Guest Post by Jock Purtle, founder of Digital Exits.
It’s no secret the internet has changed the way business gets done. From the emergence of eCommerce to the explosion of and effectiveness of blogs, there are countless new ways to use the internet as a tool for growing your business.
Not surprisingly, social media is and has been a big part of this transformation. With millions of people using a wide variety of social media platforms, the possibilities seem endless.
However, as you might expect, the formula isn’t as easy as making a Facebook page, posting a few times and watching your business explode. As we know, if it seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t.
But just because it is a challenge does not mean it is not worth it. Applying the right strategy and dedicating time to your social media strategy can do wonders for your brand and business.
Why focus on building your brand?
Before we dive into how to use social media to build your brand, let’s take a look at why it is so important to do this in the first place.
There are many reasons why your business, no matter the size, should focus on building your brand.
Your brand is your company’s image. It helps tell potential customers what you are about and why they should buy from you. And just as importantly, it keeps current customers engaged and coming back for more.
A strong brand also helps build trust with your audience, making it easier to introduce new products or expand into new markets.
Also, quality branding helps increase the value of your company, opening up the possibility of selling your business if and when you decide to start something new.
Here are some ideas for using social media to build your brand:
Use the Right Platform
What is one thing you hear over and over again when talking about marketing?
Know your audience.
This is one of the most important things for any marketing strategy, and it is no different when dealing with social media.
But not all social media networks are created equal. While Facebook has the most users, your audience may not be big on Facebook. Perhaps they prefer Instagram or Pinterest. Knowing how your audience uses social media is an important first step for any social media marketing campaign.
The first thing you should do is to identify your ideal customers, and then spend some time researching social media demographics to find out which platform will best help you reach them.
Also, pay attention to trends. For example, Twitter usage is trending downwards. This may not go on forever and this doesn’t take away its value, but don’t assume high usage rates will continue either.
If you’re not careful, you may end up jumping into the game too late, wasting valuable time and resources on the wrong social media platforms.
Create Content Unique to You
Think about whenever you log into social media how much stuff do you see? Tons, right? Well, it’s no different for your audience.
Social media feeds are saturated, and most people simply glance through without paying much attention to what they are seeing.
This is because so much of what they see is the same, which is why the key to any social media marketing campaign (and really any marketing campaign for that matter) is content.
You need to find a way to stand out to your target audience. You need to make people stop scrolling through their news feeds to click on your content.
Doing this is no easy task, but it is possible. Think long and hard about what you want your brand to be. What makes you different? Why do people like you?
Play to this side of your brand as much as possible so that when your ideal customer sees your post, their eyes widen and they join the conversation.
Don’t Forget About the Visuals
Most of the content you will create for social media will be infographics, articles or videos. And while the actual content is most important to the post’s success, you cannot forget about its visual appeal.
Spend some time to make things look consistent with your brand. If you are going for funny and playful, choose colors and designs that match this.
Or if you are aiming for professional and official, look for fonts and layouts that fit this image.
This part can often be rather time-consuming, but forgetting to address it will lead to people skipping over your posts and not engaging with them, thus diminishing the effectiveness of your campaign.
Stick to Your Topics
One of the keys to creating a strong brand is consistency. You need current and potential customers to know what you are all about, quickly and easily.
If your social media posts are all over the place, this is not going to be so clear, making it harder for you to forge a strong brand.
When thinking about the type of brand you want to have, or the type of company culture you are striving for, choose some topics you think will help you achieve this. Then, brainstorm subtopics about which you could post.
But as you spread your reach and get further into your social media outreach efforts, don’t stray too much from these topics. If people are seeing you chime in on totally different topics over and over again, they may get confused and disconnect.
Plus, by sticking to a few different topics, you will be able to help distinguish yourself as a trusted and respectable authority in the areas relevant to your brand.
Despite what you might hear, there is no magic formula for when you should post and how often.
Some people will say once a day after 6 p.m. is best for Facebook, and others will argue lunchtime is the best for LinkedIn because it’s when people are away from their desks and looking through their feeds.
These theories make sense, and there is certainly some logic to it. But the reality is that it is different for each and every company.
The best thing to do is to try posting at different times and intervals and seeing how your posts fare on social media. You will notice trends, and this will help make it easier.
But it is important to try and be consistent. If you post once a day for two weeks and then go silent for a month, this does not project a great image to your audience.
Creating content takes time, so it may be better to post less often and make sure it is killer content rather than rushing to post mediocre content.
Again, it is different for everyone, so take some time to figure out what’s best for you.
Don’t Be Afraid to Pay
In the early days of social media marketing, people relied on “organic reach.” This is the natural spreading of content and posts that comes from regular social media usage.
It is both effective and free, and it is what made this type of marketing attractive. But the days of organic reach are numbered.
This doesn’t mean it can’t be done, but it does mean you have to be really good.
An effective way to make marketing work for you is by paying for publicity. If you can hone in on your audience and place great content in front of the right people, this can be very effective. Then, once you get a solid following, you can turn back to organic reach.
However, knowing your audience is the key when doing this. If you’re not spot on, you can end up spending money for nothing.
Track Results and Adapt
All in all, there are lots of tips and tricks that will help you use social media to effectively build your personal brand. But there is no one solution. Each company will be different, so when embarking on a social media campaign, it is important to track results.
Despite its widespread usage, though, there is still some confusion as to how to measure social media’s impact. Many companies still rely on pageviews or hits, but this is really only the tip of the iceberg. Try to look for metrics that talk about profits or engagement. This will truly tell you what is working and what is not.
Social media marketing is an ongoing process. You need to constantly tweak your strategy and tactics so that you are effectively reaching your audience. But if you follow these tips, you will be well on your way to a social media campaign that can transform your personal brand.
Jock is a digital marketing consultant, online business owner and the founder of Digital Exits. He has a passion for helping other entrepreneurs do business online and knows about the importance of managing your personal brand.
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