Social Media Branding: Your Guide to Building a Brand
Today, nearly every brand has a social media presence. You’d be hard pressed to find one that doesn’t. Whether they’re using Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok or another major player, businesses of all sizes are finding ways to build a brand on social media.
But that doesn’t mean they’re marketing their brand on social media the right way. Many companies either don’t take advantage of the numerous social media opportunities available, or they simply don’t use their social media presence well. Or, perhaps, their brand identity on social media is weak, inconsistent or unmemorable.
As such, before setting up both your social media brand strategy or getting started creating social content, you need to know how to capitalize on social media and create a strong brand identity across any social platforms you might want to use.
Build your brand on social media by…
Finding your audience
The phrase “Build it, and they will come” doesn’t have much credence in the realm of social media. Your business can’t sit around waiting for its social media accounts to be found. But one thing’s for certain when it comes to your brand – you do need to build it.
And, as we all know, any decent construction requires a good foundation. For us, when creating a brand on social media, that foundation is a thorough, indisputable, insider knowledge of your audience. You need to know who they are, where they are, what they want, what they’re thinking and how they’ll respond to your content. They’re why you do what you do, after all.
What do I need to know?
Define your audience. You may already have done this at the point of starting your company in the first place. But as your company and product grows and develops, your audience can shift a little – so it’s a worthy exercise even if you’ve already done it once.
Take a look at your audience demographics, like their age, gender, cultural background, occupation, location, aspirations, social media activity and, last but absolutely not least, their likes and dislikes. Once you know what makes them tick, figure out what kind of content and language get them engaged on social media. What type of social content do they consume? What do they share? Are they there for entertainment or information? What language do they use, and what kind of tone do they speak in? What kind of tone do the accounts they follow and engage with speak in?
Monitoring your audience’s social media activity is the first and one of the most important steps when it comes to building your brand on social media, and it mustn’t be overlooked.
Once you’ve got to know your audience, you’ll likely find they don’t fit into one box. Sure, there’ll be some commonality between them – maybe a similar age group, or area of interest – but, chances are, they’ll fall into a few categories. Defining those categories is your next task.
Create a set of 3-4 personas for your audience. These personas should display with the most commonly shared traits of your customers – with their different backgrounds, ages, interests and so on. Most of this is based on data, but you might also want to take into account the anecdotal experiences you’ve had with customers. Your frontline people, like sales or customer service teams, are probably the best equipped to give you these insights.
Creating one brand voice
With your personas in place, it will be easier to create a brand voice tailored to them: the next step in building your brand on social media. This will need to be one, unified voice and personality – one that all your personas can understand and relate to.
If you can, use a copywriter for this, whether in your own brand and marketing team or as part of an offering that an agency can provide. Give a good brand copywriter your customer personas, together with your value proposition and any market research, and they should be able to create a set of tangible tone of voice guidelines to appeal to not just one but all of these personas.
You’ll also need to make your copywriter aware of your competitors. Without copying their tone of voice, try to work out what about their voice makes your audience tick. Find a happy medium between what your competitors are doing and what your audience would like to see. Apply your own brand personality to this, to help bring it to life – and whatever you write, read it aloud. That’s the simplest but most foolproof way to ensure you’re happy with your new brand voice. Your writing should never sound like writing.
Grow your brand on social media by…
Developing an editorial calendar
An editorial calendar is a common marketing tool that many brands use to help them stay on track when it comes to increasing their social media presence. It essentially involves scheduling posts so that your various social media profiles have fresh content on a consistent basis.
Editorial calendars are especially important on platforms such as Instagram when it comes to building your brand. Since the recommendation for Instagram is typically to post 3–5 times a week, things can get a little chaotic, and an editorial calendar can ease the load and help you stay organized and on schedule. Variety is key here: try to incorporate both evergreen and seasonal content into your social media schedule, to keep users engaged.
Taking a platform by platform approach
Though you’ll need to maintain brand consistency across all your social media platforms, each platform functions in its own way, often boasting unique features with which users interact differently depending on the platform. Each social media platform has its own limitations too – different character limits, for example. This means that maintaining the same content across all your social media channels isn’t as simple as a “copy and paste” job. It takes time, thought and an organized approach.
The user demographic can vary between social media platforms, too – with things like TikTok appealing to a younger audience than Facebook, for example. So, when your design team are making assets for different platforms, have a think about whether the creative or copy you’re using could be tweaked slightly to be more platform specific. Often these changes can be subtle but impactful.
Always remember, however, to keep the underlying brand identity and messaging the same throughout, even if you’re adjusting how you get this message across. Consistency is key for building a brand on social media that’s both memorable and engaging.
Hence the next point:
Maintain your brand on social media by…
As mentioned, consistency in your imagery, tone and language is key when building your brand on social media. But consistency is essential in other areas, too. For example, you’ll need to be consistent in your communication with individual social media users, both in DMs (direct messages) and in your replies to comments. This means that if you decide to reply to one, you need to reply to all – especially the comments, which are there for all to see.
Written conversations with customers must be uniform in style and tone so, if you have multiple people in charge of customer comms, you’ll need to ensure they’re aligned in adopting the brand voice. To get users to trust in your brand, you need to give them a seamless social media experience when they’re interacting with your content.
You can police certain aspects of your social media accounts if you wish. Instagram, for example, enables you to turn off the option for users to publicly comment on your content. However, instead of garnering customer trust and helping build your brand via social media, this typically has the opposite effect – with the first thought being “what are they trying to hide?”
