There’s no escaping it, social media is huge. It plays a massive role in our daily lives, and it also plays a crucial role in building a brand. I know it has done for me anyway. But along the way there’s a few tips and tricks I’ve learned to make your social media work even harder. These are things I work through with a lot of my clients, but with this post I thought I’d give you a little insight into some of the things I’ve done, and continue to do as I evolve my brand.
Before we get into it, what I will say is that you can’t treat your brand social media like a personal channel. Why? Because it represents your business on a daily basis. And when it’s on-point, it can do a lot of that client attraction work for you. It’s the perfect shop window for your brand, and it can grab attention and hook people in.
But when it’s not right, it can be an instant turn off for potential clients. And without trying to scare you too much, sometimes all it takes is one bad post. But enough of the negative thoughts, positivity breeds positivity, so let’s get started.
#1 What’s the message and who’s it for?
Just like when you start your branding journey, you need to know what your message is, and who it’s for. Why? Because locking that down enables you to post exactly the right content based on your brand values and what you know your audience is looking for.
More than that, knowing who you’re targeting will enable you to better understand where and when to post. There’s no point focussing massively on Twitter if your entire audience use Instagram for example. And because of all the fun and games with algorithms, there’s no point posting in the evening if your analytics tell you your audience will be online at 7:30AM GMT is there? It’s a waste of a post. And the lack of engagement will only mean the algorithm punishes your content more moving forwards.
So make a plan. Create your strategy and stick to it. Yes, if your audience start to be online at different times you can adapt, but by putting the work in to know your message and your audience, you can put all of your content through those filters, ensuring that everything you share is working for you.
#2 Use every touchpoint
Social media alone is not a touchpoint. There are so many elements within it, and you need a strategy for each of them. Plus, you can use their built in functionality to boost your content even further. Of course you have the classic, in-feed posts on Instagram and Facebook. I mean, they’re an absolute no brainer, if that’s where your audience is. But there is so much more out there at your fingertips.
Take Instagram stories for example. That is a huge touchpoint. Why? Because creating a story bypasses the algorithm and positions you at the very top of everyone’s feed. You’re there, for your followers to see every time they open their app. That real estate, that shop window is so powerful. And how often do you watch stories before scrolling down your feed? I know I do it, a lot.
Another massive touchpoint is Facebook Live. Why? Because every time you go live your followers get a notification. Facebook pushes you to the very front of their mind. And they can click through to see the face behind the brand talking about one of their pain points (I’ll come onto that later). They’ll hear your opinion, and because they already know you and like you, they’ll trust what you have to say. That’s when you can convert them into a customer.
#3 Use your content effectively
Now, just using every touchpoint isn’t enough either. You need to use your content in ways that best suit the channel. For example, beautiful imagery and designed elements are perfect for in-feed posts. That’s where you’ll get the most engagement. Guaranteed.
In contrast, Facebook Lives are a great way for you to be visible. That’s where you can show off your expertise and offer an opinion on pain points, or the big topics that your audience are struggling with. By showing the face and voice behind your brand you can start to create the emotional connection with your audience.
Now, Instagram Stories are a different beast altogether. In my opinion they can be much more flexible in the way that you use them. You can hero things you feature on your feed. You can share your thoughts and opinions, in a similar way to Facebook Live. Or you can use this touchpoint to give people an insight into your business life. Take people behind the scenes. Give them a sneak peek of what you’re working on, or where you are for a meeting. Or why not show how you spend your down time. Self-care is massive and by showing off that personal, human side you can really build that deeper connection with your audience.
#4 Engage your audience
Now speaking of connecting with your audience, engagement is massive. And there’s a few ways to nail this. What you don’t ever want to do is make people feel like they’re being hit over the head with a sales message. You need to create that connection. And one of the ways that’s worked most successfully for me, is building a community.
