- Case Studies
Utilizing your Brand
Whether you want to sell products, gain subscribers, persuade followers to a point or sway the hearts and minds of readers to your cause, they’ve got to know who you are in the first place.
Your ability to encourage any of these actions comes from your brand’s authority — and one of the best ways to build that is through the savvy use of social media. In fact, recent research from Econsultancy shows that 71 percent of brands plan to invest more heavily in social media in the coming year to reach new followers and build brand reputation.
Want to join their ranks and become known in your industry? Here’s everything you need to know about using social media to build your brand:
1. Choose networks that support your brand image.
According to Convince and Convert, 22 percent of Americans use social media multiple times a day, making it one of the best mediums on which to build your brand. There are literally hundreds of social networks out there, but most of them aren’t worth investing your time and energy.
Instead, find the platforms that support your brand image, taking the following factors into consideration:
- Facebook is by the far the best platform for promoting brand awareness, as nearly three quarters of Americans adults use the site. Facebook is a great platform for promoting virtually any brand, due to its very heterogeneous user base.
- Instagram is a great option for brands that rely heavily on images, such as clothing companies and retailers. It’s also particularly effective for reaching young adults, Hispanics and African Americans.
- While Google+ hasn’t taken off as well as many people predicted, it can be a great platform to reach men in the technology industry, as two-thirds of the network’s users are men, most of whom work in engineering or other technical professions.
- Pinterest is an excellent social network to reach women, especially for brands selling jewelry or clothing.
- Finally, if you operate a business-to-business company, LinkedInis a stronger choice for promoting business-related content and connecting with other corporate influencers.
2. Provide valuable and shareable content.
It should go without saying, but you’ll create a much stronger brand reputation if you focus on creating useful content that viewers will want to share, rather than cranking out content to meet arbitrary publishing calendars or that covers subjects only you’d want to read.
Keep the following principles in mind as you craft content for social sharing:
- Every single piece of content you share should support your brand image. Remember, humor can be difficult to pull off. If you can use memes effectively, they can be powerful brand-building tools. But if you aren’t 100 percent sure how your audience will respond to your image, resist the temptation to create memes or engage in clickbait strategies that have the potential to reflect poorly on your company.
- Figure out which content is most likely to gain visibility on your social networks. Images may resonate better with your audience than blog posts, but you won’t know that if you don’t look at your data.
- Don’t be afraid to use visual content. Articles with images receive 94 percent more views. Twitter content with images receives nearly twice as many views as text posts, even though there are seven times more text posts on Twitter.
One of the easiest ways to create content for deployment on social media profiles that’ll support your brand building efforts is to see what types of posts others have been successful with and put together your own, better versions.
Say, for example, that one of your competitors has received good social traction with a blog post titled “12 Strategies for Increasing Website Traffic.”
Instead of wasting your time building content around unproven topics, you could release a stronger content piece on this same subject. For instance, you could put together a post titled “102 Strategies for Increasing Website Traffic,” or you could go through your competitor’s list of techniques and put together your own guide that goes into more depth on how to put these principles into action.
To find the content pieces that are performing well in your industry, use tools such as BuzzSumo and sort based on past social engagement. To learn more about implementing this technique, check out the Backlinko blog’s guide on the subject.
3. Leverage influencers.
Publishing killer content to your social profiles is important, but it’s only one part of the equation. If you have a relatively unknown brand, your voice is likely getting lost in the noise. While you can eventually build your own audience through the creation of great content, this strategy is going to take time.
A much faster approach is to leverage the audiences existing influencers in your industry have already built. There are a few different ways you can do this:
- Mention their names or cite their websites in your content pieces. Influencers with Google Alerts or other notifications set up on their names will see your content after it’s published.
- Tag any influencers you’ve referenced when sharing content to your social media profiles.
- Email influencers after you’ve published your content to let them know they’ve been referenced in your work.
The goal of all these different actions is to get them to share your content piece with their followers via social networking. It can take time to build up the kinds of relationships that lead to influencer sharing, but if you’re consistent about producing quality content, your efforts will get noticed.
4. Use social campaigns to promote content.
Finally, keep in mind that, in an age of diminishing organic reach, paid campaigns — especially those run through native advertising platforms — may be one of your better options for building your brand on social networks.
A growing number of brands use strategies such as contests and other social media campaigns to successfully gain visibility and generate leads.
