World Social Media Day is celebrated each year on June 30. And it should be celebrated: Social media has changed more than just how we communicate—it’s changed the who, about what, when, and where of our day-to-day communications.
Today, 72% of adults use social media. Read our 10 tips for creating your brand’s social media strategy so you can stand out from the crowd and build your brand’s share of voice.
1. Use the right platform
All marketing begins with who so that’s where your social media strategy should begin, too. First determine which social platforms attract your targets. It makes no sense to invest time and resources on a platform that doesn’t align with your target audience. You must understand where your users hang out, what they expect, and how you can use the platform to deliver that.
To determine what platforms are right for your brand, do some social listening on Reddit and Quora to see what people are talking about that aligns with your brand—and where they’re talking about it. Reddit is a news aggregator. Anyone can submit stories, images, or text to its many discussion threads. There are subforums devoted to every interest (or subreddit) you can imagine—and a lot of particular niches have their subreddits, too. No matter your content, if you want to share it on social media, there’s a good chance Reddit and Quora already have an audience that’s interested in it.
2. Be authentic
To establish a strong presence on social media, your brand voice must be authentic and engaging. The tone should be conversational but also professional and respectful of others. If you are too serious or dry, it may cause followers to tune out or ignore your posts. Hire someone with copywriting skills if you need help developing your branding and tone of voice; your writer can assess what makes your company unique, and how to best translate it into social media content.
If nothing else, just being yourself is usually enough! Most audiences appreciate authenticity above all else; they want people who seem like real human beings behind every post they see.
Not sure where to start to establish a voice for your brand that works on social platforms? Try some social listening to see how other brands (both in your category and out) interact on social media so you can mirror those strategies in your content creation.
3. Post visually compelling content
Strong visual content captures the imagination and gives people a reason to share, like, comment, subscribe, and remember the brand. The primary form of media used in content marketing is video, which comes as no surprise. Visuals are powerful because the brain absorbs and decodes visual information faster than any other stimuli.
Whenever you post content, make sure it’s a good reflection of your brand and its voice (see point #2). People want to see beautiful images, strong calls to action, and well-crafted copy in your social media posts. If you post content that doesn’t engage with a consumer or that looks spammy, they will ignore it or even unfollow you. To build your brand’s social media strategy, be sure to post visually appealing posts consistently.
4. Leverage your brand’s expertise
Make sure what you’re posting adds value to your targets’ lives while still promoting your brand, its products and services.
Start with a clear goal in mind: What do you want your brand to be known for? Without a clear goal in mind, you could run into branding problems down the road.
Now, use that goal to develop content that begins to position your brand as a content expert by providing quality content related to products or services you sell. Be sure to do this without spreading yourself too thin across multiple niches.
By focusing on providing value-added content related to your products and services, searchers will begin to recognize you as an expert in your field, driving greater engagement and traffic to your website (or locations).
5. Consistency is key
The idea of consistency on social media isn’t new. Posting consistently is the only way to build a brand on social media successfully.
If you are active on social media but inconsistent with your posts, people will think your brand isn’t fully developed. Having a regular posting schedule helps you build a brand relationship with, and trust among your audience members. A good rule of thumb is to post at least a few times a week. Often audiences respond best when they know what to expect from us daily—and it helps them feel more engaged in our communities when they know they can check back each day for a new post.
However, posting isn’t the only thing you should be consistent with. Themes, brand voice and tone, and content should also be consistent. Once you’ve settled on a voice that aligns with your brand identity (see point #2), incorporate it into everything you do—from your advertising to emails to social media posts—and it will become second nature. Consistency in tone will go a long way toward making people embrace your brand.
6. Be relevant
Anyone on social media knows the impact going viral can have on a brand. It’s an organic, super-fast way to spread brand awareness. Yet the chances of going viral are slim. Brands need to remember that relevancy is a key to going viral on social media. Respond to a current event, challenge a status quo, but most importantly—stand for something (more on that in tip #7). Try to be relevant, not just “me too.” Don’t put your brand on every social agenda or trend—pick the ones that are relevant and meaningful to yours.
7. Stand for something
More than ever before, consumers want your brand to stand for something beyond just the product or service that you sell. “Brand activism” has never been stronger or more important to young consumers. There are many brand activism success stories such as Patagonia, often praised for promoting sustainability in fashion, and ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s, known for long-time activism towards social and racial inequalities. But remember, there are pitfalls, too: Pepsi’s attempt at brand activism infamously missed the mark.
Despite the perceived risk in standing for something, there is no denying that purpose-driven brands do better. Consumers are increasingly choosing a brand that aligns with their values because they believe that they also vote with their wallets for the kinds of businesses they want to see in the world.
The key: Make sure what you stand for checks off the points above. That it’s relevant to your targets, authentic to your brand, and consistent with your other brand efforts.
8. Manage your online reputation
The first rule in posting on social media—look before you leap. Nothing can build your brand’s social media presence like a reputation of integrity. Ensure that all social media posts go through several internal reviews before they go live on your brand’s social platforms.
Remember: It’s important to check seasonality, current events, wording, etc. Most importantly, always think of assumptions that can be made from your social posts. With a plan in place and diligent eyes, these steps will help to avoid brand embarrassment.
And while Facebook likes and Twitter retweets are great, nothing beats an old-fashioned referral from a satisfied customer. Make sure you take time to respond to comments, ask questions, and thank followers who spread your message. Always actively maintain your brand’s reputation and have plans to do so.
9. Design for sharing
You’ve probably heard of designing a user experience for mobile-first, but are you creating your social media content for sharing first? Social media is all about getting eyeballs on your content and your brand. When planning your creative strategy, make sure to design all your social media elements for sharing. When choosing visuals, think about how you can repurpose them across all social channels. For example, if you post an infographic on Facebook that gets a lot of shares from fans, repost it on Instagram to extend its reach.
10. Connect with influencers
Lastly, connect with influencers who are a good fit for your brand and niche. For your social media strategy to succeed, you have to think beyond your brand. Who can help share your message? By connecting with relevant influencers on social media and providing them with valuable content for their readers, you’ll naturally build a relationship. At some point, they’ll want to collaborate with you or at least share one of your posts—and when they do, you’ve just received a ton of brand exposure!
But who should you connect with? That depends on your target audiences, resources, and goals. If your goal is to target a wider audience and get as many eyeballs on your product as possible, then working with a large influencer is your best bet.
If your goal is to connect with a small subset of a targeted demographic interested in your brand, you could engage with a nano-influencer who has only a few thousand (or hundred) followers and start building your presence in that community. The nano-influencer has the highest engagement rate of any influencer type because they have a smaller follower count and each of their connections is authentic and loyal. Less is sometimes more!