How to Build a Brand on Social Media
According to Backlinko, there are currently over 3.96 billion people on social media. No matter which platform is the hottest of the moment or which trends are in vs. out, it’s clear that social media isn’t going anywhere anytime soon — and if you’re a brand or a business, being on social media is more important now than it ever has been.
Despite this, many brands are still hesitant to throw their hat into the social media ring. It can seem daunting to build a brand persona up on this digital landscape. However, if you follow the best practices and do things the right way, the payoff can be extraordinary!
Defining Brand Building
Brand building is defined as generating awareness, establishing, and promoting a company (or persona) using calculated strategies or tactics. When you’re building a brand, your goal is to create a unique and consistent image of the business amongst the public perception. If done correctly, it will attract an audience to your brand.
Building a brand is not a straightforward process. It requires plenty of planning, deliberation and execution on a variety of fronts. Consistency is key so you want to fully understand your brand yourself before you start to bring it out into the public eye.
Building your branding goals
The first step in deciding what you want your brand to become is to lay out some goals. It can get easy to get caught up in the daily execution of the branding process, but if you don’t lay out specific goals beforehand, you will be doing the equivalent of sprinting on a treadmill — you’ll be putting the right work in, but it won’t move you in any specific direction.
Set some goals beforehand so you know what you want your brand to accomplish. This will make it much easier to create actionable tasks that you can work on and will give you a new purpose as you work.
How to build goals for your brand
In order to build a goal worth chasing, you need to think about the long-term game. Are there some things you would like your brand to be known for? What do you want the story of your brand to look like?
Once you have these long-term goals in mind, the next step is to break them down into milestones that will let you know you’re heading in the right direction. Then, you can further unpack these milestones until you have action items that will help you get a step closer to each milestone. This process is how you can reach any major goal, and it’s no different than with your brand goals.
Examples of brand goals
Some examples of good brand goals include (but are not limited to):
We want our brand to be viewed as a leading expert in our industry.
Our brand should be known as having the best service around!
If there’s one word you can attribute to our brand, it’s quality.
We want our customers to be very loyal to our brand.
Our goal is to have $XX amount of sales within five years.
Think about what’s important for you, and work based on that. The more your goal resonates with you, the harder you’ll work to make it happen!
How to create a strong brand identity
Now that you have your goals in mind, it’s time to get to work. Building a brand is all about creating a strong brand identity. A brand identity describes the foundational idea of the brand — including visual symbols, the emotions that it creates, experiences and qualities that it represents and more. When consumers think about that brand, how does it make them feel?
At this point in the process, you should have an idea of what you want your brand identity to feel like, but it may be tough to articulate it. These exercises will help you find ways to express your brand identity in a way that can be understood by your entire team.
Review Your Brand Strategy and Identity
You may have some thoughts on what you want your brand to be, but they aren’t real until you put them on paper (or on the screen) and actually review them. Write out everything that you want your brand to evoke and then try to organize the thoughts in some way, shape or form. The act of getting this information out of your head and materialized somewhere will spark your inspiration and get any team members to see your vision.
Know Your Personas
Once you’ve laid out your thoughts on the brand, it’s time to develop them into brand personas. Your brand persona is a collection of values, attitudes and personality traits that your brand showcases and promotes that helps them relate to a certain demographic or audience segment.
Brand personas can come in the form of a fictional character, an ideal customer type, a mascot, a tagline or even just some sort of well defined idea. The better you can understand and flesh out this persona, the stronger your messaging will be and the more apparent your brand identity will be to the public.
Identify Your Competition
Now that you know who you want to be, it’s time to look at who you want to beat. What does the competition in your industry look like? Why are they succeeding? Do they have any weaknesses that can be exploited? Look for any opportunity that you can to cover any ground that they may be missing — but only if it’s a natural fit for your brand! Try not to change your brand too much to reflect other brands.
Write and Execute Your Creative Brief
Use all of the information that you gained in these exercises, put it all together into a creative brief. A creative brief features all of the information that you would want known about your brand, making it a bible for anyone on your advertising and marketing team. As with all of these other exercises, the more thorough you can be with this, the better off your marketing and brand-building strategy will be.
Keep the guides relevant and ever-growing
After you’ve sat down and constructed the creative brief, don’t let the brand-building process stop! As your brand continues to grow and mature throughout the years, your brand will naturally begin to emote different traits and qualities. Don’t fight them (unless they’re negative) — embrace them and add them to your creative brief, guides and anywhere that contains your brand information. These newly found traits are a part of your brand’s story, and you want your guide to contain the most updated version of that story.
Read more about increasing brand awareness here!
