Today, If you want to build a brand online, you need to know in and out how social media works. And a lot of it is about perception management. Even though there are many complicated details, at a surface level, it is very similar to how things work offline.
As humans, we constantly judge things around us, be it an opinion on a person you met a few seconds ago or the coffee served this morning. Every day, we make countless judgements, and all of them drive our decisions.
That is what social media and SEO is also doing. Just like how our judgments improve with experience, social media and SEO get better with AI and ML.
People with good judgments are skeptical of information that doesn’t make logical sense. Similarly, social media and SEO are skeptical about what you share, and post, and algorithms control this.
Here are 10 insights and strategies to help you not only build a brand online but also scale it by leveraging social media.
1. Make algorithms your partner.
Algorithms: How do they work in social media?
There are a couple of things to keep in mind to make the most out of algorithms. And it starts by understanding how it works.
- Algorithms love engagement; they matter. Engagement tells the algorithm that something interesting is going on there.
- Feed algorithm what it wants; engagement. Are people slowing down to see your post? Are they liking, sharing, commenting, saving your content?
- A comment “nice” will have way lesser value than a longer, much more meaningful comment—the validity of the comment matters, who is sharing matters, who is liking matters. Don’t try to fake it. ML is going to figure it out and penalize you.
- Social Media Platforms are working hard to ensure that the feed is relevant and valuable to its audience; otherwise, they know that the users will move to the next platform.
If you tell a good story people can relate to in the real world, people listen to you—the same works in social media. Be truthful, share true stories. Stand for something and give your brand a voice. If you have a different opinion or POV, say it out loud.
- Fun and humble content that connects with the audience is the key. So knowing your audience really well helps. Great imagery will also help. Just like in person, when you walk into a room looking great, you get attention; the same works in social media.
- Trigger emotions for engagements. Don’t have loose ideas about customers.
Why do social media algorithms exist?
The primary function of an algorithm is to deliver relevant content to users.
Everyday every minute, thousands of posts get published, and it is impossible to show all of them to users. Therefore, it’s social media’s way of filtering content to show what interests the user individually.
Social media understands this from your online behavior. If you have a previous history of regularly engaging with a certain person’s post, it tells the AI that you are interested to see their posts.
And So whenever s/he posts something, the platform will show it to you. And it doesn’t stop there. It measures your response.
Did you share the post with someone? What did that person do after seeing it? The AI is now trying to figure out all kinds of permutations and combinations. All your actions are helping the ML to build your behavioral profile. It then uses that learning to decide what to show you to keep you engaged.
It is essential to understand the business model of social media platforms. It’s all about getting people’s attention. The longer people spend on a platform, the more advertisements they can show you. Advertisements are how they make money. And that is all the more reason why these platforms are built to hook you to spend more time within the platform.
The snowball Effect
Have you ever wondered how posts ‘go viral’? It builds from a snowball effect.
When a post goes online, the AI decides to do a pilot round by showing it to a small group of people (the first set). It waits to analyze their reactions- this is where the magic happens.
The reaction of this set determines the future of that post.
Assume they all chose to share it with their friends (second set). It will notify the platform that there is something noteworthy going on here. Furthermore, the algorithm will analyze how this second set reacts to the post-It measures everything possible and links it back to the profiles created by ML. If reactions from the second set are great as well, more and more people are pooled to show the post- and like this, it grows to become viral.
Posts with no engagement have the exact opposite effect. The post appears in a few feeds, and people scroll through it without paying attention. This tells the platform that this is yet another uninteresting post. The platform chooses not to display it to anybody else.
Every second, a post competes with thousands of others for a spot in a feed. So what you create is really important. Each post must connect with the initial group of individuals who will see it.
2. Find your tribe.
In order to build a brand online, you need to find your tribe and attract them. Figure out the not-so-obvious insights.
Let’s assume you’re in the coffee industry. Look into what else a potential consumer could be interested in besides coffee. What are some of the things that people share in common? What does your super-fan like to do?
As ML learns about each user and post, marketers must likewise learn and make judgments and decisions based on that. You can start with the following steps:
- Identify Potential Interest Groups- who might be interested in your brand?
- Define what problems are you solving?Bad marketing is about your company, while good marketing is about your audience. Good v. Bad Marketing | Narrative Science
- Justify how your product/service is going to help the customer? (That is the story your customer is interested in)
- What are people asking? What questions they have. How can you solve the problem better?
- Understand who are your customers. Study them- Why do they need your product? What motivates them? What hesitations and fears do they have?
Derive insights – Emotional Pulls
Insights from your audience, customers, and social listening can set your branding game in the right direction.
Study and analyze data sets to discover what your customers are interested in? Send out Typeforms, ask for reviews, collect feedbacks to learn about your brand and address customer-specific concerns.
Only by understanding your consumers will you be able to meet their needs. Only by understanding what is important to your target customer will you be able to effectively sell your USP.
The last thing you want is to turn out to be that brand who fails to do a thorough research.
While platforms like Google Trends, Reddit, ViralThread can help you with research. Pinterest serves as a great tool to scout caption ideas and slogans.
3.Build a Community
If you want to build a brand online, you should consider multiple mediums. Youtube is a search engine that you might be overlooking. YouTube SEO is another aspect that is often under-utilized.
Be it any social media platform, your approach should be focused on delivering genuine value, being consistent with your postings and increase engagements with your audience. This will help you gain new customer insights as well.
By building a community around your brand you is easier said than done. Here’s where influencers can help you. Within the space of Influencer marketing lies this segment called ‘Micro Influencers’. These are influencers, but for a very specific niche; who only share content pertaining to a specific interest. What they bring apart from a pool of already existing audience, is a higher rate of social engagement.
