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20110411-NodeXL-Twitter-#Mix11Social media is today’s newest and potentially most powerful branding tool. Entire brands like Wine Library and “$#*! My Dad Says,” both multi-million dollar businesses, have been built entirely on social media branding.

How can you use smart brand-building techniques to improve your brand with social media? Here’s how.

Define Your Brand First

Before you post anything – before you even sign up for a social network, define your brand.

What does your brand stand for? What’s the “vibe” of your brand? What are your primary spoken and unspoken messages? Who are you targeting?

Answer these questions. Everything else moving forward needs to fall in line with the brand you define. Your profile photos, the color of your pages, the content you post and everything else should all match up to the brand you want to create.

Choosing Your Social Networks

There are dozens of social networks you can join, many of them specific to your industry or topic. Unfortunately, usually it just doesn’t make sense to join them all. Depending on your time and resources, you’ll usually only want to establish a presence in one or two social networks.

Pick the social networks that make the most sense for your audience. If you’re in a corporate setting, you might choose Facebook and LinkedIn. If you’re in a tech-savvy industry, you might choose Twitter and Facebook. If you’re primarily targeting music fans, you might choose just MySpace.

The network you choose depends entirely on where your audience is. Figure out what networks your audience uses the most and be on those networks.

Post Brand Relevant, Value-Added Content Regularly

If you don’t stay in contact with people regularly, they’ll forget you exist pretty quickly. Make sure they’re continually aware of your brand by posting regularly. Build up brand loyalty by posting content that your audience will really love. And what they will love really depends on who your audience is.

If you’re targeting a corporate or professional audience, they might love a daily three-minute video giving powerful tips on public speaking.

If you’re targeting a college-age crowd, they might be more interested in shocking or humorous pictures and/or videos.
If you’re targeting a political audience, they might appreciate links to news stories not covered by American media.

Know your audience. Post the type of content that your specific audience will love. Focus on providing value rather than trying to get people to buy or pass on your profile. Build up real loyalty rather than going for the quick sale.

Building a strong brand using social media involves first clearly defining your brand, then choosing the right social networks to be on and finally posting content that your audience loves. If you do this on a consistent basis while being true to your brand, your brand will become stronger and stronger both in your customer’s mind and in your market in general.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Marc_Smith