Social Media: The Most Useful Tool for Business Branding
By: Katie Stout
Digital Marketing Strategist
Your brand is not entirely yours to dictate. Remember: perception is reality. How consumers perceive and understand the messaging and imagery that is presented to them, will determine what a brand actually is.
Social media has become one of the greatest tools for creating, evolving and fostering your brand in the digital world we live in today.
Static Brands Fail
In the past, brands have typically only undergone brand updates every five to 10 years, costing companies a massive amount of time and money when they do. Today, it’s no longer good enough to just have a strong, immovable brand. Your brand also needs to be able to shift fluidly with current digital trends and buyer preferences. While some of the most successful brands may have started in a room full of stakeholders, over time, they have realized that using their customers’ perceptions to guide their decisions and create an ever-evolving brand is the only way to ensure continued success.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram are all social platforms that can provide you with a clear picture of how people actually perceive your company and the competitors of your company. Potential and current customers are having conversations about your brand whether you are participating in them or not.
By being present and engaged, you can learn about the perceptions of your brand and have better insight into the real problems that your customers face. Understanding how customers engage with your content, as well as your competitors content, is crucial to ensuring that your brand is broadcasting the correct message.
Direct Line of Communication
No other medium allows for complete transparency in communication in the same way that social media does. The ability for consumers to directly interact with a brand, gives customers the opportunity to relate to your brand on a personal level. Without having to ask, you can determine the type of messaging and content that best resonates with your customers just by paying attention to how they interact with your posts.
For example, creating a successful video doesn’t always happen on the first try. By leveraging the feedback that consumers provide on your content, you will have a better understanding of the type of content that will prove effective in future paid marketing campaigns.
Both organic posts and paid ads through social channels have restrictions and requirements that change on a regular basis, so it’s almost impossible to leave your brand untouched if you want to remain relevant to your consumers. If you are executing digital marketing correctly, your brand should be a living, breathing thing that doesn’t just interact with your audience, but changes and grows as consumers’ preferences change.
Short Shelf Life
It can be hard to justify adding social media to your marketing plan because of the time and effort it takes to keep up with these channels. However, when brands take the time to emphasize their social media, this can be a major strength when it comes to informing consumers on the evolution of the brand. Because of the high volume of information and fast-paced nature of social media, getting in front of your audience as often as possible is necessary. It may take time to perfect your tactics when it comes to social media, but don’t be afraid to take risks. Those risks might win big and inspire other aspects of your brand.
Testing for Different Forms of Marketing
You will often find that you can prepare yourself for upcoming advertising and marketing trends by fully understanding the organic features on various social media platforms. For example, if your brand is utilizing the stories feature on Instagram, you have most likely worked out any kinks that have inevitably come up and have determined what type of post works best. By having used the stories feature, you will be better prepared to launch ads once paid Instagram stories roll out.
Just like your brand, your company’s culture will shift as new employees come and go or as leadership changes direction. Allowing your audience to view your internal culture through a branded lens on social media, gives you the ability to forge lasting relationships with potential customers without putting in too much work. As your company culture changes, branding aspects will shift as well. This can help you avoid a major branding overhaul by simply adjusting your branding to reflect any culture shifts as they occur.
The moral of the story is, don’t fight the natural tendency for your social media presence to guide your branding. Brand standards are incredibly important for solidifying the look and feel of everything you do, however, embracing the chance to connect directly with customers and get feedback in real time, is now more important than ever. So listen to your social audiences, they will help your brand consistently match the preferences of your target audience.