By Rosie Fleming, Senior Digital Marketing Analyst, iCrossing
According to a 2021 study by Pew Research, 70% of social media users log into their accounts at least once a day, while 49% admit to checking their accounts multiple times a day.
Social is clearly the place to be, and if consumers are there, brands need to be there too.
However, posting the odd picture of a product won’t cut the mustard. Brands today must demonstrate high-quality authentic branding strategies across social – But why? And how is this achieved?
Branding – what it is and why it’s important
Branding is so much more than a logo; it’s the sum experience of every touch point your customer has with your business or product.
This experience goes on to mould how people perceive your brand. Therefore, the goal of branding is to make sure you provide a thoughtful consistent experience, generating desirable brand perceptions.
This is where social comes into play – how a brand presents online can help shape brand perceptions.
Benefits of social media for brand building
- Increase brand awareness.
With over half of the world’s population using social media, platforms like Instagram offer an opportunity to reach an abundance of potential customers. 83% of Instagram users say they discover new products on the platform, demonstrating the power social has in building brand awareness.
National Geographic showcased just how far social can extend a brand’s reach with their ‘The Moment’ series in 2018. The TV network partnered with Stella Artois for World Water Day, and its related content garnered over 111 million impressions and 2.7 million engagements in a single day.
- Humanise your brand.
Social media offers the chance to build strong connections with followers by showcasing a brand’s personality and ethos. By shining a light on how a brand embraces their values, and how the interests of employees and customers are put first, you humanise a brand. Moreover, by offering a space where brands can respond, directly and in real-time, to consumer comments and feedback, social media enables one-to-one conversations between a brand and its audience, building trust, and ultimately, business.
The importance of meaningful customer relationships and insight into brand culture is demonstrated in the below stats:
- 81% of consumers said that they need to be able to trust the brand to buy from them.
- 66% of consumers think transparency is one of the most attractive qualities in a brand.
- 77% of consumers buy from brands who share the same values as they do.
- 70% of consumers feel more connected to a brand when the brand’s CEO is active on social.
Glossier is a master in speaking directly with one’s audience. The brand frequently crowdsources product development, asking Instagram followers what they’d like to see next. This kind of customer interaction and involvement has created a cult following, who feel their voice is being heard and their opinions matter.
- Establish your brand as a thought leader.
People look to brands for insights and expertise, and there’s no better place to share that information than social media.
No matter what industry, social offers the opportunity to establish your brand as the go-to source for information on niche topics.
If looking to brand yourself as a thought leader, the following methods can help boost your success:
- Provide quality content. The internet is filled with an overwhelming amount of information so if you want people to turn to you over competitors, your content must be insightful and regular.
- Know your audience. Don’t assume to know your followers – make the effort to find out. Content can then be catered towards their specific pain-points, and needs, enhancing relevancy, relatability, and engagement.
- Build your network. No matter how great your content is, you need to have a sizeable following on your social platforms to reach a vast audience. In the first instance, attract people with interesting and shareable content.
- Brands must engage with others, by responding to comments left on their social posts. However, they must also branch out and join the conversations of others outside their following, showcasing knowledge where possible, to get themselves (and their expertise) on people’s radar.
- Some respond better to visuals while others prefer to read an article or post. By sharing content in various formats, you’ll reach different segments and open yourself up to new followers.
How to build your personal brand on social media
There are several strategies to help build a personal brand on social.
- Choose the right channels. You don’t need to utilise every social channel. It is more effective to leverage one channel and get it right. You also want to ensure the channels you leverage align best with your audience and company. Ask yourself: Who is your target audience? What are your objectives? Where are your customers?
- Consistent visual branding. Consumers respond to visuals, so it is important to ensure all social media profiles look similar and there isn’t a disconnect. Consistent presentation of a brand has seen to increase revenue by 33% and using a signature colour can increase brand recognition by 80%.
- Develop a unique voice. Tone of voice reflects your brand’s personality, so naturally, impacts how your entire brand is identified. It serves the purpose of demonstrating the core values and goals that a brand is striving toward transparently.
- Be authentic. 86% of consumers say that authenticity is a key factor when deciding what brands, they like and support. A consumer is more likely to feel a connection with a brand when the posts are sincere, and authentic. Sharing user-generated content (UGC) is a highly authentic and cost-free way of generating engagement and conversions. Indeed 79% of people say that UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions.
- Be active. If you’re not posting, you’re not visible, so post frequently (ensuring quality is maintained).
The most treasured and fruitful companies are those with strong branding. They invest in constructing a consistent presence and personality that’s instantly recognisable across their entire marketing strategy.
As the marketing industry (and the rest of society) digitalise, and increasingly rely on social media for their entertainment, knowledge and shopping, the extent to which brands utilise social to build their brand could make or break them.