The frequency with which you post also needs to be consistent. Your followers get used to the rhythms of the accounts they engage with the most, so you’ll need to pick a posting frequency and stick to it. If a brand last posted on Instagram over a week ago, it may give the impression that they’re not legitimate, established or reliable with communication.
Not going overboard
While it can be exciting to start out on your journey of social media brand building, don’t run before you can walk – and don’t go overboard. You must maintain the momentum of whatever you’re doing on social media.
For this reason, don’t set the bar too high with the amount, frequency or style of content you upload. If you can’t sustain it, don’t do it. As we discovered above, consistency is key. Imagine building an engaged and loyal base of followers, only to end up losing their attention when you can’t maintain your usual high standards.
Create your editorial content calendar. Try to have assets designed, copy written, hashtags researched and everything scheduled on a social media posting platform (eg. Hootsuite) around 3-4 weeks before you want it to go live. Of course, some industries need to be more reactive than others with their content, but if you can, stay ahead of the game.
Not going overboard with hashtags
Keeping things to a minimum is especially true of hashtags. Where Instagram’s concerned, you can use up to 30 hashtags. Though this sounds like an exciting opportunity, it can open the floodgates for inexperienced brands. These brands might jump on board the hashtag train, tagging every industry- or product-related keyword they can think of. #yikes
While there’s a possibility this may increase views (with wisely chosen hashtags and a friendly algorithm), there’s a good chance it’ll destroy the polished brand image you’ve worked hard to create. Instead of going wild, keep to about 3–5 carefully-researched hashtags, which: a) showcase your brand’s value proposition, b) help explain the content itself, c) play into a trend or hot topic and d) are used enough to get traction but not so much to drown you out amidst your competitors.
Market your brand on social media by…
Posting video content
Video has become a huge part of social media. In fact, the majority of people now spend more time watching videos on social media than they do reading articles. Why? Well, it’s likely down to video offering visual and auditory stimulation, as well as showing subtitles, captions and, on social media, clickable links. There’s no other medium that offers the user so much simultaneously.
Despite 2022’s brief celebrity uproar in response to Instagram’s video UI tests, it’s thought that video is now the most engaging form of content out there. According to WordStream, 59% of executives would choose video over text if both were available. TikTok has become a powerhouse of video-based social media content, and other social media platforms are catching on. Such is the power of video.
If your brand is on Instagram, you can post video “reels” of up to 90 seconds and video “stories” of up to 15 seconds. These short videos can be a great way to boost your visibility amongst your audience – and, being bite-sized, they’re easy for users to watch on the go.
Create videos for your brand
It may sound simple, but a video produced by or for you, as opposed to one you’re simply sharing, acts as a window into your brand. Users will see your brand’s identity, what it stands for, the quality they can expect from it, and how it seeks to engage with the outside world.
However, in order for your social media videos to be effective, make sure your video production is high-quality and relevant to your brand. This means that your videos should focus on your products or services, your industry and, most importantly, what your customer needs – rather than jumping on trends for the sake of it.
And high-quality doesn’t have to mean expertly produced and filmed by a full crew. You can take a leaf out of the TikTok creator handbook and talk directly to your followers from your mobile while moving around your living room. As long as your message has a brand-aligned purpose and provides some kind of entertainment value, you’ve got free rein to deliver it however you think best.
Tip: If you’re considering Facebook video ads, opt for videos around 15 seconds in length. People are more likely to watch to the end (where you’ll have your glorious call to action).
Hosting live events
Another way to take your social presence to the next level and build your brand on social media is through live events. Many brands are finding ways to host live streams on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. These events can be incredibly beneficial if you know how to use them. For example, you could host a live event that gives your audience members a chance to ask questions. Doing this would allow you to interact with your followers, show you care about their interests and give them more insight into what your brand can do for them. This kind of Q&A is essentially a free marketing opportunity with an audience you know is already engaged.
Alternatively, you could invite guests or influencers to your brand’s live event. Partnering up with an expert in your industry can cement your brand as being an expert itself, and a source of info and inspiration. It’ll also bring more attention to your profile, since making your guest a co-host on an Instagram Live will encourage their own followers to join the live stream. And, with these live streams being recorded and available to share after the fact, people who can’t attend at the moment can watch the event as if it were a normal video. It’s content that can be recycled and reused on other social channels and in email newsletters or on blogs, too. That’s the ultimate brand-builder.
Social media management includes both organic and paid campaigns, and is an area of expertise for mobile marketing agency Moburst. If you have brand growth goals to reach, get in touch with the Moburst team.
Now that you know how to start building your brand through social media, you can start to truly build a robust social media strategy. Remember, social media is ever-changing—including things like limits on video length and character count—and what works on one channel may not work on another.
As such, it’s important that you stay up to date on the latest social media trends and opportunities, and find ways to incorporate them into your social media brand strategy. With that said, it’s also important to remember that social media is a two-way street. You want to build your brand, but you also want to be receptive to your audience. If you follow the tips we’ve outlined above, you should have no problem building a brand on social media – one that’s appealing to your followers.
If you’re still unsure about social media branding, or simply want some help with strategy or content, Moburst offer a wide range of social media services for every platform and any brand. Get in touch with them to see how they can help you build your brand’s presence on social media – and anywhere else, for that matter.