While branding is essential, often it can also be overwhelming. Partially this is because many people don’t really understand what branding is. A brand is basically an idea, image or feeling that the general public gets when they think about you or your company. In fact, it’s the public who truly controls what your brand is by the way they perceive you and what you do. This makes it complicated for small businesses and people to wrap their heads around branding.
While we can’t control how others perceive us, we can certainly influence it. That is how we brand successfully. This means your images, your posts, your style, your voice are all fundamental aspects of your brand. In branding, it’s called touchpoints. Every aspect of your business that interacts with another person is a touchpoint. This could be your office space, your website, your invoices, your trade show booths. One way to tackle your touchpoints is to approach your business the way a potential customer, client, vendor or influencer would. What would you want their experience to be like? What would you want them to see? To hear? To read?
So, when developing your social media, thinking about your brand should be intentional. You have a brand whether you’ve invested time in developing it or not. The smart method would be to decide what you want your brand to say about you and then incorporate it into everything you do – including your social media strategy. Here are some ways to keep branding in mind while managing your social media.
First, what are your discriminators? A discriminator is basically what makes you stand out from your competition. What do you offer that you want to highlight or feature? What makes your company stand out? Why should people follow you? It’s ideal to have one to three specific discriminators to work with. Think about your level of expertise or your skill set. Consider the aspects of your business that you are super passionate about. What type of information draws you in while you are online? These will give you a good indication of what your strengths are.
You may have a lot of different interests. It’s important to narrow it down to just a few that tie into what you do. Focus is important in branding. An individual needs to be able to receive a clear idea of what you are about and not get lost in too much clutter.
Now find ways to incorporate these discriminators into your branding. Find a handful of popular keywords that closely relates to what you are doing and incorporate them into your content regularly. Do some research on hashtags for the same purpose. Sometimes being specific can be more successful than going with trends. Niche businesses have a market too and those specific keywords may not draw the most attention but are more likely to pull in just the right audience.
Make sure that you develop some images that coincide with your brand’s look and feel. Then use them over and over again across various social platforms. Someone should be able to look at your website, your LinkedIn page, and your Twitter account and instantly recognize you and your company.
These graphics will help people find and connect with you. It will solidify the branding images in their minds that they retrieve whenever they think about you. Make your photos, colors, fonts and descriptions match across all sites. While it can be tempting to change things up and be creative occasionally, this can be confusing for your target audience. After all, they are the ones who determine what your brand is. Make certain what they are seeing is what you want them to be experiencing when they interact with you.
Post on a regular basis. The online world is fast paced. If you don’t regularly attempt to keep their attention, they will move on to the next big thing. If it looks like you have abandoned one of your channels, even for a short period of time, your viewers will stop checking in. It’s important to have downtime, and vacations, and people do get sick – use scheduling tools to make certain there are no gaps in your posting.
Social media is all about engagement. Therefore, it’s important to at least keep your brand in mind when interacting with others online. Follow up on your comments, likes and mentions in a manner that is consistent with your personal style and voice. Join online groups that fit well with your brand and what you do. Surround yourself with influencers and experts in your field. Each time you respond to something that is a touchpoint for that person.
#SocialIsntScary and neither is branding. It just involves making deliberate choices that mesh well with your brand and keeping it in mind as you go. This will help you #BeAwesome and stand out!
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Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+,YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and the tools to manage them.
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