9 Steps to Building your Social Media Identity
For a message that travels further
It’s the age of the startup, and it seems like everywhere you look people are launching their own business. Disconcertingly, for many of us, the marketing process seems like uncharted territory.
Establishing and developing your brand’s online presence is a critical step and knowing where to start can be tricky. So here are 9 essential steps that will help any new business establish a brand identity and a great online presence!
1. Establish your unique value proposition
The importance of this first tip cannot be overstated. Your unique value proposition is a statement about who you are and why your brand is different from its competitors. Until you’ve established your UVP, your marketing efforts will be at best unfocused and at worst wasted.
Why does your company exist? What does it provide that other competitors simply don’t, and how does that benefit your clients? Once you have established this point, every part of your marketing process should aim to highlight and reinforce this idea.
2. Identify industry figureheads
Every industry has its leaders, and following them is a great way to start. There are a number of benefits for you in doing so — not only will you stay up to date on key industry developments and themes, you can also re-post their content to establish authority for your own brand.
It’s also a good idea to build a relationship with these thought leaders where possible, since they may be interested in your product and are extremely well placed to talk about it to the whole community.
3. Make sure your tagging game is strong
A lot of people use hashtags wrong — make sure you’re not one of them! Hashtags are NOT a way for you to get #cleverjokesintoyour Twitter feed. In short, they are a keyword search for social media — an essential means of letting you find your audience, and your audience find you.
New businesses should start by establishing the range of hashtags being used to describe their product and industry. A number of services exist to help you figure this out: Hashtagify.me and SproutSocial both allow you to find the hashtags that apply to your market and also identify associated tags. By finding out what terms people are using, you’ll ensure maximum exposure for your own posts, and even tap into new audiences.
4. Integrate news and trending issues
Smart marketers understand that it pays to keep an eye on the buzz. If something is big news, you can bet your audience will enjoy engaging with it. Why not get creative and integrate the events of the day into your campaign?
Here’s a great example:
Content like this would be perfect for a tonic or soft drinks brand, and ties in perfectly with the day’s top story, Brexit.
A cheeky nod to the latest trending issues not only makes you appear informed and on the ball; it also allows your brand to hack into some of the hype already happening, for no extra cost.
5. Curate and publish brand-relevant quotes
In marketing, it’s no longer good enough to tell your customers why they need your product — the real trick is getting someone else to do it for you. Why not curate quotes from the news and relevant blogs that support your brand message? Imagine you’re a mineral water brand; here’s one example of how you could use a quote to build your brand and spread your message all in one:
A quote like this not only builds a market for what you’re offering, but also serves as interesting content that your audience can share on their own platforms, thus amplifying your message for free.
And best of all, since the quote comes from an external source, it is far more effective for advocating your product than your own voice. Quotes truly are a silver bullet when used right.
6. Create vertical posts
It’s time to get brutal — your audience doesn’t care about your business. It does, however, care about how your brand can help them. So make your point clearly and don’t be afraid to tailor your posts for different targets.
Case studies and vertical posts are incredibly effective for explaining precisely how your service can serve your clients’ specific needs. Posts like these therefore serve not only to promote your brand, but to generate a market for the product among different audiences.
7. Become a thought leader (create great content)
Building authority on social media is an uphill climb, but definitely worth the effort. What do I mean by building authority? Establishing yourself as a source of useful information for clients allows them to build trust in your brand — meaning you’re more likely to get their business when it’s time to buy. What’s the best way of doing this?
Creating relevant content is a sure way of building trust with your audience, while also promoting your own product. Articles and how-to guides are a great start, but don’t forget videos and infographics, which perform great on social media.
8. Set up a content feed
Let’s talk a little more about content. Having great features is your best hook for social media, but creating them is incredibly time consuming for a small business. Thankfully there’s a loophole — nobody said the content had t be yours!
Now you’ve established the hot topics in your industry, you can curate relevant content from across the web. A number of services exist to help you find content by keyword and post it directly to your social platforms — try Feedly or SwiftSocial. And don’t be afraid to play with different formats like video — BuzzSumo can show you which formats perform best in your industry.
9. TALK TO YOUR FOLLOWERS!
People love social media because it removes the barriers between the audience and the brand. Don’t be afraid to interact with your followers, and encourage them to interact with you by posting questions, competitions and funny content— this also contributes to establishing trust.
Better still, some members of your audience will inevitably be industry heavyweights with their own blog — a greater online presence allows you to build relationships with these people, and could lead to some extra coverage for your brand.
There you have it — 9 essential steps to branding success on social media. It’s daunting to launch a new business, but by balancing a systematic approach with a bit of creativity, your online campaign will be off to a great start.