Not too long ago, consumers were only exposed to and influenced by brands that had the means to launch expensive commercials or magazines spreads. It was a market saturated by multimillion dollar companies, airing commercials at the right time with the right message.
Now, those same companies are struggling, trying to stay relevant in a world that has seen a drastic shift online with the rise of social media. They are battling any teenager who has enough time to make YouTube videos or post engaging Instagram pictures. They are fighting the cute cat and puppy videos that go viral on Facebook while they spend millions of dollars trying to create engaging content.
Social media has changed branding forever. It has given more power to consumers, and it has shaped the type of content and advertising they expect. Smart eCommerce businesses have to understand and play by the rules of the game. Otherwise, they will remain irrelevant online and their sales will suffer.
Keep reading to learn how you can implement a successful branding strategy in today’s social environment.
Understanding social media platforms
Before delving into how to use social media, let’s list out some of the major platforms available and the users behind them. Facebook is still the king of all social media platforms. It boasts over 2 billion monthly users, followed by YouTube with over 1.8 billion users, and Instagram with 1 billion. Surpassing MySpace’s fame, Facebook was one of the first social media platforms with massive success that is still around today.
This means its users are becoming older and older.
Users like human, authentic brands
I bet you’ve heard this many times before—“humanize your brand for social media”—but do you really understand and apply it to your own social branding? Being human on social media is more than using popular hashtags or slang in hopes of being relatable. It’s allowing your eCommerce business to be transparent and honest, and, most importantly, to have a personality. That’s what’s going to make your brand more human and memorable.
Unfortunately, many brands fall short in trying to “humanize” their brand because they are scared of being too bold or non-inclusive with their audience. They opt for being safe and formal, which can come across as inauthentic (social media users hate this by the way).
So, don’t be scared of being more colloquial than usual on social media. Use the platform to your advantage by giving color and personality to your brand. Wendy’s followed this advice and is one of the top brands on Twitter, thanks to their snarky comments. See their smart response to McDonald’s tweet below:
Consistency is key to remain relevant to users
Social media’s nature is fast. Someone can be viral today and forgotten tomorrow. Thus, it’s important to not only be relevant but make the proper efforts to remain that way. Consistency in posting, messaging, and look and feel is key. For instance, posting quality content consistently will allow you to stay on the top of everyone’s mind, strengthening your eCommerce brand.
It will also allow you to nurture potential customers that may have liked your page at some point, or that may have become aware of your brand through advertising. Remember that the customer’s purchasing journey requires many touch points before resulting in a sale. Someone interested in your product may have found you on Facebook and may only buy from your store after being exposed to the brand through multiple other social media channels.
Having a consistent message and look and feel will help shape your brand’s personality. This is essential when influencing users to make a purchase because it’s what makes your brand relatable and more attractive. See how Apple keeps a consistent vibrant color look below:
The best way to achieve overall consistency is by planning out an organic posting schedule to complement your social media marketing campaigns. By planning and scheduling posts in advance, you’ll make sure you never miss a post. It will also give you an overview of the whole schedule to make sure your message and images are consistent with your brand.
Take advantage of free or affordable post scheduling options to build a successful planner. For example, HootSuite is a very useful tool to schedule posts for any social media. Later is another great scheduling tool specifically for Instagram.
Social media influencers have become indispensable for brands. They have so much power, that many of them have become millionaires just by doing promotions or even starting their own brands. Besides allowing brands to benefit from their huge following, influencers offer many other advantages. Instant social proof is a big one because, naturally, many people relate to or look up to their favorite influencers. Thus, if they use or wear a particular product, chances are the majority of their followers will want to buy the same products.
Leverage the power of influencers to shape your brand’s personality and choose the one or ones that embody your brand. For instance, if your brand sells protein shakes, you may not want to get a fashion blogger to advertise it. Whoever you choose has to fit your buyers’ persona so that they identify with him or her; that’s the only way they can successfully influence a purchase decision.
When looking for the ideal influencer, compare his or her followers with their level of engagement (likes and comments). There has to be a balance, otherwise, the followers may be fake, so be cautious.
Branding has changed quite a bit over the years. Thanks to social media, consumers’ engagement and expectation of brands have completely shifted. Make sure you stay on top of all the latest trends to remain relevant in your industry.
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