To take advantage of this effect, provide your audience with valuable incentives that encourage user participation and make sure that your campaigns offers value to all participants.
While social media is one of the most powerful ways to reach new leads, it’s easy to waste time or alienate people if you don’t use it appropriately. That’s what makes having a sound social media strategy in place so important.
If you make it a priority to consistently share great content and leverage the power of existing social media influencers, your brand building efforts are bound to pay off in the long-run.
WHY IS BRANDING IMPORTANT
What is branding? And why is it so important for your business?
Branding goes way beyond just a logo or graphic element. When you think about your brand, you really want to think about your entire customer experience…everything from your logo, your website, your social media experiences, the way you answer the phone, to the way your customers experience your staff. When you look at this broad definition of branding, it can be a bit overwhelming to think about what is involved in your brand.
In short, your brand is the way your customer perceives you.
It is critical to be aware of your brand experience and have a plan to create the brand experience that you want to have… a good brand doesn’t just happen… it is a well thought out and strategic plan.
Many small organizations and start-ups neglect spending necessary time thinking about their brand in this broad sense and the impact it has on their business. Let’s look at 10 reasons why digging into your brand is important:
BRANDING PROMOTES RECOGNITION.
People tend to do business with companies they are familiar with. If your branding is consistent and easy to recognize, it can help people feel more at ease purchasing your products or services.
YOUR BRAND HELPS SET YOU APART FROM THE COMPETITION.
In today’s global market, it is critical to stand apart from the crowd. You are no longer competing on a local stage, your organization now competes in the global economy. How do you stand out from the thousands or millions of similar organizations around the world?
YOUR BRAND TELLS PEOPLE ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS DNA.
Your full brand experience, from the visual elements like the logo to the way that your phones are answered, tell your customer about the kind of company that you are. Are all of these points of entry telling the right story?
YOUR BRAND PROVIDES MOTIVATION AND DIRECTION FOR YOUR STAFF.
A clear brand strategy provides the clarity that your staff needs to be successful. It tells them how to act, how to win, and how to meet the organization’s goals.
A STRONG BRAND GENERATES REFERRALS.
People love to tell others about the brands they like. People wear brands, eat brands, listen to brands, and they’re constantly telling others about the brands they love. On the flip side, you can’t tell someone about a brand you can’t remember. A strong brand is critical to generating referrals or viral traffic.
A STRONG BRAND HELPS CUSTOMERS KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT.
A brand that is consistent and clear puts the customer at ease, because they know exactly what to expect each and every time they experience the brand.
YOUR BRAND REPRESENTS YOU AND YOUR PROMISE TO YOUR CUSTOMER.
It is important to remember that your brand represents you…you are the brand, your staff is the brand, your marketing materials are the brand. What do they say about you, and what do they say about what you’re going to deliver (promise) to the customer?
YOUR BRAND HELPS YOU CREATE CLARITY AND STAY FOCUSED.
It’s very easy to wander around from idea to idea with nothing to guide you…it doesn’t take long to be a long way from your original goals or plans. A clear brand strategy helps you stay focused on your mission and vision as an organization. Your brand can help you be strategic and will guide your marketing efforts saving time and money.
YOUR BRAND HELPS YOU CONNECT WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS EMOTIONALLY.
A good brand connects with people at an emotional level, they feel good when they buy the brand. Purchasing is an emotional experience and having a strong brand helps people feel good at an emotional level when they engage with the company.
A STRONG BRAND PROVIDES YOUR BUSINESS VALUE.
A strong brand will provide value to your organization well beyond your physical assets. Think about the brands that you purchase from (Coca-Cola, Wrangler, Apple, Ford, Chick-Fil-A, QuikTrip)… are these companies really worth their equipment, their products, their warehouses, or factories? No, these companies are worth much more than their physical assets…their brand has created a value that far exceeds their physical value.
WRAPPING IT UP
The best branding is built on a strong idea… an idea that you and your staff can hold on to, can commit to, and can deliver upon. Your brand needs to permeate your entire organization. When your organization is clear on the brand and can deliver on the promise of the brand, you will see tremendous fruit while building brand loyalty among your customer base.
If you need assistance with your brand, from creating your initial brand strategy to the visual identity elements, contact us for a free consultation…we’d love to help you identify and proclaim your story!