After identifying our business goals from social media (Part1), we started researching our market to find our “Ideal Customer” (Part2). We have taken a look at the available social platforms to see which one will work best for our businesses and which tools work best with these social platforms (Part3). After that, we discussed how to budget for social media marketing and use what you already have to get things started (Part4). Now with everything in place, we have come to the point of starting to use the data that we’ve collected before. All the information that we’ve pulled in the previous posts will help us communicate with our audience more effectively which will ensure that we get a positive ROI from our social media efforts.
The next step that comes in the process and which many small business owners and even professional social media marketers fail to implement is branding. After preparing our campaign launch, now it’s the time that we set up proper social profiles that speak the voice of our company.
It’s true that branding is a very large subject, and it’s not really the core subject of today’s post. What I want to show you in this post is how to use your social profiles to teach people more about your brand. However, before we can dig into social branding, let’s first see what branding is!
What Is Branding?
Most people know that in order to stand out of the crowd, you need a creative, noticeable and distinct logo that identifies your brand. However, modern branding isn’t only about logos anymore. It includes how people perceive your company. How they identify it, look at it, interact with it, remember it and talk to their friends about it.
“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.” – Scott Cook
The goal of branding is to help you stand out from the crowd. It’s to let people know why they should care about it. It simply differentiates you from others. Your job is to use the data we’ve collected in the previous steps to teach your audience about your company, your products and your services. If you did a great job at identifying your target market, then branding should be really easy. It’s better and more effective to talk with a person who you know their likes, dislikes, needs, dreams…etc than to talk with someone who you know nothing about. Your brand should be an enjoyable experience for your customer; it should give them a sense of belonging, and if you do a really great job, your brand will become a part of the culture like Steve Jobs did with Apple!
So enough of the poetry, and let’s go straight to actionable stuff.
Solving The Short Attention Span Dilemma!
You can’t solve the short attention span problem! I know that you probably don’t want to hear this, but this is the reality.
Today’s web is growing at an unbelievable pace. With this growth, more and more information is produced and posted every day. People don’t really have a choice but being very selective when it comes to communicating with brands. Their time is short and your best chance is to make the best use of those few seconds they spend on one of your communication channels. It’s probably easy to convince a person to buy your product or service if you have 15 or 30 minutes, but what if you only have 3 seconds?
The Hook Technique!
Since there are only few seconds for you to convey your message either to new potential customers or to existing ones, the only way to keep them interested is to hook them and reel them in until you convert them.
I always use this analogy of fishing, not because I’m a fisherman (although I like fishing), but rather because it best describes the process of driving leads and making sales online.
Let’s say that we all have 3 seconds to capture our potential customer’s attention. How are we going to get them into the conversion funnel?
The secret to effective fishing begins with a good bait. Your bait in the online world could represent many things including but not limited to your website, Facebook page, Twitter profile…etc. As soon as a person lands on one of your online properties, they’ll instantly decide whether it’s worth their time to continue learning what you have to offer or not.
If you succeed at grabbing their attention in the first 3 seconds, then you’ve expended your time to additional few seconds (let’s say 5).
They land on your Facebook page for example and they see the first post in your timeline. This post is an article that you’ve done a great job crafting the headline!
They’ll follow that headline, land into your website and decide to spend few more seconds reading the first paragraph of your article to see if it’s worth their time or not.
They read the introduction, it promises them something of great value, they’ll continue reading until the end. They find your call to action, subscribe to your email list…etc. I’m sure you got the point.
I call this the hook technique because you always keep your prospects hooked and you reel them in gradually until you convert them. I’m not saying that you should treat your audience like fish or anything. I’m just using this analogy to better explain how the process works.
Now that you know what those first few seconds mean to your small business, let’s see how you can make the best out of them!
1- Have A Consistent Look
No matter whether you’re operating online or offline, VISUAL is key!
It’s true that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but that’s the first thing people consider when they’re getting to know someone/something.
The decision of whether your prospects should invest some time into learning more on your brand comes from their first visual contact with your brand.
Don’t get me wrong here. I don’t mean that you should make any fancy graphics or anything, as sometimes the simpler your appearance, the easier it’s going to be for your audience to connect with it.
If you look at big/successful brands, you’ll instantly see that all of their online and offline properties have the same look.
Let’s take a look at one of the big boys:
Let’s look at some small businesses
Noticing a trend here?
Yes, these 2 businesses have a CONSISTENT look across all of their online properties. WHY?
Because they want their customers to feel the same way no matter what the communication channel is.
If you want people to connect with your brand, then you need to make it really easy for them to remember it and connect with it. You don’t want your audience to feel like they’re talking to another brand they know when they’re on one of your social profiles.
