Business branding using social media for small businesses and SMEs

By Lavender Syanda, November 14th, 2020

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Imagine having the best product or service in your area, you know it, your employees know it, the only ones who don’t know it are your prospective customers. Isn’t that frustrating?

For you to combat that frustration you need to establish a brand online. Not sure how to do that? Don’t worry, we have you covered. Below we shall look at various ways that you can successfully great and establish your brand on social media.

According to the American Marketing Association, branding can be defined as features (the name, term, design, or symbol) that allow a company to form a distinct identity from its competitors.

The thing about the digital age is that whether you are actively building a brand or simply going with the flow, your brand is already taking shape, every minute of every day. This brand is based on what customers and what people are saying about your company on the internet. Choosing to take a proactive approach to branding is not only the smart thing to do it is also the only thing to do. At least with you taking a proactive approach in creating your brand online, you are part of the conversation, you are there to steer the conversation in the right direction.

Branding is a very proactive activity, it is a lot of work on the business’ part and ideally, it shouldn’t stop. There are several ways that a company can employ to brand themselves on social media but the truth is that everything you do on social media contributes to your brand.

Traditionally branding was viewed primarily as the company’s trademark, your trademark is your brand but in the information age, your customers require a lot more from you than a few large annual advertisements.

The first step of your company branding campaign should be to establish your company mission statement. Without a mission statement, your campaign will lack the guidance it needs to effectively communicate your brand. Establish the values, the goals, and whatever else you see as worthy of your company to consumers. The following steps include using your logo, your company colors, your aesthetic, and your company voice.

Establish your mission statement

The mission statement is your company’s main goal and in a lot of cases, it explains why you decided to offer your product or service. Your mission statement could make for a great ambassador to the right buyer persona. The way to use this is to give your brand humanness, by explaining the why behind your brand. In the wise words of Simon Sinek, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. The goal is to use your mission statement to create a feeling behind your brand be it compassion, excellence, or fairness. Why is this important? Because, today’s consumer is overwhelmed with noise, the why is meant to help you cut through that noise.

Put your logo on everything

This should go without saying. This is branding 101, adding your logo on an image or a video is branding that image or video so please add your logo on all your assets. This will be a great part of your integrated marketing communication. It doesn’t seem like a big deal but this mall act is positioning your business in the consumers' mind.

Establish a look and feel [aesthetics]

A look and feel is the long version of aesthetics. You want all your online communication to have the same business colors and to have the same feel be it clean and minimalistic, black and white, summery, sporty, whatever look you are going for, make sure it is consistent across all platforms. This is the easiest way for customers and prospects to know your images online without having seen your logo. How is that possible? Because they know the looks and feel of your images and videos.

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Establish a voice

A voice is a distinct and steady personality or style of your brand. This will come across from any text on your images and on your social copy. Makes sure that even though your voice changes to adapt to the different social media platform that it remains consistent. Your voice may come across as honest, transparent, useful, serious, or whatever your goal is.

Leverage influencers

This especially goes for small businesses, if you are still small and new to the market then a great way to help increase your brand reach is through an influencer who has a similar look and feel to yours. A similar look and feel also mean in terms of values. As a new or young brand please be careful of who you partner with in terms of influencers. As you build your young brand ensure that all your partners match your values as well. This is especially sensitive for companies where values make a significant part of the brand like cruelty-free, eco-friendly, vegan among others.

Post shareable content

Social media platforms were created for the sole purpose of users being able to communicate and stay connected and therefore your communication online has to be compliant with the same. You will create a much stronger brand reputation if you focus on creating useful content that viewers will want to share with their networks.

Paid ads and campaigns

Unfortunately, there is no getting away from paid advertising. Please keep in mind that social media platforms were not created to be commercial sites and as such the companies running them have to protect the user experience. They do this by limiting a company’s organic reach. Therefore if you wish to reach more people and spread the message of your brand further then you have to use online campaigns.

Because your campaigns will be targeting a large number of people ensure that your communication medium has your company logo, company look, and feel, company colors, and company voice.

Consistency

Consistency is the name of the game. Building a brand doesn’t happen overnight; it takes time, dedication, and above all consistency. According to research, it took a company like Nike 15 years to create a consistent brand by focusing on maintaining a ‘360-degree delivery’. This ensured the brand was consistent across all their products, advertising, customer service, and packaging.

Consistency on social media means that your profile pictures are exactly the same across all your platforms, that you have the same biography across all your platforms, that the images you share across various social media platforms have the same look, feel, company colors, tone and finally, that the post frequency is the same across all the major platforms.

Great products and or services

All your hard work in creating a great consistent brand online will be for nothing if your products and services are not up to par. These efforts will only have a lasting effect if and only if you have a great product offering otherwise none of these points will matter. Why? Because your customers will go online and give you a bad review, and another one will do the same and pretty soon there will be bashtags designed to boycott your brand. This is why a great product is a foundation for a great brand.

Be human and helpful

In this day and age, customers and prospects are only interested in doing business with companies that talk to them not at them. Stop making announcements and start having conversations. Lean into your followers, lean into the community you have worked so hard to create, and converse with them. It could be as simple as asking how their day is going, or what the weather is like where they are.

Understand that social media does not exist for businesses to transact, social media exists for people to connect so that should be your primary focus on your platforms, communicating, and connecting. In fact, according to HubSpot academy, only 20% of your content on your social platforms should be promotional. 80% should be content that entertains and delights your audience by being human and helpful.

If you apply these tactics you are guaranteed success. Just keep in mind that braiding is a marathon, not a sprint and that it will take time. However, if you are willing to apply the tactic in this article, and make adjustments based on what is working and what isn’t then you are sure to see significant progress.

Sources

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Lavender Syanda

Bonc Consultant

Lavender Syanda is a blogger and content creator. She is an honor roll student with a double focus Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Entrepreneurship. She is currently working as a digital marketing consultant at Bonc International.

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