In modern day society, celebrities and famous entrepreneurs are no longer overnight successes created within the elitist gates of Hollywood or the boardrooms of exclusive venture capital firms. They are instead ultra-accessible, ordinary people that build extraordinary brands using the world’s most powerful (and free) marketing platform to spread their message. Social media has leveled the playing field, and the successes of Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and the like are those that have figured out this whole branding game.
If you’re not seeing traction on social media, it’s likely a result of two things: not taking the appropriate and consistent actions (get an idea of what those are here) and not having a strong brand across your platforms. Truthfully, you need to have an idea of how to convey your brand on social media before you can ever begin to take the appropriate actions.
When social media is done well, it boosts brand awareness, grows your target audience, builds brand loyalty, and drives conversation between you and your customers. All of this is well-reflected in a healthy revenue stream.
Below are 5 arguments for why you need to focus on creating a strong and consistent brand across your social media platforms.
Dominate your competition
Today’s entrepreneurial spirit combined with fewer barriers to entry mean the marketplace is noisier than ever. Competition is fierce and it’s becoming harder to capture the fleeting attention, let alone hearts, of your audience. According to Facebook, there are now more than 50 million small businesses present on the platform. Hundreds of thousands of brands are vying for your customers’ attention, so how are you going to dominate your competition?
Social media platforms are aware of this and they are acting in accordance. In fact, Facebook’s algorithm is now designed to present users with only the content they are most apt to consider “meaningful”, determined by more than just a click-through or a like (considered “passive interactions”). Facebook instead determines “meaningful interactions” primarily through the quality of engagement, such as comments and shares. If your content doesn’t scream your brand and doesn’t add value to the lives of your followers, it results in a sub-par user experience and gives them no reason to engage with you.
Strong branding across your social media platforms is like having a bug in your audience’s ears, elevating your message above the rest of the noise. When your voice is clear, consistent, and compelling, your customers understand you and seek you out above your competition. They relate to you and an emotional bond is created. Emotional bonds are more likely to solicit meaningful engagement from followers, therefore allowing you to gain more exposure as Facebook decides your messages resonate better than your competition’s. And that is hard to compete with.
Increase trust between you and your consumer
When your prospects trust you, moving them to the next step in your sales funnel becomes that much easier. Key components to creating trust between you and your audience include providing value, being open, being accessible, and being consistent in your messaging. Social media allows companies to do this like never before. And the best branding on social media is really all about one thing: consistency.
When you have cohesive visual elements – your cover photos, logos, color-schemes, and filters all match across all of your platforms – users begin to recognize your look. When your voice and messaging is consistent, users begin to recognize your sound. The more they can instantly recognize your brand, the more credibility and trust you build. Familiarity is a comforting thing, and the same is true in the business world. People buy from those they know, like, and trust.
While moving a prospect through your sales funnel quickly and efficiently has its obvious short-term benefits, building a solid foundation of trust is key to creating brand loyalty. It is only when a consumer has the utmost confidence in you that they will forego any underpriced competitor. Trust is what keeps them coming back, making repeat purchases, and turns them into a promoter for your brand for years to come. Raise the level of trust and raise the lifetime value of each customer.
Increase reach and awareness
Never before have small businesses been able to compete at the same level as household names for free. Social media puts you right in line with your competitors, but only if you have a strategy in place that can compete with the big boys.
The only way accounts snowball and gain viral following is when they create value in their followers’ lives. This means your accounts must have a strong identity (in other words, they must be branded). They must clearly showcase one voice and consistent messaging. When you can speak clearly in a voice that makes sense for your brand, your customers will engage. Engagement is how you build a loyal following not only on social media, but for your business for years to come.
Furthermore, good content is shareable content. This means your followers that enjoy what you post will share with their friends (likely to have similar interests to them, thereby fitting into your target demographic) – presto, free referrals to build your brand awareness.
Social media allows you to reach your current audience in a deeper manner than you could have before, and it allows you to reach new audiences.
Secure top of mind and recall
One of the biggest parts of building your brand on social media is creating content. In the past, we could secure top of mind with expensive traditional media ads or by hounding our prospects with laborious follow-up calls. Now, you can get to them on the daily, several times a day, and hundreds of thousands of them at at time, by providing valuable content. An average Facebook session lasts 20 minutes, and you can get into your consumer’s mind by posting and sharing valuable content on social media.
In fact, business expert Spencer X. Smith claims that ROTOMA (return on top of mind awareness) is the ultimate ROI of social media (he’s written an entire book on the subject, ROTOMA: The ROI of Social Media Top of Mind). “Either you’re communicating on social media or you’re not… share your experiences and share your wisdom, and watch your ROTOMA through social media soar,” says Smith.
Transparency to build trust
When you brand your social media, you commit to a story that you’ll tell through different mediums and different content. You commit to two-way conversation with your audience, and to listening. When you’ve worked to create a solid identity on your platforms, vulnerability is a part of this. Social media is no place for strict professionalism (although this doesn’t mean being inappropriate, unless of course that is your brand!).
Customers today want more than your mission statement and your newest product launches. They want honesty, raw behind the scenes of the people that work for you, of your leadership team, they want Instagram take-overs, and glimpses into a day in the life. Don’t be afraid to be open or to use humor. Show the human side of who you are, and you’ll find that you sail through mishaps and mistakes a bit easier, no wordy press releases needed, because your customers trust you.
Branding doesn’t have to be a drawn-out, complex process. In fact, the best branding is simple. Evaluate your messaging and how you present it – your visuals and your voice. Branding your social media gives your followers a way to recognize you, creating instant credibility and trust. When your prospects trust you, moving them to the next step in your sales funnel becomes that much easier. For more on how design affects ROI, keep reading here.