In business, the idea of your “brand” is important.
If you like old cowboy movies you know that a brand is a burned on mark made on cattle to let others know who the owner is. That’s kind of how a logo works for a business. You put your stamp on a product to let everyone know who made it or who sells it or who’s responsible for what they’re buying.
That’s “brand” on a basic level, but for a business the idea of a brand goes much deeper.
Over time, when people see your brand (logo, name, etc.) it brings about a feeling, a response. When we see the Apple logo or hear about Apple the company in the news we have a reaction.
So branding is about reputation. It’s about how people perceive the organization. That reputation takes time to build. And unless you’re a big company like Apple you’ll often find that most people see your logo and hear your company name and have no reaction. The goal in this case is to get them to have a positive reaction.
For large companies, it’s more about making sure that the reaction is positive. When you’re big the odds are higher that somehow has had a bad experience and that can lead to poor brand reputation, but it can be combatted by building more good experiences.
Branding On Social Media
What does all this discussion on branding have to do with social media?
We spend more time than ever before on social media. In fact, we check our social accounts at least once for every hour we’re awake. That’s a lot of time and attention.
For businesses, it means that you have an opportunity to build your brand using social media. Or if you’re a larger company, it means that you have the opportunity to control your brand on social media.
If you’re looking to start with building and controlling your brand on social media then here are a few steps.
Step 1. Consistency
It’s important to embrace what your best customers think about when they tell you about your brand. You might start with the idea that your brand is one thing and over time that can change based on how you serve your customers.
On social media, it’s good to have a consistent brand message across all channels. That is social channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as well as channels like your website, email newsletter and even in print materials.
Use a logo that is consistent. Use a tagline that is consistent. Keep it consistent so it’s recognizable for those that know you. And the consistency is important for someone that might discover your brand on Twitter, for example. They see your logo and messaging there and when they go to your website they see the same logo and message. And then the same thing again on the packaging when they order and receive your item. With consistency, you won’t confuse them.
That photo from your iPhone that is out of focus and at an awkward angle? It’s probably not the best to use for your Facebook cover image. It might show off the entire team at your company and that’s good, but if it’s sloppy then it will reflect poorly on your brand.
By professionalism, I don’t mean that you can’t inject personality into your social media channels. In fact, I think you want to inject personality. Every business has people with personalities. And over time that contributes to the personality of the company. This is a good thing to share and express because you’ll attract new customers that like who you are.
In this sense, professionalism is embracing who your brand is, but in a way that is professional. Using photos that are done by skilled photographers. Using logos and images that are created by designers. It may seem subtle, but it makes a big difference especially on social media where your branded images are your first impression.
3. Creative Limitations
The final step is how you allow the person in charge of social media to operate. Limitations are good, but you don’t want to take things too far. you don’t want to stifle the creative nature of people.
This might include sitting down with the person or persons handling your social accounts and discussing what your brand stands for. Review a few of the things your best customers have said about you. Have them talk to a few employees to see what the brand means to them.
The limitations will come from working within the confines of what your brand stands for and what you want to achieve on social media. With this information the person can go out and share content, create content and earn users, but only in ways that reflect well on your brand.
Your brand might be one that strives for innovation. That’s great because then innovation with social media content can be a way for the social manager to create content and earn new followers.
Branding is more important than ever and that is really the case with social media. If you’re a company that is looking to expand and earn new customers then social media is a great avenue. But take the right steps with how you brand on social media. Taking the steps above and committing to them over time can lead to positive results. Even big companies can benefit from following basic steps so they can control how their brand is officially perceived on social.