Using social media for business and overcoming that initial hesitancy
Building your brand is one thing — laying it out and expressing it on social media is a whole different ball game. Learning how to use social media for business is a worthwhile endeavor, seeing that this newest form of media has worked wonders for businesses for years.
However, it can still be a daunting endeavor, especially if you aren’t well-versed with social media. These tips will help you put together a solid social media marketing plan that will eventually lead to results!
Despite what the viral nature of the Internet may make you think, building a brand on social media does not happen overnight. In most cases, you’ll have to post and engage consistently for a long period of time in order to get the results that you’re hoping for. Don’t abandon the plan just because it isn’t working a few weeks in — make the commitment to social media and continue to work your plan, even when the awareness isn’t there.
Stick to your brand guide and brand personality
Social media is the perfect place for you to get your narrative and brand personality out there. It allows you to express yourself in ways that previously couldn’t be, so take advantage of those opportunities. Stick to what your brand represents and find ways to interact with each platform in a way that aligns with your brand guides.
Focus on a select set of networks
Not every brand needs to be on every single platform. Take some time to learn more about each of the popular social media platforms and think about what your brand’s role could be on that platform. If you find yourself working too hard trying to think of a reason to put your brand on the platform, then it’s probably best to not force it. You’ll get much better results by focusing your attention on platforms that are a natural fit rather than spreading yourself too thin.
Experiment, measure, and test!
Don’t be afraid to have some fun with it! Social media provides brands with plenty of opportunity to shed more light on their business and personify them in new ways. Try not to become too robotic — test some new things out and see what resonates with an audience!
In today’s day and age, there are more ways than ever for you to measure and analyze the feedback to your social media accounts. Most of the major social media platforms come with built-in analytics features, and there are plenty of third-party options to choose from as well. Spend a little bit of time each month looking through your social reports to find out what’s working and what isn’t.
You also may want to look into paid social media advertising. Advertisers are spending billions of dollars per year on this newest form of advertising, and when you look at the results, it’s easy to see why.
Tips for building your brand online
Now that you understand the general guidelines for putting a brand on social media, you can utilize these helpful tips to gain an edge in your social media marketing plan!
Research your target audience and your competitors.
If you don’t already, spend some time each day scrolling through your timeline and consuming the content that your target audience and competitors are posting. Are there certain trends that you can pick up on? This information can be incredibly valuable for helping you develop your own voice and social media strategy.
Update your brand profiles/create new profiles in line with your brand guidelines
Plenty of brands out there created a social media account years ago but have left it untouched for a while. Some people use their personal profiles as their brand accounts. You’re always better off if you update your brand profiles or create new brand profiles that align with what your brand is today. For some people, the only way they’ll ever interact with your brand is through social media, so make sure your page makes a good impression.
Pick your area of expertise and focus
While a diversity of topics and interests can be beneficial, you’re usually better if you stay in your lane on the Internet. You want anything you’re posting to align with what your brand represents. This includes finding influencer partnerships that make sense or participating in trends that you can add value to. Remember — consistency is key.
Make posting as automated as possible
Regular posting on social media is time-consuming. If possible, it’s always better to either outsource your social media presence or to schedule as much of it as possible ahead of time. This will free you up to focus on the day-to-day aspects of your brand while keeping your social media presence active.
If you’re looking to build a loyal audience who responds well to your posts and keeps the conversation going (also known as a brand community), then posting regularly is essential. People want to follow a brand that posts regularly — they aren’t looking to engage with a ghost. Post as often as you can without neglecting your workload or oversaturating the platforms. Social media and the Internet is all about providing value to your customers — what can you offer on a regular basis?
Test content being shared regularly to make consistent tweaks to the offering online
The best part about social media is that it’s one of the only media platforms that provides brands with immediate feedback. Your target audience is a direct part of each conversation, and you can leverage this in order to get some insights as to how you can run your business. Listen to what people are telling you — you never know what ideas they may have.
Do you recognize the importance of building your brand on social media but struggle with finding the time and resources to make it happen? That’s where Cohley can help! Our team can use data, analytics and expertise to help you start the next, best chapter in your brand’s story. Contact us today to see how we can help you and your business reach a new digital height!
Written by Parker Dietz
Parker is a staple in our marketing team - Our Marketing Manager brings with him an intimate knowledge of the platform, and is our go-to on technical topics, and user behavior. With a wealth of knowledge about competitors and pricing, Parker is all about exploring the best way to communicate Cohley's benefits. Outside of work, Parker enjoys poorly playing guitar at parties, watching every Adam Sandler movie ever made, and eating Arabic food.