Whether you’re just coming onto the social media scene or you’re looking to improve your presence, the most important driving force of building a following is developing a consistent brand personality and strategic social media plan.
Why Social Media?
In 2017, 81 percent of people in the United States used some form of social media. Let’s face it; if your grandmother has made her way onto Facebook, your business should probably be on there too. Social media is a tool used not only to improve your brand’s awareness, but to build a two-way communication between it and your audience. It sets you apart, makes you identifiable, and can build great rapport with potential clients. It’s also a powerful word-of-mouth marketing tool. In fact, in a study done by Market Force, 78% of consumers say companies’ social media posts impact their purchases and 71% of consumers are likely to purchase an item based on social media referrals. In addition to referrals, having activity on social media lets consumers know you are a current and thriving business.
So how are iconic brands like Snickers, Wendy’s, Old Spice, and General Electric doing so well on the social media front? They have created a strategic social media plan with solid definitions of who the brand is and they follow it consistently.
Before you can utilize a successful brand personality, you must create a plan. Drawing up a detailed plan ahead of time will not only help keep you consistent but will put in writing your core values, goals, what perception you want your audience to have of you, and what steps you can take to get there. Most often, your plan components will include visual branding, your brand’s voice, and original content creation.
Visual Branding – Your visual identity is equally as important as the copy you create and no, this is not just for your Instagram and Pinterest pages. The colors, fonts, images, logos, etc. you choose all need to make sense and look cohesive across platforms to instill uniformity and identifiability. Brands who are consistent in their visual marketing are more likely to gain trust and loyalty from their audience. This is not to say, however, that your profile and cover images should be the same for years at a time.
Voice – Being consistent with your brand’s name and personality is also imperative to building a following. Consumers want to know that a brand is being authentic. If the company’s tone changes from one post to the next, they will be left feeling confused. Furthermore, try to get the same handles across all platforms. In addition to supporting your established brand name and increasing your identifiability, it will make it easier for your followers to find you.
Your plan will also need to include writing guidelines for brand personality. Specify if you are going to use any slang, emojis, or shorthand. You’ll most likely base this tone on your company’s culture and who your audience is. For instance, a company like Tiffany & Co® will likely not be using slang terms, while a startup skate-gear company geared toward Millennials might. Once you decide on your guidelines, continue to reference them. Straying will make your audience feel you are being inauthentic and, often, this lack of trust will cause you to lose followers.
Curating Original Content – A large portion of social media is centered around putting out original content that fits with your brand identity and will keep your followers interested. Using trending topics or solutions to your audience’s problems, you can write blogs, web pages, and articles that make sense and will encourage organic site traffic. A great example of this would be the Career Advice blog on Monster®. They are an online company that helps people looking to advance their careers or find jobs, and their blog is full of information that helps professionals build their resume, be successful in interviews, and make the right career choices. It solves their audience’s problems and is cohesive with their brand.
Encouraging Your Brand Personality
Say you’ve got the brand down, now what can you do to support it and increase visibility? Content, content, content. The more you put out, the more likely you are to be seen. Some popular forms of this lately have been those used to increase personability to the audience. One such tactic is BTS or behind the scenes content. When you show your audience the people that work for the company and engage with them in non-sales related posts that show the company culture, it helps people feel as if the company is made up of real people and your audience can relate to your brand. Those relationships you create will heavily grow your loyal customer-base and word of mouth marketing opportunities.
Another option is to use free samples! We all know free samples are a tale-as-old-as-time tactic and we’re not asking you to give away products for free. But your wisdom could prove invaluable to your brand image and following. Some popular ways to build a following with your knowledge include conducting Twitter chats and Facebook or Instagram live Q&A sessions. Who knows, you might even get some good ideas for future posts and blogs.
We know that social media is a bit overwhelming when you’re starting out. If all of this seems like a big blather of nonsense to you and you’re not sure you have the time to manage your page, that’s okay. We can do it for you. Our social media team is skilled in creating a positive brand personality across all platforms and can not only guide you in decisions about your pages, but create, schedule, and post relevant content, as well as engage daily with your follower base. If you’d like to know more about our services and what it’s like to partner with social media experts, give us a call at 407-636-4233.