The advent of social media revolutionized the way brands communicated with customers. Instead of trying to broadcast an advertising message that somehow connected with the individual, brands are connecting with their target customer base by having an active presence on the platforms their customers are active on—particularly, on social media.
The only problem? Countless businesses and brands are all competing for that individual’s attention. Why should browsers follow you? What do you have to offer that’s unique and different from the rest?
Building brand awareness through social media can be a challenging, complex task, but it comes with great benefits. If you’re able to cut through the static and deliver a message that resonates, not only will you gain additional followers, you’ll also generate customer loyalty. It’s the first step towards mastering social media for business.
What Is Brand Awareness?
Brand awareness is one of the most powerful ways to set your product or services apart from competitors. Brands with a high level of awareness are more likely to generate sales because the consumer sees their product as the obvious solution. When consumers quickly recognize your brand and recall your product’s benefits, you’ve succeeded in creating the ideal setting for the purchasing process to proceed.
There are three main steps to brand awareness marketing. Social media can help you achieve all three of the following:
- Educate target demographic about the need or problem.
- Demonstrate the most effective solution.
- Position your product or service as their best option.
Generating brand awareness through social media is both easier and harder than with traditional advertising. It’s easier because you control your message in its entirety, but it’s also harder because you must make small judgments that have a surprisingly far-reaching effect on the consumer’s perception of your brand (e.g., such as how often to post and the type of message you should spread.) Use the following guidelines to help:
Identify Your Target Platform
Don’t spend time crafting content for a social media audience that won’t be receptive. Find the platform that’s widely used by your ideal customer first, then design a strategy to fit.
For example, Instagram’s community of 112 million users is made up largely of young adults. 55 percent of all 18 to 29 year olds use Instagram. On the other hand, 62 percent of all adults age 65 and over who use the Internet also use Facebook. It’s important to know who you’re marketing to in order to identify where to spend your time. Evaluate your brand’s current presence on the social media platform with the potential to have the most traction with your target audience – are you making the right connections?
Craft Your Tone
Part of building brand awareness on social media starts with the brand possessing a general social media awareness. There is a right way and a wrong way to approach your audience, so it’s worth it to spend time crafting and perfecting the right tone.
Standard advertising speak doesn’t play well in a social media setting. Where a traditional advertisement is like trying to shout as loudly as possible to compete with all of the other noises being broadcast in a consumer’s direction, posting on social media is the opposite. You’re trying to whisper quietly and intimately, drawing other users in with your authenticity, as if your post is an inside joke only the two of you understand.
Spend time looking at your competitors and assessing the nature and tone of their posts. What do they do that works? What can you improve on? Above all else, make sure you set yourself apart within your niche by starting a conversation rather than setting up a billboard.
Focus on Providing Value
There’s a rule for branded social media use: follow the 70/20/10 rule.
- 70 percent of the time, focus on providing value to your audience. Share industry tips and tricks. Get creative. Be resourceful.
- 20 percent of the time, post user generated content that others share about your brand or any other topic.
- Only 10 percent of the time should your posts be promotional in nature. This is when you can take the opportunity to talk about an upcoming sale.
While this strategy is commonly used for Facebook, it’s a good rule of thumb for all social platforms. Ultimately, you’re aiming to build credibility. 90 percent promotional content won’t help, but a concentrated dose mixed with a range of other helpful and interesting content will.
Develop a Plan and a Budget
Social media is consistently cited as the best “free advertising” available for brands. Yes, it’s free to create an account and start posting, but you may find that it’s worth the investment to use targeted advertising to grow your reach.
Also, investing in quality content is another case of money well spent. Once you have developed a detailed strategy for your platform of choice, consider how paying for advertising, analytics and strategy could help advance your goals that much faster.
Cultivate an Influencer Network
Brand influencers are the customers who love your brand, love what you offer and are ready and willing to share with their followers (and maybe they already have.) Building a network of these influencers is vitally important to your success – why?
Social influencers produce the original content that you can share with your own followers. This will help enrich your credibility with current and prospective followers. It will increase the buzz around your brand. It spreads your message. It drives leads that may turn into sales. Pixlee can help you grow an influencer network from the ground up on Instagram and measure the actual return on investment in this form of increasing brand awareness. Social media and your influencers can become one of your most effective marketing tools.
Measure Your Progress
How will you know if your efforts to increase brand awareness through social media are working? Measuring your progress is essential because it provides real-time feedback on what’s working with your social strategy and what isn’t.
Make sure you note the amount of referral traffic headed your way. Check out the volume of the branded searches on your products and services. Watch web traffic and track conversions from social media. Brand awareness is only the first step in the sales cycle, and you want to make sure your efforts are leading in the right direction.
Social media and brand awareness are undeniably connected. Brands that don’t spend time focusing on social media awareness training and an in-depth knowledge of these marketing techniques leave influence, sales and success on the table. Don’t let that be you.