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Why You Shouldn’t Ignore the Role of Social Media in Brand Building

90% of people buy from the brands they follow on social media. But the role of social media in brand building is more complex than it used to be.

Brand saturation, creator communities, and more have changed the way that people interact with brands on social media. You can’t just build a brand with a great logo, quirky copy, and a pleasing palette. Audiences today are looking for something more.

Indigo Digital Brand Building

The Role of Social Media in Brand Building

To successfully build your brand on social media, you can start by creating a great visual brand. But you can’t stop there. You need to dig deeper into your users and what they’re looking for online. Let’s talk about the big ideas that impact branding on social media.

1. Social media is where subcultures connect.

While pretty much everyone you know is online, they’re not there to talk to just anyone. On social media, it’s common for users to connect with small groups of people with similar interests.

These small groups usually stand out for a specific interest or topic. Together they look for ways to stand out from what’s typical.

For example, Amino Apps is a space where members of K-Pop, Anime, and other fandoms connect. In these communities, they share original art, memes, and other content.

These online spaces empower members of subcultures a place to engage and grow their interests. They are also a powerful space for businesses to engage with vocal influencers.

Tactical tip: Target a specific group and have something useful to say.

It’s tempting to go for the largest possible audience with your advertising budget. But social media has changed the way that businesses connect to an audience.

Instead of using your resources to create a big audience, seek to build an engaged one. Do your research and connect with online communities that are relevant to your business.

Once you find these groups of potential buyers, don’t spam them with ads. Subgroups tend to be wary of popular culture and are quick to call out the fake and superficial.

Take time to learn about these communities and their likes and dislikes. This information can help you shape your product and make updates that can improve sales.

While it used to be the norm for branding to shy away from politics and other divisive topics, buyers today want brands to take a stance. When you do choose to post and respond, show your awareness of the group and how they feel about current events.

Use social media to prove that if you’re not already part of the group, you have something useful to offer.

2. Every social media platform is unique.

Businesses tend to approach social media based on ROI. But it’s different for users. Many things impact which platform you spend the most time using, including:

  • Posting format
  • Algorithms
  • Brand message and values
  • Privacy
  • Where your friends are

Each user factors these ideas into their decision about which platform to use. And even if they have every app on their phone, they’re bound to use some more than others.

These decisions lead to the data that businesses use to choose the right platform for brand building. Because there is so much data out there, brands sometimes try shortcuts.

For example, Why You Shouldn’t Ignore the Role of Social Media in Brand Building90% of Instagram users follow at least one business. This might lead a business to build a brand only on Instagram, even if the customers they want spend more time on Pinterest.

Buzz around the brand says that most of Pinterest’s users are female. But a closer look at their demographics shows that 45% also have an income over $100K.

It’s important to trust your gut, but don’t jump on the superficial differences. Instead, use the uniqueness of each platform to choose the right social media platform and hone your branding strategy.

Tactical tip: Choose the right platform for your target audience.

After you’ve built a detailed buyer persona, do a deep dive into the specifics of each platform. There is a lot to consider, including the number of users, demographics, and features. If you’re not sure where to start with your review, this article can help you choose which social networks are best for your brand.

Next, create test accounts and spend some time interacting in the spaces where you think your target audience will be. This research won’t only help you get a sense of which social media platforms are best for your brand. It can also help you decide what kind of brand content you want to create.

And don’t forget about emerging platforms. These could be the best place to connect your new brand with an audience that’s looking for the exciting and new.

While you CAN post the same content to every platform in an attempt to save time and resources, it’s not a great idea. Each social platform is distinct. You’ll want to post content that reinforces your brand identity for the specific audience on each platform.

3. The average person spends 147 minutes a day on social media.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore the Role of Social Media in Brand Building

That’s a lot of time. These users are sharing and posting photos and videos. They’re building their personal networks and discovering new skills, hobbies, and events. While some social media users are there to watch, many others want to take part and grab some attention.

But brands are seeing lower engagement on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. This shift is leading many businesses to spend more on social advertising and to post more often. But are these efforts the best strategy?

Tactical tip: Show up every day.

Consistent authentic communication builds trust and awareness. Regular posting can help your brand build consistent imagery, colors, and voice with public feedback.

But a constant flood of posts may not be the best approach for your chosen platform. In fact, algorithm-based platforms may create a frustrating experience for your followers. This guide to publishing frequency can help you create a rhythm that works.

It’s also important to remember that people on social media want attention just as much as you do.

An effective social media strategy should be more than a posting schedule. It’s about honest engagement with a community. The best place to start engaging is by posting comments on relevant threads.

