Brand awareness has always ranked highly on the list of priorities for marketers. Thanks to social media and other digital tools, building brand awareness is becoming an inside job for many companies, but the job isn’t always easy… Although there are over 2 billion users of social media, generating engagement and transforming them from passive page likers to active customers poses a challenge. Brands are now learning that merely existing on social media is not enough and competing with excellent entertainment on a daily basis takes a lot of effort, money and creativity. This is why mastering your way around social media is vital for your brand awareness and, in the long run, the very existence of your brand. If you want people to remember your brand, engage with you and become clients or brand ambassadors, keep in mind these 8 principles:
1- Make the right choice
With hundreds of social media platforms, choosing the right one for your needs can be tricky. In order to get your message across and reach your target audience, you need to be aware of a few essential aspects:
Who are your customers?
What is your target audience’s behaviour on social media?
What do they like and dislike?
Based on these questions, you may decide the all-mighty Facebook is the best for you, or maybe Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube or LinkedIn. While it is advisable to be present on all of them, it is more important to be active on the ones you joined. Finally, remember that you will need to create a social media persona that suits the platform and matches the behaviour of your target while keeping your brand identity.
2- Build steadily
Building a social media brand identity takes time and you have to be prepared to invest while learning as you go. Setting up an account might be the first step, but what you actually want is engagement and organic growth. In order to get there, you will need to use all the tools the platforms offer your business: from writing a witty, insightful bio to creating a visual brand identity that is easy to spot and hard to forget. Moreover, it’s also very important to let others know of the existence of your social media profiles. Promote them aggressively, from linking them to your website, to printing them on all marketing materials, adding them to email signatures and cross-promoting with relevant businesses. Followers and engagement don’t happen – they are the result of a long-term investment and efforts, but they are so worth it!
3- Develop a (human) voice
Talking to your market means understanding everything about it and building that social media persona that can talk their language. Your audience will pay zero interest to corporate jargon and will unfollow you without second thoughts. This is why you must find a voice that is 1. a reflection of your brand’s value and identity and 2. similar to the way your audience talks. Don’t be afraid to use the lingo they use, to test and learn as you go and to be yourself – in the end, it is about that perfect balance of authenticity and similarity.
4- It’s about them
While the first impulse might be to brag about your brand, your products and amazing services 24/7, remember that your target is, first of all, social media consumers, and only after that your customers. Therefore, deliver branded content only if it’s excellent and gives people something straight away. For example, a vegan recipe if you are a supermarket, or news about the housing market if you are a mortgage broker. Information and entertainment should come before anything else, so set your priorities and make sure your clients are the very first!
5- Get influencers on your side
Did you know that big companies like Coca Cola have huge budgets for their social media platforms and can go as far as hiring famous directors to create content for them, but often are surpassed by YouTubers who can get billions of views with an investment of just a few hundred bucks per vlog? People love people and this is why you should befriend as many relevant influencers as possible. An influencer has a pool of followers who trust them and follow them, so partnering with a vlogger or blogger might do more for your brand than hiring David Lynch to direct your next ad. However, be careful when selecting your influencers – you must make sure they are relevant to your target, have expertise in what they do, as well as leadership skills that allow them to be active and engaging in their communities. From influencers to brand ambassadors is just a step, so think ahead!
6- Engage and be engaging.
You might have heard that creating engagement is the first step towards conversion, but are you doing it right? In order to get as many reactions as possible, you have to practice two-way engagement. First of all, make sure that you post and interact with your followers on your posts as much as possible. Second, be generous with likes and comments on other pages. By liking and sharing other people’s posts, be they partner businesses or customers, you prove that you understand the purpose and the mechanisms of social media. It’s all about networking and you must give as much as you take!
7- Be active and, most important, be present.
As mentioned before, a pool of followers doesn’t show up out of the blue. It takes time and consistent effort to have people hear about you, listen to you and remember you. Posting once or twice a week is nothing, given the short attention span and the competitive business environment, social media create. A business social media profile means you might have to work 24/7, answer requests in a matter of minutes and be there whenever you are needed. Keep in mind that a happy customer might remember your effort, while an unhappy one will most definitively remember your absence.
8- A brand is a living thing
and it grows in time. This is why you need to build awareness by integrating your social media strategy into your larger marketing strategy. Think on medium and long terms and create a social media strategy that is in perfect accordance with both your brand identity and marketing goals. Ask for feedback from colleagues, friends, followers, present and past customers, implement change and never stop learning. Your brand is your baby and the way people view it is the result of your consistent efforts, so work hard and it will pay off before you know it.
Finally, keep in mind that social media are one of the most powerful and affordable tools to build brand awareness, so use them with confidence. If you have any questions, get in touch – we are happy to answer them and to support you in building your brand’s social media presence.