Five Ways to Improve Your Brand Perception With Social Media
If someone could only see your social feed, how would they perceive your brand? What would they think or feel? Would they buy from you vs. your competitors?
I think we can all agree the days of gaining traction in the marketplace purely through repetition of your message are long gone. Today’s best brands gain traction by positioning themselves as expert, friend, partner, collaborator and resource.
An important element of this type of marketing is relationship building. And to build a relationship, you need more than “authority in the marketplace”; you need the proper tone, personality, likability, trust (all perceived qualities) and constant reinforcement.
Social media is ideally suited to influence these consumer perceptions and deliver this reinforcement. Every time consumers encounter your brand in their newsfeed or a socially influenced Google search, it’s an opportunity for a marketer to shape brand perception. The trouble is many don’t know how to start.
Let’s look at five ways to improve your brand perception with social media.
Showcase your brand values. This may seem evident and elementary, but creating a set of brand values is extremely important, not only to the overall success of your brand, but also to your ability to communicate effectively via social media. We’re often surprised at how many marketers shortcut this step in favor of a “Ready, Fire, Aim” approach. We could spend an entire post talking about brand values, but for the purpose of this topic, we’ll simply say that, whether those values revolve around product attributes (high-quality), less tangible aspects of your operations (sustainability) or something else altogether, make sure everyone associated with your brand knows how those values relate to your key stakeholders and emphasizes them consistently across all social channels.
Build trust. Trust is part of the foundation of every relationship, right? On social media in particular, there are always people watching, monitoring what brands say they will do and quick to call out a brand for everything it isn’t doing. So, be transparent. Let people know that you don’t have anything to hide. Hold yourself accountable. When things go wrong, acknowledge the causes of the incident and clarify the details of the situation. Follow through on your promises. Every time your brand makes and keeps a promise, you are building trust and creating positive brand equity. If you don’t, you lose it. It’s that simple. A good example of what to do? Zappos, which has “Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication” among its core values. They’ve added transparency into the heart of all their communications, helping customers thoroughly know and trust the company.
Show interest in people. Social media has conditioned us to tell the world what we’re doing and what we’re thinking all the time. But if brands are only trying to be heard, who is doing the listening? While everyone is trying to be interesting, who is interested? One of social media’s biggest benefits is the ability it gives us to connect and engage. So, do it. Spend more time creating relationships with those who care about your brand than updating your status. Be genuinely useful, helpful and likeable. Respond to as many comments and questions as you can. When a consumer reaches out, demonstrate that you hear and care about those comments. And remember, by showing an interest in others, you are creating an opportunity for them to get to know you better, too.
Be consistent. Consistency is one of the most important yet overlooked elements in social media marketing. Strong, consistent messaging reinforces your identity and drives positive sentiment and brand perceptions. This doesn’t mean that all of your communications need to be identical, but it does mean your key messaging and visual branding should be clearly identified. And it means consumers should be able to feel your brand’s personality, regardless of the platform they find you on. All brands have a personality, and it’s the marketers’ responsibility to ensure it’s reflected throughout all channels.
Consider Wendy’s, which has chosen to make its content, as described by Forbes, “unbelievably dumb stuff that’s blow-milk-out-your-nose funny.” Across all social media channels, Wendy’s carries through that fun, don’t-take-ourselves-too-seriously approach to content. And the method has worked, with Wendy’s racking up 2.3 million Twitter followers and high engagement rates. Its a great example to follow in terms of a consistent voice.
- Use and promote images. Ultimately, the more likes and shares your brand has, the more potential it has to reach a wider audience, and visuals work particularly well on social media for generating interaction. The Content Marketing Institute notes that posts on Facebook with images get 2.3 times more engagement and, on Twitter, photos can boost retweets by 34%. This can make a huge impact on getting the word out about your business. When you do use your own images, use those that will speak to your consumers emotionally. Also, take advantage of the photos other people are sharing about your brand. Monitor conversations around your brand, and when you find a positive photo, share it! Use those photos as customer testimonials, share the positive things people are saying, and be sure to respond to and engage users who post images.
Can you think of a brand that’s doing it right? Need help? Share with us your thoughts on using social media to improve brand perception.
This article was originally published on April 8, 2015, and has since been updated.