4. People are always looking for something new and interesting.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore the Role of Social Media in Brand Building

It’s difficult to create something completely new. Being creative, fun, and business-focused is even tougher. But those aren’t the only challenges of building an original brand on social media.

People aren’t just spending a lot of time on social media today. For many, these online communities are where people spend the majority of their time.

This means that they don’t just see a meme once or twice. For 55% of Gen Z and 48% of Millenials, viral social media content is more valid than the latest song, movie, or video game.

This is a cultural shift to consider as you build your brand identity on social. Many people aren’t passively consuming your brand content. They see social media content as a starting point. They want to add to or change the conversation.

People are sharing 3.2 billion images and 720,000 hours of video every day. This means that your brand messaging can’t just look great on a mobile device, it has to stand out. This volume of media consumption also creates a healthy amount of skepticism. Any brand message on social media today needs to stand up to close examination by a global audience.

Tactical tip: Be yourself.

Originality can seem like an impossible goal. So, if you can’t be original, be honest. While it’s tempting to riff off what’s already out there, the best strategy for any brand is to just be you.

It can be uncomfortable getting personal and showing your imperfections online. It’s also a huge business risk. It’s not unusual for global brands to use test audiences and surveys before any campaign launches.

But with the growing awareness of social media audiences, honesty is opportunity. Influencers like Elyse Meyers and Ajani Huff are growing audiences of millions being their authentic selves.

Instead of seeking perfection, audiences are looking for brands that are clear about what they stand for and ask them to engage. Brand building this way on social media is scary, but it also may be your best path to success.

5. 76% of U.S. consumers expect brands to respond to social media messages within 24 hours.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore the Role of Social Media in Brand Building

13% expect a response within ONE hour. While most people spend an hour and a half or more on social media every day, that time isn’t consecutive. According to Accurion in 2021, Americans check their phones 96 times a day.

Once they’ve sent a message, part of what they’re checking is whether they’ve heard back from you.

But most businesses don’t check their social media accounts on their phones. They might schedule social media posts from a third-party platform but rarely log in. A customer service team might check social messages once a week or less if social isn’t connected to the tool they use to respond to customer inquiries.

To put it simply, there are a lot of chances for a brand to miss customer outreach. That can harm your branding efforts.

Tactical tip: Talk back.

To develop your brand on social media, find a way to be available to anyone who reaches out. This might mean:

  • Shared social media schedules
  • Clearly posted hours to set response expectations
  • Community message boards
  • Connecting your service portal to social media

85% of surveyed service professionals say that customers are likely to share their experiences with others. Whether it’s positive or negative feedback, social media is for sharing opinions.

What can your brand do to make it easy for you to give your customers the social media service they expect?

6. Social media audiences are more likely to listen to each other than a brand.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore the Role of Social Media in Brand Building

Social listening can help you pay attention to what people are saying about your brand. But how can you insert yourself into the conversation?

Tools like AdRoll can serve ads that build awareness of your brand through social media, but this strategy may impact trust. It can erode the brand relationship if your brand shows up too often or in a place the user isn’t expecting.

To find their favorite brands, most people contact someone they’re comfortable with. 60% of shoppers refer to friends and family for shopping advice.

So, the best way to build your brand is through networks of connections, not just specific users.

Tactical tip: Leverage influencers.

Social media influencers and creators are starting to impact buyer decision-making. The reach of social media makes it easy for influencers to build your brand with their reputation.

And an influencer doesn’t have to be one of the top influencers on Instagram to make a difference. Nano influencers can be less expensive to work with and may be more effective at targeting the right subgroup to boost your brand identity.

7. Audiences want brands to keep up with what’s happening.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore the Role of Social Media in Brand Building

Your brand isn’t just competing with friends, family, and other brands for their attention on social media. According to Pew Research in 2021, about half of the consumers in the U.S. get their news from social media.

While brands that comment on current events sometimes get it wrong, users want to know where brands stand in politics and culture. And 58% of consumers feel that social media is the best place for these conversations.

Social media gives you a chance to add to important conversations as they’re happening. This helps you define your brand by its character, not just how it looks and sounds.

Tactical tip: Use data to keep pace with your audience.

Your audience also wants to know what you stand for as a company. They want to know how you are putting those sentiments into action.

But if you are tight on resources, it can be tough to know what’s most important. Many brands get stuck figuring out how to get their ideas in front of their audience at the right time.

Social media offers extensive data for brand analysis and improvement. You can use this data, along with alerts and social listening, to guide your social content.

You Are the Secret to Social Media Brand Building

Branding on social media isn’t the same as it was just five years ago. But any brand can still grow with a personal touch and the power of social media. Keep building your brand, following your instincts, and putting yourself out there. You never know what could happen.

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