Not too long ago, consumers were only exposed and influenced by brands that had the means to launch expensive commercials or magazines spreads. It was a market saturated by multimillion dollar companies, airing commercials at the right time with the right message.
Now those same companies are struggling trying to stay relevant in a world that has shifted online. They are battling any teenager who has enough time to make YouTube videos or post engaging Instagram pictures. They are fighting the cute cat and puppy videos that go viral on Facebook while they spend millions of dollars trying to create engaging content.
Social media has changed branding forever. It has given more power to consumers, and it has shaped the type of content and advertising they expect. Smart eCommerce businesses have to understand and play by the rules of the game. Otherwise, they will stay irrelevant online and their sales will suffer. Use this guide to learn how you can implement a successful branding strategy in today’s social environment. Let’s get started!
Before delving into how to use social media, let’s understand a bit more about some of the major platforms available and the users behind them. Facebook is still the king of all social media platforms. It boasts 2 billion monthly users, followed by YouTube with 1.5 billion users, and Instagram with 700 million. However, it is also the “grandfather” of all social media platforms. Surpassing MySpace fame, Facebook was one of the first social media platforms with massive success that is still around today.
This means its users are becoming older and older. In a survey, Facebook proved to be more popular among non-millennials, but, still, around 44% of them say they use it every day. Millennials are turning to Instagram and Snapchat instead. The same survey showed that about 34% of millennials ages 18-24, and 25% of millennials ages 25-34, are using Instagram daily. Use this knowledge to choose your platforms wisely.
I bet you’ve heard this point many times before—“humanize your brand for social media”—but do you really understand and apply it to your own social branding? Being human on social media is more than using popular hashtags or slang in hopes of being relatable. It’s allowing your eCommerce business to be transparent and honest, and, most importantly, to have a personality. That’s what’s going to make your brand more human and memorable.
Unfortunately, many brands fall short in trying to “humanize” their brand because they are scared of being too bold or non-inclusive with their audience. They opt for being safe and formal, which can come across as inauthentic and which social media users hate. A study found that 91 percent of consumers want the brands they follow to be authentic in their posts; by ranking “honesty about products and services” highest.
So, don’t be scared of being more colloquial than usual on social media. Use the platform to your advantage by giving color and personality to your brand. Wendy’s followed this advice and is one of the top brands on Twitter, thanks to their snarky comments. See their smart response to McDonald’s tweet below:
Consistency Is Key to Remain Relevant to Users
Social media’s nature is fast. Someone can be viral today and forgotten tomorrow. Thus, it’s important to not only be relevant but make the proper efforts to remain that way. Consistency in posting, messaging, and look and feel can help you do just that. For instance, posting consistently will allow you to stay on the top of everyone’s mind, strengthening your eCommerce brand.
It will also allow you to nurture potential customers that may have liked your page at some point, or that may have become aware of your brand through advertising. Remember that the customer’s purchasing journey requires many touchpoints to be successful. Someone interested in your product may have found you on Facebook and may only buy from your store after being exposed to the brand in multiple other social media channels.
Furthermore, having a consistent message and look and feel will help shape your brand’s personality. This is key in influencing users to make a purchase. It’s what can make your brand relatable and more attractive. See how Apple keeps a consistent vibrant color look below:
The best way to achieve overall consistency is planning out an organic posting schedule to complement your social media marketing campaigns. By planning and scheduling posts in advance, you’ll make sure you never miss a post. It will also give you an overview of the whole schedule to make sure your message and images are consistent with your brand.
Take advantage of free or affordable post scheduling options to build a successful planner. For example, HootSuite is a very useful tool to schedule posts for any social media. Later is another great scheduling tool specific for Instagram.
Social media influencers have become indispensable for brands. They have so much power, that many of them have become millionaires just by doing promotions or even starting their own brands. Besides allowing brands to benefit from their huge following, influencers offer many other advantages, such as instant social proof. Many people relate to or look up to their favorite influencers. Thus, if they use or wear a particular product, chances are every single one of their followers will want to buy the same products.
Leverage the power of influencers to shape your brand’s personality. Choose the one or ones that embody your brand. For instance, if your brand is very masculine, you may not want to get a girly fashion blogger to advertise your latest protein shake. The influencer you choose has to fit your buyer persona so that your buyers identify with him or her, which influences a purchase decision.
When looking for the ideal influencer, compare his or her followers with their level of engagement (likes and comments). There has to be a balance between the number of followers to engagement; otherwise, the followers may be fake, so be cautious. To make the searching process more effective, you can use a tool such as BrandSnob. It’s an app that allows you to build a campaign for influencers to bid on.
As you can see, branding has changed quite a bit over the years. Thanks to social media, people’s engagement and expectation of brands have completely shifted. Make sure you stay on top of all the latest trends to remain relevant in your industry.