Social media is the biggest revolution in digital communication since the invention of the internet. The potential for brands is huge – but with great potential comes great competition. Therefore, let's look at the essentials: How can you effectively promote your brand on social media?
Let’s face it: Everyone of us spends way too much time on Instagram, Facebook and other social media platforms. No matter how productive we are on any given day – somehow, social media always manages to creep in. Even if one intentionally puts away one's phone during working hours. After all, social networks have burned themselves into our DNA. They connect us with everything and everyone whenever we want.
Thanks to social media, brand communication is easier and more effective than ever.
With the right toolset, businesses and brands can sneak into this endless flow of information. Thanks to social media, brand communication is easier and more effective than ever. Good communication on social media can reach hundreds, thousands or even millions of people. Obviously, acquiring such a big reach will also help you sell whatever you’re trying to sell. But there certainly are some essentials to consider – and that's what we’re here for.
👩🏻💻 Understanding the potential of social media
Before digging into concrete actions, let’s have a look at the social media market in 2020. Estimates by emarketer.com suggest that 2,96 billion people will be using social networks this year. That’s almost three-quarters of all internet users. So, if you’re aiming to reach people online, social media already performs nearly as well as your website and online advertisements.
Facebook is by far the biggest social network with more than two billion active users. YouTube follows closely with approximately 1,9 billion. Instagram currently has about 1 billion active users, Twitter 326 million and LinkedIn 303 million. And then there’s the rising star Tik-Tok which is particularly popular among youngsters with 500 million active users. In a nutshell: The social media landscape is huge. And every social network has its own target audience. Facebook, for example, tends to be more oriented towards people as individuals whereas LinkedIn emphasizes professionality.
[brand]: a construct of perceptions, emotions and experiences towards a certain object, person or company
Surprisingly, a lot of businesses still don’t use social media to promote themselves. In Austria, just about 60 % of all companies do. Surely, not every tiny business needs to create an astonishing online presence to be successful. The little food shop around the corner or a doctor doesn’t necessarily need a social media presence. But could they still benefit from it? Probably. Particularly if they wanted to stand out from the crowd by creating a brand. Because what is a brand after all? It’s a construct of perceptions, emotions and experiences towards a certain object, person or company. Yes, this also means you could become a brand yourself too. Now, how can you promote it on social media?
🖌 1. Focus on basic branding first
Whenever you want to promote your brand and/or business on whatever social network, you’ll have to create an account or page. Obviously. And that’s where your branding journey starts. Use consistent logos. Define a color palette. Think about what you want your about-page to say. All of those visuals should be the same or similar on all social platforms you intend to use. Nothing irritates a user more when your Instagram page says something different about you than your Facebook page.
This is basic social media 101, I know. Still, a lot of company are messing around with inconsistent social media channels. Additionally, remember that your basic brand is an evolving construct. It will change and grow with your audience. Setting up quarterly brand reviews straight from the beginning can, therefore, be very helpful.
🧗🏾♀️ 2. Expand your branding to your content
Let’s say you're already crushing the basics. Your social media channels look solid and whoever stumbles upon them will be delighted by the visual presentation and information you provide. Now it’s time to apply those principles to your content too. Admittedly, content creation and distribution is a whole topic on its own and way too large to cover in a few sentences. But eventually, everything you create should fit into your brand – from image-style to visuals to message and wording. Good content, therefore, requires good preparation. Think about which fonts and colours should be used for which types of messages? What are images and videos supposed to look like? If you don’t have any templates yet, now is the time to create them.
In a lot of cases, a post will fit multiple networks at once – but keep the differences in mind.
At this point, it's also advisable to think about which type of content works best on which social network. LinkedIn, for example, might require a bit more serious and hands-on content whereas Facebook is more laid-back or Instagram needs strong visuals. In a lot of cases, a post will fit multiple networks at once – but keep the differences in mind.
🧬 3. Develop your target groups
Since each social network is different, each one will attract unique target groups. The people following you on Instagram probably won’t be the same as your LinkedIn followers. And even if they are, they’re using LinkedIn for different reasons than Instagram. That’s where audience management comes in. As mentioned above, it's generally recommended to address different target groups on different networks with different types of content – because working against your target group doesn’t make any sense.
But how to figure out what's your target group in the first place? The most common method is to create personas (basically a "wanted-poster" for businesses) as part of your communication strategy. Your personas resemble the people you aim to attract to your social media page. In reality, it might often happen that you attract a slightly different audience than initially intended. Thanks to analytics, though, the discrepancies are easy to figure out. Based on the findings, it might be recommendable to review your personas – because after all, if people are interested in you, they might also be interested in buying something.
👩🏼🎨 Add an extra pinch of creativity
Finally, there’s one more challenge to overcome. Even if your branding is on point and your content good, attracting people is hard in today's information age. That’s why you need to think out of the box when it comes to content creation. If your communication is creative, people will notice. The YouTube show Will It Blend by the blender company Blendtec is an excellent example of this. Blendtec doesn't even explicitly promote their blender in those videos – but they manage to attract millions of viewers. As a result, one or another might eventually buy a Blendtec-blender because of those videos. Another creative brand presentation is by Dollar Shave Club. They focus on authenticity and humour rather than anything else. What other razor company could you think of that advertises themselves with a slogan like “our blades are f*cking g great”?
Whether you’re trying to build your company or put yourself out into the world as your own brand – social media the most powerful communication-tool in this day and age. Surely, social media branding requires a fair amount of effort. But it’s not rocket science. And once you figure it out, there’s nothing in-between you and the world.
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