Businesses spend millions of dollars each year on advertising and one of the hardest things for a new business, is to find advertising that works, tells their story and doesn't cost an arm and a leg. What if I told you, you can do that for free?
What the heck is social media branding?
In the last 15 or so years, social media platforms have taken the internet by storm and has even created millionaires seemingly overnight. But how? According to forbes.com, last year, Americans spent an average of 58 minutes a day on Facebook alone. Instagram? 28 minutes a day. TikTok? 52 minutes. And on it goes. According to statista.com, there are 2.89 billion Facebook users, 1 billion Instagram users, and 1 billion tiktok users. So you can see, this is a lot of time spent by a lot of people, on social media. Knowing this, businesses can leverage the power of social media by building a following on these platforms. Let's dive into the basic key factors when building a brand.
What is a brand?
According to investopedia.com, a brand is an intangible marketing or business concept that helps people identify a company, product, or individual. Meaning, it is what sets your business apart from another business. This can be things like a story, the mission of the company, logos, how a business is structured, colors, etc. The list can go on indefinitely.
In order to successfully, build your brand on social media, there are a few key points you must consider:
- Target Audience/ Competition
When building any brand, whether on social media or not, a brand cannot be built with out some sort of story. A brand story does not have to be the story of how the company was created. However, all successful businesses have some sort of "problem" they found a solution for. Take Amazon for example, initially, Amazon was started as a way to sell books easily, without needing to go to a store. This "story" was what set it apart from Barnes and Noble or Borders. Amazon then took their success with books and ran with it. Obviously, the Amazon story is a relatively easy one to understand. But what about businesses that are primarily on social media? The Ryans, Philip DeFrancos, or the Charli D'Amelios, etc?
Ryan, with the help of his parents, is a nine year old who's "problem" was not having a good place to find reviews on toys. He was the highest paid youtuber in 2020 and made $29.5 million. Philip DeFranco is also a Youtuber, and his "problem" was finding a good quality news outlet that was also entertaining. You see, a "problem" doesn't necessarily need to be an actual, tangible issue, just something that maybe can be done differently. So by finding a "problem" and coming up with a solution you create your brands story. For instance, I am an active duty Sailor and a Realtor. My "problem" is when military service members move, called PCS, there is a ton of stress and disorganization that comes with it. After all, you have to move someplace that you may have never been to, find a place to live, make sure your house hold goods get there, not to mention moving your entire family. So, to mitigate that, I tell my story of PCSing, show what it is like to live in my area, and help them find housing.
Target Audience/ Competition
Researching your competition and knowing your target audience are key no matter how you go about building your brand. Finding out what your competition is doing well and where they are lacking, gives you the power to do something different. It does not have to be a significant difference, not everyone likes the color blue, if that makes sense.
Knowing your target audience is key, for without it, you have no place to begin. But it goes further than just a general statement. For instance, I'm a Realtor, but my target audience isn't just anyone that wants to buy or sell a house. You must be specific. Don't get me wrong, I will help any client that comes my way, however my target audience is military that are moving to my location. So I don't make posts for all people looking to buy or sell a house and I also don't make posts for all military. A target audience has a different need or want than a general audience.
Catering your branding to each individual social media platform can be a daunting task. Tiktok allows videos up to 3 minutes long whereas instagram only allows up to 30 seconds for a reel. Also, short form videos are better suited for tiktok and instagram than on Youtube, where long form content is better. Also, an instagram post may not do as well on facebook but stories do well on both platforms and will cross post since facebook owns instagram. The best way to build your brand is to pick one platform you are comfortable with and leverage the other platforms to drive traffic towards that platform.
Some would argue that consistency is the most important factor when it comes to social media branding. I tend to agree. The more you post, the more you are in front of people. Which do you think will do better? A tiktok account that gets posted to 3 times a week, or one that gets posted to once every 2 weeks? Of course, 3 times a week. According to hootsuite.com, a social media management company, it is best to post at least 1-2 times a day but no more than 3-5. This metric is based on platforms like twitter, facebook, instagram, and tiktok. When it comes to youtube, the best strategy is to post everyday, but not a lot of people can do that. Youtube posts take a considerable more amount of time than any other platform, so everyday may not work for you. The general unwritten rule is to post at least once a week on youtube and if you can post more, do so.
All in all, social media branding can be a phenomenal way to generate traffic, sales, and a following for free. However, you must remember, it takes time and can be difficult. Another general rule when it comes to social media branding, is that what you do now on social media, will pay off in 6-12 months. Unless you go viral, which is not likely, social media branding is a long road and can require a lot of work. However, when done well and consistently, it can pay off immensely.