I created a free Facebook group, The B Studio, which is aimed at my target audience and offers a supportive, friendly space with access to tips, opportunities to share success and advice. I push them, they push each other and we all keep each other accountable when it comes to getting where we wanna’ be. I’m in there every day. Whether it’s speaking to people, setting challenges or hosting Q and A’s I’m always trying to nurture my audience.
But a Facebook group is just one way. You can host Q&A’s on Instagram or on Facebook Lives, you can ask questions and create surveys. But if you do it right, communicate with them on their level, engage them and build them up with lots of valuable knowledge and insight you’ll soon have an engaged audience, ready to buy, buy, buy.
#5 Stop the scroll
A massive issue when it comes to marketing on social media is finding a way to cut through. There’s a lot of noise these days, like a lot. Friends, brands, influencers, celebrities, broadcasters. We are all bombarded with so many messages that finding a way to cut through the noise is absolutely essential, otherwise everything you’re trying to say, and your amazing work will just get lost.
Some research suggests that people scroll up to 90 metres a day. NINETY METRES. So you need to find a way to grab their attention and hook them in. It needs to be considered, on-point and ultimately consistent with everything else you’re putting out there. But if you do the groundwork, if you nail your message and you post at the right time, on the right channels you’ll be onto a winner.
Actually, what works really well, and it follows on from point 4, is engaging your audience. Asking them questions. Making them feel like they’re valued by you, and your brand. Why? Because when everyone else is shouting, sometimes the easiest way to cut through is to approach everything from the opposite end of the spectrum. Be yourself, inspire them and make that connection count.
#6 Find the balance between paid and unpaid
Finding the balance between focussing on paid, or unpaid posts also plays a crucial role when it comes to building your brand on social. It’s something that I tried to do myself and a balance that I’m still trying to get absolutely nailed. But there’s no doubting the impact it can have. As a self-made, self-funded entrepreneur, unpaid posts have played a huge role in getting me where I am today. I nailed my message, I knew who I was talking to and I create bespoke content for each touchpoint. However, I realised that by relying on unpaid, organic posts you’re simply throwing your message out there and hoping the algorithm is kind to you.
With paid ads you can target people directly. And you can see the results. But what I would say, is work with an expert. Understanding everything from targeting, to spend and of course, all the functional guidelines of what to post is a minefield. For example, did you know paid posts are penalised if more than 20% of the image features text? There are all sorts of tricks you can implement to ensure you’re maximising your reach and engagement, so your investment delivers the benefits you want.
I honestly I can’t stress how much working with a specialist has changed my results. I trust her to hit the right people, and I’ve noticed massive lifts in traffic and sign ups to my Facebook group. But whatever route you choose, that balance is everything. You can’t have a feed that’s never updated. It will just put people off. My advice, keep up the daily posts, and put paid spend behind big moments that you really want to push.
#7 Tell people where to go
No, not like that, obviously. I making sure people have somewhere to go from each of your posts. You need to drive them somewhere. You need a call to action. Whether it’s your website, or your Facebook group, or another platform, they need a destination. Why? Because if they are hooked in by your post, you need to give them the opportunity to discover more about who you are and what you do. Getting their attention is massive, so you just have to make the most of it.
You can tailor these call to actions based on the platform you’re using. I mean, obviously you can’t have live links in Instagram posts, but you need your website in your bio. And if you get to 10K followers, and unlock swipe ups for your Instagram Stories, use them. They can be so valuable to your brand, taking your clients into your world to discover more. As a general rule, anywhere you can place a link, do it, do it, do it.
The other massive thing to remember is that you must, must, must have a mobile optimized website. A lot of people neglect it, but it’s absolutely critical. You don’t want to spend all that time on your social media, cut through the noise, hook people in, and then click through to your website and become instantly turned off. It needs to do your brand and your social strategy justice.
There it is, my thoughts on 7 ways to build a brand on social media. But before I leave you, I need to stress that, before you start sharing on social, you need your brand to be locked down and on-point. You can’t just post willy nilly, so make sure you put the foundations in place, then use these tips to take your brand to the next level on social.