When done right, building a brand on social can pay dividends for your business and set you up for years of success. One small misstep, however, can result in lost trust and credibility that can take the same amount of time to regain.
Inspired by insights gleaned from Linkedin’s recent episode of Live with Marketers, “Building a Brilliant Brand,” here are the five key marketing items to add to your checklist for 2020:
Lock in your brand’s purpose
A brand without a purpose is equivalent to a captain of a ship without a compass. Before you begin to map your content strategy, take a close look at the mission, vision, and values of your business. By addressing this first and prioritizing its importance, you’ll have a much easier time understanding what your brand should say and do on social and answer important questions including how do we think about communicating authentically as a brand? What are my business goals of sharing this message? Is this the proper way to amplify our brand voice most effectively?
From there, you will naturally develop a style and voice that resonates through the lens of your purpose in a way that lets your audience know they’re heard and they’re sharing the journey with you. In this way, your strategies go deeper than simply how you’re talking. It becomes a matter of how you’re setting people up for productivity and success through your content.
Find your voice, tone, and point of view
As a brand, there are a plethora of options on the table when it comes to finding your voice and tone. The best place to start is referring back to your purpose. As an added step, be sure to carefully determine how your message maps back onto your goals as a brand.
While this can get fairly complex, at the end of the day audiences expect brands to be authentic and to feel part of a two-way conversation. Understand what your brand sounds like and convey this in a way that has a human touch that is easily decipherable. This may take slightly different formats as you navigate between channels, but generally, this will be a best practice to apply across each.
For inspiration, check out Wendy’s, arguably the biggest envy in the marketing space today for their ability to be eye-catching, witty, and friendly all at the same time proving social media isn’t just fluff but rather a very impactful business tool that can directly drive ROI.
Post at least once per day
In a digital age where the pace of information continues to increase, cadence is key. This is how your audience will ultimately grow to anticipate your content and set apart your brand from your competition. When managing a variety of platforms, this simple task can feel daunting and hard to nail down into a disciplined, organized regimen. Fortunately, there are plenty of scheduling tools such as Hootsuite available to keep you accountable.
On top of these tools, you shouldn’t shirk the responsibility of creating and managing your own content calendar. This is your living, breathing document that will maintain a running tally of your posts detailing key elements such as your assortment of topics and volume.
Use this document as a sanity check to determine if your content mix is diverse enough, if you have gaps you can fill by identifying additional conversations, or if you should make adjustments based on the highest points of engagement from a timing perspective.
Allow your audience analytics to help you with these decisions. You don’t have to make them alone; you simply have to listen and be aware of the conversations as they happen. They’ll tell you what your audience likes, when they’re online, what’s converting, what copy is or isn’t doing well, what posts are engaged with the most, and much more. Over time, you can evolve your content strategy and optimize accordingly.
Don’t overlook the importance of context and value-add
Another key element in your communication to keep in mind is a value-add. Whether that comes from being empowering, comical, snarky, or something entirely different, knowing which of these — or some combination — will resonate is integral. This all may sound easier said than done, but oftentimes it involves a simple switch of the caps, that is, putting yourself in the shoes of your audience and creating a customer persona.
Once you have this visual, identify what elements of your message would be thumb-stopping to them and curate your message in a way that aligns so they’ll be compelled to take that next action.
When gauging whether to tap into trends, holidays and other cultural moments, a recurring question for brands becomes do we lean in or is it best to stay silent? While many get this right, a large number also get this wrong. You can take risks to a point, but there is a fine line between when you’ll bring more harm to your brand than good.
To define this line, refer back to your brand purpose and ask yourself will you be improving on the silence in a way that isn’t forced or ingenuine? If the answer is no, keep in mind there will always be more opportunities. A good rule of thumb if the answer is yes? Make sure its timely and the moment hasn’t passed.
Map strong engagement back to the metrics
Every business is unique and has many marketing benchmarks from which to weigh the outcomes of its marketing efforts. Different objectives, unsurprisingly, will fuel different outcomes.
For instance, when looking to boost brand awareness paid media will commonly be relied upon to expose content to the greatest volume of people possible. Engagement on the other hand, may result in a carefully delivered post or campaign that is targeted to a select group of our audience, a larger percentage of which you want to react positively and engage with whatever the call-to-action may be.
Conversion, which is arguably the most cut and dry, hinges on tracing individuals through the customer journey, deepening relationships, and finding ways to leverage learnings and experiences to sustain long-term audience growth.
A best practice as you align any of the above or other KPIs to your social media content is continually do active audience research. In doing so, no matter what metric you’re working towards, you’ll be certain your brand values are in sync with your customers’ core values and you’re harnessing your channels in a way that identifies conversations occurring around the topics you want to talk about.
Deepening key audience relationships and elevating your brand voice above the noise is rewarding work, but marketers must always anticipate that this is a fluctuating responsibility demanding constant reevaluation of core strategies and tactics. A simple formula to achieve this? A relentless hustle + good judgment + proper business acumen.
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