By Claire Holland
A unified brand voice is a key element of any marketing strategy, and nowhere is this more important than in the world of social media. Across a multitude of platforms, your target audience lives and breathes on social media. How can you reach them effectively, while ensuring your brand remains consistent, authentic and unified throughout all your marketing and branding activities?
Here are tips for tailoring your social media efforts to create greater customer engagement and strengthen identification with your brand:
Be selective in your choice of platforms. Of the hundreds, or more likely thousands, of social media networks out there, only a handful will likely pay dividends in your marketing and branding efforts. Conduct some due diligence around the demographics of potential platforms before diving in, then focus on those where your target audience is most active.
Link conventional marketing with digital opportunities. In your print ads, always include your company’s Twitter handle and/or a promoted hashtag, encouraging people to visit your website or social network. “By connecting your platforms, you’re expanding your reach and making it convenient for your consumers to find you where they’re most comfortable,” notes marketing expert Courtney L. Christman.
Create content highlighting the best of your brand. There’s no better objective than establishing your brand as a thought leader in your field. When you create and disseminate content of value — that is, an ongoing flow of social media blog posts, videos, images, etc. based on your expertise — word gets out that your brand stands for knowledge and insights that help people in their daily lives.
But don’t stop there. Design content that both engages and leads the way toward conversion. As digital marketing specialist Adam Frankel points out, “There’s hardly any point uploading a beautiful image on a social site if the image lacks information and doesn’t invoke the users to click on the call-to-action button.”
Resist the impulse to self-promote. Audiences on social media invariably respond better to activities that showcase your brand personality without the hard sell. On Instagram, for example, you can engage followers (without indulging in self-promotion) by sponsoring a photo contest. These contests are “a great way to increase reach, gather a library of follower-sourced content and reach other metrics that align with your sales goals.” A little selling is okay, if you promote products that are exclusive to Instagram and link to your company profile page.
Cultivate an authentic brand voice. Every word and image you create and share with your social networks must be authentic — that is, a genuine rendering of your brand’s voice. This voice should reflect your unique selling proposition and company culture, as well as any language commonly employed by your target audience. For this to work, it’s critical that you spend time listening on social media. What are your followers talking about? What about other industry experts? Listening to what they say and how they say it will inform the quality of your brand voice.
Connect with influencers. The reach of your brand grows exponentially when you connect with superstars and thought leaders in your field. Commenting on and/or retweeting influencers’ posts (and mentioning them in your own posts) paves the way for new relationships. When influencers reciprocate by mentioning your brand, people pay attention.
Leverage the power of your social media profile. Businesses overlook the benefit of promoting their brands in their social media bios and profile pages. Craft a concise, appealing bio that instantly clues people in on what your brand stands for. Once that’s in place, notes blogger Dominique Jackson, distribute it across every conceivable avenue, digital or otherwise: “Print it on your flyers and brochures, link to them from your website and cross-promote on your other social media channels. Get the word out.”
All of your social media activity should reflect your audience’s needs and interests, while remaining true to your brand. The goal is a unified brand experience that’s consistent across platforms, an experience that’s authentic and meaningful to the people you most want to reach.
About the author:
Claire Holland is Director of Marketing Communications at agencyEA, a brand experience agency specializing in experiential, digital and traditional engagement in Chicago. She guides the strategic vision of the company’s brand, messaging and voice, while supporting and evolving brand strategies for clients. Holland also oversees all of agencyEA’s internal and external marketing communications, including digital marketing and public relations.