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Building Brand Awareness Through Social Media
Social media, if used correctly, can be one of the most effective methods of building awareness for your brand. The main reason social media can be so effective is because it allows you to build and maintain relationships with customers while simultaneously providing the opportunity to find new leads. Remember, one of the core values of consumers nowadays is authenticity. Your customers want to trust you and building trust requires a relationship to be formed. Social media is the best place for engagement, and engagement should be a core part of your strategy.
In addition to engagement, social media platforms also allow for content promotion. How much you intend to spend on your social media strategy though will also influence your strategy of promotion. Paid ads give you the opportunity for more visibility, but they can become expensive very quickly. Organically promoting your business involves more of your time as it requires much more engagement strategy which includes liking and commenting on others posts, responding to messages, connecting with groups and businesses, and utilizing popular hashtags.
Whether you have the ability to pay for ads or not, you are going to have to get creative with your posts. You can create all of the content in the world, but if you play it safe and post borning content, it will not catch users’ attention. Most social media users engage with posts that are primarily eye-catching images or videos. People centered content and using humor in your posts also grab user attention.
We know this is a lot to consider, so let’s start breaking down the process.
Getting Started: Determining the Right Platforms For You
As you think about how you want to balance your time and energy on certain aspects of your business, determining which platforms are right for you contribute to that balance. Having a profile on every platform for the sake of presence will probably be a waste of your time. Instead, consider some of the following aspects that can help you determine the right platform for you. What is ‘right for you’ is first and foremost based on which platforms your customers are on and why they are there. If your target market isn’t on a platform, then there is no point in you engaging on that particular platform.
To figure out where your target market is, first consider the age demographic of your target market in terms of social media. While over 80% of the last 4 generations use social media, which platforms they are on differ and can inform your platform choices. For example, Millennials tend to have a larger variety of platforms they engage with while Gen Z typically engages with only 3 platforms a majority of the time. Information like this can help you decide which platforms will be the most beneficial to you.
Another factor to consider is why your target market is using social media. Boomers tend to use social media for staying in touch with people. If your business is targeting Boomers, then Facebook will be an essential choice for you. But notice on the graph above that Gen Z uses YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat primarily because their why is mostly rooted in entertainment and trends. Considering the why to your target market’s social media usage is also extremely beneficial when creating content. If your target market primarily uses social media for connecting with others, people centered content will help you stand out.
In addition to the general reason of why your target market is on a particular platform, you also want to consider best practices for your target market if they are on that platform for a particular reason. For instance, if you sell multi-functioning printers to dental practices, they probably don’t want you pushing your value proposition on their message board to share best clinical practices. You need to be confident in your ability to properly use the platforms in the way that your target market does.
What Are Your Goals?
Once you have determined which platforms are right for you, then determine which business objective is best suited for each platform. Improve your strategy even more by setting measurable and attainable goals for each platform.
First think why you want to use that particular platform by creating a mission statement for it. One might look like, “We will use Instagram to show the behind-the-scenes process of building a custom wooden cutting board.” Once you have decided your mission statement for the platform, then decide how you will measure the success of that mission statement. In this example, if you are using Instagram for products and sales, then tracking the metrics of engagements to sales can illuminate the effectiveness of your strategy for that particular platform.
Though social media platforms can be used for a variety of purposes, the infographic below can help you to start organizing how you want to use various platforms.
10 C's of Social Media Strategy
The BROCSway of Social Media Strategy is built on 10 words that start with C. In this overview, we’ll simply define the 10C’s. To learn more about them, download this one page checklist.
While not all of your social media engagement will be a campaign, social media campaigns are a great way to build and maintain awareness. They are a limited time effort to reinforce or assist with a business goal using one or more social media platforms. The best campaigns are highly interactive and engaged with their current or future customers.
Context is key. It is the meaning that should be infused into your posts. Think to yourself, “Why should a person care about this post?” By ensuring your posts provide the proper context, you are not only providing them with a reason to click, but you are also emotionally connecting with those who engage with your content.
Content refers to the methods of sharing information with your target market. Blogs and articles, images, videos, live streams, testimonials, and infographics are just a few examples of what content you can share. Beginning your business, you should experiment with multiple modes of content in order to determine what resonates with your target market.
Cadence refers to the frequency of when you post content and which types of content are being shared when. Consistent posts of sales promotions do not engage. You should figure out which types of content are best suited for your business and then organize your content delivery so that the cadence of your content has consistent variety and levels of engagement.
Consideration focuses on the time you are asking of them. You want to be sure that the content you create is short and sweet while still informative. What timing is appropriate will change depending on the content. For example, if you are posting a “How-to” video, asking a half hour of your target market’s time is completely acceptable. However, if all of your content is asking that much time from your target market, then you are asking too much. Be sure you are prioritizing their time as you create your content.
Call to Action
Beyond influencing people who may be researching your brand or content, you want to be sure you are telling your customers what to do and provide them with the motivation to do it. Creating compelling call-to-action posts helps to not only promote your brand, but also encourages sales and site engagement.
Your social media strategy has to include how you will communicate with your current and potential customers. Remember one of the greatest perks of social media is its ability to help build relationships. Make sure you are spending time responding to messages and contributing to conversations on other posts that help build your awareness. A great rule of thumb is to spend twice as much time responding to other relevant content. Your goal should be to spend more time being a part of the conversation.
Control, in the BROCSway application, refers to how you are managing your social media platforms. How much of your personal time are you devoting to social media? Have you created a schedule to help the management of posts? Are you consistently creating posts in the moment or automating them? Finding answers to these questions is key to a sustainable strategy.
Obviously, cost is a huge factor in how you design your strategy. Do you have the monetary capital to hire an agency to manage your social media? If so, great. But most small businesses don’t have that capability. So in this case, cost not only refers to how much money you are willing to spend on social media, but it also considers what is the personal cost to you and your time.
Ultimately, courage is the most essential C on this list. Creating your own business, putting your ideas out in the world, subjecting yourself to rejection and ridicule: these are all very real risks you are taking and your vulnerability will be on display for all to see. BUT you cannot succeed without taking those risks and constantly saying ‘yes’ to the process and taking bold chances on yourself, on your brand, and on others.
So you have what platforms are best for you and the purpose and focus for using each one of those platforms. Now the planning decisions start. Get a plan together for what kind of content you want to provide for your customers. When you know what kind of content you’ll use, creating a social media calendar will be extremely helpful to you in terms of managing posts. Having these two things in place will help immensely when you start creating and designing your content. In the following articles, we’ll go in depth into engaging with each one of these platforms specifically and the best way to utilize their tools as well as focus on design aspects to help you put your best impression forward.