Ensure Your Social Presence Supports Your Brand
Whether we love it or hate it (or something in between) social media is a force with which we either choose to contend or not. Personally, I will admit I do have a love/hate relationship with most of it. But as a business owner, I can’t deny the power of social media to reach far beyond my immediate circle. The fact that each social platform has its own demographics allows us to strategically choose where we need and want to be to interact with our customers, leads, and peers. This also means, of course, that we need to be just as diligent and vigilant about our brand on social as we are with it on our own websites. With the right strategy and some attention to detail, your social presence can truly support your brand.
Use Demographics to Choose Social
There are a LOT of options out there. Everything from whether you’re a B2B or B2C company to understanding where your ideal customer hangs out comes into play. Discovering which platforms your customers are likely to be on is an important piece of your social strategy. If you like Instagram but all your potential customers are on LinkedIn, then Instagram doesn’t make sense for your business. (Doesn’t mean you can’t play on it personally, of course!)
Don’t worry, you don’t have to do any of this research yourself. There are plenty of companies and organizations doing it for us. Here are some helpful reports for 2020:
- Social Media Fact Sheet from the Pew Research Center
- 100+ Social Media Demographics that Matter to Marketers in 2020 from Hootsuite
- Social Media Demographics for Marketers in 2020 from HubSpot
How Social Impacts Your Brand
Once you figure out where you need to be, you want to make sure that you show up in a way that both reflects and supports your brand. You have to ensure that your profile and what you post won’t negatively impact, confuse, or turn off your potential customers. For most businesses — there are always exceptions to the rule — this means avoiding some topics even if we’re passionate about them. Politics is a really good example. Politics on social can quickly become divisive and polarizing which means your audience may either love or hate you based on a single post. We’re never going to have a customer base in which everyone agrees with every single opinion we have or vice versa, so it’s important to decide what you’re posting and where and why.
BUT, what if your organization or business IS deeply tied to a political or social topic or trend? Well, then you need to be strategic, thoughtful, and deliberate about how you engage. It comes down to determining what makes sense for your brand. This will be different for every business and business owner. The bottom line is to make sure that what you post and how you post is in alignment with your company’s core values. If you keep the values, mission, and vision in front of you, you’re not likely to go too wrong. In fact, you’re much more likely to have a social presence that truly supports your brand.
Visual Brand on Social
One of the easiest ways to ensure your social presence supports your brand is to make sure that your visual brand is portrayed across all platforms. Take the time to create the right graphics, use the right colors, have a professional headshot, etc. on your social profiles. Ideally, you have a graphic designer who can help you with this. You do NOT want your logo stretched out or otherwise skewed. You want the graphics to be familiar. If someone sees you on social and clicks through to your website, you want it to feel seamless. It creates trust and helps that person more easily follow the trail you’ve left. (Read my blog post on how to hire a graphic designer for tips on finding the right designer to represent your brand.)
That said, there are great tools out there to help you out if you don’t yet have a relationship with a graphic designer. I love Canva because you can easily create graphics for a variety of platforms, social to emails, and it will size it for you which helps tremendously because those things seem to change with every update! And, with the Pro version, you can assign brand colors and fonts, so it’s much easier to make sure every post looks like it belongs to your brand. Note: You can do quite a bit with their free version, too.
The Social & Brand Checklist
Here’s a list of things that you need to pay attention to for some of the more popular social platforms:
- Headline/Title — Here’s a helpful article on how to approach this. (I’ll be honest … I need to improve here, too!)
- Profile Photo — Use a professional headshot!
- About Section — HubSpot has a good article on how to make this section impactful.
- Services Section
- Featured Section
- Experience — Make sure it’s up to date. And focus on highlighting achievements versus listing out every little task you did.
- Skills & Endorsements — Request others to endorse you.
- Recommendations — Request others to recommend you.
- Business Page Profile Photo — Could be your logo or your headshot, depending on the preference and structure of your business.
- Business Profile, Group, and Event Cover Photos — It’s important these are sized correctly so graphics look right and information isn’t cut off.
- About Section — This is a section that is scanned by search, so please make sure this is concisely and comprehensively written and helps prompt visitors to click through to your website.
- Services Section — Giving visitors a clear idea of what you do is helpful, but again, make sure it’s all working to send them back to your website.
- Name — Make sure your channel is branded with your business name.
- About Section — Profile and Channel descriptions (which shows up in more than one place on your channel, so it must be on-brand.)
- Cover Photo — Pay attention to sizing. This will be the first thing people see.
- Channel Trailer — If you intend to use YouTube to promote your business, a trailer can help unsubscribed visitors decide to subscribe to your channel. This MUST be on-brand and create an expectation of what subscribers will see from you.
- Profile photo (either logo or headshot depending on your brand and strategy)
- Website URL (or the URL to a blog post or landing page, etc.)
More Social Platforms …
And, of course, there are more social platforms out there! If you use any of these, apply the same careful eye to ensure that your social presence supports your brand. You can decide if you want to keep a social platform solely personal. If you do this, I’d suggest keeping it private so your public business audience can’t see it. This helps keep your business and personal social profiles separate.
How to Choose the Right Social Platforms for Your Brand
Creating and maintaining a healthy, on-brand, on-target social presence can be overwhelming. There are a lot of moving pieces! My best suggestion is to pick two or three (at most!) social platforms to engage in as a business. More than that and you begin to spread yourself too thin and it can be hard to keep up. Posting to multiple platforms isn’t that difficult with scheduling options, but following up and engaging with comments, all the things that create relationships and trust, THAT can quickly become too much if you’re not strategic. So …
- Take time to review demographic info for the various social platforms available.
- Determine which ones attract your ideal customer.
- Every business owner needs a LinkedIn page, so make it one of your three — especially if you are a B2B business! If you have a business with multiple employees, you’ll also want to create a LinkedIn page for your business.
- Make the Social part of your digital marketing strategy.
- Commit to a posting schedule and be consistent!
Google yourself! Sign out of all your platforms, email, etc. and search on your name and your business name and see what comes up. This can help inform you about changes and improvements you may need to make. If you don’t show up the way you want, then there’s work to be done!
Of course, I am always here as a resource to help you figure it out and create business social profiles and strategies that can help your business extend its reach and gain greater brand awareness and customer leads. Feel free to schedule some time with me if you want to chat and figure out how to use social to better promote your brand.
Originally published at MESSAGE ARTIST on September 20, 2020.