If you’re a fan of Starbucks, then you’ll instantly feel that connection each time you’re interacting with them. This visual connection will trigger strong emotions (depending on the affinity you have with your customers/prospects) that will lead to higher conversions.
If you’re just starting out with social media marketing, then try to identify the main colors your website has. If you don’t have a website yet, then start with your logo. These colors will be dominant across all of your social profiles. Also, try to use the same or similar graphics that you’re already using. This will make your social profiles an extension to your existing business, not something completely strange!
2- Have a Consistent Tone
Visual isn’t everything when it comes to branding. The tone of your voice that you’ll use to communicate with your audience across your social channels plays a major role in converting those new or existing customers.
The tone of voice has more to do with personality than the message you’re addressing itself. It’s what makes you stand out from your competition and get recognized easily. If your followers recognize your message without seeing who the sender was, then you can say that you have a distinct tone. There are very few brands that master the art of tone consistency, and I can usually spot them in a mile without seeing their names. I sometimes read guest posts, and by the end of the first paragraph, I know who the writer was. I scroll down to the bio, and see that I was correct!
Unlike visual branding, finding the right tone that suits your business personality and values could take some time as well as trial and error. You can also use the information we’ve collected in the previous steps to build a suitable tone for your company which people love and connect with easily. If you’ve done your market research and found your typical customer, then now you know what type of people they are. Based on that, you can design your tone to include some aspects like enthusiasm, professionalism, fun, personal, friendly, helpful, passion…etc.
The more interaction you have with your target audience, the more you’ll learn of what drives them on and the best you can adjust your tone to fit those needs.
Try to list 2 or more values that your company works by. Let’s say that you want to connect on a deeper level with your audience, then including some personal experiences will help you achieve that. The 2nd component might be being helpful as much as you can. If you start with these 2 components and combine them in a unique way, you’ll have a pretty distinct tone, and once people get familiar to it, they’ll connect with it immediately.
Let’s say that someone asked you how they can get more Facebook fans on their page. A good example mixing these 2 elements would be giving them your best strategies to achieving that goal (that’s you being helpful). If you want to include some personal experiences, then you should mention one or two that will teach them something about this subject. May be it’s a client you worked with and achieved good results for. May be it’s a campaign you ran and resulted in very good outcomes. May be it’s just something that happened to you during the day…etc. If you do it consistently, people will start talking about how helpful, honest and personal you were with them.
A great person who I know has a consistent tone that people really love and connect with is Pat Flynn from SmartPassiveIncome.com. Pat includes a personal tone in his posts, and that’s I believe the reason behind people liking and trusting him so much to the point that they’ll buy anything he recommends. The great thing that very few bloggers dare to show are income reports. He shows people every penny he earned online and all the lessons he learned each month. Also, each time he puts an affiliate link, he mentions it to let people know that he will earn a commission if they purchase through his link. He sometimes mentions important family events and receives a gazillion of comments on each of his blog posts. In addition to all of that, he provides highly quality content to his readers (and I really mean HIGH QUALITY). Check out his blog to learn more about how he does branding successfully.
There are many small businesses that does a very good job at branding. Few of them are SocialMediaExaminer.com using the idea of exploring the social media jungle and branding all of their social channels based on that idea. Mari Smith also does a wonderful job as I mentioned above with her exceptional smile whenever she takes a picture or her turquoise color that she used as her brand color. Visual isn’t actually the only thing she uses for branding, she also mixes fun with enthusiasm in all of her messages (whether text, video or podcasts). She uses a variety of words that show her enthusiasm like (WooHoo!!!, Whee!, Wow!, ) and people tend to really like that.
What If People Don’t Like My Actual Branding?
Let’s say that you already have an established brand, but many people tend to ignore it. What will you do then?
If you learn that people don’t find your brand to be exceptional or that the interaction is at its bottom, then it’s probably time for REBRANDING!
Even the most successful brands have to do rebranding sometimes. Why? It’s because brands become boring with time and people will start interacting with other brands that have recently entered the market. I like to quote president Obama for his famous quote “Change We Need!”.
We need to change, evolve and adapt to stay relevant ClickToTweet
If you see that you’re losing attention, then you can rebrand your business using the data you’ve collected about your customers. This way, you’ll ensure that people always notice your brand, interact with it, like it, talk about it to their friends and stay loyal to it.
Now that you know how social branding works, it’s time for us to take all of the previous knowledge into action. Our next step in designing the perfect social media marketing strategy for your business will be designing and implementing the posting strategy. Stay tuned. Subscribe Bellow.
Image Credit: nicolasnova