Your task as a brand is to find out the micro-influencers that best cater to your brand’s voice, goals and is someone who is easy to work with.
4. Focus on Sales + Traction
Although organic traffic is the best form of traffic every brand should aim for, paid ads can really boost your brand’s status quo.
Invest in Paid Ads – Start here. Paid ads are not a magical tool. You need to focus and strategize the context, the right target audience, budget, desired outcome and assign right metrics to get the most out of the ad.
Utilize tools such as Keyword Keg which is a robust and intuitive keyword research tool.
The ultimate goal of any brand, be it online or offline, is to generate revenue from increased sales. Traction is a sign of momentum and no one buys anything unless offered with compelling value. Do not try to sell before you spill some value. And while doing so, try to create a FOMO. No one wants to feel missed out. Be it a limited time offer or and exclusive product range, the factor and fear of missing out drives sales when leveraged rightly.
What is a Sales Funnel? How to design the Funnel? And how will it help build a brand online?
A sales funnel is simply a representation that breaks down the journey of a potential customer from the first customer touchpoint to the act of purchase. This is represented referencing three levels, usually; the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel.
Design a sales funnel. Use sales cycle management software. Keep sales traction at check regularly.
5. Advertising Sequence
Page Post Engagement Ads are part of the Consideration ad objective. These ads drive engagement and help boost social proof & reach. More people engaging with your ad post, more the reach encouraging others to engage with the ad.
PPE Ads are created for those audiences who are already aware of the problem. Through the ad, you are given a solution to that problem. When the ad viewer interacts with the ad, such as clicking on the ad, the ad will redirect to the website, where the answer may be found.
Video advertisements are found to perform better most of the times. Video ad sequencing helps to tell a good story in a series-format.
Strategize a concept and create different ad sets targeted towards different set of audience.
Narrow your audience and leverage Lookalike audiences in Face Book ads. Lookalike audiences help you reach a cold audience beyond interest or behavior targeting. It is a great way to reach out to those set of people who although are cold audiences, have the same attributes as your warm audiences.
Retargeting is your follow-up attempt at converting potential leads who didn’t convert the first time they came in contact with your brand.
Strategic establishments of digital touchpoints will help push the potential customers down the sales funnel.
People need to be constantly reminded of how your product/service fits right into their needs; this could be done through personalized ads and offers, etc.
The more the people see you and your products, the more likely are they to convert and buy. The mere exposure effect. It keeps you top of the mind over time.
7. Social Media Editorial Calendar
Planning is crucial to visualize your goals and take active measures. Having a categorically organized plan saves you time and gets you better results in the long run. You’ll have a balanced strategy and do fewer guilt postings.
Now, before you start with a social media editorial calendar, you must answer these questions.
- What social networks am I going to post on?
- How often will I post on each network?
- When (day(s) and time) do I post?
Having a central place where different teams can manage social media content allows a smooth and sane process. It unifies your marketing efforts.
Set monthly goals and KPIs. Decide what goals you are after.
Is it engagement that you want? Traffic? Sales? Email subscribers? Analyze data and understand what is working and what is not working. Accordingly, strategize content creation, curation and distribution.
A good approach is to leverage social media management tools such as Buffer, Hootsuite, etc. They not only help with the content calendar but also provide analytics instrumental to content strategy.
8. Collaboration with Influencers
When an influencer endorses a brand, the brand gains trust among the community of followers. The followers are nudged into the awareness and consideration stage. Connecting with the right influencer, building a relationship and giving them creative freedom is what makes a successful collaboration.
Brands that have a celebrity ethos can reap immense benefits out of collaborations. Collaborating with influencers that talk and walk your brand ethos is a great way to spread brand awareness and nudge people into purchase consideration.
Make sure to always have a clear objective. Communicate the goals with the influencers and fix KPIs.
9. Roll out giveaways and contests
Let us all agree on this one; Consumers love freebies. They would even be willing to put in some extra effort if the reward is worth it.
Giveaways and contests act like a ‘let me try my luck’ factor for many people. It serves excellent for brands to announce a new product, excite their customers and give back to them. When done right, it creates a short-term buzz and serves you with brand exposure, social shares, and immense engagement.
Furthermore, you gain relevant leads. You also gather relevant data to build a list of emails. A good approach is to use this list and follow up with them through email, upselling and cross-selling products from your catalogue.
One way to get started is to check out Gleam.io. It is software that allows you to run a contest and track and incentivize people.
10. Use testimonials
It is absurd for you to claim your brand’s extraordinary qualities by yourself. No one will believe you.
Talking positives about you is not in your hands, but others. By simply reaching out and requesting your customers/clients, you give regular customers a chance to become brand advocates. This humanizes your brand and builds trust and credibility that you wouldn’t achieve on your own.
When a fellow consumer says positive things about a brand, others, by default, buy onto them. The quality of the testimonial affects the perception and trust of the consumers in your brand.
Social media is a great place to employ social proof in the form of video or even text. While video testimonials can be engaging and comprehensive, text can be crisp and catchy.
When a customer lands on a touchpoint, the testimonials speak to the customer from another customer’s voice. That way, they connect on a deeper level. If your testimonials reflect and amplify what your brand claims to stand for, it can work wonders in the long run.
It is important to understand that a brand, online or offline, is run for and by your customers. The sooner you employ strategies to listen to them, the sooner you’ll lead your brand towards the path of success.
Although social media is a buzzword today, it is merely a medium to drive brand awareness. The first thing people would do upon landing on your social media pages is check out the website.
For serious businesses, sales is primarily driven by your brand’s website. Your website gives you control; you own it. Hence, in order to build your brand, you should first start with optimizing your website.
Are you are looking to build your brand online or scale it to the next level? Reach out to us at Everything.Design. We are a bunch of super-enthusiastic individuals who would love to help you.