YOUR BRAND AND SOCIAL MARKETING
While social media has been around for about four decades, it was not until the launch of Facebook in 2004 that companies began realizing it was a powerful marketing tool. Prior to the social media frenzy, marketers used traditional methods of marketing, such as print media, broadcast ads, and newsletters (email and flyers). Adding social media to the list of marketing tools now meant that companies had another way to connect with their customers.
Maintaining brand consistency across all marketing platforms is already a challenge for every company, without adding social media into the mix. As a brand, you must be able to identify which audience you are trying to reach with a certain marketing method and if the tone of that message should differ from the others. You must know how to differentiate between how you speak to two different audiences, if at all. You must also make sure customers can recognize your brand, even when it is their first time seeing you on social media.
While the American Marketing Association defines a brand as “a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature…”, it is much more than that. A brand is how you make your customers feel, and it is built by taking a consistent approach across every interaction they have with your brand. Below are strategies to help you build and maintain a consistent brand across multiple social media networks.
COVER YOUR BASICS
When using social media for your brand, it is important to have a consistent logo, color palette, bio, boilerplate, and handle. Some companies like to alter the logo styling slightly between social media networks, depending on the size of the allotted photo space and the interests of those specific targets. If you choose to do this, it is crucial to make sure your brand profiles have a common thread that will be recognized as your brand.
Once you have covered the basics of branding your social profiles, you are able to move on to more intermediate strategies. Even your basic branding strategy should be audited and updated quarterly. These next strategies are not one-and-done deals. Your audience wants new content, and your brand should evolve along with that, especially on social media. There may also be times where you can use your branding basics to your advantage.
EXTEND YOUR VISUAL BRANDING
Once you have a consistent visual brand across network accounts, you can begin to enhance it even further. Now is the time to make sure you have the same colors and fonts reflected in your images, graphics, and videos. Over time, your customers will see the consistency in your posts and begin to recognize your posts as yours without seeing your brand’s logo or social media handle. This type of brand recognition is the goal of your social media branding attempts.
DEVELOP YOUR MARKETING PERSONAS
Your marketing personas are going to vary between the social networks. For example, the TikTok audience is younger than the Facebook audience. With that being said, if you use the same content across both networks, it may not resonate the same way. For this, it is best to create multiple personas for your marketing efforts. This can be done by starting with the company’s customer base and then map them to the different social media networks you use. For instance, your Twitter can be used to target millennials, while your Instagram account can target small business owners. Having established personas for each network helps you narrow down your content ideas and maybe even modify your tone to fit the specific audience you are trying to reach.
CREATE MULTIPLE ACCOUNTS FOR DIFFERENT AREAS OF FOCUS
If your brand is large enough or has a diverse set of products and/or services, it is sometimes best to have multiple accounts across the same social networks. Advantages of having multiple accounts include being able to hyper-focus your branding, cater to a specific audience and serve up relevant content. There are different ways to approach making multiple accounts for your brand. If your company has more than one location, you can have an account for each one. You can also have separate marketing and customer service Twitter accounts if you receive a high number of inquiries. Brands such as Nike have an account for each sport they work with to reach all sports audiences. If your brand has a mascot, such as the Geico gecko, you can have an account for the company itself and the mascot to give personalization to the brand. Colleges often have multiple accounts for different departments (i.e., a school’s student life, registration, and financial aid departments may each have an Instagram account).
It takes time to build brand recognition across social media. The most recognizable brands today like Coca-Cola and Nike are recognizable because they have time and consistency on their side. While you do not need decades’ worth of waiting for social media branding, patience is required. Using the strategies above will help start you on the path of improving your brand online.