience.
There are two absolute truths. Your ex is toxic and Baja Blasts hit every time.
— Taco Bell (@tacobell) January 21, 2022
Your social media brand voice should be based partly on the character of your business and partly on the character of your target audience. Like your human voice which comes naturally and with ease, your social media brand voice should not be forced. If you are out of sync with your audience, something needs to change: Maybe it’s the wrong audience or maybe your style of communication is wrong.
It is always a good idea to have a style guide to help keep things consistent. A style guide is like a map or manual for how to communicate whether it is on social media, on the website, or out in the field. If it was just you running your business alone, you could probably navigate using the concepts in your mind. But even then, you might decide to create a “script” just to be safe. You couldn’t need the script more than now when you have several people in your organization and probably not running social media brand marketing by yourself.
Your style guide should contain the details of terminology, grammar, formatting, design, color, fonts, right to how you respond to compliments and criticism. Just have everything spelled out. It will not only help those in charge of specific tasks accomplish them better but also enable rotation of duties and quicker training of new hires.
Convinced that the goal is well-articulated, let us consider the path. One item on the path to achieving the goal may be: Appeal to the target demographic through visual content, humor, and information germane to health and fitness, as laid out in the Style Guide.
Engage with Your Audience
Social media is all about conversation. It’s right there in the “social”. The idea behind a goal like increasing the number of followers is that you will have that much more conversation. So, you have to be ready to not only talk to your audience but also encourage conversation.
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At this point, you have already taken many of the steps that can help you initiate and grow your engagement: You have a goal, you understand your audience, you know where your audience is, and you have a voice with which to speak. Now you just need a little more effort to create content that is relevant and interesting to your audience; and to maintain the conversation once it starts.
Engagement is both our path and outcome. We want consumers to develop an emotional connection to the brand but to get there, we have to engage with them – a bit chicken-and-egg, isn’t it? So, how are we going to add to our goal? Let us add a few more items to the path:
- Post frequently on health and fitness topics.
- Acknowledge all comments on any given post.
- Respond to all enquiries within 48 hours.
- Attend relevant conversations on users’ posts, especially if mentioned.
Establish a Social Media Management Plan
Building your social media brand requires commitment over an extended period of time. You are not going to wing it and succeed; that’s not how it works. But if you have a plan you can follow and improve, you may be sure of success. Besides, plans are what pronounce goals as realistic or not – from our SMART formula.
Having a social media brand management plan will help you in many ways including efficient use of time, effort, and money. Additionally, it will allow you to keep track of your progress as you are able to see how far you have come, how much is still remaining, and what needs to be done repetitively. Finally, a social media management plan is your path to freedom. You can sleep better, eat better, and enjoy other aspects of your business if you know you’re on track.
A social media management plan should include details about:
- Your active social media accounts.
- Content development.
- Posting schedules.
- People in charge.
Thankfully, social media management is not completely manual. There are many tools to help you manage your social media accounts by automating many tedious tasks. There are tools for content creation, to schedule your posts, to measure engagement, etc. NetBase Quid can even help you discover conversations way beyond your audience or location. If you have a plan, integrating these tools into your strategy will be a matter of pointing and clicking.
Now that social media branding is turning out to be somewhat time-consuming, let us add to the path: Hire a social media manager to post and maintain conversations on the platforms.
Measure and Improve
The process of building your social media brand will not be complete until you measure. This is how you determine the value of what you have been doing. More importantly, measuring will help you make improvements to your current strategy and reach for greater success.
As with social media management, there are tools for measurement and some of them perform both functions. However, of greater interest is what to measure. This will depend on what you were going after in the first place. You might want to know:
- Your audience growth, indicated in numbers of followers.
- The causes of your audience growth. This may be revealed by tracking the growth of your audience over time and relating that to events at the time.
- Consumer sentiment, which you may discover from audience actions and reactions. NetBase Quid has a feature for this. It gives a score running from -100 to 100 indicating the Net Sentiment, which is the general attitude of a brand’s customers.
- Relative success per platform, to inform the use of your resources.
It’s March 31, and what is the outcome? 1,216 followers on Twitter, 1,573 on Facebook, 2,000 on Instagram, and 944 on TikTok. Total number of followers, 5,793.
– Visual content very popular.
– Differences in engagement across various channels.
– Many competitors target the same audience.
- Post more on popular topics.
- Improve engagement across the board.
- Amp presence on social media: Sign up to LinkedIn and Reddit.
- Give bonus to social media manager.
Increase Your Stock of Knowledge
This guide would not be complete if we didn’t mention that it is not enough. It’s not enough to know what to do, you must do it. It’s not enough to achieve the first goal, you must achieve a second and a third, and so on. Therefore, don’t let this guide be the end of your knowledge about building a successful brand. Use it as a starting point to acquire more knowledge on the subject.
Creativity is a big part of successful branding whether on the internet or offline. Acquiring useful knowledge improves your capacity for creativity. So, you don’t want to be complacent about what you know.
Let us return to our whiteboard and make note of that. To keep things on the radar, your to-do list might look like this:
- Check out IKEA, Gordon Ramsay, and Coca-Cola YouTube channels to see how other businesses do branding.
- Enroll for an online branding course on Udemy, Coursera, or MasterClass to develop social media branding skills.
- Sign up social media manager for NetBase Quid Certification Program to improve research and analytical skills.
That’s it! That is all you need to do to build your social media brand.
We hope you have enjoyed this guide as much as we did creating it. If you have any questions about how NetBase Quid can help you improve your social media brand, be sure to reach out for a demo today.