It’s getting to the point where it’s hard to innovate on social media.
There’s nothing unique about just being on social media anymore. Your grandma has had a Facebook account for almost a decade at this point.
Despite social media being an established norm, many emerging and commercially successful brands continue to get social media wrong. This can severely hamper their abilities to reach new audiences and even undo all the good work their other forms of marketing had done.
When you build a brand on social media … Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the rest … it’s not the same as it was even just a couple of years ago, as the platforms innovate and the internet generation continues to change their attitudes towards their favorite apps.
If you’re looking for different ways to build a brand on social media, here are some unique ways to look at the platform and innovate.
Interact with Customers
The clue to successful social media brand building is in the name, being social.
People didn’t join social media to read lifeless press releases that would put investors to sleep. They joined to witness offhanded, unfiltered thoughts, and feel closer to the things they enjoy.
Building your brand is about making a connection with people. As the top brand-building marketers and executives know, your brand is less what you’re projecting onto an audience and more a reflection of what they think of you. As the video below explains, more than a logo and name, your brand is your reputation as a business:
In today’s modern market, your interactions on social media are what build your brand. This can be anything from promptly answering customer queries and complaints to actively seeking out other hot brands at the time and interacting with them. Build up trust from both ends. Having conversations makes your brand appear genuine and earn consumers’ trust.
Understand what makes a platform unique
Habits and trends like communication patterns and viral videos make social media unique, but they are rarely universal across all the different platforms.
A piece of content or brand-building exercise will rarely have the same appeal across a range of different social platforms. There are wildly different demographics using these platforms daily, and Instagram doesn’t lend itself to the same kind of content that would do well on Facebook.
In this case, you should let the data guide your decision-making. Not just age and gender, though, but the general tone of the platform, their private communities, and the reasoning behind people using them. A user may log into Facebook to communicate directly with their family and be less susceptible to branding content. When they log into Instagram, they’re more than happy to explore the brands their favorite influencer is promoting that day.
Think about what makes your brand appealing and what audience it already has. Then compare that against the biggest social media platforms and go with the ones that line up. Don’t just focus on the audience though, a piece of content inherently of the platform can help establish a different side to your brand that an audience may not expect, but only when done right.
Experiment with Your Content
Content rules on social media.
Much in the same way that your brand’s social pages will suffer if it’s full of unanswered messages and rarely interacts with other pages, a lack of content can make a brand feel uninteresting or as if they’re not taking social media seriously.
You not only need to be consistent in how frequently you post content but create something that innovates and catches the attention of new audiences. You shouldn’t be afraid to try something new, whether that’s deviating from your traditional brand guidelines for content or creating something that is totally out of line with your industry.
Something unique can catch fire on a social media platform, sometimes just by being out of character for a brand. That exposure, usually through word of mouth, tells social algorithms that this is content people want to see. This can lead to further promotion by the platform itself (especially if it’s content the platform prioritizes).
Organic shares are one of the most powerful forms of boosting your social media following. This video discusses how the best way to earn shares is by eliciting an emotional response:
Social media (and internet culture conventions built through platforms such as YouTube) have been around for years now, so conforming to expectations will likely only get you so far. If you’re looking to reach an internet-savvy consumer audience, you’re going to need to think outside the box and trigger a new emotional response.
Stay Ahead of the Game
Social media, like much of modern life, moves incredibly quickly. A brand that wants to build its reputation on social platforms can’t spend ages tweaking content or sticking to the same ideas. It needs to stay ahead of the game.
What does that mean exactly? Two things; researching upcoming trends and stepping out of your comfort zone to see what is bubbling under the surface of mainstream social media.
Tools such as Google Trends aren’t just useful for drop shippers looking for the next fad product. They’re a great way of telling what conversations are rumbling and about to erupt into public consciousness.
This can happen quickly, so be sharp. Noticing a trend can help you write the joke that gets hundreds of retweets and shares, putting your brand name out there to a whole new audience. It also enables you to avoid latching onto a trend too late, making sure you’re not putting out content as a phase starts to feel old.
Secondly, you need to have an idea of what people are talking about and how they’re communicating on social platforms outside of the mainstream.
This isn’t quite the same as latching onto a trend, as it’s more about adapting to what is the accepted ‘meta’ of social media. It might all sound a bit high school, but learning to communicate in the manner “real” people are on these platforms and in an accepted “cool” way is essential for generating interest amongst particular audiences. Emojis are a classic example of this. It’s become an essential part of modern brand building, did you ever expect to see top brands talking like this?
Build Outside of Social Media
We tell our kids not to spend all day on social media, so why are major international brands different?
Social media can’t be all you do. Abandoning other marketing forms in favor of focusing on Facebook and Instagram could be disastrous to your brand. You risk losing a significant chunk of your audience who don’t enjoy social media. You not only need to continue other marketing efforts but see how they align with your social marketing branding strategy.
Pro Tip: When you publish a blog post, make it easy for your audience to share it on social with Social Warfare!
When you hold live events, encourage people to head to your social pages and share content and posts about the event. Being tagged in a picture on someone’s timeline is often one of the best forms of exposure an emerging brand can get and gives them a real place in the world.
Hold live streams through social platforms to communicate directly with your audience. If you’re using another platform such as Twitch, encourage people to send in questions through Facebook or Twitter. The same goes for platforms such as Reddit, where you can use AMAs to direct people to social media.
Social should become just another part of your brand-building strategy but in a more subtle way. Always throw in little reminders about the platform and use it as a promotional tool for your other activities and content.
There are many different ways to build your brand on popular social media platforms, both traditional (if social media can be traditional at this point) and innovative. Trust in what data is telling you, and don’t be afraid to go against convention.