By Annabel Mulliner of Little Seed Group
Branding is about more than your logo and colour schemes – it underpins how people perceive your business. The aim of branding both on social media and elsewhere should be to convey your business’ values to your potential customers. Think of your social media accounts as a virtual storefront. They need to be enticing, and more importantly, recognisable.
This means being consistent across all platforms to form a strong brand identity. Having a strong and consistent social media presence demonstrates that your business is trustworthy. It provides a valuable opportunity for your customers to learn more about you, and what they can gain from your products and services. Therefore, branding on social media can help to increase your sales in the long-term.
- Choose appropriate social media platforms to focus on
Rather than dividing your time across as many social media channels as possible, it’s important to focus your efforts on the platforms that are most appropriate for your business. For example, LinkedIn is a powerful platform for all B2B businesses, as it is designed specifically for business owners. Meanwhile, if your products are highly creative and visual, a visually-centred platform like Instagram, Pinterest or TikTok may be more productive in marketing your brand. If you are looking at using Instagram, you should consider that the platform is planning to shift away from image sharing, to instead focus on video content.
This is the first step toward creating a strong brand identity. By focusing your efforts into fewer platforms, you can put more energy into developing your business’ image.
- Use colours and fonts that fit your brand
While branding goes far beyond colour schemes, this is still the first thing you should be considering. You likely already have a colour scheme and logo that you use for your website and other branding materials, but if you don’t, make this a priority. Visual elements are the first thing your potential followers will see.
It’s important to be exact with colour schemes. Make a note of your key colours’ hex codes and your brand’s key fonts so that you can easily access them when making new branding materials. For example, Little Seed Group’s distinctive blue, which we use across all of our marketing materials, has the hex code #0071a1.
Ensure that these colours and fonts are reflected across all of your images, graphics and videos. When someone reposts your latest Instagram post or reel, for example, it should be immediately obvious that the content belongs to your brand. When your customers see consistency in your content, they should begin to recognise your brand without seeing your company logo or name.
- Establish a brand voice
Now that your social media channels are uniform in their physical appearance, it’s time to think about content. When establishing a consistent brand voice, think about your target audience’s demographics. Imagine your audience as being an individual, or a group of individuals, that you are having a conversation with. Ask yourself the following:
- How old are they?
- What is their gender?
- Why are they invested in your brand?
- How can you use your social media to add value to your brand for them?
Once you know these things, you can establish what tone your brand’s communications should be following. For example, a B2B company might take a more serious and educational tone, using industry-specific jargon. In contrast, a skateboard company targeting teenagers may get away with being more humorous, and using more slang words. The smallest details, for example whether you refer to your employees as ‘partners’ or ‘team members’ can make all the difference.
It is worth looking at your competitor’s brand voice. Consider how they interact with their followers, and with other brands. When they are not promoting their products and services, what sort of content do they use to add value for their customers?
- Create a social media strategy
Now that you’ve created a solid brand identity, it’s time to put yourself out there. It’s important to post regularly, so planning out a strategy will ensure that every post you create adds value and moves you towards your marketing goals. Use a content calendar to plan out your posts over the next month. It is worthwhile to plan months ahead for key seasonal events like Christmas. Remember when planning your content that not every post needs to advertise your products and services. By putting out other relevant and entertaining content, you will improve customers’ perception of your brand, and indirectly sell to them. Here are some top tips for creating valuable and entertaining content that promotes your brand:
- Tell your business’ story. Share examples of how your business has helped its customers, or tell your brand’s origin story. Show your customers the faces behind your brand.
- Use video. Social media posts that contain videos receive much more engagement than those without. For example, Tweets with videos receive ten times more engagement than Tweets without videos. Videos are great for storytelling, as they can make information highly accessible and digestible.
- Be reactive. Compliment your pre-planned content with reactive content. Keep on top of current affairs and respond to any relevant events in your social media content. For example, many B2C companies have used the European Championships to open a dialogue with their followers, and introduce special offers.
- For example, Mob Kitchen held a giveaway, offering £100 and a copy of all of their cookbooks to the first commenter to predict the score for a game, and correctly guess one goal scorer.
- Use seasonal events to interact. Whether it’s a major holiday or a niche celebration day, timely events are a great way to reach new customers. Check out this complete calendar of Good Cause Awareness Days for 2021.
- Train your team to follow branding guidelines
Make sure that all team members who are responsible for your social media have a clear picture of how they should reinforce your branding. It may be useful to create a social media branding guideline document, letting your social media team know:
- What type of content should be produced
- What visual content should look like
- The tone of voice to be used within content
Following these steps should set your brand on the path to social media success, by helping your brand form a strong online identity. The importance of strong branding as the foundation of any social media strategy cannot be stressed enough.