The Playbook for Social Media Branding
Are you looking to embrace social media by executing a content strategy? It is a smart idea because 54% of social users navigate social media websites for product research—a higher portion than most people think! Therefore, it is a worthwhile marketing channel to tackle any industry to increase market share, brand visibility, and information about new products.
Social media platforms are a different beast compared to other forms of marketing. Audiences on those platforms consume media in a specific way, which means a unique strategy is required. Creating a synergy between the content and audience requires a bit of research and preparation. Then you will need to be consistent to gather traction and the momentum you need to succeed.
Execute the playbook correctly, and your social media posts will blow up with more shares and comments than your competitors. You may even discover the recipe for creating viral posts where the social media audience does the hard work of promoting content without you having to lift a finger.
Modify the strategy for each platform
You will lose at the social media marketing game if you create a single generic strategy and launch it for every social media platform. It is a shortcut that companies have taken in the past to their detriment.
To uncover an appropriate strategy, here is a checklist you must tick off:
- Is the content mainly pictures, words, or a combination of both? Also, how many words are typically used per post in your marketplace? You can uncover a lot when researching the competition. The idea is to use competitor posts for inspiration and guidance.
- Gone are the days of corporate content tone—especially for social media where a lighter tone with humor is expected. You may get much better results by releasing a product launch post that is designed to make people laugh than acquire sales.
- The customer persona for each social media platform might be different, so you need to tailor the posts accordingly. For example, on LinkedIn, expect a higher portion of professionals looking to forge work-related connections, whereas, on Instagram, the tone is more casual.
- Audiences for different platforms and post types differ, and so do their expectations. For example, you are expected to post Instagram stories daily, but posts can be released a few times per week. Understanding the intricacies of post frequencies allows you to extract the most value from a platform.
Over time you will fine-tune the strategy for each platform by analyzing your results. Think of each social media platform as a separate marketing channel. Consider assigning different employees for each platform to decrease the chances of unintentional overlap that could result in the wrong approach.
Consistent Brand Message
We have covered the importance of variations between social media platforms, but the brand message must be consistent to avoid confusion. Your brand identity, tone, and values should be portrayed consistently to reinforce your brand message. It is a worthwhile approach because a consistent brand message can potentially increase revenue by 33%.
Portraying your brand can be done through the use of a slogan, theme colors, group of images, running jokes, and industry-related keywords. Use them with most interactions, and customers will easily spot your brand on every social media platform.
Posting consistency also matters, so your audience knows when to expect content. The idea is to create a pattern where checking your content becomes a habit. Otherwise, your audience will not seek out your content but instead wait for it to appear randomly. It increases the chances that some posts will be missed and money will be left on the table.
Social media is big on trends!
Social media platforms go through cycles of posting format trends. One year, short captions with a controversial image might be the best approach, while the next year, a captivating story from a customer works best. Keep an eye on these trends to figure out what post format is an appropriate choice.
However, do not jump on every new trend that you see since some might not be a good match for your brand. Introducing a new posting format should be handled so that you do not alienate your existing followers. Instead, transition to a new posting strategy by taking small steps—1 out of 5 posts to start and increase the ratio if you see some success.
Also, be aware of trending topics that your industry is talking about. Want a shortcut? Use RSS readers such as Feedly to gather a list of high-quality content posted in your industry. It is an effective way to stay updated on the topics your audience wants to know about.
Position yourself as an authority in your niche by providing updates that help and inform your audience. It is a way of nurturing your social media audience before asking for something in return. Furthermore, a consistent release of news gives social users a reason to follow your channel and check-in regularly.
Tracking performance and analyzing results
To achieve the best results from your social marketing campaign, you need to track your performance—you are shooting in the dark without metrics. Surprisingly, 44% of businesses don’t track social media ROI accurately.
Start by choosing the right metrics to monitor, and here are a few ideas:
- Instagram: mentions, comments, and likes.
- Instagram Stories: engagements and views.
- Pinterest: impressions and engagement.
- LinkedIn: interactions, impressions, and clicks.
- Twitter: impressions, retweets, and mentions.
- Facebook: engagement and reach.
Tracking these metrics allows you to assess how each post is performing. Over time you will notice a pattern for what type of posts work and the ones that do not hit the mark. Discard the losing post types and double down on the winners.
A/B Testing for Optimization
Testing is a way that you can turn good posts and turn them into home runs. The idea is to create two versions of the same posts but change one variable. Then you will send a meaningful sample of traffic to each version to gather data. Finally, assess what iteration results in the best performance based on your metrics.
Are you wondering what variables could be changed? Here are a few ideas:
- Mix up the headlines of your posts to see what captures your audience. Other than the image, it is the first thing viewers look at to decide if the post is worth reading.
- Change the images around to figure out what ones are having the best impact.
- You should limit the use of hashtags on posts to avoid spam. Therefore, you need to select the ones that will generate the most views—testing will provide this information.
- Change the content length and tone of posts to see what gets a better response. Some platforms prefer shorter posts, while others want more depth.
These are just a few of the most commonly tested variations. Do not hesitate to think of your own ones that can improve the quality of the post. A/B testing is an ongoing process that never ends. It’s an expense that is worth the investment because you should end up making money back from the sales increase.
Extra Tips to Super-Charge your Social Media Campaign
Want to get aggressive with your social media marketing and turn the odds in your favor? Here are a few ideas that can help dominate your marketplace:
Regardless of what social media platform you are targeting, video content is well-received by most audiences. For example, on Twitter, tweets will receive 6 times more retweets when a video is added. It is a telling metric that shows how much videos capture the attention of audiences.
Interact With the Audience:
Social users are more likely to engage with a post if there is a chance that the author will respond. It can spark debate and responses in the comment section that adds a lot of value to the post. Also, answer questions in the comment section to provide value for followers.
Partner with Influencers:
Aligning with influencers that are not in competition with your products or service is a smart idea. You can gain access to their audience and grow your one much faster. You may have to give away free products to influencers in exchange for access.
Social media is a lot of work at the start to gain traction, especially if you are launching an omnichannel strategy. However, once you get the ball rolling, the generated interest can be a game-changer for brands. The key is figuring out how to create posts that go viral—it is a tough nut to crack.
What are you waiting for? Start your social media marketing strategy today by implementing the advice you’ve learned in this article. The rewards are worth the investment in resources as you uncover the hidden gems of opportunities throughout the various social media platforms.